Sunday, December 19, 2010

with practice

how would i ever tell them how much trouble i had gotten in? i laid on marie's futon below her bunk bed in her freshman year dorm room, tossing and turning as i listened to her roommate cry. i panicked. and you know what? it was the last time. it was an ugly feeling to feel, the steamroller rumbling through your gut, the bile rising up your throat. so i refused to let it come back. and you know, disappointment becomes easier with practice.

my parents stopped expecting great things from me. instead of $5 for every A on my report card, my parents begged me to stay out of trouble, to please be safe, to go to class. but what good was class when i wasn't any good at it anyway. the universe had spoken. i wasn't meant to be the smart one. i was the fun girl. Fun. Sean. SeeeAnnn. The SeeAnnn show. and going to class wasn't fun. going to class wasn't mysterious; it was predictable. so i didn't go. sure, i would show up from time to time. i did enough to get me by, and with a few well-placed bribes i even passed accounting the second time i took it.

yes, i had found myself. it was beautiful. then, in january of 2009 i took my beautiful self to Bond University on the gold coast of australia. what little reservations i had, what little doubt i had in fun sean, in the universe, in the right place, in my inner peace, disappeared somewhere in the south pacific. somehow, in the place i had never been before, i had come home.

college station

they fall in love with my spirit, my charm, my sarcasm, my wit. but what does that get me. i still go home alone, and they go back to their girlfriends, who shower daily and straighten their hair and don't need 4 hands to count the number of people they've slept with or a video camera to remember half of the last 6 years of their lives. they go back to their wives, their friends, their brothers, and sisters.

fun is fun until it isn't anymore, until it ceases to exist and what you're left with is the empty shell of a cracked out junkie whose hands are too shaky to hold when you're sober, whose mind follows trains of thought no one else can even find on a map. not unless they're your thoughts too. not unless you share the same soul.

soul mates

it started with small things. we went out to dinner the next week with a large group of people. after 2 weeks, we already shared a friend pool. he sat at the opposite side of the table as me. by his best friend, and a girl i assumed he was involved with, considering the way she looked at him. she, at least, was involved.

but the boys i sat at the other end of the table with, my babies, and to this day 2 of the only people i have really opened up with, called cris a pussylia, and i made a face. he moved to the other side of the table to sit by me, to move away from the girl he was sitting by. he chose a side, and it was mine. i wasn't surprised. it made sense and it seemed right.

he sat in the front seat of my car on the way back to camp. we talked about drinking before the movie we planned to see. i made a crack about getting high, he was the only one who heard me. maybe i hadn't even spoke. maybe he read my mind. we bought drugs in the parking lot of a wal mart. the others went in to buy tshirts and gatorade. we stayed behind to smoke cigarettes and talk.

i played him ganja babe, my favorite michael franti song. he asked me if i had a boyfriend. i gave the shortest answer i could fashion; graduation, moving out of state, dropping out of school. i didn't ask him if he had a girlfriend. i don't regret it. i didn't want to know.

magician's intestines

"you're so awesome."
"sean, you're so fun."
it's all i came to live for. i didn't need to be smart. or pretty or funny. i had freshman boys to do my homework, makeup to cover my face, and my sarcasm to cover my insecurity. i just needed to be crazy. outrageous. sexy. all the boys wanted to fuck me, but even more, so did all the girls. they wanted to be me. to live inside me. i had attained that "it' quality, the mysteriousness of someone admired from afar, who had deep dark secrets, cold and damp as a dungeon, but intriguing enough that you had to think twice before going down to explore.

it didn't need to be explored. just knowing they existed was powerful enough. they could see it in my eyes. i had LIVED. and i had. but at a price. because you can't have mystery if you let anyone get too close. and the few people who i let in, my sorority sisters, my lovers, even some of my fuck buddies and best friends. i gave them full access to the reality behind the smoke and mirrors. i stripped naked, down to my tattoos and black nail polish, and let them stare an poke and prod, and then, eventually, pull and scratch and bruise. i gave them full authority to rip me absolutely to shreds. and they did. every single one of them.

perhaps one of the most humbling, one of the most surreal...perhaps one of the most terrifying experience in life is meeting your soul mate. your other half. the person, who unlike any other person who walks this earth, can read your mind and feel your feelings and speak your thoughts before you even think them. i have always been skeptical; a cynic. i have never believed in a one true love, The One, or any of that other romantic bullshit. but this isn't about being in love; your soulmate is.........your person.

and not a single one of those things did i feel when i first met cris while working at a camp for special needs children the summer after i finally, and quite miraculously, graduated from college.

he was short, younger than me, goofy, and mexican. he introduced himself as the leader of my brother wing, my brother wing leader as i was the leader of my wing as well. i gave him what had by this point in my life become referred to as my "bitch face".

it's not that i have any anger or contempt, usually, when i bust out the bitch face. it is, most often, just a look of absolute unimpression; underwhelming boredom. it is the reason that, for the people i do eventually get to know on some level, my friends tell me how afraid/intimidated/what a bitch they thought i was when they first met me.

to be honest, i am bored with most people. they are unexciting to me and i feel like they have nothing to offer. they speak just to hear their own voice. they talk but don't say a goddamn thing. this is, of course, juxtaposed by my absolute obsession with people; with their lives, with their thoughts, their actions, their motives and intentions...their lives. it makes no sense. so, we are getting somewhere then...

i barely spoke with cris the first week or 2 of camp. his friendship with one of my wing staff barely registered on my radar. they spoke spanish and i couldn't understand what they say. the way he tried to get my attention by outrightly ignoring me made me think for about half a second that he was exactly like every other male on the planet who wanted to fuck me but didn't know why.

the thought was fleeting; in short, i didn't think about him much. at all.

but one day, as the universe would have it, we had the same night off. i had plans to go out to dinner with my parents. i had yet to decide if i could be friends with anyone, so i chose to spend my afternoon breaks alone and my nights off with my family; it was safe, it was boring, but i trusted no one. it was too early, too new, and i had too long of a summer ahead of me.

so i told cris i would call him later and i didn't call. and predictably, he became obsessed with me. and i didn't ignore him. instead, i feel in love with him. i made the biggest mistake of my life; the biggest baddest #1 cardinal rule of soulmates. because your soulmate, once found, is like the missing piece of your puzzle. it's not like finding your other half, it's like finding YOURSELF.

the ancient greeks told a myth of the gods ripping men apart and tossing them to opposite sides of the earth, where they were to spend their entire earthly lives searching for their other halve.s the power of this idea, the notion of being ONE and then being ripped apart AGAIN is like having your insides ripped out, only to find your intestines are endless, like scarves in a magicians black hat. the magician may get tired, may give i a rest to stretch his wrists and feed his bunnies, but then at the most unexpected time, like when you're refilling the sugar glasses at work, smoking a cigarette on the way to church, or painting your sisters toenails, he returns, and is stronger than after his rest. he rips and and tears until you are literally IN PAIN and exhausted simply by being alive.
how the hell did i let this happen to me??
because you can't hide from your soulmate.
you can't hide from yourself.

bye bye douggie

douggie came home from college about 2 weeks after i broke up with him on my 18th birthday. i had been talking myself out of it since before christmas, he knew it too, and my first adult birthday and impending high school graduation felt like my last chance before i lost my freedom, my new found power. my lady magic.

we had sex on his bedroom floor. the carpet scratched my knees and when he turned me around to stick it in from behind, i cried as my chin rubbed against the ground.

a few weeks later, the last time we saw each other before i left for college and never turned back, we had sex in his brother's old room in the basement and i cried and he held me and demanded to know what he could do to make me stay. to keep me happy. i never said anything more to him about it. i cried because he was my very last boyfriend, and because i never things would never be the same.

and then i never cried again.

particularly prudish

i wasn't the first one to lose my virginity. not even close. my girlfriend, jane, lost hers in 8th grade to a boy she had been dating for 4 months; the same asshole she dated almost all the way through high school, who beat the shit out of her and pushed her down a flight of stairs, forcing her to lie to her best friends and older brother for months so he didn't kill the mf. another, moreen, lost hers to her bf of a few months the night of our freshman prom, in the parking lot of the rest stop in between our houses.

marie got drunk out at a friend's hunting cabin and accidentally let our friend, JB, slip it in while the rest of us looked on, though hardly anyone even remembers that. and pam, poor pammy peterson, slept with her high school crush of four years, hoping desperately he would love her back. he moved out of town the day after graduation.

i, on the other hand, held out longer than them all. not because i was particularly prudish, religious, or proud. no, just like with drinking, i was just too boring to go looking for someone to get me drunk, to "pop my cherry". i didn't even have my first kiss until about 6 months before douggie and i started dating; in the front seat of jimmy's ugly green car that resembled a retarded turtle, sans shell, when i was already late for curfew.

douggie and i started dating sometime that summer, between that first epic bridge jumping indicident, the stip poker, and drinking UV blue out of a gatorade bottle at the drag races at the track down the road from my house.

soon enough it was my junior year, his senior, and new had spread through our impossibly tiny town that we were a "couple". a couple of idiots if you ask me now, but that's neither here nor their. the girls all thought it was adorable, captain of the football team, future captain of the dance team - it was an all american love story straight out of a carrie underwood song.

what everyone didn't know, yet, was that two weeks earlier, about 2 weeks after we had someone come to the conclusion that we were "official", we...made it official.

i still remember it perfectly; every painful, ugly, and embarrassing moment. i remember his brother walking in moments before, telling us to "be careful" and "use protection". like he was kidding, but he knew. i remember vin diesel's bald head swimming under water and shooting up the entire continent of asia in the background. i remember looking out the window, and finally thinking, "i'm doing it. i am having sex." it wasn't sexy or romantic or even pleasant.

but when his parents came home early from somewhere out of town, and made us come out into the living room to be reprimanded for being alone when they weren't home, all i could do was smile to myself as my cheeks flushed and i replayed the last 15 minutes of my life.

not even the sermon at church the next morning about sexual impurity (i could not make this up if i wanted to) could keep me down. something had changed inside of me. i had a secret. it felt powerful. turning point, pivotal moment...whatever you want to call it. two weeks and i had jumped.

and i haven't looked backed.


but oh... if alcohol had been my only addiction. i could've been that sweaty girl in the corner dancing with her reflection in the mirror. yeah, that would have been better.

my first, and to this day, ONLY "long-term" relationship occurred between the ages of 16 and 18 year of age. douggie dated my friend cindra, captian of the dance team, their entire freshman and sophomore year. he was small-town high school attractive, quarterback of the football team, catcher on the baseball team, point guard on our 7-years-running conference champion basketball team.

oh god.

i went over o his house once a week, sat down at the dinner table, and WITHOUT FAIL his mother would serve us steak and potatoes. and all the milk we could drink. except me. i usually drank juice. i think his mom even kept a special container in the fridge just for me.

now, while being the milkman's son may not seem like the job every cool kid in town was jocking for, the fact that douggie's father was the morning glory milkman was CLUTCH in the progression of our retarded high school relationship.

douggie & cindra's relationship came to an end a little before the end of their junior year, and i snaked my way into mr. w's study hall every monday, wednesday, and friday for the entire month of may. douggie and i flirted and joked around i routinely got asked to go back to my own study hall for causing such a ruckus in the math lab. the boys never did their homework because they were all too busy doing mine, and all the girls sat in the back corner talking shit. i wish i could say i was exaggerating for dramatic purposes, and i'm sure i sound pretty damn full of myself, but it's the truth. it was a small town, and i very few female friends, none of whom i am in contact with today.

not that i was anything special to look at. i was average at best, really. i was a ballet dancer so i was too tall and too thin for a northern, beer drinking girl. i went fake-baking, which left me with orangish-tinted skin, and i had bleach-blonde, waist-length hair, and bright green doe-eyes. i hated the way i looked, just like every other adolescent female, and on top of that i was painfully shy and quiet.

but douggie and i got along. we quickly became friends. we shared the same sense of humor, and grew up in the same town so that was enough of a relationship base for my 16 year old self.

one day in early summer, my red and silver dodge pick up truck was parked in the parking lot of the only bank in town, where i went almost daily to deposit the tip i made as a waitress as the busiest pub & grill in town. douggie and his best friend, soda, were on their way home from delivering milk cartons to summer camps all over the northern part of the state. somehow they talked me into driving down hwy 32 to blue ribbon bridge, a small bridge over the lake by my family's lake house where local kids have been illegally jumping for years.

we got out of douggie's truck and stood around looking down at the dingy lake water for a few beats before i did something so uncharacteristic of myself at that point in time. i jumped. i laughed. i yelled at the boys to stop being lame. it was a turning point for me, something someone with a little more sentimentality would call a "pivotal moment in my life."

i dragged my soaking wet body out of the lake, and shook the water out of my long, blonde hair.
"What?" i demanded of the boys as they eyed me suspiciously. as i peeled my wet tank top and daisy dukes away from my sticky skin, i furrowed my brow at them. i wasn't stupid, but i WAS naive. boys didn't look at me like they looked at janie, all boobs and ass and that flat 14-year-old stomach. i was always just a friend of moreen's or a friend of marie's. i never had my own identity in that town. nobody paid much attention to me because honestly, i never paid much attention to anyone else.

but as i stood there, barefoot, ringing out my hair, laughing at their stories about the wild world of milk delivery, i realized that i was being noticed. not for my mediocre high kicks and sloppy pirouttes, but for the way my barely 34-C's curved perkily out from my wet shirt. the way my ribs were so narrow that my bustline went practically concave at my waist; the way my ass, and thighs, which no matter how much i starved myself and puked up my cafeteria lunches, were way too fat to ever be the appendages of a prima ballerina, sprung voluptuously from my short, wet blue jean shorts.

it was a weird feeling, a funny realization. i wasn't particularly funny or good in school. i wasn't smart or pretty and i was horribly un-athletic. but i could make boys narrow their eyes, lick their lips, clench their fists.

douggie poked me in the ribs as we walked back to his truck.
"you're so fun," he glanced at me sideways as he hopped into the drivers seat.
it was all i wanted. everything i needed to hear and i didn't even know it.

nobody likes to make the first move. most people are sheep; they like to follow. so i started doing what no one else would do - i jumped first.

polacks and toga party

i used to go back up north every summer while i was in college. the bars didn't card, and since i had gone to high school with 95% of the bartenders...or their kids...or grandkids... i hardly ever even got charged for drinks. my best girlfriends would stay behind daddy's bar long enough to dole out enough body shots of rumplemintz to get a bridal party of strippers fucked up...and homemade watermelon shots if jane's alcoholic mother stumbled down from their house behind the bar and deemed us too drunk for straight liquor.

of course, then there was always the beer bong in the back by the jukebox, where country music and classic rock played on heavy rotation.

one weekend my cousin from "the city" came to visit, so i decided to give him a little taste of drinking like a northern girl. we started the night out at my house, with a few stiff margs. my mom made for us, since my dad was out of town and she liked to get a little "crazy". i had a liver of steel at this point, and the alcohol tolerance of our 60 year old alcoholic grandfather because i had spent that summer doing shots of whisky after my double shifts waiting tables at 2 of the most popular pubs and sports bars in town.

so, naturally, i drove my cousin's car the 1/3 of a mile down the road to the bar i had essentially frequented since i was in the 8th grade. it was still relatively early for a friday night, so daniel and i cozied up to the end of the bar and i introduced him to C.A. and jane, daughter and future daughter-in-law of bar owner, and oldest barfly in town...


the first time that i remember taking of sip of alcohol was my sophomore year of high school. the funny thing is that, growing up in the very northern tip of one of the northern most states in the country, my parents would let me have the occasional sip of their beer or glass of wine. and i know that there was a party in 8th grade where my friends' parents, the owners of the bar where, later on in my high school career, i would have countless, faceless days and nights of endless binges and blackouts and hungover mornings. the most humorous part now is, maybe, how drunk ten 14-year-olds can get off of one bottle of flavored vodka.

however, despite the smattering of questionable socially acceptable alcohol-related firsts, the moment i think of as my first time occurred in the parking lot of a local grocery store, huddled around a bottle of jaegermeister. the air was cool, and my recently high-school-graduated boyfriend lent me his olive green army/navy surplus jacket. it smelled faintly of booze and cigarettes, and had the dampness of a heavy wet towel that had been sitting in the woods too long.

that night, i know more people were in attendance, but in my memories of it now, my boyfriend's best friend is the only other person i remember being there, as he was the one who handed me the dark brown bottle with the bright orange label.

"Have you ever tried jaeger?" dave asked me. i shook my head and smiled, the shy smile of a 15 year old who doens't get out much. the older boys leered and grinned at one another, and as dave handed me the bottle, i felt my palms get sweaty. the stories i heart, the quiet giggles in homeroom on monday morning that i had smiled at quietly but never really got to be party of - it was finally my time. this was my first story. my initiation.


when you look at me what do you see?

do my tattoos make me a criminal? a whore? a drug addict?

i'd like to say they don't. i'd like to say i can look this way and behave another. but the truth is i'm just like everybody else. the record proves it. the history calls me out on it, like a drunk sorority sister on a sunday afternoon in the dining hall. the truth comes out if you care to take a look.

do the bruises up my arm make you see an abused girlfriend? or daughter? or can you see right through me; realize i'm just another drunk Gen-Y who can't crawl out of the bottle. nobody grabbed my arm and pushed me down the stairs. i pushed myself. the Hornitos. that's what i blame.

my short-term memory loss could just be genetic. but more likely, the substance abuse is what my father passed down to me, like an antique turquoise ring. except i can't just put this up on a shelf. i have to wear it around every day.

a scarlet letter A. for addict. for abuse. for absolutely no chance of ever living a normal, clean life. every day from here on out will be a struggle toward the mean. regression doesn't equal back to the norm. back to the way everyone else feels most of the time. regression equals down. under. back to the black abyss of late night binges and blackouts and waking up the next afternoon with nothing but the headache and dried vomit in my hair to remind me that i'm still not back to where i need to be.

the beginning of the end of new beginnings

i fought the heaviness, blinked my eyes, and rubbed the right side of my neck. the blanket scratched my collarbone like a burlap sack, where the oversized sweatshirt didn't quite cover all of y freezing-cold skin. i pulled my knees closer to my body to cover my toes, where that awfulfucking blanket didn't quite reach. at least yoga had done me some good.

i rubbed my eyes and felt the swelling where a wasp had stung my right eye, less than 24 hours earlier. i should've known. the universe was trying to tell me. nothing good can come from going out with a swollen eye. i hadn't had benadryl for over the allotted six hours, and it had swelled back to half-closed; pink and itchy. oozing. or maybe it was just that bed-mat, infested with germs from the last dead-beat female delinquent who had previously spent the night here; cold and itchy and alone.

i heard the door slowly creak open, the clatter of women's holding cell 3 shake with rage at being disturbed so early in the morning.

"Breakfast," the elderly cook squawked at me and the small brunette girl curled up on the other corner of the bench, furthest from the cold, steel toilet and matching sink. the old woman's hoarse voice betrayed what we were all thinking; 6 a.m. is too damn early.

i rolled toward the door and watched as Starr, my holding cell mate, presumably in for petty theft and not her first offense, stood wobbly from her bed mat.

"Do ya'll have coffee?" she rasped.
"No," the old lady answered, and handed her a yellow plastic tray filled with unidentifiable substance, all of the same general color and consistency. i didn't move from my spot on the bench. And then, presumably directed at me,
"Better eat. You don't get fed again till lunch. There's no snacks in jail."
I didn't respond. Instead, kicked my feet to the ground, slid on my plastic-y, orange slide-ons, courtesy of Kerr County, and made the short half stumble, half-crawl over to the door. She handed me the tray and i took it back to my spot, set it down, and stared. No way do i put any of that shit in my mouth. I looked up and Starr was drinking from her carton of 2% milk, facing the dingy white wall with her back to me. I thought of requesting soy milk just to see what that cranky old bitch would say to me. The thought made me laugh out loud, but it came out more like a dry cough, reminding me that the last thing i had to drink was a fruit-punch-flavored Four Loko. too bad i never got to finish it.

i worked up the nerve to pick up my spoon. and slowly lifted a mound of what i deduced to be apple sauce, into my mouth. my stomach turned as i swallowed it and i immediately felt the bile rise up into my throat.
i pushed the tray away from me and laid back down on the hard, white bench.

but this 4x4 cell block, empty, cold and gray as a raincloud in april, isn't where my story begins. this is where it ends.