Take me home

I’m sitting here in the parking lot of a shopping plaza dictating this blog post to my phone. I can’t say I’ve ever done this before, so we’ll see how it goes…

I was driving through town listening to my country music playlist, which probably has a good 50 songs on it. You just never know what you’re going to get when you step inside my Venza…Fleetwood Mac, Kenny Loggins, Gladys Knight, Missy Elliott…you gotta be flexible riding with me. I tend to flip-flop between genres, depending on my mood. I just got my hair cut and colored this afternoon and was feeling pretty good about myself. Nothing like belting out a Miranda Lambert song while you’ve got good hair. I turn into this parking lot I’m sitting in now, and the classic “Take me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver comes on. I added this to my playlist years ago, because it reminds me of my dad. I must have been about five or six when we were on a road trip. I can’t recall where we were going, just that it was out of state and took days, or so it seemed. Funny how I can’t remember the vacation, and only remember this part of the drive. The things that make an impression in your brain…

My dad was driving his old blue pick up truck which had a cab on the back of it. I’m assuming my brother and sister were lying down in the back bed of the truck, because that’s how people rolled back then…safety was for sissies. We didn’t even have seatbelts back then. I can remember sitting in the front passenger seat as my mom snoozed, sprawled out in the backseat. I was kneeling and looking at my dad as he drove. We must of been out in the boondocks because there was only one station to listen to and there was so much interference, he ended up turning it off for several hours. For some reason, I had this John Denver song in my head. It must’ve been the last song played on the radio. Unfortunately for my dad, I only knew the chorus. And like a typical five or six-year-old, I was repetitious. I sang that damn chorus for a good four or five hours…”Country roooooads…..take me hommmmme….to the plaaaaaace…..I belonnnnnng…West Virginia, mountain mommaaaa….take me hommmme….country roads”. I remember my dad looking at me after an hour or so, saying “Don’t you know any other songs?” I kept on singing it. We joked about that for years. Actually, we still occasionally do…when I happen to get to see him.

So, the song comes on as I’m pulling in to the parking lot. And just like that, I go from empowered, good hair rocker to that little girl in the pickup truck. As soon as I hear the first few notes, I smile…because damn, this is one great memory from my childhood. And lately, I have spent so much of my life thinking of the bad childhood memories. As I smile, I’m that little girl, singing to her dad. Laughing. Happy. Content. God, it was so easy back then. All I had to do was be a little girl spending time with her dad. Why did it have to become more complicated than that? It’s not easy anymore. Next thing you know, I’m crying and I haven’t even parked my car. I’m crying because it seems like so long ago. I guess it was. 40 years ago. I wish I could feel that way again…able to relate to that song…“to the place I belong”. I don’t even know where that place is anymore. Jesus, if I knew my life was going to turn out the way it did, I would have taken more advantage of those easy moments with my dad. I had no idea they were so fleeting. 

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Things turn icky

I’m messy. I just can’t help it. I think it’s genetic. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to live in a clean and organized home, but I just can’t do it. I hold on to things and they pile up. Things get buried in the fridge and turn icky. I put things down where they don’t belong, thinking I’ll put it away later…which never happens. I don’t know why. I guess I just get distracted with other things and before you know it, another day has gone by and the pile of clean laundry I threw in the corner of my closet (because I was having company and everyone who knows me knows they are not allowed in my room because that’s where I pile everything when I “clean up” and they know damn well not to push me on that ) is still there. Buried under two other piles of clean laundry I tossed in there. And the floor is lined with stacks of mail and papers and kids report cards and school projects and photos and books and…. Ugh.

Not to mention, I live on Cape Cod and I’ve got so many better things to do with my free time during our oh so short summer…

Sometimes, though…I get motivated. Not the kind of motivated I get when I’m having company and I need to hide things, but the kind of motivated where I am ready to tackle one of those projects.  Unfortunately, it usually takes me feeling frustrated or pissed off to find this motivation. I’m dealing with a bit of an emotional speed bump right now, which makes me feel things I’ve been trying to shed from my soul all year…so I found myself cleaning out my pantry this evening. I filled up a full-sized trash bag, throwing out expired crackers, stale cereal, empty boxes (why my boys can’t comprehend how tricky it is when they leave an empty box in there…how am I supposed to know we need more? I don’t have x-ray vision.) I also ran a few loads of laundry and hung up all those piles of clothes in my closet. I felt accomplished. As I scurried around, I had to chuckle a bit. All I could think of was my marriage. Every time my ex-husband made me feel bad, I found myself filled with a powerful frustration which, of course, never got validated and never had anywhere to go. So, I would clean. After a while, he knew if he saw me cleaning at eight o’clock at night, he knew he was in trouble. Hell hath no fury like a scorned woman, I said to myself tonight. And that made me laugh, so there’s my sliver lining.

As I hung up my clothes, I stopped laughing. I came across a few items that reminded me of feelings I hate. I saw what used to be one of my favorite skirts. It’s a blue and white striped maxi, kind of nautical looking. As I looked at it, I remembered the last time I wore it. I had participated on a town committee last year and the local paper printed a photo of the members. I was the only female on the board. I paired the skirt with a navy blouse and thought it made a great business-casual look. I was excited to be on the board, even though it didn’t turn out quite as I had imagined (which is a misogynistic post for another day), and was also excited to have my photo in the paper. This was during the time when my husband and I were negotiating about getting a divorce. We were being fairly nice to each other, as he didn’t want to move out. I had sort of stopped sharing things with him at that point, as he had no clue on how to validate me and I had been through so much that spring that I just felt it was easier to keep things to myself. For some reason, I decided to share that day. I suppose it’s because he had been being so nice to me. I mentioned I made “the front page”, jokingly, as it’s just a tiny, local town paper. We both smiled at the joke. He picked up the paper and said, “Well, there she is!”  It seemed like it was a pleasant interaction between us, which I easily welcomed, after all we had been going through. He then held the paper up and followed with, “Well, it’s not the most flattering photo of you, now, is it...” with an expression on his face that I probably can’t describe, but just trust me…it matched his words. And just like that, I felt small again. God, I hate feeling small. I felt myself shrinking, trying to disappear. However, I did just go through several months of therapy, and had been working so very hard on myself, going to meditation, working on opening my Chakras…so I found my voice and used it. “You’re so rude”, I said, calmly. He got defensive and said something like, “Oh, so now you’re going to be mad at me?  You’re so sensitive. It’s just a comment, Jami. People say these things, you know.” We went back and forth about it, with me telling him how small he makes me feel and how people certainly do not say things like that, and him telling me how it’s all my fault for being so sensitive. I held my ground and he held his, and we kept that argument going until the next day, when he finally apologized (an apology I did not accept, FYI). Needless to say, I haven’t worn it since.

I know, you’re all going to tell me I should say “Screw him” and wear that skirt, but I just can’t. Maybe some day, but I just don’t like being reminded of feeling small, because when I’m reminded…I feel it. It fills me up and is real. It comes back so easily…like riding a bike.

So, the skirt will stay in there, along with the hat I bought on vacation and only wore once because he laughed at it all afternoon. I won’t throw them away, because I want to get to the point where I can wear them and not feel small. I know I’ll get there, some day….

 

 

The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS July 8/17

 

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Nice things

Working on yourself can really suck. It’s so hard…like sweaty, dirty, hot kind of work. Like gardening. I fucking hate gardening. I love to have pretty flowers and fresh vegetables, but the work it requires to get those things? Forget it! Much easier just to buy them and let someone else do the dirty work. But working on yourself doesn’t roll that way. In this line of work, you are the only gardener in town. Only you can create the harvest. Sure, you can consult some experts in different areas… maybe someone who specializes in weed control, or another who can teach you how to water your soil properly…but in the end, it’s really up to you to do the work. Every. Damn. Day. Seriously, it doesn’t stop. You get into your groove, sweating away, pulling up weed after weed, nurturing your garden with water, sun…building fences to keep pesky animals out, you know…the ones who want to steal your flowers, or even just stomp on them for no good reason. You get into that groove of sweaty work, even though it sucks. Weeks go by and nothing grows, but you keep toiling away, because that lady at the garden center promised you things would grow if you stayed the course. And just when you start thinking about quitting and going back to the grocery store, you spy a little flower. It’s tiny, and the average person might just walk right on by and not even notice it, buy you notice it. It looks so fragile to you, so you do whatever you can to protect it. You become a fierce guardian of this little bloom. You become badass. Next thing you know, the pesky animals know about this badass guardian, and they don’t come around anymore, so more flowers start to bloom. Before you know it, you’ve got yourself a damn garden! You feel empowered. Hard work really does pay off!

The problem is, you get kind of distracted after a while. The flowers are thriving now, and there’s no threat in sight, so you decide to sit on the deck for a bit and relax… you know, because you’re so badass. You start spending your weekends socializing instead of digging, because really…a garden this successful doesn’t need constant attention, right? After a few weeks, you notice a couple of weeds. You realize it’s because you’ve been slacking off, so you get right back into your work routine. At this point, it’s pretty easy to get rid of them. It’s hardly even work anymore. Before you know it, you’re right back to sitting on the deck with your friends, going out and living life…taking chances on things you’d never had the nerve to before. That’s what empowerment does to you…it makes you brave. And maybe sometimes, a little cocky. It doesn’t take much time at all before you find yourself in a situation you think you deserve, because hey...you earned it after doing all this work, right? And maybe you do deserve it, but here’s the thing…maybe you don’t. Or maybe you let your expectations get a little too high. Or maybe you think you’re ready for something big, but really… you’re just not ready. You want to be ready, but there’s just too much gardening to do. You took some time off from the hard work and got yourself into a really distracting situation…and you got yourself this really nice thing…and now the weeds are everywhere. They’re so overgrown, they engulf whatever it is that was distracting you from them. Like they are getting revenge or something. And this is why you can’t have nice things….

Or maybe it’s because all the work in the world is not enough to fix what is wrong with you…

 

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