I know a lot of you might be surprised that I have a mother. Many people believe I sprung out of the ground, due to a dangerous mixture of Bruce Lee’s tears and Chuck Norris’ blood following their epic battle in Way of the Dragon.
Believe it or not, the incredibly realistic above picture was not how I came into existence. Instead, it was all because of this lady.
And today, on this special day, I want to tell you a little about my mom, as well as thank her for more than a few motherly tasks. Like giving birth to me when I was a baby and not killing me when I was a teenager.
My mom is a lot like my dog. She’s little, easy to pick up and utterly fascinated by squirrels. When there is a particularly large squirrel outside, she and not my dog, is responsible for altering us to its presence. Usually with a very loud “look at the size of that squirrel!!!’ shrieked out at 900 decibels whenever I am suffering from an early morning hangover.
My mom is a practical joker. One time, when I was very little, she hid under the covers of my bed and grabbed my leg just as I was going to sleep for the night. She once replaced my cousins Vodka with vinegar. She even once faked an asthma attack to make her boyfriend feel guilty for trying to play his own prank.
Ok, so that last one was my idea.
She is an unconventional mother. She is the first one to like posts I write about marijuana use and promiscuous sex. She does not hassle me to to ‘settle down and meet someone nice’ because she knows there is more to life than that. Some parents say they would be proud of their kids even if they worked as street cleaners. When my mom says that, I know its true. When I got fired from my job in insurance, she celebrated right along with me. When I wrote my first book, her response (after being the first one to buy it) was, ‘I think you found what you were always meant to do.’ That sentence meant more to me than any other good review I got.
She’s also very helpful. Her daily efforts are the reason my son and I are not living in a large garbage heap instead of an apartment. One time in high school, when I vomited all over myself after too many Boons Farms, she’s the one that cleaned be up and helped me to bed.
She’s slightly psychic as well. One of her ‘be careful today’ statements is enough to keep me from leaving the house. The last time my brother heard that one, he got hit by a car. The last time I heard it, I got alcohol poisoning.
Anyway, when I came to the mother lottery, I got lucky. I got a mother who would drop anything for her kids, is endlessly supportive, and came without the nagging gene that some mothers seem to have.
I think TuPac said it best;
Even as a crack fiend, mama*
You always was a black queen, mama*
There’s no way I can pay you back
By the plan is to show you that I understand
You are appreciated
Happy Mother’s Day mom.
*Please note that my mother is neither a crack fiend nor black.
Today, I got a message. It was from one of my regular followers and one of my favorite bloggers. He asked me a question, and I’ll admit, it was a completely fair question at the time. He wanted to know why I don’t comment regularly. He wanted to know why I don’t follow other people’s pages. When I read other pages, he wanted to know why I don’t comment.
My short answer was easy. Technical issues. If you work from a proxy like me, then you know what a bitch commenting and liking can be. WordPress needs me to sign in? Ok. WordPress needs me to verify my security questions? What fucking questions? What’s my mother’s middle name? How the fuck should I know? I was drunk when I set this account up. Eh, fuck it. I give up.
Then I got to thinking about it and I got paranoid…and a little annoyed. I came to WordPress to write, not to read. While I admit, I do enjoy the other bloggers anecdotes out there, I rarely comment. I don’t feel like I should be required to. I’d rather just read the stories and laugh quietly to myself. Is it completely necessary that I come up with a comment about their stories? Does my page view only matter when I interact?”
Then paranoia kicked in. Is my page just being followed by a bunch of people who don’t give a shit about what I write? Is anyone even reading this? Or am I just getting comments and likes from people who expect quid pro quo?
Quid pro quo. This for that. I.e. “I’ll read your blog if you read mine”. I.e. “I’ll buy your book if you buy mine”. Really? Is this what my page is? Because, I’ll be honest with you. I worked really hard on this page. All my blogs come out of a genuine place. They come from genuine stories that I lived though. I was hoping to entertain. .
But apparently, I was just playing part in a pyramid scheme.
Guys, I have to tell you, if you are just coming to my page and interacting to get me to come to yours, it’s not going to happen. I’m not going to leave comments on your blogs and half the time, I don’t read your blogs.
Why? Because I’m fucking writing. Let me make this clear. I’m not here to review swap. If you’re a self published author looking for reviews, you’re not getting them from me. If we work in the same genre, then chances are, any review I write is getting deleted anyway. Amazon is cracking down on that shit. If you want to buy and review my books, good for you. If you expect a review in return, you’re fishing in the wrong hole.
I don’t work that way.
My favorite writer in the whole wide world is a man by the name of Maddox the Pirate. You do not understand how much this dude rocks out loud until you read his stuff.
Now guess how many times I interacted on his page. If your response is 0, then you’re in the ballpark.
I don’t go to Maddox’s page to get something from him. I go to his page to be entertained. I don’t go with the expectation that he is going to read my blog and follow me back. I go there because he genuinely makes me laugh my ass off. It doesn’t matter to me if Maddox know I exist. I’m not expecting a kickback or a follow. When I go to his page, I expect one thing.
To laugh. He never disappoints.
I want my page to be like Maddox’s page. I want you to come here to laugh. I want you here to be amused. I want you to say “she says what I was thinking in my head and couldn’t say out loud.”
I do not want you coming here expecting Quid Pro Quo. If you’re just expecting Quid Pro Quo, you’re in the wrong place. That’s not how I roll. Maybe I’ll read your blog post. Maybe I won’t. Regardless, you’ll never be able to tell whether I did at all.
So if you’re expecting some kind of pyramid scheme, where I read your posts and you read mine, then you’re in the wrong place. I was hoping for fans. I was hoping for people who actually enjoyed the way I write.
Maybe I would have been better off peddling Acia Berries.
If you’re a lurker and you’re just here to read, then you’re awesome. I love my lurkers. If you’re a regular commenter who comments because they have something to say, then continue on. If you’re just some random person, claiming to like me, but only trying to see what you can get from me, then go fuck yourself.
You aren’t getting shit. I’m better than that. My writing stands on its own merits. Take your likes and shove them.
I’m here to write. Not to play Quid Pro Quo.
Rich, white people have it so hard.
That’s what I say every time I see my copy of ‘The Great Gatsby’. Actually, that’s what I say every time I see a novel where the main protagonist is a rich white guy. A tortured rich white guy, no less.
I’ve heard this glorified paperweight occasionally referred to as “a great American novel’. I actually think it was just a great excuse for F. Scott Fitzgerald to go to parties at rich people’s houses and pretend to do research.
Let me give you a run down if you’ve never managed to make it through all 218 pages.
A nondescript everyman, Nick, moves to Long Island. He meets Jay Gatsby, who is the 1920’s equivalent of a crackhead who won the lottery. He later learns that Gatsby is in love with Daisy, a bored, and slightly slutty rich housewife. Daisy is married to the pompous douche bag, Tom Buchannan. Tom’s hobbies involve hating on Gatsby, ignoring his wife, and beating up hookers.
Later, we are shocked by an amazing twist. The previously penniless Gatsby, who became rich overnight, is involved in organized crime! Seriously, you could have knocked me over with a feather. Despite how interesting this might have been, it’s never really delved into at all.
Instead, Gatsby and Daisy accidentally run over Tom Buchannan’s hooker. Daisy was driving, but she leaves Gatsby holding the bag. Gatsby gets shot by the hooker’s husband and dies. Then, everyone goes to the funeral.
Also, there was a professional golfer, who might have been a professional golfing cheater, named Jordan. She was a throwaway character who did nothing to enhance the story. My guess would be F. Scott Fitzgerald was trying to impress a chick by putting her into his novel.
That’s it, in a nutshell. Am I saying the book is terrible? No. Am I saying it’s anything special? Again, no. Much like ‘Catcher in the Rye’, I’ve never gotten peoples obsession with this book.
And now their making another fucking movie about it. So now, I’m going to be forced to listen to people, who have never even cracked the spine on the novel, talk about the symbolism. They’ll talk about how it represented the US during the prohibition. They’ll take about how it displayed the dangers of excess and I’ll roll my eyes.
You want to read a good story about rich people being crazy, get yourself a copy of “Valley of the Dolls”. If you want to read a 1920’s version of “I Know What You Did Last Summer” with characters you don’t give a shit about, then pick up a copy of The Great Gatsby.
Me, I’m going to wait until the movie comes out on video and then fast forward through the entire thing, hoping to at least get some full frontal nudity from Leonardo DiCaprio.
My phone bleats out a few bars from ‘Sexual Healing’, and I check the display.
It’s a local call from the 407 area code so I answer it even though I don’t recognize the number. I take a chance on answering it, just in case it’s an emergency, like my dealer calling me to let me know he got his hands on some red, white and blue…the most patriotic of all marijuana strains.
“Hey Essa, it’s Nelson?”
“Who?” I’m lost. The only Nelson I can think of is the one on The Simpsons. I doubt it’s him calling me, on account of him being a cartoon and all.
“Nelson Lastnameredacted? Kristen’s friend?”
Still lost, even though I do know a Kristen. “I think you have the wrong number.”
“But this is Essa, right?”
“Fine, you have the wrong Essa.” I am quickly tiring of this conversation and am preparing to hang up the phone.
The mysterious Nelson is starting to sound a little annoyed. “I’m pretty sure I have the right one. How many Essa’s are there?”
It’s a decent question so I give it some thought. “Um, there’s me and there’s an Essa University in England. Maybe you’re thinking of that one.” My finger hovers over the disconnect button.
“I doubt that’s the case, considering I never dated an Essa University.”
Damn this fucker is persistent. I start to think back, my mind going through many blurry faces. “Sorry Nelson, you’re not ringing a bell.”
A frustrated sigh, followed by an uncomfortable throat clearing. “You sure? We did sleep together.”
I roll my eyes. “Yeah, that’ll narrow it down.” I run though many still blurry faces in my head, when suddenly a thought occurs to me. “Wait, you’re not calling to tell me you have Chlamydia or something, right?”
Nelson sputters, “What? No, I was calling you to ask if you want to go out on my boat this weekend.”
I screwed a dude with a boat? Nice. I give myself a mental high-five. “Depends, describe yourself.”
“You really don’t remember me?”
“What can I say, I’m incredibly promiscuous. Don’t act like you didn’t know, that’s probably half the reason you’re calling me.”
He says nothing, so I know I’m right.
“Still waiting on that description.”
“Um, yeah.” He clears his throat again and I realize I’m making him uncomfortable. I can’t say I care. I mean, apparently I slept with this dude and he never called me. Now he wants to pop back out of the woodwork and he has the balls to be annoyed with me for not remembering him? “I’m 5’9”, brown hair, brown eyes. Thin.”
“You’ve just described ever dude I’ve ever dated.” I decide to go Law and Order style. “Any distinguishing characteristics.”
“Moles, tattoos, birthmarks. Anything that I could use to pick you out in a line up?”
“Oh,” he pauses, “I have a tattoo. It’s an American flag.”
“On my lower back.”
“Fuck,” I blurt out, “tell me I didn’t know about that when I slept with you!” I mentally take back the high five I just gave to myself. ‘Dude with tramp stamp’ immediately cancels out ‘dude with boat’. Any girl knows that.
“No, but you did make fun of it for most of the next day.” He’s sounding annoyed again and I decide to shut it down.
“As well I should have.” I sigh, “Listen, chances are, if I’m having this much of a hard time remembering you, we didn’t click or you were terrible in bed. Either way, it’s been at least 6 months since I last had sex. That tells me that you waited a minimum of 6 months to call me. My guess would be much, much longer, because if I screwed a dude with a tattoo on his lower back six months ago, I would still be making fun of him today.”
“Wow,” Nelson sounds less annoyed and instead a little chagrined by my outburst. “Listen, I meant to call. I’ve been busy…”
The fact that he’s giving me some half-assed apology like I’m a pathetic clingy ex sets me off. “Yeah, I know what its like to be busy. I plan to be very busy for the foreseeable future, including this weekend.”
“Busy doing what?” He is annoyed again. Jesus, this guy is moody.
“Sinking a boat down at the marina.”
I hang up the phone, shaking my head and wondering what’s wrong with some guys. My phone rings again and I let it go to voicemail.
I’ve noticed something in my 33 years on this planet. It’s probably going to seem like a bit of a stereotype, but I can’t help it if sometimes stereotypes hold true.
The more weight I gain, the darker the average skin color of the man who hits on me gets. After getting a wink from a midnight black Haitian man at the mailbox, it occurred to me that it was time to start hitting the gym again.
Luckily, my apartment complex comes with one. I pack my water bottle, iPod and gym key for the trip. It’s only as short walk from my apartment.
The gym is oddly packed this morning. It’s filled with slightly zaftig blond women and I wonder exactly how many women that Haitian man hit on the day before.
Wow, exercise equipment sure has changed since the last time I went to the gym…in the late 90’s. I look around desperately for a Stairmaster. It is the only piece of equipment that I am 100% certain how to use. Unfortunately, there isn’t one. I heave out a sigh and head over to the elliptical trainer instead. There are three and two are in use. It looks simple enough and the ladies on them already don’t seem that athletic. I can do it!
I jump on and am immediately confused. I shove my right foot down and feel like I am running backwards. My left knee jerks up at an almost painful angle. I bounce around on the machine for another uncomfortable three seconds before I decide I would need to be an octopus to work this thing right.
I look around trying to decide which hostile, medieval torture device to use next. My gaze lands on the treadmill. Usually, I don’t use treadmills simply out of principal. I mean, I just friggen walked to the gym. It seems kind of stupid to walk to the gym so I can walk on a treadmill. But right now, the treadmill is the most non-threatening.
There’s an older man next to me. He had his treadmill set to a 15% incline and is walking at a speed of about 7 out of 14. No way am I getting beaten by a dude twice my age. I crank that thing up to a 40% incline and set the speed for fourteen.
I start to run. This isn’t so bad. In fact, I could do this all day. Suddenly, the treadmill shoots up until it is almost completely vertical and the belt starts moving at approximately 7000 MPH. I’m gasping to keep up and my goal is no longer fitness. It is to hit the emergency stop on the fucking machine before it flings me across the room.
I’m too late. One minute I’m stumbling on a demon possessed treadmill. The next, I’m flying through the air and landing on my back next to a yoga ball. I lay on my back, staring at the ceiling for awhile. I check my watch and realize I’ve been at the gym for about 10 minutes.
In my opinion, that’s ten minutes too fucking long. I sit up and gather my water bottle, iPod and gym key.
Hopefully, I can still find fen phen on the internet.
In April of 2001, I tried to kill myself.
Did you just shit yourself over that sentence? I know it shocked you, because I wrote it and deleted it 5 times before I just decided to roll with it.
To be entirely honest, I’ve written and deleted this post about 500 times over the past year. But today, on my blogs one year anniversary, I have finally decided I can do it. I can find a way to make my first and only suicide attempt funny.
I was 20. It doesn’t entirely surprise me that this incident occurred several months before my 21st birthday. If I’d had alcohol available to me, I probably would have just gone on a ‘coping mechanism’ bender and moved on.
But I didn’t, so I decided to kill myself instead.
My early twenties weren’t an easy time for me. During this particular period, I was seeing a real shit head of a man. For continuity purposes, we’ll call him Shithead. I also might have been clinically depressed. I wouldn’t know because I was never diagnosed. All I remember was waking up one day and realizing that everything was terrible, nothing was going to get better, the world was going to shit and it was pointless to try to fix it because I was going to die anyway. So I decided, after a few weeks of feeling that way, to speed up the process by offing myself.
Of course, I had to consider a method and I was ridiculously practical about it. My first idea was to slit my wrists. I, like any other girl who’s seen “The Craft”, knew how to do it right.
Seriously, what the fuck were the producers of that movie thinking, giving a bunch of angst filled teenage girls that kind of information? It’s amazing that any girl made it out of my generation alive.
Anyway, the thing that stopped me from using the razor was the rug. I was living in military barracks at the time and was fully convinced that if I got blood on the rug during my suicide, my barracks captain would send my parents a bill for the damage. It just seemed wrong to make my parents suffer from both my death, and from my failure to maintain a tidy living quarters as well. So the razor was out.
I also considered hanging. You know what stopped me from that? George Carlin. He had a stand up routine about suicide and one of the things he mentioned was that hanging was for weirdoes. I didn’t want people to think I was weird. So that was out.
I finally decided on pills. However, I didn’t really have a lot of pill options available to me. Like I said, I was in the military at the time. If you can believe it, military doctors can be kind of stingy when it comes to handing out anything stronger than a Tylenol.
So I went to Google instead. After extensive research, I decided that there was only one over the counter medication that could get the job done. Niacin. I’d known the dangers of Niacin overdose before and I knew for a fact they included death.
See, Niacin is rumored to remove THC from your system so you can pass a drug test. FYI anyone looking for info on passing a drug test with Niacin; it doesn’t do a fucking thing (but stay tuned for a future blog where I teach you how to really pass a drug test). At the time, I was always looking for ways around drug tests so I knew that about Niacin. I also knew that in certain doses, Niacin could be lethal.
But I was about to learn a hell of a lot more.
I decided to say fuck convention and commit suicide on a Friday afternoon after work. I had a bottle of Jack Daniels and a bottle of Niacin tablets. I took both while I listened to the song “Riding with the King’ by Eric Clapton and BB King.
If I was going out, I was doing it while listening to a decent song. There would be no ‘N Sync or Christina Aguilera singing the soundtrack to my death. I wanted the kind of soul only a true musician could provide. So I went with Clapton and King. For that, I regret nothing.
I remember counting the pills as I took them. It was a process. One red tablet, one little sip from a black label bottle.
If I was going out, I was going out drinking black label. King and Clapton should always be paired with black label. Always.
Around tablet 25, I started to get dizzy. For reasons I will never fully understand, I decided to lock myself in my closet while I waited for the pills to do their work. I lay down on that incredibly uncomfortable, nappy blue rug. It was the very rug I was previously so worried about damaging. I waited.
Then the pain started.
I wasn’t expecting pain. I was expecting to fall asleep and never wake up. Unfortunately, there are certain things that Google didn’t tell me about Niacin overdose. Like the burning. It felt like every single fucking sunburn I’d ever had, times four hundred, and it lasted for hours. I was shaking and burning and itching. But I was afraid to scratch my skin. I was certain if I scratched myself, the skin would just melt off in my hand in a pile of fleshy goo and blood.
Then I would stain the rug.
So I laid there and I clenched my teeth to keep from vomiting. I shook and I sweated. My temperature was approximately 400 thousand degrees and I was certain that Niacin was going to kill me by burning me from the outside in.
And while I was burning, my only thought was that I was going to die without ever seeing a volcano up close. Ever since I saw “Joe Versus the Volcano”, I’d always wanted to see the inside of a volcano from the top of one. But as I laid there burning on that nappy blue rug, I realized that I was never going to do that.
I got really mad at Tom Hanks. Then, I got mad at myself for not being brave like Tom Hanks and finding a more honorable way to die. (See Joe Versus the Volcano on IMDB if you have no idea what I’m talking about). After that, I think I had a seizure and passed out. When I woke up again, I wasn’t burning anymore.
Instead, I was blind.
At first, I thought it was just because I was locked in the closet and there were no lights. I fumbled and I found my lighter in my back pocket. I flicked it a few times before I realized that if I was really blind, I would have no way of knowing if it was working. I pushed myself up to a halfway squat and reached around for the string that attached to my light. After what felt like hours, I finally found it and I pulled the cord.
You ever have the light on but have your eyes closed? All you can see is that reddish color, light trying to pass through the black, but not quite making it? That’s what I saw, but my eyes were open. Then, another thought occurred to me as I squatted there with my wrist wrapped around the cord. I thought about how much easier my life would be if I wasn’t so obsessed with aesthetics. If I was blind, I could listen to the man I was dating, rather than be distracted by his looks. If I was blind, I could listen to things for what they were, rather than see them for what I wanted them to be.
Right before I passed out again, it occurred to me that’s what I should have been doing all along.
When I woke up again, sunlight was peeking under the crack in my door and it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. My closet smelled like vomit and even the shine on my shoes made me a little dizzy and nauseas. But the nausea and the vomit didn’t bother me because they meant I was alive. I wanted to be alive again.
It was the hardest thing I ever did, but I reached up, I pulled open the closet door and I stumbled out. It was 2:30 in the afternoon on Sunday, nearly 48 hours after I’d locked myself in. I heard a knock on my door.
My roommate was going to drop off her dry cleaning and she wanted to know if I had anything I wanted her to drop off for me. For some reason, that offer was the most beautiful, selfless offer in the world to me. It bumped my faith in humanity up a little bit, which was exactly what I needed.
I gave her a garbage bag full of vomit covered battle dress uniforms. She smiled and asked if I wanted to go to lunch with her and her boyfriend that afternoon. I said yes, even though I knew that I wouldn’t be able to eat a bite. I knew it was time to start living again.
Until today, no one ever knew what I tried to do to myself that weekend. My Niacin soaked suicide attempt was something that I’ve kept concealed. It was something that I was planning on taking to the grave. I was ashamed of it.
But I learned something in that closet that weekend. I learned that I wanted to live. I learned that there were still things left I needed to do. I learned that I was responsible for my own happiness.
That Monday, I ditched Mr. Shithead via text message. He deserved no better.
That Wednesday, I picked my roommate and I’s dry-cleaning and I gladly covered the tab without asking her for reimbursement. .
That Friday, I received another bill for $60 from my barracks captain for rug cleaning. To be fair, there was a significant amount of vomit.
And that spring, I saw a volcano up close. I checked it off and I added a new goal to the list. FYI: it was just as cool as it sounded.
I don’t regret what I did, because I lived through it. I was lucky that weekend. I made it through to the other side and I realized that life isn’t about the end. It’s about what you do while you’re waiting for the end. This realm is the boot camp. You struggle, you strive. You learn sometimes that you suck at things. You learn sometimes that you need to adapt and accept the way things are. You learn sometimes that the dreams you thought you wanted weren’t the dreams that were meant for you.
That weekend, while I laid on that nappy blue rug, I realized something. Maybe I would never get married. Maybe I would never fall in love. Maybe, I would never meet that Harlequin based man of my dreams.
But maybe, just maybe, that wasn’t all there was to life.
Maybe my life was just about living. Not living for someone else. Not waiting for some man to accept me or love me. Nope, it was just about living and I would need to learn to accept that. Because life wasn’t about me becoming part of a couple, as much as I thought it should have been. It was about me living. It was about me doing stupid things. It was about me adapting to the world around me.
It was about getting into a slap fight with a Native American during Burning Man because we argued about kite proportions.
It was about dancing on top of a float dedicated to the history of dildos during the love parade in Berlin.
It was popping a champagne cork in Times Square.
It was confetti raining down on me outside the Eiffel Tower on New Years, when I elbowed that dude in the chest because he wouldn’t stop pushing me.
It was dressing up in drag in Turkey and pretending to be a boy, just to see if I could get away with it.
It was playing spades with the people I met in quarantine just outside of Eddigan and losing every damn time.
It was life and it was beautiful.
It was beautiful in the way that sunlight peaked under that door on an ordinary Sunday morning. It was beautiful in the way my roommate was beautiful when she asked if I needed her to drop off my dry cleaning. It was just plain beautiful and there was no way I was walking away from that.
Since the day I tried to die, ever second of my life has been precious to me. From the mundane to the extraordinary, I have never turned off my internal camera. The memories are what matter.
I didn’t mean for my one year anniversary post to be so heavy, but in a way, its not. Because it’s not about if you were important. It’s not about whether anyone ever loved you. When you go to the grave, you go the alone and the only thing that you have to comfort you is your memories.
Tonight, I end you off with a quote that’s not mine, but feels like it should be mine, because it truly has made all the difference.
|I shall be telling this with a sigh|
|Somewhere ages and ages hence:|
|Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—|
|I took the one less traveled by,|
|And that has made all the difference.|
I know poetry isn’t usually my bag, but on this one year anniversary, I decided to be different. I saw the volcano and for a second, I reached my hand inside. That’s all I need to go happy. Thank you, Mr. Frost. Thank you, world, Thank you, life. Thank you for making me too inept and too bumbly to pull off a suicide.
Because that made all the difference. Happy Anniversary, my follower friends. I promise to be around for many, many more.
But I can’t guarantee I’ll pay for any damage I do to the rug.
I am so sick of the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder diagnosis being thrown around that I’m pretty sure it's giving me Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
In the past, I’ve had people tell me they got PTSD for everything from breaking up with their boyfriend to their boss being mean to them. I’ve had to listen to overly sensitive whiners drone on and on about the medications they’re taking and their feelings like I’m actually interested in their ‘suffering.’