Friday, June 22, 2012

Tough love, the cure for what ails the dependent youth.

Yesterday I went to see my little brother’s new apartment. Well, “little” is really pushing the laws of adjectives since he’s actually 29 but he hasn’t seemed to take life as seriously as the rest of us old fogies. Curiously, I know of 2 other people around his same age that seem to subscribe to a more extremely dependent way of life which is to expect the rest of the hard working world to provide them with the help and comfort they “deserve”. So what if they are just reaping the benefits of other people’s struggles? That is not their problem!

The little brother was always grateful for the help but he was also used to not having to be accountable to anybody but himself. I guess it was hard to live by the iron hand of his big sister who rented him the floor above while he and his baby momma got on their feet. The drama and stress this caused, he is also of strong character which means he is as volatile as I am, was sometimes a little more than I could handle. Things came to a head earlier this year with some pretty fucked up, depressing and scary shit happening so it became apparent why there had to be a parting of ways and he would have to leave sooner than he had planned.

Inwardly, I was racked with guilt because I was worried about the many addictions and mental health issues we inherited from the paternal side of my family. Would I get a call in the middle of the night telling me I had to bail him out or worse, come visit him in a hospital? Where would he wind up living? A hovel in the middle of gangland?

Outwardly, I put on a warrior mask and I held strong to the voices around me who, unintentionally I hope, were implying I may have delivered him to the wolves. I held strong by no longer volunteering to give a helping hand even with something as simple as moving his things. I felt I had done enough, you see.   

Considering the fact that he was the child I helped raise and would lug around like my baby monkey, it was probably one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. Andy was witness to all my breakdowns. This wasn’t the only family issue I was dealing with since it seems the whole fucking world thinks I owe them my life. They don’t realize how draining it is to always try to be the strong one. It turns out, my body was sending out one warning sign after another and I had to finally listen and begin to put myself before others. 

When we were driving to his apartment, I noticed how the neighborhood I once lived around had gentrified. It no longer seemed like you had to worry too much about being jumped under the elevated train tracks. I looked appreciatively at the old school construction of the buildings I had never seemed to notice before because my eyes were always glued to the path in front of me with frequent looks behind me to make sure there were no attackers tracking my progress. 

The houses surrounding his building had a charming array of flowers and people hanging out on their stoops watching the world go by. I was comforted when I saw his apartment. A clean, small studio with only the bare necessities but perfect for a single man, making his way in life on his own. Currently he is working full time, studying part time and supporting himself 100% of the time. I couldn’t be prouder if he had told me he had won the Nobel peace prize. Okay maybe, that’s a bit exaggerated but I still feel like my heart is filled with all sorts of warm and fuzzies. 

He has always been very stubborn, fearless and wanting to do things his way, I can relate, and I am happy that he is back on track to where he wants his life to head. I know he will need us every once in a while but it’ll be easier for me to resume the “big sister” role because I see how hard he is trying.

It’s not easy to grow up, nobody said it was, but you do not get any points in life if you don’t even try.     

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

My review on Snow White and the Huntsman, or, as I like to call it, The Evil Queen, the Huntsman and a Weird Dude with a Moe Haircut.

As you know, (I really don’t know who I’m referring to when I say “you” but that is how I’m starting this sentence), I am no Roger Ebert (well, except in the being short and having a big personality comparison) but I do love to watch movies and I do like to talk a lot of smack about them if they disappoint me in any way.

I was really looking forward to this movie and Andy did warn me that the previews showed very little of the “Snow White” character which could not be a good sign. But! It was Sunday morning and I was feeling adventurous so we went to the discounted movie matinee.

It started good. The little Snow White at the beginning of the movie did an excellent job. The Evil Queen, who I cheered for throughout the movie, was everything I hoped she would be. The Huntsman was H-O-T with a capital YAWOZA! And even the dude with the Moe hair did great.

Now we come to Kristen Stewart. Did you notice how I didn’t say “Snow White”? That’s because she wasn’t Snow White, she was Kristen Stewart. I get why they cast her. She’s beautiful and fits the description of “skin as white as snow” but they should have stipulated that she would need to take acting lessons if she wanted the role. There’s no shame in that. If I felt my awesomeness was fading, I’d definitely try to do something about it. Eat a couple of hummingbirds or absorb a unicorn, whatever it took.

Her “acting” was as apathetic as I thought it would be. She went from being in a dark forest full of icky things (hallucinations or not, still icky) to a forest full of wonders with the same expression on her face. Vacant. When she received her “true loves kiss”, I was hoping she would give him a loving glance but instead I wondered if she had to make a run for the potty and she was trying to figure out the quickest way to it.

I noticed she didn’t have too many lines so that was a blessing, I guess. My advice to the filmmakers is that they should have filmed the scenes with the young Snow White and then waited for her to grow up to film the rest of the movie.

Also, there were a couple of scenes where the dwarves get close ups while they sing some melancholy song and I have to wonder if this was a good idea. I mean, I sat there staring at a giant shot of a man with screen makeup that made his teeth all brown and gross while he sang a sad song and all I wanted to do was giggle.

If you want to see this movie, go to the early showing and pay the discounted rate or wait for it to come out on DVD or watch the trailer and pretend you watched the whole thing because we all know how the story ends.

And they lived expressionlessly ever after.

Monday, January 16, 2012


So, today was a peculiar day. I woke up in a crappy mood, as per usual, got in the shower and then got ready for work. I had picked out an outfit which I discarded as soon as I looked in the mirror. I went to plan B, then plan C, then plan D then, then I just sat down on the bed and debated if I should call in sick. But I couldn’t call in sick because my brother-in-law would be in my house and my misery has never liked company.

It was still early enough for me to get my shit together and get to work on time but then I thought about all the stress that waited for me there and the tiny bit of resolve I had left, evaporated. So I continued to sit and stare at my feet.

Okay, I told myself, pull yourself together, march into your closet and find something to wear and stop being such a ninny! I marched into my closet, called Glynda to tell her I had just woken up so I was going to be late (I don’t think she would have approved of the real reason), picked out a pair of pants, ironed them, grabbed a top and a cardigan, put them on and instead of looking in the mirror again, I went back to sit on my bed. I looked around at the chaos I had created, boots here, tanks there, sweaters on my jewelry armoire, boxes of shoes blocking the entrance to my closet… ::sigh::  

I hate this feeling of vulnerability. No matter how intelligent you are, how tough you are, certain triggers can leave you feeling like a puddle of melted playdoh sliding into a sewer. Those triggers can send all the progress you have made to get yourself out of the deep end back in there with the force and acceleration of a bowling ball being thrown out of a tall building. Oh, you were happy a few days ago? Well that feeling is long gone. Now all you have is a messy room and the urge to crawl under the blankets and not come out until your world stops shaking.

But! I had stuff to do. I had a stack of charts waiting for me on my desk. I had a few people that needed me to translate for them, including the uncle of an 8 month old baby whose mom severely abused him resulting in fractures of his little legs and arms. Those are serious problems. Mine are just in my head. I jumped off my bed, grabbed my red boots, because red boots are the things to wear when your life needs a little boost, sprayed myself with a beautifully scented perfume I found at a great price at Marshall’s and focused my energy on coffee and breakfast. Hey, I might as well take an hour vacation instead of being docked 30 minutes of pay for being late. I made myself coffee and toasted a bagel.

Once I gathered my things, I went out to the car and sat in it while I had my coffee and bagel. I thought about all the things I’d like to change in my life. Some are out of my control, some are too hard to want to deal with when your strength has ebbed to record lows, some are relatively easy to change and I hope to get to them someday… I finished my breakfast and headed to work.

I walked into the office and was greeted with “nice boots” and “I love that top!” and I smiled and joked about the fact that I have great tastes in clothes. Funny. What would they say if I told them how much I agonized this morning and how a simple outfit sent me over the edge? I moved the 4 additional charts somebody put on my chair because “there are urgent issues I need to address” and asked my coworkers how their weekends had gone.

For now, this mask I wear will have to do.