Pieces Worth Bleeding For

 


 

 

This wasn’t easy to write…there was a bit of bleeding involved. But it’s been something that I’ve wanted to write about for years because it’s such a central piece of who I am. More than ever before, I’m really trying to figure out pieces of myself- recognizing and recollecting the scattered ones and even discovering a few new ones. Though I could never do my aunt justice when writing about her, I’ve been as open and honest as I can be, which is what I always aim for when writing so I would like to believe that she would approve.

 

I remember being 5-years-old and sitting on the floor of the living-room, playing with the cardboard cutouts from the back of TV dinner boxes. Each box came with a piece of a ‘map’ of a town, so the more pieces you collected, the bigger (and more complete) your town became. There were sidewalks and town buildings printed on some of the cutouts, and there were houses and tree-lined streets on others. I used my fingers to ‘drive along’ the roads of the town-over the bridge and onto the streets where houses were aligned perfectly in tidy rows. Playing with these map pieces kept me entertained for weeks, but I never collected all the pieces, so there were huge square gaps missing in my town. I realized eventually that I was never going to collect the rest of the pieces… my town would never be complete, so I gave up tracing the roads into spaces of the living-room carpet where the other pieces were supposed to be. Eventually, I decided that the missing pieces made the entire town useless, so I threw away the pieces I had collected.

 

But it was during this brief period of box-piece collecting when my Aunt Helen came to visit, and even though I was only 5, her visit had a lifelong effect on me. I was playing with my random town pieces and tracing my finger along the roads when she sat down beside of me and ask me what I was doing. This in itself was a big deal, because as you may know all too well, most adults rarely take the time to not only speak to a kid but to sit down beside of them and seem actually interested in what they were doing. That was practically unheard of in those days, but my aunt Helen wasn’t like most adults. Though I was painfully shy, (especially since I didn’t see my aunt more than once every few years at best), I showed my town to her and pointed out my favorites parts (the squares with the houses, the bridge, and the town square with a statue in the middle). I explained in my best big-kid voice that I still needed to collect the rest of the pieces, but it shouldn’t take me too much longer to complete the town. I remember her tracing the streets with her fingers just as I did, before standing up, rubbing the top of my hair, and walking into the kitchen to talk with the adults. Because of the attention she’d given me, I felt important, and though I didn’t fully realize the feeling then, I also felt ’empowered’, as if the ability to collect all the pieces to complete the town would be a grand accomplishment one day.

 

During her visit, I remember being amazed at how perfectly unique she was.

She had arrived in a camper, or maybe it was a truck with a camper attached, I’m not entirely sure, but I would stand by the back door, curiously staring in at the small kitchen, and thinking how fantastic it was that she had, what seemed to me, her entire house with her, (on wheels!)  She could come and go as she pleased; Immediately, I knew that this was how I wanted to live my life too-coming and going whenever I wanted.

 

Just when I didn’t think she could be any cooler or I could love her any more than I already did, there was the day she was in the kitchen with my mom when I came into to ask for something to eat. I had seen something on TV about how much Elvis loved peanut butter and banana sandwiches, so I really needed to try this for myself to see what I had been missing my entire 5-year life. I think the fact that my aunt was there gave me a push of courage because I remember walking into the kitchen and bravely requesting Elvis’s favorite sandwich. Because we didn’t have a lot of money, my mom tried to cut corners. Even where there were no corners, she managed to make them, so to her, having both a peanut butter sandwich and a banana was TOO much. But just as she began to say so, my aunt said, “Or for crying out loud! let her have a peanut butter and banana sandwich!”. I was speechless, because not only had someone defended me, but they had dared to stand up to my mother! Truth is, in the end, I really didn’t think much of the sandwich, but my aunt had stuck up for me, and that was priceless.

 

She seemed larger than life to me, (even better than Wonder Woman!), and not only to me but to most of the family. She was 14-years older than my mother (who was the baby of a family of 12 kids) and she was so worldly compared to my other aunts. Though she had grown up in Eastern Kentucky, she had found her way out…she lived in Chicago where she was a bartender for a time, as well as living in Arizona and eventually Florida, where she lived until her death. Unfortunately, there are pieces about her that I can’t fill in because so much had happened before I had come stomping into the world. The missing pieces of her life are as sad to me now as the missing pieces of my town, where the ugly, itchy carpet interrupted my beautiful town used to make me feel.

 

From the things I have been told by my mother and the memories I have of her, she was bold, fearless; she did things the way she wanted to do them, the way she felt they should be done. It seemed that when things became too comfortable, she moved on to something new. I remember my mother telling me about one of her husbands and what a good man he was, and how she never understood why my aunt left him. Even though I was only 12 or so when she told me this story, I understood my aunt’s reasons: life was bigger and maybe she didn’t have room in her exciting world for a perfect husband. Surely my aunt had things to do, places to go and people to be…I can’t imagine her cleaning the house or standing at the stove cooking dinner, patiently waiting for her husband to come home…maybe she DID do that sometimes, I can’t say-but even if she did, it wasn’t the bigger part of who she was. But there are so many fucking pieces to all of us, aren’t there? So, maybe there was a domesticated piece to my aunt…I have domesticated pieces too…maybe everyone does, and though I am not in the business of loving and leaving the way I used to be, I still understand why she must have made the choices she made. Throughout her life, she had a handful of husbands, (I believe there were 4), so she obviously wasn’t afraid to love. In the end, it was a man that she was living with who took her away from the 5-year-old me, and the rest of the world

 

By the time I was 6 years-old, the name Casper felt like a bad word that I should never say. I wouldn’t even watch Casper the Friendly Ghost cartoons…even when my son had asked for a Casper movie many years later, I felt a sick stirring in the pit of my stomach. This was because Casper was the name of the man who had shot my aunt in the back several times, and then left her in the woods until hunters discovered her body. Dental records were needed to confirm her identity. Pieces. Somehow, this amazing larger than life character, that had made such an enormous impression on me had been ended by some small, cowardly man that couldn’t accept his lack of control over her, so he had ended her.

And the forest had silently accepted her, eventually returning only pieces of all that she had once been.

 

This point in my childhood was full of a blur of things that didn’t seem quite real, although I knew they were. My stepfather had made life for my mother terrible with infidelities, and the winter was especially cold and frozen. The water pipes under our house burst, so for much of the entire winter of 76/77, my mother had to draw water from a well, laying on her stomach to drop a bucket attached to a rope down into the well to get water for us. Her clothes would sometimes freeze to the ground and I remember my hatred for my stepfather intensifying each time I would watch her struggling to pull the heavy bucket out of the icy hole. I knew that I would never live that way, not with a man that didn’t care if I froze to the ground or help me carry buckets of water through the deep snow. I remember being mad at my mom for not being as strong as my Aunt Helen. Surely, my aunt would have never been with a man like my stepfather. During this time, my aunt had been reported missing, and while it was initially plausible that she could have just been traveling on her own for a while, there was a dark feeling that hung over everyone-as if they already knew that the worst had happened. Even then, as a child, I could feel that. Throughout the search, the discovery and finally the burial of my aunt, the entire world was made of hateful, uncaring ice.

It’s one of the reasons I loathe winter… it makes all of the beautiful things disappear.

 

Both my mother and grandmother were devastated, but as was usually the case, I did not cry…I internalized everything when I was small. I also felt that I should be strong because neither of them could be. I remember traveling for hours on icy roads in a quiet car full of sad people for her wake and her funeral. We stayed overnight in the house my mother had grown up in because that’s where the wake was held. For my mother’s family, the custom is to have the coffin overnight in the house of family and the night is spent watching over and being with the person before burying…letting them go the next day. I had been sent to bed in the room directly across from the coffin, but of course, I could not sleep. I’ve always believed that when you sleep, you miss the important things. Instead, I sat in the dark and stared through the doorway, as my mother and my other aunts stood at the coffin and cried, and if I am remembering correctly, pulling a metal box from the closed coffin…the small box that somehow managed to contain the precious pieces that once had been my brave, amazing, outspoken aunt.

 

All through the rest of my childhood, I heard so many things about my aunt; her outspoken behavior, and the fact that she had a hard time settling into just one life, and never seeming to stay long whenever she did try to settle…as if the pieces never fit, or maybe the pieces did fit in the beginning, but changed over time. Hearing about the way she had lived, left a deep impression on me. By the time I was a teenager, my mother would sometimes compare things I said or did, or even wore to my aunt, which was the most endearing thing I could have heard. As I grew older, my aunt became less human to me, and more of a legend, so of course it made me happy to be compared to a legend.

 

I had a reoccurring dream throughout most of my twenties. I would find myself in a world with an Edvard Munch orange-swirled sky…there was an enormous, empty cornfield in front of me, but all of the stalks had been cut, except for a very small patch of cornstalks in the middle…I would spend most of the dream walking through the difficult rocky dirt and then pushing through the stalks until I stepped into a clearing in front of a woman with beautiful eyes and dark red hair. We never spoke, we just stood there, looking into each other’s eyes…Sometimes her eyes were happy, but sometimes, there were tears just seconds away from spilling down her cheeks. Most of the time, I would suddenly wake while standing before her. Other times, I would turn away, pushing through the sharp stalks, and walking through the field, while staring ahead at the fire-colored horizon. I began to refer to her as my guardian angel or spirit guide. Though we never spoke, I felt so much each time I had the dream. Even when I didn’t fully understand what I was feeling, I knew that I was gaining something that either stopped me from making bad choices, or encouraged me to keep going. I felt sad when the dreams eventually stopped. After nearly 10 years, the silent woman with her warm, expressive eyes was gone.

 

Until last year, when I discovered this photo on a distant relative’s Facebook. This was my Aunt Helen, at least a decade before I was born. The dreams make perfect sense to me now. I’ve promised myself that if I ever have the dream again, I will find the nerve to speak to her.

 

 

Pieces…That’s what we are…and if you’ve ever had to pick through garbage or disconnect a sink drain to find something that was lost or accidentally taken from you, you know how wonderful it is to find it again… to clean it off and keep it safe so that you never lose it again. That’s what I am doing now, recollecting the pieces, dusting off the mosaic of jagged pieces that make me who I am. My aunt is one of those bigger pieces-even though she left the world before I had a chance to grow up, and need her even more than the five-year-old me had needed her. According to my mother, when she left our house during her last visit, she had said that she wished she could take me with her. I wish she had…things would have been different for the two of us, and maybe she wouldn’t have been taken away by some cowardly little fool with the name of a friendly ghost…maybe I wouldn’t have grown up to be at odds with the rest of my family…perhaps the fragments that have been strewn all over would be easier to recognize and recollect.

 

And finally, I want to share this with you because it’s so important to me. I have had this beautiful, damaged “lovely” for the past 15 years or so; She has managed to remain with me when many other things I owned were either accidentally left behind or lost. As you can see, she’s been through some tough times, (or rough patches as I like to call them). She’s the Goddess of my kitchen, where I sometimes go to spend time when I need to collect my thoughts, (baking especially does that for me). She stands right next to the sink, so she has accidentally taken more than a dive or two into the hot, soapy dishwater. She  also serves as inspiration, because as broken as she has been, and regardless of the pieces she’s lost, she’s still here, and she’s still beautiful. People have sometimes asked me why I hang onto something so old and broken, with her missing pieces and faded paint, and I’ve always given the same answer- because I love her, and I will never let her go, regardless of how many times she is broken, or how many pieces she has lost (or may one day lose from a sink-diving accident)

Two years ago, I found another photo of my aunt, and I was absolutely overwhelmed with what I discovered in the photo. Sitting on the corner of her coffee table is my beloved Kitchen Goddess! I had no idea that she belonged to my aunt such a long, long time ago… and somehow, she managed to find her way to me.

She is another piece…a piece of my aunt, and just like my aunt, she’s another piece of me.

Pieces…the pieces we keep, give, lose, covet, stumble upon, forget, rediscover, steal, avoid, wish for, bury, the incomplete pieces we give up on and throw away…

…and the pieces we are brave enough to share with others…like stories worth bleeding for.

WE are those pieces

Photo with my aunt. I’m the chubby one, giving serious side-eye.

Love,

        ~ Lucia13

 

P.S. There’s always a song that plays on repeat the entire time I’m writing something, (I’ll start adding them to the end of each post-unless, of course, I totally forget)The muses grabbed this song when I began writing this, three days ago…and they still haven’t let it go.

                                 ‘Bite tongue, Deep breaths…’

 

Advertisements

Spare Me Your Rod

 

 

When I wrote this earlier, I hadn’t been awake long, having just woke up from a nap that wasn’t nearly long enough to recharge my wrecked body after a 30+ hour writing/music/reading binge. I’m still half-asleep. My brain is still loading ever so slowly-we’re only at 30% or so as I type this. But there is a point to this post, so bear with me, OK?

As I tried to pull myself out of sleep, I began to catch up on messages, emails, posts, etc. I sleepily nibbled on my bland little blueberry breakfast bar as I checked Facebook messages…OK, I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again-I’m terrible at being slow to reply to emails and messages, mainly because if someone has made the effort to send a message or email to me, I want to do the same for them, which means I like to go away and think about my reply…you will never receive a one or two word message from me-unless I’m mad at or you or something, but that’s rare because I’m such an effing nice person…97.3% of the time.

Even though I was/am still buried beneath yesterday’s mascara and I have 80s Siouxsie hair, (IF 80s Siouxsie rode for hours in a convertible down the Autobahn at 120 mph), I decided to check messages and have my breakfast bar before attempting to tame my crazy, sleep-deprived, rock-star appearance, and for some reason, I decided to check more messages that I usually do. In total, I checked 17 Facebook messages (I usually have 60-70 unchecked messages, because I’m such a slow replier-I KNOW-that’s crazy, but don’t hate me, its not entirely my fault, I swear!). Most of the messages were great, interesting and kind (I was even given a free CD by a friend who has an amazing band) But there were 3 messages that really, really sucked.

Which is why I felt compelled to finally write this silly post that I have been trying to avoid writing, especially over the past few months.

Guys, (and I say Guys because I’ve never received messages from girls like this), here’s the deal: WE DO NOT WANT TO SEE YOUR GOODS….YOUR WILLIE, THINGY, JUNK, LOVE SABRE, PENIS, (or whatever pet name you have for your toy)

I’m not sure what you feel you’re accomplishing by sending someone you’ve barely spoken to random pictures of your business…IF someone wants to see what you have, they will more than likely give you some kind of hint…IF you aren’t given a hint, then chances are they either don’t want to see it or would prefer to know a little bit about you before venturing onto that phase of the relationship. This is in no way meant to offend anyone and their… goods, but truth is-genitals basically all blend into one generic image when you’re sleepy, and completely uninterested in seeing someone’s bits-especially while you’re doing your damnedest to enjoy your crumbly blueberry breakfast bar.

I’m completely at a loss at what the motivation must be. Are you feeling cheeky because as a child, you were told to keep your privates private, but now that you’re a big, big man, you feel like you can defy the rules and show your pixie-stick to the entire world? Is there some secret reward you receive for spamming as many women as possible with your photos? Are you especially proud of your body, and feel that it would be a terrible injustice if you didn’t share grainy photos of your little masterpiece with every woman you meet? Maybe every time you spam women with your kazoo pics, you receive gaudy purple and green beads that you will proudly hang over your rear-view mirror for a week or so before coming to your senses and realizing that they’re really tacky so you stuff them into your fast food paper bag and toss it in the gas station garbage can? I mean, seriously WHAT is the reason for sending us the same tired old weenie shots?

I’m not being prudish in the least bit here…I’m as liberal as it gets…and I appreciate human bodies in all of their individual shapes and sizes. For example, I thoroughly adore the art of Namio Harukawa, but I’m certainly not going to send it to someone I don’t really even know, and I’m not even linking to his work in this post (but very well may in a potential future post that’s been lying in my drafts folder for ages). Mainly because it’s NSFW and also probably not something you want to look at while eating breakfast…or maybe it is... Regardless, I’m not going to make that choice for you, so Google him if you want to see his work, but be warned- there are booties and tatas, (galore!)  in his art, and probably not something you want to look at while nibbling your pop tarts in the company of Auntie June & Uncle Joe.

Seriously guys, how many women have suddenly professed an undying need to be your love slave, simply because you sent her a photo of your little pal, Ruscle? I’m pretty sure it hasn’t happened…EVER.  So Just put it away, until the appropriate time comes-when you might have a real reason to share it with someone. Chances are, you weren’t raised by chimps, right? Penis photos are about as desireable as watching you fling your poo, believe me. Your Dickie photos are causing the same reaction 99% of the time time: she catches a glimpse of the photo, probably sighs and mumbles “seriously?”, as she deletes the photo. And then (BOOM!) she blocks your ignorant ass. The reaction for the other 1% of the time: she’s laughing at your stupidity with her friends-before she deletes the photo and blocks your ignorant ass.

…Then she moves on with her day, and your junk becomes about as memorable as bird droppings on someone else’s windshield from last week.

I love knowing about people. I’m an introvert as well as a writer, so I have an insatiable need to know people from a distance: what you had for breakfast,  your favorite song, favorite scent, your worst memory, or even better-your happiest memory. I absolutely love sharing music with people, being introduced to new music and introducing others to music. That’s always pretty amazing…so share music with me, or ask me to make you a playlist… Tell me who you are, who you wish you were, and who you’re becoming… how many times you’ve broken someone’s heart…how many times your heart has been broken…you can tell me anything you want.

And I love photos-send me photos of that annoying spot on the ceiling that you stare at every night or day as you’re falling asleep…send me a photo of your pet, your mom, your lover, your best friend, the view from your window, a gravestone of the person whose loss ripped your world apart, the way the rain looks as it collects on you window pane, the reflection of the street lights on the pavement, the sky above your head at that very moment, send me a photo of your enemy and tell me why they are your enemy (maybe we’ll spend some time together-slagging the rotten waste of space off! ). I adore those interactions. I once developed a friendship with a priest in Romania who sent me countless photos of his church and the people in his village. In return, I would send him photos of meals I cooked, photos of my shoes, a drawing of the outline of my hand,  my bracelet,  the view from my doorway…and I would tell him about movies I watched (though I usually felt a bit guilty discussing horror movies with a priest) I even sent music (which he never seemed too keen on, but still).

Not to sound cycnical, but I know this post won’t do much to hinder most of the ‘phone down the front of the sweatpants’ photography. But then again, maybe, MAYBE it might tempt you to take a photo of something else instead…the possibilities are pretty endless…so maybe if you pull your pants up, go wash your hands (seriously, wash your dirty little hands already!) , then change your approach and actually try engaging people in conversation, you might eventually find a real reason to share your big chief photos with someone…

…Someone who might actually welcome them instead of cringing and blocking you.

Seems worth a try at least, right?

 

Love & Hugs, (except to you filthy wanking photographers!)

~13

 

Bedtime Stories, Hungry Wolves and My Own Candle Carousel, (and New Spoken Piece)

I was 19 when I met Adriana, a woman from Germany, who was maybe 10 years older or so than myself. She was extremely warm and kind, with an honest curiosity, much like my own. She asked countless questions, not in an interrogative way, but because she was completely curious about people whose lives were so completely different than hers. I knew her for all of 4 days. I think she and I could have been great friends, peppering the world with our endless questions.

It was the week of Christmas, and she was the girlfriend of the older brother of someone I was living with at the time. I remember wondering within the first 10 minutes of meeting her why she was with such a simple Meathead…but then again, why are we ever with anyone? Is it seriously easy to answer that question-ever? I mean besides the basics everyone is looking for, of course: kindness, honesty, magnetic personality, etc…so in retrospect, I realize that whatever the reason she was with him, she just was…even if their personalities seemed so different…then again, he was never impolite to me or anything. A year or two later, he actually drove me for nearly an hour to my mother’s home and played The Cure’s Disintegration CD for me the entire way…How terrible can a fellow be if he listens to Disintegration, right? So perhaps he had more layers than I realized. But the post isn’t supposed to be about him, or even about Adriana. She just happened to introduce something to my world that I had never seen before and it became a symbol in my world later on, and that leads me to the piece, Bedtime Stories, that I’ve rewritten and am posting here.

The Christmas gift, (and the amazing new introduction to my world), that Mr. Meathead and Adriana gave to his mother was an amazing multi-tiered wooden candle carousel, complete with intricate small, but very detailed pieces…people, some dancing with a partner, some dancing on their own. At the base of the carousel was a crown of candles, and when the candles were lit, the heat made the layers spin, and when the layers spun, so did the many dancers. I remember spending all of Christmas Day watching the dancers spin, and amazed by the idea that the candles could be creating this amazing effect while managing to not ignite the entire carousel.

That was my introduction to candle carousels, and at the time, I had no idea whatsoever that one day, over a decade later, my life would begin to mimic that carousel at different times…and that with the help of certain lighted heat, I would find myself, and all of my unique selves that live inside of me, dancing and spinning around in circles.

I know I’ve mentioned it before, but in case you’re new to my blog, I grew up without my father. The blame lies both with him and my mother in my opinion. But I try not to hold onto blame these days, and I understand the reasoning behind some of the choices they made, actually more of my mother’s choices than my father’s. The marriage between my parents had not been a happy experience for either of them. My mother was young and looking for a way out, or more likely, a way IN to a new life. My father was 22 years older than she was…I’m 100% sure that because he was older and had a pretty generous amount of life experience, and a charming personality, he was the perfect answer, so she felt content enough to trust him to give her the life she wanted.

He didn’t give her that life…He was a wild thing, always on the hunt for something new…a new wife, new experiences, new places, new existences…by this point, my father had  more than his fair share of professions, beginning with newspaper reporter, and  one of his stories actually earned him the risk of nearly being killed at some late-night meeting that was supposed to take place with someone that could give him some interesting information… (instead, he just lost all of the windows of his car to the shower of bullets). I would assume that he was more of an investigative reporter, (something that I’m extremely interested in doing myself, despite the risk of angry bullets… if the story is important enough to me). Eventually, he began running a diner, where my mother met him and began working for him. I can completely see how she would have fallen for him…I know his ways too well…Most of my ways are his ways, for better and for worse. Later in life, he would also become a car salesman before becoming a strip club owner, and probable pimp, to finally a private investigator…

The reason for bringing any of this up is that I grew up without a father, and as much as my mother trying to patch  life up by giving me a stepfather and siblings and trying hard to forget her past, it didn’t work for me. Early on, I was extremely protective of my mother, standing up to anyone that might hurt her…later, I began to resent her, because at the time I believed she had torn my world apart…now I realize that it was both of my parents that were at fault, but what are two people who aren’t in love to do? Spend eternity unhappy, attempting to maintain a happy facade for their child? It never works, and it isn’t fair to anyone…and I realize that now…But the pain it has caused has never gone away…this is something I’ve worked on coming to terms with for years and there has been progress, but still…does this pain ever go away completely?

I don’t think so.

So, despite the fact that I had a stepfather that I felt pressured into referring to as ‘Dad’, he never felt or behaved like a father in the least bit. Fathers never show photos of their 12-year-old awkward daughters to fellow truckers and discuss the idea of those truckers marrying her, right? No, I don’t think so either. So, I learned early on that he was not my father. For the first half of my life beginning at age four, I was completely fatherless, and regardless of what you might think, daughters need a father…as much as sons need a mother, (or nearly as much at least). I grew up feeling half empty, even more than half actually,  because I found very little common ground with my family, partially because I was a rebellious, wise-ass kid-who wanted something better, something more kindred, and also because we were and are completely different, so I spent most of my formative years feeling empty. And throughout my life, mostly unbeknownst to me, that emptiness grew, changed shapes, and at times even controlled complete aspects of my life.

I had absolutely zero experience as far as boyfriends go. I was a very new 18 year-old and had never really had a boyfriend in school, except a poor shmuck that tried dating me when I was 16, which meant free movies at the cinema, if I allowed him to do a bit of clumsy groping. I had no clue at the time how to be assertive or simply say “get the Fuck off of me!”. I had grown up thinking men were in charge of most things. I was a foolish 16-year-old.

Even before seeking out a boyfriend, I was searching for a father, but I didn’t realize that then. As a matter of fact, I wasn’t seeking out anything consciously, except for literature. I was consumed with gaining as much knowledge as I could from books, from writers like Nabokov and Kerouac and soon after, Henry Miller. They were poetry…new music to me and I wanted nothing more to develop their gift of language and feelings…and their fire. Boyfriends and anything of the such wasn’t of any interest to me in the least bit…but as is the case most of the time, that aspect of life happened, and I gained a boyfriend-a year and a half younger than me.

I fell into a full blown relationship, with someone nearly two years younger than me. Because he was quite clever, yet also very street smart, I quickly trusted him to look after me, and if I said he did not do as well as he could, I would be lying. He did. Everything from warning me away from people and streets to avoid if I were on my own, to stealing cans of beef stew and soup for me when I was hungry and had no money. This saved me at the time, but it also stirred the young subconscious child inside that was still longing for something she had not had since she was 4…I wanted to be nurtured and loved unconditionally. To be taught and defended, and protected, without doing or giving anything in return. Clearly, not something that a 16-year-old kid could give me. But of course, I was still unaware of how my brain was working, how my subconscious was searching for something bigger, something to fill the emptiness that was so insanely deep,  it actually felt physical at times.

Skip forward 3 years or so, to when I became a mom to a perfect little boy. Nearly every hole in me had finally been filled; I had purpose, and a reason to exist. Though the need was still there for a father, it was pushed deep inside, and very well covered with the need to be needed and the fact that I devoted myself wholeheartedly to being the best mom I could possibly be, tending to every single whimper, cry, stretch and sneeze…That’s the best thing I have ever done…and I’m sure nothing I could possibly achieve throughout the rest of my life will ever come close to being a mom. However, time passed and my little boy grew older, and suddenly, when I no longer needed to attend to every single need, every single minute of the day, I felt that old familiar darkness begin to hover above me and the panic settle in once again.

This was years before I would be diagnosed with Bipolar II, so I hadn’t learned then how to distinguish the differences in the various darknesses that hovered over me sometimes. The depression I feel because of bipolar is a hungry, uglier darknessit not only hovers, it pulls me, it throttles me and threatens to devour me completely. Mostly I fight it now and it only tends to come around at specific times. I have a pretty good restraint system in place now…it took a long time, but I’ve gained control…at least for the most part. The darkness from the emptiness I feel is different-its pain and its desperation and panic…a bit like what it might feel like to look down at your hand and see that your finger is missing…it’s a mad scramble to recollect the pieces, to fill the void and fix yourself. It’s the need to become whole again. But at least it does not want to end me like that other darkness attempts to sometimes do.

I’m not a conceited person…not in most ways, at least. I think I have a unique personality…though I realize I’m not the only person who collects dead bugs and keeps them in a cigar box on a bookshelf, that she sometimes takes out so she can study specimens like Butterflies, Mantises or Walking Sticks. I realize others do this too, so it makes me feel like the world is spotted with kindred spirits. That’s a comfort to me. There is absolutely nothing I feel is completely unique about myself, yet, my entire package, just like yours and everyone else’s is unique because we’re all wired differently enough to be a one of a kind.

My appearance has never been something I have taken for granted or been especially happy with. On the contrary, actually. I have struggled with BDD off and on throughout my life-the irrational ideas of cutting my nose off or finding ways to hide my face completely from the world (wanna know how many oversized sunglasses I own?) It’s why I learned early on, the absolute magic of makeup. If I’m not wearing makeup, I feel as shocking and doomed as Joseph  (aka John) Merrick, as if some grand creator either became bored by the time he was working on me or was too tired to care anymore. Maybe they ran out of suitable pieces and just made do with whatever scraps they had left. It sounds crazy, but it’s crippling sometimes. There are times when I can’t open my door or even step out on my balcony for fear that people will see me and become shocked at my hideousness. I forever feel apologetic to people around me who have to look at my face day to day.

And still, there’s something akin to Maya Angelou‘s Phenomenal Woman that lives in the very core of me, so that despite the fact that I dislike my exterior, I have mastered some powerful, womanly gift that unfortunately not all women ever master. Please don’t be offended or think that I’m being boastful, because if you are a woman, you have this same gift…and if you are a man, you have more than likely already met women who have also mastered this gift…and for that, I feel a bit sorry for you, because I know what it can do to you…the power that it holds. And it’s this gift that works for me sometimes…when I’ve wanted or needed it to.  For a long while, I became dependent on this gift to works its magic in hopes that I could finally find what I needed to complete myself once and for all, and stop this insatiable need to be loved in a way that I haven’t been loved since I was a  little girl.

A friend of mine once referred to the company of males I sometimes kept as my pack of wolves, always scratching at our door. That friend was a woman, and one of the very few women I’ve ever had a friendship with. But she never learned how to become her own phenomenal woman, and sadly, I doubt she ever will. Then again, she crossed me terribly in the end, so maybe I don’t feel so bad that she’s eternally unaware of her own abilities.

But about the wolves, and I apologize if, as a man, you feel offended by reading men being referred to as wolves…I’m only referring to the pack of males that for a time, at various times of my life, have gathered around, hungry, mad and sometimes a little too aggressive for their own good.  Again, this is not something that happens to only me. Many women have sometimes attracted a pack of sharp-tongued, bloody-fanged, wet-mouthed devils, eager for overwhelming sustenance and claiming a desire for eternal companionship…I can’t say for sure that I have believed their claims, because for me, the mind of a man is just as mysterious and intriguing as a woman’s mind, so despite the claims of endearment and love at first sight, and the life or death desperate need they swear to have, I haven’t a real clue of what’s going on in the mind of a wolf or even an innocent man...What I do know is that Little Red Riding Hood is one of my favorite tales, and I have often changed the story to make myself happier with the ending so that the wolf, rather than the woodsman, actually falls under the spell of Red and something joyous happens for them both…wolves are alluring, brilliant creatures. Not my favorite animals though, (I’m a monkey lover above all other animals) But still, if I had to liken men to an animal, wolves are far more appealing than calling them my barrel of monkeys.

So, at times, I’ve had my wolves…and try as hard as I could possibly try to have them complete me-whether it was as an older, wise, fatherly figure, a strong-minded, self-assured boy-man, or even one of my former best friends, a gay man who asked if I would be his first and only heterosexual companion, nothing ever worked. They never finished the stories for me…Love was never unconditional…they always wanted (and most of the time, rightfully so, expected something in return from me). And so, the darkness remained, and I’m almost certain it’s going to remain with me for the rest of my life…though I would do most anything to patch it up and pack it away, to wake up one day and no longer feel like a part of me is missing.

My father loved jazz, just as I do…that’s something we share and that means everything to me because it’s one of the few pieces I will always have of him….I’m not delusional, I know that if my father were alive, we would never see eye to eye on most things…but it’s that idea, the idea of being loved for who I am and not for the things I do or the way I look. Not for what I can give him, but solely because he loves me unconditionally regardless of what I do or don’t do, for what I say or don’t say.…just as the way I love my own son. I’m angry and sad that I will never have that feeling- unless of course there’s a secret father adoption service that I’m unaware of, but I highly doubt it. I would more than likely be distrustful of his motives anyway…

So finally to the piece I’ve written. This piece was actually written nearly a decade ago, but the original piece had absolutely nothing to do with my father. It was actually more of a naughty tongue in cheek piece about ‘cats fucking circles in my wet grass, and mulatto boys with tiny toots and water guns’. I’m not entirely sure where those words came from…maybe because I liked the way they sounded together…their rhythm…or maybe because my first major (non-rock star) crush was a mulatto boy in high school…who’s to say? It doesn’t really matter anyway, especially because they were replaced with words about my father.

The words were changed during a difficult time when having a father would have made so many things so much easier for me…I had a father figure in the form of a friend, but it wasn’t the same…there was something off about it all and let’s face it, how many men sign up to solely be a father figure for a sad lady that’s seriously broken? So, while I had a small clan of wolves nibbling my ankles and sniffing at the hem of my skirt, I was soul-sick and needed something I couldn’t find…I needed bedtime stories from my father, not wolves fucking circles in my wet grass.

But just as the carousel was moved by the heated flames, I have been moved by the heat from the wolves, knowing that for as long as they were there beneath me with their heated intentions, I could keep spinning and dancing, and perhaps one day find what I was looking for, and even if I don’t find it, spinning and dancing has been pretty amazing.

So, here you have it. And By the way, it’s the first time I’ve created the sound for a piece, which I’m pretty proud of-as much as I can be proud of something I’ve created. There’s a tribal feel to it for me, a ceremonial vibe…a soul-sickness cleansing…though there are two tracks that are reversed, because in the end, I felt that rather than being cleansed, I was instead, being pushed deeper into my soul-sickness.

And here we are…still the same, definitely not cleansed, but for better or worse, I finished the piece, and despite everything, my carousel is still spinning in its own way, and I’m still alive, spinning and dancing…fatherless or not…all of my darknesses be damned!

Love & All that Jazz,

~Lucia 13

 

 

Download Bedtime Stories

 

 

Bedtime Stories

Brittle-boned and feral-eyed, she sits atop her stony world, Fleecing her wolves for the rest of the story.

And those Devils make the sweetest playmates for the hollow-hearted girl, the girl whose Daddy nodded off before the story was finished, the girl whose Daddy slipped out of her room and away to Mexico to plant his rose gardens and finish his story for precious new daughters- that never play with Devils and never grow up twisted and lonely;

 

Not like the raven-girl, humming her birdsong dirge to her flock and waiting for the surrogate that’s going to fill those big, big holes in Daddy’s big, big shoes;

That girl, stroking those wolves and counting the days of dry cheeks and sugar smiles on her idle little hands.

I’m tugging at the rope but Daddy isn’t coming, no hero, (not now).

And my heat must have a spell behind its sweet ass ’cause those wolves keep fucking circles in my wet grass,

but for now, I’d settle for just a story (or two).

… Oh, the tragic little worlds we build when we’re half asleep and half mad.

Singing For My Supper: The Stories I Have Told

(A lengthy, but necessarily so, kind of post)

“So, what do you do?”
I can’t recall ever asking anyone that question, but it’s definitely on the top of the list for mainstream conversation, because people have asked me that a lot, especially lately, due to my socializing surge…And I haven’t a clue how to answer properly. I mean, my initial response would be to say something snarky like ‘well, I’m a chronic hand washer. I’m a terrible germaphobe. And if I give into the temptation of a burger, there’s a good chance I’ll cry myself to sleep, as in ugly-cry about the fact that I consumed something that used to be alive, probably felt love, might have had dreams-even nightmares and died just for selfish people and their primitive desire to eat other living things.‘ Don’t roll your eyes, I promise I’m not going all PETA on you-its just something that bothers me to the core whenever I give in, and eat meat…what other people do or eat is none of my business. I don’t judge you. Bacon smells good and I crave it at times. Sometimes, I could kill for some steak. I also bite my nails. These are all things that I do

Anyway, the ‘do’ question makes my head tingle and my scalp feel tight…Obviously, I know what they actually mean, but what am I supposed to say? Am I really supposed to tell them about the mind-numbing things I do for money? Am I suppose to explain my entire situation, condensed into some impossibly small 2 or 3 sentences? Should I mention that it’s an entirely a free-lance gig and that I have the advantage of earning money whenever I feel like doing it, day or night? Or what about the fact that sometimes, it comes down to the cold hard fact that there are days that if I want to eat during the following week, I need to invest 10 hours per day into telling fibs to companies? Singing the praises of their ads or products, when in fact I would probably never waste my money on them in real life? Should I tell them that I usually don’t even get paid anywhere near the minimum wage for all of the time and effort I invest into what I ‘do’?

I usually simply say ‘Well, I’m a writer by nature, but to keep the lights and AC on, its Market Research’. Then I do what I can to move past that statement as quickly as possible by turning the tables and asking them about what they ‘do’. But for the sake of hopefully explaining my day to day responsibilities to you once and for all, let me tell you a bit about it, and then move on to the main reason for this post: story-telling.

Day to day, I comb the internet looking for companies that want my ‘opinion’ on things-anything, from judging their ads to actually testing their products. Sometimes, I even waste days in focus groups with other people, all probably also wearing their comfy, worn-out PJS, and no doubt wondering what else they could possibly be doing to get out of their rotten financial predicament.

But in order to successfully pull the whole thing off, I have to tell some pretty tall tales sometimes, since companies rarely want to hear the truth. I suppose in a sense, I actually am being paid to create some convincing fictional tales, although the pay is next to nothing, but that’s beside the point. In order to appease the stingy mainstream companies, I have to become a very mainstream kind of woman. The character I usually portray is probably the most difficult character I could possibly portray because she is so unlike me. In this alternate world, I live in the suburbs. I sometimes drive an SUV, but I am also a faithful Toyota Camry lover, so its tough to choose which of those I drive to my boring little office job. I have two children that have never aged for the past few years-ever since I began doing this miserable gig (because 17 and 11 seem like the perfect ages for the kids that companies want to know more about.) I have considered adding a third child, a baby-but then I would be bombarded with an endless supply of diapers and baby formula to test, and I have no one to give these things to, so I would end up throwing them away, and I can’t bring myself to do that when so many people struggle to afford those things, and of course, there’s nowhere here to donate things to. Also, in the fictional world, I hang with my group of boring suburbanite girlfriends and we see mainstream movies during the first week of their release, and sometimes even vacation with one another. We go to the gym together, and I shop at places like Old Navy and Macy’s. I have a juicer that I use nearly every day and my friends and I love swapping recipes and making smoothies. I wear clothing with sports logos plastered everywhere-mainly Nike and Under Armour. I like sit-coms and I watch the Lifetime and WE channels, and I’m not much of a reader-except for the Bible, of course.

Umm…so, what do you think? Having just read the paragraph describing that empty slice of white bread woman, do you have the same bitter taste in the back of your mouth that I do? Because people love to search out things that offend them, maybe this is where I should insert a statement that I am in no way insulting people in their Nike clothing that live in cardboard-walled, cookie-cutter homes, but I can’t really say something like that without fibbing. I don’t understand that kind of life. Believe me, I’ve been around it often-I was 17 when I first moved into a friend’s family home in the suburbs. I was often peered at through people’s blinds when I walked down the street to catch the bus…I was the strange girl in black with the massive amount of black hair. I was really, really into Tama Janowitz then-so I wanted big ‘Tama‘ hair, and I wasn’t apologetic for that in the very least. I’m still not, actually. And I still love Tama, by the way. The houses on the street all looked the same. The people all wore pastel clothing and drove large, ugly vehicles. The women had orange, leathery skin and frosted hair. When they came home at 5 p.m., they were usually blasting some top 40 music. They were everything that I wasn’t, and to me, these people and that life was as alien as trying to fit into a tribe of headhunters or being a wife in a harem. I didn’t understand it, and being around it made me feel sick to the core. I’m still fairly certain that if Hell is real,  the demons all have fake tans, wearing old navy pullover sweatshirts, and humming Taylor Swift songs.

Again, if you are one of these people, it isn’t my intention to offend you, but you and I are two of the most extremes that anyone can be, and I’m quite sure that my life is probably as undesirable to you as your life is to me. I’m only discussing this because I want people to understand the tall tale I have created…The story I tell every day…the song I have been singing for my supper, so to speak. If you know me, you know why this is such a large feat to pull off.

But pull it off, I do. Every time I begin to doubt my storytelling capabilities, I look at this other world I have created, and as simple and sad as it is to me, it seems to fool enough corporate shit-wits into paying me to tell them this boring story. Of course, the pay I receive is the equivalent of what graverobbers were probably paid for their dirty job…but it pays for food and it keeps the lights on. That being said, its far too time consuming, and definitely the most mind-numbing job I can think of doing. But because I am seriously stuck in one of America’s typical dead little towns, with one factory, a handful of fast food places, and countless abandoned storefronts, and completely carless, it’s the only choice I have at the moment.

Of course, if you happen to have a job proposal, by all means, send me an email and let’s talk business.

BUT at last, something has happened to me! It appears that the fight or flight response has FINALLY kicked in for me, and finally, the times, they are  a’changin. You see, the past few months have been especially rough…and for a girl with a history of a lot of rough months  the especially rough months are pretty serious events, that even run the risk of becoming fatal– if not tended to properly. These past few months have found me really soul searching, waking up in the middle of the night midway through a panic attack, so there’s a new, harder drive in me to claw my way out of the place, both metaphysically and physically that I have been steeping in for quite a while now. I have finally settled on the first attempt at changing things, because I have finally convinced myself that even if it means skimping on making some money sometimes, I need to pull away from the mind-numbing work for a few hours here and seriously focus on the idea of creating something worthwhile, and hopefully even a tad bit profitable. I nearly said ‘lucrative’, but I’m a realist, (or maybe I’m just being too cynical?) I don’t think lucrative is as easy as it used to be, so I will accept a ‘tad bit profitable’ instead. I’m not tackling this with a single ounce of naivete…I will never appear on Oprah’s top book-list, nor do I desire to. Writers rarely become wealthy these days…But I’ll tell you about my new venture in the next post. This post is more about the art of storytelling.

I’ve never claimed to be good at anything, really. Actually, in retrospect, I think I’ve been a pretty decent (and most definitely interesting) mother. Of course, as I mentioned in a previous post or two, I wasn’t and am still not a conventional mother. I raised my child in a completely different world than most children are raised. I focused on allowing him to explore and experience the world while developing his personality to the full extent, all while keeping him wrapped in the most secure bubble tape possible, figuratively speaking, (for the most part). Just yesterday, we were discussing the fact that throughout his entire childhood, he had less than a handful of scraped knees, and this wasn’t because he did nothing but sit on his ‘Golden Child’ throne all day, but because I was basically holding his hand the entire time…while he grew. He was always free to speak his mind, always free to tell me when he disagreed with me, and even when he was 3 feet tall, I never towered above him and talked down to him like I’ve seen so many parents do. When he was scolded, it was always at eye level, me on my knees in the middle of a toy store, explaining why he wasn’t allowed to spend the next few hours reorganizing the shelves of Star Wars toys in a ‘cooler way‘. You might think this ‘over-mothering’ that I was accused of throughout his entire childhood would have made him into a fragile, helpless, needy adult. It hasn’t. Quite the opposite actually. As an adult, he is one of the most stable, well-rounded people that I have ever known. It makes me happy to think that I helped make him that way.

But, my days of making sure that my little boy was happy, entertained and healthy 24/7 are finished. And its been the hardest thing I have ever done…letting him go off into the world to live his own life. It hurts every single day. Even as I type this, tears are starting. My first priority is that he is happy, and that will always be my main priority, but I miss looking after him every minute of every day, and though people told me it would become easier, it hasn’t, and I don’t think it ever will. I cry every time I watch him drive away, but the fact that he is happy and the fact that perhaps my mothering abilities helped him become who he is – is an amazing comfort to me.

Now it’s time to focus on myself a bit more and to do all of the things that I had planned on doing before I found myself pregnant at age 20. I was a kid carrying around Henry Miller and Jack Kerouac library books in a plastic store-bag along with my rough looking notebooks, thinking that one day, people might want to read or hear what I had to say….the stories I wanted to tell.

I’m hoping that people still might want to read and hear them.

I grew up in a family of storytellers. My grandmother kept me entertained throughout my entire childhood with stories; everything from real-life ghost stories to the fact that ‘the president could push the button’ and then we would all become skeletons (at least that’s how my 8-year-old brain envisioned it) My mother has the same storytelling ability, so I was taught from a very early age how to create and tell my own stories. For me, storytelling is the only thing, besides being a mom that I really know how to do….except maybe use a bit of charm, but charm will only buy you so much before it wears thin, so storytelling it is!

Once, during the first week that I was living on my own (in the great big dingy wonderful city after escaping the terrible suburban life of my friend’s family paper-made house), I was invited to go for a drive with a pizza delivery guy that worked with my best friend. He spoke too loud, looked just like Izzy Stradlin and smelled strange. (I later discovered that was due to an easily treatable foot condition, but that’s not really the point.) Though he was socially awkward (and if I refer to someone other than myself as socially awkward, then you know they must be especially awkward!) It was my first week of being a grown-up, living on my own in the ‘real world’, so I accepted his invite to go for a drive.

Luckily, Mr. Smelly Feet was in some ways, the same kind of geeky as me…he mentioned his comic books and his music collection once we were in the car, and like the naive teenager I was, I agreed to go to his place.

I know what you’re probably thinking by now…that I may or nearly may have been physically assaulted, but that’s not where this is heading, I promise. He lived in an empty apartment with only stacks and stacks of books and albums and piles of clothing. His apartment smelled like a stronger version of his strange odor, but the stacks of albums made me forget the offensive odor and within seconds I was combing through his collection. I was so engrossed in his impressive collection of The Cure extended remixes, that I hadn’t noticed he had crept into his bedroom to retrieve a purple binder, until he and his unique waft was sitting beside of me, the purple binder in hand.

Before I had the chance to scoot away just a little, (since he was most definitely encroaching upon my personal space), he opened the binder and began reading-in a theatrical ‘how do I love thee?’ fashion. I tried not to laugh aloud once I realized that his performance was actually a sincere attempt to impress me. The words described a girl with long black hair and how he sometimes watched her ‘gaze from her second-floor window out at the busy (and often times dangerous, thanks to the crummy location of the apartment) night’. How he often parked his car beneath her window and fell asleep in the driver’s seat, happy to be near her, to feel his ‘wide-eyed angel’ breathing through the bricks of the wall. Yeah, I know…a bit over the top, but also quite charming to my younger self, especially when he stopped long enough to tell me that he had written this himself….and that I was that wide-eyed angel! And that he often braved the hookers, pimps and occasional knife-fights to actually sleep beneath my window.

I was flattered, and a little creeped out… I was barely 18 and had no clue what to do or say. A stack of Dungeons & Dragons books caught my eye, so I immediately began asking him questions about the world of D&D and hastily created some completely fabricated story about a D & D session that I once tried to participate in. Funny that I would remember the gist of his heartsick prose and the story that managed to steer him away from his attempt to woo me. I also remember that it was the first time that someone had written about being  smitten with me. Smitten is still a good word, by the way.

The completed fictitious D&D story I told him actually made him sit his folder aside and after a lengthy gaming explanation about what the game master had obviously been doing wrong with me, he began showing me some of his most treasured comics, all in the protective cases, all untouched and unread because ‘they would one day become priceless’. I had managed to escape the awkward purple binder. Eventually, I made an excuse for why I needed to go home, but of course, remembered to thank him for a ‘nice time’. I had no clue what to say about the words he had written for me or his dramatic performance, so I didn’t say anything.

This wasn’t the first and only encounter with him. I actually ran into him several times for the next few years. I even slept at his place when I had nowhere else to sleep, and I must give him credit-he always behaved like a true gentleman, and other than occasionally slipping something he had written for me under my apartment doors for a few years, he never pushed himself on me in any way.

However, years later he somehow managed to find me, and showed up unexpectedly at my door one day. I was somewhat more mature, so I managed to find the words to thank him for not only allowing me to stay at his place on a bitterly cold night but to also tell him that the things he had written for me throughout the years had not gone unappreciated- but due to the fact that I was a socially awkward, painfully shy person, I had not known what to say or how to handle it. The conversation ended with him telling me that ‘my aura was the purest white he had ever known’ and also, that I was in extreme danger because I was living with what he described as an actual demon. The ‘actual demon‘ he was referring to had just come home from work and had heard this last bit of the conversation, so a surpisingly angry male hormone-driven argument ensued and unfortunately, poor Shaggy Smelly-Feet was kicked and punched all the way to his car. I did try to intervene initially, and I remember screaming Stop! over and over but the whole scene was so shocking and so violent, I didn’t know what to do…so I stood there in tears, contemplating his white aura and demon statement, which had really, really affected me for some reason. If I had to do it all over again, I would have stopped the fight by inserting myself between the two of them, but I was a scared, clueless kid then. Anyway, the poor guy recovered both from his physical attack and also apparently from his heartsick feelings for me. Last time I saw him, he was wearing an oversized cowboy hat, Texan-style belt buckle, and a very thick mustache. He told me proudly that he had taken up line-dancing and was quite good at it. Perhaps I should have asked him about his Cure albums since he probably no longer had any use for them- in light of his new found passion for country music and all.

Another example of beneficial storytelling came years and years later…actually, it didn’t benefit me personally, but I was pleased with what I believe might have been directly attributed to my storytelling, (and perhaps a bit of my charm 😉 ).

I think I may have mentioned before that I basically lived a double life for years. No, I wasn’t a spy or something…nothing that interesting, but besides being the very attentive mother, I had a side-life. If you’ve read my blog, you might have read the post about my late night drive by the river, with a friend, after days of virtually no sleep. My secret side-life was that I actually managed to have a social life of some kind-sometimes, (as much as someone like me could comfortably manage a social-life). And I managed to keep it from everyone for several years. Of course, I didn’t want my social-life shared with my family…besides never really being understood or fitting in with my siblings or mother, I was never one that needed to draw attention to myself and I knew they would judge me for keeping company with what would be referred to as potentially dangerous strangers (which would have been an over-exaggeration by the way).

I’ve never been a bragger…I’ve never needed anyone to know of my successes or failures…I have never bragged about how much money I had in my pocket or handbag. I never understood my family’s need to excessively sing their own praises. Sure, I understand sharing good news with your family, but it was always more than that with them…they seemed to want to impress me(?) or make me feel they were superior to me in some sense. In truth, it did neither. I was happy that good things had happened to them, but I was never really impressed and I certainly never felt ‘outdone’, which I’m sure probably perplexed them, especially my brother, who was forever trying to appear as something or someone who’s success (aka surburban life) was surely unattainable to a weirdo like me. I simply smiled and said ‘great job’ or ‘looks good’. I never really needed to tell him that the life he was trying to desperately create was basically my idea of a domestic nightmare. He probably wouldn’t have understood or believed me, but then again, he was one of the harsher critics of my nonconventional kind of mothering, so it was useless to explain anything to him.

Anyway, the decade-long friend and confidante that was also my roommate wasn’t really a friend at all..as a matter of fact, she was one of the most deadly types of backstabbers. I would sometimes test her by telling her things and watching how fast those things would trickle in some distorted way to my mother and then through to my siblings. It almost became a game for me…to confide or share something trivial or completely untrue with her and watch as the story changed and often became something altogether different by the time it reached my family and they found a way to smugly tell me that they knew all about whatever it was they thought they knew about me. But I found that when I really needed to share something important with her for whatever reason, making her swear on the life of the person she loved more than anything, actually forced her to keep her lips zipped-even though I’m sure she was often nearly bursting at the seams with the desire to share gossip with my family. They could all have whispered their criticisms of me and my pal, Judas, would have agreed with them that I was indeed a shameful woman. In truth, I sometimes went out with people, sometimes romantically, but usually just for some time on my own at the end of the day or night. I never wanted to introduce men into my son’s life. I firmly believed back then that I could somehow manage a social life while protecting him from the fact that sometimes mom went out to dinner with friends or a coffee shop with someone. Or even a fundraising event (gasp!). I know, I was indeed a wild, wild woman, right?

One of the most trusted friends I have ever had was someone I mentioned in the late night drive that I referred to a few paragraphs ago. He was and is a good person. He was older and much wiser than I was…and he lived such a different life than I had lived. He somehow managed to fit somewhere between the world I lived in and my perception of the real world. He was a counselor for the city’s Catholic charity services, and initially, I believed his aim was to eventually become a priest. Early on in our friendship, I spent a lot of time making colorful jokes about being a fallen woman and needing the help of such a Godly man to help me find salvation, while dancing around the empty cathedral where he counseled people that needed help. I was an immature brat…I still am, but I’m harmless as well (for the most part, at least). I was thrilled to know someone that  had lived such a vast range of lives in his nearly 50 years by the time I had met him, yet still found me interesting enough to befriend. He was the first person that dared to eventually mention the word bipolar to me, and he never once criticized me or tried to stop me during one of my manic rants. Instead he would sit quietly and watch as I tried to manage the words to form the sentences for the racing thoughts that I was having… for all of the speedy ideas and words I needed to say…for the times when my words couldn’t come out fast enough so I would eventually begin crying, because my brain was moving too fast and I was embarrassed and clueless about why any of this happened to me. He was also there at times when I spent all of my money in a manic shopping spree and needed financial help. He became a stand-in for the father that I never had. Even when I used to get angry that he remained ‘too calm’ while I was having one of my infamous bipolar extreme outbursts, ‘so he must surely be judging me as if I were one of his charity cases’, and I would tell him to fuck off, while vowing to never speak to him again. I was a different person then. I had no clue what was wrong with me and I certainly had no one in my life that cared (or maybe was just brave enough?) to tell me that I needed help getting things under control because in many ways I was spiraling…terribly so.

One day, he asked me if I would be interested in attending an event to raise money for some inner city wildlife sanctuary…My initial thought was about the art event I had stumbled into as a teenager for an art club exhibit that hadn’t gone well due to the fact that my Judas friend and I had shown up in teenage metal babe denim skirts and crop tops, clueless about anything art club-related. So, I wasn’t sure about attending something so formal, but he enticed me with the promise of really good cheeses ( one of my weaknesses) and wine (which is not a weakness at all), and made an attempt to joke about needing interesting arm candy. I accepted the offer-mainly because it was funny to hear his attempt at an almost off-colored joke, as well as the offer to purchase for me whatever I wanted to wear to the event. I knew my usual Bohemian-Goth-Hippie mash-up wouldn’t work…Tall fringy suede boots and a black velvet cape would not be adequate. I had the money to buy a nice dress for myself, but if someone wanted to buy me a dress, I was certainly not going to turn them down. Besides, despite all of his charitable efforts, he was after all, living in a newly built highrise overlooking the riverfront, so I took the money and ran, so to speak. Being frugal, I ended up buying a surprisingly inexpensive black velvet dress and pocketing the rest for shoes, music, and books. After all, it was no one else’s business that I’d managed to find a twenty-five dollar dress that I could pass of as something much more expensive, right?

So, even though I felt stomach sick at the idea of being around stuffy, wealthy people, I attended the event. I kept my head down for the most part, and immediately searched out an empty table to help me hide from the plastic, well-dressed people. Luckily, most of the people were actually quite elderly, (I suppose that older rich people care much more for inner city wildlife than younger rich people do?) So I was really relieved, but still a bit overwhelmed in twenty-five dollar dress and fifteen dollar shoes. While my charitable friend was making his rounds, schmoozing in honor of the inner city critters, I was sipping some cranberry drink and pretending that I actually didn’t hate cranberries. I felt out of place and self-conscious. I belonged in a dark club full of pale faces, black hair and heavy velvet clothing with mopey loud music blasting through my head, not here in a room full of wealthy people that surely recognized that I wasn’t one of their kind. I was staring at the glass of bitter juice when an older man asked if I was already bored so soon. I wanted to believe- like I usually want to believe when a stranger speaks- that he was talking to someone else. Reluctantly, I raised my head and found a tiny, much older man with cloudy, but kind eyes staring at me. He was smiling with what seemed like a genuine smile, but I couldn’t help but wonder if he was laughing at my general freakiness or maybe he had been asked by the other attendees to kindly but firmly see me out. I felt panicked and and wanted to crawl beneath the table. As he pulled the chair out, he asked if he could join me. Of course, I nodded and smiled as politely as I could, hoping more than anything that my charitable pal would save me ASAP. He didn’t. It was nearly an hour before I saw him again. In hindsight, I wonder if he deliberately left me on my own to ‘teach me’ about my ability to handle situations outside of my comfort zone.

Turns out, I didn’t need to be saved at all. As it happened, my table companion, Arnold (he preferred”Arnie”) hated soirees like this with a passion because it meant he “had to dust off his old monkey suit, which meant chasing away his moths for a while”. But because it was a good cause, he figured he should check it out. Then he asked me about my own passion for animals. What could I possibly say? I grew up in the country…when I was 4, I had a brilliant idea that I would explore the woods alone and find a bear cub to take home with me. I spent months searching for a bear cub to befriend, but sadly, never found one. I told him about how my parents used to run three small country grocery stores and that I used to trade small paper bags full of candy, I would sneak from the store, for pony rides. I felt silly telling him my stories, but he asked a lot of questions and listened intently, and often laughed at my young self’s ability to master fair trades for pony rides, and my attempt to entice bear cubs out of the woods with my half-eaten peanut butter sandwiches.

By the time my friend had returned to the table, Arnie had asked me if I wanted to dance, but because I am 5’9 and he was 5’1 in tall shoes (his word), I made a colorful joke about the height difference and the awkward situation we might find ourselves in. I still can’t believe I had the nerve to make a joke in such a setting, but he obviously enjoyed it thoroughly, because he laughed until he began coughing hard and for a few seconds, I was afraid he might fall out of his chair and land on the floor dead, like in a dark comedic movie or something. Later that evening, I ended up not only shaking his hand and giving him some sort of quick, formal hug, but he also managed to plant a kiss on both my hand and my cheek, as he said that it had been a pleasure to spend the evening in my company, so I assume Arnie actually enjoyed his time with me.

On the way home, I learned that Arnie’s family had been in the headstone and memorial business for over a century. Perhaps that’s why he didn’t find it difficult to strike up a conversation with someone who spent a great deal of her time reading, playing and even napping (true story) in cemeteries. A few days later, I also discovered that Arnie had donated more than any other individual had for the inner city wildlife preservation. Perhaps it was my colorful joke about the dangers of dancing with Arnie due to the risk of a cleavage-induced concussion (only made after he laughed about his own slight stature), Or maybe it was the stories of my pony rides/candy trading business or my attempt to befriend a bear cub with my peanut butter sandwiches that won him over.

Regardless of the real reason, the inner city wildlife sanctuary benefitted and I’ve never again felt under-dressed or intimidated by rich, plastic people.

Perhaps putting my storytelling to use now will benefit me too, and maybe…just maybe I will no longer need to waste so much time singing for my supper.

I’m working on my next post about my new project, so I promise it won’t be long.

Hugs & Colorful Jokes,
~Lucia

 

“Nice To Meet You”

I’m not a social person by nature. For the most part, I hide away from the world. I’m not sure why I am this way, but I have been for as long as I can remember. I remember on the first day of school, I hid inside of the plastic playhouse that was set up in the middle of the classroom. The teacher seemed enormous to me, and she towered over the playhouse as she told me to come out and have a seat. I was terrified, not only of her but of being there, with the other kids. I wanted to be home, where I could run around the yard barefoot, trying to catch the random, stray puppies and cats that were always being dropped off by people, who for some reason must have believed that our house needed more animals. I belonged outside, with my tangled hair and dirty bare feet, not in a cold classroom with an ogre-ish teacher barking at me in a husky voice to have a seat at a desk with the other kids.

“If you don’t come out and say ‘Hello’ to everyone, no one will ever like you, and you will be alone. You will never have friends as long as you hide”. I assume this was meant to coax me, to instill some kind of fear in me, so that I would do as I was told. But fear tactics have never worked on me-just ask my mother and ex step-father. I didn’t care about having friends. I had a younger brother that was more of an annoyance than anything (he was nearly 5 years younger than me, so of course he wasn’t actually a friend). I had 6 male cousins, nearly my age, that I sometimes spent the weekend with. They were tough, but I was just as tough, at least most of the time, until snakes and worms were tossed at me. Even then, as I have mentioned in a previous post or two, I still held my own because I was a dead aim with big rocks, so for every worm or snake that was tossed at me, my feral cousins were pelted with rocks and usually cried like babies because of my lethal stone-throwing. So, the idea of friendship was foreign and absolutely of no importance to me.

But, as soon as Ms. Ogre walked back to her desk and grabbed a giant wooden paddle from her drawer, I decided to save us both a lot of time and tears by coming out of the house and finding a seat. I tried to ignore the dozens of eyes staring at me, as I twirled my messy hair around my finger and stared at the tacky blue carpet.

Decades later, I still remember her words and the vile way she spat them at me, with some vengeful satisfaction, as if maybe she longed for friends but didn’t have any. She was a rotten teacher, not at all a child-friendly adult, and now that I think of it, perhaps I should seek her out on Facebook (if she’s even still alive, that is), and say something like “Who’s got friends now, you big, ugly, bitter cow?”

Of course, that would be stretching the truth just a bit…not about the name-calling, but about the friends. Truth is, I have a handful of people that I speak to on a regular basis. But there are many people that I speak to often, just not regularly. At last count, I have 540 people on my friend’s list on facebook now. I’ve engaged in conversation with many, many of them. Mostly about music, but sometimes about other things too. (I nearly began to type a list of those topics, but it doesn’t seem fair to them to do so.) And I enjoy those conversations, though at the moment there are around 60 messages that I haven’t read from the past month. I’m social in small bursts…replies take me a lot of time. Then again, I’ve been told more times than I can count that ‘there’s real time, and then there’s Luci’s idea of time’. I couldn’t possibly deny the truth of that statement, but I think it has always served me well in many, many ways. Once, I heard Prince say that he abandoned the concept of time, including his birthday…I don’t go that far, but I feel I have a pretty good relationship with  ‘time abandonment’. It definitely makes me a happy person when people tell me that I don’t look old enough to have a son that is as old as he is, (I give 100% of the credit to time abandonment…and perhaps a little to retinol ). But of course, my insecurity kicks in as it always does when anyone compliments me about anything, and I tell myself that they are playing the ‘opposite’ game: saying the exact opposite of what they really mean. I do that a lot…OK, most of the time when someone says anything kind to me.

I have a difficult time looking anyone in the eye too. It’s not that I’m hiding anything…well, I’m always hiding something or other, but not from most people, so it has nothing to do with a guilty conscience. It’s not out of insecurity either. I dislike looking people in the eye because I usually can see their story (or stories), and I feel bad for them. Every time it happens, every time I accidentally look someone in the eye or feel compelled out of respect to look them in the eye, their stories come rushing out at me, sometimes strong enough to knock the spiritual wind out of me. At times, when I look people in the eye, I see what surely must be the look many people must give right before they die: some helpless, scared, lonely, questioning look. You probably think I’m over-exaggerating, but I’m not. I hate it-the sad, scared look I see so often. I’m not sure if that’s where my effort to avoid eye contact originated…I can’t remember when it started. Maybe I have always been this way. Anyway, I have sometimes said that “If I deliberately look you in the eye, it’s because I either really, really Love you, or I really, really dislike you.” But of course, there are those eye-contact accidents, like on Wednesday night, when I was making my way down an aisle in the shabby little grocery store up the street.

There’s a lady that works there-actually a few ladies that work there, that are friendly, and often initiate conversations whenever we are there. One even remembers the kind of cookies and chocolate bars I like. That’s nice, but also a bit…invasive(?) But still, for the most part, it’s nice. One of the women was in the aisle straightening cans as I walked by. She turned, just as I walked by and said “Hi”. Around people I don’t know, I’m quite…I mean, my voice is sometimes little more than a whisper, which really bugs me, because it makes me feel like a little kid, hiding behind my mother’s chair at my step-father’s relatives’ houses when I was 5. I definitely don’t want my voice to come out as a whisper-ever. I’m basically known in several circles for being vocal, so it makes me angry that my voice disappears at times. Maybe I’m trying to compensate for the very loud people that live in my apartment complex: Every single person yells when they speak. The armchair psychoanalyst side of me says this is because they are so desperate to be heard by someone, due to their sad, little lives. That last part isn’t a judgment, its fact. They are miserable people; you could ask any of them how they were doing and they would say just as much, I’m sure. That’s dead-end small town life for you. Their highlights are smack and meth they manage to score from selling hot items, or if they’re really lucky, scoring some pennies from the rip-off check-cashing places that pepper this place. Perhaps my whisper is to distinguish myself from the yelling despots. (Great band name, I think: The Yelling Despots™)

Excuse my rambling. Back to the accidental eye-contact from a few days ago. After my “Hi” came out as a whisper, and I began to walk away, she stopped me with a “Hey, where have you been? I was thinking about you a few days ago!” And there it was…I had to turn and meet her in the middle of the aisle to participate in some kind of social interaction thing. And I accidentally looked her in the eye, and it was sad. Really, really sad. Like an animal in the headlights kind of scared-sad. It happened again a few minutes later at the check-out. I accidentally looked her in the eye. She’s a kind person, she even offered us a Christmas tree (actually after Christmas, she said she would have given us one-even though we have a stupid tree, but I didn’t feel like decorating last year…I’m not a traditional gal at all), but I can tell she’s had a tough time throughout her life. That makes me sad, mainly because I can’t fix it for her. If I could, I would fix all of the sad, scared eyes telling those sad, scared stories in the world, so if by chance, I did want to look someone in the eye, I would see nothing but happy stories and blue sky-smiles.

So, even though it isn’t my nature to be social, I have been trying, and pretty much succeeding lately, (except for the past week, when I basically went off the grid). But I’m back and I’ve already accepted three new friend requests today. And with each of the nearly 540 “Hello” messages I’ve received, I’ve replied with “Hi, Nice to Meet You” and I mean it every single time I say it. 540 interesting people from all over the world, living 540 very different lives. Even a terribly shy introvert like me can appreciate such beautiful thought.

540…Take that, Ms. First-Grade Ogre Teacher!

Hugs from my plastic playhouse,

~Lucia13

P.S. I have a pretty interesting mix on my ark of friends, so of you want, send me a friend request. I promise I won’t bite…but there’s also a good chance it will take me *ages* to reply to any messages I owe you 🙂

*Blame it On Luci-Time*

 

The Dark Hippie and Her Crunchy Love

One of my readers told me that I am a wonderful ‘Dark Hippie’

I think ‘Dark Hippie’ is much, much better than the “Granola-loving, black-haired, tattooed spoiled brat living in your mother’s basement” comment I received during a small political kerfuffle with a Trump supporter.

My reply to that one:

‘I DO have black hair, well actually it’s sort of  faded from black to a dark brown at the moment, which is really bugging me because black hair is sort of my security blanket and one of the many ways I separate myself  from women like you…BTW, is that yellow-gray hair I see in your profile photo intentional? Is that a frosted look you’re sporting? I didn’t even know that frosting was still a ‘thing’!

I don’t have a single tattoo, mainly because I’m not into pain at all…I mean, there WAS that brief self-pain inflicting phase in high school, because I desperately wanted attention. I was such a sad, sad kid, and I wanted someone to just listen to me and to tell me that one day, that hellish period of my life would just become a bad memory, (well, several bad memories) and while my peers would all become leathery looking orange people, I would blossom into some mysterious butterfly-ish being. I actually still have a collection of very faint, little scars from those days…they remind me who I used to be and of how much stronger I am now. Tell me Sunshine, do YOU have any scars that remind you of who you once were and how much you have changed?

I’ve never been spoiled…well, actually that’s a fib, I’ve been a little spoiled at times, but I’m a headstrong feminist, so I prefer spoiling myself these days…except for breakfast…and dinner, most of the time; I definitely still like being spoiled like that. I’m also a sucker for having my hair played with too 🙂

I haven’t spoken to my mother in a very, very long time, especially post-election, because we are now on completely opposite sides of the…’wall’ in my mind, and she’s never had a basement, and even if she did, I wouldn’t live down there-I’ve always preferred top to bottom in most situations 😉

But granola-loving? Damn, woman, you hit that nail on the head big time! Love Crunch is my favorite, but I’m a granola sleaze, so I’ll take whatever is available most of the time. What’s your favorite granola, Sweetie?’

I even posted a photo of my favorite granola for her.

She only replied with a picture of various handguns and what I assume are assault rifles (I’m not very good with identifying guns) displayed on a table with a sleeping beagle in the background. I’m not sure if I was supposed to be impressed or feel threatened, but I’m quite certain she is not a fellow granola lover 😀

Peace & Love (Crunch),

~ Dark Hippie 13

 

Birthing Ghosts (new blog and piece)

This will be a quickie post (I can’t believe how long it’s been since I last posted-its shameful!)

I’ve been working on a sister blog of Whispers From The Underground. I will continue to post my random ramblings here, and Birthing Ghosts will be entirely my work. Although much of the new blog isn’t up yet, the first post and piece (also titled Birthing Ghosts) has finally been posted. So have a look, if you’d like and let me know what you think of the new piece. It very well might become a spoken piece soon, since as I was writing it, it came to me as a vocal piece.

https://birthingghosts.wordpress.com/2017/04/09/birthing-ghosts/

Hugs

~13

Also, I’m working on several posts for this blog that have been hanging out in my Drafts folder for the last 2 months.