Honest Living

Finishing School

Ah, just fuck it all. Sometimes I feel like I should stop doing things the virtuous way and just post nude selfies on the internet. Go for Kim Kardashian fame. Maybe have my own little Kimye Westashian baby with as terribly chosen a name as North…West. I’m sure the baby is absolutely adorable. I’m sure Kanye really loves Kim. I mean, they’re on this month’s cover of Vogue in wedding garments and all. Let’s be honest, I don’t have the same ass-ets Kim has anyway.

Being sick in bed (I have this awful cough that I picked up from the kids, which they picked up from school) makes the wheels stop turning – the distractions stop happening and that’s not always a good thing for me. When left alone with myself, I often feel worried, afraid, not good enough. I sometimes get the feeling that I’m wasting my life, working it away like all the other regular stiffs…9 to 5, then 9 to 5, then 9 to 5, then 9 to 5, then 9 to 5, then…chasing some magical dollar that’ll always stay juuuuust out of reach, and by the time my life ends, it’ll blow into the starry night sky. I’ll finally rest, and my imaginary dollar will keep blowing around until it finds someone else to chase it, like a mean trick the gods play on humanity.

I mean, seriously, I’m getting, like…gray hairs. I think about all the things I have/haven’t done, and things I’d have done differently if I’d had the inner strength/better familial support/not such a fucked up life.

My sister-in-law just got into Stanford, and I’m so excited for her. It’s a wonderful accomplishment – one she worked very hard for. She persisted, even when they told her no the first time around, and made it happen. Atta girl.

Seeing photos of Wendi and Buck in their Stanford hoodies, all proud of their daughter, reminded me of why it’s so great to have married into this family. They’re great parents. They’re great grandparents. They’re just great people.

It also made me remember when Stanford was my dream. I had a high GPA in college, I had amazing goals, a great mind, and Stanford’s financial aid was better than anyone’s. But I also had a marriage that had fallen apart, a kidney that needed to come out, no money, very little support, and…oh yeah…three kids.

Maybe I was crazy for thinking that someone like me should end up somewhere like that. But then again…of COURSE someone like me should end up somewhere like that. I know my value. I know my mind. I know what I’m worth.

What I didn’t know was how much I’ve needed a family. I know I have a family – hello, I have a husband, a dog, three kids. But, I’ve needed a family. The kind that has nothing better to do than help you see your goals through, the kind that knows what’s going on in your life because they care, not because they have some vague obligation to it.

I kept wishing that during the time in my life when I moved to Walnut Creek to try to work things out with my ex husband, I would have had a woman in my corner (maybe, like, I don’t know…a mom?) holding me by the shoulders, and saying things like, “I know you’re feeling really beat up right now, honey, but I’m here. That man has treated you like shit for ten years. You need to let it go. Let’s work on that Stanford application together. We’ll make it perfect. I’ll take care of the kids while you have the surgery you need. Then you’ll get back on track. This is a temporary roadblock. Don’t quit now, come on, you got this.” Then she’d put some vaseline on my bleeding brow, and my cracked lip and send me back into the ring – still up for a big fight, but with strength and support.

Instead of a person in my corner, I had a blue towel and a can of vaseline. I tried to stop the bleeding myself, but I couldn’t see what I was doing. I put the vaseline on with shaking hands and got some in my eye, further blurring what vision I had left. I got on my woozy feet and took a few swings. I barely survived.

I ignored my need for surgery for five years – until the bad kidney made me very sick. Who else was supposed to keep the wheels turning, the bills paid? I tried to work out a stupid fucking joke of a marriage that drained my faith, stole my strength, and broke my trust. I flailed helplessly, spent thousands of dollars, and took a much harder road trying to do what was “right.” For whom? Right for the kids? Right for me? It wasn’t right. It wasn’t okay. And I didn’t get into Stanford.

Really, I’ve made my life quite beautiful considering my circumstances. But still, it’s hard to feel like there’s all this undiscovered person; all this untapped woman – whom I might not even know if I saw her – still driving hard at the core of me; asking the tough questions, never letting me forget that it’s one thing to be happy, and it’s another thing to be fulfilled.

Who is this woman at my core? She is certainly not my mother’s daughter. I was always too big for the woman who raised me, which made her so damned uncomfortable.

This woman is real. This woman has stood strong through earth-shattering disappointment, and soul sucking hardship. This woman knows how melt into God, how to tenderly raise babies, how to warm a home. This woman knows how to shake her hips, how to wear lipstick, what dress makes her look like a million bucks. This woman cooks and writes and loves. This woman messes up. This woman longs for more. This woman gets tired. But I trust her. I wholeheartedly trust and admire the woman I’ve become, and I’m so thankful she has never let me stay comfortable – despite my mistakes and hardships – with less than I deserve.

I want the real things that happen down in the dirt of the soul: the hard-won accomplishments, the dreams-come-true, the tell-the-truth and put-the-pieces-back-together things that only connection, relationship, and faith can restore. I have big dreams, big goals, a big appetite, and a big heart.

Where I am today, God only knows, and thank God she does. I need a woman in my corner.

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