Total Humiliation

I thought that in honor of back to school, I'd post this picture I found of me in kindergarten. It was my very first school picture day, and I had freshly cut hair thanks to my budding dreams of becoming a necklace designer and a very large piece of Hubba Bubba gum. I was wearing one of those little house on the prairie dresses with a red and white design that someone got the brilliant idea in 1979 or so to make fashionable, much to the dismay of many a thirty-year-old-girl today. I think I was missing at least one tooth. It's a freaking adorable picture.

I lost it.

And so, with a head hung in shame, I offer you the only other school picture I could find; the dreaded Senior Picture...

It's awful, isn't it? It is about the most ghastly thing I have ever seen. Nice hair, huh? You can thank my dad for that one. I asked him to trim it, and I ended up with something so wrong on so many levels that the hairdresser said she couldn't even save it and it all had to go. My friends called me Luke (as in Skywalker) up until I graduated. But on the bright side, just look at those collarbones. I love collarbones.

So there. I have sunk to almost my lowest depths for your reading pleasure. There is one worse picture, one picture that, like, two people ever have seen, but I'm saving that one for when the time is right.

On to the next: Today just so happens to be one year to the day that I took off in the middle of the night. I really have a bunch of profound shit to say about that, but I almost don't care. What a change has come over the past year. I do know this, though...I know that nothing like that is ever going to happen to me again, because I know I'm not going to let it happen. I learned that I don't need to be coddled, and that clingy gets me nowhere, and I know how to see when I'm being nothing more than a wretched little enabler, and I know that I will be totally ok even if it all falls to pieces tomorrow. I'm not afraid anymore. That's a big something coming from me. I am starting to understand that thing they say at AA about "detaching with love". That just means that yes, I love this alcoholic and yes, I care what happens to him but it has almost not one thing to do with me and my life. It means that I get to live my life and take care of my shit and though I can be kind and supportive and realistic about the recovery process, it no longer is dictating my daily existence. It's OK to not think about it. It's OK to just sit back and watch. And it's absolutely OK to do what I have to do, when I have to do it. Those are hard lessons for Captain Control Freak to learn.

I also learned that I have really close, supportive, loving people in my life that honest to god, I swear on the Bible, feel like family. They ARE family. I love them in a way that I didn't ever think I was capable of loving people. I love them in that hard way where you worry that you're a disappointment but you don't worry about your hair being a mess for dinner because you know that they know that sometimes, you just can't brush your hair. You can screw up the coconut cream pie and everyone giggles and moves on but you think a little harder before you go out for a night with the girls, because seriously, you don't ever want to let these people down. I think that's what family is all about. It's about silliness, and comfort, and compassion, and keeping your ass in check, even when life gets nuts and you don't much want to be in check. I learned a completely unbelievable thing, and that thing is that the girls who are your best friends in high school, when you're all hormonal and zitty and unsure and crazy, can not only stay your best friends but actually grow with you and walk your paths in life with you and share the rest of your life with you, and bring amazing, beautiful new people in with them. High school people. It's crazy.

Lastly, I think I learned that of all the things in life I bang my head against a wall for, my family is the most important. I learned that family can be whatever it has to be, but that for now, this family with these people is worth the anguish and the hardships and the fighting for. 'Cause, see, right now, everything is just fine.