Sunday, June 21, 2015

Sunday Confessions: Embarrass

Izabel Laxamana.

You might now know her name, but there is a chance you know her story. On Friday, June 5th the 13 year old jumped from a vehicle she was riding in, off a bridge and onto an interstate.  In the weeks previous, a video of her father cutting off her hair had been leaked online and has the Internet up in arms about public shaming of children as discipline.

I don't understand this new trend where parents feel they need to make a YouTube video of themselves disciplining their children.  I don't understand why dealing with your child's behavior needs to go viral, and it makes me wonder what is more important to the parent: social media kudos (because some parents agree with their actions) or discipline.

While my memory of the situation might be different than what actually happened, I distinctly remember being grabbed by the arm and forcefully removed from the room for a growled admonishment behind closed doors after telling another child to "shut up" at my birthday party and then being forced to apologize.  I was embarrassed because I was threatened and forced to cry before being sent back to apologize.  I'm 29 years old and this event that happened on my 6th birthday still makes my stomach churn with the humiliation.  I should not have been made to cry and feel threatened for telling another child to shut up, though I wholeheartedly agree that I should have been made to apologize.

The thing is... I'm not wholly against kids feeling ashamed of their behavior in public.  I'm not saying that I agree with the guy who videos himself running over his daughter's cell phone with the lawn mower.  I'm also not agreeing with the guy who made his kid wear a sandwich board declaring him a liar and a thief. What Izabel Laxamana's father did was not discipline.  Cutting off a girl's hair for partying or inappropriate social media interactions is abuse, plain and simple.

I support public "shaming" when it fits the crime, and by that I mean things like the kid who goes around on social media bullying and degrading others should have to post a public apology before having their electronics taken away or their accounts cancelled until they can behave appropriately.  A kid who disturbs an entire classroom with their behavior should have to apologize to the entire class.  If you should your ass, you should have to show your face to apologize...and if you've ever had to do that, you know how embarrassing that is in and of itself and I believe it is fair.

But this thing where parents do things to humiliate a kid that are completely unrelated to the offense?  Dragging out dirty laundry completely unrelated to the situation?  What the fuck is that?


Sunday, June 14, 2015

Sunday Confessions: FOR


Sometimes, it is when we have so many decisions to make that we find answers to feelings or problems we struggle with.

Of course, that doesn't necessarily make the decisions themselves any easier.

I'm struggled lately. I have felt burnt out. I have felt exhausted.  I've struggled to make decisions. I haven't wanted to blog.

I'd love to be able to blame my depression or my back pain for why I haven't wanted to do anything or take joy in things that brought me so much happiness before, why I've struggled to find purpose in the things that I do.

Over the last few months I've lost somebody very dear to me.  Sometimes, I think the death of a relationship hurts more than the actual death of a person because somehow their presence, the mere thought that they're still on this Earth, gives a kind of strange hope that things could be the same, or better, or different somehow in a way that would work.  Sometimes, when you've been forced into accepting the circumstances your heart struggles for awhile.

I'm the kind of person whose head always let's go first.  When it is time to do those things we do for the people we care about, my heart screams "Do it!", it's throbbing cries echoing inside my ribcage while my head looks at the situation, crosses it's arms, raises an eyebrow and says "what for?"

Normally, I let my heart lead.  I do this until my heart begins to notice that it spends more time championing from inside a ribbed cage than it does feeling grateful to be held inside lest it fly away.  Then, eventually, it stops raging and yearning and when the time comes it doesn't bother getting excited anymore because it doesn't seem to matter. 

Eventually, I just couldn't try anymore because I felt like it didn't matter what I did... I wasn't going to be given anything in return.

It seems I've grown to feel the same way about much of my own life.  I had a discussion with a friend the other day about something I've been thinking about doing for awhile and eventually I realized that I've struggled to commit because I can't see what for.

Then I realized, this is how I've been operating for awhile. Except, the reason hasn't been me. 
The answer to "what for?"  hasn't been "because I want to" or "because I like it" or "because it makes me feel good" or "because it makes me happy" in entirely too long. 

I've been discouraged and dissuaded from doing things because I've struggled to see the point. I've struggled because I've felt like what I do only provides good for others.  My "what for?" has been "meh, why not?" for too long.
I need to get back to making the answer to "what for?" be "FOR ME!".


Sunday, June 7, 2015

Sunday Confessions: Anonymous

Anonymous.

I love the idea.

It was the original idea behind More Than Cheese and Beer.  To be anonymous and say all the things I really wanted to say about whoever and whatever I wanted to say it about.

It is the reason I love leaving my hometown, being in a place where no one knows me and I don't care what they see me do because I'll probably never see them again.

Sometimes, I wish there were more places I could just be anonymous.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Sunday Confessions: Situation

June 5th, 2016

Dear Diary,  Day 1:

"Dear Diary"?  Geez, how very adult of me.  Even when I have a nice, fresh start I always manage to fudge it up with something.  I know it isn't safe to talk to anyone about my situation and so I intend on writing my story here.  It might be nice if I felt like I was writing a letter to a friend, but at the end of the day...maybe I just need to focus on myself and not feel like I owe any explanation to a person, fictional or otherwise. After all, feeling that way was what was wrong with my old life. 

Today is Day 1 of my new life, of working towards being the person I actually want to be.  Day 1 is always a tough place to start.  Do I tell you about the past?  Do I tell you about what is behind me or do I focus on today and what I want for tomorrow?  I never know where to begin... 

My name is Paige and today is my birthday.  My real, birth-given name isn't Paige.  Today also isn't really my birthday so much as it is my Rebirth Day, the day I chose as my birthday on the Florida Driver's License in the bag sitting on the chair next to me.  I am not from Florida.  In fact, I've never even been to Florida.  Florida is where I'm headed.  

At the moment, I am in a little coffee shop filled with hipsters wearing stupid hats.  I'm sure I stick out like a sore thumb, but no one seems to really take notice of me and for the moment I'm comfortable with the most amazing chai tea and a blueberry scone.  It's the first time I've eaten anything since I left where I was raised, and this is the most relaxed I've been since I don't know when.

Honestly, any place would be more comfortable than the damn car I've been driving for the last 10 hours.  It isn't pretty and it isn't as luxurious as my old car, but it's gotten me nearly 600 miles away from the hell that used to be home so I can't really complain.  The price was right, the guy took cash and didn't ask too many questions and judging from the cannabis I saw peeking through the wood fence that surrounded his place I doubt he'll do much talking to the police if they come around.  I'm maybe a day's drive away from the beach yet, but I'm too exhausted to go on right now.

I am now sporting a very hot pink, angled bob.  I always wanted hair like this, and a new life means new hair.  I hit the road sometime after dark last night when the neighbors wouldn't see me leave, or would at least be too drunk to notice.  I threw the plastic bag of my hair and the boxes of dye in the trash bin of the apartment complex on the other end of the block.  Anyone looking for the girl with long brown hair and the conservative sweater won't look twice at me. 

I figure I have a week, maybe even two, before anyone notices I'm gone.  The longest mom has ever gone without calling is thirteen days, but I'm willing to bet after this last argument it will be longer.  My brother and sister never call.  I gave two weeks notice at my job and I've spent the last few days packing things up.  I paid my rent for the month and gave my landlord notice that I would be vacating in thirty days.  My loose ends are tied up and no one has any reason to suspect anything might be wrong.

Yesterday, I did all of the things I've wanted to do for so long after I slept in late in my bed for the last time.  I closed my bank accounts.  I cancelled my credit cards and cut them into tiny pieces.  I cleaned out the last remaining food in the house, Chinese take-out from the night before.  I cut my hair and bleached it, then dyed it bright pink. I deactivated my Facebook account, and scheduled my cell phone to cancel at the end of the month.  All of the things I couldn't bear to part with or sell were already packed in clearly labeled boxes in the living room, when the landlord goes in to clean the apartment for the next tenants he will find my note explaining that I've left and to call my mom to come get my remaining things.

I've never traveled so light in my life and it is kind of liberating.  I took nothing with me except some clothes, my cats, and the money I got from selling my things and saving over the past year and a half.  All of my identification, all of my photos, everything that was me and my life before today is in a box waiting for my mom.  I sold everything from my TV to the tennis bracelet my high school sweetheart bought me for my 18th birthday.  I wonder what he would think if he knew I'd sold it.  Not that it matters what he thinks anymore.  Hell, it doesn't matter what anyone back there thinks anymore. 

It doesn't matter.  If it did, maybe I wouldn't be running away from a life that never served me.  Isn't that what they say?  "Get rid of everything that doesn't make you happy and focus on what does" or something like that.  Well, that's what I'm doing.  The situation "back home" is one that never really served me.  I spent so much time asking myself "Is this really my life?".  I know my family loves me by genetic default, but the truth of the matter is that my own mother doesn't even like me as a person.  My sister has her pseudo family of friends she prefers to her real family; It doesn't matter I guess, she's happy and there's no place for me anymore.  My brother is just humiliated by us all, and I don't really blame him for feeling that way...after all, I'm the one running away so who the hell am I to judge?  I didn't have many friends to lose.  All I really left behind was a town full of history, too familiar places, some people who think they know me, and this idea of a person I was supposed to be but could never quite live up to. 

I experienced a moment of doubt when I hit the state line.  I actually pulled over, cried and thought long and hard about turning around.  I left a key under the flower pot next to the door.  I could walk back into my house, pick up my phone and cancel the cancellation, unpack and find a new job.  But I pushed on, and here I am nearly 600 miles away.  The prison that held me is still there if I want to return to it, I don't know if that thought is bothersome or comforting. 

I suppose there is a kind of safety in the familiar.  I could have stayed there in the same mundane routine, in the same place, with the same people who would always think and feel the same thing about me.  I would have been safe.  It seems like the entire town was exactly like my dysfunctional family: they can abuse you and tear you apart, but everyone else had better treat you with respect or else.  I would have been safe so long as I let them tear me down, treat me the same way they always have, and do all the things they think I should be doing. I would have been safe if I would have been compliant and the person they wanted me to be.

Which is why I had to run.  As sick and sad as it sounds, I had to run away from the person I was and  the life I was born into.  If I didn't leave, I would constantly be at war with the people who are supposed to love me over the person they think I ought to be - someone I have no intention of being.  If I didn't leave, there's a chance I might have ended up going back to the relationship that ruined my life and my reputation.  I don't know how I could stay in that town where I lived in fear every time he drove past my house and was forced to hold my head high as the biddies in the beauty shop held their magazines up next to their faces to talk to each other in hushed tones about what they'd heard about me.  Our relationship was unhealthy.  I'd given in and done things he'd wanted me to do because I thought if I pleased him, it would make things better.  In the end, he used the things he'd asked me to do for him as means to shame me even though his behavior was what was shameful.  If I didn't leave, my choice was to return to the man who abused me, or live with the family who shaped me into a woman who would take the abuse.

But this... what am I doing?  I bought a new identity.  I changed what I could about my physical person.  I've changed almost everything I could change about myself to pursue what?  I don't even know who I am because I left behind the person I've always been.  I don't know if Paige is the person I've always wanted to be. What if I try and chase this dream down and it is nothing like what I imagined? What if the decision to run for another life leads me to a life that is even worse?

I'm headed for the beach.  I've never seen the ocean and I figure seeing something you've never seen before and going someplace you've never been is the right place to start a new life.  So that is what I'm doing.  Maybe changing my name was a drastic move.  I don't actually expect anyone to come looking for me, but if they do they wont find me.  I wasn't physically in danger, I just need to feel like I'm far enough away from what was that I am safe from not being that person ever again.  I just can't take the chance that I can't escape a past and a town that never really fit me anyway.  I need to try and make a go of my life the way I want it.   I don't know if the cage I was held in was of my own creation or the creation of the community that surrounded me, but I need to try to do it my way now.  And the first step is getting to the ocean.... 


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Sex and Ding Dongs

When I was 19 years old, I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I came home for summer vacation after my first year of college no less confused than I was when I had left for the small University of Wisconsin campus with the assurances from family and revered high school teachers that it might take some time but I would figure it out.

Over the summer, however, I decided to take a "process of elimination" approach to my future.  I was going to take some time off from my studies to experience full time employment and learn what I didn't want to do career-wise.  This plan also included moving out of my childhood home and into my first apartment with my high school sweetheart.

I don't recommend this approach to anyone.  Once you get your own place and start working to support yourself, it's really hard to stop working to support yourself.  As far as that boyfriend, we were barely halfway into our lease when I lost my job and three days later I found myself sitting at the dinner table by myself after he didn't come home from work.  There was no argument, no "Dear John" letter, and no phone call; He just didn't come back to the apartment for two weeks until one day when he snuck back to our apartment and took clean clothes.

I was devastated.  I couldn't understand how someone I'd known since we were 5 and had been one of my best friends for years could do such a thing to me.  The break up I could have handled, the heartbreaking and cowardly way he did it was what hurt. 

During this time, I grew more and more disenchanted with apartment living.  What seemed like a magical two bedroom apartment with a huge closet and a patio turned into a place where all I found was annoyance.  The walk to my apartment was always a scent based guessing game of "What the hell are they cooking?"  I would come home every night and find garbage in my patio from the three apartments above mine, including someone's used q-tips once.  My upstairs neighbor had a toddler by day, and a screeching, stomping little demon by night.

Needless to say, I struggled to sleep at night.  Many nights I sat on the back patio chain-smoking surrounded by other people's discarded cigarette butts while I wrote all my hurt feelings into a journal, always hoping to see his taillights headed for the back parking lot. When I would finally crawl into bed at night, I would lay there for hours with the windows open, imagining I heard his car on the road or the door unlocking.

I've come a long way since then.   I reached a point where I was able to wish him well in my own way.  I was taken back to that time the other night, however, when he sent me a Facebook Friend Request (DENIED!) and my dear friend Jenniy from Climaxed shared a cute little message she received on an online dating site:


Poor Jerimiah needs a clue in so many ways.  Apparently, I also needed a clue because I had no idea what "skeet skeet skeet" meant.  It was while I was making fun of poor Jerimiah that I suffered a mental flashback and suddenly I was back in my huge new bed by myself, in the dark, listening for my ex to come home.  It was a warm, quiet October night and I had left the bedroom window open.  I was again struggling to sleep, and just as I was closing my eyes and slowly drifting off to sleep I heard my loud neighbor from upstairs:

"Oh yeah. Suck it baby."

Yes, the guy upstairs actually uttered those words like every cliche Dom, Dick and Hairy that ever graced the x-rated screen.  I was too irked at having to hear the subtle details of coupling activities when I was struggling to get adequate rest, not to mention struggling with a broken heart, and I got up and slammed the window shut before going to bed.  I didn't see or hear from the upstairs neighbor again until they dropped an open (and full) can of beer off their balcony onto my stuff as I was moving out.

I'd almost completely forgotten about that moment and that night until Jenniy shared the message from Jerimiah, who at the age of 33 still refers to his genitalia as a "badass weiner" and "a fucking awesome ding dong".  It was as I was asking myself what kind of grown man refers to his man meat as a ding dong when I heard a voice in my head say:

"Oh yeah. Suck that fucking awesome ding dong, baby".

Unfortunately, the fit of giggles I found myself in did nothing for intense craving for Hostess Snack Cakes that followed. That being said, if you find me laughing hysterically in the snack cake aisle it's probably because I'm standing in front of the ding dongs.
 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sunday Confession: LOST


Sometimes, you just need to put things in a special place.  A special place where you'll remember it when you remember to buy batteries, or remember what it goes to, or where you'll remember to grab it and return to a person or place.

It can be in a dresser drawer, in a box, under something, between something... Somewhere you don't normally put stuff so you won't possibly forget and lose it.

This... This is how so many things I need end up lost.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Sunday Confession: Complicated




Simplicity.  

Lately, I find myself craving it. 

I find myself thinking of getting rid of so many things. Things I've held onto and I no longer know why. 

My apartment reflects a mind cluttered with things its time to let go of.  My relationships suffer held onto hurts, some suffer from being held onto when they just should've been let go.  So much of my life is complicated by things I've refused to let go, things I've held on to, things I've outgrown. 

Perhaps what I'm craving isn't simplicity, just something less complicated.