Thursday, April 18, 2013

1 Day – Eve of Forty… Literally.

If you know me or even if you only know me from reading this blog you’ll probably shake your head, “yes” when you read the statement written below…

I am rarely, if ever, speechless.

Now, I have to throw in “rarely” because a few moments in my life have left me speechless, I’m sure, but usually that happened at times when I’d been emotional, and not in an angry way, either, because when angry is the emotion I’m feeling, you can guarantee (ask around) that speechless is far from what I am.  Today, however, that’s not the case. Anger is far, far away. Sadness. Happiness. Pride. Those emotions met up one day after school at an undisclosed location and banded together in an effort to do what they knew would practically be the impossible: shut me up. And those little bastards succeeded, at least, temporarily. Meaning, right now, or rather, right before I started writing this post. Technically I guess I’m not speechless right now if I’m talking about being speechless. My God, can I start over? This is not how I wanted this to go. Okay, great. Danke.
Welcome, friends!!! Welcome, welcome, welcome, and thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you for coming here, and reading this, and walking on the road with me as I hitchhiked across the last year in my thirties. You were a mostly kind and often needed road-mate, and I would have never made it to the end of the trip without your support, guidance, and willingness to ride in the back seat in a sometimes smelly car with an often weird looking dude behind the wheel. You looked out for me when it felt like we were going to get kidnapped by BillyBobJimJoe, and you told me to hold my wrinkled thumb up high when I felt like throwing my bags down on the wet and soggy ground beneath my feet. Without you, the journey would have ended in Topeka somewhere, but thanks to you, we made it all the way to our destination… home.

This was a fun, fun trip, gang. A sometimes bumpy, laughter-and-tear filled experience, and it’s one I’m ecstatic I did with the help of some folks who encouraged me along the way.

Tomorrow, I will be Forty, and so today, my “in-my-thirties” self has some thirties-style living to do. Before I exit, however, I have one last thing to say…

Todd, you are the love of my life. I may have loved others but those loves were simply stepping stones; mere foundations of the grand palace built atop them that is my love for you. I am ever grateful that you served as editor on this experience. It genuinely made it feel like a team effort. You are the best – no hyperbole – husband anyone would ever want, anyone could ever need, and everyone would be thrilled to have. I am blessed and lucky to be your wife and your partner and your co-pilot. I have never loved you more than I do right this very second on this very day. Take me away, el Schmaa. We deserve it.

Thanks again, y’all… from the bottom of my not-yet-forty heart.


Monday, April 15, 2013

4 Days – Death of a Blog: The Final Countdown

Oh, We're heading for Venus (Venus)
And still we stand tall Cause maybe they've seen us
And welcome us all, yeah With so many light years to go
And things to be found (to be found)
I'm sure that we'll all miss her so
It's the final countdown.

Ninety-six hours. In ninety-six hours, EveofForty becomes just… Forty. Nah, there’s more to forty than that, right? Oodles of changes will instantly occur. I’ll check a different box at tax season, for example. Become an immediate candidate for high-risk pregnancy. Receive mailers containing coupons for products like Oil of Olay and Depends Undergarments (both of which I already use… psst… Oil of Olay… call me). I’ll start referring to pants as trousers and wondering if elastic waistbands have made their way back into the fashion mainstream. Oh yes, forty will be different, and the change is gonna come faster than I can blow out my birthday candles. So with that said, I’d like to go over some of my favorite things about writing EveofForty as well as some things that happened while writing it.

First, it gave me a sense of purpose that was mine and mine alone. Writing reminded me that I was foremost a solo artist before I joined a band; that before the duets and then full-blown orchestra, I sat on a lonesome street corner fiddling with a broken harmonica made of #2 pencils and marble notebooks. This blog let me tap into those innocent hours of public poetry readings; the days before bills and responsibilities killed off an underdeveloped talent. When I wrote because I wanted to and never because I had to. Right now, I am there again. Right this moment, I’m in that body, on that corner, scribbling away at what will one day become nothing, but a nothing that I made and owned. A nothing that will never be taken from me, no matter what I choose to do with my life. This feeling is my favorite by far of any evoked from each of my posts, and it is one that I hope will stay with me for a long time to come.

One of my favorite stories was that of how I got my first tattoo. The post itself got rave reviews and yet also stirred up emotions from two of the star players in the story, which made for some dramatic back-and-forths and ended with a verbal bitch-slapping on my part. That was fun. And I love knowing that this one person now knows exactly what I think of her. It made the painful vagina on my lower back almost completely worth the agony I went through.

Another of my favorite posts was titled A Nude Attitude which showcased some of the PG-13 images from my first (and likely, last) ever boudoir photo shoot, taken by the incomparable Sean Murphy. The experience itself was over-the-top fun and knowing that I was doing a lot of what I was for the mere hell of it made it easier to do. The tequila also helped.

Probably the most humbling post for me was one that I didn’t even write. After a rough patch in our relationship, my husband suggested that he take the helm for what would be a post by a person who knew me likely more than I even knew myself. Every noun, verb, and adjective were pings in my chest. Every anecdote, a sad commercial. But in the end his words acted as a light in a tunnel that was for a short period of time too consumed with soot and darkness to see anything but black.

It's the final countdown
We're leaving together
The final countdown
We'll all miss her so
It's the final countdown (final countdown)
Oh, it's the Final countdown.

There are so many other wonderful memories I have from this experience, but to be honest, right now I’m probably too emotional to continue to talk about them. I’ve exposed myself in this last year in the way – as my friend AdamofForty explained – that Eve exposed herself in the garden of Eden. And right now, while still naked, a part of me is seeking a fig leaf.

I’ll see you again, for the final EveofForty post, three days from now. Until…

I guess there is no one to blame
We're leaving ground (leaving ground)
Will things ever be the same again?
It's the final countdown.

Monday, April 8, 2013

11 Days - “I’ve Loved You for Half My Life”

My hair had just started growing in after shaving my head bald. I had just done my first real modeling gig where they had dyed it a bright red which was now growing out, showing off my light-brown roots. It was a weekday, late spring or even early summer, and I was wearing something unique to only me, as I usually did at work. There was a sign in the door that I wrote myself using bubble letters and colorful markers. “NOW HIRING” it said, and I would find out soon that it was the purpose of your visit.

(Cling, ring, dingle-ling [the bell on the door] clang, ring)


I looked up from my daily duty of folding shirts so evenly that GAP sales associates would weep with envy.

“Hi,” I said in return, looking at your blue Catholic school uniform and wondering how old you were and if you were here for the job.

“I saw that you were hiring. Can I fill out an application?”

“Sure,” I said, looking first at Maria Elena, then at Sal, as we thought the same thought… “She’s tall, beautiful, and friendly… but is she smart?”

I handed you the application and the pessimist in my twenty-year-old brain decided I’d test you, right there, and right then. Every applicant before you and most who walked in still wearing their St. Maria Goretti school uniforms failed to answer one simple but vital question on the application because depressingly enough, they just didn’t know.

“Let me ask you a question,” I said, looking right at you and paying no attention to the boy who walked in behind you. “Do you know your Social Security number?”

Without batting even one of those seventeen-year-old eyelashes, you quickly replied “Of course. It’s 182-XX-XXXX…”

And I didn’t hear the rest because all I could think in my mind was… “I already love this kid. Easiest decision I’ll ever make. She’s hired.”

As I sit here on the front porch of my lovely little house in my lovely little Georgia town and remember that day with a wide smile both across my face and across my heart, I find it hard to believe that it was twenty years ago this year. For twenty years, you have not only been a part of my existence, but a part of my being, as well. You’ve shared in my heartache, and I in yours. We have survived what some would deem the impossible in our own private lives, but never without knowing that the other walked beside us, hand-in-hand, shoulder-by-shoulder, heart-to-heart. The memories I share with you are some of the dearest memories my mind ever held and without them, I would have struggled to make it some days. Without knowing that I had another human being out there who I trusted as much as I trust you, I think life would be a lot more difficult to live.                                                            

When we texted earlier in the week as we do often nowadays I was probably as surprised as you were that we both remembered our twentieth anniversary.

“What day do you leave for your trip?”

“Just a few days after my birthday,” I responded. “I can’t believe it’s so close. Forty. It’s blowing my mind.”

“I KNOW!!! I’m so excited. I’m going to send your gift soon, then. This year is special for several reasons.”

“You realize that we’re friends twenty years this year, right?”

“THAT’S WHY I SAID IT WAS SPECIAL!! I can’t believe you picked that out. That’s the theme of your birthday gift this year.”

“You know, I’ve loved you for half my life.”

“And I’ve loved you for more than half of mine.”

I just arrived home from picking up the kids and found a package on my front porch.

“It’s for you, Mommy,” Roman said. “It's cursive. It says it’s from ‘America’.”

“Well, I’m sure it’s from America, Roman,” I said, picking up the box to read the return address. “That says ‘Andricola’ honey. It’s from Aunt Nessa.”

As you know, I usually never open gifts earlier than the date they are intended to be opened, but today, knowing it was from you, knowing the significance, I simply couldn’t resist.

What I found inside the box was nothing less than I would find inside my own heart. Images of the two of us – twenty years apart – in a customized frame that reads “Friends 4 Ever. Stoney x 2.” Birthday and anniversary cards with printed clippings of song lyrics… ones that mean something only to us. A beautiful leather journal for me to document my trip to Germany and Austria, also with song lyrics taped to the inside. And a book, entitled “Because of You: Celebrating the Difference You Make.” To say that I feel overjoyed would easily be an understatement. Warmed. Touched. Nostalgic. Grateful. To say that I am all of those things would be accurate, but the extent of each emotion would be impossible to explain. So I will simply say what I am feeling the best way I know how… with writing.

I love you. I have loved you for half my life but if I believed more in fate I would probably say that I started loving you in some previous life somewhere. Maybe Egypt or maybe on some other planet in some other universe, like, Flarnblat or Krolplurg or something. Some world where laughter reigned high and where Depeche Mode still existed. I have loved you just that long and for so many wonderful reasons. I love our similarities; the way that I know you’ll understand what I’m feeling when I say that I always have these morbid dreams about dying. I love our differences; our take on sports or T.V. or travel. I love the fact that no matter what, you will risk my getting angry if it means you need me to know the truth. You’re the only one who takes that risk, and you’re the only one I love because of it. I love that you stuck around even when the shit looked to be heading directly toward the fan. I love that you trust me. I love that you know me. I love that I can be myself with you even when my self is a self I don’t like very much. I love your support. I love giving you mine. I love that I never have to think, or worry, or find fault with our friendship. That after twenty years and almost a thousand miles of distance it’s as regular to me as brushing my teeth. I love looking forward to the next time I get to see you. I love that you consider me a part of your family. I love how much you are a part of mine. I love that I spent your honeymoon with you. I love that you’re the godmother to my daughter. I love that I’m turning forty with you as my best friend. And I love knowing that when I someday move on to the next life, universe or planet, it won’t be long until I see your face again.

When I moved to Atlanta I struggled to make friends those first couple of years. Now that ten years has passed I can’t say that new friendships have come any easier to me, and maybe it’s because I’m not exactly to everyone’s taste, or maybe it’s because folks are different in the South than they are in the North. Or maybe, it’s because my friendship bucket is full, because I have you, and to be frank, you’re really all I need.

I love you, Stoney. I’ve loved you forever and I will continue to. Thank you for the most wonderful birthday gifts any woman – any friend – could ever want. Namely, the gift of you.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

16 Days - Mastering the “Selfie”: The Once Underexplained Art of Narcissism

I can almost hear the “eyerolls” now. Meh. Fuck it.

There is something to be said about a person who admires themselves. That something could be that they’re conceited, egotistical, or out-and-out vain. But that something could also be that they’re self-confident, or complacent in their looks or even overall life choices. Or it could be said, as in my case and in the case of the occasional (oh, shut up) picture I may take or self portrait I might post, maybe the person just had a really goddamned awesome hair day. Whatever the reason, each time an individual takes and/or posts a picture of themselves by themselves, they are putting themselves out there for the social mediaverse to judge, and while judge they may, their thoughts, comments or rants have never stopped this woman from sharing with the world how she looks in her new Michael Kors blazer.

The “Selfie” as it has been recently penned, apparently by the same idiots who coined “besties” and “appies” (best friends and appetizers, because, what else does one need when one is 15?), has grown into an outright phe-nom (yes, phenomenon) all across Sharesville, Earth. And while Warby-Parker-wearing hipsters, watchers of the show “Girls” and grossly unattractive people (aren’t they all the same thing? I kid. Sort of) enjoy the act of loathing those participating in selfie parties, young pretty folk are having themselves a grand ol’ time showing off their Ray Bans, duckfaces, and newest MAC lipstick shades, and you know what I think? I think ‘Who fucking cares?’ Teenagers, girls specifically, spend enough years fighting a combination of the demons that are their peers, self-esteem, bullies, and hormones and yet are expected to come out not just mentally stable but also ready for womanhood, so why on earth would anyone give a shit if when they realize that they’ve done so, they want to flaunt what their momma gave ‘em via social media? More power to them. I for one was ashamed of my teen and post-teen state and didn’t start to enjoy my physical appearance until well into my twenties. That probably explains now why I’m completely comfortable with not only having my picture taken, but also shared with the world. Bottom line is this – I like how I look, and I matter, because it took years to get this comfortable. Want to know how it’s done? Here are a few tips for the amateurs in the room…


The first thing they show you in modeling is how to stand. Yes. Most everyone can stand; we get that, but can you staaaaand? Standing means that everyone who walks into that room knows that you’re there, even if you’re 5’3”. It means you don’t even have to mingle, because anyone who wants a piece of you will come to you, you scorching, sexy beast. Broccoli in your teeth? Turn chin downward and to the left… GONE! Your angles will show your best side and hide your worst. They can shrink your nose, get rid of that third chin and even lighten those dark circles. Use the reverse option on your camera only if it gives you good lighting, if not, use the old “I’ve got a phone AND a mirror” trick, just be sure that you look confident in the picture you take. If you don’t, it just looks like you’re trying too hard. Play with your angles first and last and do everything else in between.


I don’t show my teeth, and it’s been brought to my attention that I don’t. My teeth are almost as important as my heart, meaning that only those who prove their love to me get to see them. I drink coffee and tea, smoked for years, and never wore braces, so needless to say I’m not particularly proud of my not-so-pearly whites, but I’m kind of fond of my “no teeth” smile, so I use that one fairly frequently. Unless your smile is 100% natural – like that picture where you were caught in the act of laughing your balls off when your bestie blew a booger out of her nose while standing atop a bar stool singing a Beyonce song – don’t show teeth in your selfie. Every other picture, have at it. Drive a toothmobile for all I care, but bag it for the Twitterverse.


Props that work: Small fluffy dogs. Drinks. Pillows (if it’s a sleepy-selfie). New glasses. Bath tubs. Airplanes. Babies (other people’s or your own. Both are acceptable.) Celebrities. Vinyl records. Historical monuments. Sex toys. Crap, that one was private. Hubby and I are still working out the kinks of my being on the road. And I do mean, kinks. Hey now.

Props that make people laugh at you/feel badly for you: Pissed-off or frightened cats. Prettier relatives. Weird hats no one would ever wear. Mario Lopez. Flowers. Religious relics. Wife-beater tank tops unless you’re Marky Mark. Insides of Wal-Marts. Credit card statements (wtf?). Police cars. And the number-one worst prop for selfies in terms of patheticness…. tears.


If your self-taken picture doesn’t reflect a person who looks like they are about to go kick some ass – either the world’s or another human being’s – then I suggest you put the iPhone/iPad/iPatch away and start all over again tomorrow. What you should want as the outcome of your selfie is for all of Sharesville, Earth to think one of three things:
  1.         Oh I LOVE that [bag, scarf, necklace, blouse]!
  2.         Seriously? A bikini picture in March? Whatever. Conceited bitch.
  3.         (Sigh), I wish I had her confidence.

If you get anything close to one of those three responses, you’ve taken a great picture. But most importantly, you should feel like you’re happy with the product you’ve created. You’re the product, homeslice. You created you, at least, mostly. So who’s to say that you shouldn’t show off your creations from time to time, right? I mean, New York is overloaded with galleries and museums filled to the window panes with beautiful things. If people didn’t want to see what you have to show off then they wouldn’t pay the price of admission. So, selfie away…

I, for one, am certainly not going to judge you. 

(P.S. Happy birthday, Angelou Deign!)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

24 Days - Forty Thank-You Notes Delivered to Your Screen

As the clock winds down on ‘This Blog’s Life,’ I’m finding myself with so much I want to say but so little time left to say it. I still have stories to tell. Still have memories to share and anecdotes to compile into a craftily-named entry. But today I think I’m going to stick with some simple thank-yous. To people. To places. I even thank an organ in this thing. Because unlike the Oscars, I can’t be played off, however like the Oscars, I could forget someone very important that I shouldn’t (I’m looking at YOU, Hilary Swank!) So, here goes… 

  1. Thank you to Miss Cheryl who in kindergarten took me outside of the classroom to reprimand me for stealing Joey DiTrolio’s coloring sheet from the science fair because I had lost my own. It scared the shit out of me, and put me on a path of honesty that would stay with me for years to come.
  2. Thank you to my brother Joe for telling the kid up the street that he would break his arms if he ever laid a hand on me again even though I was the one who started the fight.
  3. Thanks to a girl named Jen that went to my high school for telling me that I was too self-centered in conversations. It made me more aware of asking questions of other people.
  4. Thanks to the lady at the day spa for letting me know that I was overplucking my eyebrows in the middle. The bastards still haven’t grown back, though.
  5. Thank you to the Irish bullies in seventh and eighth grade for beating me up and making fun of me on a daily basis. What you did empowered me to never get picked on once I got to high school. And I wasn’t. Oh, and fuck youz.
  6. Thank you to my friend Denine who was the only person to help me out when I got jumped on the Septa bus by a multitude of kids from another school. I’ll never forget your bravery or kindness.
  7. Thank you to my mother for instilling in me that work should never be looked at as a chore.
  8. Thanks to Miss Votta who paid for my prom tickets when my family was about to get evicted from the low-income house that we rented. I’m thrilled I got to pay you back monetarily some years later, but I will never be able to pay you pack emotionally as long as I live.  
  9. Thank you to the person who told me when I was eighteen that I really should be listening to The Cure and not that crap I had been listening to in high school.
  10. Thanks Steve Singer for giving me my first job in the jewelry industry. I love it and have never looked back.
  11. Thank you to my first husband who pretty much handed me the world’s best divorce. I hope we are friends for the rest of our lives.
  12. Thanks to every young cashier at Publix for raising their eyebrows in surprise when they card me after scanning my bottle(s) of wine.
  13. Thank you to those who helped make Georgia ‘home’ for me – a woman who is so Philly she practically poops cheesesteaks.
  14. Thank you Ina, Courtney, Lauren, and Michelle for giving me a place in a place that I felt I’d forever be an outsider. No more eating lunch alone.
  15. Thank you to the stripper who tipped me twenty bucks when she handed me her coat to check which would have only cost her two. It was 2003, and MAN, I needed that twenty.
  16. Thank you to the black boys on Hancock Street who taught me how to pop and do a windmill on a piece of old linoleum, as well as to the black girls who taught me how to cornrow braid. Growing up in the projects wasn’t always as bad as it seemed.
  17. Thank you, Hurricane Frances, for sending my husband and me up to Nashville in September of 2004 instead of our original destination of Orlando. It was there that we discovered a little Philly band called Marah. The rest is history.
  18. Thank you to Tom, the man whose surname I’ll never know, for saving my son’s life on September 16, 2006.
  19. Thank you to my mother-in-law for FOREVER being a person we can depend on.
  20. Thank you, Catholicism, for continuing to guilt me into believing in something my brain thinks I shouldn’t. I don’t mind the guilt. I kind of like believing.
  21. Thank you, Beatrice, for greeting me day in and day out with the biggest kisses and hugs any mother could ever want from a daughter. And for showing me exactly the hell I put my mother through.
  22. Thanks to S.A. for doing what you did at a time that was just right. Things are so much better now and I owe it all to you.
  23. Thanks to my best friend for being my rock and my shoulder and my ear and my confidant and my therapist and my pharmacist and my muse. I love you like a sister.
  24. Thank you, Overbrook, for feeding me, schooling me, and welcoming me in the earliest years of my childhood life.  You will always be home to me. I am proud to say I’m from West Philly.
  25. Thank you G.A.M.P. for teaching me my circle of fifths, the difference between adagio, legato, staccato, and allegro, and for just outright being the fucking BEST high school in the city of Philadelphia. OH GAMP SO EVER DEEEEEEAAAAR…
  26. Thank you to my brother Steven for letting me use his apartment for “After Prom” in 1990. Sorry about all the cigarette butts. And the overwhelming smell of beer that hung around for weeks. The pot wasn’t mine, however. I swear.
  27. Thank you to my four childhood friends for being who you are to me almost three decades later. May the bond between us never be bent or broken by anyone. Love brought us back together and trust will keep us there. SMABB.
  28. Thank you to my brain for making fairly good decisions over the last four decades. My heart? Not so much.
  29. Thanks to the city of Decatur for proving to me that as a society and yes, even in the South, we really can “all just get along.”
  30. Thank you to the teachers who encouraged me, enriched me, and empowered me through thirteen years of school. I may not have made it to college, but you’re the reason I’m anything, and I truly believe that.
  31. Thank you to everyone and anyone who tried to keep me down in one way or another. You’re also the reason I’m anything, and I also truly believe that.
  32. Thank you Philadelphia Phillies, Philadelphia Flyers, and Atlanta Falcons. Screw you, Philadelphia Eagles.
  33. Thank you to my son for always looking out for me, even when I was struggling on the last leg of our run. I love you I love you I love you to pieces.
  34. Thanks to for publishing some of my writings. You helped me believe in myself, and because of that I kept going.
  35. Thank you to the grunge movement, indie rock, and eighties alternative music. Oh, and U2. Just because.
  36. Thank you to my parents for never taking me anywhere on a plane; you’re the reason I barely keep my feet on the ground now.
  37. Thank you to my cousin Big Steve for being there for me at my dance recitals among other times when most others weren’t. You are still an absolute gentleman to this day and I’m so happy to have you back in my life.
  38. Thank you Google for just about everything I will ever need to know about everything. I don’t think I could write without you.
  39. Thank you C.S. for reaching out to me and trying to reconnect after a long time of not being around one another. I hope we keep it going. I love you.
  40. Thank you to my husband. I could go on and on about how wonderful he’s been, how understanding he can be, how beautiful, intelligent, and caring he is, but I’d rather just say that if there is an emotion other than outright love that I feel most for you, I think gratefulness sums it up perfectly. I am plainly and simply grateful for you. I am grateful for you, and I thank you for all that you are. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

35 Days - Loving a Predator: What It’s Like to Have a Child Molester In Your Family

I’m not going to name any names. I won’t even get specific enough in this post that those who know me will know automatically about whom I speak. The reality is, those closest to me already know. This isn’t an attempt to “out” anyone as this person has already been outed several years ago. My intention here is simple: write to heal, write to share, and write so that those affected know that I’m thinking of them and do, every day.

I lived with the knowing that I was molested by a family member for a year before I could conjure up the strength to tell anyone else. It – the event – happened when I was in seventh grade but it wasn’t the first time I had ever been touched inappropriately by a male. I have memories of playing in the house of a neighbor on my block and being pinned down on the tile floor of their kitchen by my friend’s much older brother as he grinded his hardness into my then eleven-year-old pelvic area. A year before that incident, I had been traumatized by my first sighting of a grown man’s erect penis. While walking home from the Catholic school in South Philly I attended in the fifth grade, I heard a faint tapping come from a brick row home on my left. I stopped dead and stared at the roughly twenty-five-year-old man standing behind the clear Plexiglas of his screen door, stark naked, cock in hand, going at it. I recall turning my head away quickly, but not quickly enough to not have the image burned in my brain forever and elicited in daily musings for weeks to come. And I recall to some extent, though I wish couldn’t, the first and only time I had been date-raped, although naturally that happened many years after having been molested. These images creep up on me from time to time, more so now that I’m a mother and even more so since becoming the mother of a little girl of my own. Do they make me fear what’s in store for her? They do. Do I think she’ll be able to physically handle the situation in the way that I did if not better? I do, but the physical aspect of it is the least of my concerns right now. It’s the emotional aspect that fucks everyone up in the end.

When you trust someone as completely as you are humanly able to, your entire world can collapse around you when that trust is betrayed. As an adult, you feel as if you’ve drowned and passed away already and the only way to get yourself back to normalcy is to pull some Jesus shit and try resurrection. You start thinking in terms of potions and magic: “If I just add this lizard eye to this bowl of Balsamic and throw in a piece of the small intestine I cut out of that homeless guy yesterday, things will all be fine!” When it happens, grief abounds, and then anger and of course, the other stages follow. But when you’re a child, the grief reaches an entirely different level. It can mask itself as failure or as fault, and can become dangerous enough to solicit thoughts of suicide even in the youngest of years. This is precisely what I went through – at twelve

It was only a few years ago that I found out that another very close family member had also lived through what I did, only, on a much, much graver level. This relative had survived – physically – numerous molestations but mentally, they had died the first time it happened. It affected them in a way that it didn’t affect me, possibly because I am a stronger person in spirit. That’s what predators do; they tend to go after the weakest victims. It’s not at all different from every “Living Planet” show you’ve ever watched about Africa. You ask yourself, “How in the hell can that tiny lion kill that huge elephant?” but they can, can’t they? Because they know – they sense – which one is the frailest member of the pack, which usually means the oldest, the sickest, or, the youngest. This relative was affected so much by the horrible memories of our youth that they slipped into despair and suffered a breakdown. It was on that day that any love I had ever felt for the person who committed these crimes – and that is what they are; they are crimes of the severest degree no matter at what level the law states – had dissipated. See, I had reached into my heart and forgiven. Or rather, I had allowed myself to make the excuses for the predator which enabled me to live with what had happened so that I could face them while in their company. It enabled me to love the predator as any blood relative should. But once I knew that I wasn’t alone in my horrors – that another human being had relived over and over the nightmares that crippled me for years – my take on the entire matter changed. This was no longer the one-time occurrence that I convinced myself as a child it was. This wasn’t some drunken mistake that anyone (not really) could have made if intoxicated enough. This was out and out child molestation, and now, there were victims, with a capital S. And the victim count would only go higher.

I know the predator as well as anyone could know anyone. I had loved them with a degree higher than most and defended them when, by rights, they never deserved defending. I can see them today, sitting on their couch in their place of residence, thinking not about what they had done that could drive their loved ones away, but more about what they had done that should have kept their loved ones around. They are selfish and cynical, but mostly, hypocritical. I can only imagine what the conversations must have been like in their house when the news of Jerry Sandusky surfaced. I can see their face, watching in horror and disgust and I can almost hear their voice saying something along the lines of “What a piece of shit this guy is. They should fry him. If I was those kids’ father he would have never made it to the courthouse steps. They’d have to put me in jail because I’d have killed him myself.” And the irony is that those statements are pretty spot on. They would have. This person would have killed anyone who ever laid a hand on their kids, and yet, they did what they did to other children; to other people’s kids, to other family members’ kids and even, to their own.

Over the last couple of months, three more of the predator’s victims have surfaced and presented themselves to me either personally, or through a third party. Three more individuals make the victim count five, for now. Three more pieces of my heart broken. Three more adults who will eternally be scared little children in their minds. Well, technically two who will, because the third has already gone to what the remaining four only believe would be a better place. Three more reasons why hatred is okay in my book. And three more nails in the coffin of what was a relationship with a family member that I had known since the day I came into this world.

My tenure is coming to a close here on Eve of Forty. For the last year I have thought about writing a post about being molested as a child and every time I came close I talked myself out of it. Why? Maybe because I thought that people would think I was doing it for the shock factor. Or for hits. And I didn’t want the subject matter to get lost in any of those things because this topic is as serious as it is sad for me. It’s as poignant as it is personal. And don’t think that my airing the experience makes it any less personal, believe me. It comes in a close second as being the darkest day in my existence to the day that I almost lost my son, with the caveat being that his seizures eventually stopped and this situation just continues to get worse. But I felt that I had to share it. I felt that Eve – the woman who was born naked and lived naked and exposed herself in front of her man and her god – would be frowning at me if I had written and shared all that I had over the last year without exposing the part of her that was largely responsible for sculpting the person she is today, both good and bad.

So, this is it. Maybe every post from here on it will be bubble gum. Maybe the next month’s worth of blogs will be filled with stories about shoes and pictures of my derriere. Or maybe I won’t write anything else because after this, what else is left? Right now, Eve is as naked as she can be, though in reality, I think this post probably goes beyond even naked. I have cut myself open with this, and you are all looking directly inside of me. There really is nowhere else to go from here.

Naaaaaahhhh… I’ll be back. I always come back. And I hope you will, as well. 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

40 Days - Against the Grain: A Letter to My Sixty-Year-Old Self

If I see another Facebook post or tweet with a link to some blog written by some chick titled “An Open Letter to My (insert number in the teens here) Self” I’m going to lose my shit. Writers… it’s been done.  It was cute the first one or three times, but enough is enough. Let it go. You want to write a blog about a letter you’ve written to a real person who will never receive it? Try something political. Or pick someone in Hollywood. Me? I’m going to write a letter to my future self, that way, I know that bitch will see it. So, here goes nuthin’…


Dear Sixty-Year-Old Me,

You are one foxy-ass bitty, you know that? Seriously, look at those biceps! At 60! Your shit is fine, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

So, what’s going on? How were the fifties? I know we struggled a bit there with the whole “trying to find ourself” thing and if I know us, we probably FINALLY attempted to go back to college and get our degree, but I can only imagine that once we realized our forty-five-year-old professor was more interested in the twenty-five-year-old grad student in the third row than he was in our “experience” as a woman, we bailed shortly thereafter. And you know what, that’s cool. I’m with us on that. Your young(er) self is not going to be disappointed with our vanity. It’s part of who we are.

How’s our health? Did we take good care of ourself? I know I probably put one too many bottles of wine in us right around our fortieth birthday, and I’m sorry for that, but know that I never put drugs in us and that we never… scratch that… we rarely drank to the point of being out of control. It’s been a tough year, so you’ll have to forgive this period in our life. But hey, it’s all in the past, right?

Let’s talk about our hair. Did we do it? Tell me we did it. Tell me we let our hair go completely gray. WE DID??? We are the WOMAN!!! I was hoping we didn’t falter (time travelling high-five) and crumble under peer pressure. That is so badass. Did we keep it long, too? Shoulder length?? Who are we, Candice Bergen? Okay, fine. I’ll accept shoulder length at sixty. Just don’t go all “Charlize Theron circa 2013” one day, m’kay? You know we were close after the Oscars that year. Those dreadfully boring Oscars.

How were we as a mom? Did we keep it together? This is an important question here, because, well, you know… Beatrice wasn’t exactly the easiest child and I wasn’t exactly the cuddliest of mothers. She’s just about twenty-three now. Is she holding her own? What? A biomedical engineer?? Christ. I always knew she wasn’t my kid. And seven tattoos? Okay, I retract; she’s my kid. What about Roman? An English teacher? And a writer? I knew he would be. He has his father’s editing and grammatical skills and my creative storytelling mind. I knew he’d be a natural when it came to literature.  Is he happy doing what he’s doing? It thrills me to know that.  Hug them today, for me. For us. Beatrice lives in Austin? Okay, well, then, call her, will you? And just tell her we called to say that we loved her. But you’ll hug Roman because he’s coming over for dinner just as he does every Sunday? Of course he does. That’s our boy.

What about the men in our life? Did we manage through all of our idiosyncrasies, faults, mistakes, and what I could only imagine was ‘Georgia’s worst case of menopause on record’ to keep hold of the one we loved and stay the course of marital bliss? Oh. Really? Okay. Well, that’s… well… I guess it is the way it is supposed to be then. Thank you for letting me know, though. Maybe there is something I can do about that now. I’ll check in again when I’m fifty to see if the story remained the same. 

So, I guess we did okay for the most part then, huh? Looks like we beat the odds on the health issue… at least, so far. It appears that back injury still flares up from time to time, but, we figured that would be the case.  And we are still out there working like we’ve done since we were fifteen, so, that’s real damned cool. It’s all good news, Old Lady Me. I’m pretty stoked about us thus far. But before I end this letter, I’d like to say a few final things to you:

·         I’m sorry that we smoked for the years that we did.

·         Prepare to have loads of memories from loads of roads travelled, because we won’t stop until we can no longer walk.

·         Let’s plan on playing more with the kids and not telling them that we’re always working on something and don’t have the time.

·         You’re beautiful. You were at 6. You were at 16. And you are at 60. Maybe not everyone notices. Maybe not everyone tells us. And maybe we don’t always feel like we are, but we are, and so is every other woman out there who has something to give back to this world.

·         Remember who loves you most and best because in the days that are yet to come, that will be more important than anything else in the world.

Rock on my sexy, sixty-sister. I hope we continue to not dress our age and that we’re still listening to whatever is the next generation’s “Indy Rock” movement. In other words, stay young, but not in a “Pony Boy/Outsiders” type of way. More like in a Sofia Loren way. But, with less sun. That shit makes you wrinkled.
Live long and masturbate often.