writer

Self-Care Tourettes

“You’ve arrived
It’s easy to fall in love with the GPS version of the universe.

There, just ahead, after that curve. Drive a little further, your destination is almost here.
Done. You’ve arrived.

Of course, that’s not how it works. Not our careers, not our relationships, not our lives.

You’ve always arrived. You’ve never arrived.

Wherever you go, there you are. You’re never going to arrive because you’re already there.

There’s no division between the painful going and the joyous arriving. If we let it, the going can be the joyful part.

It turns out that arrival isn’t the point, it can’t be—because we spend all our time on the journey.”
~ Seth Godin


Oh, brother Seth, where do I begin?

Did you write this just for me? Did a little birdy whisper to you how much I suck at the journey part of life?
Or was it the screaming, hair pulling, and the skywriting that said YOU SUCK JOURNEY! GIMME THE FUCKING DESTINATION ALREADY! —that gave me away?

It’s not that I haven’t improved—I have.
And it’s not that I haven’t reached some amazing destinations in my life—I’ve done that too.

But oh, mah, gawd, does it have to be such a slog?

Listen, it’s just that as zen as I try to be, as chill and non-attached as my facade makes me out to be, there is always an epic interior battle raging. A churning. A yearning. It’s the fucking Game of Thrones inside of me. And as hard as I try to quell it (and just to be clear, trying hard doesn’t stop a raging battle, trying hard are the foot soldiers, the ground troops) it looms ever larger in my brain.

And that’s the rub I think you guys. All of that striving and “are we there yet?” is in. My. Head. Not my heart. Not my kishkes, and definitely nowhere near where my intuition hangs out. It all goes off the rails when my head grabs the map away from my intuition and starts to second-guess everything.

“Do you think you should have turned left there?”

“Make a u-turn! NOW! I don’t care of it’s legal or not!”

“Oh, what a dumb move! Fine. Let me try and recalculate the route—but I have a feeling you’re wicked screwed.”

All of the second-guessing. Don’t you guys hate the second-guessing? God! I have been known to yell out loud to that wise guy second-guesser “Oh, yeah? Easy for you to say! Where were you when I was deciding what to do?”

Can you even have buyers remorse with regard to your ex? No? Then shut up!

And I have to report that THIS was a bit of a turning point for me. I set boundaries with the all of the mean voices inside my head who were making the journey a living hell. I told them that unless they had anything helpful, encouraging, or constructive to say—I didn’t want to hear it. Currently, my interior dialogue goes something like this:

“That was dumb…”
DON”T TALK TO ME LIKE THAT!

“Are you sure you want to do that…?”
STICK A SOCK IN IT!

“They don’t seem interested in your…
SHUT THE FUCK UP!

“Huh, I would have done it differently…”
STOP TALKING. NOW!

See how that works? It’s self-care Tourettes.

Maybe you’re better at this than I am. Maybe you peacefully traverse your life like a passenger—holding a glass of champagne in first-class on British Airways. But I’m guessing you’re not because you’re here—you live on Earth so… I can’t guarantee it will work 100% of the time, and I have to admit that it gets exhausting, but it does help keep the clown car quiet. And that my friends is a definite improvement!

Carry on,
xox


signature

10 Fears I No Longer Have Room For In My Brain

There are so many things to be afraid of these days that I was running out of fear bandwidth. I can feel them all jockeying for space so—I had to give some of them up. I decided that as of yesterday, I will no longer take up valuable brain-space with fears like this:

1. The ocean (or any large body of water for that matter) at night. That fear started with the movie Jaws when I was like 15 and has carried me well into adulthood. It is stupid, irrational and comes into play…never. So, I’m erasing it. Today.

2. Failure. You’d think by now I’d just get over myself. I try, and every failure brings me closer to self-acceptance, but I admit, the fear of failure is a ruthless editor. It cuts out all of the scary, fun stuff and keeps me on the straight and narrow. I hate the straight and narrow—It’s so crowded—so fuck it! Be prepared to see me fail. You’ll hear about here first.

3. Heights. I’m erasing this irrational fear from my brain-drive today. I don’t need it. I don’t want it. And I know better than to get myself into a jam on the ledge of a ninety-story building. But if that happens, well, let it be over quick.

4. Snakes. Just thinking about their smooth, slithery skin makes mine crawl but unless I put myself on the hiking path around dawn or dusk they factor into my life close to never. So, I’m erasing my fear of snakes today. But that doesn’t mean I have to hold one, right?

5. Drowning. I’ve had recurring dreams of drowning all my life. It doesn’t make any sense to me and it hasn’t kept me out of the water. It’s just made me…squirmy. Like if they had adult water-wings I’d probably wear them. So, at this point, the fear feels old—and one-sided—like holding a grudge. I’m over it. It’s done. Today.

6. Forgetting my lines on stage. This is an ancient fear that goes all the way back to grade school and my first play, The Sound of Music. Everyone who gets up to speak has this fear, it’s nothing unique or special, and one time I DID forget my lines—and I didn’t die—so there! Fear be gone! (but if I ever do the MOTH or a TED Talk I’m certain it will automatically kick back in so I’ll just apologize now in advance.)

7. The dark. Yes, can you believe it? When I walk around our pitch dark house late at night, which seldom happens because it involves too much inner dialogue and bargaining, I’m still afraid a demon will grab my foot while I pee or be standing right behind me breathing it’s hot, demoney breath down my nightgown if I turn around fast. There. I said it! Now I’m deleting that fear. If you want water at 3 am you can ask me. I’ll get it! It would be my pleasure.

8. Angry homeless. The keyword here is angry. You know the ones I mean. They are filled with rage and no matter what you offer them (I have given them money, food, compassion, a warm jacket) they throw it at you or get in your face and it’s terrifying. In thinking that they are hungry, in dire need of a shower, scared or somehow impaired I’m projecting MY feelings onto them. I’m also judging them and they can smell ME a hundred yards away. This has happened to me enough to realize that I don’t have the emotional training to interact with them effectively—so I’m going to stop fearing them—and just let them be.

9. The dead. Now, letting go of this fear once and for all does not mean I want to go work in the morgue. Dead bodies still creep me the fuck out. But once these souls have crossed over and have had some time to acclimate and grab a snack they are generally delightful conversationalists. Much better than a lot of living people I know. The release of this fear has been gradual and perfectly timed so letting the rest of it go today is strictly a formality. This fear is now dead to me! (See what I dd there?)

10. Abandonment. As I’ve gotten older I’ve come to realize that there has been a steady stream of people, animals, and even jobs I’ve loved—and lost. But it’s also been my experience, and I know this sounds cliché (but some cliché’s are based in truth)  that something wonderful shows up to fill the void if I’m not leaving my fingernail marks in the flesh of the thing that’s leaving. Hard lesson, And huge. I’m not saying I have it mastered, I just want to put it on notice. Today, abandonment, I declare that you will not scare me anymore!
Which means I no longer need to run every decision I make through your filter. What a fucking relief!

Whew! I feel lighter!

Now there’s plenty of room for nuclear annihilation, The Big One on the San Andreas fault, global warming, pandemics, nazis, voter suppression, race wars, the zombie apocalypse, running out of space on my DVR, blah, blah, blah…

Wait. I’m so fucked. Maybe I should keep the other fears and delete these?

Carry on,
x0x


signature

Maria Is A Badass, Blind, Mamajama (Shut Your Mouth)

Part beloved family member and part steely-eyed assassin, Maria, our blind housekeeper killed a rat on Saturday.
Actually, how she put it (in Spanglish of course) was that she broomed it to death.
And I believe her.

Besides using it like a white cane (you should see my chipped wall paint) the broom is to Maria as the hammer is to Thor or the bow and arrow are to Katniss.

Even though I’ve never been able to ascertain through repeated questioning WHY she sweeps the entire house before she vacuums it (even the rugs) I’ve just accepted the fact that the broom serves as a third, prosthetic arm of sorts and never more so now that she’s well…blind.

(We are going to retire the killing broom. Maybe hang it on the wall somewhere like a Samurai sword.)

I’ve seen her expertly swipe her trusty broom at spider webs like a machete clearing an Amazonian rainforest, push heavy chairs around with it, and lovingly swat the little brown dog’s ass to move her outside.

And apparently, on Saturdays, while we’re at lunch—she kills rodents with it.

Apparently, this one had the audacity to cross her path outside next to the bar-b-que. Before you ask, I have no idea why she continues to go outside in the ninety-plus-degree heat to sweep. I’ve never asked her to do it and it’s not like she doesn’t have enough to do inside—good Lord, have you met us?

Anyway, since her eyesight is shit, I assume she heard it first. Maybe it stood up on its hind legs and sassed her. I had one do that to me recently when I startled it out by my office (the feeling was mutual) and I have to tell you if I’d had a broom…
She explained her killing spree by saying that it was fair game out in the open like that, and besides, it was slow.

Since we have poison EVERYWHERE I suspect he was dying.

Now please, don’t get all “up in my face” about this. It was the last resort and I hate it too! But after a year of natural repellents, New Age sonic machines, eucalyptus oil and just walking outside at dusk and asking them nicely to vacate the premises—by anyone’s standards we have a legitimate rat infestation.

I was actually beginning to wonder on Friday if the poison was even working. When Nick, our salaried exterminator came by (his third visit that week) he informed me that he was going through a months supply of poison every 48 hours. When he said that, a collective gasp erupted from me and the FIVE rats that were on the deck two feet away doing the backstroke in my fountain. Kidding aside (and I’m not kidding!) they have turned my sweet fountain into Memorial Day weekend at the Bellagio in Vegas.

So, as bad as I feel that it has come to this, to the fact that my blind housekeeper has to clean our toilets AND do rat-battle, I can no longer tolerate them running inside and taunting me.

http://www.theobserversvoice.com/2017/08/at-least-this-tuesday-is-better-than-last-tuesday-but-that-wasnt-hard-to-do/

Besides, having these many rodents around the property is just not sanitary.

In closing, I’m seeing to it that Maria gets combat pay. And she’s officially my spirit animal because she’s a badass, mamajama with that broom (I couldn’t do it).

And rats don’t listen when they are asked nicely to leave. Believe me—I tried.

Carry on,
xox


signature

Doom and Gloom, Ladybugs, and Anne Lamott

It never occurred to me that I might die in a thermal-nuclear holocaust. 

A motorcycle accident, sure. Choking on my gum or a large mouthful of  Raisinettes, huge possibility. But turned into toast at the hands of two man-babies with weird hair? Not so much.

I grew up during the Cuban missile crisis, we had “duck and cover”  drills twice a week in an effort to convince us we’d be safe under our desks. Like radiation and fire would skip over our grade school. Or Catholic kids dressed in their Gawd-awful uniforms with their hands clasped tightly together in prayer wouldn’t die. I knew even then that the whole thing was bullshit. I also knew that if the bomb dropped I’d die without ever kissing a boy, getting boobs or being allowed to order Coca Cola at a restaurant. 

You wanna know what really scared me as a kid? Nuns, clowns and math tests. The end.

So, now what? What if Kim Jong What-the Fuck picks California to nuke? Will the world even care? Will it miss Kombucha, man buns, and hot yoga? I tend to think not. My guess is that us whiny, liberal, coastal elites will not be missed.
At first.

I can only imagine how the political pundits will spin it once the radioactive dust has settled. “Good riddance giant blue state.” the headlines will read.  “One less thing to worry about in the 2020 election.” 

I bring all of this up because I read this recent Facebook post by one of my favs, Anne Lamott, who wrote about her concerns starting off with “We are so doomed.”

Are we?

“Well, if that’s the case I’m done shaving my legs,” was my immediate thought.

Then I remembered being a kid and watching all of the grown-ups wringing their hands with worry and how I knew, even five decades ago, that worrying wasn’t going to make anything better. So I grabbed my “bug jar”, ran outside to the field on the corner, and looked for more ladybugs. Because ladybugs are good luck (especially the rare ones without any spots) and being a kid gave me permission not to worry. To not know how to fix things. To just be in the moment, enjoying life.

That’s what Anne is saying below, and seriously, you guys, that’s all we can do. 

Well, that and bury ourselves in a giant puppy pile while wearing that expensive dress we were saving for a special occasion and eating any carb that isn’t nailed down.

I give us all permission to be childlike.  Innocently oblivious. Also, it feels like the right time to tell anyone and everyone that you love them.

Now. Don’t wait. 

xox Love you guys. Who’s with me?


TAKE IT AWAY ANNE…

“We are so doomed. There is nothing we can do. We are at the mercy of two evil ignorant syphilitic madmen, the two worst people on earth. I mean that nicely.

Where do we even start?

We stop trying to figure things out. “Figure it out” is not a good slogan. We practice trust, and surrender, and attention to what we know is beautiful: dogs, art, the Beatles, each other’s eyes. And we don’t give up hope. Emily Dickinson said that hope encourages the Good to reveal itself. We need all the Good we can summon in these Locked and Loaded days.

So what do we hope for?

Pivot! A perfect time for the Pivot.

Just kidding.

We hope and pray for the return of sanity, or even sanity-ish. I do not hope for a successful Trump presidency or failed Trump presidency. I hope that he does not blow up the whole world.

Is that so much to ask?

What if he accidentally blows up a little bit of the world?

Well, these things happen. We’ll stick together. What has always lifted my spirits is a promise that I made to myself, that if it looks like the end of the world, I get to eat every single thing on earth that can’t outrun me: the last few days, I will only eat nachos and creme brûlée and Safeway carrot cake. Oatbags of M&M’s. No vegetable matter!

That’s something to look forward to!

One more question: how do we get to hope in these dark ratty days?

We don’t think our way to hope. We take the actions, and then the insight follows. The insight is that hope springs from awareness of love, immersion in love, commitment to love. This begins with radical self love: to save the world, make yourself a lovely cup of tea. Put lotion on your jiggly thighs, clean sheets on the bed, the most forgiving pants you own. On the possibly last day on earth, you do not want to be wearing pants that pinch or tug, or ride up your crack.

Trust me on this.

Radical self-love means you treat yourself the same way you would treat your favorite cousin, or even cranky old mealy-mouthed me. Watch the self-talk. You would probably use a sweeter tone of voice with the cousin or me, that you would with yourself. This will change the world.

Get outside, even just to the front porch, and look up into the sky and into the tree tops, and say the great praise- prayer: WOW. Listen for the sound of birds–or bird. Surely there is one lousy bird somewhere in the vicinity. Close your eyes and really listen. If birdsong was the ONLY proof we have that there is a bigger deeper reality than what transcends what we are seeing on the news, it would be enough for me. Eyes closed, breathe, listen: secret of life.

And lastly, take care of the poor–right now. In Hallelujah Anyway, I wrote that when I got sober, I was taught that happiness lay in going from big shot, to servant. If you want to feel loving feelings, which is hope, do loving things. Send a donation to a group that feeds and shelters and clothes people, in your neighborhood, or Syria. Don’t tell yourself you have no money–pack up clothes and shoes to take to a shelter. Or cash in the money in your laundry room change cup, and give it to people on the street. Give away three dollars to moms on the street with kids, and give the kids colored pencils and journals, or index cards, and say,”It is good to see you,” even if you have tiny tiny judgment issues involving bootstraps and combed hair.

If you have time, register a few voters. Also, maybe a ten-minute nap–the writer Robyn Posin says rest is a spiritual act. Father Tom Weston urges, “Left foot, right foot, left foot, breathe.” Ram Dass tells us that ultimate ately, we are all just walking each other home. Let’s get started.

Am sending you love, whoever you are, and as pastor Veronica says, God bless you good.”


signature

The Magic Wand Evolution/Revolution Or, Beware of Opinionated Stroller Moms

I case you were wondering about just such a thing—THIS is a Magic Wand farm.

As you know I supply my little slice of Studio City with magic wands. In the beginning, they looked like this:

The sign on the bucket was more creative than the wands themselves—but that’s beside the point.

Then, my sister “out wanded” me with her usual flair and because they were scooped up in less than a day by the hungry masses yearning for wands—I was forced to up my game.

But the wand phenomenon like I suppose all good things do has developed a life of its own. It has its “people” who talk to my “people” (me) voicing their thanks (mostly), opinions (often), and now…requests. This week a group of stroller moms as I call them were rifling through the bucket looking for just the perfect wands for their kids when they caught sight of me getting into my car.

“Oh, hey, are you the Magic Wand lady?” they asked.

“Yes, I am” I answered proudly waiting for the usual parental gushing. Instead, this is what happened:

Mom #1 – “Listen, we love the wands, we really do, but…”
Mom #2 – “The little ones chew on them so could you put more without any paint in the bucket?”
Mom #3 – “Unless you use pesticide, Do you, I mean, use pesticides?”

“Uh, no. No, I don’t” I stammered. I was caught completely off-guard.

Mom #1 – “Are you sure? Have you specifically asked your gardeners not to use any pesticides or even worse… Round Up?”
Mom #3 – “Oh, look, Barbara, she has dandelions everywhere, they don’t use Round up.”
Mom #2 – “You don’t look sure. Are you sure?”

They all looked at me waiting for an answer.  After a minute of biting my tongue I said, “No, I mean, yes, yes, I’m sure. In four years no kids have died from holding or chewing on these Magic Wands. I swear!” 

Mom #1 – “What I really wanted to ask you was, do you make them in any other colors besides purple and gold?”
Mom #2 – “She did. You did, you had blue ones once.”
Mom #3 – “The reason we’re asking is that our sons, well…”
Mom #1 – “Our sons are all nine and ten this summer, they’re getting to be big boys and well, they want a wand…”
Mom #2 – “Just not a pink one.”
Mom #3 – “They’re not really pink, they’re more purple…”
Mom #2 – “Magenta. They’re magenta!”
Mom #1 – “Anyway, they’re too old for pink…”
Mom #3 – “And sparkles. Do you make any wands without the sparkles?”

“The boys hate the sparkles too?” I asked, crestfallen.

Mom #1 – “Not really, it’s just that the sparkles get all over the carpet and…”
Mom #3 – “I’ve found sparkles all over Jimiraquois’ bed!”

They laughed and nodded in unison while the toddlers in the strollers happily chewed on my Magic Wands.

I was clearly outnumbered.

“Do you have a color in mind? Something that both girls and boys would like?” I HAD to ask knowing full well that they did.

All three moms in unison – “Red. Red works.”

So, in closing, you can’t fight progress. Kids get older. And boys don’t like pink. And requests. Some people are very comfortable with big asks, not that this was a particularly big ask, but still, I couldn’t have done it. But maybe that’s just me.

What do you think?

Speaking of moms and their big asks…

Now I don’t feel so bad.

Carry on,
xox


signature

At Least This Tuesday Is Better Than Last Tuesday…But That Wasn’t Hard To Do

This is about last Tuesday, which was a weirder last Tuesday than most.

While watching the latest shenanigans thrust upon us by the rat bastard in the white house, politics on TV while recovering from an allergic reaction to a drug, another rat— a real one—ran right past the doorway of the room I was sitting in.

Listen, I am partially to blame but only partially. You see, I left the door to the back deck open like I have for the last gazillion years to let the early evening breeze inside. But alas, it seems that the back deck is now the latest local real estate to be taken over by the rats.

It all started three years ago when several neighbors to the south of us decided it get rid of the ivy that covered their back fences.

Well, since I have bougainvillea, not ivy, I was left blindsided by this hostile act. The rats, being well, rats, just packed up and moved north to the thornier side of the street. They don’t give a shit about thorns. Thorns leave scars that make them look badass. At least that’s what I imagine because why else would you leave the comfort of ivy to live in fucking bougainvillea?! Who does that?!

Wouldn’t you keep moving and look for a more hospitable habitat?

If it seems like I’ve given this too much thought—I have. It ’s what I do while I lay in bed at night as they scare the dog, drink out of the fountain and have loud, vocal, thorny sex on my back fence.

So back to me. I was pretty out of it due to my funky drug reaction.

But I could still see it out of the corner of my eye as it scampered past the open door. I don’t want to say scamper because it makes the rat seem cute but I can’t help it—it fucking scampered. It was somewhere between a skip and a hop. God help me, it was a scamper.

My immediate reaction was to bellow in my most threatening voice, “Get outta here!” like you do when the dog eyeballs the last piece pizza or your toddler opens the door while you’re trying to poop in peace. But the rat’s reaction was exactly like the same as the toddler’s and the dogs. Total indifference.

It ignored me and then a few minutes later ran past the doorway again in the opposite direction.

What is it with rats these day? They’re so shameless and entitled—like millennials. They don’t squeeze through tiny openings or only come in the house once it’s dark and quiet. Nope. They brazenly walk past a fully lit room with the TV blaring and a bat-shit crazy woman lying on the couch.

This time, filled with adrenaline, I overcame the drug-fueled lightheadedness and bolted for the door. “Get the fuck outta here you fucking rat!” I yelled down the hallway as it hightailed it toward the back deck and the open door to freedom. No longer scampering, it was in a full sprint—but so was I—right behind it—stomping my feet and yelling like a crazy person. Down the hall it ran and with the safety of the open door straight ahead of it, it got flustered. It zigged when it should have zagged—and it chose our bedroom instead.

“Nooooo!” I yelled at the top of my lungs still in close pursuit, “Not the bedroom!” (Said in that low, slow motion kind of voice.) I swear, its little rodent face looked back at me with a mixture of fear and defiance as it made a beeline for our bedroom and ran straight under our bed.

“NO! NOT THE BEEEEDDDDD!!!” I screamed, stopping just short of running under there with it.

Remember…I’m not right.

Earlier that afternoon I called my friend who has a nursing background because I was freaking out (and because I love her and wanted her voice to be the last one I heard before I died) and my husband came racing home in the middle of the day because I was dizzy, my heart was racing, my mouth was numb and I wasn’t making any sense. Well, less sense than normal.

So, to recap, just a few hours before I was one ambulance ride away from the ER and now I find myself jumping up and down on the bed to scare a rat back outside.

It didn’t work.

Out of breath and feeling worse than ever, I finally accepted defeat, slunk back into the den, and collapsed on the couch. I decided I’d let Raphael and Ruby take care of Ratatouille when they got home.

Twenty minutes later the rat scampered by the den again. This time he was gloating.

All I had the strength to do was yell. “Get Outta here! If I see you again, well…” But after the bedroom debacle, anything I said felt like an idle threat.

The little fucker ran back and forth past the den door three more times until it must have realized how sadistic it was being and ran back to the other three rats on the deck who I swear were playing cards for money.

Until the exterminator we have on salary gets to the bottom of this suburban rat infestation no more open doors at night.

Rats 1
Janet 0

This isn’t over!

Carry on,
xox

PS: I made Raphael check under the bed before I could sleep that night. He thinks the way I yell at the rats is hysterical, it took me hours to get that damn drug out of my system, and I heard a trap go off the next night up in the attic.

I suppose that should make me feel better.

It doesn’t.


signature

You Thought You Knew What To Do—But Now You Can’t—So You’re Stuck ~ Reprise

image

After this cluster-fuck of a week, I found this old post from three years ago. I am happy to report that I still play this chant on a regular basis. I hope you will too.

I can also report that I feel lost. A lot. That is all. I Love you.

xox


We’ve all been there.

We have the practical knowledge coupled with the willingness, which by-the-way are really tough things to gather together at the same time. We usually only have one or the other at any given moment.

We are ready to tackle – for good – a situation, relationship or problem that we’ve been chewing on for awhile.

Conquer. We are going to conquer it. For good this time.

We are ready to transmute it and send it back from whence it came.

So…what was I supposed to say?

How are things supposed to be handled?

What was that opening line that was going to finally start the conversation?   

Oh shit. I’ve lost my nerve.

I’m not ready.

This will NEVER work.

I can’t do this.

Now I’m stuck.

Fuck!

Here’s a great tool that will help you become un-stuck.
My friends and I have become obsessed with it, it’s THAT good.
It’s a chant to Ganesh, the Hindu elephant God, the remover of obstacles, done beautifully by Deva Premal.

http://youtu.be/OTFWfD7L5QA” target=”_blank”>

One of my friends had a sticky situation with an old friend, we chanted as a group—she downloaded it on her phone and chanted every day. In less than a week the situation had resolved…itself.
Favorably.
That’s some pretty good stuff.

Don’t say you don’t have the time. You do.

Don’t say you don’t like chants. This one’s gorgeous – and effective.

Don’t stay stuck.

Go ahead, unburden yourself – start the weekend with a chant.

You’re welcome. 😉

*Thank you Danielle LaPorte for turning me on to this.
DanielleLaPorte.com

Xox


signature

Fake English Accents and Eyelash Extensions


When I was a kid, around middle school age, I had a best friend named Ellice. Her last name was something long and German sounding, virtually unpronounceable if you weren’t wearing lederhosen or didn’t have sauerkraut running through your veins.

Ellice had a father with perpetual dirt under his fingernails, which always struck me as odd because my dad never did.
In his filthy drab green coveralls, all greasy haired and grizzled, he was some kind of super-duper airplane mechanic. Her mother, on the other hand, was the executive assistant for some highfalutin businessman downtown. I never saw her without her high heels, red lipstick, and a really fake looking black wig with tufts of gray hair peeking out from the sides.

A more unlikely couple you could NOT imagine. If you saw her parents standing side by side you couldn’t picture them sharing a cab—let alone making babies.

Nevertheless, they had three. Ellice had a kid sister and a baby brother who were looked after by an au pair, which I learned was an exotic word for nanny, which was just another word for babysitter/maid—or in other words, Alice on the Brady Bunch. This entire concept was as foreign to me as the au pair, Kirsten’s, British accent.

Since we were tweens and obviously waaaay past the nanny stage, Ellice made it clear to Kirsten that “she was not the boss of her” which I’m sure came as a relief to the poor young woman seeing that every time I saw her she was braiding the toddler’s hair with one hand while holding the infant whose diaper had exploded ochre colored baby poo-poo all over her powder blue uniform with the other.

I can trace my earliest memories of “Yeah, that baby stuff—that’s not for me”, back to those exact moments.

That time in history, the 1960’s, was fraught with social conflict, burgeoning women’s rights, hippies and the English Invasion. All which mirrored my own internal, pre-teen, hormone fueled, identity crisis. But what may have imprinted on me the most was a fondness for foreign accents and my appreciation for the way they made the dumbest diatribes sound like freaking Shakespeare.

So, for three months one summer my “precocious friend“ (my mother christened her with that title) and I walked around our little slice of suburbia wearing Kirsten’s Mary Quant white lipstick (which we “borrowed” off of her nightstand)—and took to speaking with British accents. Now, when you’re faking British accents it’s really only fun if you go around acting clueless and asking strangers a ton of questions in the most non-American way possible like “Where is the loo?” and “Can you please direct us to the lift?”

We explained our general stupidity and unbridled curiosity by saying we were exchange students from Bristol (I wanted London, but she picked Bristol.) We peppered our conversations with lots of “brilliants” and “cheerios” and as we walked away we flipped our hair and yelled “Tah!” over our shoulders.

We acted out this charade for so long that after a while I started to believe I was British.

That is, until our neighbor, Judy, busted me at the drug store in front of a man and his wife who went from being absolutely charmed and beguiled by us—to being thoroughly disgusted.

“Corkie, is that you?” Judy asked in her thick Brooklyn accent swinging me around by my shoulders. “Why are you talking like that? Don’t be an idiot. Stop embarrassing yourself!”

My face still gets hot with humiliation just thinking about it.

Which leads me to the present day and eyelash extensions. Have you seen them? They are spectacular!

I was late to the party on this trend, but after my sister convinced me to get them for the sake of “convenience” I have to admit—I fell truly, madly and deeply in love. They became my Holy Grail. My own black-fringed version of the Fountain of Youth. My Be All and End All.

You see, I have always had to dye my eyelashes black because they are so blonde they are invisible. These days, my body suddenly has the ability to produce jet-black chin hair but my eyelashes have remained the color of straw—so I’ve taken to wearing false eyelashes, which I LOVE.

But, come on! Eyelash extensions were MADE for me! I mean, the fact that you WAKE UP—IN THE MORNING— with lush, dark black eyelashes made me feel… beautiful. I tried to stay blasé but I couldn’t help myself! Every time I caught my reflection in the mirror I did a double-take. I didn’t recognize myself. Those eyelashes transformed me into one of those women who wakes up gorgeous, like a Kardashian or a soap opera star.

Strangers even commented on how pretty my eyes looked. I just batted those long, voluminous, black lashes so furiously, they repositioned the jet stream.

As the weeks passed I started to believe that I had been born with long, thick black eyelashes. And that they looked natural. Both which were lies.

Sadly, and I mean break my heart, dead puppy kind of sad, this time the part of my neighbor, Judy, was played by my own body. I was double-crossed by a severe allergic reaction which caused me to have to “give up the jig” after a brief six weeks.

I’m ashamed to say, they were the best six weeks of my life.

Nevermind. It has been my experience that throughout my life I’ve tried on a lot of affectations on my way to deciding who I really am.

And I’m betting you have too.

Some are ridiculous, like fake British accents and we discard them after a couple of weeks, some are impulsive but they grow on us and we weave them into the fabric of who we are like I did back-in-the-day with my red hair and more recently with a tiny gold nose ring.

I will not be deterred! Age hasn’t stopped me from morphing and changing and trying new things and I don’t believe that it should! Listen, I think that if I stop doing this you’d better hold a mirror under my nose to make sure I’m not dead.

Carry on,
xox

The great 11 pm. eyelash extension self-removal debacle of 2017. Which I can barely speak of without crying. Now I look like I have alopecia (not that there’s anything wrong with that.).


signature

Chump or Champ? It’s a Choice ~ Reprise

image

Uhhh, unfortunately, this is truer now than ever.

Right? I mean some days it feels like a knife fight out there. 

If you value social decency, kindness, or have one ethical bone in your body there are those around (in increasing numbers I’m afraid. A guy just called me a stupid bitch the other day for parking—and breathing) who view all of those qualities as weaknesses. Flaws. Chumpdom. Chumpland. We’re the chumps and they’re, well, they’re all in the White House.

What to do?… What to do?…Kill ‘um with kindness is what I usually do.

Then other times I stoop to their level and it feels really good. 

For a minute.

Hang in there champions! (I’m saying that to remind myself, Yo!)

xox


 

I was thinking about this the other day. Like, why are there so many Chumps and so few Champions?
So I made a listy thing to get my head straight.

Chump or Champion?

When you know it’s not right…and you do it anyway. And then you lie.

Chump is a choice.

So is Champion, but for some at least—Chump is the easier path.

It’s a careless choice of words.
It’s a tone of voice.
A turn of a phrase.

Being patently insensitive

A certain indifference.
A definite intolerance.
A lack of empathy.
A need for attention.

It’s taking the low road because the low road can be crowded and they have better snacks.

Chump is a choice.

Chumpy behavior goes viral. It gets its own hashtag and reality show.

Champion’s victories are short-lived.

Chump is a choice.

Chump is loud, unscripted, unfiltered and raw. It gets yips and catcalls. It can be uncomfortably humorous—mostly at the expense of others.

Champs set the bar high for excellence. Funny? Maybe. But it’s inclusive, and it NEVER elicits a groan.

Chumps drink the Kool-aid. What am I saying? They MAKE the Kool-aid and put up a stand on the busiest corner—where they SELL OUT.

Champs quietly drink champagne out of silver awards cups…or Dixie cups.

Champ isn’t easy. It’s about beating the odds.

Chump is a choice.

Chumps a piece of cake. It’s about taking advantage of the odds. Leveraging fear and rage.

I’ve known some people who have chosen to go the way of the Chump. I watched it. It was very quick and very concise. I won’t name names because that would be Chumpy.

I’ve also known those who have chosen to be a Champion. It was quiet. It was solitary. It took time. It was a slog. Like losing that last five pounds, or turning the Titanic.

What I’ve learned is that EVERYTHING in life comes down to a choice. Which one will it be? Do you have anything to add?

Carry on,
xox

image


signature

Choose Wisely

Besides you know, politicians, choosing people to populate your life is a heady endeavor.

It is my belief that this should apply to bosses, landlords, car repair men, lovers, and Uber drivers.

And if they appear to be a lying, cowardly, foolish thief—I give you permission to cut and run.

“When someone shows you who they are, believe them.”
~Maya Angelou

PS. And don’t forget to vote.

Carry on,
xox


signature

My version of life. My stories. Told in my own words.

WHAT I KNOW FOR SURE
Like The Vibe? Become Part of my Tribe, Subscribe!

You Can Also Find Me Here:
Huffington Post Live Interview—My Love Letter To Divorce
A Picture’s Worth MORE Than A Thousand Words
Archives
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers:

%d bloggers like this: