No, not the Carly-Simon-song-turned-Ketchup-Commercial, although I guess I could get a bottle of ketchup out and try to make it drip onto my non-existent cheeseburger.
After a long battle with move-in dates, packing, and other various and sundries, I woke up this morning, stomach churning with anticipation, rolled out of bed, and pulled on one of the two shirts I had yet to pack. I considered wearing my prom dress, but decided the apartment people would think I was nuttier than normal. Which, not the impression I need to make. NOT YET, at least.
On the drive, Mötley Crüe came on and was crooning about home sweet home, which I took as a good omen.
I walked into the apartment complex, nerves finally settled, and prepared to sign yet another lease, hoping, at the very least, that this would be the final lease I had to sign for a year. I’d stuffed a few things in the back of the car on the off-chance I’d be getting my keys today, figuring that wouldn’t really work out so well, considering the way things have been going, which I should specify as “not bad,” simply, “not easy,” which is why I want one of those THAT WAS EASY buttons. But for real, not just something that SAYS it.
But whatever. No one said this shit was easy.
Tentatively, I asked the apartment complex if’n I’d be able to pick up my keys as I signed my year away, figuring they’d ask me to come back tomorrow or Friday or some other inconvenient time.
After I packed up a bunch of papers with my new address, she returned and handed me these:
Pranksters. I finally did it. I have my own place.
I have no words for how this feels.
1) Christian Slater never ages. Luckily, through the use of Photoshop, neither do I!*
2) Starring in non-corny 80’s cult classics ensures that people like me cut their proverbial teeth on phrases like, “Talk Hard,” and “Chaos was what killed the dinosaurs, darling.”
3) If I were Christian Slater, it wouldn’t be creepy to have a crush on myself.
4) I could try and board a commercial airline with a gun in my bag and not have it be “potential terrorist,” but “quirky.”
5) I could be a vampire who DOES NOT SPARKLE. VAMPIRES DO NOT SPARKLE.
6) I could’ve been BFF with River Phoenix, my first television boyfriend from ages 6-13.
7) I could claim to have a “baboon heart,” and then die in the arms of my longtime love. Mostly, I just want to claim that I have a baboon heart, although I might call it “bonobo,” because it sounds cooler.
8) I’d much prefer to have “distinctive eyebrows,” than a “distinctively (dimply) ass.”
9) My sneering voice would allow you to impersonate Jack Nicholson over the phone, which increases not just my ability to get on radio shows, but also my credit line, as he’s got platinum EVERYTHING.
10) I could get Nerd Cred with a cameo role in Star Trek VI – which would mean that all nerds would listen to me. Forever (and we all know how much I heart nerds).
*A lie – I don’t own Photoshop. BUT I COULD. MAYBE.
I’d been blogging a couple of years before I’d decided to branch out on my own and start Mommy Wants Vodka. I’d spent years carefully (read: badly) coding in the text, well before WordPress rolled out TinyMCE as a feature. My former co-blogger was an actual editor, the kind who got paid to read absurd submissions, so she had lots of time to fix up my terrible typos, misspellings and grammatical inconsistencies into something that resembled a story.
(Damn, I miss her.)
The audience on my previous blog knew me – perhaps not well – but well enough to have hung with me a few times over the years, which meant I was expected to produce material about a) my vagina b) my vagina or c) dick jokes. That’s what happens when you write yourself into a niche.
After Alex was born, things changed. I wanted to write about the way he’d not allow me to put him down – even for a moment – without launching into a full-blown meltdown. About how tired I was. How lonely things had gotten with a husband who worked 80 hours on a good week, while my friends, waiting to have kids, climbed their career ladders. I had cracked nipples and they had 401K’s.
So I wrote it out. I wrote hard.
I wrote whatever was on my mind at the moment I opened up the blank WordPress screen, never expecting that other people would read it.
I tried to imagine someone – one person – out their reading my now-completely jumbled words, riddled with the sort of grammatical errors that make an English want to use red pen on their computer screen. Someone besides lovely “people” trying to sell me Viagra or increase the size of my member. Right kind of them, thinking of my member that way. I never could quite imagine that. An audience? Me. Nah. I’m a crappy writer. A scientist. Not a writer. Never a writer.
I didn’t expect an audience. And quite frankly? I didn’t so much care. I wrote because I wanted to, not because I expected to become rich, famous, or fancy – being “Internet Famous” is like being the coolest kid at the nerd table.
(I heart nerds)
Blog posts are a snapshot of a moment captured in words – good or bad, depending upon the reader and the writer – and if I’d captured every moment, I’d never have had the time to raise my kids. Or pee, for that instance… Although a poem about peeing with a cranky infant strapped to my nipple could’ve been awesome.
In fact, if I’d written everything down that first year, it’d have been: “OMG WHAT AM I DOING, I CAN’T SEE STRAIGHT, WALKING INTO WALLS, BLAHHHH, SO SLEEPY, SLEEPY SLEEPY SLEEPY SLEEEEEPY. Where’s my coffee?”
Instead I took those moments, twisted them into something better, and went with it. Sometimes, I was happy with what I’d written, other times, I knew it was a glistening pile of dogshit, but I didn’t care. There were no “metrics,” no “monetization,” no “Facebook likes,” to judge the words I’d put in order on the screen as “worthy” or “unworthy.”
I miss those days.
Since I began this silly blog, I’ve hurt people. I’ve ruined friendships and I’ve ruined relationships. You might say they’d been ruined (or on the verge of) already – which would be true – but through no honest ill-will on my end, it’s forced those relationships into the outbox.
I’m sorry for that. Genuinely. I’d never wanted to hurt anyone.
Once I opened up about my divorce to you guys – a situation that had been building for so long, something I’d kept quiet for well over a year, things got real for me. My life turned upside down, shit rained down like that pink goo in Ghostbusters II (except in Chicago). It wasn’t pretty. And? I didn’t even get to see Slimer OR the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, those wily bastards.
I’d say that I was sorry for sharing my struggles with you, for being vulnerable, for asking for help when I needed it, except that I’m not.
Because for all the gossip and idle chatter; for all of the people who decided to pick sides and point their fingers, looking for someone to blame (divorce, like marriage, takes two to tango), I found a few people found comfort in my words. They understood what I meant, were in the middle of similar situations, or offered the one thing I’d needed: love.
And that’s all I need to remind me to keep going. To write hard. To ignore the naysayers inside my head and out. Because it all matters. And I can’t quit in a whiny pile of goo just because shit got real – I won’t.
If you’re out there, reading these words I’ve hastily strung together to form lackluster sentences, know that you’ve touched my life. It’s because of you that I’m still standing, walking around upright, and not huddled in a corner, weeping. MOST OF THE TIME.
No amount of comments,; no amount of subscribers, Twitter followers, Facebook likes can hold a candle to that.
It all – all of it – matters.