The Pinocchio Effect

For those of you who have been around for the past three years, you probably know that I am an active tweeter.  I actually have my most recent tweets in the toolbar to the right of the screen, if you’re interested.  (You’re not.  I’m so horribly out of pocket there, you really don’t want any part of it.)  I’m just an interactive girl.  An extrovert.  I love speaking to those who address me regularly.  It’s not uncommon for tweets to become IMs, which become texting, which becomes hanging out.  Three of my CLOSEST friends I’ve made this past year, I met through Twitter.

A week or so ago, a young woman with whom I interacted regularly, was revealed to be a Pinocchio – not a real girl.  She and I weren’t necessarily friends, but we spoke regularly and laughed at one another’s jokes.  When she said that she got married, I congratulated her.  I also congratulated her when she said she was pregnant.  I prayed for her and her unborn when she told me she was going through cancer treatments.  It turns out that whoever was being portrayed in those pictures, was not her.  It’s such an odd feeling of betrayal.  What does one get out of faking an existence?

This past week, someone I interacted with regularly via twitter and IM TOTALLY went off the meter on me.  Since I respond to this person’s messages, as I spent time with my family, they proceeded to harass me not only all evening (during the Saints game), but all night, well into the morning.  I SPECIFICALLY asked that they stop contacting me, and yet they continued to insist that I speak to them.  Each time I shut off an avenue of communication, I discover another nook or cranny I didn’t consider.  In a way, he was a Pinocchio as well, because he existed in a mind state that was not rooted in reality.

I’m a very what-you-see-is-what-you-get type person, so when a person misrepresents who they are, what they want from me, and how they behave, it troubles me greatly.  What those two situations have done, is made me question the way I navigate twitter.  Is the mystery girl someone who still follows me?  It would stand to reason that “she” could be one of the people she regularly tweeted, to lend credence to her existence.  Maybe the person she ACTUALLY is follows me as well.  Do I tweet them regularly?  It makes me worry when it comes to my e-stalker.  Who’s to say that the next person I follow, that attempts to befriend me, isn’t him in disguise.  I do not like being made to feel unsafe.

I joked earlier about having a stalker, but this actually has me low key shook.  When a person misrepresents who they are, you are somewhat defenseless in how to approach them.  It makes me sad, because I’ve met some AMAZING people through Twitter.  But I need to feel secure, and I’m responsible for the security of other people.  I’m hoping that people who attempt to be “creative” with reality, whether it’s lying about who they are, or deluding themselves into something that isn’t, give consideration to the people they impact.  They should also give consideration to the fact that I am currently in the market for a weapon.  I don’t believe in living in fear, so something has got to gie.

Most of all, I hope that those people leave me alone.  Go right ahead and sell crazy somewhere else.  I’m all stocked up.

 

The Healing Space

When I search for knick knacks to make hearth and home a comfortable place to be, one of my essentials is the perfect chair.  My use of the word perfect should indicate that I”m not just referring to a folding chair, or some glorified stool.  The perfect chair for me is deeply colored and plush, with just enough room for me and a plus one.

In New Orleans, I’d found the holy grail of chairs:  midnight blue with large pillows and heavily padded arms.  It was perfect for me to sit in and read on a winter’s day.  The plus one aspect was more for my babies.  At the end of the day, I would sit with them in that chair, one at a time, and listen to them discuss the woes of kindergarten and day care.  I’d brush Finge’s waves, and undo Ladybug’s braids as they purged.  Sometimes we’d all pile in that big chair together, despite the fact that there was a perfectly comfortable, and large sofa only a few steps away.  The closeness was the thing that healed what ailed them.  I loved that part of the day.  Thinking back, I’m grateful for seeming to take the time to enjoy them as tiny kids, since college will be here before you know it.

The right chair is still a household staple.  We still have our times to crowd one another, and we love it.  As they are both gangly and uncoordinated, I spend more time catching elbows to the eye and boob, but I wouldn’t really trade it.  I can’t explain how satisfying it is to fortify your child’s spirit.  I like being the healer – the fixer.

Admittedly, sometimes I feel the need to be “fixed.”  Saying that holds a carnal implication for which I won’t apologize, but that’s not exactly what I mean.  I heal.  I fix.  Rare is the time where I am healed or fixed.  Make no mistake, I’m immeasurably blessed, and I have great friends who love and cherish me.  I’m so lucky for people who can tell when I’m not myself, and they step in to lift my spirit.  I don’t mean to sound like an ingrate.  I’d love to experience the teeniest bit of more that accompanies intimacy.  I’d love to sit in my chair, with a plus one whose fingers are buried in my hair sharing secrets, fears, or silence.  It’s seeking a different type of satisfaction and fulfillment.

But I”m not supposed to admit that, right?  Because that’s “thirsty.”  Ah well.  *gulp*

“The truth is…”

There’s a passage I got memorized. Ezekiel 25:17. “The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of the darkness, for he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy My brothers. And you will know I am the Lord when I lay My vengeance upon you.” Now… I been sayin’ that shit for years. And if you ever heard it, that meant your ass. You’d be dead right now. I never gave much thought to what it meant. I just thought it was a cold-blooded thing to say to a motherfucker before I popped a cap in his ass. But I saw some shit this mornin’ made me think twice. See, now I’m thinking: maybe it means you’re the evil man. And I’m the righteous man. And Mr. 9mm here… he’s the shepherd protecting my righteous ass in the valley of darkness. Or it could mean you’re the righteous man and I’m the shepherd and it’s the world that’s evil and selfish. And I’d like that. But that shit ain’t the truth. The truth is you’re the weak. And I’m the tyranny of evil men. But I’m tryin’, Ringo. I’m tryin’ real hard to be the shepherd.

– Jules Winnfield “Pulp Fiction”

Want to hear a secret?

I’m amazing.  This is fact.  I don’t fully understand it myself.  There’s this tiny bit of magic inside of me that you just don’t find elsewhere, and I’ve always had it.  Put me anywhere on God’s green earth, and I can make a friend.  Not even the language barrier can stop me.  It’s a gift. Life can be so weird and funky, I just really want to be a good person.  That’s really all I get out of it.  And I recover from anything.  Anything?  Anything.  I love that part of myself.  I’ve rebuilt my life more times than most would believe to be humanly possible, and I do it with a smile.  Again, it’s a gift, and I consider myself honored to have it.  I really haven’t done anything to deserve it.  But I am discernibly one of a kind.

But I’m not a sprightly do-gooder fairy.  I’m human.  As the song says, “I’ve got headaches, and toothaches and bad times too.”  I get angry, annoyed, on rare occasion, even jealous.  Some days, I just fucking feel helpless.  I’m okay with being flawed, since I do everything I can not to allow them to overtake me. Despite my determination, some days I just kind of crack a little bit.  I’m always embarrassed when it happens, not because I don’t believe that I’m entitled to feel, but melting down won’t change anything.  Sometimes I just feel the weight of the expectation that I’ll be okay.  It almost feels that people do really see me, as Hurston put it, as a mule of the world.  People heap things upon me, and just assume I’ll carry it, because that’s I always do.  I had to end an extraordinarily toxic relationship for this very reason.  After ascending to heights of narcissism and and callousness that would make eagles envious, the offender said, something to indicate that we’d soon be back to our old selves again.  Loosely translated, “You’ll get over it.”

And they were positively right.  But that doesn’t mean I didn’t politely tell them to go fuck themselves.  Because, I’m okay with my stress fractures.  I wear them like badges. But I’m not now, nor will I ever be in the business of allowing myself to be tested, simply because YOU believe I can handle it.  I’ve come to the conclusion that the weak enjoy testing the strong.  The false power that comes with taking people down a peg or two placates a certain type of person.  No fucking gracias.  That goes for “any muthafuckin contender.” (c. Masta Killa)

Now let me take this tyrrany on the road and bring my cubs home.

I’m not yo mama, I’m yo grandma!

I’m becoming my parents.  More and more every day.  As a woman, I knew turning into my mother was inevitable, but my father?! The Fanny Packer?! Hell to the no!  (Heh heh…I said Fanny…Packer. Get it? In retrospect, saying this about my father is beyond gross on several levels so…)

Both of my parents were wise.  Both were giving.  Both were given to temper.  I think some of this comes from two people coexisting for 18 years.  Even though I wouldn’t count them as one of the great love affairs of our time, they did have a certain level of respect for one another as partners, so the grew from each other in many ways.  But then there are nuances that are specific to each of them that I have managed to absorb.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the evidence:

Exhibit A:  The Squint (Daddy)

Ladybug: *to me as I look at the computer* Ooooh, I see why everyone says you look like Paw Paw.

Me: *horrified to the Universe* NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

My pops has this very distinctive squint.  The only other person I’ve witnessed even come close to replicating it, is my aunt; and apparently, me.  It’s a combination of raising his head, looking down, squinting so that his two front teeth are exposed and wrinkling his nose.  Sort of like a middle-aged near-sighted bunny rabbit…with forehead wrinkles…and thick black hair…and enlarged pores-LOOK! The point is, someone snapped a picture of me doing this, and I wanted to die.  At 34, the last thing you want to hear is that you look like a middle aged man.

Exhibit B:  Literal translations of everything (Mama)

My mother enjoyed arts and music, but once things passed the realm of what she decided was “decent,” you could cancel Christmas.  One of our most hilarious memories of our mother is when she was trying to be cool.  Her idea of being cool was  letting us listen to rap music.  I was 11, and “Supersonic” came on.  See, I loved to beat box, so Baby Dee was my hero, therefore, her verse was my favorite.

Me: *mimicking the radio, word for word* You see my beat box is fresh, it’ll blow ya mind/and if you don’t like my beat I’ll go DIG ON YO BEHIND! *proudly doing the snake*

Mama: *horrified* DIG IN YO BEHIND?! *click*

My ass was Supersonic no no more.

Fast forward to 2010.  The radio is on, and Trey Songz’s “Bottoms Up” came on.

Finge: *mimicking the radio, word for word* Oooh, oh oh OHHHH! IT’S MISTA STEAL YO GIRL!

Me: *totally unamused* That’s how people get stabbed. *click*

Exhibit C:  Calling the kid into the toilet (Mama)

I staved it off for YEARS, but I managed to have received that gene where I have to forget something each and every time I go to take a shower.  Of course, once I’m in, I can’t leave until it’s mission accomplished.  I may never get back in here.  My son escapes this bit of indignity, but my poor daughter does not.  To add insult to injury, I found myself yelling at her “DON’T LOOK!”  One day she gave me the “BITCH? WHY? WOULD? I? EVER?” stare.  I managed to stop saying that to her.

Exhibit D:  Deep Sigh Followed By “Alright” then the explosion (Daddy)

You can literally tell my father anything.   Anything.  He’ll give a disappointed sigh, then seem non-plussed.

Me: Daddy, I just shaved my head, joined a cult and married the reincarnated spirit of Saddam Hussein.

Daddy: *Deep sigh* Alright Mel.

But once you get that alright, you better know when to hold ’em and know when to fold em.  ANY subsequent information you provide is liable to set off Mt. St. Pops.  It’s typically the most innocuous thing in your laundry list of shenanigans.

Me: Yeah dad.  We robbed a bank, sacrificed two virgins in  pagan ritual and I shot a senior citizen for making fun of my blue socks.

Dad: BLUE SOCKS?! BLUE SOCKS?! Look, I didn’t work at the phone company for 30 years and sometimes take on two jobs for your ass to run around this city wearing blue socks.  I really don’t know what to say about you.  My GOODNESS!  Blue socks *off the phone to the step0mom “yeah…BLUE! I know!”* So, you’re just a blue sock wearer huh?  Hmph.  I’m gonna have to call you back.  I’ll call back you AND your blue socks.

I have become a delayed reaction person myself.  My kids can tell me any bad thing they’ve done, but they’d better cut their losses.

Me: WHAT THE HELL YOU MEAN YOU RAN OUT OF PAPER?!  So I go to work for you to not bring paper to class.  You just want to be a paperless student?  Just…borrowing paper from everybody you see, huh?

Son: But…the principal is in the trunk though.  This doesn’t bother  you?  Because I’m pretty sure it really should…

Me: Well, does she have your paper?!

It makes no sense.  I’m working on it.

I always knew about the curse, “I hope you get one just like you.”  Apparently the unsaid portion of that is, “And you’ll be just like me.”  I thought it would really bother me.  I thought it would make me feel old, and tired, and maybe just a little defeated with the knowledge that I in fact do have to deal with myself as a child.  Then I remember that they handed me the blueprint.

Truth be told, I’m not so sure I mind this metamorphosis at all.

Flirting, Friending and that Other ‘F’ Word

They say prostitution is the world’s oldest profession, but I think flirting is the world’s oldest diversion.  Flirting stems from attraction, whether it’s attraction to a person’s sense of humor, affable personality, or the very primal desire to ride it like a rodeo.  In it’s place, it can be fun.  (I’m hesitant to attach the word “harmless,” but we’ll address that later.)

Enter The Dragon.

By Dragon, I mean, The Internets.  Dare I say, it has revolutionized flirting, dating and relationships.  People from all walks of life and corners of the globe can interact in ways that were once impossible.  Of course, as with every new thing, there are high and low points.  Once taboo, meeting people from the internet is now the norm.  You’re “meeting” a person in a very sanitized, controlled environment. We quite often become very comfortable opening up to objective strangers.  So yes, on the internet, a person may well reveal the sensitive part of themselves they rarely share with friends.  However, you may not realize that they are rude to wait staff (sounds like a small thing; it is NOT).

Myriads of people are connecting romantically via the internet at an increasing rate.  The pull to do so is all but irresistible.  So we poked and threw sheep on Facebook (you should NOT be doing this anymore).  We send thinly veiled suggestive “@replies” on Twitter.  We comment on pictures and blogs.  We laugh our virtual asses off.  We roll on the floor while laughing said asses off.  We IM.  We text.  We call.  They take too long to reply to our text.  They don’t call back.  We go to their Facebook page and don’t say anything.  We stalk their pictures and blogs.  We’re not laughing anymore.  Our asses are safely in tact, and the smiley faces are replaced with makeshift side eyes.  You know the ones: O_o.  We wonder why the hell so and so always “likes” his/her statuses?  What’s to like about “I’m on my way to the grind?”  Oh snap son! They’re e-creeping.  Ultimately, onlookers get to witness the passive/aggressive coup de grâce:  “Well maybe you’re getting me confused with one of your other girls/dudes.”

In my years perusing these here internets, I have lost count on how many times I have actually witnessed that progression.  Particularly the final blow.  I can tell you that I was originally inspired to write this piece, after witnessing some variation of e-player accusations/hate crimes three times in one week, and it was only Wednesday.  Infatuation makes us crazy.  Not everyone knows how to flirt, and some people have either never been the object of flirting in real time, or it happens extremely rarely.  When that’s the case, those people simply do NOT know how to act.

I can speak from my own experience: there is NOTHING harmless about my flirting.  If I take my time to send a couple of flirtatious key strokes, that means I have at least entertained the possibility of a dry hump.  (Do people still dry hump?  I don’t know the rules. I’ve been in emotional seclusion.)  Reason, however, prevails.  There are a million reasons that you should not become physical with every person you flirt with.  I do it almost subconsciously at times, so if I were to engage every object of flirting, I would quite possibly be a veritable Ground Zero of ho shit.  With that said, I can flirt with you, and though I might entertain thoughts, I have no intention whatsoever on doing anything.  Lots of people are like that.  We’re trapped in offices all day and we need something fun to do.

But we’re grown folks, and sometimes sex DOES happen.  Not everyone is going the marriage, 2.5 kid, white picket fence route.  People aren’t even always going the shack-up route.  Some people really, are just trying to have sex.  Ideally, these people should hook up with others of their ilk. Since I love you like play cousins though, I’ll acknowledge this:  There are people who just like to be players.  Having “just sex” isn’t enough for them, and part of their hunt is getting a person to be attached to them, whether they plan on sustaining a relationship or not.  Mentally dog-ear those pages where they let their true intentions seep out.  (I promise you they will.  People ultimately want you to know who they are so they can absolve themselves of guilt if necessary:  But I told you…)

If you are looking for something more, or just getting yourself through the day, govern yourself accordingly.  I’ve seen far too many people create, or fall victim to, what I like to call “Fantasy Monsters.”  You create these virtual romantic situations, yet one person is too invested, the other is not invested enough, and neither of you are equipped to deal because your communication is nonexistent.  Simple words on a page become this fire breathing dragon that makes you stalk pages and wonder why Person X is tagged in not one, but two pictures.

At the end of the day, you are responsible for the people you let in your cipher.  Govern yourselves accordingly.  If you’re an emotional person and you ignore the signs and symptoms of a player, you must exist with the knowledge that you will ultimately be benched.  If you are a player and you ignore the signs and symptoms of a Stage IV clinger, you must exist with the knowledge that your spot can and quite probably will be blown up at any given moment.  It’s crazy in these internets.

Govern yourselves accordingly.

Happy Birthday!

How many times do people who have stepped away from their blogs used the title “Don’t Call it a Comeback?”  I almost did.  I also often use the term “shameless neglect” when I’ve been away, but that wouldn’t be right.  I wasn’t neglecting my blog so much as I have been taking care of Mel.  No, I still haven’t found a therapist, but I have been soothing and searching my soul.

Once I decided that I would not participate in either NaBloPoMo or NaNoWriMo this year, I started asking myself why.  The answer was “You’re burned out and have other business to attend to.”  I think it would have been better if I would have announced my hiatus then come back, but where’s the excitement in that?  I decided that my birthday gift to myself would be regular blogging.  So Happy Birthday to me.

I’m actually at an age where people say, “How old are you, if you don’t mind my asking?”  That means there are possibly women in my age group that would in fact, mind your asking.  Holy tree rings, Batman!!! I’M THIRTY-SENSITIVE!

Nah. I’m 34.  I really don’t care.  I’ve decided that not only do I not look it, but I look better than a whole bunch of people younger than me.  Feel free to disagree.  I’ll disagree with your disagreement and we can all move on.

So here’s what we’re gonna do.  I won’t promise you “OMG I’m back and I have great things in store and I hope we can share,” because I’ve done that…only to leave you again.  So let’s just say, here’s to me finally delivering on the goods.  I love you guys for sticking with me.

And by the way, if you come often and never commented, do so.  You don’t even have to big up my stuff.  Just let me know you’re here.  Tell me I suck.  Tell me you think cucumbers taste better pickled.  Who’s your favorite Aunt Viv?  HOLLA AT ME! I don’t bite.

Hard.

…and forget

This one may get a little personal, and I’m not entirely sure I’m going to post it.  If there was ever a post that I would post, and then chicken out on, it would be this one, but if I don’t write it, I’ll probably go nuts.  I’m not looking for advice, sympathy or anything in that neighborhood.  It’s just me bearing the tiniest bit of my soul.  There are rare occasions when I am physically unable to say the things I am thinking, but I had to get this out into open airspace.

I removed his number from my phone ages ago.  Seeing it made the temptation to call too great, and after all, it was over.  I couldn’t bear to see his name and not call or text, so it had to go.  I haven’t dialed it in two solid years.  But when he calls, I know exactly who it is.

And it drives me crazy, because we aren’t who we were.  To be fair, if you were to the know the story, you would realize that we never really were who we “were,” so the fact that I still know his ring is like that one tiny pinprick in the corner of my heart I reserved for feelings of this sort.  No one wants to be anyone’s fool, after all.

The first ring is always where I say I won’t answer – the moment that I always lie.   I answer every time.  Somewhere between the time that I press the green button and when the phone makes it to my ear, the ambivalence and even the rightful anger evaporates and is replaced with a smile.  A call means he’s okay, and I want him to be okay more than I want to be angry with him.  So we chat briefly; pleasantly, because he was once one of the people I loved to chat with the most.   He slipped into that difficult role seamlessly.  When we hang up, I wish he was there so that I could hug him, or kiss him, or…

Punch him.  Because it really didn’t have to be like this.  And I forgave him for what he did, but I certainly can’t forget.  Forgetting would mean erasing him entirely, and even if he arguably deserves it, I don’t want to.  Because even though I don’t love him like that, I do love him.  And I’ve got this heart, that still spills over for him, full of everything except the type of trust called for in a romantic relationship.  And I can’t trust, because though I remember how I felt the first time he held my hand, I also remember the day he told me the truth.  It made me feel as foreign and alienated, as his kiss made me feel loved and welcomed.

I can say that when all is said and done, he has still proved to be a friend, and I know that if I needed him, I could call.  I’d just be lying if I didn’t admit that it was weird at times.

There are very few things that I view in black and white – trust is one of those things.  The truth of the matter is that if this world were to suddenly become my subjective version of that which is fair, I still would have a form of doubt that has no place in love.  And this “fairness” of which I speak, would ultimately be fair to absolutely no one.  So I exist in my current reality, which involves me having a tremendous amount of love for someone who did a fucked up thing.

It’s a very cut and dry situation, with cut and dry decisions.  We’re not together.  We weren’t ever, really.  We won’t be.  Feelings, are a little more complex, and I’m okay with dealing with the humanity of it.

So I managed to forgive. That other part?  I don’t know.