In the year 2050, I became this meme on Spacebook. Here’s why.
Age 0. I was born.
Age 7. My dad died. His heart stopped. My heart broke. My family broke.
Age 8-17. Survival mode training 101, Part 1.
Just add tequila.
Age 18-25. Survival mode training 101, Part 2.
Had husband. Had miscarriage. Had lots of tequila.
Age 25-41. Got rid of tequila. Got new husband.
I got a starter survival toolbox. Some items included: 1-family of choice, 1-Blue Book, 1-Higher Power.
Read some tools, practiced some tools, lost some tools, misused some tools, lacked some tools.
Age 42-55. Put main toolbox in the garage. Got some tools out on occasion. Usually between kid’s events, bouts with cancer, mother’s funeral and Modern Family episodes.
Added second toolbox. Included brightly colored paint, some joy, furniture, brushes. Kept this one in the house.
Age 55. Life and my immediate family, as I knew it for 26 years, blew up all over the living room.
Main toolbox found, under the rubble. Second toolbox proved to be a lifesaver.
Age 56-60. Did not die. Learned how to live. Took a minute. Got out the main toolbox. Added more books, more family of choice. Upgraded Higher Power. Added the Stuff that Dreams Are Made Of to my second toolbox. Used frequently.
Age 60-62. Got a wake-up call that I am gonna die. Don’t know how long I have. Estimate just under 30 years.
Found open door to a road less traveled. Walked through the door. Drove down the road. Led me to the beach. Brought both toolboxes. Put in the front seat for safety, like eggs and bread.
The main toolbox got upgrade. New Red Book added. New family adopted. Higher Power got another upgrade.
Realized Higher Power has their shit together. And I am not far behind.
Age 62-64 Continued using toolboxes. Got rid of tools that no longer worked. Upgraded to new and improved tools as more was revealed. Leaned into love. Burned fear in effigy. Surprised myself.
Age 64-90 Continued waking up with direct access to salt water and sunshine. Adapted toolbox and lifestyle to fit each other. Continued to upgrade and maintain Higher Power connection. Like electricity. Paying the bill by fully expressing my gifts and sharing. Wrote one kickass book. Or twelve. Won award for most fun grandmother in the history of time. Lost award for most humble grandmother of all time.
My House-is a very very very fine house. Two stories that tell so many more. The stairway to the top is made of 12 steps because I qualify for enough 12 step programs to build a stairway to Heaven. Which goes well with the fact that at my age, I have a doctor for every orifice.
I came in through the kitchen window and then I fell into the bar. Food and alcohol were what kept me alive in their time. The food is supposed to do that, but not in the way those four slices of Wonderbread covered in Hellman’s did. They filled a love-shaped gaping hole in a 7-year-old girl with a toothless grin and long, stringy toe-headed hair. I had just lost my date to Saturday morning cartoons when my dad and only friend died. We were supposed to meet in his giant red leather chair at the top of the stairs. The chair sat next to his smelly pipes on a table in the family room looking down into the kitchen where the mayonnaise lived. Instead, I was greeted by the minister and my mother who told me that my dad had gone away in an airplane and wasn’t coming back. “We interrupt this episode of Tom and Jerry to bring you the first big lie in your life.”
The bar wasn’t that messy but it still needed clean up in order to stay alive. I was groomed for that one. I instinctively knew that no was a complete sentence and I used it at age 12 when the drunk man in the bar where my mother had taken me asked me to dance. My mother took my no away from me, making me dance with him anyway. That started a boundariless tango with alcoholic partners who I seem to attract still today, whether they are drinking or not. I was only at the bar for a little while, but long enough to lose my car and my virginity and a baby and my pride.
The bedrooms of my life tell many stories beyond their unspoken law to be used for sleep and sex only. I truly hope I’ve heard them all, but they say you can only say “yes” or “I don’t know” to a certain question about what or who may have gone down in that room.
I keep a king-sized bed in my bedroom today even though I live alone. I am holding space since the universe is going to bring the person to share it with me in due time. I end my days and take my naps there with room to spare for me and my one-eyed cat named Atlas. Besides, I need the extra space so that my mother’s shame for having a vagina with feelings has a place to sleep too. I carry that for her like a dutiful daughter even though her box that was shared with the others’ husbands is in a box in my living room with the rest of her.
The dogs need a place to sleep too. They were my only source of love in Connecticut after the household on 2 acres lost its head. Throughout my life, the dogs have been welcome to sleep with the humans. The smell of a wet dog could go under the aromatherapy label of “Unconditional Love” if you ask me. There were 14 dogs total over the years, who took turns sleeping and playing in shifts, leaving their fragrant mark on the beds and my heart.
No day today ends until I strap on my CPAP mask. I am a top gun pilot call sign Luna who flies top secret night missions that must be really stressful because I grind the shit out of my teeth and often wake up sweaty and exhausted.
The office has been neglected. That is where the business of living is meant to be managed. The files for taxes and divorce decrees live there. As do the unreconciled numbers and untold profits and losses. Currently, there is a “to be filed” pile spilling for attention and it is getting that.
I went reluctantly into the big room upstairs just last fall. Pain and the pattern of my feelings of abandonment that far outweighed the current day cause were screaming for attention. In my house, this is the room that knows the story from its beginning. Where the family and the disassociation originated. I have known about this one for many years but been too afraid to go all the way in and take my rightful seat.
I visited there half my life ago, but I heard people sharing their pain of origin and mine was quite happy hiding under the stories of pizza and booze binges I used to survive the war zone inside of our house down the street from the yacht club.
I don’t know what I was so afraid of. The unknown, I guess. Much like the Wizard turns out to be no more than a blow-hard little man behind a big curtain, this room is just a room that needs love, gentleness, humor, and respect.
To get in, I had to push against a stack of busted up mismatched brown wooden chairs that were blocking the door. I didn’t put them there, but it is up to me to move them and find my seat. This room has cobwebs in the glare from the big window whose light comes through in spite of the yellow film from neglect. The light is so important you know. Without it, there is no life. And I want all of what is left of mine.
I am using the manual that tells me what to do to get that attic room in order. It starts with washing the window in three steps in order to let the light in. Then comes the decluttering. I am not there yet in this room, but it served me well when I cleaned out the kitchen and tossed that old crusty green white bread in the trash. .