"Those were hard things for me to come by, and I offer them to you for what they may be worth." - Toby Wolff

Sunday, January 22, 2012

She Helps

I feel as much a rescue as the rest of these animals. There is an unwed mother of three, a half breed, a cross breed, a pedigree larger and heavier than I, and several previously homeless beggars. A total of nine, including myself, settled in this country kitchen. There is a fire roaring, and the poor little Chihuahua is as small as her milk ducts are large. We joke that she is not even a year old and her figure is ruined. Those breasts will NEVER be the same, and damn...she missed the prom altogether! She warms her saggy baaah-baaah's on the floor tiles in front of the fireplace and looks anxiously towards the pen where her three babies sleep. There were four, and I watched last month as she nudged and sniffed at the dead fourth, her mourning and grieving not done until she pushed it out of the pen. She's a good mother.

"Is your meeting with me a secret?" I ask. Despite her assurances, I am unsure she is at ease having me there and I have no intention of being a secret kept, or a compromise. She assures me that this fact is as known as all the rest. I am always tearful in her presence, for she is the hand out...held, until I take it. I know I am unworthy. It's a judgement that I cannot rectify yet.

She's good with animals. "Not so good with people" she says of herself...but I know different.  I can see how some may not know what to make of her directness and candor, but I knew I wanted her as a friend the very first time I met her. Somehow, it happened. Her mothering makes me cry. I am mourning mothers as well as many other things right now. She is intent on feeding me and says I look thin. I shrug. I have no scale. She says, "No...really...like too thin. Here (she touches my neck). Here (her hard working fingers at my cheek)." I tell myself I really need that facelift, but it's nowhere in the near future (it is a thought. i let it go. there is nothing I can do to fix it today). She never tells me what she thinks I want to hear. She tells me what she thinks I need to hear. That is the mark of a true friend.

She says it seems like I "spew vitriol" on my blog. I tell her it is that scene from 'The Mummy'. Open mouth...the dust of poison escaping with my words. It is release. The darkness I carry is one of the hardest things for people to come to terms with. I've stopped attempting to explain. It is at odds with their daily experience with my flesh person and I can understand the discomfort. "Which Annie ARE you?" Hell if I know. Both, I imagine.

We watched 'The Help' and I cried through most of it. I am off my medications and I cry a lot. I don't think it's a bad thing and she agrees. I don't feel depressed, I just FEEL. This particular movie has me face off with my grief of mothers and fathers, and childhoods. ("you is kind, you is smart, you is important"). I wanted to recreate childhood within my own children, which in and of itself put too much pressure on them. I wanted to do it right. I had no model of what right was. I feel like I should apologize daily. "I don't know what I did, but I'm sure I did something and I'm sure it was awful and I'm sure that down the road you will realize all your problems were all my fault." Ah yes. The adult child of an alcoholic at work. The rational mind rolls "I did the best I could" around on the tongue like a roulette wheel.

It was a good day. It was an exhausting day. She is kind. She is smart. She is important to me.


  1. I love that scene from the movie as well. I wish someone had said that to me when I was growing up. They always told me I was smart, but I just wanted someone to tell me I was a good person. Especially my mother.

    Your post made me think of work, and how we forget that everyone we work with has stories untold, experiences we may never learn about, dealings with addiction and abuse and sadness we may never be informed of, just - if we pay attention - see glimmers of in how they act. Who started them off on the road to reacting how they do...why is someone so closed of / egotistical / excessively 'nice' / etc etc etc.

    When my father died three years ago, three others in my small office also lost a parent within a span of thirty days. We were a club of sorts. I have a friend who's dealt with divorce and depression and addiction and death in her own life/family and we talk easily about those issues - it's not scary, it just is part of life. Some can't comprehend it, they don't know it in their own worlds, so they judge.

    I could go on, but I'd go on forever, heehee :)

    Keep being brilliant, even when you are contemplating you are shining.

    1. The judgements in that movie were harsh. It made me regret being human, regret being white! But I remind myself I wasn't there, I wasn't then, I wasn't cultured to that time. It also made me re-face the judgements of my parents and how that has shaped my choices. I'm trying hard to make no judgements until I have "walked a mile in those shoes". But hell....anyone can walk a mile in stilettos. It's the years we cannot conceive of! We should leave the judgements to God. I imagine he knows what he's doing. But that movie made me HURT. I just cringed at the formidable years of humanity, and I still don't think we have it right.

  2. I will definitely read this book and watch the movie. I've put it off, thinking maybe it was all a bandwagon people were on. But I know it's for real now and much more.

  3. I think it is an important work. I would like to read the book also. It's really hard for me to imagine, but I know it was history and the lessons therein should not be forgotten. Let me know what you think of it.

  4. The spewing vitriol is what I love about your blog.

    1. One woman's spewage is another woman's window...to herself, the world, understanding, perspective. It's all part of life. Thanks Kass.

  5. If people get uncomfortable when we express ourselves ... it's their problem, not ours.

  6. "Which Annie ARE you?" Hell if I know. Both, I imagine.

    and more))

    she touches you! the luckiest of friendships. look, you are here. you are important.

    no face lift, annie. life. and you are pretty much goddamned beautiful. (minus the pretty much.)


  7. Vitriol, truth, ugly, beautiful, windows... I love reading it ALL. And I am just learning to write it all. It's good to find this blog.

    "Ah yes. The adult child of an alcoholic at work. The rational mind rolls "I did the best I could" around on the tongue like a roulette wheel." Yup. Gotta come back.

  8. It is great that you have such a special friend. Someone you can share with and that is ther for you when you need. Everyone needs and deserves that in their life.
    Beautifully written, as always!

  9. Certain friends are "safe" ... the ones who try to understand the dark side that exists in all of us. If we are scared of out own dark side it seems only natural that we might be scared of that in others too. So it always comes down to self first. Understanding or at the very least accepting. Is any of this easy? Hell no. But necessary all the same.

    To know you have such friends in your life particularly in this time of change and uncertainty makes me glad. Very glad. Much love to you Annie.

    Oh and just one other thing. As as child of an alcoholic I was very interested to read in one of your recent posts saying that such children don't have fun. Is that true? Admittedly my childhood was bereft of fun but not entirely. My inner child still drives me towards the swings in the playground even now :) Big hug xx

    1. It is a blanket statement but certainly cannot apply to all. The book says that "ACOA have difficulty having fun. It is the child in us that has fun - that knows how to play. Because that child was repressed for a very long time, it needs to be discovered and developed." Even now, we are discovering and developing. The book talks about a man who wanted to go to the park and swing. He had to bring a child along with him because he was too concerned with how it might look. A grown man...swinging! Point #6: "ACOA take themselves very seriously."

      It is difficult to get ourselves out of these cycles of destructive and unbalanced behavior. But it can be done. Look at you! A prime example. Your hard work is evident.

      Love you Citrus.

  10. i want to see the movie for sure.


Thank you for listening.