It occurs to me that, in my insecurity, I have collected a largish bag of former friends. They are former friends because they turned out to be selfish jerks, one of whom collects friends like most pudgy, yuppie Type C mothers collect latte recipes. I was awfully excited when she approached me with friendship, as I have always been too much of a loner, and my family did a number on me like you wouldn't believe in terms of reinforcing my general un-loveability.
This was due to any number of reasons, one of which was that I didn't want to wear mid-calf length tweed skirts with bobby socks and saddle shoes and blouses with peter pan collars set off with a cardigan sweater. My mother spent the better part of her life trying to bring back the early 1950s...GOD only knows why. She freaking LIKED the "let's have a cocktail party, I'll make rumaki, hang on while I take a few Miltowns" way of life. She thought I should blaze the fashion trail and bring back the great days of high school fashion.
Something like this:
The problem with this was that I started high school in 1968. Something like this:
My hair was better though. I didn't wear my glasses, which is why I wear bifocals today. My mother wouldn't let me wear bangs, otherwise my hair looked rather like Marlo Thomas in "That Girl." My mother and I fought constantly over my fashion sense. Which, now that I think of it, was rather ridiculous, because I went to parochial school and looked like this most of the time:
Yes, contrary to popular belief, that's what most Catholic schoolgirls look like. They do not even remotely resemble the schoolgirls featured on the cover of porn boxes. They don't smile - they're stuck in Catholic School - and they're always disheveled. They hold hands because it's comforting to know there's someone else out there just as miserable as you are.
My parents told me that I had to stay in Catholic school because I wasn't made of sturdy enough stuff to make it in public High School. Seriously. have you even BEEN through Catholic School?
Anyway, I spent my off hours in jeans and sweatshirts and P.F. Flyer's so that entire struggle over me not wanting to wear my MOTHER'S hand me downs was actually moot, except on free dress days.
Anyway, suffice it to say that my mother did a number on me. She used to make up stuff about me and tell her relatives about it, oh, she was tearing her hair out about her horrible, incorrigible daughter. I never did ANY of the stuff she claimed I did, I was too nerdy and frightened of my own shadow. But a quite kid who played baseball and did, basically, what she was told to do wouldn't have helped my mother's cause; painting herself of the long suffering mother with a willful, headstrong kid. I've never been sure, but I have my suspicions that this scenario was one she convinced herself was true in order to justify the juice glass full of ice and straight vodka that was her constant companion throughout the 50s, 60s,k 70s and most of the 80s.
LORD, what she did at my wedding shower! Not that my in-laws to be helped any, but that's another story.
Anyway, I have a feeling this is why I have three actual friends and a worn road littered with people who have gossipped about me, used me, drained my bank account for their home based businesses and then spread the "fact" that I am a drunk, bi-polar psycho when they tired of me. You doubt this? I still have phone numbers...
So...if enough people treat you bad, you will, in spite of those three people who treat you as if you have value, eventually have the nervous breakdown you so richly deserve. And so that's what I did.
It was a beaut, although it could have been better. I didn't throw anything, but I cried non-stop for three days, until the Paxil kicked in. I spent 5 weeks in bed, watching old movies, staring out the window, sleeping and periodically dragging myself out to buy groceries or take one of the kids somewhere. The hubster is concerned, but confused, he has no idea what I need but he has, it appears, decided that I have a legitimate issue going on.. My doctor asked "what took you so long?" I dream about the house I lost, lost because we got swindled by Wachovia and weren't lucky enough to be the evicted former owners of a piece of property that was sitting vacant for a year. THOSE people got their homes back. We weren't so lucky. We get settlement checks every now and then. These former friends are the ones who claimed that people like me were just greedy, over reaching lazy oafs who wanted to take things that they weren't entitled to.
I hate that worst of all. We weren't greedy, and we both worked. If wanting a home of my own, one that I was able to make the payments on until the hubster and I were BOTH laid off makes me so, well, there's nothing that I can do about it. In my mind, falling into an arm with a neg am and being robosigned to boot makes me, well, maybe it makes me gullible, or uninformed. But I don't think it made me greedy and I guarantee that I did NOT set out to tank the personal economy of the privileged, arrogant stay at home moms and gay bears who claimed I did.
This does not stop my dreams though. In my dreams, I'm home, I have air conditioning in the summer and a back door I can let the cat out of. On quiet afternoons I can hear the birds singing in the holly tree outside the dining room window. I hear the sound of kids playing on the middle school playground a few blocks north. I have a yard to water and a place to plant the red, white and blue petunias on Memorial Day week-end so they will grow to the riotous mounds of patriotic color at the base of the rose border by the Fourth of July. On hot days I throw a tri-tip on the grill outside when I get home from work. I can put a load of clothes in the washing machine in the evening, after 9PM if I feel like it. I have my half bath off the bedroom - the one with the white bead board wainscoting and the margarita greet walls and my shower with a door instead of a spring rod and a vent for the steam so that I didn't have to fight the mold I now battle daily.
I had floors that I could dust, they weren't in the greatest of shape but they were clean instead of the brown, cheap acrylic carpet installed over even cheaper padding that reeks of cat.
I miss my life. I hate what the people I thought were friends did to me. I value the friends who stood by me, and that's a fact. I am full of resentment at the way I've been treated, and even more at myself for allowing myself to be treated like that. All those people I gave money to to help them out...let's see...there was the literally thousands I pumped into someones scrap book business...both in purchases and in becoming one of her sales people, because I thought she was a "friend" and wanted to help her get a leg up.
The down on his luck writer who was recovering from a heart attack and was about to be evicted...yeah, I handed over close to two grand to him, paid his back rent. Where was HE when I needed a couple of HUNDRED back on that to make my mortgage? "Oh, gee, sorry, I'm broke." FUCK HIM. He showed up to help us pack. For a couple of hours. He rambled on about his glory days, wrapped some mugs and graciously allowed me to buy him lunch before he went home because his back hurt.
The girl I used to work with who was in SUCH financial trouble, there went another $1100. Don't even know where she IS now.
So there...you can all rejoice now because you managed to put me on Paxil and Xanax and Lisinopril and disability. You managed to send me back to work before I was ready because disability doesn't pay that well. You can all throw a party and drink domestic champagne while you celebrate my collapse.
Enjoy it while it lasts, my former 'friends'. Everything that goes around, comes around.