“The Shelf Life of a Secret” Chapter 1 Preview

Hitting the Bottom of the Bottle, Again

“This is not how I am,

I have become comfortably numb”

—“Comfortably Numb,” Pink Floyd—

 

I’ts 4 a.m., and I’m wide awake just staring at my bedroom walls. My eyes have adjusted to the darkness but my heart races in anticipation of  my sheer fear of the unknown that the darkness can bring. How much longer until the Aleve PM kicks in? I realize it’s  just another day  in  my  life that ended in downing another bottle of wine and smoking another pack of cigarettes. I can’t help but think to myself, “What the fuck am I doing? Where am I going with all of this self-sabotaging behavior?” I’m too afraid to even ask where I will end up at this current pace of    life.

I’m a divorced woman in the sexual prime of my life. I should be thriving right about now. Yet today,  like so many days, I  feel as though I don’t thrive at all—hell, I’m barely surviving. I’m quite sure it wasn’t supposed to be this way. I set goals and accomplished them. That is, until my demons took over. I have four amazing kids, and I know I should be a better mother. I should forget the absolute shit-show of a childhood I endured, but sometimes those memories rear their ugly heads, and my conscious mind has led me to yet another deep abyss, and I’m struggling to get out of this one. Again. My mind won’t stop, and I know for a fact that all this emotional turmoil is taking control of  me and my decision-making. I simply can’t take any more  of these horrid decisions I continue to make. I have got to get control of my emotional mind, still covered up as my inner child.

This daily analysis comes with the territory. I was sexually molested as a child back in the days when nobody talked about. It’s not like today, when the “#metoo” movement has taken over. Now, we talk about it ad nauseam. I can only wonder if we are becoming immune to it. Just turn on the television or open any news app on your smart phone. It’s on there, yet, we tend to turn down the volume or simply switch the channel. Every damn day another child is abused, kidnapped, hurt, or killed. I don’t even like the word, “molest.” In Spanish, “molestar” means “to bother.” Believe me, it is WAY more than just bothering some- one. Just once, I wish we didn’t sugarcoat the dismal facts. “And in other news, another child was sexually molested.” How about, “In other news, a child was forced to get on all fours while her step-father ejaculated all over her.” I can see the heads turning now as the reporter shares the grisly details. Yeah right. That’s not going to happen anytime soon. Nobody wants to hear the gruesome details, yet children live it every fucking day. Including me. It still haunts me to this day. Maybe not the abuse I endured but just knowing it’s happening in so many other homes.

If my life were just about surviving the sexual abuse I endured, I know I could take on that challenge; unfortunately, it’s so much more. I am a fighter by nature, but I still feel like I’m constantly being beaten down—so I head for the bottle. Again. And Again. And Again.

So much pain to numb and so little time to do it. I can feel the pain all the way up to the point when I start numbing myself. My soul is continually tested by the roller coaster I’m unable to get off. I find myself asking, “When do I get off this thrill ride?” I rode the merry-go-round for years in my marriage before exiting that ride and getting on the roller coaster. What was I thinking? This ride sucks, and it makes me sick. Sure, I thoroughly enjoy the highs, but the lows . . . ? The last thing I needed was another therapist to label me bipolar and start throwing yet another prescription for more white pills to stabilize my moods and dry up my vagina. I know     he is just doing his job, but I’m already an addict. I don’t  need any more addictions. So, why take away my ability to enjoy sex, the one thing that gives me peace, just to make my moods more stable? I’m guessing the good doctor was trying to avoid the lows I experienced that would send my mind to suicidal thoughts. Yes. I said suicide, and that alone frightens me. Why do these thoughts even run through my head? How much longer will these thoughts even cross my mind? I can’t take the crying, the drinking, the smoking, and the inevitable suicidal thoughts anymore. These episodes make for really bad days and even worse nights.

Days passed and, again, I sat in the darkness, reeling through another day of unbearable pain. My oldest son came into my bedroom, sat next to me, and just let me put my head on his shoulder. Sobbing. I was unable to talk. He laid there next to me, comforting me. How was this sixteen-year-old boy able to comfort me and listen to me cry, saying, “Mom, it’ll be okay?” How can he show me so much love in such a tender moment, but I can’t love myself ? All I can think about is what a fucking mess I’ve made of myself. So much hate, so much pain, so little love for myself. I felt so alone in this nightmare. I’m trying to keep my soul in check and nothing seems to be working for me.

Another night of hitting rock bottom, but another morning of hope. Hitting rock bottom became one of my many talents. However, getting up time and again also became a valuable skill—one I’d come to treasure much later on. If you choose to come on one of my downward spirals with me, I promise you it won’t be fun, especially when the dreaded hangover sets in.

Welcome to the darkness that encompassed my soul for so many years. Something broke in me when my parents couldn’t or wouldn’t validate, believe, or listen to me when I cried out to them for help. With an absent father, from whom I felt the constant sting of rejection, and a mother who had zero feelings for my pain and insisted I forgive her husband for sexually abusing me, I am perfectly positioned to have more issues than Vogue. Of course, Mother thought I should forgive him because, after all, she had. It was the right thing to do, and that’s what is expected of us.

REALLY? No. Not for the girl who had a penis shoved down her throat at the age of eight and God shoved down her throat for years before that. Forgive an abuser all you want, but she should have kicked his ass to the curb. That would’ve been the right thing to do. As a mother myself, I know how counter intuitive it is not to feel called to fiercely protect your children. Children should always feel loved and protected, yet my mother’s fear  of being alone far superseded everything in her life. Her need for a man in her life trumped her need to be a good mother. Clearly, her need for a man to take her to dinner and make her feel special was a top priority. Nothing beats a great steak on a Friday night when you have a pedophile for a husband. What  a tragic message for a mother to send to a child. “You are not important. Our needs come before yours. Mine and his. Period.”

Decades would pass before I came to realize that I’m a destructive person. Mostly emotionally, and, yes, you guessed it, toward men. Hell, I even tried sex with women, which for me turned out to be a disaster. I learned a new term from my therapist. I suffer from love and sometimes sex addiction, which means I have a propensity to use sex to fulfill me physically and emotionally, even though what I really need and crave is love. Yes, that’s a real thing, even if you can’t say it without laughing, it’s okay. Finally. I can neatly put myself  in a box with a label. Surely, now that I know what my actual problem is, I can go fix it. I was up and down like a roller- coaster over the years, fighting with myself internally because I knew I was a good person, but I didn’t quite believe I was a good person.

I learned at a young age that affection and intimacy happen in the bedroom. So, I continued on my never-ending search for a man, a bed partner—anyone to help ease the pain. After all, I was used to pain. I’d become accustomed to it   because I had to. Inevitably, I’d end up choosing the same “type” of men, over and over again, and more painful lessons would ensue. So, I found myself saying “thank you” to all the men I’d chosen to assist me in continuing my pain. I was looking for love and faced rejection. After years and years of searching for that “special someone,” I thought I might have found him.

Yeah, right. He was not the one. None of  them were.

So I moved on, and as each man entered the picture I would think to myself, “This one’s ‘The One’, Wanda. Hang in there! You’ll be loved soon.” “He” would be full of compliments, and I’d bounce along on a euphoric high. “I’m madly in love with you,” he would say in the first few weeks.

But then he would drop the nuclear bomb: “I’m not in love with you after all. I was just experiencing an endorphin rush, you know, an Oxytocin high from all the great sex.” Wait, WHAT? Who says that?

Finally, one very special man entered my life and rocked my world. I knew without a doubt this man could very possibly be the one I’d been waiting for. He was perfect. Good looking, athletic, intelligent, good father, great in bed, good sense of family—and he made me laugh. This man gets me, I would think to myself. I’m in so deep, I don’t know if I could survive this one if it fails. But with this much passion, comes all the implosions, too. On again, off again, on again, off again. Yet another emotional roller coaster comes to life.

I was drinking more and more to numb the pain and overthink- ing to quiet the voices in my head. My emotions were all over the place, and I was trying harder than ever to control them, but at this point, I didn’t see how I possibly could. I couldn’t numb the pain of being rejected all over again. The drinking was out of control, but I couldn’t let myself revert to drugs. I had fallen in love and was trapped in this unbearable emotional pain. Pain. Numbness. Pain. Numbness. Surely, as you’ve been reading this, you’ve recognized the sad, pathetic, and tragic pattern here.

Due to a series of unfortunate circumstances and some really, really bad parenting, I considered ending  100 percent of a life that was only ten percent shit. How could that even be possible? Our minds are so powerful. I knew I would never commit suicide. I adored my children and my life overall; but I knew I needed a release, but I didn’t know how to make that happen. I had so much anger over my parents and the abuse  I endured, but in all of my attempts at years and years of therapy and talking, it still sat on my soul like an anvil.

At the end of the day, all of it made me numb. We are a product of our parents, and I was sure as hell on my way to being just what they created. If they wouldn’t care enough about me to make things right, I had no choice but to figure it out on my own.

Thank God I was able to shut down my brain and fall asleep. Just like clock work, the sun did rise again for me. It just happened to be “Suicide Awareness Week.” That same week,  I saw a post on Facebook—one of the best quotes I have ever read: “Suicide doesn’t take away the pain. It gives it to someone else.”  I’m not sure who said that, but I was meant to see it the next morning on Facebook. I ended that night in my  emotional mind, but I woke up to my wise mind. Seeing that statement  on Facebook shook me to my   core.

Luckily, I have a lot of friends, a really good therapist, and several friends who could probably charge me because they take on the role of therapist for me so often. Nobody said life was easy. Oh, sure—we can make it look easy. We can paper our Facebook walls and Instagram feeds with all the glossy pictures of the fabulous lives we’re leading. We’ve all heard, “Fake it ‘til you make it,” but I actually mastered it. We can appear to have everything going for us and still find ourselves staring down the bottom of an empty bottle, or worse, down the barrel of a gun. Fortunately, I don’t own a gun and don’t have a garage, but anyone can just down a bottle of Tylenol and end it all. How many times have you had thoughts about tempting fate? Simply ending it all.

I have four kids. Yes, four human beings I brought into this world. It’s as though happiness skipped over my empty soul and entered their little bodies. I would never knowingly trans- fer my pain to them. That’s not fair to them and ending my life would merely give my pain to them. So fucking selfish, but the choices I’ve made over the past few years have only compounded that pain. Ninety percent of my life is good. No, it’s great. But that last ten percent—that ten percent is  sheer hell. That ten percent is the foundation my parents gave me, the foundation that assured me I wasn’t important and my well-being didn’t matter.

I had to do something about that ten percent ruining my life. I had to change my mindset and learn to love myself. How the hell does anyone learn to love herself in her mid forties when it hadn’t been done the prior four decades? So, I headed to sex and love addiction rehab in Northern California at Five Sisters Ranch. Yes, there is rehab for sex and love addiction. Yes, it’s a real issue that needs addressing before it kills you.

….

You can buy the book at www.wandameans.com or on Amazon.

I’ll send you a signed copy if you order on my personal website.

Happy Reading…

Wanda

 

 

 

Financial Rape from a Trusted Friend

IMG_8418 (002)It’s been said, “In school, we are given the lesson and then the test. In life, we are given the test, then the lesson.”

With fifty knocking at my door next year, how many more lessons am I going to need before I get my degree in Life Management? Surely, I’m destined for a doctorate in this field of study.

It’s appalling to us normal, non-pedosexual humans when we see another sick fuck taking advantage of children. Nassar, Fogle and Weinstein all come to mind right now as they are in the news daily.  Even though it’s a tad quiet in Jared Fogle’s prison cell, I’m sure he’s still pulling out those splinters from the encounter with that broom. Just waiting for the squirmy, speckled wearing Dr. Nassar to meet his new friends in prison. Splinters will be the least of his problems. More headlines to come on him. Can’t wait!

But enough of people we see in the news who are so removed from our everyday lives. Sure, they cause deep emotional reactions in us when we see them on TV or we get an alert on our cell phone detailing to us yet another victim coming forward because of their malicious acts. I just hope we don’t become immune to the barrage of stories thrown at us each and every day about the cowardly acts of how upstanding and powerful people have destroyed yet another innocent victim.

Luckily, most of us won’t ever experience this vile kind of victimization. Yet, sadly, many of us have. Statistics tell us one in three women will become the victim of sexual assault in their lifetime. Between me and my two daughters, I’ve got that number covered so with any luck, they will never be the victim of sexual assault. Besides, if anyone ever touched my daughters, I’d personally shove his thang down his throat—piece by piece. Don’t even tempt me. I still have enough anger from forty years ago to do that and I would love the opportunity but not at the expense of my daughters so let’s please not tempt me.

However, what happens when we become the victim of financial rape? We feel violated, angry and hurt. But what happens when we are the victim of that financial rape from someone we know, love but most importantly, trust? That takes this treacherous act to a whole new level. Not only do we feel violated, angry, and hurt, but the betrayal is beyond comprehension. Not to mention plain ‘ole sadness.

When I was sexually assaulted as a child, I realized that I could never trust anyone. What a dismal reality that is. Never mind the daddy issues I have because of the abuse, it’s the trust that challenges me every fucking day. Forty years later and I’m still taking it up the ass from people who are supposed to love and support me. The everlasting scars of sexual rape affect so many of your emotional decisions whether you want them to or not, but financial rape leaves just as big a scar, especially from a dear friend–one of whom I had grown to trust. Trust is NOT like Halloween candy. I’m not giving it away to everyone who comes to my door. It takes months if not years for me to build trust with another person, but when I do, you can expect a fiercely loyal friend; however, when you fuck me over with your lies and deceit, you have fucked with the wrong woman.

How did you sit across my table at my home, eat the Thanksgiving AND Christmas meals I spent hours preparing, smile at me, compliment me, knowing full well you have fucked the one woman whom you claim to be the family you never had? Not only have you stolen from me, but you have stolen from my children. Now, you’ve crossed the line.  If you think the half ass apology you gave me for this horrific act of betrayal is acceptable, you are dead wrong. You have had plenty of opportunities to tell me what you did. Let’s face it, you only apologized because you got caught. How can I, or anyone, for that matter, believe anything that ever comes out of your mouth? After doing my due diligence, I have come to find out I’m not your first victim. Because of your looks, you’ve always managed to get some fool of a man to cover your ass and pay for all the other things you have stolen from both businesses and friends just to avoid jail time. I’ve got news for you, honey. Your looks will fade and you will be nothing short of an empty shell of a woman. Tell your recent lover, thanks for the offer of the payoff but no thanks.

Let me be VERY CLEAR, you paying us back will IN NO WAY make this right, and you are a delusional fool to think otherwise.

My question is, how do we prevent this from happening? As each friend whom we adore and trust sits at our dinner table, do we ask them, “Hey, you haven’t financially raped me, have you?” Surely, there has to be a more civil way to ask that question. But why would you? You assume anyone you invite into your home has your best interests at heart, ESPECIALLY, after you have shared with them just how fucking difficult it is to trust people after enduring sexual abuse as a child. I may be over the abuse that happened to me so many decades ago, but I will always have my wall up. The taller the wall, the deep the abyss.

It’s already difficult enough to trust people. Thanks for the life lesson I was just begging to have this week.

Here’s a big thank you to all the assholes who have crossed my path in this life. I want to thank you for making me the strong woman I am.

Have You Checked the Children?

wanda and tape

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s take a moment to say thank you to the person(s) who started this #metoo campaign.  It’s a good start.

Unwanted sexual advances is NOT acceptable.  So stop staring at my ass and then whistling at me.  Trust me.  You have no chance–so just stop.  Ok, well maybe Patrick Dempsey does.  I’m hoping he has way too much class to ever be that crude.

I digress.

So thank you.  Truly.  I’m touched (luckily not by Harvey Weinstein, tho).  Maybe we should thank good ole Harv.  Thank you, Harvey, for being the sick fuck that you truly are.  Because of you, this #metoo movement was started!  I know how much you love the smell of power and pussy.  Let’s add prison to that list of P words.  That’s if you don’t off yourself first.  You’re a coward so I’m guessing that’s on your to do list.

Awareness is important but, let’s face it, it’s not enough.  It’s like putting a band aid on an open, gaping wound from a 12 gauge shot gun right in the middle of your chest.  Trust me.  It’s not enough.  We need action.  Not just any action but a visceral action–one straight from the heart or perhaps, the gut.

Let’s start with a complete makeshift of the minds of men.  They say a woman’s mind is wired like the super highway of the internet.  But a man’s is wired like a two way street.  How hard can it be to rewire them?

Sadly, it’s really not that simple.  And it’s WAY more than tweaking his tongue.  It’s way more than just sexual harassment.  It’s rape.  It’s abuse.  It’s child molestation.  It’s pretty much sticking your dick, your tongue, your hand, and any other appendage where it’s not welcome.  Whether the victim is 80 or 6.  I’m not up on my sexual assault facts on those over 18 but I do know a few facts about sexual abuse of children.

Let’s get a little uncomfortable, shall we?  Because the truth has a way of doing just that.

Not sure where you live but I’m going to drop a few truth bombs about one of the demographics here in North Texas.

According to their census data, Denton, TX is a small (ish) county just north of Dallas with about 800,000 residents.  Of those 800,000 residents, 200,000 are under 18 years of age.  It’s not like I make this stuff up.  This past spring, I spent some time with the program director learning about their center.  After meeting with the director of  CACDC ( Children’s Advocacy Center for Denton County), I learned some dismal facts.

DISMAL.  Oh how I hate that word.

According to the CACDC statistics, 1 in 10 children will be sexually assaulted.  Yes, I said 1 in 10.  Even tho, I feel like it’s much higher we are going to go with the 1 in 10 number.  Remember, this is full on sexual assault of a child under 18.  Not a grown woman being sexually harassed.

So…let’s go back to the Denton digits.  If 1 in 10 children is abused that means 20,000 kids in Denton at some point have been abused.

Guess  how many the center saw come in their doors last year?  10,000?  5,000?  1,000?  Try less than 800.

Wait a minute.  So of the 800,000 people living in Denton, only 800 kids were able to find help in a safe place.

Hmmm.  Let me do some quick math here.  Easy math.  (Not that common core math that hardly anyone understands).  That means that of those 20,000 kids being abused only 4 percent of them were able to get help through the children’s advocacy center.

Wait.  Did I do that math correctly?  Only 4 percent were rescued from their hell?  Want to know how many were convicted and imprisoned last year of those 800 cases?  Any guesses?  Less than 50.  Ouch.

In no way am I discounting what the CACDC does or any children’s advocacy center in the US for that matter.

My point is simple.  The numbers are WAY too low.  These kids are either afraid to speak up or they simply don’t know where to go to get help.

Who’s doing this horrific damage?  Is it the preacher, the coach, the teacher, the neighbor or, worse, some pedophile, meth head living inside an abandoned trailer in East Texas trolling your child on the web?  Easily, it can be all of the these.  Unfortunately, that’s only 5% to 10% of all perpetrators.

So, rest easy.  The odds of your child getting abducted by some whack job on the internet are low.  Very low.

Remember that psychotic thriller, “When a Stranger Calls?”  Remember how scared you were when the police told the teenage babysitter, “The call is coming from inside the house.”  I’ll never forget that scene.   Anyone my age remembers that movie and certainly that line, “Have you checked the children?”  As scary as it is to think a stranger could abduct and abuse your children, the statistics tell us that the odds of that happening are VERY low.  Thank God for that.

But where do the rest of the other 90 to 95% of the sexual predators come from?

Inside the home.  That’s where.  It’s as if that movie is alive in each of these children being abused.  And they can’t escape.  If these numbers are accurate across the board, imagine only 4% get to escape.  The other 96% are living this hell daily.  Imagine that.  What can you do to help?  More importantly, what will you actually do to help?

Have you checked your children?  Are they safe from their father, their mother’s boyfriend, their step father, their uncle, their brother, or YOU?  Are you doing something you shouldn’t be doing?  Sure, we can all post on Facebook #metoo and kudos to those raising awareness of sexual harassment and sexual abuse to show the magnitude of this endemic.   But we need much more than just a post.

How many of you can truly be honest and actually stop what’s going on beyond those closed doors in your own home?  It’s time to check the children to make sure they are safe from the hell inside their own homes.  It’s time to stop doing what you’re doing.  If it happened to you, don’t repeat it.  Nobody and I mean nobody can do a damn thing about what happened to me in 1977.  But I do know that there is no fucking way I would ever repeat what happened to me.  #iwontrepeat

And, if you are repeating that dreaded cycle of abuse, can you stop?  Will you stop?  Can you own it?  Will you own it?

Do you have the courage to stop abusing that child?  To step up and own it? Do you have the courage to say “I will stop?”  Or are you just another weak human being hiding behind a closed door?  It’s a choice to stop.  If you don’t have the courage to own it, at least have the courage to stop the abuse.   And I mean now.  RIGHT FUCKING NOW.  Give that child back her childhood because one day she will grow up and she will have the courage to tell someone.  And, then you’ll be fucked.  Like Harvey Weinstein.  He loved to exercise his power over those powerless people.   Like you.  Exercising your power over that powerless child.  Now look, Harvey will probably go to prison like you will one day.  Do you know what they do with pedophiles in prison?  Oh well.  You’ll soon find out.  Paybacks are hell.

Again, thank you, to the #metoo campaign.  Let’s add to this.  #iwontrepeat and #iwillstop

Don’t Let Your View Above the Clouds Cloud Your Judgment

 

IMG_6149How many times have we heard, “the sky’s the limit”?

According to the President of Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida, the sky is not the limit.

Hmmm…

That was the sales pitch we got a year ago when looking for schools for my son, Richard.  Sold.  How can you beat that pitch?  Especially, when your son wants to spend his life above the clouds?

Well, I blinked and here we are.   Dropping my first born off at college. 

My home in Dallas will be quieter without you.  I will miss hearing you play the guitar even with that amp on its highest volume.  I will certainly miss watching you play hockey.  I will miss you coming home during the school day so I could make lunch for you and your friends.  I will miss your smile.  I will miss your hugs.  I will miss my money.  Kidding.  Just making sure you’re actually reading this.  I will miss you arguing with me about nearly everything.  I will miss you.  I will miss those blue eyes.  I have my own soul searching to do trying to figure out how my life is going to change without seeing your handsome face all the time even though I saw less and less of it as your friends got more and more of your time.  It’s ok.  I get it.  Friends are important. 

I teared up looking at the packed bags on your bed at home.  So much stuff.  No way all those bags would fit on your bed.  It’s not as simple as packing for camp.  One trunk would do for those 4 weeks but this is 4 months.   I’ve got 4 hockey bags full of clothes, and towels, and pillows and shoes, and, most importantly, a framed picture of you, me, and your dad taken on your first day of kindergarten. 

That was 13 years go.  Can’t decide if thirteen is a lucky number or not.

These past thirteen very short years have been full of love, life, adventure, heartache, and a quite a few lessons learned.  One being a hangover.  You didn’t actually think you would get through high school without a hangover, did you?  I would certainly rather you feel that pain for the first time in my home versus your dorm room. 

Knowing you are off on your own for the first time in your life, I want you to have fun but I also want you to use your wise mind and not your emotional mind when making important decisions.

Why would I make the distinction of the two minds?

Many decisions we make with our emotional mind, we tend to regret.  Decisions made using your frontal lobe (also known as your wise mind) will serve you far longer.

Please use your wise mind when you drink.  As your mind starts to relax and your wise mind goes away, PLEASE be careful.  Drinking impairs your ability to make smart decisions.  When you’ve had enough, just go home and go to bed.  Only you will know when enough is enough.

Drinking happens in college.  I get it.  I had my fair share of fun.  I’m sure you know this but drinking can invariably lead to sex.  And, yes, sex is inevitable in college.  I’m not saying don’t do it.  Because I’m not one to stick my head in the sand and ignore what’s really going on.  It’s okay.  Do it.  Have fun.  Enjoy the moment.  I want you to have fun but not at the expense of another person.  I know I’m a broken record and you’re sick and tired of hearing me say this but it’s IMPORTANT to remind you…

So PLEASE remember these three things…

She must be of age which is AT LEAST 18.

She must consent.  And don’t forget that an inebriated woman CANNOT consent to sex.  And, finally, wear a condom.  I’m not ready to be a grandmother and Robert is too young to be an uncle and I need to focus on getting the girls through high school.   Not a grandchild. 

Condoms help prevent sexually transmitted diseases.  Let’s not get one.  If you were to get one of the more popular STD’s like herpes, that will be your roommate for the rest of your life.  And, one, you won’t want to hang with forever.

I could spend the rest of this blog telling you to go class, to study, to get good grades, to eat well and forgo the 3am urge to shovel down a pizza but you already know all this.  You’re more of a sushi kind of guy anyway.  Better hope they have it at the school cafeteria.  And, on that note, you better get used to the school cafeteria as that is where you will eat most of your meals.  Not the best food but you’re now on a budget.  And, I’m guessing sushi won’t be on that budget.  Learn to eat Ramen.  I did.

So much going on in this head of mine right now.  I just want you to make smart decisions.  It’s up to you to be the best man you can be.  I can’t go to class for you.  I can’t study for you.  I can’t fly those planes for you because you know full well I’m scared to fly.

I’ve spent the past 18 years trying to raise a confident and, more importantly, empathetic young man.  But I didn’t do this alone.  I had your father right there next to me raising you together.  Divorced or not, we raised you as a team.  As a family.  We have done all we can. It is with a heavy heart that I am giving you my blessing to go soar above those clouds because in my heart of hearts, i know that is where you belong.  It’s your new home.  My home will always be your home but I understand it’s your time to soar.  

Don’t forget, “To those whom much is given, much is expected.”  Your father and I have given you all the necessary tools in life to make it on your own.  You’ve been given more than I was ever given and I’m not referring to material things. 

Now, is your time to soar.  To fly above the clouds.  To make a difference in this world.  “Oh the places you will go”…

Caught in the Middle on a Travel Day from Hell

lil rich plane lean

We’ve all had travel days from hell.  The days with delays, temperamental people, bad coffee, more delays, and terribly bland food (apparently, salt is on the no fly list).  The list goes on and on.  Not to mention the joys of TSA.  Isn’t that a book?  “The Joy of TSA.” Oh wait.  It’s “The Joy of Sex”.  Not “The Joy of TSA.”

So, I’m running late.  Nobody’s fault but mine.  I own that.  But let’s hit every snag possible on my already late morning.  Who doesn’t love a 7 am flight?  I’m on the verge of missing my flight and don’t particularly want to hang out in Orlando all day long.  I already spent way too much time with Mickey and friends in my past life as a mother of toddlers and little humans.  Luckily, my 17 year old has outgrown Disney.  Besides, we were there for his first college visit.  Nothing wrong with your child wanting to go to an aviation school close to the beach.  I’m not discouraging it.

I digress.

Did I mention I haven’t had my coffee yet?  That will be my first stop after TSA hell.  There is light at the end of the tunnel.  I mean metal detector.  Right?

Gotta love a cavity search of your dignity.  First me, then my bag.  Nothing better than enduring the indignity of having EVERYTHING taken out of my bag just to toss out one thing.  My deodorant.  Oh Hell.  An aerosol.  I forgot.  So, let’s take everything out for all to see and just leave it there on the table.  Luckily, the TSA agent was successful in confiscating my weapon of mass destruction.  No problem, honey.  I’ll just pick up my panties off of the table and put them back in my bag.  Did you like the pink ones or the black ones better?  You look like you could go both ways.  I mean I do.  So, I’m not judging.  Just curious.  That’s all.

Anymore delays and I will miss my flight.  My son gets TSA pre-check.  Lucky bastard (ok, he’s not a bastard…I was actually married to his father when I delivered him).  I ask him to get me coffee because he had a 10 minute reprieve skipping the TSA hell with his god given gift (ok, it’s random but why him—this doesn’t help my cause of teaching him that sometimes we have to wait in lines).  Just get Mom coffee before I explode.  Or is it implode?  Probably both.  What else do you have to do with this gift of time bestowed upon you?  But the Starbucks line is too long so he can’t be bothered.  WTF is wrong with your generation?  I get it.  The line is long.  However, I NEED coffee and you don’t (not yet, anyhow).  Who wants to wait 20 minutes to get a Starbucks?  It’s really not that good of coffee, anyway.  Regardless, I wait.  I’ve already had my dignity stripped so I may as well pour some mediocre coffee down my throat to cleanse what’s left of it.

“Mom, last call.  Hurry Up.  You’re going to miss the flight”.  These are the texts I am getting from him while he leisurely waits at the gate.  Thanks.  I’m almost there.  Why don’t they have a quick line for the simple coffee drinkers?  I don’t need some latte, frappucino, cappichino, frothy, milky whatever.  Yes.  I misspelled those words.  Don’t have it in me to drink them nor look up the correct spelling of them. 

Alas!  I finally make it to the gate.  Only 2 people behind me.  I’ve had the doors shut on me before.  Not happening today.  Thank God.  But wait.  There’s one more delay.  Because this sundae doesn’t have its cherry yet.  I’m told I have too many bags.  What?  Seriously?  I need to shove my purse in my laptop bag.  What difference does it make at this point?  I’m at the gate.  “Ma’am, you will need to put your purse in another bag.”  So fucking ridiculous.  Wonder why my new BFF from TSA didn’t tell me that.  My guess is she was too busy enjoying my indignation.

Argh…

Finally, I’m at my seat.  The flight is not full and I can lean back and sleep.  Or write this blog.  Whatever.  Please.  Nobody talk to me.  I can’t take it any longer. 

Now, I’ve been on lots of planes in my life and realize that the space is tight and everyone has to do their part and get along.  I’m aware of flight etiquette for the most part, but this one really stumped me.

The seat plight.  To lean back or not?   When that seat in front of you comes straight back ALL THE WAY, one feels cramped.  Really cramped.  And, I’m a small person.  Can’t even imagine a large man or woman, for that matter, dealing with this.  So, as my son, feels the pinch, he automatically goes to lean back his seat.  Whew.  Some distance.  I feel for him.  I really do.  I once had a guy in front of me lean it all the way back and then asphyxiate me with his flatulence.

Until…

The woman behind him immediately scolds him and tells him she is claustrophobic.  Ummm?  Ya think?  We are ALL claustrophobic on this damn plane.   So, being the polite kid he is (to others, but not necessarily me), he obliges.  Out of respect I suppose.  Or maybe he was too scared to say anything.  So, now, he’s stuck between rock and a hard place.  I mean a seat in his face and the verbose woman behind him.  What to do.  What to do?

Hmmm…

So, herein lies the question.  He respected the woman in front of him needing her space and didn’t say a word as she leaned her seat back.  It’s her right to do so, no?  And, he respected (albeit reluctantly) the woman’s need for space behind her.  And, thus, he is caught in the middle.

I’m confused.  If you’re claustrophobic, why aren’t you sitting in the exit row?  Plenty of room there.  Do your needs come before his?  What gives you the right to take away his right to lean that seat back?  Poor kid.  I’d say he took it like a man but then again if it was a large man in that seat, I can guarantee you he would have no problem leaning that seat back especially with the one in front of him in his face.  Turns out, she tells the flight attendant that she and her husband moved from her original seat so no one would be in the middle and they would have more room.  Nice, huh?  Barking demands and they aren’t even in their assigned seats. 

I was really stumped on this one.  Lil Rich gets a check in the win column for simply being nice.   And, I’ll take a Bloody Mary to go with my travel day in Hell.

Thank God, it’s only a 2 hour flight.  And no connections.