The Occasional Indulgently Introspective Post

I never wanted to be a princess.

butterfly-dress-1520606

Back in the day I never wanted a fairytale dress… but these days I’d wear the HELL outta that one though. Because I know you can be both badass AND a butterfly. (Image by Michael Michaeletti)

I’ve always wanted to be tough, as far back as I can remember. “Me tough toddler with Shirley Temple curls. You no laugh!” When I was 11 I used to check out books from the library about martial arts, and train in my room- push myself and my endurance. (NERD.) When I finally joined a karate class I quit the first one because it wasn’t real enough for my taste. Sparring just for points? Bah! What good is that?! I joined a full contact class. I wanted to learn how to throw a punch and take one. I was 12. I was obsessed with it- and I don’t say that lightly. When I was grounded I was not allowed to go to karate- so I ran  quite a straight and narrow path through my teenage years. (Stupid parents finding perfect motivation for good behavior. Grumble, grumble.) Weird to think karate kept me from drugs and sex and bad influences and smoking. But it did. I never wanted to be a ninja. I wanted to be a warrior. I’d like to think I got there. (I almost got kicked out for excessive force at every tournament I ever entered. I’d be an asshole if I was proud of that. I’m an asshole.)

Pride in that tough aspect of myself was the road back to a healthy self esteem (13-16 sucks when you’re a teenage girl, turns out). It’s still tied up in my body image and self esteem today. I’ve never wanted bigger boobs or smaller feet. I have wanted to get stronger when I’m feeling soft though. Being strong is more important than being thin. Though I dig that too, don’t let me fool ya. I just want to be strong and thin is all. None of that willowy crap for me.

I’ve been wondering why lately. Why did I want to be a warrior, a fighter, so badly?  It seems like such an odd thing now. Did I want power and that’s what my young mind associated it with? Did I feel powerless at some point?

power-is-silent-1536670

Power IS handy. (Image by John Trusler)

I did almost get in a fight once- some girls jumped me and 2 of my friends because one of my friends was going out with one of their ex-boyfriends. (Oh 6th grade- you so crazy! Also, why the hell are y’all mad at me in this scenario?!) I talked my way out of that one by cracking a joke- turns out that’s more than an adequate defense mechanism.(I filed that info away for future use, too) I never got in another fight because I had nothing I was out to prove at that point. I don’t think it was a response to powerlessness in that circle of pissed off cholas that did it though… I’d wanted to be in martial arts long before that. Wanted to be tough before that. I DO think that was the thing that finally made me sign up for a class though.

I’ve always been a bit contrary, so maybe that’s where it comes from. I was raised by a hippy- so being tough and militaristic and tomboyish went against the familial grain. (as did the no drugs thing) But I don’t think thats it- or hell! maybe it is! My 6 year old tells me she doesn’t want to be different. And my response is “That’s so weird! Why would you ever want to be like everybody else?” I never wanted to be like anybody else, so that’s an odd one to try to handle and empathize with for me as a parent. But I try.

I told very, VERY few people I was in karate when I was in middle school and high school. And after. Mostly because “I know karate!” is just about the most pathetic things you could ever possibly say. I bring it up just because I now think… huh. That’s actually kinda weird. Why did my younger self cleave to that? I wonder mostly because my oldest daughter is just about the same age as I was back then. I remember being that age and being so strongly drawn to something… so, will she? What will it be for her? For her sisters?

I never did want to be a princess. I wanted to be a fighter. And I did actually get there. Now, I wanted to be an astronaut and live in Japan too. But well… 1 out of 3 childhood dreams ain’t bad. And at least I accomplished the most useful one, you know?

Advertisements

The Occasional Post for Postings Sake

Don’t talk about laundry. Don’t talk about laundry. You have more to offer the world than the banality of your damn laundry basket.

Do you know I’ve rewashed the same load 3 times now because I keep forgetting to move it to the dryer?

GODDAMMIT WHAT DID I SAY!?!

 

 

(And no joke the baby just puked on me and in her own ear {SKILLS.}. My mind is a wasteland of laundry)

Short Story: The Search

Here’s something I’ve been working on for a while. I keep putting it down and then coming back to it… I figure I should just get it finished so I can move on to the next one finally.

The Search

You would think by the time I found the fourth dead kitten I would have stopped screeching about it; but you would not be correct. I had stopped gagging by the third one though, so that was something. I sat back from digging through the shoes and boxes in the back of my grandmother’s closet and tried to wipe the sweat out of my eyes without dislodging the bandana around my nose and mouth. Or touching my skin with my dead kitten gloves.

You know the most surprising thing to me about this whole mess? The most surprising thing was not my grandmother turning into a shut-in who died suddenly last week. Nor the cat collecting thing. It wasn’t even the state of her house or the desiccated kitten corpses in the back closet. The most surprising thing to me was the rats.

I had asked the demolition guy about that when he told me what was planned for the place. For the most part the decision was based on the hantavirus risk, turns out. From the rats.

“Seriously. Rats? In a house with a lady who never went outside and had thirty cats?”

“Rats are smarter than cats, sir. We’ve set out poison to kill them; can’t have them running to the neighbors when the place comes down on Thursday. But I can tell you I’m not setting foot back in there without a full suit and respirator.”

So that explained the bandana I was sure wasn’t helping. And while the boxes of baking soda I had scattered everywhere did not help with the infectious disease risk it did cut the dead rat and cat pissy ammonia smell a bit. Now every floor and surface was covered in white powder. The coffee table looked like Tony Montana’s. Say hello to my little friends! Or not. Since they’re dead rats and kittens.

It had obviously been different when I had lived here. When I had come as a sad and scared eight year old kid the house had been clean and mostly empty. Back then it was full of bare walls and empty tables. Never warm and cozy, I guess, but stable and quiet; just like my grandmother- back then, at least.

But things fall apart. My twenties had been spent thinking everything does, but I know better now. Not everything falls apart, not always. The hard part, of course, is knowing when it is inevitable and when you could be the one to hold it together. Because some things verge on fate… and some things hinge on our decisions. But which is which… that’s a Hamlet level question, right there.

Looking at my grandmother’s shoes on the closet floor again, I got up and followed my own footprints back through the hallway, the baking soda crunching underfoot. I went into the living room for fresher air. I went out to the back yard when I didn’t find it. I lit a cigarette.

All of the cats were gone now. That was how I had found out about all of this, a news story on Sunday night focusing on the cats. I had watched the video of workers carrying cage after cage of raggedy cats out a familiar looking front door, the anchor’s voice stating the need for foster homes floating over the scene. That had been how I’d found out about my grandmother’s death though it wasn’t the focus of that particular story. That same night I had driven to her house and sat out front by the curb, weird buzzing in my brain. And I had come the next day, and then the following one, armed with a bandana and a case of baking soda. I also came armed with a weird protective numbness floating somewhere near my heart.

Far down on the list of things that I wanted, but the only one that was possible now, was to find at least something of my earlier self here. What that meant, specifically, were my eight school pictures that had hung in the front hallway. My eyes had snapped there immediately when I walked in, but the pictures were gone from the wall. Of course they were. Hours of searching had passed but no luck. I don’t even know why I thought she might have kept them. If she had though, it could mean she had still cared for me and had felt sorry for kicking me out. Finding them could mean that she wished she had found another way, all those years ago. And that would mean she and I could have had one thing in common at least, here at the end.

That horrible night she had told me to get out and never come back and I had screamed back that I would do exactly that. I was in love and it had all seemed worth it. Of course now I could see that all those years of sadness would be started by a guy who would walk away from me forever a few short months later. But of course it had never been about him. It had been about me. Now it was all a week too late- years too late- and the only thing possible was looking for some pictures in a dead woman’s closet.

I finished my cigarette and looked for something to put it in. I grabbed something suitable off the concrete and then raised it up further to take a closer look. Turning it over I saw the cleaner side was a familiar looking dusty pink. How it had gotten out here I had no way to know, but here was the trashcan from the hallway bathroom. This is what my grandmother had always put next to my bed when I was sick. Sometimes she had rubbed my back when I would throw up in it.

I didn’t put my cigarette in it.

As I went back inside I stopped suddenly; there were cat prints in the baking soda on the coffee table. After all the death, filth, cat traps and rat poison, news stories, hantavirus, and who knows what else… after all of that there was still a cat here. A cat had survived all of it. I smiled to think some smart little creature had so easily avoided me as I moved around the house on my search.

I opened the windows, pushed the screens out, and left the back door open. Somehow I knew the cat would make it out before the place came down.

All I took was the trashcan.

Captain’s log, Stardate… Maternity Leave.

Man. Remember when I said nesting was awesome and I loved cleaning the house? Well let me tell you that must be placenta related because these days… Let’s just say I look at this mountain of laundry and decide I truly MUST get another blog post done. Priorities.

The laundry… it’s, it’s amazing. And to all y’all who have never had a baby before, know this: it isn’t the baby’s clothes that are so overwhelming it’s the fact that they spit up on EVERYTHING. EVERYONE. EVERYWHERE. The bibs do nothing.

MY-EYES!-THE-GOGGLES-DO-NOTHING!

THE BIBS DO NOTHING!

These little shits even hold out until you finally give up on the burp rag and THEN puke on you. I’ve worn shirts that have lasted less than a minute. I’ve had to wear a god damned button down because I was out of teeshirts(firstworldproblems). Or you just forget EVERY TIME that a burp rag would be smart, and can you not plan ahead for once in your damn life, woman! GAH! Go change your shirt.

Stupid baby sucking away braincells and making me write about laundry on my first blog post in 2 weeks… (They make the best scapegoats. Have one!)