The first time I lied I was four. I stood my ground, digging my size one’s into the shag carpet. Unwilling to admit the truth, I was ordered to bed with no milk and cookies. It was a seminal moment for me.
I was living with my father’s elderly and beloved Aunt Bella and Uncle Bill, while my deathly ill and pregnant mother was in the hospital and my out-of-his-mind father and three older sisters were back at home an hour away. I had never been alone before and believe this temporary experience was life changing - irrevocably separating me from my family’s identity, sometimes in big, loud and rowdy ways and sometimes like a whisper.
Growing up in New York was defined by four sisters, snow ball throwing boys, strife, summers at the beach, tree climbing, alcoholism, lots of neighborhood kids, Catholicism, crazy teachers, piano lessons, parties, playing in the woods, ice skating, berry picking, the change of seasons, 60’s music and adolescent naivety.
In Texas, after high school life was college, rape, marriage to a pious physician, affairs, divorce, travelling the globe, marriage #2, owning businesses, fleeting fame, adoption, motherhood, happiness, fulfillment, loneliness, bankruptcy, booze and facing the fact that I’ve got more years behind me than in front of me.
My sidekick had always been sarcasm and humor, which I brandished as a shield to keep the craziness and pain at bay.
In 2013/2014, my Annus Horribilis arrived. I never heard it knocking and was blindsided to see it standing over me with a knife: My precious and precocious 21 year-old niece and godchild took her own life. Mom died, leaving her five daughters separated into warring tribes. My 20 year marriage, over in a galumph. Lost my business in the decree. In a freak accident my cat clawed my face, leaving me blind in one eye. Most friends, siblings and acquaintances left (were they really ever there?) And oh yeah, I turned 57.
The world fissured. The earth cracked open. I fell inside. Tumbling and Fumbling. Dank and Stank. Drinkin’ and Blinkin’. Freak. Weak. Meek. Spark finally extinguished. Nothing left to hide behind. Invincibility crushed like a vital organ beneath a bloody, bodiless boot.
My mirror now reflected someone I admittedly despised, whose body and face showed years of physical, personal and spiritual neglect. Naked, and despite my permanent blindness (or maybe because of it), I was finally forced to fully and deeply view the sham and shame of my past.
One of the worst was to confront the shallow resentment I recently felt towards my fully alive, photogenic, ambitious, youthful niece (attributes I had once!) when juxtaposed against my aging, bitter, marriage-in-a shambles, lost-youth self. She visited quite often (“with her whole life ahead of her,” I sardonically told myself) and I deeply regretted having my head up my ass during that time we were together. I miss her terribly.
A disfigured, foul beast both inside and out, I turned away from the world. And hardly anyone seemed to notice.
Out of nowhere, someone lost to me for thirty-five years appeared (we shared my second seminal moment in my sixteen year old bedroom upstairs). He pulled out a fragment of faith still there deep inside me. Love. Found. Alighted. And this time, it’s right.
I’ve remained hidden in plain sight these three years of recovery. I’ve been thinking and taking notes on fair weather friends, acknowledging (accepting?) my age, raising a tween, death, worthiness, peripheral vision (or lack thereof), youth, comedy, failed businesses, starting over, nurture versus nature, going with the flow, back stabbers, marriage, divorce, sex and other obscure notions that I’m ready to write about and share (in my sarcastic and humorous way, of course).
My life’s story started at four with a small lie (I had crawled under the table in the den and unplugged the automatic light timer). My twelve-year old son, Tucker, swears he was born at four. So, things have come full circle.
I guess you could say this website is my coming out party.
Hope you enjoy & visit often,