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

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

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Marilyns and Jackies

I've just spent the last several minutes (read: hours) meandering down the rabbit hole that is my sordid past (or in other words, this blog).  I began parading my prior degradations in this pathetic online publication about a year and a half ago for a couple reasons:

1) People are too hard on themselves (and God knows I am not exempt from this).  My hope was that by throwing myself under the bus and sharing some of the more uncouth examples from my lesser refined days, whatever audience this monstrosity reached might feel less alone in their own mistakes.  My broader hope was that I'd be able to gather submissions from other people so that this blog was less a showcase of egocentrism and more a display of our collective humanness, but that didn't quite pan out.  Since I think there can be profound personal healing through real human connection (and while I still believe the most effective form of this is recognized over a cup of coffee through an hour of interpersonal communication), a growing social media (for better or for worse) has seen fit to broaden our ability to identify with each other, so I decided to forge ahead with my own personal submissions.  At the end of the day, I fear loneliness can be a cancer (even thought I'm a cynical misanthrope), so this blog may have been more an exercise for my own comfort than the comfort of others.  I've been known to be selfish that way, which leads me to...

...2) I started this blog as a form of penance.  By publicly ridiculing myself and outing my skeletons, I thought I could atone for my indiscretions with humility.  Also, I am openly being accountable for my actions, which may tickle the fancy of any victims affected by the wreckage of my past.  Granted, there are people out there who have committed bigger blunders than I have, who have lead a more lascivious life than I did, or whom have been the unfortunate offspring of individuals who had no right procreating - and these people will all have greater stories of humiliation and misfortune than I could ever dream.  To you I say, please write your memoirs.  There is an audience waiting for you.  But the point here is: I have to live with me.  This is not a big dick contest.  The only way I know how to deflate the power I assign my past indecencies is through sharing my experiences.  Yes, I could do this with a therapist (and I have) but, A) they're expensive, and B) see above article #1.  Listen, keeping personal secrets can freeze developmental growth.  (It should be noted that I am not advocating sharing - or in my case, exploiting - any secret that pertains to anyone other than yourself, unless you're gunning to irrevocably damage a relationship and make life shit for yourself.  And if you're going to share a personal secret that involves another party, at least have the decency to wrap them in a cloak of anonymity, like I did for an ex of mine who discovered an affinity for transgendered prostitutes on our shared dime.)  But as it happens, writing this blog has turned out to be humiliating, humbling, and cathartic for me.

That said, I now find myself at a crossroad - one I thought would never come based on where I have come from.  Allow me to explain…

… For many, many years, I lived my life like a Marilyn.  God knows not physically.  I'm more talking about her penchant for self-medicating and attention from men.  If I had her bod, I probably would have posed nude and tried to seduce presidents as well.  I could be scrupulous, there's no hiding from that.  But I was no Marilyn in the looks department, and I don't talk in a baby voice, like a victim of molestation.  In fact, I didn't even realize I was trying to live like a Marilyn until some years later, well into my sobriety, when my prim and proper Southern co-worker explained that the world is made up of two kinds of women: Jackies and Marilyns.  She self-identified as a "Jackie;" and since I have never made it a point to write thank you cards on monogrammed embossed stationary, attended a cotillion (let alone known what one is), or dress in anything other than a t-shirt and jeans (not to mention the fact I've seen the inside of a Planned Parenthood once or twice), I was left to surmise that I am not in the "Jackie" tribe.  I am what the South would call tacky, and since there are only two kinds of women in the world, I arrived at the conclusion that I must be a Marilyn.

And that's all fine and good for a few laughs or a shot in the ass, but it's not sustainable.  Let's not forget Marilyn died when she was 36 - which just so happens to be my age.  Since I would be a greater idiot to try to continue living like a Marilyn for the sake of posting content to this blog (not to mention I'd be divorced in a New York second), a question of transformation is proposed: Can I transition from Marilyn to Jackie while maintaining tonal consistency?  The answer is: I have to - because this change is as unavoidable for me as menopause.

I picked up a Better Homes & Gardens magazine over a Vogue while I was getting a "mom" cut (read: castration) at the salon yesterday, for Christ's sake!  AND I FOUND IT INTERESTING!!!  They were advertising one-piece swimsuits and coupons for Bed Bath and Beyond, and I found myself casing the joint to make sure no one around me was watching so I could rip the pages out and take them home with me.  So I must be going through "the change," and I remember thinking in the moment, "Oh… This is how a Marilyn becomes a Jackie…"

I get it now: how does a woman maintain the vitality and sexuality of her single youth when making the transition to A) parent, or B) nears her shelf-life (which in L.A. is 29)?  The struggle is real.

While I'm not ready to turn this into a mommy blog - although some of those broads are funny as hell - my aim is to be less esoteric than that (in a different way than writing about being a completely drunk hooker was).  There has to be a certain allowance for growth, and since I made a conscious decision to write about my personal experiences as opposed to focusing on a collective of shared experiences, I think I'm justified in broadening the scope of the kinds of material that qualify as "ridiculous."  At the end of the day, it's still all about life.

It was Emerson who once said, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds," and I take that to mean if presented with new information, a change in direction is not only warranted, but expected.  To be faithful to a previous set of actions or beliefs, of which can now be seen as detrimental, solely for the sake of consistency, would be downright moronic.  Seriously, how many people think a Marilyn would make a better mother than a Jackie?  Or in a more personal light, how many of you who have read a blog entry or two of mine would give me your blessing to procreate if I was still concerned with dating meth heads for a summer boat rental, blowing my bartending tips on alcohol and cocaine, or frivolously dating any man who happened to glance in my direction?  Be honest; you would just encourage me to get another hole punch in my Planned Parenthood rewards card.

In life, we have to allow for change; as much as in our own journey as in another's.  "Flip-flopping" isn't a four-letter word.  The margin for error should be directly proportionate to room for growth; and a change of heart, a change of mind and a change of opinion, should be celebrated, not scrutinized.  I guess what I'm saying is: Flexibility.

So while I may be departing life as a Marilyn, I'm not convinced that automatically means I'm looking at life as a Jackie.  (That would take a lot of rehabilitation.)  Maybe there's a way to explore life as a Marilyn/ Jackie hybrid (for the sake and well-being of my marriage and child).  So please forgive me if what I write begins to stray from the collection of illicit debaucheries I started with.  But going forward, no matter how you want to slice and dice it, pretty much everything* in life (at least all the small stuff we like to sweat in this first-world nation) is fucking ridiculous.

*Genocide, war, poverty, natural disasters, racism, incest, female circumcision, gender inequality, homophobia, animal cruelty, M. Night Shyamalan movies, et al. not included.