If My Mother Tells Me To Stop Playing With My Latte, Does That Mean I Have To Make A Commitment?

I am continually in the process of deciding whether or not to out my Super Secret Alter Ego on this blog.  Like the other day, I was quoted in one of those big, people in Volgograd have heard of it, way over my reading level news sources but I can't tell you about it because A) they quoted me, not Mr Lady and B) they used the one and only boring, responsible line I'd rattled off during the most brilliantly witty 10 minutes I've ever spent on the phone.  And then today some other big-shit news broadcasting company had me in their studio to talk about the original quote. And how I danced and danced around whom I may or may not pretend to be on the internet with them.

Because I'm just not entirely comfortable with people reading this blog yet.

I mean, it's not like I mind you reading it. You're fantastic, and I love your shoes. And to you, I am a few black letters hammered out onto a white template with an astonishingly copyright-breaking background.  I'm a few pixels crammed together into a 4X6 space on the internet. I am a transgender myth.  I am no one. When you close your screen, I go away and I don't come back until you do.  And I like it that way. I like the total lack of commitment that keeping this blog brings with it. I can't let you down, you'll never be disappointed or shocked or outraged, not truly, because I don't exist.

And so I keep typing. Truth is, I'm still not anywhere near used to the fact that anyone but the 10 people who've always read it do. I try to not look at my stats, because I just don't need that sort of reality in my fake plastic life. I like to pretend that I'm still talking to myself, and that I am the only one listening, and that way I can just say whatever the hell I want and laugh at myself next year for being so obtuse and no one is the wiser.

But you are the wiser, aren't you? You are there, you do read this piece of crap blog and you listen and you laugh at me tomorrow, because it doesn't take you a year to see what a screw-up I am. The question is, do I want my mother in law to be the wiser? The answer is hell no. Do I want my constant daily companions, my friends and neighbors, to know all of this, this other side of me that is firmly lodged in the realm of misperception? I don't know the answer to that.

A few weeks ago, one of my neighbors got me trah-rashed and got my blog url out of me.  He is an actual, real, respectable and published author and hasn't really said whether or not he's skeeved out of his skin over my blog just yet.  He did say that you know your way around a sentence, Mr. Lady, and I think it's fairly safe to say that I've never, ever been so flattered in my whole life and also, it's so veryvery wrong that I found that statement to be ohmygodso hot. It's a character flaw; I'm working on it.

A few days ago, one of my other neighbors found me on twitter. I don't know if he was looking or not, but somehow he found me. And it turns out, he'd read my blog before he was my neighbor, he just didn't put two and two together until the whole Great Twitter Debacle of 2009. We saw each other out front yesterday, and for a fleeting moment his alter-ego saw my alter-ego and those alter-egos looked at each other like you look at the guy the morning after and wonder, "Um, name? Name, dammit, name. Also, where the fuck is my bra?"

But you know what? It was over right then, and we were back to normal. Luke and Shannon, chasing their kids, watching them play Sonic the Hedgehog together, talking about sunburns and popsicles and crap.  The world did not end. The universe did not open up and swallow me whole. My neighbors don't think any less of me, that they're admitting, and I am not quite as mortified as I'd imagined I'd be when this all started to come out.

Because I know it's going to come out eventually. I'm not an idiot. Well, not totally.

There's no reason I don't want my mother in law to read this blog. I think she might actually enjoy it, once she got over the fact that I've lied to her for five years about how I know this person or where I met that person or why I keep scuffling off to conferences when, last time she checked, stay at home moms didn't host nation-wide conferences for each other. Though they should.

My husband has told his best friend, his boss, his boss' boss, his boss, the bartender and his old girlfriend who is, in her own right, a very big deal on the internet.  And most all of them will still look me in the eye on occasion. I, however, am having a hard time reciprocating.

I'm pretty sure my own mother has already found this blog. I can't be certain, but the odds are really high. I know my little brother has found it, though he's never mentioned it to me, but he's not mentioned anything to me in 17 years, so I can't fault him too much for not delurking.  And you know what? I stopped caring. I stopped going out of my way to hide from them a few months ago, and if they read it, they read it. If it hurts my mother, well, quid pro quo, bitch. I'm still fairly certain that I don't want my father and step-mother reading it, not just yet, but I've only got so long on that one because my older brother is quite literally Mr Lady's biggest fan and he Will Not Stop linking my shit on Facebook. Hi, Karen and Ed! Really, don't read the archives. You'll disown me. Oh, wait....

I worry about my children. That is probably the most hypocritical thing I'll ever say, seeings as how I have this penchant for plastering their sweet, innocent faces all over the internet, but it's true, and maybe because of that. I could tell you my last name and my real location and that probably wouldn't affect me too much, but then I'm telling you their last names and real locations and that certainly does affect the shizznit out of them. They don't have a blog, they didn't ask for this, and is it really in my right to hand them over to the internet that way?

Or is that the world's greatest excuse for being a big fat chicken shit who likes to hide behind avatars?

Because the truth of the matter is that, while Mr Lady is loud and assertive and unabashed, Shannon is quiet and cripplingly shy and demure and she really, really enjoys her privacy. Hell, it took her three years to tell her spouse she had a blog, at all. And they, she and I, we? Are two completely different people. Fortunately, I'm just crazy enough to be able to compartmentalize these two facets of my existence and play one roll when need be, then switch back to the other personality when it's time. Systemic childhood abuse? Blogger Prep School.

So I have all of this swirling around in my head this morning at butt-fuck o'clock this morning and I swing into Starbucks so I can, well, exist, and I put the orange mocha frappuccino they hand me into the cup-holder and lo and behold, this is what glared back at me the entire drive home:

Anne Morriss Just Kicked My Ass

That says:
The irony of commitment is that it's deeply liberating - in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to the rest of your life.

And then is says it again in French. I got bitch slapped in two different languages, for the lowlow price of $4.95 + GST, PST, and the carbon tax, and I'm still not quite awake yet.

But I am in the Wall Street Journal and on CBC's radio show and webpage. And that's as close to this closet door as I'm able to come today. Now please excuse me; I have to go throw up.

A Vague Connection

I keep trying to write a post about the bailout, but this is all that will come out.  I'm not sure the connection between the two will translate, so I'll just apologize in advance, and continue the story of my relatives where I left it off here:

My cousin Donna was something in the neighborhood of 10 years older than me, maybe more; I honestly don't know.  She was my father's first niece, his sister's first child, my grandmother's first grandchild.  She had a great laugh, beautiful red hair, and was smart and loving and kind.  My father was in LOVE with his nieces and up until my parents divorced when I was 6, they were a huge part of our daily life.  After that, we only saw them on my dad's time with us.  My parents had one of those divorces where both sides of the family completely parted ways, and my mother took us.  We didn't have a whole ton of contact with his side until they all started dying.

My brother, I have to add, was much better than me at saying Fuck It and seeing my father's side of the family anyway.  I was entirely too afraid of my mother to attempt such a mutiny, and not a day goes by that I don't envy him the contact he had with our family after the rest of us were secluded from them.  That boy had balls.

My cousin was married to a man (who we'll just call Tee) at some point, I don't really know, and had a baby who we'll just call Jr.  I did get to see Jr quite a bit; my mother was a bitch, but she wasn't that bad.  I couldn't see my aunt, but her kid was totally in-limits.  He was cute, they were happy, blah blah blah.

They lived far from us, in Bethany which is in the very southern, beachy tip of Delaware, and I just didn't know anything about her as an adult.  I know she later had another baby (maybe twins?) and that her marriage sounded fine on the surface.  I'd seen her at our grandmother's funeral when I was 15, and Donna was the family member who was given our grandmother's folded flag at her military funeral.  She was wearing a black dress-suit and pumps, and looked she fine to me.  Apparently, she had a major drug problem that I didn't know about until I moved to Colorado with my dad when I was 17.

I remember one night when she called, crying to my father that she didn't have money for rent.  My dad sat up with her all night on the phone, trying to get the number of her landlord out of her, promising he'd get her caught up.  She wouldn't give the number over, made some bullshit story up, pleaded with him to send money that night, and after a while my dad just gave up and called her husband back the next day.

Turns out, they were behind on their rent.  Turns out, all their money was going up her nose (and in her arm, I'd be willing to bet.)  Turns out, Donna's father, my asshole uncle, was keeping her pretty hooked on some drug or the other, because he didn't want to party alone.  Turns out, the problem was bigger than most of us knew.  Tee had thrown her out of the house for the sake of the children's and his sanity, and they did need help.  My father sent the landlord the rent, rather than giving it to Donna, who was just going to snort it anyway, ensuring that money went to the family and not to the addiction, or the addict.  And there's my bailout paragraph in a nutshell.  Moving on...

Apparently, Donna had taken to sneaking in the house in the middle of the night to sleep.  Tee knew this, but didn't want to let on that he knew, so he'd just leave a small window unlocked at night that she could get in and out of.  The neighbors and her friends had seen her pushing a ladder up to her house in the middle of the night to get in before; it wasn't really a secret or anything.  She would just leave before everyone was up the next morning, and in that silent arrangement she had shelter and safety, and Tee knew his wife and the mother of his children was warm and fed at the very least.

One day, when I was at the end of being 21, my father started calling me at my boyfriend's house.  We were fighting about something or the other, so I ignored his calls all day until, eventually, I realized something was wrong.  He NEVER called, let alone that many times in a row.  When I finally answered, he asked me with tears in his throat to sit down.

Donna had gone out with her friends, maybe her father (the jury is still out on that one) and they were all doing drugs.  She mixed too many substances, or took too much of one, no one really knows.  What we do know is that her friends, rather than dumping her off at the ER, took her as she O.D.'d back to her house.  They grabbed the ladder that she'd used before to get in, pushed it up to the house, and shoved her into the open window.  They drove off, and one of them called 911 to report "what looks like a break in attempt" at her house.  Of course, the neighbors all knew about the ladder thing, and the cops thought nothing of it.

The kicker here is that they shoved her in the wrong window.  They shoved her into her oldest son's window, who wasn't even 10 yet, where she cracked her head on the bedframe on the fall down.  Tee had the kids out that night, I think at his mother's, and the next morning when they came home Jr walked into his room and found his mother dead, overdosed, suffocated on her own vomit, soaked in it and her urine and her feces, crumpled over in the corner of his bed.

And that is how I lost my cousin.  And that is how her son lost his mother.  My father, well, I didn't think he'd ever recover from it.  When he told me, I sat on the corner of my boyfriend's bed and I couldn't breath.  I couldn't think.  All I could do was scream and scream and scream.  It took that boyfriend longer than I can remember to get the story of what happened out of me, and that night he asked me to marry him because he didn't ever want something to happen to me and for him to not know what it was ever again.  I spent most of that night hunting my brother down, who had taken off years before never to be heard from again, and I reunited with him over the phone under these circumstances.

We all flew to Delaware to lay her to rest, and in her death, my family found each other.

Every anniversary that boyfriend and I celebrate, she is still there with me.  Every baby of ours, each one born with a shock of red hair and a beautiful smile, they are each a reminder of her.  Each comment my brother leaves on this blog, she's in there somewhere.  She was taken from my life twice in the 21 years I'd known her, once by divorce, once by addiction and irresponsible, selfish behavior, but this time, I know I'll never find her again.  I just have to hold a little tighter to what she left in her wake.

29 and counting

I\'ve been doing this shit way too longSee this? Yeah, you're reading that right. 970 posts. This one here's gonna make 971. That means that in 29 posts, which is embarrassingly enough just about 29 days, I'm going to hit 1K.

Here's the thing. I never did one of those 100 Things posts, because I didn't read mommy blogs back then. Hell, I didn't know there were mommy blogs, or any blog that wasn't political or educational, back then. I didn't know I should do a 100 Things post.

The other thing is that I can't manage to put together 7 things about me. The only thing that bores me more than CSI NY is me. But, I am about to hit a benchmark of sorts, and I feel that there should be something happening to mark the occasion, and since martinis and petit fours don't really translate over an internet connection, I had another idea.

YOU GUYS know stuff about me. You know loads about me. For example, from this post alone thus-far you know that I like politics and education issues, drink martinis, would actually try to insert a petit four into a blog post, and that CSI NY is my least favorite CSI. I would never normally think of any of that stuff. And with it...


We have 29 days to come up with 1,000 things about me.

Leave what you know in the comments box. Let's try to avoid the "She's hot"s and the "She's a terrible mother"s; we will have nothing but that otherwise. Dig deep, dear readers. It'll be a fun experiment in how much we can actually learn about someone just by reading their blog.

29 days left.....gogogo!