I chose this tune not just because I love it, but because of the title. By the end of this blog, you’ll understand why.
Not one week ago, I wrote a blog entitled ‘Curvy Girls’. I went on about how I love my curves and men love curves and even puppies, YES puppies love curves! I had just smoked my medicine, and feeling light hearted and sexy-I waxed poetic. Actually, most days? I am okay with my body and that has been an ongoing, life long battle! But every single month, around that special time in a women’s reproductive cycle, when she curses like a sailor and eats like a rabid wolverine-know that she is also driven to near lunacy by the twenty pounds of water weight, hapless rage and downright debauchery.
I don’t know how or why it happens, but I forget the reason for the additional weight every stinking month. On cue, I will notice that my golden retriever is tilting his head at me, or sulking because mommy is cursing-loudly and with great ferocity. I think poor Jesse is as stunned as I am when my clothes don’t fit, big belly buldges come from nowhere-or the jeans I wore last week won’t slide up my ass with the previous ease. This is the mind of the anorexic, yes. But I’m going out on a limb, here. I think all women struggle with self esteem, for one daunting (in their minds) reason or another.
This thought formation works itself into a tizzy, and before I know it? I am cutting out dessert (my all time favorite meal) or watching my portion sizes. No ice cream for this piglet. I try eliciting a compliment from my man, but as all husbands of anorexics know-anything they say can and will be used against them.
“I have the love handle blues…,” I say, as he makes his way approximately one foot in the door. (SMH) Poor dude.
Ah. Who am I to lecture anyone about their weight?
Translated in my demented mind:
About time you fat fuck!
Pretty much a lose-lose proposition.
So, you know how when you have your period and it’s not bad enough that you feel as big as a house but you manage to bump into every fucking thing in your house. Kind of adds to the despair, you know?
My brother came up for a visit a few weeks ago, and as we conversed he brought up the wedding that my father spent thousands upon thousands of dollars on.
“They were devastated,” he told me, dead seriously at that. Craig lived in California at the time. My mother was battling ovarian cancer, although she, nor the doctors, knew. I remember one phone call from mom, in which she told me daddy had cried for days-and to this very day I wish I had run away……because I didn’t have the strength to stop the snow ball that kept rolling, gaining momentum, until it was so big it crushed me in its wake.
I did not choose this particular war. It chose us, Dwain and myself. I was in such angst that my mother sent my sister to baby sit, rather than sit down and discuss my strong resistance to a wedding that never, ever should have taken place. In a therapy session, with my parents, the man with all the answers (he thought so anyway) asked my mother why she was so angry.
“The fucking whore just wanted a party.”
The therapist looked at me and then at my father. When I looked back at him his glasses were askew and he appeared alarmed-distressed, if you will. I had warned him. I knew it was coming. My father, always and forever my best friend and supporter, offered this:
“Honey, he said, looking at my mother as if she’d lost her mind-“Why don’t you let us get you an apartment, just be by yourself for awhile so you can figure things out.”
I couldn’t and didn’t consider that option. I loathe the fact that I hurt my parents in any capacity whatsoever. It breaks me and was a contributing factor in my rush to oblivion, alcohol, pills, cocaine………..my heart was a ball of fire, and I wept more than I smiled.
But, green were his eyes…….and their melodic and hypnotizing pull are evident this very day. And for that, oh for that I am incredibly blessed.
If I could go back in time, I would tell myself to hold tight to the female friendships I have cultivated. Let’s face it, when you head for your forties-well, you start to realize what is important in life and what is detrimental. You begin to stand up for yourself, and by the time you reach menopause? You’re a whirling dervish of angst on the road to having no female friendships because you have told off just about every friend you have, for one reason or another.
But what about the girls who don’t make the cut? Who, as it turns out, are toxic as 5G on hormones? The nervous breakdown you had last week? You thought it was your dark mental health history, turns out it was your dark Jezebel worming her way into your psyche. Is it really as simple as just walking away? What if NO CONTACT isn’t an option, say because you go to the same gym. Class. Mother of God.
I knew I had to go, I had no choice. I wasn’t sure I would go, but that strength I prayed to Jesus for? It came the next morning-in buckets. As I finished my makeup, I consoled myself with this thought: Maybe she won’t be there.
But that was the point of going to class: as a sufferer of PTSD, and while in the midst of a horrible episode due to this particular “friend.” I had blocked her on all of my social media, but was still reeling from what had occurred before I ran away, like OJ on crack.
“She’s here,” my friend Sasha stated, as if she were announcing the bride of Satan.
I admit it, I panicked.
Haul ass, I’m not standing next to her, I blurted.
She walked in on three women who appeared to be doing some odd rendition of a Shakespearean tragedy-we tripped over one another as we hustled to find new spots on the floor.
Nothing to see here, folks.
After the class, as I was talking to Sasha, the Jezebel interrupted me.
“Can we talk for a moment?,” we had already exchanged pleasantries, even after I had threatened to call the state police if she didn’t cease and desist. She made the Rocky Horror Picture Show look like Bambi Has a Family. I was delirious.
I stood up to her, spoke my peace, but not without multiple interruptions. I told her she had ridiculed, stalked and threatened me enough. I told her I had been self harming, as a result of our last exchange. I explained PTSD and what it does to a person. She, of course, already knew this, as we have been acquainted many years. All throughout my speech, she interjected this sentence:
“But Michele, I’M DEPRESSED.”
I drove away praising Jesus, for answered prayers and for taking the scales off of my eyes, as it were. Gawd. Good riddance.
I have lost sisters near and dear to my heart (and a few quite recently)-but the loss was temporary, as those were the women who treated me with disrespect, dishonesty or the worst sin in my book- condescension-they were not the friends I thought they were,but it didn’t make it any easier to end the relationship. My best friend in sixth grade (let’s just call her Shitstorm) threw a bowling ball at me because I had the highest average in the league. Straight out, in front of our teammates. She was also responsible for bringing a picture of me (in the seventh grade) into school in my senior year; one in which I had cut my own bangs, and let’s just say she passed it on to my high school crush. Mortifying. I was friends with her for 30 more years, until she did the unthinkable…..that’s right, she was another narcissist, and crossing her was akin to playing hopscotch with Satan. After one too many brushes with death? I let her go, stopped all contact-to this day I have nightmares. To. This. Day.
But when you hit your fifties? Why, you hold on to your female friends like grim death-the ones who love you no matter what state you’re in, root for you when you are up against it, speak to your husband when you’ve relapsed. Why, they are your true blue tribe, and you have earned each other’s trust. I am not saying there won’t be disagreements (holy crap on a cracker, that’s part of the equation ladies) but you will learn that nothing is more important than women who get and cherish you, zits, nervous breakdowns and relapses be damned.
I have spent an entire lifetime trusting women I had no business trusting, not seeing the inevitable pain that came with illumination-it’s a process. Yet, as Abba works in my life? The new friendships are more stable, enduring and incredibly comforting. You teach people how to treat you, and the only way you gain respect is by being a bitch right back. As soon as I stand my ground, the bullies run for cover.
Today I am blessed beyond measure with an abundance of loving, nurturing and life sustaining women. I am thankful they feel safe calling me friend.
Sixteen years ago, my father and then girlfriend Pat (I like to call her DOOM) invited the entire family down to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We went down a day late, as I had to work. Dwain, Bud and myself-we put our suitcases in the Jeep at 5 a.m. Poor Bud sitting in the back, for all 10 hours of the trip. We were hopelessly lost in Washington, but used to my husband’s utter helplessness with directions, I drank beer and laughed at the absurdity.
It wasn’t just the Elkins/Hoffman/Malinowski clan gathering at the bi-level vacation house in the dunes, au contraire-Pat and her four perfect children AND their children were said to be coming as well. Dwain and I anticipated the vacation with utter dread, and the only reason we participated at all was so I could spend time with my father, who was quite ill at the time.
The drive was harrowing. As we arrived at the house, I saw my siblings coming toward us-not to greet us, mind you, but to run. To run for their very lives, as they knew with utter certainty that I was about to BLOW MY TOP. You see, DOOM had miscounted the number of bedrooms, and it appeared that Bud, my husband and myself would have to sleep ON A PULL OUT COUCH IN THE KITCHEN.
While my siblings partied on the beach, I went directly to my father.
“Are you SERIOUS?” “Where is she, let me at her,” and UNFUCKINGBELIEVABLE were a few of the comments I spat. Dwain, who had assessed the situation in a matter of seconds, headed for the beach. I poured a gin martini and sat on the deck with my father, who was so heavy hearted, so upset on what would be his very last vacation.
“Daddy, it’s not your fault, really. I guess we would have stayed at a hotel if we had a head’s up, but it is what it is,” I stammered. Meanwhile, at the beach, my husband was busy telling my brother and sister off in seven different languages, which helped…..a little.
Realizing that part of the problem was hormones, I took a hot shower and emerged stronger, calmer if you will. What happened next is legend in the Elkins family-and if you weren’t there, well, you might have trouble believing the pure insanity that followed. When the gang returned, they found my father and I on said deck, drinking what had to be our fifth martini. The following story is true, and it is with incredulity that I write, not sanguine acceptance.
At some point in the evening, I ended up at the tippy top of the Widow’s Walk, screaming at my sister. Over the years I had held a few things in, and for whatever reason, her ass was GRASS in my book. I don’t remember what I said, but I can imagine. My brother tried to calm me, but I had unleased a momentum that was only stopped by the State Police, and here’s where it gets good.
My husband was at the bar downstairs, with my father. He heard a knock on the door, and before he could answer it, two state cops-guns at the ready-demanded to know where the screaming was coming from. They had received more than a few complaints. As the Keystone Cops looked through the home, my father, now drunk as the proverbial skunk, sat watching television-he had no idea that a circus was enfolding in front of him and to this day, I think he knew alright. I also think he didn’t want to deal with it.
So, they find me on the fifth floor deck, and immediately go to arrest me. Balking, my brother pleaded with them. “Just a family argument,” he begged.
“Ma’am, do you know your voice could be heard at headquarters, five miles away?,” one of them asked me.
Before I could answer, my brother rushed me down to the living room and put me to bed. When I awoke the next day, things were a blur, but no one and I mean NO ONE was talking to me.
The moral of the story? Speak your peace. Don’t let things fester. And for the love of God, keep your voice down when all hell breaks loose.
This is the darkest post I hope to ever write. This is a story about how alcohol kills-everything that is good, pure, worthy, decent……..alcohol is a vampire, it sucks the life blood out of you, then leaves you in a heap of disgrace, humiliation and nothingness. I may have been “sober” for ten years, but I have slipped on more than one occasion, each time the lull of “It will be okay, just one drink” has seduced me….and each and every time I have wallowed in despair.
I would like to tell you about the last ten years of my drinking career. A vocation so evil, so pummeling that I literally lost those years of my life. Sadly, I cannot, as I was so far gone that the last years were swallowed by indignity, fear, and Godlessness. Or so I thought. I got sober when I was 46 years old, and for the longest time I honestly thought I was ten years younger. Ten years of our lives, gone up in smoke.
I weep just thinking of what could have been, but there is hope and we must lean not on our own understanding. We have to summon every ounce of courage in our souls to rise up and fight this demon. And together, with Jesus, we can do it, one minute, one hour, one day at a time.
What I do remember is locked behind a door that can only be unlocked by God, and only when it serves His kingdom. I am taking off the deadbolt and releasing the ghosts that have kept me silent. We are only as sick as our secrets, and becoming sober is the most freeing, healthy and frightening place we can be. You have to hang on for dear life, but don’t be afraid of the ride, you have nothing to fear and everything to gain by telling your truth.
My last drunken event was my husband’s sister’s wedding. I had consumed at least a bottle of wine before the ceremony, and that was 2:00 in the afternoon. I do not remember the wedding, or the bride…….but what information I do have came at a cost, and that was my husband’s dignity. I know that we didn’t stay for the cutting of the cake, as I had been playing footsies under the table with an unwilling participant-my husband’s cousin. I also told a dear friend that I had enlightened my family with the news that he and I were having an affair-which led to some heavy duty amend making on his part, and I have never, to this day, as much a held his hand. We are friends again, but that took ten years, 200 or so AA meetings, and the good Lord above-only now am I at peace.
There is a well known fact in this household, rarely spoken of, but my heart beats for him continuously, and he has earned my adoration. David Byrne, MARRY ME. 🙂 I had the pure privilege of seeing the Talking Heads at Emerald City in Philadelphia, circa 1980. Front row. The rolling melodies and heart thumping bass can still be heard in my head, and I am dead serious when I say that the female guitarist made a pass at me. Ah, the good old days when rock was rock and a spade a spade.
I had a horrible nightmare last night. Or I should say this morning-Dwain had decided to go to work, despite the blizzard conditions-he wasn’t answering my calls, he was nowhere to be found. I awoke in a cold sweat, extremely anxious and confused. Moments later, while sipping hot coffee, I phoned my husband and my nerves were calmed just by the sound of his voice. Strange way to start the day…….
As I walked down to the garage, to feed the feline community, I felt it-or, perhaps didn’t feel it is a better way to say this. No pain. During Lyme flares, my feet are constantly in pain. Bone pain, muscle pain-I don’t let it slow me down, but the mere fact that I was pain free was reason enough to look up at the sky and praise Him. My lymph node has diminished, and there is even a noticeable lift in my loafers. Oh, how beautiful life is. And here’s the thang-none of us are promised more than this day. We have a choice-to be positive among the chaos and confusion, carpe diem, or, as I did yesterday-we can pout, stomp our feet and be a miserable pain in the ass in general, bringing everyone around us on edge, walking upon proverbial eggshells.
I fail Him each and every day, by thought and deed. I repent, ask for forgiveness, and concentrate on my future-with my main man, golden retriever and Yeshua-and between the four of us? We have this, He is working in our lives, whether we see rainbows or coffins-the choice is ours, and I choose life-oh, my dear friends, I choose life~
I took what I wish I could tell you was my last drink in the beginning of October, 2007. I ended up in the hospital after a suicide attempt, which is another story for another day. What sobered me up was a combination of my husband’s frailty, my will to live and a gift-the blessing of clarity that comes from Jesus. I won’t even try to tell you that this road has been easy. We addicts push down the truth, and push our loved ones away-fact-and until we achieve sobriety? Well, there will be no healing, no peace, no end to the pain that holds us in bondage.
Months afterwards, I was hiking in two feet of snow with my golden retriever, Dylan. A shining star and beloved pet, it hurts my heart that I wasn’t with him for the first 5 years of his time on this earth. I was here, but I wasn’t present, and I have no memory of what could have been the best years of my life, had I not succumbed to the melodic pull of oblivion.
So I am trudging up this hill, and I am overcome with love. I feel forgiveness surround me. I cry out to God and confess the absurd backslide I have taken with alcohol and pain medication. I cry out to Jesus and I tell him to take my life, it isn’t mine to begin with, take it Jesus, mold me Jesus, cry with me and then I’ll get tough, I promise…….
“I have been here with you from the very beginning of time. I have cried your tears, tasted the salt of your remorse, and I will deliver you from this travesty……”