It's not just you… we all have our moments

It's not just you… we all have our moments

Friday, February 21, 2014

Boozy Floozy

Since retiring my drinking arm and surrounding myself with like-minded individuals, I've heard a lot of war stories.  I can particularly relate to tales of lasciviousness told by 'ol battle axes who used to call themselves "cougars" - women whose prayers now sound something like this:

Dear God,
I know I'm only supposed to pray for things I need, and not just things I want…
But I really need a husband, so that I leave everyone else's alone.

This type of behavior is not exclusive to me.  There's like, a club of women who possess this same character defect, and those women are called prostitutes.  (The others are called alcoholics).

I guess, looking back, there were signs…

Dad didn't make it to a lot of recitals...
So I guess I'm not really surprised that turned into this:

I think the obvious thing here is that I was just an innocent girl, looking for some good old-fashioned fun, and 90% of the time, that fun ended up looking like:

Which, in turn, left me feeling a lot like this the next morning:

There's really no discernible moral of the story, however I would like to offer my deepest condolences to the following individuals:
  • My parents - God knows you tried your best.
  • My brother - many of your friends were inconsequential casualties of my beastliness.  
  • My current boyfriend - there's no reason you should know any of this.
  • girlfriends… just in general (for the record, I NEVER hooked up with anyone's husband).  
  • Anyone who stepped in the way of me and my dance with the Devil.
  • My friends - for standing by my side through all my inappropriate behavior.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

My Big FAT ASS Demons

Not gonna lie, I just sat down to write this with a bowl of popcorn, and I'm eye-fucking the shit out of some Dove chocolates.  It should also be noted that my current position in life has me sitting on my ass nine out of the ten hours I'm awake each day.  I thought this place would be kinder and more gentle on my soul, and by "this place" I mean behind the camera.

You see, I work in television, and on a daily basis am privy to the emotional deterioration of starving actresses whose hungry tummy's are eating them from the inside out.  I used to want to be that actress, and chased that image down the rabbit hole when I was a teen - just right on down the hole into a pit of anorexic despair and endless abyss of low self-esteem and self-loathing.  It was nice.  I built a summer home and lived there for a few years.  But I'm getting a head of myself.

I guess it all started when I was about nine.  Not that my mother is fat, but she's no Karen Carpenter, either.  I was sitting at our kitchen counter one morning, eating some breakfast before school, when - as I'm told - out of the blue I asked, "Hey mom?  Because I came out of you, does that mean I'll have your parts?"  She stopped scrambling eggs and just looked at me - clearly this question deserved her undivided attention.

Mom:  "What do you mean my 'parts'?"

Me (contemplative):  "Well… like your pungy arms."

(P.S. I am the reason I don't want to have kids.)

My poor mother.  I think she went on a diet right after she dropped me off at school.  But actually, it was a rather astute observation for a child to make.  There is some truth to genetics, or as my father likes to say, "You're a Carey, Kris.  Carey's like to eat."

Prior to this moment, I never paid any mind to weight or food.  I never understood why women didn't like to talk about these topics, but then I probably weighed about 60-something pounds, and fancied a good cake walk at the school carnival.  I liked to play outdoors, and there were no consequences to my eating.  I had no perspective.

Then puberty happened.

Apparently, there's a ghetto-booty gene running loose in the Carey pool, because it found it's way to me.  You've heard of J-Lo?  Well, I may as well be K-Lo.  No joke; as I was walking out of the gym Monday, I was met with some very vocal appreciation for my ass from an African American gentleman, who promptly pointed out that I "needed to be spanked."  It's also been called "luscious", and Mmm Mmmmmmm'd over, as if it were the finest cut of Sirloin.

These are all the sorts of admirations that just make a white girl from the 'burbs feel fat.  Now add social stereotypes and unrealistic standards and what we have is a cocktail for a tasty eating disorder, which brings me back to the teenage rabbit hole I went down and built a summer home in.

During my residency I suffered amenorrhea, lost part of my vision, experienced the joys of dry and brittle hair, developed Raynaud's disease, constant fatigue and a general paranoia for all things caloric.  I was miserable, but I was skinny!!!  Also, I was killing it in school - my grades SHOT up and I rode out my last two years of High School with honors.

Then I went to college.

Fun fact:  if you throw your body into a mode of starvation, it starts to eat itself.  Seriously.  I had lost a significant amount of muscle while I was in the rabbit hole, which proved most inconvenient when my disorder flip-flopped and I couldn't metabolize the food I began consuming as efficiently as my old body could.

So there I was, eating again, but I turned into a skinny fat girl.  I mean, the weight I gained was like fat on bone - no muscle for tone - so I was mushy.  Totally freaked out by this, I began purging: my food, my negativity, my anxiety - everything.  It was like I couldn't get far enough away from myself.  This is an exhausting place to live.  So after a year away at college, I went back home and took a year off while I recovered.

"Recovery" looked a lot like Weight Watchers, where my mother sent me, saying I wasn't necessarily fat (yes, I was), but "you just look like you really enjoyed your mashed potatoes."  Thanks, mom.  In hindsight, it probably wasn't the best idea to treat an eating disorder with a diet, but fuck it; I was thin again, and tired of obsessing over food all the time.  I just wanted to feel normal, feel lighthearted, have some fucking fun…

…and this is when I really started to ramp it up with the alcohol.  I started exchanging food calories for liquid calories, which was convenient because not only did I manage to stay thin, it also made my feelings go away!  Booze was my new best friend!  And you know what else?  Because I was thin, boys paid attention to me.  Alcohol made me fun and skinny made me desirable.  Guys wanted to fuck me, and that was the treatment I used to remedy my low self-worth.

Then a miracle happened.

On a morning shortly before my 31st birthday, I woke up - hungover - and something inside me had died.  I lost the energy to fight.  I had been running on empty so hard, and for so long, I was just tired.  And from the ashes, a rebirth.  I put the bottle down, gave the attention I paid to the number on the scale a rest, and focused on some real recovery.

I naturally thinned out, and thought: "Maybe I'll give acting another shot," but quickly realized that talent must be met or exceeded by looks, and there's a huge pressure, albeit implied, to be thin.  There is nothing about this scenario that feels like love to me.  So I shifted my focus to my parallel passion - writing - and I haven't looked back since.

This story is ridiculous in the sense that it's tragically sad.  It's sad because this type of story, which should be the exception to the rule, is commonplace these days.  Girls like me are the norm, and that is a Goddamn shame.

Today, I'm surrounded by conversations about food and diets and fitness ALL THE TIME.  I live in a society and work in an industry that places an individual's value of worth heavily on appearances, and in order to stay sane I have to completely disengage.  I can't participate in conversations about veganism, or the benefits of high-protein/ low-carb diets, or which workouts will shred unwanted pounds the fastest, or the insane argument a woman's body doesn't really need more than 1,000 calories a day.  When that shit starts up around me, I completely shut down.  I'm exhausted.  It's all I can do to muster up the energy to get to the gym and workout without the residual feeling that it's some sort of punishment for not being "good enough."  I'm tired of feeling that somehow, if I'm not perfect, I'll never truly be lovable.

This got a lot more serious than I planned on, but maybe there's a reason for that?  Maybe one or two of you reading this can relate?  If so, I hope you find comfort in our shared experience, because I don't have much to offer in the way of a solution except to find a way to love yourself, whatever that looks like, and then just keep moving.  It's been my experience that if you just keep going, you'll find your way.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A Bloody Mess

This story is once removed, but I'll have you know it's credible.  It's rightful owner is a friend of mine who told me yesterday (so the details are fresh in my head), and on the heels of Valentine's Day, I feel like this little anecdote is too romantic not to exploit, er… share.

Engagements are a beautiful and exciting milestone in one's life (if you consider a public declaration of surrender a feat of accomplishment).  I wouldn't know, because up until recently, I was the kind of girl you took home to dad, not mom.  In other words, proposal's weren't exactly falling at my feet.

Quick side story, the best friend of one of my exes once told me that when "Seth" and I broke up, he made it a point to rebound with the most boring girl he could find… and then he married her.  Yeah, that's what I did to guys - put them through the wringer until lackluster looked brilliant.

Now, there are multiple ways you can go with the proposal: pop the question to a long-time love who feels like part of the family, or fall in love so hot and fast you don't want to spend another moment single - so you get engaged in a month.  When you know, you know… right?  Like my favorite line in When Harry Met Sally says: "…when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible."  I get it.

My point is, sometimes the engagement comes before you have the opportunity to meet your soon-to-be in-laws.  By then, the pressure is really on, cuz you're playing for keeps.  This "simple" meeting of your two worlds better not collide, because if they do, it's gonna be a looooooong life.  This is where we pick up with my friend's story: on the eve of introducing his fiancé to his mother.

The poor girl was already nervous about meeting her future mother-in-law… I mean, c'mon… we all know the stereotypes, what if this ol' bitty was a monster?  Miss. Fiancé may have had the ring, but she still had to make a good impression on dear old mom… the paperwork hadn't been signed yet!  It was already a strike against her that she and Mr. Man were living in sin, and had been for a while… at least long enough to get a dog.  So, in anticipation of "Betty's" arrival, the least she could do was clean the house from head to toe.

Their spotless home was met by Betty's approval, and after some light chit-chat over a cocktail (to bevel the edges), the trio decided it was safe to take the meet-and-greet out to dinner.

The evening was a smashing success, and it seemed all that worry was for nothing.  Miss. Fiancé chalked up the majority of her paranoia to her cycle… after all, it was "that time of the month."  The three were having such a lovely time getting acquainted, they invited mom back to the house for some coffee and dessert without the slightest inclination that lurking in the dark shadows of the immediate future, a disaster of epic proportions was patiently waiting for them.

For those of you with a dog (and a girlfriend - if you're not a female dog owner), you know that the only thing they love more than the crotch of a dirty pair of panties is a trashcan filled with feminine products, and in regards to the latter, the last thing you should do during "that time of the month" is haphazardly leave your dog unattended.  Also, there's nothing like the wrath of a dog who's pissed you left him alone.

The evening went from great success to Holy terror with the turn of a key.  In less than a second, laughter turned to gasps of horror as they were met with an entire living room covered in bloody cotton, and a dog, hiding shamefully under the couch.

Photo from Notes From A Nerdling blog
God only knows how this couple made it to the alter after that, but they did.  Just goes to show that true love can withstand a lot of bloody challenges, I guess?  And they kept the dog!

People are weirdos.  

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Jimmy Fallon: My Goal Is Just To Make You Laugh

"My goal is just [to] make you laugh and put a smile on your face so that you go to sleep with a smile on your face and live a longer life.  Isn't that the whole goal of what we're doing?  [To] have fun?"

Jimmy Fallon ushered in a new era of The Tonight Show with an opening monologue that skewed more towards sentimental than jokey, and echoed the basic tenant of this blog: to have fun.  It is because of this I felt compelled to share, in case you missed it, the first six minutes of Fallon's tenure as host.  Whether he lasts thirty years or thirty seconds, I can appreciate his brand of comedy, and philosophy that smiling facilitates a longer life.  If "what we're doing" refers to how we're living, then yes, Jimmy, the goal should most definitely be to have fun.  Thank you.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

My Time "Abroad": Tijuana

With the exception of rowing Crew freshman year, my time in college was spent exercising my drinkin' hand and making bad decisions.  Point in case:  my first trip to Mexico (and every subsequent trip after that).

I always wanted to study abroad, but at the rate I was going, that wasn't exactly in the forecast.  I mean, in order to participate in an abroad program, I believe it's necessary to be in attendance of the college you're enrolled.  Technically I went to Long Beach State, but was spending all my time at SDSU - for various reasons, but mainly because they knew how to party, and my best friend went there.

During one of my visits - no weekend in particular - an acquaintance of my friend came up with the brainchild of a little drive south of the border.  I asked if it was dangerous - I had heard it was…  but she was quick to assure me, "It's no big deal!  My family is from there, and they're well connected.  I go back all the time.  It's totally fine."

*Note:  If anyone, at any time in your life, ends a sentence with it's totally fine - it's not.  These are what we call "famous last words," and they're the biggest red flag you will ever be handed.

A thing about me:  when I was drinking, I was the most spontaneous person you'd ever meet.  Sober, I'm a timid and cautious worrywart.  That's one of the things I loved so much about alcohol:  I got to leave that stiff girl behind.  So when I was presented with the opportunity to visit this spectacular foreign land of enchantment - one that I had never before enjoyed - I did my due diligence, and asked if it was dangerous.  In hindsight, I'm surprised I even did that.  This girl (whose name I didn't know) seemed legitimate enough, and I was satisfied with her answer.

I should mention that my best friend - the one who actually knew (of) this girl - made the very affirmative decision to stay behind.

So, saddled up with three other strangers, I put my life into the hands of this unknown world traveler and headed south.  She was bilingual.  What could go wrong?

Nothing… on the way into Mexico.  We made it through Tijuana - no need to stop, as it was daylight, and TJ is best left to the darkness of night, when you can't see too clear - past Rosarito, Puerta Nuevo (Lobster Town), and arrived at our destination:  Hotel Calafia.
This place is great for a number of reasons:  1) stiff drinks, 2) sunshine, 3) outstanding chips and guac, 4) they have a pirate ship for a dance floor, and let me tell you, this works out really well for a girl who's always dreamed of being a Pirate.

So far, there was nothing I didn't like about Mexico.  Time-to-go-home o'clock rolled around, but I was ready to stake my claim and build a hut on the beach.  Begrudgingly I folded-in and followed suit.

I don't really remember how we got to Calafia, but the way home looked a lot like the road less traveled, and it wreaked of a terrible mistake.

*That smell actually turned out to be the bloated, decaying carcass of a horse just kickin' it on the side of the road, covered in lye.  But that's neither here nor there…

… because we found ourselves in the immediate danger of joining that goddamn horse.  Before I knew what the hell was happening, I was face-to-face with a very serious looking man holding a machine gun outside my window, and his buddies were surrounding the car.  My driver, Miss. "It's totally fine," was rattling off Spanish faster than I've ever heard it spoken before in my life.  I didn't know what the she was saying, but the obvious translation was: we're fucked.

What seemed like an eternity lapsed before we were allowed to pass.  When I tried to ask my driver what just happened, she stonewalled me.  To this day I have no idea if they were Federali, Policia, Cartel or what, I just know it wasn't good, and I'm probably pretty lucky.

Did that keep me from revisiting?  Hell, no!  It's gonna take A LOT more than machine guns in my face to keep me away from the most beautiful guacamole and tequila I've ever tasted.  Besides, I had yet to immerse myself in the culture that is Avenida Revolucion, and let me tell you - those strip clubs are not to be overlooked.

Avenida Revolucion
If you ever need to feel better about yourself, spend a night patronizing these cesspools of debauchery.  They're really well set-up - you'll often find a two-for - meaning a little sumthin' sumthin'  for the guys downstairs, and some free-swingin' dick action "for the ladies" upstairs.

I say "for the ladies" because, while I align myself with the heterosexual persuasion, there's something so eminently cheesy about male strippers, I'd rather have bush shoved in my face before subjecting myself to the uncomfortable squirming that takes place in my stomach when I try watch a slimy man prance around in a Speedo.  (Magic Mike is an exception to the rule).  But, hey, to each his own.

This particular evening was spent in the company of my Uncle, his wife, my brother and his friend… because that's the kind of twisted family I have.  The upside to my company this time was that I knew them well, and that made me feel much safer.  I'm also a master at deluding myself.

By the end of the night, it was apparent who was part of the gene-pool and who wasn't, as my brother's friend spent the entire time we waited in line to cross the border at the end of the night with his head hanging out of the car, puking all over little kids trying to sell chickle.  Some people just can't handle their tits and ass.

Years later, I managed to make it further down the Baja peninsula with a  friend of mine who got so wasted on the flight to Cabo, the flight attendants threatened to have the Policia meet us upon arrival.  That pretty much set the tone for the rest of the trip.  Here's how the rest of it went:

- we landed, no Policia
- we got to the hotel: continued drinking
- we stayed drunk for 5 days
- El Squid Roe was in there somewhere…

...and that's as much as I can remember through the fog of booze.

Viva la Mexico!

Friday, February 7, 2014

My Resume Looks Like The AIDS Quilt

Got the following text from my mom not too long ago.  Seems the topic of my past employment has become a game to my parents.  So happy I can be such an amusement.

Before I dive into this, a couple things:

-  "lust" most certainly played a part in my departure from a few jobs, as I found multiple opportunities to fish off the company pier.

-  I should point out that trying to name all of my jobs occupied the length of time it took for the server to input my parent's order into the POS station, fire it back to the kitchen, cook the meal, and carry it back out to them.  Let's call it twenty minutes?  I'd like to play a game called, "What the fuck would my parents talk to each other about if they didn't have kids," but that seems like another blog post entirely.

Anyway - yes - I have had a job or two… or twenty-two.  If I had a square of patchwork for every job I've held (or tried to hold) down, I'd have a blanket that would rival the color and diversity of the AIDS Quilt.  It's science.

So here it is; a brief introduction to Kristin's past employment:

1)  JW Bentley.  I was 15 years old, and obtained a work permit so I could dust.  The California public school system was already failing me.

2)  Baskin Robbins.  16 and not eating, so aside from social networking (i.e. doing whip-its in the walk-in freezer with friends), this job was pointless.

3)  Noah's Bagels. 17 years-old, and my first exposure to Judaism.  At the end of every shift, I left smelling like proofed dough, lox and chubs.

4)  Chili's, 18.  Fired for lack of "Sizzle Service."

5)  Restaurant Pascal, Newport Beach.  I was 19, and learned more Spanish at this French Restaurant than I did in four years of studying Spanish in high school.  Also, face-raped by a 31 year-old wine rep with abnormally long nose hairs.

6)  Duke's, HB.  Where I landed for a brief second after quitting Pascal immediately after having my face assaulted by nose hair.  I quit Duke's when they wouldn't let me cocktail serve cuz I was "underage."  Squares.

7)  WCT.  Golf company. 20 - 21?  My life was a train-wreck at the time - I was supporting an alcoholic boyfriend, committing check fraud, and was surrounded by girls my age who were already on their second kid.
*Highlight: my boss flew me in his puddle jumper (very La Bamba) to Catalina for lunch one day.

8)  Chevy's - 20's.  This is about the time things start getting blurry.  Back home and living with my toads… had to quit after my relationship with a co-worker went south… literally and figuratively.  There may even have been the threat of a lawsuit… against me.  Can we say "big misunderstanding?"  Sheesh.

9)  Wholesaler in Oakland - 20's.  Sounds like drug dealing?  I wish.  Would have been much more lucrative and exciting.  Also, I coulda used the street cred.

10)  Receptionist:  Female Fertility Clinic - 20's.  I know all there is to know about subcutaneous injections.  Also discovered I am not a desirable candidate for egg donation.

11)  Receptionist:  Hair Salon - 20's.  Fired after calling in sick (drunk) from an airplane as we sat on the runway… in Vegas.  I had 20 minutes before I had to be at work.

12)  Bartender (Amber Bistro) - 20's.  This worked out for a variety of reasons:  the bar manager was good in the sac, I got to drink on the job, I could walk to work, and (with the aid of a certain white powder) I held the record for scoring the most amount of limes in under a minute!

13 - 16)  Server/ Bartender (Forbes, Esin, Stomp, Peasant - twice!) - 20's.  Disaster.  All of it.

17)  TRACKMAGIC - 20's.  "Proud" owner/operator of a racing go-kart manufacturing company.  Also my introduction to Hell.

18)  Event Coordinator - 20's.  I thought I would try my hand at party planning.  Turns out I'm not nearly as type-A as I thought, nor do I give two shits about table linens.

19 - 20)  Sales - 20's.  Nothing as sexy as selling Yellow Page ads in an Internet era.  May as well have been training for the Alcoholism Olympics.
*Fun Fact:  an inappropriate and short-lived office romance ushered in my early departure from #20.  But honestly, if it wasn't for the bad sex, I would have launched myself off the roof our office building out of sheer boredom.

21 - 22)  Diablo Magazine/ Eucalyptus Magazine (Defunct) - my attempt at freelance writing.  Contributed such Pulitzer pieces as "Where To Get Your French Fashion Fix" and "How To Start A Community Garden."  Two-week Jury Duty was the highlight of my tenure as a magazine writer.

*Not accounted for are the handful of acting jobs I collected like stamps, or rare coins.

-- GOT SOBER -- I'm not going to say the above is what drinking looks like, but it's what my drinking looked like.  The following is what my life looks like now.  I like to call it "purpose driven."

1)  Script Coverage.  Now we're cookin' with gas, although I learned a depressing lesson that a writer's hard work, blood, sweat and tears had to pass the likes of people such as myself - people totally unqualified to criticize any body of work - or, worse yet, film students.

2)  Wolf Films, PA to Exec Assistant.  Been in LA a little over three years, been on the show here for over two years, without incident.  Not only that, I've even been promoted.  Also, I exchanged the word "job" for "career."

*Maybe a few more acting jobs, because I like to play make-believe, and it's just fun.

Here's my point:  We all arrive at our destination, on our own time.  How it looks is a small matter compared to the impact it has on shaping our resilience and point of view.  I have a breadth of experience to draw inspiration from; a million stories to laugh about over coffee with friends.  I've lived my life in color.  How could I have done it any better or differently?  It has been exactly what it needed to be.

AIDS Memorial Quilt, Washington D.C.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

You KNOW When Things Are Wrong

Something feels… wrong.
According to my friend, this pic "looks like someone just came in your eye at a kids birthday party."
We've all had them - those inconvenient moments of lucidity that inform us something isn't quite right.  The ensuing discomfort comes from knowing when things are wrong, but not wanting to acknowledge it.  Try as we may, that little fucking voice is impossible to ignore.  For me, it'll grow as loud as the beating in Tell-Tale Heart, and I'll STILL try to turn a blind eye.  For instance...

… about eight or so years ago, my neighbor and I (both bartenders at the time), decided to grab breakfast one morning after a particularly long night.  You know what goes great with egg bagel sandwiches?  Screwdrivers.  So we grabbed our breakfast to-go and made camp at our local watering hole.  It was located on the main drag in town, so we made our entrance through the back, like a couple of low-down, dirty regulars.

There we sat, eating our bagels and drinking our doubles, when a woman walked in who had just dropped her kids off at school.  My attention drifted from my friend to the woman as I watched her saddle up to the bar and order her "usual."  When she realized she didn't have her wallet, just her check book, the bartender said, "Don't worry about it Suzy, I know you're good for it."  Instead of drinking on her intention to pay later, Suzy signed a blank check and slid it across the bar, adding, "Just fill in the amount when I'm done."

That's when the voice in my head came thundering in:  "This is you in twenty years," and it suddenly became a bit harder to swallow my bite of bagel.  I needed something to wash it down, and this bitch had put a sour taste in my mouth.

Now back in the day, I lived in this apartment complex conveniently located one street behind a downtown that consisted of two bars, and another seven bars that also served food.  The occupants of my ten-unit complex were the bartenders and servers of these fine establishments, which meant we all shared similar schedules and ambitions that consisted of nothing outside of work, booze and blow.  It was just like Melrose Place.

One of the neighbors had a little girl - a four-year old daughter who I was particularly fond of, not only because we shared the same name, but we also had the same birthday.  She was like my Mini-Me.  I adored this kid, maybe because she felt like the shadow of the baby I didn't get to have six years prior.  Who knows.

But I was no role model, that's for fucking sure.  I can recall one day specifically: all the neighbors were having a BBQ and, wouldn't you know it, we ran out of beer.  Fortunately the market was a stone's throw away, so I volunteered to walk over.  Of course Mini-Me wanted to come with, and nothing inside informed me it would be inappropriate to stumble into a grocery store with a child - bright-eyed and innocent to the sub-current of debauchery and hedonism that fueled all my choices.  In fact, it didn't dawn on me I was a horrible person until I caught the judgmental stares of every sober person buying groceries that Thursday afternoon, most likely wondering whether or not to call CPS.  Only then did I hear it: "You're white trash."  Excellent.

Then there were relationships.  Similar to my moral compass, my "picker" has never realized a true north.  I'm not accustomed to making the most fit decisions when it comes to romantic partners.  But who wants to be alone?  Not this girl.  I mean, I recently adopted a dog in an attempt to thwart making a capricious boyfriend decision.  And that's now.  Back in the day, fogettaboutit - I'd go dumpster diving for a guy if I thought he might like me, so urgent was my need to fill that void of loneliness.

Every time I shacked up with a guy, seemingly so much unsolicited intuition accompanied it.  I mean, gross - am I right?  Who wants to deal with that naggy bitch?  I remember watching an ex-boyfriend from the window of my apartment as he loaded his 50-million pound television into the bed of his truck, man-handling it like a fucking boss - the twinge of sadness I felt to see him go morphing into a sea of regret as my new boyfriend raced by on his hot pink razor scooter.  I actually got to bear witness to the needle on the line-graph of my stock crashing through the ground, right before my eyes.

And goddammit it all to hell if the FIRST guy I dated in sobriety didn't come with that same sinking feeling, only this time I didn't have alcohol to drown out the voice of reason that crackled over the wire.  For Christ's sake, why did that happen?  I was sober.  This wasn't supposed to happen anymore.  I was supposed to be "fixed."  But I found myself sitting across from this guy - this man I thought I was madly in love with - when the voice came through, only crystal fucking clear this time:  "I'm going to outgrow him."

This is what it looks like when I'm paying attention.  When I stop listening to that inner-voice things really end up going south.  It's as if when looking a gift horse in the mouth,  God's turns up the volume of His booming wrath to deliver a hand grenade so fierce there's no other recourse than a self-correcting response.  Like the time when...

… I had a warrant issued for my arrest for check fraud.  I'm sure there was a voice urging me not to (repeatedly) write that bad check to Ralphs for a hundred dollars over the cost of bread, but I wasn't hearin' it.  Mama needed the cash.

Or that time I just wouldn't leave that guy, until the day he cheated on me with a Tranny and gave me gonorrhea.

The culprit of my STD
Bottom line:  I am my own worst enemy, and I know exactly how to make things monumentally more difficult for myself than they need to be, all by ignoring the little voice inside that knows when a situation is wrong.

The beautiful thing is I now make a conscious decision to be aware of myself and my surroundings every day, which (not gonna lie) can be pretty fucking uncomfortable.  But at least I'm not the recipient of discerning stares, regret, shame, or STDs anymore.

Moral of the story:  pay attention.  We already have the answers.  Just choose to listen.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Why You Shouldn't Cheat On Me

I write this at the risk of sounding like a calloused, egocentric bitch (because the truth is just so far off base from that).   No, really… I'm nice.  (Now).

Actually, I've always been nice.  Maybe a little bratty, or a touch narcissistic, but nice.  Back in my drinkin' days, one could accuse me of being downright selfish, and that wouldn't be far off base.  I had a tendency to flake on plans at the last minute if something better presented itself, or flat-out fail to show up for commitments altogether if I was tying one on - I was all about me, and I was all about having a good time.  As for the narcissism, it's plagued by insecurity.  The drinking brought out my egomania, but I still suffered from an inferiority complex.  Not to completely psychoanalyze myself, but this probably explains why it was so easy for me to justify stealing my best friend's boyfriend.

TO BE FAIR, he wasn't technically her boyfriend… but she was definitely interested in him.  Like, a lot.  I am fully aware (now) this makes me a total asshole.  In my defense, I was fresh off the heels of a shitty break-up with an abusive dick and had just moved back home to get away from him, so I thought, "I deserve some happiness."  I realize (now) no amount of happiness is justifiable if it comes at the expense of anyone else.  But at the time, I was still actively participating in an "all about me" philosophy.

Here's how I broke the news to her:  I invited her over for a heart-to-heart… the sensitivity around the subject of stealing someone's love interest deserves to be handled in person.  I mean, that's the classy thing to do.  I sat her down, and the following conversation ensued:

Me:  "We've been best friends so long I feel like we're more like sisters than friends." 

Her:  "Me, too."

Me:  "And you know I value love above all else."

Her:  "Yeah…"

Me:  "And true love is so rare… It's so hard to find, wouldn't you agree?"

Her:  "Totally."

Me:  "So when you find it, when you really find something true, you need to hold on to it at all costs, because it's just so rare."

Her:  "I agree."

Me:  "Great!  I'm so happy you feel that way, because I met someone, and I've never felt this strongly about anyone before!"

Her:  "Oh my God!!!  I'm so happy for you!  Who is he!?"

Me:  "Steve."

Her:  "Just like my Steve!"

Me:  "Right… It is."

Her:  "It's my Steve?"

Me:  "Yes.  I'm so sorry, but we're in love…"

You can imagine how the rest of that conversation went.

Thus began my relationship with "Steve."  It was tainted from Jump Street, but I had the blinders on while I was driving the bulldozer.  I was in love.  His heart was also on the mend after a recent break-up, and we bonded while consoling each other.  He was tall, and goofy, and got my weird sense of humor, and went along with my spontaneity, (after a night partying we thought gambling sounded fun, so we hopped in my Jetta and set out on a three and a half hour drive to South Lake Tahoe… at 2 a.m., in winter).

Tangent:  He dropped his wallet on the side of the road when he pulled over to urinate somewhere over the pass, and we didn't notice it was missing until we got to the casino.  So we had to get back in the car, retrace our steps down the hill for over an hour, find his wallet, then drive back up to the Lake.  No buzz from booze lasts long enough to entertain that kind of detour.  Road trips sound like a great idea when you're drunk, but they lose something when you come-to in a completely different geographic, with nothing to wear but a hangover.

But we were soul mates.  We had to be, cuz I just lost my best friend over this guy.

Anyway, "Stretch" didn't have a job.  Did I fail to mention that?  For a long time I dated a string of men I ended up supporting, cuz it made me feel better about myself or something?  I don't know.  But he promised me he was looking.  In fact, he was "gonna hit the pavement and really get after it," and had even asked to borrow his neighbors car so he could "check out some leads."  Did I also fail to mention he didn't have a car?  But I digress.  I kissed him goodnight and said I'd stop by in the morning to wish him luck before he went out.

That night, I had a dream, nay - a prophesy - that he borrowed my car to visit his ex-girlfriend.  I woke up, groggy and sick to my stomach with a sinking premonition that deceit was waiting in the wings, like a goddamn vulture, ready to gobble me up.

George Jean Nathan said:  "What passes for woman's intuition is nothing more than man's transparency."  (This, coming from a man who also said, "I drink to make other people interesting."  So right off the bat, I know he may as well be Einstein), because guess what?  My transparent ass-face of a boyfriend borrowed his neighbors car and followed a "lead" right into his ex-girlfriend's vagina.  But not before borrowing $20 from me "for lunch" first.  Of course I found all this out when his ex called my cell phone later that afternoon to tell me they'd been fucking the entire time we had been dating.

Wondering "why you shouldn't cheat on me" yet?  Because it wasn't a month later that he was diagnosed with testicular cancer.

Meet "Mr. Testicle" - the official mascot of testicular cancer
I realize if stealing my best-friend's guy didn't make me look like enough of an asshole, delighting in his cancer diagnosis most certainly does.  Listen, I'm not that hard core; at the time I was really concerned.  I mean, I didn't want him to die.  It wasn't until he was in remission and minus one ball that I took pleasure in his fate, feeling as if some justice had been served by the Universal Court of Law.

I'm not really so daft to think his having cancer was a direct, or indirect, result of his infidelity.  If anything, this story is probably just as much about my karma as it is his.  I lost my best friend AND another boyfriend, and he lost a nut and his hair… for a while.  It grew back.  Good thing, too, cuz he looked stupid in those bandannas, but really, I'm not bitter.

I'm going to Hell.

But before I go, let this tale serve as a warning: don't act like an asshole.  Life's hard enough without ding-dongs like me making it harder.