Misanthropista

What the f*ck are you looking at?

Life, With a Twist of Lyme

deer-tick

Last night, a friend posted a link on Facebook to a short documentary on Lyme Disease – I don’t always click on these things because I know myself – I am weirdly reactive and hyper-emotional on this subject, even though it’s been nearly a decade since I was cured. I lost 5 years of my life to this illness, as well as countless friends, dignity, confidence, one husband, one almost-husband (well, he was a porn addict, so I can’t really blame the Lyme, I guess) and a burgeoning business. I don’t want to talk about it – I could write here for hours, nay – days, years – about my life with Lyme disease but I don’t want to. It was awful and I just don’t fucking want to.

Last night, I did click on the link and had the predicted response. Tears, weird snarfling sobs, and a strong desire to shake my fist at the sky and scream. (I didn’t do that last part, OK? I swear.) It also got me so wound up that I spent the entire night in fits – for it seems that in the 13 years since I first became ill, nothing has changed. Not one goddamned thing. And now I really do want to scream. Which is awkward. And given that I don’t *actually* want to talk about it, all I can think to do is share here a letter I wrote to the New York Times in 2001 after they published a horrifying and dismissive article on the subject of Lyme. The New York Fucking Times, practically my hometown paper, was basically calling me crazy. It was like being hit in the head by Reggie Jackson (my forever hero) with his magic bat from 1978. It hurt that much.

Below is my editorial letter in its entirety, followed by a link to the original drivel – er, article. Their response was something like “good letter, too long.” Please forgive the writing – I was young, I was angry, and I was going through an Adverb Thing. I was also less than a year into my illness, with no idea what I was in for, or what would become of me. (By now, you kinda know what became of me. Yikes.)

June 13, 2001

To Whom it May Concern:

On September 30, 2000, what was to be my wedding day, I awoke in the emergency room of the Valley Hospital paralyzed on my right side from forehead to fingertip, with unspeakable pain in my back, neck, jaw and head, and a life-threatening fever of nearly 105 degrees. Not only did I suffer the devastating loss of my wedding and excruciating hours of painful and invasive tests, but was also made to endure the patronizing solicitations of friends and family who deep-down believed I was merely experiencing some acute pre-wedding jitters. This was not entirely unexpected in light of the fact that in the four days preceding my trip to the ER, I had visited two MDs, two chiropractors, and one acupuncturist in search of some relief from my ever-increasing pain – only to be told repeatedly that I was suffering from wedding-related stress. One such doctor (who had not made note of the fact that my fiance’ had to half-carry me from the car to his office because I could not walk on my own), even dared to suggest that I “relax, go shopping.” Not one, including my own beloved family practitioner, bothered to take my temperature, vital signs, or blood samples.

I was and remain horrified by their apathy, but after reading Ms. Kolata’s shameful and reckless article on Lyme Disease this morning, I at least understand it. For it was indeed Lyme Disease that robbed me of my wedding and very nearly took my life. Had I opted to attend my rehearsal dinner the night before instead of going to the emergency room, Lyme Disease would have killed me. That’s right, Ms. Kolata. Lyme Disease.

Ms. Kolata and Dr. Sigal condescendingly assert that Lyme Disease is not much more than a nuisance ailment – fodder for hypochondriacs and fuel for antibiotic junkies. They speak of “inflated public fear of Lyme Disease, which is widely perceived as a grave illness that is easy to catch.” Dr. Sigal even dares to declare that, although Lyme is of mild concern in the tick-infested Northeast, “The bigger epidemic is Lyme Anxiety.” I defy Dr. Sigal to convince me or any other person who has suffered from this illness that we shouldn’t worry. I notice that Ms. Kolata didn’t include one word of testimony from an actual Lyme patient on the  topic of whether or not this disease is worry-worthy. Interesting.

IN my experience, people aren’t afraid enough of Lyme Disease. I can’t count the number of well-meaning but uneducated and/or misinformed inquiries I have fielded regarding my illness. “So, uh, Lyme’s Disease – how did you get that, from a mosquito?” and “So, what, are you like, tired a lot?” are common questions. My favorite, however, came from an otherwise well-educated New Jersey man: “Whoa. Can you get that from limes?” This guileless ignorance is hardly what I would classify as “inflated public fear.” For those who may be inclined to believe Ms. Kolata’s dismissive mockery of this illness, consider this:

I and many other Lyme patients suffer from drastic memory loss, cognitive dysfunction, trouble speaking and thinking, constant confusion, tremor, sudden-onset dyslexia, loss of balance, paralysis, chronic arthritis, vertigo, heart damage, Bell’s Palsy, and countless other symptoms ranging from inconvenient to unbearable. Add to that the abandonment of one’s family and friends, who regard our memory problems as “irresponsible,” our need for help and support “selfish,” and out “imaginary” fatigue as frankly tiresome. Articles like this one recklessly perpetuate these misconceptions with statements like, “Those symptoms are very common among the general public, leading Dr. Shapiro believe that there is some other cause.” There’s nothing more demoralizing than a trusted friend who dismisses one’s agonizing forgetfulness with statements like, “Well, I must have it then, too, ’cause I’m like that ALL the time (haha!)” To endure the journalistic equivalent from such a respected publication as the NY Times is simply infuriating.

In closing, I feel I must address what is perhaps the most heinous of all the public disservices contained in Ms. Kolata’s article. The blase’ Dr Shapiro (making the wildly strained assumption that everyone who is bitten by the microscopic deer tick is aware of it) suggests foregoing preventive treatment with antibiotics and instead, simply keeping an eye on the site where the tick fed, and “if they develop a rash within a few weeks, they can take a full course of antibiotics and they will be fine.” What Dr. Shapiro fails to mention – in addition to the fact that “a few weeks” may be far too late – and something your reporter neglected to unearth during her exhaustive research on the subject is this: current studies estimate that fewer than 30% of all those infected with Lyme will ever get the tell-tale bull’s-eye rash. I didn’t, and I very nearly died because of the denigrating attitudes both the public and the medical community continue to perpetuate about Lyme Disease.

But hey, don’t worry about it.

This is dangerous and irresponsible journalism. Shame on you, NY Times.

Marie K., Ridgewood NJ.

Here’s a link to the original shitpile, should you care to hate her with me: http://www.nytimes.com/2001/06/13/us/lyme-disease-is-hard-to-catch-and-easy-to-halt-study-finds.html

Thanks for reading, and please share with all the Lyme-ignorant assholes in your life.

Loveyameanit! Mwah.

Misanthropista

June 23, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 6 Comments

On The Death of My Mother (Or, So Now What the F*ck Am I Supposed To Do?)

Mom young

My mother is dead. My mother is dead. My mother is dead. Every day now, these words swirl around in my mind and in my mouth until they don’t make sense anymore. It’s like when you stare at a word on a page for so long that it starts to look like nonsense and it makes you laugh because you know you know this word and yet it suddenly means nothing to you – and then, because of its foreignness, it means everything. And then you have to look away because you know you might lose the word forever if you don’t. And when you look back at it with fresh eyes it all makes sense again and it’s just a word on a page. A word that you know. But these words – My mother is dead – will never make sense now that they are true. They will never be words that I understand. I say them, over and over again, to remind myself. But that is not the same as understanding.

The last time I heard my mother’s voice was in the parking lot of a Buffalo Wild Wings franchise. This small indignity of this is a stain on my heart and memory which will never come out, ever. My mom had called to say that she was having a “routine procedure” the next day. Outpatient. One that would make her feel better and have more energy to do things she was enjoying again.”If I get dead,” she began…this was something she said constantly – whether she was boarding a plane, going for a manicure, taking a nap – and was usually followed by some inane instruction: “Don’t forget to refill your washer fluid.” “Don’t forget about the smoked salmon in the refrigerator.” “Don’t forget that anything below the waist is vulgar in polite conversation.” This was our routine – and holding up my end of the ridiculous bargain, I mocked her as I always did. “OK, Mom. If you get dead I promise I’ll remember that most people from Nevada are degenerates.” And that was it. The last conversation I ever got to have with my mother. In a fucking parking lot.

She never woke up. There it is again, the nonsense noises in my brain: She never woke up. My mother is dead. Anything below the waist is vulgar. Again and again. Round and round. Nothing. It simply cannot be. These are not real words. Are they? Because if they are, it is the end of everything. If they are, I am rudderless, and I am alone. If they are, I am an orphan. I am an orphan. I am an orphan.

I have always marveled at how, despite the magnitude of any personal tragedy, the world keeps spinning. Life around the loss just goes on. Days keep coming, nights keep falling, stores open, TV shows air, subways run, dogs crap on the floor, mail gets delivered. Nothing, it seems, can kill the mundane being of things. Even my own body seems oblivious to my loss – it continues to wake up, to walk to the shower, to eat, to sleep, to cry, to WORK. How do they do this, the world and life and my body? Don’t they fucking know that I am an orphan? Nothing should work anymore. My mother is dead.

People don’t know what to say. They try. But what they don’t know is that loss like this changes you on a cellular level. That the world will forevermore be divided into categories of  “people who understand” and “people who don’t.” What they don’t know is that no matter how much we get that it’s said with love, if we ever hear the words “thoughts and prayers” again, we will fucking break something. And it will probably be your face. Say something different. Something that will help. Like, “Wow, that sucks harder than a cow on a kitten teat.” Or, “Want to get drunk and cry?” I am grateful, believe me, for the incredible outpouring of love from friends, no matter what form it takes. But I guarantee you that those on the “people who understand” list are not saying things like “thoughts and prayers.” They are saying things like, “I have marijuana. I will bring it to you.”

Words were supposed to have been my gift, but now they fail me. Intake, output – my words don’t work anymore. I can’t find the ones I need and I can’t lose the ones I don’t want. She never woke up. I cannot describe the emptiness of my heart and the brokenness of my being in a way that makes sense to anyone else. I cannot describe the way that I wholly mistrust my decisions without my mother around to approve them. Or the secret fear that my brothers don’t like me much at all and that with our Mom gone, they don’t have to pretend anymore, ever. I can’t properly report the way I feel physically crushed beneath the weight of the aloneness.  I simply haven’t the words.

I tell myself that I am brave. I tell myself that I can live without her. I tell myself, as I reach for the phone without thinking, that I don’t HAVE to call her anymore –  that I can just think and she’ll hear me. I tell other people that I am “hanging in there” or “taking it easy on myself” or some other nonsense that I expect they want to hear because it’s easier than knowing the truth. But the truth is that the final, tiny piece of me that wasn’t broken before is broken now. The job is done.

She never woke up.

My mother is dead.

I am an orphan.

 

 

April 30, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 32 Comments

Haiti, Babies, and The Clap

I could also have called this post “My Journey into International Adoption” and saved people who are not interested in this subject a whole lot of time and trouble clicking over and clicking back, all bored and eye-rolly and whatnot. But then I would have had to forego my (hopefully only) opportunity to include “The Clap” in the title of one of my posts, which I am obviously in no position to do. That would be like saying, “Oh, no thank you. I think I’ll pass on the lifetime supply of Original Twix Bars.” That would never happen either. Not on my watch.

So, yes. While I have not talked much about it publicly, this has become my full-time job. For the past 3 or 4 months I have been tits-deep in The Process.  And by “process” I mean the rapey, ransacking  inquest into my personal life, home, finances, emotions, and vagina. Yup. My vagina. I have had to provide three separate agencies with multiple ORIGINAL sets of tax returns (going back 3 years), bank statements, credit card bills, debts and assets, officially stamped valuations of my home/car/trust/IRA/real estate holdings, utility bills, passport/driver’s license/social security card copies, multiple background checks (with fingerprinting), character witnesses (5), photographs (8), certified divorce decrees (2), psychological evaluations (yes, I passed. Asshole.), letters from my bank, letters from my CPA, letters from my local police, letters from my friends, letters from my family, letters of intent, letters to Haitian government officials, autobiographical statements, medical examinations (2), and home inspection reports. All notarized and copied many times over. All seen by several sets of strangers, including the pimply boob-staring guy at the copy-shop. In all my life, I have never felt so violated. Fuck, I have never BEEN so violated. I guess that makes me lucky.

Which brings me to the vagina part. Included in my 2 separate, notarized medical reports are the results of my laboratory tests for cholesterol, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, HIV, Hepatitis A-C, and TB (Yeah, um – 1743 called. It wants its disease back.) Did you want to test me for Consumption, too? How about Plague? The Vapors? Test me, bitches. Bring it right the fuck on, because no matter what you throw at me next, I will hit that shit back at you so hard your head will spin. You can probe my vadge like a goddamned unmanned Titanic rover and show every nosy notary and copy-shop guy on earth what you found in there. Will that be enough? Will that give a starving orphan a chance for a loving home? Will THAT, finally, make me worthy of being someone’s mother? If not that, then what?

It’s not nearly over. I am only 3 months into what could turn out to be a 3 YEAR process. And all this while, the babies in Haiti waste away, cry for no one, die. They die. While 2 different governments examine my finances, my psyche, my closets, and the contents of my vagina with a fine-toothed comb, the babies wait. They go unheld. And they fucking die. How is this OK? Especially when you consider the non-existent screening process for biological birthers….oh, you’re 12? Super! What’s that? You’re a crack whore with 7 kids and 7 baby-daddies and you want to have another? Sure! How’s that abusive relationship? Why not bring an emotionally doomed child into it? For fuck’s sake, you have to jump through more hoops to acquire a DOG in this country than you do to have a natural child. No one asks any questions of birth mothers. No one looks at their bank statements. No one demands character witnesses. No one has to DEEM THEM WORTHY. Birth mothers don’t have to notarize shit. Am I nuts (No! Yay! I just found out!), or is something very, very wrong here?

Wrong, inhumane, sadistic, invasive – whatever. It doesn’t matter. I will wait. I will jump when they say jump. I will give my blood and open my legs for the doctors and expose my home and net worth to strangers and I will have it all fucking notarized. Because someday, I will get to hold her and smell her skin and kiss her tears away and make her dinner and buy her tiny dresses and sing her nonsense songs. Someday, the little girl named Babette who’s visited me in dreams ever since the earthquake will be my daughter, my joy, my hope, my family. She will be mine and I will be hers and we will be each other’s. And I will wait because it is everything.

Because I have to believe that when I get the call, and get on the plane, and fall to my knees and take her up into my arms, maybe – just maybe – this will all be worth it. It has to be.

It has to be.

 

February 22, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

I Drank the Kool-Aid. And It Was Goddamned Delicious, OK?

justin-bieber-2012-hair

 

Judge me all you want for my grown-up love of Justin Bieber. Seriously. I don’t care. Do it. But while you’re judging me, ask yourself this: Is it because you secretly love him too and you totally wish you were a pre-teen girl so you could justify your love, Madonna-style? Or is it because you are a self-righteous, self-professed Music Snob looking for places to leg-lift your disdain, and what better fire hydrant than the adorable teen sensation who won over the world with his awesome hair and mad pop chops? Thought so.

Admittedly, I only first knew about the Biebs because of my three dear nieces, and my single most heart-exploding-with-joy memory is of driving with them in my car and singing “Baby” together over and over at the top of our lungs. Truly. Nothing in this world can make me feel gladder or better or brighter that THAT memory, and hearing the song brings that joy back to me here in the present moment, where, let’s be honest – it doesn’t frequent much these days…and the ONLY REASON I HAVE THAT MEMORY IS BECAUSE OF JUSTIN BIEBER. I have driven around in the car scream-singing with my nieces for 20 + years and have never had any other artist or song or moment feature so prominently in a picture of pure, captured happiness. That’s right. Justin Bieber gave a me a Joy Tattoo.

Which is why I leapt at the chance to take my youngest niece to his concert in Miami last month. It was more selfish than noble, although I totally played the “Aren’t I a martyr?” card when chronicling my 4000 mile journey to the jumbotron and back for sympathetic friends. Niece #3 missed out on the NSYNC/Backstreet/X-tina outings that I got to share with the older girls a decade or so ago, and I wanted a moment like that with her. I wanted to bond with her over something she loved, as I had gotten to do with the others. Also I wanted her think I was awesome. Obviously.

I cannot lie – the night was dark and filled with more than a few terrors. Primarily, the enormous, flagrant signage everywhere in and around the arena, announcing Bacardi as the North American sponsor of JB’s tour. Nice. Pimping booze to kids not nearly old enough to even drink it illicitly at forbidden high-school parties….to kids who will endure years of anti-alcohol diatribes from parents who ignore the irony of railing against the very thing that delivered the single greatest thing in their world (aka the Biebs) to their very doorstep. Try un-confusing those future drunks kids. I dare you.

When the Biebs himself finally emerged, my every last remnant of snark and judgment dissolved. I didn’t even mind so much about the eardrums. Totally worth it. Both for the joy on my niece’s face and for the simple fact that Justin Bieber is a STAR. Which was never more evident than seeing him do his Bieber thing after enduring not one, but TWO horrifically bland opening acts. Those boys could sing, too – maybe even better than JB. They could also dance and show us their teen muscles and mug for the cameras with the best of them. But they were not stars. They will never have a Fever named after them. Not ever.

I used to think it was just the hair. Which, by the way, is magnificent. I mean, the iconic Bieber coiff is obviously an architectural triumph – duh – but it is also a lovingly sculpted nonpareil erected by tiny frenzy-fairies using an unguent of Aphrodite tears and magical gumdrops made from the still-beating hearts of baby unicorns. It’s that good. You cannot take your eyes off it – not that you’d want to. Although, I do admit to recoiling with awkward embarrassment the moment that this tiny wonder removed his shirt to reveal the hairless boy-torso beneath. I actually did look away for that – I had to. I mean, I’m as pervy as the next guy (oh, who am I kidding, I’m exponentially more pervy than the next guy, and the guy after that) but seeing those ripped baby-abs – like a six-pack made of Go-Gurt – made me feel icky inside. Which is actually kind of a relief, if you want to know the truth.

So there. I said it. I love Justin Bieber (fully clothed) and I don’t care who knows it. I also don’t care that you and everyone you know hates him, or why you hate him, or that you now hate me. I love him for the mosaic of joyful memories he’s become a part of and the happiness those memories conjure. For the thrill he gave my niece and for the bliss of being there with her to see it. Say what you want –  this child is a supernova. He possesses a radiance and a spark and a gift that mere mortals do not have and could not channel if they did. It’s not about the hair. It’s not about the Bacardi or girls or the dumb pants. It’s not about being the best singer, or the best dancer or the best musician. It’s about being The Biebs.

And that is all you need to know.

 

February 7, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Talk Derby to Me

 

this_is_roller_derby

Greetings, my fine friends! I first must apologize for my longer-than-usual absence from the ether, although as I typed that I immediately  thought to myself, “a *You’re Welcome* might be more in order.” So, you’re welcome. I hope you enjoyed my silence while it lasted. But, where have you been, Misanthropista? you ask…. (yes, I can hear your cries in the night, I’m kinda just ignoring you.) The fact is, I’ve spent the past month or so getting my ass kicked. Really fucking hard. Because that’s exactly what I signed up for. That’s exactly what I wanted, and EXACTLY what I needed. Roller Derby, y’all. That’s what I am telling you. Your mild-mannered, people-hating, underachieving eighth-favorite bloggess ever is now a goddamned, bona-fide Roller Girl.

But this post is not really about me, so much (again, you’re welcome). Actually, it totally is. But it’s also about the magnificent, indestructible, stunningly beautiful women that have come into my life, or come closer, since I began this awesome ridiculousness. Fierce women. Kind women. Women who teach me about things like ” ‘Giner Shiners” and “Stripper Stretches.” WHERE HAVE THESE PEOPLE BEEN ALL MY LIFE?  In the most bizarre way, that blood-splattered track has become my home, my church, my shrink, my PLACE. And I share that track with a large handful of women who feel exactly the same way.**

**Disclaimer: I cannot speak for all Derby Girls, nor do I presume to know Everyone’s Story….but I know my own, and I know my friends’, and I know why WE are there. It ain’t for the ‘giner shiners, folks. Ouch, by the way. OUCH.

We are there because we’re broken. Beautifully, crushingly, perfectly broken. Busted right the fuck up.  And the other ways we’ve tried to put ourselves back together have failed, or fallen short.  We’ve tried “healing,” we’ve tried breathing, we’ve tried forgiveness….yoga, therapy, meditation, hiking, knitting, the “high road,” booze, food, opiates, teen vampires (did I say that, or did I think it?) – you name it. We’ve tried it. And sometimes all that’s left is just to Kick Some Goddamned Ass.  And that’s what we’ve come to do. With deepest apologies to Helen Hunt and that creepy kid who sees dead people, we’ve come to Break it Forward. And in doing so, to put ourselves back together.

My fellow Dolls and I sport names like Bruiser Ego, Veronica Tastrophe, Cripple D, Decks-Her Morgan, Crystal Brawl, and Waste Management (that’s mine – hands off, betchesss). A brief scroll through the International registry of names reveals such gems as Buttermilf Paincakes, Armageddon Smashed, Kinky Tuscadero and Sadie Masochist.  See more awesomeness here: http://www.twoevils.org/rollergirls  You get the picture. These are our true selves. Every woman should have a Derby Name, whether or not she ever puts on a pair of skates. Every single goddamned woman. We’ve all got a roller girl inside of us, but most of us don’t know it yet – we won’t know until we need her. It’s how we should see ourselves and sometimes, how we MUST see ourselves. Because let’s face it, when the shit hits the fan, who are you gonna call – Sally Sunshine? Or Sally Jesse Rough-As-Hell? Thought so.

Again, I cannot know how each of us found Derby, or how IT found us. But my theory is that most of us ended up here because we had to (please keep in mind, I also once had a theory that if I gave enough “thought energy” to Jordan Catalano, he would magically become real, and also my boyfriend – but whatevs. This one’s better). Because, thanks to some past hurt, or hoax, or heartbreak, we had been stripped of our Power, and we wanted it the fuck back.

After an informal practice last week, my 2 friends and I sat – tired, sweating, and so, so happy – removing our gear and chatting about some move we were trying to perfect, when one of them said, “Wow. This is a bench full of Broken Bitches.” That shit was DEEP. Profound and perfect and true. There we sat together: Heartbreak, Betrayal, Mayhem – not our Derby names, but they certainly could be….the worst that life has to offer – helping each other to kick those things’ asses right back to where they came from (usually, that place has a penis, but I digress.). Making the best of the worst, and doing it together. Putting back the broken pieces and making something stronger and far more beautiful than the original. Digging deep and pushing through (and if you’re me, taking out anyone who gets in your way, mostly because you don’t know how to stop yet) and doing it for yourself. Or in spite of yourself. What-the-fuck-EVER. Doing it. Just….doing it.

As I write this, I am nestled into a makeshift, home-fashioned traction device, with ice packs on both knees, moist heat on my ass (nothing to do with Derby, that – just, who doesn’t love moist heat on their ass? Nobody, that’s who.), and vats of ibuprofen and bourbon at the ready. My 44-year-old body creaks and cracks, punishes and protests. And my brandy-new soul tells it to shut the fuck up. Because we’re going back tomorrow.

 

 

January 21, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 5 Comments

‘Taint the Season

       

Well, friends, the holidays are upon us once again. This year everyone’s Yuletide giddiness is obviously fraught with a heaviness and sorrow that cannot be described or even fully fathomed. I won’t even try. I wouldn’t know where to start, or where to stop. It’s simply too much. However, I AM going to use my voice to address something here that no one else seems to want to talk about in polite company (not that I keep much of that, but still) – something that, year after year, is silently swept under the Christmas tree skirt and never, ever spoken of. Something that affects us all, whether we know it or not. Something that looks a whole lot like a big fat old dude taking our tiny children into his velvet-swathed lap for a very private conversation.

I mean, honestly. Isn’t this exactly the sort of thing that we spend years telling our children they Must Not Ever Do? Don’t we teach them to scream and run at the first sight of strangers wielding candy (and this motherfucker’s promising a whole lot more than candy, isn’t he? “You want a Playstation, sonny boy? How about a pony, little Susie? Ho ho ho!”) Isn’t this the sort of debaucherous foreplay that goes on in the wee, dirty hours between a be-robed Hugh Hefner and his house full of compliant sex bunnies? Adult sex bunnies, I might add. And it’s STILL revolting. Yet, parents the world over wait for hours in line at terrifying department store Toylands, enduring excruciating soul-drainage and near-certain mauling death by perfume spraybots to plop their minor children squarely down onto the genitals of  strange men wearing fur suits. Why am I the only one who thinks that’s fucked up?

What do you suppose these Renta-Clauses do the rest of the year? Do you imagine that they are doctors or stock brokers or NASA engineers who are taking a month off from their “respectable” jobs every year to don the suit? Really? Do you really think that? Here’s what I think: I think that the vast majority of these Pere Noel impersonators are brazenly rubbing their beer-bloated bellies and collecting unemployment for the other 11 months of the year. I think their daily comings-and-goings are dubious at best, and that their internet porn collections would make Caligula feel icky. I think if you were to see that same guy in his street clothes sitting on a park bench in July that you would grab your kids by their sticky paws and find a different goddamned bench, stat. That’s what I think.

What makes us so sure that Macy’s and the other soul-sucking meth labs of consumerism retail giants are paying $36.50 (the cost of a nationwide background check) to the Department of Human Services for every fat guy they hire to fondle our children part-time? What makes us so sure that there’s not a certain *element* that might be attracted to this sort of seasonal stint? What makes us so sure that just because there’s a red suit and a white beard that this guy is not some unholy deviant who is enjoying this lap time *just* a little too much? For that matter, what makes us so sure that Santa is wearing underpants?

*insert awesome “Yule Log” joke here*

Perhaps I have said too much, and perhaps I have taken liberties that should not be taken (I know, I know – you’re all, “Dude, it’s SANTA! What the fuck is wrong with you?). I acknowledge that I have a tendency to see the bleakest angle in even the sunniest scene, so if I have ruined your life or sullied your excuse to leave your kid on the Big Guy’s lap while you go shop for naughty elfinwear, do forgive me. My job, as the spokesperson for rational people-haters everywhere, is to tell the truth as I see it – up, down or ugly. And the truth, my unfortunate friends, is that Santa’s a goddamned perv.

See? I just saved you thousands and thousands of dollars in therapy that your child will no longer need. I’m like a benevolent fucking Christmas angel. And I think we all know that someone had to say it. You’re welcome.

 

 

 

 

 

December 20, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Boom Goes The Debutante

So, my dear friend Shauna posted this superb meme on my Facebook wall yesterday and she’s all, “This totally reminded me of you” and I’m all, “Hell yeah it did!” Because I am seriously badass, right? Because I don’t take shit from anyone, right? Because whoever fucks with me will be unceremoniously fileted like O-Ren Ishii by my yellow-jumpsuited Kill Bill awesomeness, right? Right?

Wrong. I had myself briefly fired up with this formidable vision of me as the ultimate No Bullshit Zone – the Perfect, Perfect Bitch. I love that vision. I love that people evidently regard me as the very last person on earth with whom they’d want to tangle, because I so desperately want to be that person. But my enchantment was short-lived, and I deflated rapidly as I realized that in fact, I am EXACTLY the person with whom you’ll want to tangle. Because absolutely nothing will happen. Chances are I won’t even notice that you’re being a douchelord for the first 87 or so times you decide to be a douchelord. This is a fairly serious problem, only because when I finally do notice, it means that you have pushed so far beyond the limits of decency and humanity that I completely lose my shit and the relationship is rendered unsalvageable. I am talking about zero to blitzkrieg in the span of one well-timed dick move. Actually, I guess it would be 88. Eighty-eight dick moves. Then you’re done.

So yes. I have a very high tolerance for bad behavior. I could drink a case of bad behavior and still I’d be on my feet.** I have been witness to bad behavior all my life – irrational, unpredictable, infantile behavior. Frightening behavior. Strange, inconsiderate, and often cruel behavior. At some point in my childhood it just became the new normal, and I stopped noticing. But I also realized early on that the best course of action was to do nothing – to take shelter from the storm in whatever happy place I could conjure and ride that motherfucker out. In those days my self-preservation mostly involved Sean Cassidy music and making out with my wall poster of The Fonz. During the years I was married and “stepping,” I coped by going alone to my bedroom while the shit-pies of anarchy and defiance flew wildly about just beyond the threshold. I figured that if I just stayed behind the door, I’d never have to take one to the face. The problem, of course, was that I couldn’t stay in there forever. I’d eventually run out of bourbon.

So this is what I’ve been working on in my never-ending push to become less fucked-up than I was destined to be: Boundaries. Learning to stand up for myself, to speak out, to say no when I need to and to call bullshit when I smell it. To be less accepting of bad behavior during the window of time when my NOT accepting it might still actually change its course. To fix friendships while they can still be fixed. To stop waiting to speak up until my loathing is lit with the fire of a thousand suns and it’s far, far too late. Because while the benefits of having a long fuse are quite agreeable (I do not anger easily, and enjoy very low blood pressure), I’ve come to understand that anything that’s left to spark and sizzle and burn that long is going to make a very big boom. And that shit ain’t ever purty.

 

**With deepest apologies to Joni Mitchell

 

 

 

December 9, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a Comment

Still Hate That. (A Postlude.)

 

It’s been a couple weeks since my last entry, and as your resident ornery bloggess I feel compelled to clarify a few things, to report a few things, and to observe a few things about the fallout that ensued after the last post was published. Here goes.

To Clarify: Primarily, I am not angry anymore. Really. My eldest niece called me that morning with grave and darling concern in her voice. She was worried about me. “Um, Auntie? Are you OK? It’s just that your last post seemed really angry. I mean, angrier than usual even.” I assured her that while recalling the incident and recreating it in words certainly gave renewed vigor to those moments of abject rage and unthinkable betrayal, they were only moments, and they are gone now. Seriously, folks – it’s been almost a year since I found all this out. I am not still reeling. Nor am I driven by any sort of lust for vengeance. My feeling on THAT subject is simple: Go Bobbit or Go Home. I went home. To my laptop. And wrote. Well, actually I went home to my couch and stayed there in a PTSD, carbs, and Valium coma for many months before I was even able to talk about it. But then, I wrote. I did not create that post in order to hurt anyone or “expose” my ex-husband as an emotional abuser or raving lunatic – trust me, he does not need my help in doing so. I wrote it to get it out, and indeed, it was a GREAT purge. But as far as I knew, anyone reading my minor-league musings was either a friend or family member and likely already knew the story. Never did I imagine the breadth and scope of readers that would find their way to my blog that day and enter the swirling brown vortex of doom that was my marriage and its Lifetime-worthy demise.

Secondly, I am no one’s bitch, and no one’s victim. If there’s anything I AM still angry about is that I allowed this to happen. It was with my total permission that my ex-husband and his son treated me with unconscionable disrespect, lived off of me without contribution, drained my resources and turned my home into a festering pit of refuse and despair. I allowed it. Every single day that I bellowed or cried or begged or threatened but didn’t leave, I allowed it. And I asked for more. I knew what I was getting when I married them (make no mistake, potential steps – it’s a package deal); this was not a post-wedding Worst Surprise Ever. I was not tricked or duped into thinking I was getting some great deal – I knew exactly what I was in for, and for me to expect different behaviors from my former husband and his son would have been like adopting a mastodon and then being outraged because it broke my house. Of course it did. It’s a mastodon. The fault is mine. I invited the chaos into my life, drew it a hot bath, gave it the guestroom and handed over my credit card. My job, now, is to figure out why I thought it was OK for as long as I did. Why I stayed, why I thought I deserved it. Why it took an unfathomable show of treachery for me to finally leave. Why I brought home that goddamned mastodon.

To Report: What followed was an Epic Shitstorm. Lines were drawn, double-dealers exposed, martyrs and hypocrites drawn out, friendships lost and broken. I was accused of launching a vicious “attack” upon the former stepson (age 17), and in truth, I have questioned my judgement and motive for bringing him into the re-telling at all. But the fact is that he was a part of it, and not in an “innocent bystander” kind of way….this has never been a secret. My stepson was an integral part of the marriage, but more precisely, the END of the marriage. This sideshow was my life – not a day or a week or a moment. My LIFE. For years. Judging me for telling the horrible things doesn’t magically excuse or erase the horrible things. It doesn’t work that way, to the great dismay of blame-deflectors everywhere. This is my story, and I don’t feel compelled to apologize or defend myself for telling it. Everything I said was true. And plenty more that I didn’t say – that I wouldn’t.

Next: many, many more people than I realized have endured similar torment. I had no idea. I heard from several women who have been stalked, “taken”, frightened, used, bullied, deceived, some even beaten –  stories much worse than mine. They are afraid or embarrassed or ashamed to talk about it, and thanked me for being impertinent enough to tell my story publicly, as if by doing so I was also telling theirs. I am OK with that, speaking the Secrets of the Douchey Exes Sisterhood. And I would please like Cameron Diaz to play me in the movie. I’ll need a breezy sidekick.

To Observe: Hits, likes, reposts and shares on that article were more than double that of my second “biggest” day in the blog-ethers. Why? What does this say? Surely, people love a train-wreck, but I think it’s more than that. I think it’s partly that those who sometimes worry their lives have entered the dreaded Realm of the Mundane can dip their toes, ever-so-briefly, into the cesspool of deception and espionage and drama and dysfunction of such a tale and quickly run back to the safety of their lives and families, grateful for their certainties and permanence. People who have beachfront property at said cesspool, like me, read because we like to know we’re not alone, and that maybe someone else really does understand, and that maybe we can laugh about it together someday. Or cry, or scream, or even better – move to the suburbs.

But mostly, I think it’s because people truly care about others’ struggles (I know, very un-Misanthropista-ish…). And because we can frolic together on Facebook and play Words With Friends and meet for drinks and go to Rotary meetings and work side by side with people we truly care about, and have no idea what lies beneath. What they’re going through, where they’ve been, what they’ve survived, what they don’t tell. As for me, I am mostly glad I told. It came at a cost, to be sure, but I have to believe the gift outweighs the cost. To have told the tale is to be free of it. And that’s way better than a pet mastodon.

 

PS To those who’ve deemed me cruel and inhuman for exposing this labyrinthine saga and its wily players to my tiny circle of readers, I say this: Call me when YOUR husband fashions an elaborate ploy to stalk and spy on you with a fake identity. Call me when some kid comes along and shits on YOUR lawn and on YOUR life. Call me when the betrayal finally beats you, and when everything you think you know is a lie. Then we’ll talk. In the meantime, fuck off.

November 25, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Protected: I Hate When That Happens

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

November 11, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Enter your password to view comments.

A(nother) Love Song to New Jersey

As you know by now, I really do pretty much hate people. Sorry. But it’s true. Because in the everyday, most people have forgotten the simple art of being decent. Kind. How to give a hug to someone who needs it. How to stop to buy lemonade from a kid, even if they’re late and they hate lemonade. How to listen sometimes and not to talk. How to own our mistakes. How to say we’re sorry. How to give a shit. We’ve chosen to be a-holes and liars and one-uppers (pls note use of the “Royal We,” as none of the aforementioned a-holishness applies to me. I am obviously awesome.). But in times like this, when Nature unleashes a Fury that not even New Jerseyans (who know a little something about Fury) can understand, even the a-holes seem overcome by their long-squashed humanity and the innate need to help those who suffer so cruelly. Even when the pain of others’ grief renders us stunned, we come together, a-holes and all. Because we must. So many of our own – friends, neighbors, strangers, even – are quietly enduring their own grief and loss as victims of illness, loneliness, or an unforgiving economy; we can’t help but ask ourselves, “Who do we help first? Who is more important? Who is the least a-holey?” Sometimes the answer is in our backyards. Sometimes it is an ocean away. Sometimes, there is no answer.
By now, I am confident we have all seen the thousand images of horror and devastation in New Jersey and the surrounding areas. Some of us are glued to our televisions, moved by the stories of hope and heroism amid the rubble, mesmerized by the scenes and stories of loss – lives and homes and memories simply swept away. Others, like me, have to turn it off and turn away. The suffering is too great and our hearts can’t hold it. Whether you are a daughter of NJ, like me, or not – whether your friends and loved ones, like mine, still populate the devastated area, or not, what we all seem to share (even the a-holes) is the desire to DO something – to ease the pain of the survivors and somehow wrap our brains around what has been lost. This is heartening, watching people hurt for others. For many of us, though, the pain we feel for our human brothers and sisters is virtually paralyzing. In our hunger to do something, anything, everything – too often we end up doing nothing. In time, our inertia turns to resignation and we move on, ashamed at how handily our good intentions fail us.
As the heart-wrenching news coverage of Sandy begins to wane, we must know that the suffering is still there and will be for a very long time. It will bring out the worst in people, but it will also bring out the best. The outpouring of love and charity in response to this disaster is something very special to this far-away Daughter. Political barriers are, at least temporarily, broken.  Enemies become friends. Rivals become teammates. A-holes become angels. It is a true testament to our capacity for compassion and the human bond we all share that even in these meanest of times, we find our hearts breaking for others and our hands reaching out to help them.
Being so far away feels utterly empty, and the helplessness is nearly debilitating. I am profoundly grateful to all the souls who are saving each other back at home while I watch from afar as they do my job. I am equally grateful to those around the country who are mobilizing to bring relief, supplies, water, food, hugs, hope. Thank you. I often wish there were something bigger than “thank you,” and I guess there is – there is Love. Gratitude. Loyalty. Kindness. And maybe that’s the finest way to repay your selflessness – to just stop being such freaking a-holes.
As for Home, I have to believe it will be fine. The people of our tri-state area are certainly not strangers to devastation, nor are we afraid enough of anything that it ever stops us from doing what needs to be done. To clean up the messes and put out the fires and fill up the holes in our hearts left by haters and hurricanes. We are tough. We shatter, spectacularly, and we put ourselves back together – every goddamned time. This time will be no different. We will come back better and stronger and humbler. We will come back more loving and more grateful for things we never even think about until they are taken from us. We will come back bruised, but not broken. Never, never broken.
So don’t worry about us. Help us, hurt for us, hope for us and cheer for us – but don’t think for one second that that sound you hear is our death-rattle. I assure you, it is our battle cry.
And by the way? You should see the other guy.

November 1, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: