The Madness of the Masquerade

I can fake my way through the day, the month, the year.  I have been doing it my whole life.  I hide every part of me that is real, revealing flashes only in a dance of veils.  Just a whisper of skin… a hint of calf here, a shoulder there, sometimes unwittingly, sometimes perhaps in a silent plea for help.  So quick that its easily missed and if the observer does chance to catch a glimpse in periphery, they question what they saw… discounting by nature.  Recreating and reformatting the information to make it graspable, to be able to accept it and move on without rocking the landscape of their knowable universe to its foundations.

I am not real.

I write today from a deep and cavernous chasm of sadness.  Days of depression are an unpredictable and sickening carnival ride.  I have never liked carnivals. Or rides. 

Kinetosis is a maddening bitch.

 I don’t seem to be able to identify a pattern or set of circumstances that trigger me…

I wake up and I feel as though the weight of my comforter is too daunting and I must remain in bed.  So I do.

I wake up and I feel ok. A few hours later I begin to feel defeated and contemplate driving my car off the nearest embankment.  (I have thought about this in various scenarios since I was a child and I have theories about it which don’t stem from any suicidal tendencies so please don’t harp on that most tiresome and hackneyed topic simply because it is the assumed conclusion that requires the least amount of effort.  That will annoy me and I may use my unholy powers to reach through the digital matrix and bitch slap you,  more on driving off the road in a later post)

I wake up and I feel strong.  I feel certain that I blink my eyes and the day is gone. I feel a great rending within; a physical agony that precludes function.

I get up only because I know I should.  Because somewhere in this viscous nightmare is a girl who is desperate to get well.

The concept of therapy hovers in my mind as something suspicious and potentially dangerous.  What is the draw? Are we simply seeking validation and a path to justify or explain away our poor choices, or is it something more? Is it truly an opportunity for personal enlightenment and healing?  Do I simply want to pay $135.00 an hour to have someone’s undivided attention?

Thoughts like this, while constantly present, aren’t currently preventing me from seeking treatment for my psychosis though they are fueling my already skeptical neurotic inner sub-letter’s monotonous stream of condescension.

On the topic of endless condescension, I find it baffling when my fellow humans (and even more baffling when I do it) create personas for me based solely on “things as seen from the omnipotent perspective of [insert name of the most exasperating ass-clown in your acquaintance here- I’m using me… ] CB the Destroyer.”   Perhaps not baffling as much as so infuriating that I would gladly trade a limb or possibly even an organ for the ability to set something [someone?] on fire with my mind.  Coming from a person who is, albeit attempting reformation, an admitted and outstanding counterfeit of such enormity that she has frequently been victim to her own magnificence, I certainly cannot do anything but stare in slack-jawed drooly wonder at someone who thinks they have some cockle-brained insight into someone else’s persona beyond the most shallow and superficial. 

SIDE NOTE: If you identified with, or even understood, that last paragraph’s mobius strip of slop trough floating flotsam crazy then you may want to consider some immediate and lasting therapy of your own. It is 2 am, after all, and I refuse to hold myself to an unrealistic height of explosive genius expectation at this hour.

In all reality, I do think it a bit more than egotistical to presume to know another person better than they know themselves.  While we may not want to, or in some cases be able to, admit or understand everything about ourselves on a conscious level, no one knows all our secrets and thus cannot know us better than we do.  Perhaps cannot truly know us at all.

Frankly, I am undecided as to who does more damage to my timid attempts at repair, the sub-letter or the crushing press of my fellow “humans”.

“The Unfairness Doctrine: A Halloween Tale of Horror”

Once upon a time there was an exasperated little girl who wanted nothing more than for the Danvers-bound addlepates around her to recognize that while on the outside she was a grubby, dirt-munching little scrapper who may not have brushed her hair for three solid weeks, inside she was a cotton candy scented pink princess politely knocking on the door with her fairy wand, waiting to be let out. 

I have a sister 14 months my junior who has, from birth, been a vision of such feminine loveliness that the natural result in someone of an alternative persuasion (in literally every department from looks to beliefs) such as myself was, is, and always will be, involuntary retching.  As a child, she photographed like a china doll and behaved like a minion of Loki.  I introduce you to this paragon of Hellenistic beauty because she plays a major part in my story of pre-adolescent injustice.

  Baby china doll and jealous big sis…

While still toddling my sister and I were dressed identically on a regular basis.  Especially on holidays and Halloween was no exception.  One year, there were two lovely satin clad butterfly fairies and the next year BLAMO! Prima Ballerina and Drum Majorette.  Prima Ballerina had a pale pink tutu with a starchy silk bodice that made whispery crackling sounds when you ran your hand over it and a stiff “powder-puff” style skirt of net and tulle.  (check out this cool page for more info on Tutu design and history ) Drum Majorette wore a disco gold leotard with red braided epilates and white satin detail.  The costume was completed by high white boot covers and a baton.  (please don’t infer that the costume was anything other than darling, mother had eccentric tastes and what she chose was always unique and mostly spectacular)


Now you may be thinking, “what’s wrong with a Drum Majorette, that costume is adorable!” [retch, retch, retch]but let me assure you that to a repressed princess in a tomboy’s body it was a message that Prima Ballerina was in the feminine club and Drum Majorette was firmly in the tomboy camp – NO COLORING OUTSIDE THE LINES!

Then elementary school began and DP’s “oh, what fresh hell is this?” became the battle cry of a struggling, awkward little alien who never could seem to do anything right.  School was a mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausting enterprise for me, but more on that in another post.  What really became the dollop of horseradish on my sundae of manure was the Halloween “costume parade” which consisted of a seemingly never ending line of elementary classes marching in a circle around the school parking lot (seriously, I cannot figure it out either) over and over and over and over to ensure that the parents who bothered to show up got as many wretched photo-ops as possible since in those dark ages of technology getting a picture of a moving child without a missing limb, smile, or head was a feat worthy of braggadocio.   

The Year of the Great Tragedy, my sister and I were in the same school and so our classes would perform the humiliating Halloween asphalt death march together, at least I wouldn’t be alone.  I was filled with elation and anxiety as our mother announced that she had our costumes ready, this would be my vindication! After a half a year of desperation and loneliness fueled by the rejection of my peers, my day had finally come! My mother’s creativity and eye for detail would guarantee me a costume of such uniqueness and charm that no one would be able to resist a place at my side! I would be “Queen for the Day”.  My sister and I jumped and danced around the room with glee, though I have no idea if she was suffering from similar woes, was caught up in my excitement, or simply loved seeing stuff come out of brown paper bags.  Mom pulled from behind her back a pointy crown as tall as Abe Lincoln’s top hat and covered in tin-foil, a matching wand with a star at the end followed.  These items were homemade by mom, btw and very cool.  “You’re going to be Glinda, the good witch of the North!” she crooned excitedly at my sister, who squealed with delight as Mom pulled a perfect pink tulle skirted (sensing a theme here, people?) gown out of her brown bag.  I was jazzed; Mom really seemed to be on the right track this year! What could be lurking in the bottom of that brown bag? A Dorothy costume perhaps, complete with red sparkle shoes the likes of which no one at Adams Center Elementary School had ever seen?  As Mom reached into the bag and began to draw out the first piece my anxiety and expectation soared to echelons nearing apoplexy –  in the background my sister was already stuck head through arm-hole in her stunning new gown – and finally there it was… my perplexity momentarily stilled the anxiety that was running rampant, what was going on here? That outfit is … green?

I waited for her to pull something else, anything else, out of the pathetically wilted paper bag … nothing came.  “Look here!” she said to me, with obvious delight, as she laid out the outfit for my perusal, “Isn’t it the most beautiful costume you ever saw?” I, slowly and with great trepidation, walked over and peeked at the truly gorgeous, made with obvious skill and care, Peter Pan costume. 

PETER FREEKIN PAN? Darling baby sis is our hero, the angelic and wondrous Glinda, and I am the naughty little boy who never grows up.

Well, as you can imagine the parade was a nightmarish whirl of fairies, princesses, ballerinas, and me.  I was mulish and sour and my candy turned to ash in my mouth. 

After this I cannot remember another Halloween costume I wore (I literally cannot, I believe strongly that I must have blocked them out, I even searched for photos to try to find some more or jog my memory to no avail) until 7th grade.  That was a disaster of such epic proportions that it deserves its own story so we will put that one on the shelf for now and just say that high school and early adult Halloween celebrations meant a time of rebellion for me, I was a slutty “insert your favorite cliché here” everything you can imagine, as well as Madonna, Cleopatra (that one was amazing thanks to a loner from my, to this day, Halloween loving mother), a Charlie’s Angel, and even one year Elphaba in a silent middle finger of justice to the Year of the Great Tragedy.  (Thank you, thank you, Gregory Maguire; you will never know the depths of my gratitude)

A few of my Halloween Follies… in order of appearance: Charlie’s Angel, makeshift Madonna, Cleopatra, Elphaba…



Finally, in my “adult” life (I use this term loosely because I am nothing close to an adult) I have settled down to costumes for fun rather than for vindication.  I am Princess Leia quite often (and if you don’t get this reference STOP READING MY BLOG IMMEDIATELY and go fix your damage) though this year, since my wig had a catastrophic mishap, I am going as Angelica Teach and not because of the sexy pirate wench costume, but because I get to have a big sword.

Also, in the interest of being honest, last year I made my baby daughter dress as Yoda while my older daughter dressed as the Monster High fashion savvy werewolf girl, this year my husband and I chose a velvety green dinosaur costume for my youngest, while my older daughter is going as the (ugh, again?) Monster High version of Cleopatra.  Don’t think that the tragic hilarity of this is lost on me…

baby dinosaur 2012…


Boobs. Can’t live with ’em.

The year I got my first period I re-read “Are you there God, it’s me Margaret” 4 times. My fondest desire was to get “it” and get boobs. Big ones. Lofty aspirations, I know. Is it any wonder I’ve ended up where I have? Both of these adolescent yearnings backfired so spectacularly that “be careful what you wish for” became, to me, the understatement to end all understatements. (It also planted the preposterous notion that I had a minute amount of “conjuring power” which led to some hilarious moments in my bathroom)
Beginning in 7th grade I “developed” as my Mom put it back then. Developed? Seriously? Yuck!!
Back then I hated the way she phrased everything. It was gross and embarrassing enough that she felt the need to refer to it in the first place but to further cement my unprepared, self-conscious humiliation by saying things such as “my daughter has developed” (I must insert here that these phrases were most often uttered in a Morticia Adams-esque dramatic stage whisper…. shudder, shudder) in what I can only assume was either a misguided effort to appear the mature contemporary mother or, the more likely, a strategic dangling of gossip-bait in an attempt to curry interest and/or attention out of anyone from her co-workers to the lady in the bank drive-through. It was always a point of humiliating contention with my sister and I that our Mother rampantly and with great relish, discussed anything and everything that happened to us with anyone and everyone as though it were a personal triumph/tragedy/anecdote that simply could not be contained. She was Pandora on self-administered sodium thiopental.
(members of my family might enjoy revising these details to suggest that I sprouted Jessica Simpson-like double D’s in 6th grade, to create a more riveting tale… but let’s remember who lived this story)
Back to the boob issue…
I -STAGE WHISPER- developed and developed and developed. I was (I believe in being pragmatic so no pretense of humble bullshit here) a cute girl with a rockin figure from the get-go. Funny how you never appreciate how great your body once was until its 6 sizes bigger, mushy, lumpy, droopy, and stuffed sausage-like into some contemporary version of Victorian textile torture.
I was thin but muscular and sported the coveted hourglass with near perfect proportions including a fairly large set of eye-catching boobs.
The boobs were a pernicious influence on the creation of my self identity and only recently have I begun to understand the disservice this did me. Coupled with my mother’s life-long obsession with the boobs she never “developed” herself, the chest, and the attention it drew, was a recipe for psychological disaster.
Considering the already tenuous hold my lump of grey mush had on shit, I suppose this dollop of emotional whip cream could have done worse damage than leaving me an identity quagmire scented suspiciously like BDD.
“The boobs” have gotten me boyfriends, girlfriends, insincerity, dumped, loved, hated, hired, fired, propositioned-good and bad, and soul vandalized by creepers who wouldn’t dream of spewing such vile insulting hate-trash to anyone else (I’m certain my sisters in DD plus boob jail will attest that the audacity of working, shopping, eating, walking in public etc. with large breasts is akin to wearing lingerie and loitering on street corners in the minds of many misogynistic hate mongerers).
Learning early on that you are a stupid whore simply because of the way your body happened to -ugh-“develop” is more of a roadblock to future success than you might think.
I know you’re thinking, “gee, that big-boobed dummy should have just been smart enough to realize that she could use her body to her advantage!” And YES! I could have used “the boobs” to get ahead in a multitude of ways – from harmless flirting (OK, of course I actually did this, what girl with a brick house brought up in America wouldn’t? ) to sleeping my way to, well, …somewhere ( this I actually did not do, though as with many accusations in my life I feel like if I were going to be accused I should at least have gotten to enjoy the rewards, sheesh).
Or I could’ve realize the dream of every big breasted dummy in America and become a stripper.
Unfortunately it took me a ridiculous amount of time to realize that I could have gotten further another way. Silly little me went about my life trying to be kind and funny and likable – which, lets be clear, got me absolutely NOWHERE- before trying smart and bitchy and cut-throat, which ALMOST got me somewhere, but my confused inner big-boobed psuedo-whore panicked and unleashed a firestorm of self-doubt and loathing that neatly derailed that train.
I can hear the Misogynarmy now “Phew! That was close! One of them almost got away! See prodigies, trainees, and our offspring who don’t know any better than to follow in the footsteps of social retardation outlined by your parents…. this is why we start beatin’ those whores down young!”
Suffice it to say that, along with a Molotov cocktail of other emotional and psychological problems, this factored into my epic failure at life in general.
On to less sad sad crap.
After the birth and breast feeding joy joy ride of my first child, I was perturbed to discover that my already ample breasts had actually gone up a size for good. This was, at the time, ok … I was ambivalent about it in the exact opposite way that I was ambivalent about my ever expanding ass.
8 years, 40 lbs, and an after 30 2nd child later I was no longer ambivalent in ANY way.
Gone forever were the lovely perky tatas of my misbegotten youth!
My breasts had expanded to a size so embarrassing and unimaginable that even my dearest friend Victoria couldn’t clothe them anymore. I was depressed, trapped even… held captive by the contents of my closet. Nothing fit these monstrosities and if anything did it was because I bought it 4 sizes too big to account for the problem and it subsequently hung off everywhere else like a tarp.
I decided that the semi-deflated carnival balloons I was folding into my darling new beige lunch lady bras everyday were not only a threat to the environment but to my mental and emotional well-being.
They had to go. Within 30 days, I found a plastic surgeon, got insurance approval and had surgery scheduled for the following month. Then I had my pre-op appointment at which the kind surgeon explained that since my freak-ass anomaly tits were still producing breast milk (though I had not breastfed at that point for approximately 14 months) I couldn’t have the surgery. I went to my family doctor, discussed my problem and decided to wait it out. Surgery was postponed for another month.
At the beginning of the year, I had made some changes based upon my family doctor’s suggestion that I lose 20 lbs before surgery.
My body was out of control, among other things that we will discuss later. I needed to do something, so I found a determined and dedicated personal trainer on Craigslist who would come work out with me at home so I didn’t have to battle my growing agoraphobic tendencies, and I began to work out.
I worked out 4-6 days a week, and within 4 months had lost 20 lbs.
I am very proud of this.
Unfortunately during this period I also realized that the breast milk was never going away (YES it is still with me today). I cancelled my surgery and accepted the loss of critical mass that my work-outs had produced. At least they were no longer in danger of a supernova.
Currently in my mid-thirties, I have no doubt that “the boobs” and I are not finished with our adventures, but I have experienced such a kaleidoscope of
Yankovic-like weirdness due, in part, to their existence that I feel, at least today, that we have come full circle. No pun intended.


For reasons that will be revealed in time, last night I found myself sitting on my best friend’s couch in 4 day old pajamas, eating Hagen Daas belly flab on a stick, and waiting to watch embarrassing prime-time TV drama.
Please note that I am not an unencumbered twenty-something, lobotomized SAHM, or professional underachiever.
In my previous life, I inhabited the body of a smart, sexy, ass-kicking working Mom… doing it all and loving it!
(I’m not sure who she is or where she defected to, but if found please return to:
We Make ‘Em Crazy in Montana
81 CUT Avenue
Kaczboynic, MT )
Back to last night…
I leaned over BBF to plug in my “totally unnecessary now and above my means but I’m stuck in a cell-hell deal with the Devil so just drop it” iPhone, when she said with sad and disgusted concern “you stink”.
Followed up by “I know I told you before you went to therapy earlier that there were some issues with your breath, but MY GOD everything on you is funk, tomorrow I’m going to Lysol my couch and I’d like to suggest that by Saturday you make a plan to clean that up a bit.”
“That” being accompanied by a part sarcastic, part condescending smirk and a head-to-toe finger wag in the general direction of the unwashed pile of human barely detectable under the heap of dirty laundry that she was accusing of being me.
Now, I must pause the narrative here to present a little history on THE COUCH and its owner, my beloved BBF – we’ll call her Brittany because I hate that name. “Brittany” is notorious amongst our group as what you might charitably term “laid-back” in the housekeeping department. I have also heard it referred to as “confused”, “laissez-faire”, “minimalistic”, and a host of other not so delicate terms.
I will just say that her talents lie in other areas.
THE COUCH, is notorious amongst our group for reasons best not to delve into until I read the fine print in the “fascinating terms of service”, but suffice it to say that at any given time we expect the CDC to show up and issue a quarantine and perhaps some health violation citations. This couch is beyond the considerable abilities of Lysol and I remain affronted by the suggestion that my skanky-ass couch camping venture could do it further damage. Harrumph !
This specialized type of brutal “tough love” that my girlfriends and I have perfected might produce in others the following side effects:
Shock, anger, hurt, outrage, alcohol withdrawal, a desire for revenge, the urge to curl up and watch Twilight while pretending you can fly and set people on fire with your mind, or EGAD NO! The most despised of all reactions… Tears!
Not me. I muster up as much of a smile as my past 33 days of unemployed pants-less depression will allow and say “when the opportunity to get laid presents itself, I’ll be happy to shower”.
Then I watch TV until 2am.
SNEAK PEEK into upcoming posts…
Discover fascinating facts about my husband, kids, love affair with alcohol despite my husband’s alcoholism, love affair with shockingly inappropriate person (don’t be put-off its not as bad as you think), experiments in pathological lying, my BBF (best bitch forever), insincere suicidal contemplations, how I might be Clare Prophet of the Hot Mess Club, and a startlingly worse array of shit that will confound and amaze.
I hope that after following my ramblings for a minimal amount of time the spastic conundrum that is me will mesmerize/bamboozle/hornswoggle (or obsess you in that way that suggests a predilection to Schadenfreude) you into the realization that A.) unmedicated unpredictability is a real and hilarious thing when done in a completely different way than I will illustrate, and B.) delving too deeply into this downward spiral of shame and self-destruction might just be a fun way to spend the next few months.
Please return so I can convince you.

Hot Mess