Tuesday, August 4, 2015

When Did I Get So Good at Lying?

My least favorite thing for someone to say to me is, "You look great!" with feigned enthusiasm. This means one of two things: either I looked like a real piece of shit before, or you think I'm about to figure out how to drown myself.

While I have learned a lot about myself through this break up, (mainly that I am prone to manipulation, always want to fix things, and put everything and everyone before myself while simultaneously shifting into something others want me to be), I have also become acutely aware that I am an unbelievably good liar.

Growing up with an Italian Catholic Mother, I was raised to not only turn 50 shades of red and stutter if I tried to lie, but also the crushing guilt of a thousand ancestors would deter and traumatize me from further untruths. I took pride in the fact that I could not tell a lie, and if I did, you could read it all over my face. I don't know when the switch happened... in fact I'm sure I uttered the very sentence, "Oh, you can tell when I'm lying," as recently as yesterday. However, at some point I became incapable of distinguishing these white lies from reality.

I lie to just about everyone. If I look back to my past, and really analyze what it is that I am in fact good at lying about, I could pinpoint it to when my Father was being treated for Hepatitis C, with chemo-like symptoms, when I was in high school. Most days I found myself wandering into my poor gym teacher/soccer coaches office in tears, not knowing how to handle my dad's illness. One night for some school function in an auditorium, he stood by my side as a fellow classmates dad asked me how my father was. "He's good," I replied nonchalantly. He walked away and my coach said to me, "Why did you lie?" and I replied, "Because it's not his business."

I maintain, purely to comfort myself, that I lie to people because it's not their business to know the truth... But I think really it's so that I don't have to deal with the truth of my life. If others don't know how fucked everything is then maybe it's not really true. Where I am, who I am, and what I am doing does not seem so bad when I look at it through other people's eyes. And if they don't really know what's going on, poof! Like magic my life can be different.

I lie to just about every single person I know. Sometimes I get confused about which lie I've told to whom. I have to be careful with every thing I say. I get confused when I wake up if my lies are actually reality. Sometimes I wake up really excited, and then it sinks in that I've lied myself into such a position that no one will ever truly know me. A liar feels bad about the truth, and I don't think anyone would accept the person I really am. I don't say that for pity, I say it because it is the truth.

I am not awesome. Recently someone I love dearly told me that I was a mean person. I had come clean about my drinking the week before, and my negative feelings toward myself and how much I hated what I have become. And then... that. See what I mean?

I wish I knew how normal people lived their lives, because I've had this mind numbing secret for so long that I don't know how to function properly. I haven't allowed myself to have feelings, on either side of the spectrum, in too long.

I don't want to lie anymore. It's like the past ten years of my life snuck up and hit me like a freight train these past few months. The guilt and shame of what I've done keeps me awake at night, riddled with anxiety and doubt. But I realize now that it's going to be much easier to let time heal those feelings than to keep drinking and live in a cloud of withdrawals, anxiety, and numbness.

Anyway. Eventually my posts will get more uplifting. At least I hope so.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Strong Lady

I used to think that strength was an easy thing. After my mother died, I for some reason, was the solid rock while everyone around me melted. It feels now like the only reason I couldn't, wasn't capable of melting, was not because of strength. It was because of weakness.

Every moment, every wave of terror and sadness, is better than the last. I left him and I know that I'm right. I know that I've wanted to do this for a while. And I tried. I fucking. Tried. But, it's hard to uproot your life and start over. It's not something you can easily explain to anyone. Like death, it's one of those times where no one will ever truly understand the sadness. The overwhelming, overwhelming sadness.

Everyone says, "We're so glad you're safe, he was hurting you, you're not who you used to be." But you know what? Fuck that. Fuck that. And you know why I say that? Because I know it's true.

But it doesn't matter.  Saying that I know that. Because I do, but fucking hell... it is hard to make yourself actually believe that it's the truth. You make the most ridiculous excuses... for him, for yourself, for everything. Oh, he only yelled at me because I did something wrong. I did something wrong. I did something wrong?

I come up from upstairs, break open the door and throw myself on the rocks outside because... because I have to. I let out two desperate breaths and spit runs freely from my mouth. I do not notice. All I care about is that I want to go home. Take me the fuck home.

This is not where I belong, this is not where my dog is. But I had to leave him too. Because? Because I wasn't allowed to. If I had been allowed to do or be anything we wouldn't have wound up here. My dog. MY dog. My fucking dog. I hold him as he asked for my keys and I said, "Everything's going to be alright. Mommy loves you. I'm going to be back for you," and he licked my tears, sat in my lap, and let me hold onto him like a goddamn crack addict. I breathe, and it rattles around inside my chest, wondering where it came from and who it is. This breath has no business being here, and it should leave me the fuck alone.

You know what's shitty? It feels worse than my mother dying. I built this life up, and now it's just gone. It's gone now. I loved so hard, and we silently knew it for years....but never admitted it to ourselves. I had the first real conversation with him in years, the day that I finally pulled the trigger. He said, "You haven't been in this for months. Have you?" and I said, "No, I haven't. But you knew that." It dropped like a bombshell, but it felt worse than that. It felt like I had taken a deep gasp in, but it wasn't air I was breathing. It was an overwhelming sadness that seemed to say, "You're alone now. All the fuck alone."

When you have one best friend in life, who has isolated you from all your other friends, you don't think you have anyone to turn to. I lie in this unfamiliar, strange smelling bed and sob hysterically. Why won't anyone just take me home? No one will take me home. I call and call and call. Sometimes he answers and tells me he wants me to come home. That our family misses me. Other times he won't answer... but you know what? Apparently that's ok because he apologizes afterward. I'm so alone I'm so alone I'm so alone.  And then the friends start with their, "You're not alone," nonsense and I think to myself, yes the fuck I am.  It's not you, it's not me, it's not personal... but I really need my best friend right now. But GUESS WHAT?! He's not there, as usual, and yet I keep making excuses for him in my heart.

You make excuses in your heart and to your family. To your friends. You make excuses to legitimize his behavior, and to yourself for still having forgiving feelings. Most of all you try to convince yourself that these feelings you have are fine, that you are on vacation, that you accidentally packed all of your dog's toys and medication because you are silly! and you forgot that he wasn't coming. But flashes of reality hit you about 30 times a day, about how your life is over, and that Maggie... Maggie... As you knew her, is fucking dead. You just don't want to admit it yet. Because admitting it means that you're willing to accept responsibility for being a total fuck up.

Probably the embarrassment and the shame... it's a close second from the crushing loneliness.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

A Fish Named Hitler

I wake up most days and suffer what I like to call "a full body sigh". I am acutely aware that my day is going to slowly drag on, each moment as inconsequential as the last. I like to convince myself that my day job is a cover for my secret life as a highly important, smart, and fit super spy. Similar to the show "Chuck", but subtract the geeky computer shit and add a lot of times getting blamed for genociding tanks of fish.

The alarm wakes me up around 7:45 and my eyeballs protest in two ways: one, that I've only slept 5 hours and two, because I accidentally bought waterproof mascara and am too lazy to figure out how it comes off, adding a new, chunky coat each morning after scraping a lot of it out of my eyes. For some reason, my dreams are always SUPER vivid and I always remember them. Like, every fucking detail. Which is unsettling in so many ways... like when I have sex dreams about disgusting people and/or women,  or disgruntled celebrities are trying to steal my dog in the midst of the apocalypse, and for some reason keep calling him Radar

The drive to work is a habitual silence between the hubby and I, filled with deep sighs and melancholy thoughts, dreaming of days when I was thin and pretty and romping through Central America doing drugs and men with accents.  I pretend that my coffee is really coffee, and not just an elaborate excuse to drink fancy creamers named after candy bars.

The pet shop sits sleepily along the busy high way, behind a second hand shop that sells shitty furniture at absurd prices. I unlock the doors and do a shuffle-sprint to turn off the alarm. Not because I'm worried about the alarm going off, but because as long as the alarm is turned on, the security company can hear inside the store. I was told this after about a week of arming and disarming the thing. When left alone, I talk to myself, like, A LOT. I do not know what exactly I could have said during that week, but I am sure that whoever was listening was disgusted and ashamed of the human race.

So for the first ten minutes or so, I am the dealer of death. The tanks of fish at the store are notorious for having small aquarium heaters short out in the middle of the night and electrocute or cook the fish. It's just sort of a toss up of horrible ways to die for them. It's either that or get sucked into the filters that are way too strong for the size tank they're in.  I unlock the bathroom door and prepare the toilet for the onslaught of bloated corpses. Whatever wholesale fish distributor we use also harbors and sends like, really sick fish.  Like grossly sick. Fungal, bacterial disease... fin rot, bloody gills and open sores.  Sometimes even the whites of their eyes are bloody. 

It's unbelievably horrific. 

The tanks are also incredibly old, one hundred percent mistreated... and put in odd locations. The tanks labeled, "TANK IS AGGRESSIVE!!!" are sitting on the floor, with no lids. One time we got a freshwater eel, and it committed a beautiful suicide from a tank about 5 feet off the ground. This morning, the tank containing the asshole koi and fucking creepy "celestial goldfish" (worth a google) were all floating upside down or laying at the bottom with their eyes and guts eaten out. Oh by the way, they definitely cannibalize each other. So when the goldfish get sucked into the filter, they are stuck, alive and motionless while the rest of them eat their eyes first, and keep ravaging until finally there's just a tiny skeleton just sort of sadly frozen in time. 

I overheard my boss saying, "Some kid must have soaped the tank." This is a thing! If even a drop of soap lands in the water, the tank will die. But like, it's not instant and usually happens overnight. By the time we get to them their eyes are a cloudy bluish, and it stinks a little.

So the doors open and the smiles go on and I go about my day sleep walking through the bullshit. It's kind of like being around the stupidest, meanest people on Earth that also don't know very much about social interaction and don't bathe "that often".  In their daily lives they probably don't have an outlet for their anger and so they take it out on the understandably, VERY uncaring employees. Maybe they have a cheating wife, or a boss that harasses them sexually, I don't know. All I do know is that my face, to many, says, "treat me like I'm garbage, I won't fight back."

So we employees wander throughout the windowless cave from anywhere between 6-10 hours, being assaulted with verbal abuse, or "jokes", as the old men would say. I don't remember how it began,  but one day an employee casually said to me, "Hey, have you seen the fish that looks like Hitler?"

"WHAT?!" I say, at an incredibly inappropriate volume.

How is this just being told to me now???? I think, as drop the purchase I'm ringing up and sprint towards the goldfish tank. I spend five whole minutes scanning through the relatively similar looking goldfish before spotting him. Oddly motionless, a tiny, delicate black mustache graces his weird, top goldfish lip. I gasp in awe, the edges of my vision erupting in sparkles. I am beyond over stimulated as I attempt to forever brand this moment into my memory. So I may tell tales of my glorious Adolph Fishler.

A blip of excitement on my boring days, Hitler survives every day through cunning and will. He evades the swoops of the moldy fish net like a tiny, fish ninja. I smile through the impatient stares and horrible men asking, "Is your shirt made of felt? It is now!" *Reaches to feel shirt* (Maggie evades this by exhibiting the grace and humility of a very scared, averagely out of shape, and ungracefully aging female who's afraid to say no and also confrontation, moving out of the way by a few inches, folding arms, and erupting in nervous laughter.) Simply knowing that my Fish Hitler exists is enough to keep my very irrational brain thoughts from tumbling out of my mouth. Fuck you, old man. I hope you get hit by a car and just as you're getting loaded into an ambulance, your wife calls you to tell you she has old lady crabs. 

Myself and Hitler share an odd camaraderie. We both dream of a better life and hate our current situation. Surrounded by buffoons, we keep swimming knowing that this won't be it, that there must be more than this awful fishbowl. I think probably the only difference is that while I may rise from the situation and go on to make more privileged, bad decisions, I also probably won't be one day bought and fed to turtles.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

I'm 27, Have a Bachelor's Degree, and I Have No Idea What I'm Doing

My eyes fly open every morning as I stare at the same crack on the ceiling, and a hot flash of fear rides my body like a wave. For a moment, my vivid dreams blend with reality and an excited confusion rushes to my cheeks as I imagine reality IS the dream. Then an icy fist clenches my quickly beating heart and whispers hopelessly in my ear, "Your life is a disaster."

It's not yet 9 am, but the crushing realization that life, the life I once dreamed of safe under my parents' roof, won't ever be realized and has hit me back down under the covers like a sock full of dead dreams and used batteries. I used to have sweet, hopeful dreams of a million future Maggie's. First and foremost, to be a famous female professional wrestler. I'd lie on my trampoline, staring at the blue skies and wind rocked trees and imagine the future where I broke boundaries as the first WWF star to firmly say a big fuck you to a boob job.

Ideally, all the future lives are Maggie as a 24 year old with fame, fortune, and just the right touch of charity and compassion. A completely enviable life; one where people ask to make reality TV shows about it, but she doesn't treat it like that. To her it's just normal, she eats her caviar one pound at a time just like everyone else.

I spend an obscene amount of time longing for the past, when the seconds ticked by at the pace of a 3 hour long Sunday fucking Mass. Where every second was the worst second, and you wanted to just fucking fall asleep or something rather then be awake for any more of this motherfucking bullshit. Now I grasp at days like I am trying to hold onto a cloud. Each unexceptional day passes as soon as it came, and I have yet to make the first step onto that ladder to happiness.

It could be that I am one of the millions of grown ass adults who feel like those dreams should just be handed to you. Well, fuck you, I am. You know why? Because I don't know what dream I should do this mythical "work" for. If I had that goal of what I wanted, maybe I wouldn't mind sitting behind a desk for minimum wage, as long as I knew that it would, some day, get better. Where was that moment in life where the cogs click into place and your young, eager footsteps get plopped onto the path to happiness? Somewhere along the way, my ladder forgot it needed a destination, not just to wind up in the sky.

I want to scroll back through each and every one of my life choices like a Choose Your Own Adventure book and determine where I went wrong. In fact, at that precise moment when alcohol became the forbidden fruit that I must have at all costs, I'd go ahead and discreetly remove it. Perhaps then the rest of the book wouldn't seem like a toddler dizzy on full-sugar soda figuring out how to con Mom and Dad into giving her more Halloween candy.

Maybe then college wouldn't have been an after thought to my raging FOMO, and I wouldn't have treated potential relationships more valuable than expensive missed classes. Most likely, one of those classes held the key to my locked future, and now I wallow bleary eyed in the swamp with the rest of the ladders to nowhere, barely registering the other forsaken souls.

So here I sit, in a dark room of a cold house located on the rainy Oregon coast somewhere. Waking up in a cold sweat realizing seven whole years has gone by working in restaurants. When I first became a server at 21, I looked at the older servers and said, out loud and probably drunk, "If I become a lifer, I'll kill myself." After all, I technically had graduated from a very prestigious college, and I was now employed among high school drop outs. And yet, each day that goes by I do not think to myself, "today's the day," or, "let's get motivated," something to that effect. Because I would not know what to make of "the day". Get motivated for what? Today's the day to do...? None of those bullshit motivational speeches actually mean anything. Make changes, find what you love, get up and do something instead of sitting around...  I am 27, and I am completely, utterly, without a doubt, lost.