We need to get out more

You’re a kid, your whole life is awesome. It’s awesome, right? You had no money, no ID, no cell phone, no nothing, no keys to the house. You just ran outside into the woods. You weren’t scared of nothing. I challenge you to do that as an adult. All your IDs, all your credit cards — just run out of the house with no phone, turn the corner where you can’t see your house, and not have a full on panic attack.  -Bill Burr

Comedian Bill Burr has a direct line to my funny bone, but there is a lot of truth in this quote from one of his stand up show’s.  I can’t remember the last time I left my house without a full face of make up, let alone without a laundry list of what I believe to be essential items.  So how did we turn into this?

I grew up in a small town, and in the summer my parents would literally lock us out of the house!  In the morning Mom would hand us each $1.25, and if you were careful you could make this last all day long.  It was enough to pay for one days admission to the public swimming pool, 1-2 items from the vending machines AND a small vanilla cone.  Life really was great!

But there were also a lot of scary things that came along with this freedom I had as a child.  Like the pervy older boys who felt me up me under the water, being chased by stray dogs on the walk home, and getting beat up.  Not to mention the fact that I never had swim lessons.  One day at the pool I had a close call when a so-called-friend thought it was funny to push me into the deep end.  I just remember how bad my lungs hurt and I was trying not to puke.  The lifeguard had to pull me from the water, and I was so humiliated.  Mom never knew about any of these things, and it was alright because we could take care of ourselves.

Now that I have children of my own I wonder what sort of childhood they have in comparison to my own.  They are so sheltered, but at least they are safe.  When I got home form work yesterday my oldest told me with so much pride how he did something amazing.  He left the house on his own and checked the mail.  He’s 10 years old, and my mailbox is literally just 3 houses down on a really safe street!  I really think we need to get out more.  😉

Day 5: Writing 101

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Did I do it again?

I found some of my writing on the back of an oil painting that I made in 1998.  I don’t remember writing this but I can remember this time in my life very well.  I felt disconnected from the entire world and I was so lost.  I had been longing to find someone who I could relate to, and someone who could love me for who I am not who they want me to be.  Funny that I didn’t realize at the time I wrote this is that he had been there all along, patiently waiting for me to recognize him (my roommate, now husband of 13 years).  Life sure is strange.  Beautiful and strange!

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The original title that I tried to erase was New Beginnings & Old Feelings, and the title I replaced that with was Did I do it again?

Did I do it again?

Why won’t you tell me what’s wrong?

What did I do to you to make you want to treat me this way?

I just want to crawl inside of you and fix everything that causes you pain, but may

be you don’t want to be fixed.

You never even gave me a chance to show you who I am, and you probably don’t deserve to know me anyway.

And why do I fall so easily?

What in the hell made me think you were so special?

You are all the same guy/man/boy that just keeps popping into my life.  Well stay the fuck away next time!

And I’m always around and I am always at home, and I am always convenient, for you.

Talking about your problems, hanging around your friends, easing your pain.

You are just a scared, lonely, pathetic little boy inside, and all you need is your Mommy, not me.

Blue Coat

Mom came home excited this morning cause she had finally found a warm coat at a garage sale for me.  We were already over a month into an unusually cold winter and Mom has done nothing but worry.  Mom was worried now that I wouldn’t like this coat because it was blue and made for a boy.  Blue just so happened to be my favorite color and besides, this thing looks brand new!  I was happy that I would no longer have to layer my clothing to stay warm at school, but I was also thankful that Mom could finally stop worrying about me!

I can remember feeling confident, and warm when I had arrived to school that following Monday.  I kept my bare hands buried deep inside of both coat pockets, and I smiled when the mornings winter sun shined through my breathe.  My new blue coat had made me feel invincible, not only from the cold weather but from everything, and from everyone!

My new blue coat didn’t have a hood but I hung it nicely by the collar on the back of my seat. During my first period class Becky had approached my desk, and she complimented me on my new coat while she ran fingers down the sleeve.  I really couldn’t tell if Becky was trying to be mean when she said to me “Nice coat, Monica.”  A moment after she left I turned around in my seat and I watched Becky whispering and giggling with this group of girls who were sitting in a circle on the floor in my class.  My stomach is now twisted in knots and I stare up at the clock praying for time to speed up.

During my third period class I always have to sit in the back adjacent to Brian.  At the start of the school year Ms. Gibbons asked me if she could move my desk to the back of the class, next to Brian.  She said that by me agreeing to do this that I would be her big helper, whatever that was supposed to mean.  Brian gets picked on a lot and by everyone, well by everyone at school except for me.  The bullies in our class nicknamed him “Tic-toc,” because of the way he walks.  I can say with all honesty that before today I have never been cruel to Brian.  Today Brian makes a comments to me about my new coat, only Brian looks pretty worried at me when he begins to speak.  Brian was trying to be desecrate with a hand cupped over his mouth as he says out loud for all to hear “Monica?  Is that MY coat?”  My fear of being found out by everyone overcame me, and I panicked.  I did the only thing that came to mind and I reacted to Brian’s question by being mean.  I denied it all.  Instead I give Brian a dirty look and I called him a name.  Then I asked the teacher to move him because he would not leave me alone, and I lied and told him that he smelled bad.  I watched Brian’s eyes flood with tears, so many that they changed the color from blue eyes to silver.  When Brian returns to his desk that is now off in a corner alone it pained my heart to listen to his muffled whimpers and his best attempt to swallow all of his feelings and not cry.

At lunch recess Brian was all that I can think about.  I found a familiar place to hide in the courtyard until the bell rings. My new blue coat was still keeping me warm but I feel partially exposed.  Just then I notice Brian and he was playing with the same group of girls that were in my first period class, and Brian looks pretty happy!  I watched them play for a while until Brian notices me, and I watched him point a finger at me and say something to the girls.  They are all staring at me from across the courtyard now and one of the girls I recognize, she is my cousin, Angela.  The first bell rings so I run towards my classroom door.  I am waiting to enter my classroom when I hear Angela’s voice from behind me yelling “Come on Brian!”  The cold winter air sent shivers down my spine as my neck and my back are completely exposed.  Angela has grabbed a hold of the collar of my new blue coat and she will not let go.  She’s holding the collar tight so that when I tried to wriggle out of her grip I stumbled and fell and she’s now holding me up with my coat.  Angela now peeling my new coat from off my arms and when I open my eyes I only see Brian’s face while he’s standing in front of me.  Brian is shocked, he’s surprised, but he’s also completely satisfied.  Angela hands Brian my coat and Brian holds the coat inside out and presents the collar for everyone to see.  “SEE!  SEE!  I told ya, Monica!  This IS my coat. That’s my name, right there!”

A black permanent marker had made me a liar to everyone that day.  I was humiliated and I felt a little like dying.  My heart was racing and I was overwhelmed by humiliation.  It distorts all of my senses, but I can distinctly make out one sound, and that is Angela’s laughter, above it all.

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Okie from Muskogee

Dad had been driving us around town in the brown Chevy van one summer day.  We had been stopped at a red light when Dad begins to laugh, and he’s pointing a finger towards a thin blonde girl just as she begins to enter the crosswalk.  He’s yelling out to us kids but I think he wanted everyone on earth to hear him: “Holy shit!  Check her out!  That’s an Okie!  And I wonder if she’s from Muskogee?!”  Just then she slowed her walk and she turned her head up slightly but she only saw me.  Dad now has the other kids chanting and singing to her “♪♫ Okie From Muskogee, Okie From Muskogee..♪♫”  The look she gave me really frightened me, but it also broke my heart a little.  Dad thought he was so damn funny but I was pissed at him.  Why did he do that?  She was a stranger, and why does he always have to get us kids involved in all of his hatred and bigotry?  I hate because I wonder if he’s ever had a clue that I get made fun of just like this every day at school.  It was the first time that I ever saw that tall blonde girl, but she would never forget my face!

It was a year later when I saw her again, only this time I was all alone.  I had forgotten what Mom told me about riding my bike near those canals.  Now both new tires on my bike are covered in goat head thorns and flat as a pancake.  Mom is going to kill me when she sees this so I decide to take the long way home and walk through the alley.  I need an alibi and I needed more time to think, only I had no idea that SHE lived here!  As soon as she saw me she smiled big and waved.  I then wondered if she had been sitting on this wall waiting for me to pass in front of her house since that day I first saw her in the brown Chevy van.  She has recognized me and I watch her then nudge her friend Jeanette, and without hesitation they both came running right at me.  From the moment I recognized her I had stood there completely frozen in fear, clenching on to the handlebars of my bike.  Jeanette first snatching my bike out of my grip, and the next thing I know I am on my back on the ground, and I can’t breathe.

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When time stood still I looked up at the clouds in the sky above me and I wondered if I might be dying, but this was the result of a perfectly placed, and well timed punch to my stomach. I was lying on top a large pile of fresh cut grass in the alley clawing at my belly and trying to get air into my lungs.  Now both girls are taking turns picking up my bike and throwing it on top of my body, but I never felt any pain.  The fear and adrenaline were taking over all of my senses and I can finally breathe again.  The girls each grabbed a hold of one of my legs and they pulled me further into the alley where they finished beating me up by landing kicks to my ribs, back and stomach.  When they were satisfied they both towered over me blocking the sun and the clouds and they are cussing at me and spitting in my hair and on my face.  I was frozen, and I took all of it never showing either of them any of my fear or emotion.  I never cried, and I had just completely shut down.  I retreated so far inside of myself that I had been watching all of this happen to someone else.

The tall blonde’s friend, Jeanette had been cussing at me in Spanish, and I remember the last thing she said to me was: “Pinche Puta!  Your’e not even a REAL woman!  THIS is what a REAL woman looks like,” and Jeanette lifts up her shirt and she flashes and wiggles her fat tan breasts at me.  I was shocked, and confused.  That was when the tall blonde finished me off by kicking a large pile of dirt into my face and mouth.  Both girls finally leave and as they are walking away from the alley I can hear them laughing, and I feel so relieved when I can no longer see them.

I know Jeanette’s family and I know both girls are my brother’s age; both girls are in high school and I had just turned 10.  I never told a soul about this until now.  I laid in the alley for what felt like an hour, just trying to find the strength to pick myself up, pick up my bike and walk back home.  During that time I could still hear those girls still taunting me from the road.  I think they were waiting for me to come out of the alley.  I finally stand, pick up my bike, and now I can feel my body aching everywhere I was hit.  I finally cry when I realize that all of this is my Dad’s fault.  I walk back home the same way I came to avoid passing the girls again.  When I make it home I tell Mom a lie and say I was almost hit by a car while I was riding my bike home, and I fell from the street into the canal.  She believed me but she was still pissed about my flat bike tires.

A few months later I was in the front seat of the brown Chevy van with Dad when I saw the tall blonde again.  Dad didn’t notice her this time and he was distracted by singing along to the radio.  While we are stopped at a light she tries to get my attention by smiling and waving at me and when I look up she gives me the finger and laughs.  So I smiled and waved back at her.

Our little secret

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I watch the blood drain out of her face from my seat in her shopping cart.  Her mouth moving silently and her eyes now racing around the store.  A man dressed in all black had emerged from behind my Mom and grabbed her firmly by the arm.  The man steps in close and whispers something in her ear.  When the words fell onto Mom’s ear they melted her posture; her shoulders sinking first, quickly followed with her bowed head.  Tears now streaming down her cheeks Mom tries to speak but the only sounds escaping were quick gasps for air, like she were a fish out of water.  The man begins to lead us to the back of the store.  Mom follows him down a dark hallway, and lastly through a set of double push doors that were pale green and covered in filth.  We reach an office door with a single chair placed in front of it.  Mom stops pushing the cart and she gently lifts me out of my seat and then she collects her purse.  The man now commanding us both with his voice and an index finger: “HERE!  SIT!  WAIT!”  Mom reacts quickly by taking a seat and immediately placing me on her lap.  The man in black disappears pushing the cart through the filthy pale green doors.  When we could no longer hear his footsteps Mom drops her purse on the floor and kicks it underneath the chair we are seating on.

The fluorescent light above us is buzzing loudly.  A silly smile stretched across my mouth when I thought about that bug catcher on Grandma’s back porch.  Last summer I watched my brother chase the neighbor girls around with the monster sized moth we both found.  I am just so bored and we have been waiting here a really long time now.  Mom has not stopped mumbling something to herself; over and over, and she has been tapping her foot so hard and fast that it’s blurred my vision.  I begin to study the dust bunnies that are camouflaged but roaming across the tiles of the gray floor.  In my blurred vision some of them appear to be crawling and coming to life.

Just then the loud and fast footsteps of two people startle us and Mom is finally sitting still.   When the pale green doors opened dusty refrigerated air was forced down into our lungs.  The two men enter the room and they are now standing in front of us.  I feel frightened and small.  They are speaking in large words that I don’t completely understand, but I do know they are angry.  When they bent their bodies to crouch down over us both it was then that I noticed the man in black had a giant gold and silver button on his shirt.  They ask Mom a question that she refuses to answer, and then they ask her again while they reach for her purse.  Mom is finally now able to let some words slip through her sobbing and watches the men reaching inside of her purse.  I hear my Mom say to them in her most gentle voice: “I am sorry.  Please forgive me.  We don’t have any food, and my kids are hungry!  I did what I had to do!”  That was when I watched the men begin to remove store packaged foods from Mom’s purse that she had not yet paid for.  They ask Mom some more questions that only make her cry harder and I hear some words that I recognize but they are so mean, and I am confused.  They tell my Mom to “LEAVE”  and “Never come back!”

When we are finally back inside the car all I can do is stare helplessly at my sobbing Mother.  Her head resting on her folded arms that are stretched across the steering wheel of her car.  Mom finally takes a couple of deep breaths before she can look at me.  She begins wiping tears from under both of her eyes and she managed to force a fake smile.  She speaks to me softly when she asks “Honey?  Do you think we keep this between us?  It will be our little secret?”  I knew what she was asking me and now I can’t speak.  Emotion was strangling me while I fought back my own tears.  I lunged across the seat locking my arms around her neck and I hugged my Mom as tightly as I could, and I always kept that promise to her.

 

LSD, baby sister and me

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Anytime I had ever come across a psychedelic drug it was always spontaneous and by pure luck (or accident), so I can’t say we ever planned for any of these events to happen.  It was the late 1990s and I was a Junior in highschool.  Mom didn’t care that my baby sister was going out for her first time on a Saturday night because she was going to be with her older and more responsible sibling, me.  My girlfriends Gigi and Michelle picked us up in the 4-runner at 9pm.  They were both much older than me.  I don’t recall even how we met but they liked hanging out with me a lot, said I was the crazy one in the group.  Michelle already had two kids and Gigi was almost finished with her second year of college.  I expected that tonight we would be headed straight to Main street.  Back then all of the kids cruised up and down Main street on the weekends and that is where you would get the party started.  I was a little surprised when Michelle drove past Main street and kept heading north down to the river and onto Airport road.  The music in the truck was blasting the Steve Miller Bands’ “Serenade” and we sang along……We’re lost in space and the time is our owwwwnnn…..  Michelle drives until the road forks and we head out towards the hot wells.  We keep driving until the pavement ends and a few minutes later we arrive to our destination.  I have never been here before.  I have passed it a hundred times in the day but I never would have suspected a mobile trailer was hidden behind all of these dead trees.  This trailer looks oddly out-of-place maybe because it’s all alone and positioned too close to the wash.  There is a bit of light escaping from a single bulb on the front of the mobile unit.  I can’t stop staring and wondering to myself What in the HELL are we doing here?!  Michelle turns down the music and Gigi turns her body around from the front passenger seat to ask me and baby sister “You guys wanna fry?”  I don’t even think before I reply YES and how much?  Gigi says to us “This lady is a Bruja and I am going to go in alone cause she gets all sketched out with new people.  I know she’s got hits for 5 bucks, and it’s Bevis and Butthead!  Good shit!”  We all quickly toss our cash together and Gigi collects it all and shoves it down the front pocket of her Levis, exits the truck and goes inside of the trailer alone.

Why is this taking so long?

While Gigi is inside scoring our hits Michelle tells us a stories about the Bruja.  The rumors about her in town are that she is a widow and that she practices black magic.  The story went something like this: she was on the back of her husbands motorcycle when they crashed coming down off of Mt. Graham one night.  People say that her husband died in her arms long before any help ever arrived.  People say that she went crazy after that happened and in town she would tell people she still talked to her dead husband.  There was even rumors that the Bruja buried her husband on the property where her trailer now sits.  This town is crazy but not half as crazy as the people who start rumors like this.  I try and only believe about a third of everything I hear.

Gigi finally comes walking back from the trailer with the slickest smile painted across her face.  Everyone is giggling before Gigi even says a word.  Before we drive away from the Bruja’s property we all dropped our hits.  Michelle proceeds to crank the volume on the music and we are right back to singing along with Steve Miller “Billy Mack is a detective down in Texas” *5 fast hand claps.  Tonight is going to be a really good night!!!

I have only dropped acid once before this experience but I am not at all afraid.  I just can’t shake this uneasy and uncomfortable feeling that I am having about not knowing when the acid will kick in, and also how baby sister will handle her first trip.  We were cruising down Main street when I detect the arrival of my trip.  My seat feels so squishy, like a marshmallow and I can feel my body sinking further into it.  The lights from all of the cars and on all of the buildings that we are passing seem so much brighter, and more colorful and then all of a sudden I was laughing uncontrollably.  The acid has completely taken over and I spurt out loud “Are we in Vegas?!”  I completely lose myself in everything that I am feeling, my body is now moving along to another Steve Miller song “You know the night is fallin’ And the music’s callin’ And we’ve got to get down to Swingtown” *air drum solo ensues!  I look over and baby sister is also lost in her new feelings.  Everyone is smiling and feeling good and everyone is happy.

Time was frozen and the faces of people I knew seemed to be floating in and out of my version of reality.  We had stopped somewhere along Main street but only long enough to find out where the party was.  We drove in the moonlight with the windows of the truck down, and The Steve Miller band now becoming theme music for this psychedelic adventure.  When we stopped I instructed baby sister out of the truck and while linking arms and giggling we made our way to the fisherman’s pier that overlooked Blue Ponds.  The full moon was bouncing off the black water and it seemed to be smiling at me, so I smiled and waved back.  Baby sister stayed glued to my hip throughout the entire night.  My favorite part of our first shared trip was laying on our backs on that pier and watching the stars dance in the night sky for us.

Moonlight Dock

We had completely lost track of time and I know we both forgot about something called a curfew, and how Mom might be waiting up for us when we got home.  I was a hero to baby sister that night.  You see, on our way home baby sister started having a bad trip.  The acid was turning on her and she was afraid.  Michelle and Gigi were talking about “some slut” and were throwing around the best curse words but it was the tone of thier speech that frightened baby sister so bad.  I never let anyone else on to her bad trip.  I only held baby sister in my arms and told her to cup her ears until we made it home.  We exited the truck and I held on to baby sister’s hand in leading her into the front door of our home.  We were only a few steps into the home when out of nowhere an open hand struck me right across my face and I yell to baby sister “RUN!!!!!!”  I took all of the blame.  It was 3:15am.  This was all my fault.  I would take another hit on the face if Mom will just leave baby sister completely out of this, and she did.

Some time had passed and I was nowhere near sober.  I am wide awake, face stinging and still tripping balls!  I was afraid to leave my room but I had to check on baby sister.  I quietly open the door to her bedroom and I find her facing the corner where she is talking to and making strange hand gestures to this very poster of Jim Morison from The Doors! (see below)

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I remember asking her first “What in the FUCK are you doing?” and when she turned to look at me we busted up laughing.  I managed to talk baby sister back from her bad trip and we stayed up together all night.

No matter how many years have past since that night I always get a really good feeling when I hear anything by The Steve Miller band.  I have also have never let my baby sister forget the night that I saved her from trying to climb into her Jim Morison poster. 
❤ I still love you Gigi ❤