Family


Restoring to Factory Default Settings

Today I sold my last piece of furniture.

Last night I sold my bedroom set. Two weeks ago I sold my couch and a book shelf. Two weeks before that I sold 2 TVs, 2 bedside tables, a leather chair, a storage bench, 4 lamps, another bookshelf and this really cool alarm thing that simulates a sunrise so that you don’t have to wake up in the dark. Four weeks before that I had a temper tantrum themed yard sale and sold every spatula, picture frame, coffee cup, pillow, pair of shorts… everything every THING that I had. Two months before that I sold a bed frame. But that was because I had found out Romeo/David had slept with Erin Black in that bed, and I made him buy us a new one.

Maybe that counts as the same type “everything must go” tantrum.

Maybe it doesn’t.

But today the last piece of furniture- the last item I had that couldn’t just fit in the back of my Corolla, take two rights and go straight on ’till morning- walked out the front door for $225.

I’m not going to lie- I panicked a little bit.

Wait, no, if I’m not going to lie- I panicked a lot.

I’ve been counting down to this moment for 11 weeks. How could I get rid of everything? How could I unload the memories and recoup the cash and make it not my problem anymore? How could I find the freedom that I was SURE would come once it was all just out of my face? How could I untether myself from a 5 bedroom house worth of stuff that I had been collecting for the better part of the last decade with the belief that “well sooner than later I’ll be married, with a bigger house, and we’ll have kids, so I’ll need this Calphalon pan set/ Dyson vacuum/ suede sectional couch/ 52″ TV as an investment in my future.”

I had the house. I had the stuff. I even had the paper doll “husband” to match.

I also had panic attacks that I would never be enough to make him happy. I had medication induced nightmares and weeks without sleep and 4:00am debates with myself about which was worse. I had what can only be described as toddler level meltdowns because I could never cook the spinach the way he liked it which bothered me infinitely more than it bothered him. I had eerie, unfounded fits of anxiety that he had one foot out the door- those turned out to be right though.

I can only describe it as an out of body experience when you realize that you thought owning 800 thread count sheets could save you from the other shoe dropping. And it drops anyways as you sit in bed on these beautiful sheets and read the Facebook message that would send you down the rabbit hole and don’t know if you feel more betrayed by the lies the sheets told you or the lies the paper doll told you.

So here I am on the eve of my 32nd birthday.

Feeling the least excited about my birthday that I’ve felt since my parents bought themselves a new car for my 16th birthday. (No, they did not keep the old one for me. They traded it in. Showed up at my 16th birthday party in a new car… for themselves. All my friends started jumping up and down in excitement “for me.” Two days passed before I realized they weren’t playing a joke on me. If you ever wondered where all this deep seated dysfunction comes from, remember those are the people that raised me. Parenting Tip: You have roughly 6,570 days of raising your child. Buy a new car for yourself on literally any other day. Good talk.)

I digress.

Here I am on the eve of my 32nd birthday.

I launched my new professional organizing business today. It’s doing well so far. And I don’t know if it’ll be enough to put food on the table.

I should be getting final close out money from David this week. And it’s exactly enough to pay off the last of my remaining debt.

I accidentally died my hair dark lilac. And it should wash out before the end of the month and back closer to my natural color.

I own exactly 17 shirts, 8 dresses, 4 skirts, 8 pairs of pants, 11 pairs of shoes, and some makeup. Oh and a juicer that I just really love. And that’s literally it. And I don’t have a lease or a mortgage.

I have no less than 30 In Case of Emergency friends that I could and would call about a flat tire at 3:00am and know without a doubt they would be there. And every one of those people has their own In Case of Emergency that they would call before me.

I will see 1 of the 4 members of my family for a “Thanksgiving celebration” that we already promised will most likely be gumbo and wine. And I don’t have to see all of the other family members that I generally spend weeks working up anxiety about “how will the holidays go this time?”

I don’t have a partner that loves me and will wake me up to pancakes with a candle in it while singing happy birthday. And I don’t have a paper doll.

I don’t say all of this because I hope to throw a pity party en lieu of a birthday party. In fact, some of these things are pretty damn wonderful. (I’m looking at you Nordstrom credit card- don’t let the door hit ya’ where the good Lord split ya’!)

I say all of this because today when I watched that dresser pull away from the driveway and just hours later launched my website, I realized that like it or not, I have achieved a full factory reset. Two years ago- to the day- I started this blog and it was all about teaching, adventures and misadventures in love, dysfunctional family, and a halfhearted attempt at finding myself during a heartbreak.

And now…

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What Did the Skeleton Order With His Coke?

 

…a mop.

Get it?

See. I’m still funny.

Halloween is hands down my favorite holiday. When you have a crazy family, Thanksgiving and Christmas is more likely to give you a series of mini-strokes than the warm fuzzies, plus October is when the weather in Texas is finally tolerable for extended periods of time.

And Laffy Taffy, y’all. I’ve had 50 today and it’s not even noon.

Last year Halloween was a nightmare for me. I was right in the grip of The Dark Days, and all I wanted was to dress up as something sexy and host a party at our house that would remind David how fun and cute and pulled together I was. Instead, I ruined the chili, no one came because I only knew like 3 people in San Antonio and David put off telling his friends until last minute, and the day before I got a haircut that looked like a child did it with school scissors. In the dark. With his feet.

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So for two days straight we fought because he didn’t want to wear a costume, I was stressed no one would come, and he laughed at me for crying about my haircut- which was really me crying about feeling so utterly uprooted from Houston and not having my hair stylist around… or my boss or students or coworkers or roommates or my friends or my favorite yoga instructor or my dry cleaner or my church or my favorite running trail… or you get the point.

Instead of being something sexy, I was a witch. And also I dressed up as a witch.

This year though… this year I feel like I’ve given up on trying to be cute and fun and pulled together. There’s some undeniable low key depression going on, but also I’m just exhausted. I’m exhausted of being always too much and never enough. I’m exhausted of thinking about how I screamed and slammed doors and was a heinous bitch during that haircut fight, and most of all I’m exhausted of the endless death spiral of wondering, “what came first, his awful or my awful?” and always trying to find ways to give or take blame. As if that would make it make sense? And take the pain away?

Right?

So this year for Halloween, I will be not dressing up for the very first time. I’ve been dressing up in hundreds of roles over the years…

Baby Pumpkin, Baby Bat, proud big sister, protective big sister, Flapper, Cowgirl, School Girl, straight A student, smartass student, Cheerleader, cheerleader, Sexy Teacher, sexy librarian, teacher of the year, Wonder Woman, wondering woman, wandering woman, Queen of Hearts, protector of my heart, unabashed giver of my heart, self-inflicted breaker of my heart, Sexy Pumpkin, Bride, bride to-be, 1950s Housewife, 1950s housegirlfriend, Eve, temptress, the downfall, the accused, Tinkerbell, Hippie, hippie, Sexy Witch, Witch, witch, monster…

aaaaaaaand I’m straight up tapped out.

I’m going as an unapologetically heartbroken, strong, brave, terrified, exhausted woman who gave away two overflowing boxes of costumes to a middle school theater department in a fit of rage that freed her from a lie of a life, 95% of her worldly possessions, and any clue whatsoever on how to ever go back to dressing up and pretending.

Not that I’d want to anyways.

 


SURPRISE! I’m not dead. 2

Rejected titles for this post include:

  • My Brain Called in Sick This Week
  • Nobody Uses Homophones Correctly All of the Times
  • Is This Real Life?

Y’all. Reality is by far stranger than fiction. Life is so crazy weird and good and just weird right now that I can’t even write about it yet. I need a few more wine nights with the girls to even be able to find the words for my current reality because I’m pretty sure if someone put a gun to my head to right write a normal post write today I would churn something out alarmingly akin to this. (more…)


“… and that’s because none of us got enough love in our childhood.” 3

As a teacher, one of my favorite genres of writing to teach was the persuasive essay.

Maybe it’s because I worked at a law firm in college and fancied myself able to keep most of those misogynistic, self-righteous bastards on their toes. If I told you how many lawyers I’ve been in “relationshits” with, you would understand my not-so-thinly veiled loathing. AND I’M NOT YOUR “SUGAR,” MR. HOLLAND!!!

Maybe it’s because nothing is more entertaining than 150 preteens writing letters to convince you that the driving age should be lowered to thirteen. “My girlfriend lives on the other side of the highway and my mom won’t let me ride my bike that far” is as good a reason as I’ve ever heard.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been known to argue with a wall when I get bored. Let’s be honest… it’s probably that.

Either way, let me dazzle you with my persuasive writing skills as I explore the logos (logical), pathos (emotional), and ethos (credibility) appeals for why you should help me shamelessly whore out the Terrible Poker Face blog. (more…)


“We Were Liars”

There are 3 types of people that love star stickers: elementary kids- because they’re awesome, high school kids- because they’re kitchy, and teachers -because they’re cheap.

“We Were Liars” by E. Lockhart Overall Rating: 5/5 stars

As a school librarian and English teacher, I obviously read a lot, especially a lot of young adult books. I like to pretend that this is me just being wonderful at my job and pursuing professional development in my free time, but honestly I’m a sucker for a bildungsroman. I’m also partial to angst that borders on mental instability, star crossed love stories, and plot twists that I never saw coming, which is why We Were Liars by E. Lockhart is one of the best books I’ve ever read. (more…)


Be Careful What You Wish For

Most days I walk around with my writing cap on, hungrily looking for things to write about. Any writer can tell you (not that I’m a writer, but sometimes I like to dress up and play writer) that no moment is too banal as long as you’ve got the right spin. Occasionally, I’ll make it through the work day without one “writing worthy” moment and start to wish one into existence, hoping that someone will say something ridiculous in the parking lot that I could make fun of or praying for inspiration to drop down out of the heavens and bless me with a story.

Other times my dad calls me after a minimum of 2 bottles of wine and can barely speak.


It isn’t noteworthy that my dad is drunk, though it does stand to mention that my dad is A Drunk. Like a good, ole-fashioned hides the bottles in the closet kind of drunk. He’s also a bipolar narcissist who refuses to acknowledge or treat any of these issues through therapy or medical purposes. The upside is it’s made me interesting, empathetic, and a bad bitch when it comes to a crisis. And it doesn’t take a professional to infer that the downside is that it’s also made me paranoid, angry, and a roller coaster of a girlfriend.

It wasn’t until the last year that I realized my “fear” of intimacy wasn’t actually a fear at all- it was flat out contempt. I was so used to the “I love you” and “you’re my world” comments that would come from my dad to be addled with upwards of five vodka rocks and self-indulgence about how much HE loved and how much HE sacrificed for me. To this day he can’t tell me he loves me without turning it into a poor man’s attempt at a sonnet- maybe because that’s how much he loves me; definitely because that’s how much he loves to paint himself into that role. Even loving his kids was always about him. Everything was always about him. So right up until this year, being adored by a romantic partner made my skin crawl; the wires in my brain had become crossed and when the warm and fuzzies were supposed to light up, instead a silent, seething repulsion was lit. It was a visceral reaction and I would literally become hot with anger or start to have my vision blur or would be convinced I would vomit. While my face I’m sure resembled someone witnessing a car accident, the soundtrack of my mind was more like:

Me to me: Don’t freak out.

Me to him: Pull it together you self-indulgent fuck.

Me to me: Stop it. Let him be nice to you.

Me to him: Who in God’s name do you think you are, telling me that you love me? Are you high?

Me to me: You’re going to die alone.

Me to him: You’ve ruined it. If you don’t let go of my hand, I will break your fingers for fun. Please tell me you just snorted a bunch of adderall and we’ll pretend this never happened.

My psychology doctorate that I’ve earned through following Psychology Today on Facebook and almost a decade of watching Criminal Minds in obsessive yet intermittent bouts has finally allowed me to name the problem and start healing. Oh and the partying so hard that my hair hurt did it’s fair share of helping and hurting as well. It’s a new process though, and most days I’m worried this whole house of cards will crash down and Romeo will realize any semblance of emotional stability I portray is a sham. MOMENTS LIKE THIS ARE EXACTLY WHY I DESERVE MORE CREDIT FOR QUITTING SMOKING.

I’m sure it’s becoming more and more obvious why I’m such a catch. (So much humor disguised as insight will continue to be lost on the world until we can all agree on a sarcasm font.)