heartache

Closure

heartache_largeA friend of mine contacted me to tell me that a former boyfriend from 37 years ago contacted her recently.    A long four-hour telephone conversation revealed that he isn’t happy with his life and admitted that really, he hasn’t been since they broke up in the mid seventies.    They only dated for a few months–he was her ‘transition boyfriend”, but he never knew that and I don’t think it would have mattered if had an inkling.   He loved this woman, warts and all and knew what she didn’t:  that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her.

And he would–from a distance and it was with a view that was no better than a few stolen glances over the shoulder of  his rebound wife.    Yes, irony of ironies, the “transition boyfriend” married his “transition girlfriend”.    Of course his marriage to her would be unhappy, for the most part.  Oh, there would be glimmers of happiness; a joyous birth or two, but in the back of his mind,  piercing through every smile would be those damned feelings for ‘her”...THEE girlfriend.  The one that got away.

My friend is currently in a relationship herself.   She says she’s in love.   He’s a man she maneuvered into her life so the move from wife to divorcee would be seamless.

“I could NEVER ever t involved with (insert name here) again.   Ewwwwwww!”

I’ll lay odds that as her marathon conversation with this specter from her past winded down, visions of a life him in some form or fashion crossed her mind.    How could it not?    Name me one normal red-blooded sentient woman who couldn’t let her mind roam down the back alleys of her imagination as she’s being told she was/is the love of someone’s life.   That her absence has been felt every day for almost four decades.   That losing her was and always will be his life’s singularly biggest regret.

I had one of those heartaches.  I had one of those relationships that I let haunt me.   I allowed a simple, acne-faced 15-year-old boy who broke up with me four days into my Freshman year of high school dictate me emotionally for 39 years.       He was there, always present, seething in soul , gripping like a vice.      In some form or fashion, he was there on every date, every uttered “I love you”, every break up, every holiday.

After high school, he went straight to work.   No college for him.    He was a simple guy.   He found a job in the oil patch and never looked back.    He married a women he met in a small town where he’d landed a job;  they married and had kids and last I heard, he had a couple of grandchildren added to his family tree.

Bully for him.

This was the guy who broke up with me before every major gift giving holiday.    I could always count on heartache two to three days before Christmas, my birthday and Valentine’s Day.    Easter,too.   Once, I accused him of being a Jehovah’s Witness, a reference that moved his bangs as it flew over his head.   Yet, I loved the little SOB.   He was my first boyfriend; my first love and at age 12, no less.     In the two years that we were together, he gave me a  yellow smiley face lollipop (which I kept as long as I can remember), a small black pocket  comb with greasy kid stuff still in it  , a very well-worn green and white cap with just as much greasy kid stuff in the inner lining, but the pièce de résistance????     He gave me a corroded silver-colored ring (I’ve yet to find the particular metal ANYWHERE on the table of elements) with green colored stones and three were missing.    He explained that the ring was in his jeans pocket when an impromptu game of backyard football broke out in the neighborhood.

As for the corrosion?   I shudder to think what might have started THAT scientific  process.     He found it, I’m sure but what did that matter?   I didn’t care.    HE gave it to ME.

I was lucky in that I was able to talk to him a few years ago.     A few weeks of phone calls, that’s all.    In that time, I was able to ask him why he left me so suddenly, without a real explanation and without ever really talking to me and he told me that he did so because I was in high school and would probably want to start dating and based on my upbringing he assumed that meant dinners and movies which took time and money–both of which he little of—and he was too embarrassed to tell me.   So, he did the sensible thing and broke up with me.

I can remember going silent at the end of the explanation, the reality that I was devastated by reverse snobbery was sobering.    I don’t remember what was said or even how much longer we talked, but I do remember this overwhelming feeling of release immerse me.    When we last spoke I had no money, only a half ass job, no boyfriend, certainly no modeling contracts or Academy Awards, the Pulitzer had eluded me, as did motherhood and marriage,  but even in the face of all those perceived negatives, I had one bright, shiny positive:  I had an answer to the single most pressing question of my life.

It made up for all the deficits during those holidays 43 years ago.  It was the best thing; the ONLY real thing of value he ever gave me:   the gift of closure.

This, I explained to my friend, is pivotal.     She should meet with this guy from her past that still holds the torch for her or at the very least, send him an email or something that could free him of the hold she has had on him.

“He told me he’s miserable and his marriage is nothing more than a joyless business arrangement.  He’s not happy because it was never what he wanted.” 

Of course it failed.   He settled.

Then, I explained it to her as I saw it, from someone who was haunted by a lost love for so long.  Emotional closure is vital for anyone who’s loved too long and all alone.    My God, is THAT a horrendous way to exist.

Sometimes it takes a gentle shove….a nudge….sometimes a major kick in the ass, but easing the pain is so important.   Not that it’s my friend’s responsibility,  not that it was my ex boyfriend’s either, but being told the real reason–even though it hurt a bit—was incredibly worth all risks, all feelings….everything.      I could stop the doubting;  the incessant wondering how and why.

But the truth is,  I was a lot like Dorothy Gale of the Oz and Kansas Gales.    I had the power to free myself of my emotional  enslavement all along, but I never really knew it.   Perhaps, I did but it served a good purpose.  I used it like a protective layer;  an impenetrable fortress.    Nothing gets near me;  I am safe.     But confines like that also allow nothing in either.   But I used it for as long as I used it–it kept me from getting too close to a lot of people.   So when I finally got the answer to a question that became rhetorical, 39 years ago, I let go.   I suppose it was time.

My life has changed since the  big release, in that he’s really no longer in it.    I rarely think about him anymore.  Oh, he’ll creep in when a song comes on that sweeps me back to 1972, but only in a certain fondness.    I don’t revisit unless a memory is triggered, and lately that trigger has a very secure safety on it.    As for the smiley face sucker?   I kept that for a long time, but eventually mice or other critters who forage storage spaces for food, destroyed it  and I would imagine the comb and cap met the same fate.   The ring, you ask?   I still have it.     It’s in a jewelry box somewhere and there it sits, just as it has for the past 42 years but I would imagine these days, it contains a few less green stones and the curious setting is now probably a lovely rust color.

The idealization of who he was and what he had all those years ago has long dispersed. And that is a very, very good thing;  a process that has taken a very long time.   I am free.  I now have a few well sorted  memories  that I keep in a memory bouquet.  I comprised it like one would order off a menu at a Chinese restaurant:   I’ve taken a few  memories from 1971, a couple from 1972 and one or two from 1973 just to complete the triad of years.

“Please set him free”, I begged my friend.    “You have to do for him what he can’t for himself.  Write him, phone him, telegraph, send a carrier pigeon.   How you do it is your choice, but please, just do it.”

She replied, “Why should I?   I  owe him nothing.  It was a lifetime ago!”

My answer came  surprisingly quick.

I told  her when spend most of your life, loving someone  in your past and it’s that all-encompassing love that burns as it cools, races as it rests; leans as it stands tall and straight, you have no traditional concept of time.   Any prisoner will tell you a 42 year sentence  takes forever to endure, but amazingly, when you look back on it, it  takes all of 42 seconds relive.   And in that time, which transpires quickly then slowly, then back again,  all you can think about  is being free from its clutches.

Freedom.   And  sometimes, for the damnedest of reasons,  freedom isn’t a choice….. but in some cases,  it can certainly be a gift.

She assures me, he’ll be receiving her email soon.

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Send In The Clouds. Well Maybe, They’re Here

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Does the vile, nasty, coarse cloud formation give you an idea as to my mood as of late?

It’s been an extremely difficult month.   I’ve got 29 days left before I turn 50 and I’ve been suffereing with birthday angst and anxiety.  Plus, I’m still awaiting word from that job I applied for amonth ago and to be honest, I’m going stir crazy.   Utterly; madly.

This particular entity will announce their decision later this week.   I’m praying to gods I don’t even believe in order to land this job.   I actually want it far more than I need it.   Besides, nothing else has panned out and trust me, I’ve tried.    I’ve applied for 123  jobs since a  post Hurricane Ike budget forced the three radio station cluster for which I worked, to downsize significantly and let’s be honest, can any corporation in these lean times, keep a full-time comedy writer and commercial copy writer  on their  staffs?  

And if that isn’t bad enough, I’m running low on crap to write and I’m not feeling my best. I’ve the worst insomnia, I’m tired, cranky and I’m crying over tampon commercials. I have no appetite (thanks God!) and due to a sinus infection I’ve had for 18 years, Ican’t really taste anything.  My t-buds are are on full consumptive anarchy..

Wanna hear the latest malady???

I’ve got inexplicable perspiration. And I can no longer blame menopause for that.  In fact, parts of my body that shouldn’t have sweat glands are now sweating profusely. And my body is emitting sweaty weirdness.  Is perspiration supposed to ball up  upon touch?  I ask because I think I’m sweating mercury.

But that’s not the worst of it—my sciatica is killing me, I can’t sit for extended periods, I get the gas even when I walk by food, rent in Boca Raton is now through the roof and my son, the doctor, never calls me!!!!

My God, I’m old…….and Jewish!!!

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Before I sit shiva for my youth, I wanted to come up with a much better post before I completely go underground in the next several days or until I learn whether I need to get all my business suits, now serving as a cat day bed, cleaned and pressed.

I struggled to come up with a decent Monday post and then I remembered that a  post I’d written a few years ago.   I stumbled upon it an another sight and thought I’d  republish it with updated answers.

So that’s what I did and  what you’ll read below is an updated version.   Yeah, I stole it…so what?  My pilfering occured two years ago…exceeding the statute of limitations.   Besides, I needed content and I’m too tired to give a shit.

Here goes:

1. What bill do you hate paying the most?

  • Bill Tucker. He’s my accountant. I hate that greedy son of a bitch.

2. Where was the last place you had a romantic dinner?

  • Third trimester; en utero

3. Do you regret losing your virginity to who you lost it to?

  • Yeah, after I took that “unfortunate tumble” off my bike, my piece of shit Schwinn 10-speed never called. Bikestard!!!!!

4. If you could go back and change one thing what would it be?

  • I would never have ever gotten involved with a particular male individual. He is and always will be my biggest regret.

5. Name of your first grade teacher?

  • Mrs. Doris Garner.  For some reason, I remember she always smelled like pickles. 

6. What do you really want to be doing right now?

  • I really want to be in a position to explore the use of new personal pronouns in my life…such as “ours, us and we”. I’d like to explore these possibilities while all cozied up somewhere with the man of my dreams and our dogs in our comfy, warm mountain accessible home, where on those rare occasions when I’m not perfectly embodying the metaphor of “being in love”, I’m writing the ASS out of comedy.

7. What did you want to do when you were growing up?

  • An almost 50 year old unemployed, old maid crone.    Mission fucking accomplished.

8. How many colleges did you attend?

  • Five by the time I finally graduated. Yeah, I was an educational drifter.

9. Why did you choose the shirt that you have on right now?

  • It stunk less than the other shirts piled high atop Mount Laundry.

10. What are your thoughts on gas prices?

  • “Damn!!! Gas prices are high!!”

11. If you could move anywhere and take someone with you where would it be?

  • Seville, Spain…Estes Park, Colorado, Montreal or I’d make a fabulous homestead deep in the Texas Hill Country. Sometimes, the Hills call me like a siren. It feels like home there. Freshwater streams and arroyos. Bluffs that over look crystal clear spring fed creeks. Indian country. Ceder and Mesquite. I am home in the Hills.

I2. First thought when the alarm went off this morning?

  • I haven’t slept since 2003. I would commit heinous crimes if only I could actually be awakened by the harsh, discordant sound of my alarm going off

13. Last thought before going to sleep last night?

  • I didn’t fall asleep but I remember feeling down around by my side and thinking, “Is that a pillow or my left one?”

14. Favorite underwear?

  • My jock

15. Favorite thing about the opposite sex?

  • Despite their pedantic pleas to the contrary, men are so very easily played.   We always….ALWAYS  know when you’re lying.  As for why we don’t call you on it?    I don’t know–maybe as to not bruise your delicate egos.    Maybe we hate confrontation and I know for a fact that when we catch you in your lies (and when lying, gentlemen,  please learn some real thespian skills.   Don’t stand there slack jawed, eyes diverting right and left and begin every sentance with a Sling Blade utterance of “Uh”)  we stuff this knowledge in  our mental quivers and often keep  our mouths shut, eager to either trip you one day when you’ve forgotten all that we’ve remembered OR…we just want to see how far you’ll carry on this charade.  But trust me, we know.

16. What errand/chore do you despise?

  • Anything remotely involving housework…or movement

17. If you didn’t have to work, would you volunteer?

  • Yes and I do. At least, once a month.

18. Get up early or sleep in?

  • How about “never sleep”? On those rare occasions when I actually get some shut eye, I am a ridiculously early riser.

19. What is your favorite cartoon character?

  • Gossamer, the big, orange tooth-shaped, Chuck Taylor High-Tops wearing monster on Bugs Bunny

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  • Witch Hazel, the cute little brujita, also from Bugs Bunny. Every time she moved, bobby pins fell out of her hair.

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  • and Ralph Bakshi’s “Mighty Mouse” from the early .1990’s.      HILARIOUS!!!

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20. Favorite thing to do at night with a guy or a girl?

  • I love to cuddle in bed, soft kisses are exchanged. Laughing is a must. There must always be laughter. There must also be a mutual exchange of love. I want to say “I love you” and must hear it said back to me. Oh yeah— it’s fun with guys, too!

21. Have you found real love yet?

  • Interesting question. I thought I knew real love once. I was just a kid then, but it was very real. At least, it felt that way. As for now? Everything I currently feel can only be classified as a deep abiding affection. Or infection. Either way, it’s curability is in doubt.

22. When did you first start feeling old?

  • At 32 actually.  I broke 11 major support bones in a nasty car weck and I’ve creeked and cracked ever since.   But when I turned 45, my sound effects of my body were suddenly accompanied by pain.  Aging can be a cruel, cruel mistress.

24.. Your favorite lunch meat?

  • That would be meats…plural. Ham and turkey, Big Daddy!

25. What do you get every time you go into Costco?

  • Hives. Went with my sister once. A million shoppers hurriedly  gone from one aisle to the other.   It  remdinded  me of a slide of  viral Herpes critters teeming teeming under a microscope.   I walked out of there needing a drink AND Acycolvir.

26. Beach or lake?

  • I’ll go with a lake 90-percent of the time but I do love deserted beaches on cold, dark winter afternoons

27. Do you think marriage is an outdated ritual?

  • Amazingly enough, no.   I eventually plan to fail at it at least once before I die.

 

  • 28. Do you own property?

        •   Do migrant workers count?

29. Favorite movie you wouldn’t want anyone to find out about?

  • The video of my proctological scope exam. Set design was horrible and the landscape scenes I hear, were pretty gross. Costuming was shitty and a rectal fissure was completely miscast as a polyp. Lighting was abysmal and there wasn’t enough “B Roll” used, either.  Otherwise, it was magical….downright “Charmin” even.

31. What’s your drink?

  • Ice cold beer makes me smile. A good Pinot Grigio is fine too and when the spirit hits me, there’s nothing like Dewars and soda.

32. Cowboys or Indians?

  • Neither, give me a Yap Islander any day.

33. Cops or Robbers?

  • Ponzi Schemers

34. Who from high school would you like to run in to?

  • No one. I’m still close to those who mattered.

 

35. What radio station is your car radio tuned to right now?

  • KHMX (MIX 96.5)

36. Norm or Cliff?

  • Woody

37. Grey’s or The Office?

  • The Office, I guess though I’ve only seen a few minutes of it. Never seen Grey’s Anatomy. Didn’t have to; I read the book. (Anyone? Anyone??? Any med students out there?? My God, I’m ALL alone!)

38. Worst relationship mistake that you wish you could take back?

  • No need to name names. I’ve had two lousy ones and one of those was sinisterly bad.   They should both know who they are.   We share this tragic trifecta of mutual regret. That’s all that matters. It’s dead. Buried. Never to be brought up again for fear of rampant skin necrosis.

39. Do you like the person that sits directly across from you at work?

  • Sorry, don’t work.

40. What famous person would you like to have dinner with?

  • Steven Colbert, but he’d have to cover up those damn weird elfin looking ears of his

41. Indoors or Outdoors?

  • Subterranean

42,. Have you ever crashed your vehicle?

  • I had a relative minor  fender-bender last November in which a dumpster filled with Hurricane Ike debris, jumped out in the roadway and struck my car resulting in more than eight thousand dollars in damage.   I wasn’t hurt physically but I my ego was bruised.   I’m a member of a service that provides mobile psychotherapy.   They drive a souped up, four wheel couch with a metal box of Kleenex welded to the the steel coffee table.   Fortunately, they came to my rescue and were forced to use the “Jaws of Strife” to remove me and all post related stigma from the driver’s seat.

      •   43. Have you ever had to use a fire extinguisher for its intended purpose?

  • Why yes, of course, silly!! How do you think I know dinner is ready???

44. Last book you read?

  • I seriously can’t remember. I don’t even reconcile my checkbook. I bank intuitively. I like risk, I like to gamble. You know, I live close to the edge.  I go up to an ATM machine, put in my card and PIN and expect to see all cherries appear on the screen when I play.   Tbat never happens but damn if I don’t win every time…and I get to actually pick the amount I want!

45. Do you have a teddy bear?

  • Not anymore.   I just recently threw my “teddy bear” in the same metaphorical street meandering dumpster that attacked my car.  I am Laurie Kendrick now…singular, NOT plural.   I intend to stay single until I can completely cure all of those penis toting male age spots that have sullied my body’s complexion  

64. Strangest place you have ever brushed your teeth?

  • You’re presuming a lot, aren’t you??

47. Somewhere in California you’ve never been and would like to go?

  • I’ve been to San Fransisco, L.A. and San Diego.   Beautiful country, it’s resources:  PEOPLE!!!!   Influential in terms of blue state politics.  

48. Do you go to church?

  • Do I go to services regularly? No, but I have gone (quite recently, during off hours) to meditate and say “thanks” for certain things. Sometimes, it’s all about the gratitude.

49. At this point in your life would you rather start a new career or a new relationship?

  • A new rcareer.  Right now, I’m not seeking a relationship–of any kind.   I’m looking for emotional band-aids right now and these band-aids don’t breathe, lie  or deceive.

50. How old are you?

  • I’m a very sun-damaged 24.

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Grace

So as a favor to a friend, I went to the big Harris County Democratic Headquarters Tuesday night (Election Night) to usher in the ObamaNation.  It was interesting.  Her husband was running for (and won, might I add) , a very high powered county position.   She is very much a non-political wife and asked me, a one time political observer who’s called an election or two in front of a camera or behind a mic, to be her “Personal Press Attache”.  I didn’t know what that entailed, exactly so I looked it up in the “Barney Frank Book of Arcane Terms for Democrats With Penchants for Blatant Nepotism”.

Apparently,  ‘Personal Press Attache’ simply means political “drinking buddy” and usually, that means drinking on the DNC’s dime.  So, suffice it to say my Lauridians, this staunch Republican braved shouts of “the current administration” followed by expletives, attached to “the mistakes of the past eight years”, followed by dangling participles, then additional expletives all night long.  But yes,  I bore the brunt of all these rabid,  negative comments geared at Republicans to be there  for my Democrat friend.    I would ignore the evil things tossed blithely at my party to prove the  that I was serious about title my friend bestowed upon me.

Drinking buddy.

Therefore,  I did her proud.  I personally pressed my cute, little attache right up to that bar all night and and slammed back tomato juice, lime and the best Russian spud squeezings as Obamacrats from near and far praised Jesus and and a slew of deities from pantheons the likes of which Siddhartha himself would be  unfamiliar.

Interesting thing about Democrats; especially our older black Democratic sisters.  They fall to their knees a lot.  I’ve seen them do it in times of shock and horror and in times of utter jubilation.   When Obama was declared the winner; there were a lot of black women on their knees.

Shouting.

Screaming.

Praising.

Crying.

Writhing.

At least I think that’s what fervor fueled writhing looks like.   I wasn’t sure.  I’m Catholic.

The entire sight was alien to me.  Not only as an Anglo woman, but politically, too.  Histrionics are something we  Republicans do not engage in.   We don’t wail.  We’re not demonstrative; not that way.

After four Blood Mary’s (with double Democratic shots, thank you very much) I found it rather comical.  I laughed for a minute, until I saw their faces.   Vodka + enemy territory + history=clarity (even alcohol induced variety).

I walked over to one woman; she was older, probably this side of 70,  I would imagine.  She was struggling to rise, so I helped her up to her feet.   She must have thought I was a fellow Democrat just by my being there and she hugged me.   “Isn’t this great?”, she asked.

I shook my head in a noncommittal way.  Then, with a lot of  vodka and Mrs. T’s Bloody Mary mix coursing through my veins, the cursed reporter in me came out.   “Tell me, how do you really feel right now?”, I asked.

“I feel alive!   I never thought this could ever happen in my lifetime.  I grew up with segregation.   I had to drink from a black only water fountain.   I was even sent to segregated schools.  I know all about riding in the back of the damn bus.   And now we have a black president!!!  I…I just can’t believe it!!    A black president!!  Praise Jesus!!!”

Then I looked in her large, black, care-worn eyes and I asked, “But he’s only half black.  He’s also half white”.

She grabbed me by my shoulders and looked me in the eye and said, “Well then Honey, maybe that means the healing can begin just that much faster”.

And with that, she reveled on down the hallway–dancing, singing, laughing.  Hugging other happy kneeling Democrats.  There was joy there that night; they felt genuine hope and promise.

I just felt a little nauseous.

Healing?   How ironic.  She and the thousands of people around me felt Obama’s win would make the country whole again.   I wondered what history books they’ve read.  Did they not understand campaign rhetoric?   And besides, what made this man’s bag o’lies any different than that of mean old Bush’s or Reagan’s or even Carter’s for the that matter?   It’s just that Obama’s bullshit was tinged.  If that sounds racist, fine.  It’s a racist who thinks that just because Obama is half black that he’ll be able to make any significant change.

Or that his being half white would bring about change or healing any faster?

Wait, thinking that way doesn’t make you racist.  It makes you ignorantly naive.

I  stood there for a minute.   I didn’t feel no “healin'”.  I was unloved, unemployed, completely uncertain about my future and rather drunk and all those feelings and sentiments combined to make me feel completely discombobulated.

I was pissed off, actually.

My boyfriend had broken up with me, I’d lost my job, my computer was on the fritz, MY political party–MY Republicans lost the Presidential race, not to mention my beloved University of Texas Longhorns LOST to Texas Tech last weekend, falling from the #1 position atop the BCS poll.   And now I’m surrounded by people who think that “the past eight years” were divisive ones??

I felt out of sorts the rest of the evening.

And then to make matters worse, I had a car accident the next morning.   No, I wasn’t drunk.   Stone cold sober, but it was a minor accident.   I hit a dumpster containing Hurricane Ike debris sitting smack in the middle of a parking lot.  I simply looked down one minute to find my garage gate key pad and boom!!!   Front end crash, air bag deployed and no, those damn things aren’t made of Jiffy Pop.    It was mostly cosmetic damage-or so I thought.  The grand total?  Just under eight grand.  My only thought was why did this happen to me?  Now?  At this particular time?  Why now?  Why do bad things happen to me in multiples??   Is that the way of the world?

Heartbroken–AGAIN.   Single—AGAIN.   Unemployed—AGAIN—- I’m hemorrhaging what little money I’ve saved,  car totaled,  no joy; no hope.  Emotionally, I was knuckle dragging and so far, Obama hadn’t done squat for me.

Simple truth is, all of these things, including Obama’s winning the presidency happened because I wasn’t watching where I was going.     If a referee were there I swear he’d blow a whistle and stop the game for a “piling on” foul.

Whine…piss…moan. Whoa is me and kick the damn tire.  Punch the dog.  Poor sad sack LK; shit always happens to Laurie.

Well, yes it does happen and always will when you don’t watch where you’re going.

The next day  I cried to my insurance adjuster; I cried to my vile, reprehensible ex-con tow truck driver who assured me, “they’s sure weren’t no dames like me in prison” and then I went back up to my tastefully appointed apartment to rid myself of the stench of “LOSER” that permeated from me and around me.  As I was undressing, I looked down at a gift–a token of appreciation from my Democratic drinking buddy.  I didn’t pay much attention to it when she handed it to me the night before, but it certainly caught my eye now.  I walked right over to it.  It was a vinyl bag of cosmetics, which were lovely in and of themselves, but what was written on the carrying case caught my eye.

It was called “Grace”.

philosophy: how you climb a mountain is just as important as you get down the mountain.  And so it is with life, which for many of us becomes one big gigantic test followed by one big gigantic lesson.  In the end, it all comes down to one word: grace. It’s how you accept winning and losing, joy and sorrow; good luck and bad luck, the sweet and the bitter; it’s being told yes and accepting being told no; it’s the brightness of good news and gut wrenching bad news; it’s enduring the darkness and then welcoming the light.

I stood there for a second.  The Maybelline mixed with tears burned my eyes, but I felt ridiculously alive.  We all cry joyful tears and sad ones, too; we experience heartache and heartfelt moments; we win, we lose, we all fall on our knees and I guess we sometimes depend on the kindness of strangers to help us get back up on our feet.   Even if these strangers look or think differently in so many ways.   Help comes in all forms.  Even printed on the tops of cosmetic carrying cases.

It’s the grace of giving; it’s the grace of receiving and sometimes, those lines are wonderfully; beautifully blurred.

I haven’t always exhibited grace, but I will try to do so–even as I refrain from gagging as the Pollyanna-minded around me believe Obama is saving grace.  He isn’t, but from this point on I will endeavor to be patient with them and him.  I also intend to learn one very valuable lesson amid the chaotic inertia that’s currently running my life—I WILL learn that achieving grace is often the result of what happens when we watch where we’re going.

Therefore, I implore you–keep your eyes open.

Seek grace.  I hear it’s amazing.

And it will most assuredly keep you from being like them dames in prison.

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Tuesday’s Offering

Well, here I am in my building’s cyber center for tenants and my time is limited.  These things time out and Habib from #583 is eyeballing me impatiently.  No doubt he has to string together a a couple of sentences filled with consonance to send back home to some country ending in “stan”,  telling the family that all is as well as can be in that Great Satanic Embrace he and his ilk call “Houston”.

To be honest, on some days when the traffic is clogging every artery in the city as well as the ones leading to my heart, I’m inclined to agree with him.

For those of you inquiring as to my emotional welfare, I’m fine.  This break up, while not easy, hasn’t been difficult either.  I found out a few things recently.  Having a well connected family can be a God send when you need reasons to believe.  Therefore, I’m through with him.   Oh yes..make no mistake; we are done.  He’s a liar.  In fact, the word “pathological” could easily precede that and be as apt as hell.   This break was on him.   He did it and yes, it hurt.  He hurt me, but he’ll never cop to that.  It’s impossible for him to acknowledge any wrong doing on his part.   This clarity; this acuity…I now know that which I only suspected is liberating.   I am free.

Cock sucking, mother fucker, shit faced, asshole, dickless rancid sack of lying scrotum.

There.  You’ll never see his name mentioned on my blog again.

To add insult to injury, I also lost my job.   Thanks to the economy, the horrific aftermath of Hurricane Ike and  karmic retribution for calling a girl “Tick Face” once back in fourth grade, I’m out of work.  The station can no long afford a full time comedy writer.   So remember that post a few weeks back in which I asked for a job?   I mean it.  I was serious.  Hire me.  Ask around.  Seriously.

Well, I have to go.   Habib is texting someone with fervor while looking at me periodically, and frankly, that makes me leary about starting my car later so with that I’ll leave you for now.

I don’t know when my PC will be back from the Cyber Hospital, but it should be in the next day or two.  That means, I’ll miss making fun of tonight’s election.  This is death for a pundit.  But, se le guerre.

But really, is there any doubt about who’ll emerge victorious?  I mean, really.  The mainstream media REALLY did it’s job.   So, the next time we talk, there’s a very good chance, we’ll be wondering about President Obama’s administration.

President Obama.

Interesting.  

President Obama.  Say it real fast.     It sounds like a lot of different things if you do.

Prissy Alabama.

Onomatopoeia.

Presbyopia.

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The end of days.

Regrets

You hear a lot about damaged people.

Living, breathing human beings with psyches so fractured, they’re almost immobilized, emotionally speaking. I once knew a man like this. For the longest time, I thought I was the one who was bringing the dysfunction into forefront of our relationship. In retrospect, I was merely responding to his lunacy.

How can you detect these broken people? They don’t come with visible cracks, but they’re there–just underneath the surface. It doesn’t take long for the astute observer to notice that something is amiss. It’s by their actions. Attentive at first; supportive in the beginning. Then comes the little white lies. They start out infrequently, but gain momentum. And all of sudden, you wake up one day, aware that you’re already in too deep and panic ensues when you realize that his growing inability to be honest WILL BE a part of your relationship’s vista. Sadly, the lies get bigger and bolder and soon, those little white ones become tinged with vivid anger and resentment. And these become the ugliest of colors.

He was a liar and I would imagine, he still is. He was always of the mindset that everyone else is at fault. He was never errant. The problem lied elsewhere. He drank too much. Way too much. Calling him a functioning alcoholic might be akin to saying a woman is just a little pregnant. But if you were around him enough, you noticed that either beer or a gallon of Jim Beam was never far from his reach. That bottle meant everything to him. He was a coward and alcohol gave him courage–or so he thought. Liquor filled in his character flaws–or so he thought. The problem was that his alcoholism was his biggest character flaw. And he never started a weekend, or ended one, without a bottle or case of something.

I used to ask him about his drinking and he’d glare at me then say pointedly, “It’s a symptom of a bigger problem.”

Meaning me.

My God, we were a match made in Hell. I’d always felt that Satan had a hand in the matchmaking process. What we had was horrible, hellish; we were never happy; not for one second of one minute. Why did I stay? Pathetically, I can’t answer that. I only know why I eventually left. I wanted to continue living and I assure you a death of some sort would’ve awaited me had I stayed. It was that bad.

True, I waited too long to leave, but leave I did and that I don’t regret doing at all. The abject horror that I experienced in that relationship had to have been karmic retribution for previous sins committed.

And let me be perfectly clear about the fact that I wasn’t perfect. He drank and I reacted…poorly. But he dealt the first blow. He was never faithful and stayed out all night with another woman a mere three months into our relationship. He lied and he drank and drank and lied. But please note: one wasn’t a catalyst for the other. He lied sober, too.

In the waning years of our union, I lost a very high profile position and in my line of work, you can never just slip into the private abyss of unemployment. No, when we get fired, it’s accompanied with a press release and an article in the newspaper. I’d never been fired before and I took it hard. So, lapsed into a deep state of depression and that gave him permission to drink more; to cheat more. I sat there, broke, damaged all alone and sad beyond the realm of human comprehension. In my fit of depravity, I reacted to everything by eating pills like Pez. Our mutual dysfunction was reflective and refractive. But I can honestly say that hope was never lost; it never existed.

He was miserable and I lived in the depths of depression, rejection, non-existent self-esteem and a gut wrenching hopelessness that with Martin Scorsese-like attention to detail, directed the downward spiral.

I’d battled abandonment issues all of my life. This delightful combination of professional failure and his pulling away, put me over the edge. I was in a tremendous amount of pain and it had gotten to the point, where I didn’t want to “feel” anymore.

But that was late 2003; this is mid 2008. How I survived isn’t as important as the fact that I did survive and on top of that, time has been kind. Then again, I forced it to be. When it comes to being victimized by mental cruelty–your own and his, what other choice do you have? You gather your courage and then, you exact revenge. First by leaving, then by living well. No more, no less.

I woke up this morning thinking this. I also thought about life and regrets and the few that I have. Most are insignificant:

  • I wanted to be an actress, but went into Broadcasting instead
  • I wanted to graduate from the University of Texas, but instead got my degree from Southwest Texas State University
  • I quit my first TV job because I thought I was in love

But my biggest regret; the one that creates intractable shame in the core of my very soul is the relationship I write about in this post. And the reason why I’ve chosen to write about it now is because I want its exit from my life made official. Let this serve as a public proclammation. I want the world to know that there isn’t a single memory in the wasted seven year span that was our relationship, that is worthy of salvaging.

Make no mistake, I am over this man. The last nail of the relationship coffin had been hammered in a long time ago and the damn thing has been buried for as many years. In fact, he remarried and has moved but for a while there, I had to remind him of that fact. He has (or did have anyway) a terrible, terrible habit of remaining in close contact with all his exes, which meant his Rolodex was huge. It was the same with me after he got married and I know that his “wife” was in the dark about most of his actions and covert activities; as was I when we were together. Odd, that she and I would switch places. He cheated on me with her and there he was, married to her and trying to reestablish a connection with me. And he did it with Christmas gifts, birthday gifts; calls; cards…E-mails. Everything he gave me, I discarded, erased or destroyed. I even had to demand that he quit contacting me. Hearing his voice; seeing his name attached to an e-mail in my inbox created a visceral response.

For a while there, my family would bring up his name (which was rare, but it happened), I’d change the subject. If I saw his first name somewhere, such as on TV or on a billboard or something, I’d look away. And when I saw other people working in the same profession (and his had a particular mode of dress associated with it), I’d literally swallow hard or rub my throat in an attempt to force down bile and sputum.

But lately, I can hear his name and for a few moments, absolutely nothing registers. I have forgotten. I can see his name and think nothing of it. But when I see people with whom he shares a professional connection, the memories come flowing back. I hate it but can’t help but remember. I respond simply by shaking my head in pity and feeling immense gratitude that I no longer have to be among them. These are people who while educated, skilled and entrusted, possess very little integrity,  generally speaking.  This deficit seems to part of the very nature of their business.

But life goes on. I am mercifully, not that same weak soul I was. I not only survived, but I evolved. Worse for the wear, but better for the tear. It’s in the ongoing process of healing that I am becoming whole, perhaps for the first time in my life.

In terms of the ex, I know very little. I honestly don’t know where he is; I don’t know if he’s still working or if he’s still married , but if he is, I can be magnanimous enough to admit that I feel sorry for his wife; in spite of what she did to me. I have no idea as to what his character is like these days, but I’d imagine that he hasn’t changed. His behaviors were so ingrained that modification seemed unlikely. I would like to think that he’s emerged a different man, but like a leopard and its spots, I suspect he’s also unable to change.

And the glory is that after all these years, I don’t care. Apathy is a lovely and for me, a wonderfully covetous state of nothingness. I am there and it is a good place. I’ve forgiven me for allowing myself to live with his disease and mine. I’ve forgiven him, too and while liberating, all sentiment stops there. I don’t wish him evil; I don’t wish him well. I wish him “nothing”.

In the years since stepping free, I have only asked for distance–emotionally and physically and I’ve wished to someday know a much greater love than he was capable of providing; I’ve asked to be introduced to the greatest love I’ve ever known.

Five years later? Wishes granted on all fronts.

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Pass The Kleenex

Some people ask me, “Hey Laurie, you crusty old bitch!! Does anything EVER get you down?”

My God!!! Pull up a chair Grasshopper and listen up, Cujo.

There is MUCH that phases me; much that moves me.

For example, I’m bothered by the fluctuating Nikkei.

I’m upset that a Houston steak house is offering a two-for-one Gaza Strip platter, complete with salad bar and two sides.

And I’m worried about Kim Jong-il —NOT because he continues to allow North Korea to produce nuclear weapons, contrary to previous legal, international obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and his own commitment to make the Korean Peninsula free of nuclear weapons–but because he eats veal.

At least, I think it’s veal.

I deserve to cry. I’ve earned it. I’ve lived through life in a small town, college,too many break-ups to mention, a near fatal car crash, abject unemployment, the loss of dearly loved loved ones plus two Darrens on “Bewitched”.

While all these things still concern me greatly and can elicit an emotional response, I am even more moved by music.

I’m told by shrinks and behaviorists that smells can take us traipsing down memory lane faster than anything in the world. Maybe, but here in LaurieLand, it’s music.

If I should ever hear “You Are the One” by the Sugar Bears while simultaneously smelling British Sterling mixed with the hormonally fueled flop sweat of a 13-year old boy trying to kiss me in the back row of the Rialto Theatre, I think I just might implode from nostalgic memory.

So, in light of my most successful post of last week, in which I played music from the late 60-s and 70’s that was emotionally significant to me, I thought I’d try my hand at sad songs that tug at my heartstrings. You might not agree with my choices because one woman’s “Color My World” is another woman’s “My Own Worst Enemy” by Lit.

These aren’t necessarily break up songs, but songs that because of the time or place or the people I was with, just make me wanna cry, look for something sharp and/or reach for the Phenobarb…..that’s all.

So, in case we are of like tear ducts, grab one of these….

box_of_kleenex_tissues.jpg

You might need it.

OK, my little human skid marks: our first offering is from Edwin McCain. This song ALWAYS moves me. Ignore the video. It’s the work of some idio-zealot who finds the feigned love lives of overtly thin actors —who regurgitate contrived dialog with that networks 15 regular viewers glued to the CW’s diaphanous nightly programming— interesting.

Dance with me, PM.

To this song.

This one is for Walter. His death still moves me to the core. I miss him like hell.

This is a sweet little song from 2001. “Wherever You Go” by The Calling. Here it is with Portuguese subtitles.

Kate Bush’s “A Woman’s Work”. I connected with this song about when I was a mere female sapling in the early 80’s. This song played at the end of “She’s Having A Baby” and I was hooked.

I do like Miss Katie and I THINK this is a sad song; I just can’t understand a damn thing she’s singing.

Whenever I hear Night Ranger’s 80’s opus, “Goodbye”. I can practically smell my twenties. Sniff! Sniff! Yep, there it is…beer and regret.

Stevie Wonder’s “Lately”.

Lovely.

This next song is an offering from Ellis Paul. It’s “The World Ain’t Slowin’ Down” an was featured prominently in the movie, “Me, Myself and Irene”. It’s actually a happy, kicky little number, but it reminds of a particular;y negative time in my life that…. well, let’s just say it was a psycho-social abortion wrapped in a violent emotional homicide and the perpetrator of said heartache made matters worst by pouring alcohol, salt, lemon juice and oh, what the hell…ACETONE directly into every already raw, aggravated mucous membrane.

That’s all I’ll say about that and there’s one more thing I should mention; ignore the video of a meeting of the Student Alliance for A Falafel Free Society that runs simultaneously under the song.

Salam just the same, ya’ll.


“Bell Bottom Blues” by Derek and The Dominoes.

Sigh……

This next song is a Moody Blues classic. Actually, it’s by The Blue Jays, a short lived collaborative effort from  Moody’s founding members, Justin Hayward and John Lodge.

“I Dreamed Last Night” is a beautiful song, really and shouldn’t make me emotional, but like a well timed cramp, it certainly does.

It was edited to go with someone’s lovely vacation video. It features a visit to a castle with a very (I’ve decided to call it “interesting”) cross-cultural design that can be found somewhere in deepest, darkest England.

Architecturally, it’s Tudor meets Japanese Kabuki.

Must be located in Far East England.

As morbid and maudlin as this may sound, I want this classic Louie Armstrong tune played at my funeral. And yes, I want crying and wailing and tear-smeared mascara.

And that’s just on the faces of the menfolk.

Mr. Don Henley is a Texas boy.

Mr. Don Henley knows how to make this Texas woman emote.

And emit……

Ooooh sing it, Daddy!

And lastly, I might write like a man, or so I’m told, but make no mistake about it, I am a strong, proud woman. And this song from the late, great Dan Fogelberg gets me every time. I’m crying as I type.

No wait! I’m a strong, proud woman, right? I’m not crying. This clear, watery stuff is just my body leaking. It’s either that or it’s really “prolific eyeball sweat”.

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