A small town musician who moved to the big city, started a music lessons company, and is finally processing and sharing her bizarre personal stories from childhood, dating, and marriage.
A common experience for teenagers, my wisdom teeth were coming in. Some people have enough room in their mouth to accommodate the addition, but I was not so fortunate. My bottom two wisdom teeth grew at a diagonal, angling closer and closer to my molars. The top two were clearly a bit drunk and attempted to spiral out of the side of my jaw.
My Father's Funeral
My parents visited Texas to attend my older sister’s nursing program graduation. During that visit, my newly-minted nurse of a sister noticed how much my father’s health was failing, especially pertaining to his diabetes and heart disease. He’d never been healthy, really. He was obese and diabetic. He struggled with diet after diet. Finally, when I was in high school, he underwent bariatric surgery. I’m not entirely convinced that it didn’t, in the end, kill him.
I’d wanted to hold some sort of anniversary party for my company for the last few years. But, the year it turned five, I was deep in the mud of moving and putting together our wedding, so another big party was simply out of the question. A year later, I felt like I could manage it. Working with children, and the anniversary being in August, I wanted to do something fun, family friendly, and low budget.
I’m a filthy vegan. The man I’m dating is not. He also regularly wants some sort of dessert if I’m there. My baking endeavors have gone well more often than not, seeing what’s in the cupboard or sometimes planning an easy, vegan-friendly treat for both of us. But, a few weeks ago I attempted a vegan brownie recipe. They came out terrible, inedible. Last week, I bought a vegan-friendly boxed brownie mix. I added some powdered egg replacement… and they came out TERRIBLE again!
Dear mom, This is difficult, but important. It’s obvious we’re not in a good place as far as our relationship goes, but I’m also not going to pretend that’s just in the last year or so since I stopped responding. We were on this path for a long time, nearly as long as I can remember.
Mommy Wants Kisses
For much of my childhood and adolescence, my family quietly referred to me as “The Prude.” I only found out about my whispered title when I went to spend a summer with my sister after my freshman year of college. I wasn’t comfortable being naked around my family. I wasn’t really comfortable being naked around anyone, generally. Now, I can see the protection my clothing afforded me, the comfort it kept me in. Outside of the usual lack of boundaries mentally, emotionally, and verbally there were certainly no clear lines in the sand regarding the bodies of my parents’ children.
The Gift Arrives
It came in the mail. The letter. A priority envelope… with three envelopes inside. When my aunt asked for my address, letting me know my mother wanted to send me a Christmas and birthday card (note… the request came in February, well after Christmas and before my March birthday), I predicted most of what I received at the end of March.
Crime and Punishment
I’m so very glad I don’t have children. My dog, cat, fish, and one little succulent are plenty of responsibility. I’ve never had a biological clock to speak of, pushing me to procreate. Parents are humans who created humans (or adopted another’s creation) and manage to raise them, without any sort of reliable guidebook. That’s terrifying. Even in giving credit to all parents for doing their best in a difficult role, certainly some do a better job than others.
Most children run away from home at some point. One of my student families had a laugh about their son’s plans the last time I was there, how they offered to help him pack food and clothes, and he complained the suitcase was too heavy. My experience went… a little differently. No one knew I’d run away until years later, when I laughed about it in front of my parents.
My phone chimed as I drove. Most often, it says, “Potential Spam,” and I’ve come to not over stress when I hear it ring. Because I own a business, my phone number exists in the world rather readily, and with that comes extra spam calls. Not this time. On the little magnetic clip over the air vent, my phone said, “Aunt Carol.” Man. I love catching up with my Aunt Carol! But, I was nearly to my student’s house and knew I’d need to let it go to voicemail and call her back later.
Everyone Knows, One Helps
Everyone Knows, One Helps I can say with certainty that my childhood was rough. There will always be someone who had it worse, but therapy and memes have taught me that comparative suffering isn’t useful. With a narcissistic mother and a bipolar father, my siblings and I were caught in the fray and all reacting as we best knew how, trying to protect the younger sibling or siblings as much as we could. When home is a warzone, you learn to find solace somewhere else. Anywhere else, really. I clung to teachers and mentors, soaked up affection from friends and their parents, and threw myself into every activity I could manage to avoid extra time at home.
The Haircut Threshold
When my sister was little, my mother was DONE fighting with her long, tangled hair and inability to maintain it like a responsible adult. (Amusingly, as I write this, my hair is in a bun, because I didn’t feel like brushing the insane mess left after having sex yesterday… so….yeah.) My mother had not decided/needed to save money by learning to do some basic haircuts yet. So, she dragged my sister into the salon, screaming at her trusty stylist Jill, to shave her motherfucking head bald. I think my sister was 4-5 years old at the time?