August 23, 2002

Or then...

Well, I felt fine. But now I'm getting sick--catching Jenna's cough and head cold. I'm worn out. It sure felt good to feel good for a minute! Remind me about that in a couple days, will ya?

Going to rest.

August 21, 2002

if someone had ever told me

I wouldn't have believed them. If they told me I'd be here at 40 at this very odd place on the precipice of losing nearly everything I've held dear--rewind, replay, repeat--I wouldn't have believed them. My family, my self, my future--all resting on unsteady ground.

I thought I had the biggest loss once upon a time, when I was very young, and I thought no other empty space would ever compare to that. With my dad dead, the only loss I could imagine being greater than that, at six, was my mother. Things would get bad, very bad, and I had my mantra: at least my mother's alive. I would watch others die, move away, go away, and I would repeat the mantra: I still have my mother.

At the same time, I watched my mother and step-father drink, retreated from the odd and uncomfortable situations that resulted from their nightly insobriety, and my mantra became just as uncomfortable to me. It was starting to not work. I wasn't hers; I wasn't mine. I was just incomplete. I tried to complete myself with my worthy spouse, then a deacde later with a child. But, big surprise, that doesn't work. Not for long. At least not forever. Joke's on me.

I did not come to this mother mantra all alone, I now realize. It's something that she nurtured in me--she needed me to be hers. She herself had been through great trauma. And so, it was fed to me. An unhealthy diet of "love" by control, and me willing to eat and repeat, knowing no other way.

It's not all her fault. And I love her still. But I hate what she's done. She takes no responsibility--she won't look at this.

Not won't. Can't.

Did I mention I haven't spoken to my mother in nearly a month now? Yes. Well. To you that may seem like no big deal. To me, it's nothing short of miraculous. I have never gone more than a week--two during a particularly nasty family blow up--without hearing her voice. We were once so close. The problem was, we were mostly always way too close. I let myself subsist on her. And she let me. To the detriment of all other relationships.

And so I've asked her for space, now--time to be with me. And I've gotten it, and a month has ticked by.

George away. Jenna in school. No mother to direct and intercept my feelings. I'm here with me. Really here with me.

And I've discovered why I never tried this before: The movies that play backward in my head are not very comforting. I'm seeing them for the first time. They are unraveling what I thought was so, a little at a time, and in their place I'm left with what really was. Freeze frame:

He's behind the wheel for the hundredth time in a condition that by any account, even in the 70s, is illegal. And she is in the front seat, staring straight ahead, no seat belt--her role is not to challenge him, only to control him through her reactions. I whisper to her, "Why don't YOU drive?" Even I know, from car rides past, weaving in and out of his lane of choice, me gripping the side door, that it will be a dicey ride home. She doesn't ever take the keys from him.

This is the part of this backwards movie I'd like to remember a different way: A police car pulls us over, he blows, he goes to jail, something. Something to change what was. But that never happened. We always made it home. See, she was right to let him drive. Everything turned out fine.

Nothing was ever fine.

But me, I am going to be fine.

I am going to be FUCKING fine because I'm finding me, and I'm finding out.

August 20, 2002

deux intervieux

See if you can follow this--not sure I've gotten it down yet: Sandhill's Frank Paynter interviews the barely downloadable Mike Golby (not once, but a couple of times), and Blogaria's quickest study George Partington interviews Frank Paynter, who has earned my respect for his ability to churn out these great interviews, for just being Frank, and for quoting Alphonso Johnson--a great guy and colleague of George's.

August 19, 2002

Backstage Riders

I've seen backstage/tour riders before and have heard some amazing stories from George, but these are pretty interesting.

Like, Ozzy Osbourn and Frank Sinatra required Decadron (a steroid); Aerosmith says no alcohol backstage at any time; Black Crows say LOTS of alcohol backstage; Busta Rhymes says NO to pork and beef, yes to KFC, and bring it on to the obligatory box of Rough Rider or Lifestyle ribbed condoms. Busta, with all that dough, you can't supply your own rubbers?

August 18, 2002

My Mother Needed No One

Here's the thing about my mother. Married at 19, three kids by 28, and a dead husband by 35, followed two weeks afterward by her own father's surprise death (today they would call it negligent homocide), a widow raising 3 kids alone for six years in the 60s and 70s, where, in suburban Irondequoit, that made her a freak and us the "freak" family--she didn't have it easy. The whole time, me as the youngest, looked at how she did it and thought: She doesn't need anyone. She is so strong.

But that strength went awry somewhere. If someone made her angry, or looked to be contradicting how she was raising us, she'd cut them out of her life like most people slice cheese. They were there one minute, gone the next. Relatives, friends, no one dared mess with my mom. They all knew the consequences.

So, I'm finding out, did I.

She was and is in the eyes of most who know her one of the strongest, most together woman walking the planet. Then the undercurrent rushes in. Me the mirror. And I remember so vividly my thought process that went: Maternal Strength = Mother loves X + X made Mother mad + bye bye X.

What I saw as great strength then, I now see as a weakness, and a life lesson that has left me a little skewed. Turning people on and off like light switches isn't a strength--it's cruel, it's selfish, and it's false. It was a way for her to avoid confronting the things she should have been and should still be confronting. It was her way of hiding.

And so I learn little things about who I am and why--these snags in me that are caught on the rough edges of my insides.

One thing is for sure: this apple has begun her roll.

No Deposit, No Return

Today was a delightful day. Believe me? Consider this: A good two hours of it, on and off, was spent with my daughter sobbing for her daddy. "Two more days--that's all I can do! Daddy, please come back nooooooow. DaaaDeee! DAAADEEE!"

Having sat with this for what is now close to five months with him out of the U.S., my nerves are wilted, not frayed. I have no more tears to cry in the bathroom, alone, hoping she won't hear me--that I won't feed that need in her that is usually just south of the surface in me. So I have no more tears for it now. I'm fine. I hold her and say, "I know. I know. Soon, baby. Soon. Way sooner than last time." And she says, "Not soon, Now!" And I wipe tears away some more, wishing I had some to give her, let me cry instead of her. But they don't come.

I took her to my sister's house for a cookout, which brightened her mood some, until it was time to leave, and leaving reminded her, and again all the way home, more tears.

Then I went about the business of trying to get a $500 tuition deposit back from a school she's not going to. Mind you, I raised the flag right after I gave them the check--before the deadline for admission. Also asked if this money was a deposit or if it was part of the tuition. I was assured this went toward the tuition. It's a new school, so they weren't bothering with admission fees. They needed bodies. If I'm right no tuition, no attendance, withdrawl before the August 1st deposit deadline--I should get the money back, right? I know most schools keep the $75 admission fee if you don't attend, but $500???

And to think, around the end of July, I had a flash that I should put a stop payment on that check. Why didn't I? I thought it was unnecessary. People are ethical. People live up to their agreements. I'm such a stupid fuck.

Two days ago, I called the administrator again--he said his checkbook was at home and that I should finish talking it over with the directress. So today, I call the teacher/directress, whom I really do love (she is not the administrator--i.e. money man), and she is still trying to get me to enroll Jenna there, but we can't afford it. And I say what George said to the administrator: "Let's get the money back in my hands--then we can talk about it--maybe for January. But right now we can't do it."

So SHE says that according to what she was told, the $500 is non-refundable. There go my ears, filling up with blood again. Ouch, that was my neck. I'm about go balistic. Then I back off, thinking of my sister's lawyer who will write a letter for $90 if I want her to. At this point, the teacher offers me another deal (discounted tuition) that I said I'd talk with George about, but I can't really, because he's not here, so there I am. Back where I started from.

No deposit, no return, a grieving daughter, and only me-myself-I and the blog universe to whine to about it.

Here's to Monday!