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

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

Friday, April 25, 2014

I Was A(lmost) Snow White

I am not one of those people who loathe Disney.  I don't partake in conspiracy theories around Walt's anti-Semitic ties (which I'm not excusing), nor do I  think that he was the Devil incarnate, disguising pure evil in a Mouse suit.  I think Walt Disney was human, and I think he was flawed, but above all else, I think he was a big fucking nerd who had a dream and made it come true.

Conversely, I'm not a season ticket holder, a QVC collector of Disney memorabilia, nor do I dream of getting hitched at Disney World and being whisked away from Cinderella's castle in a cheesy pumpkin carriage down Main St., on parade for all to see.  (I was loved as a child.)  I have zero desire to traipse around the park in a veiled Mini Mouse hat with "Mrs." embroidered on it.  Gross.
Be better than Heidi and Spencer.
Do I think Disney was a "gender bigot," as Meryl Streep claims?  Duh.  My generation also grew up engrossed in Disney-perpetuated themes of misogyny, even after the Women's Lib movement, but I think the takeaway largely depends on the individual and her immediate environment.  For example, my brother has a friend who, before letting his daughter watch any of the Disney classics, makes her repeat, "I am a strong, independent woman and I don't need a man to save me."  My brother's ex-girlfriend, on the other hand, did not have that paternal reinforcement.  The result: she = nightmare.  Can't argue with science.

My upbringing had nothing and everything to do with me auditioning to be a Disney "Princess" when I was nineteen.  I'm sure I showed up that morning reeking of booze and cigarettes, but I was just All-American-looking enough to pass the first round of inspection - which simply consisted of standing in a line next to, literally, over a thousand other hopefuls as judges discerned whether or not we could pass as cartoons.

*A brief back story: when I was four, I thought I was Alice in Wonderland.  I mean, I knew I wasn't, but if I dressed in pinafores long enough and insisted everyone call me Alice, maybe I could fool myself.  At least, I'm sure that was my thinking.  Fake it till you make it, right?  (It worked for OJ Simpson - I'm sure he still thinks he's innocent.)  So when I answered the open call for Disney face characters, I half expected it to be the fulfillment of my childhood dream.  Being Alice felt like my birthright.  One could certainly ascertain with a level of accuracy that my audition had less to do with any desire to be a princess, and more to do with my inherent desire to live in an acid trip.

The Disney gestapo had other plans for me, however.  Turns out I'm not believable as an Alice because I have brown eyes (color contacts, anyone?) and I'm 5'9" (got me there).  In fact, the only characters I qualified for were Belle (no one's buying that) and Snow White.  In hindsight, I probably should have been offended - with one cursory examination, these Disney "experts" determined I looked like I fit the role of the hooker who "took care of" seven tiny men and skied the slopes of many a bar bathroom.  Don't think that name, Snow White, is lost on me, Disney.  Assholes.

Anyway, there I was - I had made the first round of cuts for no apparent reason whatsoever, but realized quickly just what a big deal that was based on the level of excitement emitted from a fellow cut-maker to the right of me.  Apparently this was her third time auditioning, but it was the first time she'd made it this far.  Woof.

I had the benefit of ignorance on my side - I had no idea how competitive the Disney Character screening process is, how many people were practically dying to be one, or how goddamn long those auditions are (seriously, there goes my Saturday).  I was green and I had zero attachment to the outcome, so every time I advanced to another round, I was shocked.  I was positive my fate was sealed the second we were informed we'd have to learn a fucking dance and perform it in front of the judges in twenty minutes.

I don't dance.  Graceful and I don't run in the same circle.  My childhood friend's mother once told me that her favorite part of coming to Sarah's soccer games was so she could watch me flail my arms about as I ran around the field like a chicken with my head cut off, nearly pissing herself each time I'd trip over myself and eat shit because of how fast I'd bounce right up and keep running - like the ground was a trampoline or something.  I looked like Corky out there.

I actually didn't get excited about being a Snow White until I danced my way into the final round, where a handful of my competitors and I were instructed to suit up in full wardrobe (!!!).  Here's what I learned:
  • I look hideous with black hair.
  • I am a total hooker in red lipstick.
Disney noticed it, too.  Aside from perusing the park shaking hands and kissing babies, Snow's main gig was reading stories to kids in Fairy Book Land (or some shit like that), and goodness knows you can't have a trampy Snow White in front of impressionable young girls.  That might give off the wrong impression!  We certainly don't want anything to interfere with the psychologically sound message that all women need rescuing, and happiness is only realized in a kiss and a  Fairy Tale wedding (not to mention, that's a lot of pressure on a guy).

I wish I got the opportunity to read to those goofy little idiots, because I would have elaborated on what Happily Ever After is code for: A lot of fucking work.  There were days, sometimes years, when Snow White and Prince Charming don't even like each other because of a thing called compromise, which she realized she was better at doing than he was.  Then came the day when they decided to shit out a few heirs to the throne, and Snow's dreams and aspirations got put on the back-burner so she'd have time for carpool and laundry.  In fact, Snow was ultimately returned to the exact same situation - cleaning house surrounded by ungrateful little people - that she thought her Prince had saved her from.  The End.  

But I was given the boot after the dress rehearsal, and ended up shitting on a perfectly good Saturday.  So I drove to the bar, with my face still painted up, and got drunk.

And I lived blissfully ever after.  Until I turned thirty-one.

Then I started living my own life, and creating my own Happily Ever After.

The End.

Hunting a Human Jackalope

Looks like my brother got into the mushrooms.  Again.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Snacks In My Pants

Photo Credit
This story is more a lesson in parenting skills than a recollection of past experiences.

By today's standards, my mom started young.  She was twenty-six when I was born, and twenty-eight when she had my brother.  Or maybe it just sounds young to me because I can't imagine having a nine and seven year-old right now.  That just seems unfathomable.  I barely have the means to keep myself afloat, let alone two kids - and my collection of ex-boyfriends has done just as much damage to my credit score as it has they have to my… psyche, so they wouldn't have been much help in the child care payment department.  But I digress.

I think my mother's youth contributed largely to her parenting style - particularly when it came to pet names.  "Big Girl Parts" and "Big Boy Parts" were the appropriate identifiers for our genitals, "Bottom Burp" was our label for farting, and I assume because LA is close to the border and my parents were big on instilling culture in my brother and me at a young age, we used the Spanish word "moco" for boogers.  Not so terrible, until it came to dirty diapers, whereupon my mom or dad would look at us and ask if we had "snacks" in our pants.

That's right - Snacks.

What the fuck does that even mean!?  A snack is a tasty morsel of food to tie you over until dinner, or enjoy at the movies, or to help pass the time at work while you're chained to your desk wondering what to blog about - NOT something you shit out in your pants.  Who wants to eat that?  Sure, maybe some cultures do.  Hell, in some cultures it may even be considered a delicacy, but certainly not in developed countries.

I needed to teach my parents a lesson.  They needed to realize the error of their ways.  I may have only been a toddler, but I knew when something was gauche.

We were at the bank.  It was another sunny day in Los Angeles - a scorcher.  The air was ripe with sweat and musk.  Security Pacific's air conditioner couldn't keep up with the steadily rising mercury of the thermometer, and the natives were getting restless.  Mom stood patiently in line waiting for the next teller, but I was pretty squirmy.  Looking back, my fidgeting probably had less to do with the heat and more to do with the dump I needed to take.  So mom set me down and allowed me to wander around.

Finally!  A moment to myself, free of the constriction of my mother's arms, to take care of business.  I got really quiet - too quiet.  By the time mom registered what was happening, it was too late; my hands were already down the back of my pants, and when I pulled them out, I proudly held them up to my mother and proclaimed, "Snacks!"

She promptly ditched her place in line to grab me and - mortified - ran out of the bank.

Serves her right, I say.  Let this be a lesson to all you parents out there:  think twice about the cutesy names you assign to anatomical and biological matters, lest they backfire.  Kids have an uncanny knack for throwing grown-ups under the bus.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Mistakes Are Like Birds - Set Them Free

Instagram @openyourm_eye_nd
When I was little, I adopted a parakeet named Blinky.  I learned very quickly I am not a bird person.  This little asshole was pissed and eager to take his aggressions out on every one's fingers.  Blinky had to go, and what better person to give him to than my ninety year-old grandfather with paper thin skin, who was so old his blood lacked the coagulants necessary to clot, and every little paper cut ended up hemorrhaging?  Yeah, sounds like the perfect candidate for parakeet ownership.

It only took one small peck that nearly resulted in a trip to the hospital for Pop to learn that Blinky was best handled with gardening gloves.  I guess I probably should have drawn the same conclusion before getting rid of him, but I was eleven.  Pop had years of life experience on me.  Plus, he was an electrical engineer, so there's that.

Blinky was one of my earliest mistakes, and I'm inherently predisposed to abort my mistakes, but Pop took a different approach.  In his innate wisdom, he surmised that my bird's surly behavior was rooted in unhappiness and an aversion to captivity.  This understanding allowed Pop to look his villain in the eye with sympathy instead of contempt, and he decided to have an aviary built for his disgruntled friend.

Delighted by his new freedom, Blinky dropped the attitude and began to lighten up.  Some even say they saw him smile, though I think that's a dirty lie.  He did, however, seem less inclined to bite your hand off when you tried to hold him, almost as if he was - dare I say - happy.

Similarly, I find when I'm able to see the mistakes I've made in the same light my Pop saw Blinky, I'm able to loosen my grip on them and, like Blinky, I begin to feel happier and lighter.  Being unforgiving of myself for the mistakes I've made in my life is akin to constructing my own cage - and it's an uncomfortable, restrictive place to live.  But when I understand that I'm just a silly human and I'm going to make a mess, mistakes seem less villainous.

Also, purging myself of them and hanging on a public cross seems to help.  For example:  Del Taco and Jack in the Box.  The combination of the two, always together, effectively helped me reach my goal weight of 174 pounds my Freshman year of college.  I've always been a big overachiever, and the Freshman 15 is fucking child's play.  Anyone can eat a Del Classic Chicken burrito, but it takes a whole other skill set to pair it with an Oreo Cookie Shake - namely courage, intestinal fortitude, and commitment - and repeat this behavior no less than three times a week.

One prescription for Prozac and membership at Weight Watchers later, I was back to my pre-college weight, but it's cool… I totally love myself.  I wouldn't trade a single stretch mark for that experience. Not.  A.  Single.  One.

The catharsis I feel having shared this story has lightened it's load, so-to-speak.  I just gave my little mistake wings and set it free.  In fact, I'm so happy right now, I'm actually crying - tears of joy.  I'm definitely not having feelings of anxiety and shame over publicly confessing a weight I've hit in my lifetime.  If I were a boxer, I'd have qualified as a Light Heavyweight, and I'd be so proud.  So, so proud…

Nope.  Fuck everything I said.  This feels horrible.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

"I'm A Sex Addict"

Recently, a girlfriend of mine broke up with her boyfriend.  It was one of those mutual sentiments you could see coming down the line from a mile away, so when the, "I'm coming over.  We need to talk..." text came through, she was quick to cut him off at the pass with, "A phone call should suffice." 

The rest of the breakup was pretty predictable - she was able to tell him "this isn't working" first (which we all know counts the most), followed up by a slew of lame agreements from the "ex" in an attempt to save face: I didn't see this going very far, you're not my penguin, your friends are awesome and I'd like to still hang out with them, I'm a sex addict…"

Pump the brakes - Come again?

That's right, Dude admitted he was a sex addict after breaking up.  Who does that?  It's like, "hello!   Here's some ammo to use against me, new person who I'm not even friendly with anymore."  That's the kind of information that would have been useful upfront, during the whole is this person the one for me? phase, not on the back end of a failed attempt at human connection.  I mean… why?  Why is this juicy tidbit necessary?  What purpose does it serve, aside from adding fuel to the fire of paranoia that she must naturally have contracted AIDS from his dirty, promiscuous junk.

This is what my friend was left with - the inescapable fear of death by STD, as confirmed by WebMD. I had to reassure her that if I was able to dodge that bullet after my boyfriend cheated on me with a transgendered prostitute he solicited off muthafuckin CRAIGSLIST, no one is getting AIDS.  The clap, maybe, but no AIDS for anyone.  Ever.*

This was of great consolation to her, and I was happy to be of service, but it still didn't answer the question of why this guy felt the great need to come clean about his sex addiction now.  This information could only be used against him.  (Also, I'd like to point out that this guy came from Tinder, so ladies be forewarned:  you're not shopping at Nordstrom.)  

We started work-shopping motives behind his sudden confession - was this an attempt at explaining his disconnect?  It certainly didn't explain why he still lived with his mother…  or did it?  The conspiracy theories came pouring in.  Of course he wants to keep hanging out with my friends - Fresh holes.   I mean, the places we went in our minds weren't healthy.

We concluded it was best to let his reasoning for sharing his addiction die alongside the relationship, but not until after she finished the Yelp review on his Tinder profile.

*This statement is not true.