Monday, September 28, 2009

The Emotional Ride

Friday night was an emotional ride for me, stemming from what should have been a celebratory evening yet turning somewhat argumentatative. Transformed into a night of revelations to myself, to others; whether they, or more over I wanted to realize them. The floodgates opened and a plethora of emotions came gushing out, and once it started, they couldn't stop. Tears flowed over and over for hours, and thoughts of how I got to this point echoed in my mind.

With such outpouring comes two things; Relief and epiphany. It's sometimes good to have those gut wrenching arguments. Those scream until your insides hurt feelings. At yourself, at others. But those getting-it-all-out in the open kind of arguments also make you feel like your brain has thrown up, like your head is about to spontaneously combust, and you will become the Headless Horseman, and the rest of the world Ichabod Crane.

It's cathartic. You cry until you can't catch your breath, and after, tears stream silently, almost like a river, turning into a creek, until slowly it just sort of dries up and you find you can't figure out where it started from.

You become emotionally and physically exhausted. The next day wake up with eyes like softballs, and feel hung over, although likely hadn't a drop to drink. And you do what comes naturally. You get up, put your big girl pants on, and go about your day. Why? Because that 5 year old little man in the other room (in my case) who's expecting a birthday party the next day needs to have a spectacular weekend, and let's face it, you need the distraction. You're forced by reality to move on.

So you shop. Grocery stores, Target, Wal-mart, iParty, the lot of them. Traveling hither and yon to make sure someone else has a great day. And you find throughout it all, you are having a good day. You are laughing, you are planning, you are taking this day as it is, planning only one day ahead. What a novel idea.

Maybe that's the key to it all. You vent out what you can about how much things suck and get you down, and boy do they ever, but then you realize you can't hold on to them forever. The weight just buries you until you are so far gone you no longer recognize yourself, and soon no one else does either. You are a shell of yourself. And that's how I have been for so long, I forgot how to be anything else.

I need to worry about tomorrow. Not next week. Not next year. I need to stop worrying what someone could do hypothetically based on what other people have done. I recognize that. I do. I also know this is easier said than done. I have not let others in because of what I've gone through, not let anyone know who I am really, and definitely not them know my son.

I have unknowingly punished the innocent, so to speak. Shunned an entire society of people before given ample chance, based solely on "what ifs". And where has that gotten me? More alone and more isolated, and obviously more callous, cynical and bitter, thus started the whole vicious cycle yet again. The perpetual Blame Game.

Thinking too far ahead on negative probabilities. They could hurt me, moreover hurt my son so why bother? They will likely cheat, lie, steal or all over be a pompous ass as the past lot have turned out to be so why be charmed by the supposed "good guy act" now? Why let myself or my son get attached to someone who isn't going to be around forever anyway?

I can't hide forever, like Sleeping Beauty, hidden away in the woods, hoping that would solve all the problems of the world. Keep me safe, my son safe. She got screwed anyway didn't she? No curse is avoidable, she still found that spinning wheel, got pricked by it in her dazed curiosity. But it all worked out in the end in that story, so maybe if I try, slowly but surely it will for me too?

I'm not turning into Captain Optimistic here or anything, but there's no shame in trying right?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Here's the Story, of a Broken Lady...

There is something fundamentally wrong with me. Nothing noticeable, nothing that anyone but those who know me, really know me would ever notice, and even that has gone seemingly undetected until now. Its nothing life threatening, nothing contagious. Nothing atom splitting or even remotely mind boggling to anyone else really. It just sort of explains a lot. To me, to those who know me.

Me and the opposite sex don't mesh. Its not a secret, and I'm not coming out as some epiphonistic lesbian after after all these years. Male relationships and I have just never found their fit. I am completely heterosexual mind you, but emotionally, I am completely at a loss for how to function with them in any way.

I had a great childhood, in theory. My parents were good people, they raised me right. To stand for what I believe, without prejudices and without hate. To my dad I was daddy's little girl, we got whatever we wanted in a sense. We were loved I never doubted it. However, my father had been raised by his father, and that hadn't been a picnic.

You learn what you live I suppose. An Italian custom of screaming and yelling when things weren't done correctly. I remember listening to the sound of my father pulling his leather belt in and out of his clenched hands, the sharp snap it made when he quickly pulled them back apart. My brother and I would cower in our beds, knowing one or both of us was in trouble.

I remember I was about 5, being in so much trouble my parents told me they were sending me to the orphanage. This fear was great to us, as my grandmother was raised in an orphanage. We would drive often past this ominous brick building, and in its back lot was a fenced in play area. They would tell us that was the orphanage and if we were bad, that's where we would go.

So they told me to pack a suitcase, which I remember filling with roller skates and toys, and that I was on my way. I was sobbing, begging to stay. "Please Mommy, please let me stay, I'll be good I promise!"

My father was given the task of driving me. I sat in the back of the minivan, sobbing so hard I could barely breathe. My parents were so angry at me they were going to give me away! I begged, I pleaded. "Daaaaaddy, pleeeeeaaaa-aaasse" I could barely get the words out, I was crying so hard.

We sat in front of that building in the dark, shadows looming around us. I had seen Annie enough times, I knew it wasn't going to be a hard knock life for me. No dancing in stairwells, no Miss Hannigan. I was so scared. More scared I think that my parents didn't love me anymore. My father finally relented and we drove off, heading back to convince my mother to allow my return.

When we reached our street, my father told me I had to wait in the car, he had to talk to my mom. He had to convince her it was ok for me to come home. That I had realized the err of my ways and I would listen from then on. The minutes seemed like hours, and then the doors flew open and I was welcomed home, as long as I promised to behave.

And boy did I for a long time after she allowed me in. And later found out there was no orphanage. I was fooled by a Headstart learning center in a neighboring town. And scarred for life.

As years went on, though love for my family never diminished, arguments with my father increased. Throwing tables, screaming matches and even an argument in the car where he tried to punch me and I jumped out of the car as it was moving and ended up running away for 2 days.

My teen years were rather tumultuous. Drinking, experimenting with drugs. Depression and hormonal imbalances raged inside me. By 15 I had my close friend killed in a hit and run by a drunk driver, had taken an overdose of pills and had my stomache pumped, was admitted to a childrens psyche hospital temporarily and made to seek counseling.

By 16 I had found my first love who was sent overseas for the military, lost him to distance, lost my virginity, been raped and was closet drinking in my bedroom, hiding bottles in an old dollcase.

I even got sent home from high school drunk after walking into a door.

I released myself through my writing. Poem after poem I would write, looking back they seemed like cried for help even then.

I would have year long relationships, never with the right person persay, and then it would be over. Like a brief blip in the hour glass, as if it were suddenly turned on its side and time stood still again until I started over. I never found it a hard thing to get over them. Only the first one. That first love haunted me.

It had been so intense for how young it was. Letters and emotions. Surprise collect phone calls. And his leave was of every waking moment spent together. It was innocent and pure and it was real. Even now I know it was. And I know he does. There was never a right time for us, and perhaps thats how it was supposed to be, but what it did was set a very high precedent, and a very high place for me to have fallen from.

And now I am so low. Subterraneal.

I remember an interview in my high school senior journalism class, we had to turn and interview a classmate. A line of routine blase questioning. "What's one thing people don't know about you", my reply "I don't smile all the time". I had them fooled even then it seemed. His face was a mixture of false humor and surprise.

Alas the sexual revolution. In my early 20's I had come to terms with my rape. Realized it was not my fault, laid the blame where it belong...sort of. Though I knew it wasn't all men, it became a game to me. To show them how it felt to be used, to go through loss and hurt and humiliation. I would be unattainable. I would have prowess and command, I would be in control. But I wasn't really.

And then I got pregnant. Completely unplanned, completely not with anyone I would have had planned with, pregnant. I felt I was being punnished for things I had done...but how could I punnish my child for that? So I had him. My beautiful son, my life. The only thing I have ever succeeded at.

His father, a criminal. An abusive heroin addict who treated me horribly. Throughout my pregnancy the insults and anger would fly. I despised him but didn't know what to do. I didn't know what he was then. I was ignorant to it all. I had never surrounded myself with people like him, I didn't know the "tells". I just thought he was an asshole. I never knew he was an addict until it was too late.

I thought I was doing the right thing for my child staying. I was being a guy in that regard. I didn't love him, I didn't want to be with him, but I thought my son deserved 2 parents. I thought I was doing what was right. I was so beaten and broken I had no fight in me. Called a "fat fucking cunt" over and over again throughout my pregnancy and until my son was almost 1 when I left.

I was pushed when he was angry, had things thrown at me. He once threw the remote from my TV at my head, which missed luckily and shattered against the wall, sending splintering pieces of plastic and technology all over the place. He would steal from me, steal from my son to buy drugs.

Finally got me evicted from my home, a place I had lived for 6 years. Years before even knowing he existed. I moved away and took my son with me, and didn't let him know where for months. If he saw Dylan I would bring him to his parents house. Until he started going to meetings and getting help, supposedly.

That clearly didn't last since a year ago he was arrested for selling and using heroin while my son was with him and I have had a restraining order since and he went to jail for drug charges and reckless endangerment of a child against his own kid. I really know how to pick'em.

Of course, the next relationship wasn't much better. Someone I had dated long ago, a re-do. Although he was changed from when I had dated him before. And not for the better as I had found out. The ex before we got together for him had turned out to be a drug-addict prostitute, and that somehow got taken out on me and I was again treated horribly.

The constant on again off again. It wasn't a relationship it was an emotional yo-yo and I wasn't stable enough to handle it, yet I stayed. I was too broken to go. Who'd want me anyway?

I wasn't the confident sex goddess I was before I had my son, at least before him I thought highly of my looks if nothing else. Now those were gone. My once flat stomache replaced by the extra skin of a bad c-section and weighing too much at the end of my pregancy due to complications. I was damaged goods. I disgusted myself.

I finally had enough. I left and I was alone for a while. Sort of. I met someone who ended up only using me for sex. He'd call when it was conveinent, show up late, never go out in public with me. I see it now for what it was, but I was naive about it then. In my late 20's and completely starting over in understanding how men operated. I was like a child, I just liked the attention, good or bad.

Then I met my recent ex. And he was great. He was a stand up guy, a good guy. Treated me like a princess. Would compliment me, try to hold my hand. Open doors, pay for things. And I didn't know what to do. I had no idea how it worked, and even though it was everything I ever wanted, and I was afraid. I pushed him away. I didn't understand. Men didn't act this way, men weren't chivalrous and sweet and kind, they were assholes. That's all I knew.

I didn't know how to react to the way things were supposed to be. I ended up pushing him completely away and into the arms of someone else. And by the time I realized what I had done, and tried to make things right, I was too late.

And even my best friend, a good guy I do it to, too. Its like I dont know what to do if a guy is a "good guy". Like I am suddenly possessed and I am not myself. As if I don't feel I deserve it. I know in theory I do, but I don't know what to do. I cower behind cynicism and hurtful sarcasm. Not to be intentionally cruel, but because I don't know what else to do. Hurt is all I've ever known.

So I trace the male pattern back, back to childhood, my teen years and onward. It all seems to make sense, it all hurts to write, and tears are streaming as I do.

The thing is now what the hell can I do about it?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Samsonite? I was WAY off...

Some days I feel like a hypocrite. I find myself doling out sound advice, like the psychological expert. I can read other people, even those I've never met with great skill. Assess things from the outside looking in, and know in an instant what needs to be done. Know they need to move on, give up, keep trying, let go.

Why can't I do this when it comes to my own life?

I know instantly when other people have issues. I am great at concentrating on other people's problems. Perhaps as deference to my own. They say that a psychologist often see's their own because their own personal demons often led them to their career. Maybe I chose the wrong profession.

I sat this morning on the phone with a friend and counseled them on the toxic people they surrounded themselves with. The seeping nature in which this vile and nasty back-story then plunged into every future relationship they had, poisoning every hope of normalcy they aimed for.

As I hung up, I sat dumbfounded. I was no better really. I too held on to so much. I carry the weight of so much that plagued me. Find my self surrounded by the emotional equivalent of Samsonite, heavily laden in pile after pile.

I can give advice, I can see clearly what others have to do, and yet live my own with blinders on. Like a horse on a one way track in a race, going in circles with no finish. Only I have no jockey, I am riding solo.

How do you change? How do you learn to heed your own advice? To see that you have to let go, to move on?

Perhaps if I clone myself, if I have a mirrored self to identify exactly what it is I'm not letting go of, to see what it is I am so afraid of. A part of me knows sure, but is that all? Is there more? If I start will Pandora's Box be opened? A never-ending surge of back peddling emotions that will rise to the surface, and then what?

Maybe letting go of all the baggage is easier when you're just you. But having a carry-on makes it more difficult...

My fear isn't so much for myself, but for my son. To see him hurt, to see him have to deal with whatever I have had to, or he has had to again, would destroy me. Moreover would destroy whoever hurts him because I would make them suffer, undoubtedly.

If I can just let go of the fear, of the jaded misconception that everyone is out to get me, to hurt us, perhaps I would let someone in...maybe let them lend a hand in carry all this luggage, because frankly, it's hard to juggle with just two hands.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Bubble Bursting

I have never claimed to be Saintly. Never marked myself a martyr or painted myself as a modern day Joan of Arc. If and when I screw up, I admit it. I try to fix it. Albeit in my opinion its not that often and is usually in the form of the morons I have chosen to date, but I digress.
The moral of the story is, I don't think I am the world's greatest, but I know I am not a bad person.

I try not to litter. I put the cap back on the toothpaste and I turn off lights in rooms if I'm not in them. I help run the Relay for Life in a local town, and not just as a team member, but as a committee member. I do work on my work's United Way campaign. I donate spare change to Veteran's and local school kids outside of supermarkets. I'm not Satan.

Have I made mistakes? Yes. Pissed people off? Most likely. Done it on purpose? Probably not.

Why is that THOSE are the things you are remembered for? Not the fact that you maybe set someone up with their future husband? Held their hair back when they were sick and no one else gave a shit? NO, they remember that you were a moron with money in your early 20's and have been trying to dig yourself out every since or that you made a few bad decisions. Who hasn't?

They remember you getting yourself into bad relationship after bad relationship. Not, of course remembering being told in Health class in high school that once you've been in an abusive relationship (and yes folks, emotional abuse is sometimes just as bad as physical...and there was some physical I just wasn't always upfront about it) you tend to repeat the pattern. Why? Because you get to a point where you don't FEEL you deserve better than that, they make you feel that way.

So you go from one person to the next, getting beaten down lower and lower into yourself. NO one on the outside really knows what’s going on because you're too afraid to talk about it, and well you have a child now and that's your main focus. And lucky for me I got out of it, smartened up and tried like hell to break said pattern of repetitive douche-baggery.

I wrote about being raped at 16 in an effort to try to educate others about being raped. I tried to cope with it, in a PTSD sort of way in my late teens and early 20's in a promiscuitive manner you may say. I would use men for what I wanted, as they did me, and cast them aside. Sure it may have been wrong, but I had been wronged. But it didn't last long.

I learned from my mistakes. I paid for them MY way. In my life yes. 30 years of all kinds of Hell. Some from my own doing, admittedly so. Mostly though, not so much.
Did I deserve to be raped? NO. Did I deserve to be abused? NO. Did I deserve to struggle? Maybe I did; I was careless and young and stupid with money, I have never denied that. Did I deserve to know what its like to lose a parent so young? NO

And yet, anonymously or not, people cast stones. Throw hollow opinions about what they think they know about anything I am going through. Try to look from the outside through their rose colored glasses.

Sure they have troubles, who doesn't? Life is Life after all and no one ever said it was easy. I watched my best friend go through cancer. I sat by her side through 8 hours of a Chemotherapy she was allergic to. Watched her lose her hair, struggle in her own personal relationships and life, and come out stronger and happier than I have ever known her.

I have my own health issues in a body that thinks its a 65 year old man. 3 strokes in a year, a heart condition, asthma, herniated discs and a pending spine surgery all at the age of 30. I take 9 pills a day. 9 pills. Caring for my own aching body as well as my ailing mothers, a woman who's heart still aches over the loss of my father.
I have had string after string of dysfunctional relationships that have left me wanting more. More for myself and more for my son. I watch everyone around me seemingly happy and successful, and that depresses me. I am not unhappy for them, I am unhappy for myself. And no one can fault me for feeling what I feel.

Through it all I have put the world ahead of myself. Jumped through hoops to make sure that I had done what I could for everyone else, for those I loved, for those I hardly knew. I raised money when I had none. I offered moral support when my own soul was aching. And yet when I write my thoughts, pour my soul the only way I know how, the naysayers find a way to burst that bubble too.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Turn the Dial, Change the Channel...

I'm Tired. Tired of waking up each day feeling like I'm living in a non-80's version of Bill Murray's "Groundhog's Day". Every day is the same. Rolling into each other, repeating over and over, like an old vinyl record skipping over the same boring riff of a mundane song.

Get up, get dressed. Get child up, get him dressed. Argue with child over t-shirt not having preferred member of Autobot/Decepticon character on said t-shirt. Win argument by threatening to slice t-shirt with scissors. Get kid in car, drive to school, then to work. Plunge through day. Rinse, repeat.

Every time I get into my car, I turn on the radio and it seems like it all begins again. Same song, same banter by morning radio DJ's. Bumper to bumper traffic all caused by people's inability to drive in a rush to get to their 9-5 existences. Whoop-dee-freakin-doo.

I'm exhausted by it all. Mentally, emotionally. By the lack of life in my life. I have nothing to look forward too, not really. There are little ripples in my small pond sure. Tiny momentous occasions, but they are all happening to someone else. All celebratory and grand to those they are going on for, and I am truly happy for them, but after all is said and done, they will have affected my life only in the most minimal of ways. A memory, soon to be faint and distant in my mind. Monday will come and it will be Groundhog's Day again.

There is nothing for me in any of it. Nothing that causes butterflies in my stomach. Nothing that makes me stay up at night with giddy anticipation. I don't get a mental countdown of weeks, days, hours or minutes until some momentous occasion I have been looking forward to. No dates to remember. No party, no surprises. No calendars marked with circles or hearts or X's. No joy.

Perhaps it makes me sound selfish, but that’s not exactly the case. I am just tired of the same old same old. I am tired of the same cheesy lines and same dateless weekends. The awful attempts at flirtation that end up as poor attempts at booty calls. Tired of the way things have been the last few years.

I'm tired of the lack of effort. Or maybe of too much effort. Of not trying hard enough or maybe trying too hard. Tired of not caring or caring too much. Tired of being my own oxymoron. Too many days of wasting make-up.

Maybe its not always the world around me, maybe it is. Maybe its both, who can be sure. All I know is that it is draining to over think it all the time. And I know that I do. Making complexities out of the simplest situations because time and time again repetition rears its ugly head. It may not have been the same, but it could have been, and you're not willing to take that chance.

I told you it was exhausting...

Over and over, the song remains the same. The characters change, yet the story line seems eerily familiar. I can't escape it and I can't figure out why. Like I am a magnet for those who suck the life out of me, not just in lovers, but friends, acquaintances, etc. I become nothing more than the carpet they walk all over most of the time.

It used to be different....once. Never boring, exciting and new. Always fun and entertaining. I was wanted and indifferent. I never cared what they thought, who they were. Now I do, why? How did I get here? From not being afraid to take chances to being so afraid to repeat the same mistakes?

Probably because I have so many times. Much easier to live the same boring day over and over again than to risk the hurt I suppose....

Now, how do I change this stupid channel?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Oh, to be a muse...

Like all single people who have seemingly given up on actually ever meeting a decent human being in a real life situation, I have been subjected to the lure of the internet. My friends are all involved or married, their friends I mostly know.

The bar scene is a thing of the past for me, a single mom who is lucky to get out once a month, if that, and also given the fact that the Cheers-esque places I go are literally where everyone knows my name.

What lurks behind my monitor, through my keyboard and across the World Wide Web is a mystery, and could be potential right? Wishful thinking at best.

About a month or so ago I joined this free pseudo "dating" site, because let's face it my dismal financial circumstances are not going to let me into the likes of the more commonly advertised varieties. I took it with a grain of salt being free to the types of people who may be using such a site, but morbid curiosity and the luck of a friend made me do it anyway.

So there I go, writing paragraph upon paragraph what it was I wanted, who I was looking for, trying to weed out the creeps with witty remarks and smart typing. Surely if I write enough about myself they'll take me serious right?


You add a few photos and suddenly the messages start flowing. A modern e-twist on "Hey baby, what's your sign", littered with cheesiness and horrible innuendos. “I like your ‘eyes’ and ‘smile’", when cleavage is plainly visible. Sure you do pal.

What is it about seeing a pair of breasts in a picture that turns even the most intellectual of men into a gorilla? I mean let's face it, they are fantastic, but they're not one of the 7 wonders of the world here. They are there for a purpose, for nurturing and feeding a child, not to dumbfound the entire male gender.

But I digress.

Of course among these men, there are the seemingly sincere, the "nice" guys. There are the Stage 5 Clingers, the stalkers. There are the pompous asses who think that all women should immediately bow to them as sexual slaves. Oh yes there are all kinds.

And through all of it, I find myself feeling more and more like nothing is ever going to happen. I start Remembering previous relationships, the dos the don'ts. Wondering what went wrong with them all. Had it been them? Had it been me all along?

Was I too picky? Too jaded? All trust is gone with me it seems. As soon as I see a flicker of odd behavior, I become callous and detached. I push away. I become a bitch that no one would want to talk to, make it easier for them to leave, harder for them to stay.

Maybe I want to be alone after all, or maybe I just look in all the wrong places. Most times I don't look at all. Those who often express interest in me, I have no interest in. Not that there is anything wrong with them per say, they're just usually not "it".

IT. That feeling that comes when you know a person or a situation is what you want, what is right. And try as I might I can't find it. No matter what methods of trial and error I go through. No matter how right it may look on the outside looking in, I'm left longing.

I listen intently to the lyrical creations of song, to hear soul and heart and feelings emoted in music, inspired by love, or loss of it, and I want it. Bad.
I want to feel what they sing about, to feel like a subject worthy of someone's prose. To be a muse. So loved I am immortalized by radio, poetically played to someone to help them express what they feel to someone else.

Why is it so damn hard to find?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Remembering 9/11

Being from Boston, and knowing the planes took off from our very own Logan Airport, I think our city felt a huge responsibility and sadness for the events of 9/11.

I remember being at work, managing a tux shop that over-looked the highway leading too and from Boston, I was only 10 miles away. I saw cars line up like morning rush-hour traffic to evacuate the city.

I was alone and all I had was a radio to listen to what was happening, like War of the Worlds. I was waiting to find out it was yet another Orson Well's type hoax, modernized to the threats of our current time. Not of alien's attacking, of terrorists.

All I wanted was the OK to leave and be with my family. Make sure everyone I knew in Boston was ok and that none of our buildings were next...since they took off from OUR own backyard unnoticed.

Silent assassins self-taught by nothing more than a video game and armed with box cutters held the fate of our Free World in their hands. No longer were we invincible.

All I could hear was the faint static of the radio, playing what was happening over and over, like they were commentating a sports event. Even their voices trembled. The news had never seen the likes of this, not on our soil.

Seeing the images later and seeing everything that had been described was gut-wrenching. Debris made up of steel and papers and people littering the streets of New York. Total strangers clinging to each other as if they were the only friends they had in the world. Ash covering the ground like snow. Not even Hollywood could have dreamt this up.

I remember the footage of the Pentagon...our own military blindsided and defenseless, left me horrified. What was supposed to be our Mecca of Defense had been shattered.

Now, all those years later, I work in a skyscraper. We run evacuation drills and I have recently been added to the Emergency Response Team to help get people out safely should anything like this happen again. And its scary, knowing that the reason we have to be so prepared, is because 8 years earlier, on the very day, the world stopped, and everything changed forever.

8 years later so much has changed. Airport security; Code Red, Orange, Yellow. The Patriot Act, which not only targeted terrorists, but made even the common citizen a suspect for scrutiny. Everything changed, not just the skyline of New York, losing those towers, those people, it was much more than that.

Our country, once segregated by hate and racism saw moments of unity. People from all walks of life were brought together. They may have lost a loved one, may have witnessed first hand the ungodly sight of a plane followed by another striking; and for one instance they had a common bond. Their love of country superseded their personal grievances.

So now, all this time later, when we pause to remember what happened that fateful day, we not only mourn the loss of those in the towers; the loss of those heroic men and women who as everyone was running out, were running back in to save them; we remember for even the briefest of seconds, that we are one nation. That black or white, male or female, Catholic or Muslim, people are people, and that together we form the United States of America.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

3 Years Gone...

So it's been 3 years since my father died. 3 years. It doesn't seem possible that much time could have gone by without him.

I remember that morning as if it were yesterday, as if it were happening all over again.

Phone rings in the early hours of the morning, waking me. My mother frantic, scared, crying. "Dad's on the way to the hospital, I think he's gone".

Never have I moved faster. Without thought, robotic. All I could think of was getting there, fast as I could. If he was going I HAD to be there, or if he wasn't I HAD to be there. If ever there had been a time where it would have been convenient for Scotty to beam me up, this was it. I needed instant.

But somehow I got myself in the car. I made 2 calls, crying, barely breathing. I called my then boy-friend and I called my best friend. How I made it to the hospital, 20 minutes away in close to 7 I will never know.

I don't remember the drive, the roads. I remember crying, screaming. Begging him to hold on, that I was coming. I would be there. "Don't die Daddy, you can't die" Pounding the steering wheel, clinging to it with every last shred of hope I held in my body.

I don't remember parking. I got there in a blur. A rushed whirlwind of speeding car and racing emotions.

I somehow found my mother, my brother. We were taken into a family waiting area. The minutes seemed like hours. He'd be ok, he HAD to be ok. He was bionic. He had survived the unsurvivable before. He was a cat with 9 lives. He had always beaten the odds.

Then I saw them. The white coat coming towards me, an advocate by his side. I KNEW. It was over, he was gone. These people weren't coming with optimistic words of "everything will be ok", NO. They were coming to tell me that my father was dead. That they did everything they could but he didn't make it.

I collapsed to the floor. My hurt so heavy my legs could no longer hold the burden of my body. Inconsolable. My mother sobbed, my brother went blank. A plethora of emotions in one tiny confined, sterile room.

My sister hadn't even been told he was at the hospital. I called her, I could barely talk. I couldn't tell her on the phone, she too had to be there. "Get to the hospital NOW, it's dad." She had to know. There was no way the waiver in my voice didn't give it away.

Within what seemed like minutes my sister and then-boyfriend arrived. Almost simultaneously. Time ceased to exist. What did time matter? My dad was gone.

As we walked towards the room he lay in, my heart tightened in my chest, was there even air in here because I know I couldn't breathe. And there he lay. Stiff and grey colored, bloated from trauma of resuscitation. He was a big man, and yet he looked so small, so lifeless. He WAS lifeless.

Again I collapsed, and was caught by the nurse who accompanied us to the room. It was like they had to prove to us they did something. Prove to us he was really gone.

I hated them. I wanted them all to feel the pain I felt that day, my mother felt. My siblings. They didn't do enough, they couldn't have. If they had he'd still be here right?

Nothing made sense.

I had to get away from there. Back at my mother's house the phone calls came in droves. Aunts, cousins, friends. Condolences and questions. Somehow I was the one to answer most calls. My mother couldn't function.

The next few days were a blur of emotions and blankness, contradicting each other. I had to remove myself so many times. Pretend I wasn't there.

The constant line of hugging and thanking at his wake. People I never knew, knew too well, or were related to. All coming to say goodbye. The line out the door and down the block. The largest non-police/fireman wake they had seen. Hour after hour of smelling people's various perfumes and colognes as they hugged me, making me nauseated.

The funeral, so many flowers, people. Seeing my dad in a box about to go into the ground seemed an impossible thing to overcome. How could I survive this day? How could anything be normal again with out his silly banter or his annoying whistling through his teeth?

And then, like that it was over. We were expected to go back to normal, but how? Knowing my dad would never see my siblings or I get married. Knowing he would not be there to see Dylan, the light of his life, grow up.

3 years later and I am still there, on that day so often. I listen to Dylan talk about "Papa in Heaven" and as grateful as I am he remembers him, I ache. I hate that he wasn't there to see his first day of preschool, his first "boo-boo" severe enough to deserve stitches. He wasn't there to go to Disney with us for the first time, or to see Dylan start kindergarten yesterday.

He had this ability, my dad, to make everything right. Sure he would scream at you for screwing up in the first place, but he would fix it. Even if all it took was him being there, it helped. He made me feel like things would always be ok. Like things would always work out, because he made me believe it, and he somehow made it happen.

I miss the food stains that adorned his belly after every meal. The chirp of his Nextel every so often, most often calling me to ask how his Dylan was doing. The way his hair was all crazy when he woke up and the sleep marks from his sleep-apnea mask. His belt-and-suspenders combo that was never stylish, but was always him.

Every day I think of him. I talk to him out loud in my car most often, much like the day I yelled for him 3 years ago today. Not a day goes by I don't wish he was here to guide me, or be with Dylan. And on this day, on September 10, I am completely filled with the emotions of his death.

I miss you dad, I hope you're resting in peace.

Robert P. Rossi, Jr. 2-11-51 ~ 9-10-06.....gone but never forgotten. I love you.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Dysfunctional Function

There is nothing like a wedding to make you realize you are alone and completely dysfunctional when it comes to relationships.

I sat Saturday amongst people who on the outside appear to be my friends, people I have known for most of my life. Gone to grade school with, high school. Seen them all get married, one by one. The last pairing just engaged and waiting until they finish school to get married. I sat among the couples and have never felt more isolated in my life.

They talked of their weddings naturally, because of course being at another wedding made them reminisce of what they did for theirs. Talks of honeymoons and miscellaneous romantic getaways they have since taken. Couples talk, that I of course couldn't jump into, so I just sat and sought salvation in my Malibu and Diet, hoping that the hours would just fly by, which of course they didn't.

They would talk of their houses, their hours of yard work together and weekend trips to the Home Depot, like I was watching some modernized version of Ozzie and Harriet, come to life before my very eyes, here in the new millennium.

Then of course once they got to talk about children I had something to chime in here and there about, but I was barely paid attention to. My single-motherhood was no match for daddy-diaper duty and the tag-teamed parenting stories of the "new" mothers in the group. I couldn't relate anymore, I had a kid not a baby. What did I know?

Trip after trip to the thankfully open bar, and still I felt shunned. Never more uncomfortable in a setting, supposedly by those I know the best and have known the longest. My only salvation were those I had once been adopted by in college, a college I didn't even go to. My pseudo-sorority sisters who lovingly took me in, shoes kicked off and danced the night away, leaving their husbands, and thankfully all talk of them over at the bar discussing lord knows what.

I never thought at 30 years old I would be the unmarried one, well maybe unmarried, but not the single one. I never thought I would be envious of the white picket fences and trips to Home Depot. I'm not exactly overly-domestic, but I want that life, that stability, the love, the happiness.

How has it all evaded me? What did I miss? Do wrong? I used to be able to find love...well find men who loved me anyway. I never had fear of the opposite sex or what they thought of me. I never had a self-conscious bone in my body. What happened?

While packing my things to move I found boxes of things from old boyfriends. Letters, dried flowers, balloons, pictures, poems. I used to be sought after. I was once devoted to. And none of that worked out. I would hit that one year bench-mark and hit the road. They weren't Mr. Right, but they were Mr. Right Now, at least they were then.

And again on Saturday, at another wedding, I get to do it all over. Most likely seated with the same couples. Dateless and alone. Listening to how they spent Labor Day weekend weeding their gardens in their happily mortgaged homes, off to home improvement stores with their spouses in tow. What trips to the Cape they took, or vacations they are planning.

I get to sit and tune it all out. Sit and try not to cry again, as I did this past wedding, while I am reminded for hours, that ‘til death, I am alone.
Another dysfunctional function.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


I used to believe in Happily-Ever-After. I was once a bushy-tailed, bright-eyed optimist. Glass half full, every cloud has a silver lining, look on the bright side of life kind of person.

Shocking I know.

I once dreamed whole heartedly of the places I'd go, the things I would do, what goals I would accomplish. Not in a what-if manner, no. I had every intention of making things happen. I was a go-getter. A fast-talking, quick paced, spirited gal who had the world on a string and was sitting on a rainbow (thanks Frankie).

I envisioned that someday my Prince would come, not so much led by horse-drawn chariot, but he would be there nonetheless. Meeting me at the end of an aisle, accompanied by music, surrounded by loved ones and draped all in white on the arm of my father, beaming with pride and eyes glistening with tears of happiness.

And then it all changed. You would think like a shattering glass it had landed and spread cutting and dangerous, you had to watch every step, but no. It was far more subtle. Slowly it died like flowers wilting, losing all signs of the life it once held until it petrifies. Devoid of the brilliant colors it once held, the faint aromas once so pleasant replaced with the pungent stench of the rot that has set in.

Each relationship I held removed a part of my soul it seemed, draining me. Removing parts of my once vibrant self. Poor decisions in the people I surrounded myself with left me with lower and lower self esteem. I was insulted daily, made to self doubt, to dislike myself.

I sank lower and lower into myself. The sarcastic banter had remained, but the carefree optimism gave way to cynical pessimism. No longer was the glass half full, it was half empty. The clouds no longer had a silver lining. There was only the looming black cloud that seemed to follow where ever I went, shadowing whatever I did.

The once confident woman I was, that commanded every room I entered with prowess and dignity, now shrouded in self-consciousness. Who once felt that all eyes were upon me, now sees all eyes only on the young 20 something’s, fresh from college, their perfectly made-up faces and coiffed hair just so, their bodies tanned and nails manicured because they can be. Who wants to look at the older model, stretch marked and squishy, life riddled with more baggage than all of Samsonite?

Dating doesn't just become increasingly difficult it becomes impossible. The few and far between are more an audition, an interview. A pass/fail system as opposed to the once romantic ideals of wine and roses you had known in your younger days.

More and more people you know are settled into relationships, marriage. They may not be perfect, they may not be entirely happy all the time, but they are not alone. You are just reminded by it all of how alone you are.

That once desirable sexual creature you used to be, is extinct. Those encounters, those pseudo passionate romps that made you feel wanted, made you feel sexy once upon a time now leave you feeling horrid. Like a dishrag, used for one messy purpose and then cast aside and forgotten. Leave you longing for more, believing you deserve more. But when does it come?

Years go by, days, hours, minutes. Things around you change. Every step you try to take forward, you feel knocked down 3 more. Family, friends, health, finances, personal struggles all taking their toll, all happening at once. Set back after set back. People reminding you that it could be worse....true yet it could, but people don't know the whole truth about how bad things really are. People have only scratched the surface.

I used to believe in Happily-Ever-After.......and then reality happened. Now I know better.
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