Friday, March 21, 2014

She Brings Me a Cake, We Celebrate, I Have Arrived

I have a stalker.

Well, maybe not a stalker in the denotative sense of the word since, as far as I know, nobody is physically following me around, but definitely a stalker in the modern-day sense of it. A cyber stalker, if you will.

She--I've decide my stalker is a she based on the cattiness she exudes--leaves comments on my blog and has been for quite some time. About a year, I think. Even though she submits them anonymously, I can tell by the writing style (and a little thing called Google Analytics) they're from the same person. And they thrill me to no end.

I wish I had all of her old comments to put on display right now, but since I saw no need to keep them, they were deleted long ago. I do, however, have the most recent two. For your viewing pleasure, you can read 'em here:

"You seem to be a narrow minded idiot. People who listen to all sorts of music commit crimes. Im sure your kid has chosen the opposite because he hates you. Heck Id hate you if you were my mom. Suck it."

and

"Mental Illness go jump off a roof."

It might seem weird to you that comments like this thrill me (and the might part of that statement would most definitely be nonexistent if I still had the comment about my husband having it worse than me because at least he's easy on they eyes), but dude: somebody spends so much time thinking about me/obsesses about me so much/is so consumed with me, she takes the time to read my blog regularly and leave me comments in an effort to get my attention. This girl, who most likely never crosses my mind, has been so affected by me, she cannot move on with her life and let me go.

I know this sounds pretty dick, but how awesome is that?

Let's see. I'm a writer, and this girl is consistently reading me, and I'm a teeny tiny bit on the narcissistic side, and this girl is in my thrall.

How awesome do you think I think it is?

What was it Kurt Cobain said? "I don't care what you think unless it is about me"?

And Pete Wentz? "I don't care what you think as long as it's about me"?

Yep.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

He Ain't Nothing but a Car Thief Who Must Be Stopped

I know it seems like I should've been kidding, but when I told one of my classes that Keifer had shamed my family by liking Eminem, I totally wasn't. When I told them with a shudder of horror that he wears an 8-mile beanie all the time and recites rap lyrics, as well as the history of Eminem, like they're going out of style, they probably thought those things didn't bother me, or at least not as much as they do, but if they did, they were wrong. Because they totally do.

I know it seems dumb. I know you'll think it dumb. I know you'll think me dumb. I also know you'll probably think it doesn't entirely--if it does at all--make sense. You like the Beastie Boys, you'll say. What's the difference? you'll ask. And why do you even care? you'll wonder.

I don't know why. I just do.

And that, readers, is what we're here to figure out.

Like almost everything else in the world, it goes back to when I was twelve, when--laugh if you must--my status as a metalhead was solidified. It goes back to that summer when my friends and I hung around the house, blasting Motley Crue, Poison, and Cinderella on my dad's stereo and watching the Motley Crue Uncensored video all day and night; back to that time when my friends and I ripped our jeans and drew anarchy A's and pentagrams on our folders and shoes; back to those days when we skulked through the streets of Woodscape smoking cigarettes in the middle of the night and then slept all day long; back to those years when Headbanger's Ball or Dial MTV was a constant in the background, the soundtrack of our then-lives.

Metal, glam, punk, new wave, alternative, grunge--whichever one, whatever you want to call it, some form of rock has always been not only what I listen to, but also a huge part of who I am.

But it's not just that.

And until this exact moment, I had no idea what the other thing was. And now that I do, I don't know that I want to write about it. But I've never backed down from a blog before and suppose now isn't the time to start.

(Bear with me here. This line of thinking is completely new to me, and it's coming as I go.)

If my friends and I were metal, surely there was an opposite, an antithesis, a complete and utter deviation from our norm. Surely there were Socs to our greasers, pure and absolute enemies to what we wore, what we spoke, what we heard, what we believed. I don't know what you'd call them now, but in 1988, they went by two names: b-boys was one; bassers was the other.

The basser, or b-boy, could be summed up in few words: he drove some kind of on-the-big-side car that looked like it was made for a grandpa, like a Buick or a Cadillac, and he drove around with the bass in it turned up so obnoxiously loud, it made people's windows shake in their frames. He hung out with his friends, marker in hand, but instead of drawing on his folder or shoes, he defaced public property, writing his "tag" or the name of his gang on walls or street signs or overpasses or anywhere he could without getting caught. He was mean to anybody who wasn't like him, people he deemed "freaks," people on the fringe, people like my friends, and people like me.

It was a basser, or a b-boy--or four of them if you want to get very technical about it--who participated in the rape of a metalhead girl when she was a month and a half away from fourteen. It was bassers, or b-boys--named Tony, Jimmy, James, and Mark--boys who listened to rap, boys who used that music to guide their lives the way young people can't help but allow their music to guide their lives, who tied her hands with an electrical cord, pushed her back and forth from one to the other in a bedroom in a house on Alhambra Drive until she bounced like a ball in a pinball machine, and ignored her constant screams. It was bassers, or b-boys, who gave her the ultimatum--have sex with the one on house arrest who just got out of jail or have sex with the other three--even though she was terrified and only thirteen. It was bassers, or b-boys, and the things that they did that December day that  drove her to do what she did, to take those pills, to try to leave everything behind. It was bassers, or b-boys, who have, whether she likes it or not, played a large role in shaping the woman she has become.

And now, as silly as it may sound to some, as irrelevant, as unconnected as it may be, it's those bassers, or b-boys, that strike fear--hatred--disgust--into her heart when her son worships at the altar of Eminem upon his knees.


Monday, February 10, 2014

This Place Was Never the Same Again

I've recently seen a few different things alleging that Facebook users construct their statuses and post their pictures in a calculated way in order to make their lives seem better than they actually are. One was a pretty funny video, one was the post of a friend, and one was some kind of article somewhere online. While I believe this is something that could be true, it's definitely not something I'd ever do (hello. Melodrama, angst, and sardonic wit are kinda my things); when I mentioned both of those things to Glenn, however, he replied, I don't know. You laid it on kind of thick on Thursday.

Thursday: People are always on here talking about how their spouses are the best spouses ever, they're so lucky to have them, and blah blibbidy blah. Well, I'm sorry, but they're wrong. Glenn Marthe is the best spouse ever because nobody else, under any circumstance, could have put up with me for the last 19 and a half years. So to him, I say, Happy Birthday! You're now the answer to life, the universe, and everything! But for me, you always have been.

About Thursday? The thing? No extra thickness there.

First of all, the-answer-to-life, the-universe, and-everything thing--that should be recognizable enough. (If it isn't, shame on you! Go and get The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy right now!) Second of all, the thing that comes after it--it's absolutely true.

Yes, I know. It comes as a surprise to me, too.

But, seriously. I am so uncharacteristically happy.

(Uncharacteristically happy, yes. Bopping and bouncing around, smiling, spreading sunshine everywhere I go, no. Pollyanna isn't in the stars for me (really. You know what is? Capricorn. Cold, critical, domineering, pessimistic Capricorn. So for me, uncharacteristically happy means not wanting to stab people in the eye while spewing insults. Repeatedly.))

No matter what has happened in my life, no matter what has happened throughout the years, no matter how flaky and flighty and listless I might occasionally be, Glenn is, and has always been, the thing that grounds me. If it weren't for him, who knows what my mental state would be. When I get moody and irritable from being wet after a shower? Glenn makes me feel better. When I feel a Saturday or Sunday morning episode coming on, Glenn asks me what he can do to help. When I start to get that foggy feeling in my head and think I can't control my insides, Glenn puts up with me (albeit not always as patiently as I might like). And now that I'm not fighting it (now that I'm the new and improved, softer version of Kel), not only is he the thing that grounds me, he's also the thing that makes me happy.

***

I have to tell you, after building a life on melodrama, angst, and sardonic wit, it's kind of a weird place to be. I'd panic and wonder where I go from here, and you might be doing the same thing, too
but, to quote my mom,

If you know Kelly like I know Kelly...

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Summer's Gone

"You gave away the things you loved, and one of them was me" -Carly Simon

It's not that I mind getting older. Truly. I'm not one of those crazy people who's afraid of aging

but

I do have to say that

the birthday blog I planned to write two weeks ago never happened on account of my crying uncontrollably in my dark bedroom for a good portion of the night.

The day went something like this:

1. Woke up at 5:50 for work.
2. Worked.
3. Stayed after work to be present while COTA officers watched auditions for the Valentine's Day show. Several students showed up. No COTA officers did.
4. Skipped Friday coffee with the kids since birthday cake was forthcoming.
5. Got headphones from Glenn, which I'd been saying I needed for weeks. Wanted to cry. (Honestly, he could have given me Tom DeLonge, and I'd still have felt the urge to burst into tears.)
6. Kind of lost it when Griffin asked me 47 times when we were going for dinner so he'd know when he could go to band practice.
7. Lost it.
8. Pizza at John the Baker
9. Left John the Baker immediately after ordering because I was in a bitchy mood (or maybe I'm just a bitch) and my beer came in a hot plastic mug. Plus, they didn't have cheesy garlic rolls.
10. Pizza at Luv'N Oven. Peroni in a glass. Garlic rolls with cheese. Lots of it.
11. Dropped Griffin off at band practice.
12. Got a locket from Heather, which I picked out. Wanted to cry. (See #5)
13. Cake
14. Put the lemon cake with whipped cream frosting back in the box that was supposed to contain white cake with buttercream.
15. Willed the day to just fucking end.
16. Bed.

It looks bad, I know, and it was--but it didn't have to be. Despite taking precautions to not be--running 3 miles the night before, listening to happy music, thinking of the good things--I felt depressed for days, if not weeks, leading up to January 17. And like I said in the beginning, it's not the getting old that I mind (except that's not true, not at all, not one little bit, I look at the dark spot on my hand and the thin purplish purple veins on my anklescalvesthigh and the trenches that run horizontal in my forehead and the skin that looks like crumpled up paper under my eyes and the gray hairs on the left side of my head that stand erect like they've just been struck by lighting and the stomach that suddenly sticks out like I'm seven months pregnant and the thighs that have the consistency of a rubber band that's been stretched snapped stretched snapped stretched snapped until it's lost any semblance of tautness it ever had and I want to cry and I want to scream and I want to yell to the world that this isn't me, I don't look like this, this shape this face this skin these hands aren't mine, they're a mistake and if I just try a little harder and run a little farther and read a few more magazines and eat a few less meals, I'll be me one day again I swear I swear I swear that after thirty-nine years, this isn't what I've turned out to be), it's the changes in my life that have come along with it.

***

A couple years ago, in the blog post And Then Your Mom Goes Around the Corner and She Licks It Up, I wrote about the very close friends I've had throughout my life; friends who were more family than family; friends who witnessed the birth of my children; who I spent every holiday with; who I celebrated, and mourned, milestones with; who I shared my life with; who shaped my life the way it is.

***

If it weren't for Glenn, Griffin, and Keifer, I would've stormed out of John the Baker and drank Peroni out of a cold, frosty glass at Luv'N Oven alone.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy Holiday, You Bastard! Take Two.

I've never really been one to make New Year's resolutions.The way I see it, if I want to do something badly enough, waiting for January 1 to get it done is just silly. I understand the symbolism of endings and beginnings, but I also understand--and value--the importance of doing what has to be done when it's time to do it. That being said, understanding something and valuing it doesn't always translate into getting something done. So this year, I'm going to do what I've rarely done before. I'm going to resolve.*

*A note. While it's true that New Year's resolutions aren't really my thing, I'm no stranger to extreme behavior changes, key word being extreme (forget behavior changes. Extreme and me, we just go hand in hand. Extremely). For me, life has always pretty much been all or nothing. No dairy products. No white flour. X amount of running. 20 points a day and no more. And guess how successful I've been with those.

Exactly.**

**This year, extreme won't be a problem. You are now reading the word of a kinder, gentler Kel.***

***This kinder gentler Kel is, not coincidentally, partially a product of my New Year's resolutions. It's also a part product of getting old. But we won't talk about that.

And so, without further ado, my kind, gentle New Year's resolutions.

1. Be happy. It's vague, I know. In the past, I'd have written something akin to, In an effort to be happy, do THIS. This year, I'll do no such thing. What I'll do is appreciate the things I have. A husband I really love who would, and does, do absolutely everything for me despite my not always being so deserving. Two sons who are super cute and pretty smart (though they're no me) and healthy and who, for the most part, I have unnaturally good mother-son relationships with.

2. Be beautiful. And soft. For this one, I must refer back to number 1. The people I know who are the most beautiful, at least to me, are happy. Or maybe not happy so much as...accepting? Content? At peace? I can't pinpoint the absolute cause, but I know it when I see it. When I think of the people I find most beautiful--Erin, Mary, Jessica, Fabiola, Dawn, North Star--the thing they have in common is a certain softness, a softness that I chalk up to the inner them rather than the outer. This beauty has nothing to do with convention or even with affection (in fact, I can think of a specific woman who I don't like AT ALL, a woman who I don't think is a good person AT ALL, but even she, despite being about 50 pounds overweight and having pockmarked skin like sandpaper and a host of other superficial atrocities, has that beautiful softness about her, and there's nothing I can attribute that to despite her being happy in her life, in her position, in her own skin); lots of other women I know may be more show-stoppingly beautiful, but they, in their beauty, don't have what I'm talking about...or what I'm looking for.

3. Understand change and accept it. Things don't stay the same. They can't. They shouldn't, even when we want them to. This has always been one of the most difficult things for me to accept, but it's time. It's time for me to let go of dying friendships and old ideals. Sitting home, looking at Facebook, and lamenting, yet again, my not being invited to someone's house or someone's "outing" is no longer for me.

4. Accept that some things are just the way they are. Yes, there are certain relationships in my life I wish were different, but as much as I hate the saying it is what it is, they are what they are. I know I'll never have the storybook relationships with certain people that I'd like to have. Now that I know it, it's time to accept it; to make the best of it; to be happy with what they are, not with what I want them to be.

5. Be healthy, and don't get fat(ter). Notice, for the first time in my life, I'm not saying, Be skinny. And, no, I haven't given up, and I'm not sour-graping it; I've just realized my goals were wrong, at least for me. I want to run more, walk more, eat less. Ride Pepper. Be more flexible. Take time, every single day, to move, and not just from the couch to the kitchen or doorway to the car. I tend to be such a lazy person, but there's absolutely no denying that the the more I move, the better I feel.

6. Be nervy. No more staying places that suck the life out of me (and everyone else) just because I feel comfortable. I need to understand that even if I make a mistake, which I surely will, I have the ability to fix it. If I move to Chicago and fail miserably, I can always move back. If I change schools and don't like the new one more than the old, well, you live and you learn. The important thing is, if I don't try, I'll never know.

7. Be nice(r). Let's face it. Nice isn't who I am, nor is it something I'm willing to fake. But I care about people. And animals. I'm compassionate. I'm empathetic. I believe life is better when people are good. And this year, I'm going to work on being even more of all the above.

And with that, I'll leave you to enjoy your New Year's Day. To you, and you, and you, and you--but no, not to you--I wish you a year filled with happiness and good fortune.

May all of your resolutions come true.


Monday, November 25, 2013

Revelations

If  you're one of the not even ten people who's read my not-yet-published essay "Wyrd," you know I believe in signs. Fervently. If you're not, let me tell you a little something about me: I believe in signs. Fervently.

In fact, I'm such a fervent believer in signs, I don't believe in just the everyday, garden-variety kind of signs but in something much bigger. I believe in the universe's, or what I like to call The Power's, ability and tendency to manipulate energy and events in an effort to force people to do what it wants. And I believe in that (guess how. Can you guess? Can you?) fervently.

Without going into any detail whatsoever, I'll tell you that a little over four years ago, I witnessed this Power firsthand. I witnessed it when, wanting me to do something so badly, it manipulated everything literally and figuratively close to me until somebody ended up dead, and, well--that was more than enough to get me to believe.

And it's at it again.

You see, I've been going through a crisis. A big one. Huge.

A little over a month ago, maybe about two, I decided that I was done teaching high school. I decided that it was way too stressful and even more thankless and absolutely not the way I wanted to spend the rest of my life. I decided that if there were something--anything--else I could do with my degrees, I would do it, and if there were something monetarily comparable I could do without my degrees, I would do that, too. A little over a month ago, maybe about two, I would have done anything--waitressed, cashiered, peddled my wares on the corner--to get out of the high school classroom. I was absolutely through.

After making my decision, I updated my CV, and I set out to find something else to do. I read classifieds and went on job boards for people with English degrees; I even went to a presentation given by a newspaper to apply for an internship position. Because remember the thing I just said about being willing to do anything as long as it was monetarily comparable? It totally wasn't true. I was so desperate to change careers, I would have taken something not remotely monetarily comparable. I wanted out, and I didn't care about the route.

But then--

But then, The Power.

But then a student who I've done, without going into one detail whatsoever, a lot, a lot for, told me I was the best thing that ever happened to him.

And then I got to drive that same student to an interview with an admissions officer for the University of Pennsylvania, an interview that I could pretty definitively say never ever would have happened if it weren't for me, and get a message from him about how well it went and how happy he was and cry in the car while I was driving home because I was probably almost as happy for him as he was for himself.

And then later that night I got tagged in a post on Facebook by a former student who's now getting her BA in English and going on to get her MFA in creative writing and thanked for being the person who got her into writing.

And then I remembered the other former student who posted on my wall on Facebook a few Mother's Days ago saying that when she got pregnant, she wanted to drop out of school, but it was because of me and my encouragement that she didn't and that she was eternally grateful for the effect I had on her life.

And then I thought about some quote I'd read about teachers not knowing the effect that they have because it's immeasurable and not immediate which led to me thinking to myself that even though that's true, in these three cases, it wasn't, because I did know. I knew exactly how positively I'd impacted these people's lives, and I thought of several other similar cases, and I realized how much I love what I do. I realized that a bout with bad leadership and other negative factors almost changed the course of countless lives, including mine, and I decided that I'm not going to let that happen.

The instant I made my decision--about thirty seconds after seeing that post by the student studying English--I felt better than I had in a little over a month, maybe about two. I felt like I had clarity once again and a distinct purpose, too.

Whether they know it or not, these kids need me.

And I need them, too.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Dammit

I went to a baby shower today. Not exactly earth shattering, I know, but definitely more than a little thought provoking.

Here's why:

You know that feeling you get after being hopped up on coffee (or whatever it is you've been hopped up on), once you've come down? Or after going to a concert or some place you really wanted to go, when the thrill has worn off? Well, crazy as it sounds, that's kind of the way I feel now. A little sad, a little depressed, a little let down. 

I realize I'm making it sound like the shower was bad, but that's wrong. The shower was

different.

Here's why:

1. The shower was different because the shower cake depicted a baby's head coming out of a bloody vagina and the mom-to-be wore a t-shirt with baby doll arms protruding from her belly with the words let me out written in faux blood

but

2. That's not the kind of different I'm talking about

actually

3. The kind of different I'm talking about is an atmospheric kind of different

and

4. The kind of different I'm talking about is an overwhelming-presence-of-love kind of different

also

5. The kind of different I'm talking about is a presence-of-light kind of different

Never in my life, that I can recall, have I felt love and light as present as I felt them today.

I know there are people out there who think I'm ridiculous, people who think love and light can't be felt. Those people are wrong. Love and light are both energy, and anybody who wants to argue that energy can't be felt is just dumb. 

I'm not one-hundred percent sure what gave the shower the energy that it possessed, whether it was the people, the guest of honor, or a combination of the two, but if I had to say, I'd say it was the middle one. Renee, she of the bloody baby arms, is kind of amazing. I don't know why, and it's not really something I can explain (in all honesty, I barely even know her); it's just something that I feel.

She is composed, to put it simply, of love and of light.

And she's not the only one.

From my life, I can think of two others. North Star, of course (I know you had to see that one coming), and coincidentally, another woman whom I barely know and whose presence I was in just yesterday. From this other woman, I feel the same feeling I feel when around Renee.

This other woman, too, is composed of love and of light.

And it makes me feel bad.

Here's why:

1. It makes me feel bad for the same reason the shower left me feeling bad

because

2. I want to baskrevelreside in the love and the light

but

3. I'm so rarely immersed in the love and the light

and

4. I firmly believe that the love and the light
  
   cannot be taught
   cannot be copied
   cannot be faked

rather

5. People composed of love and of light just

Are 

and

6. I am

Not