Things Fall Apart

July 26, 2021

Things fall apart and suddenly you don’t know how you got there.

I mean, there have been signs.

Signs that you ignored or failed to register or perhaps were too arrogant and secure to recognize.

But then there it is. The reality of it.

Look it in the eye, baby.


Frankly, I haven’t had the courage to write. I’ve tried. I open the page and then get this whoosh of panic and dread, which is stupid because I created this space to have a safe zone. A place to land. A thing that belongs to me.

But what if you lose yourself?


Do people ever talk about that?


I think they don’t, because Holy Shit that’s a scary thing. You lose yourself, you forget why you’re here, you almost lose your marriage (which you thought was bulletproof, you arrogant tool). Your children don’t need you the way they used to. Your parents get old and scare you with their vulnerability. Or they die.


Man, what the hell?

But maybe, if you aren’t wallowing in the trash that seems like your life, you can find a sliver of grace. I’m counting on it.

You get up in the morning.

You try harder–

No, you really do. Because it’s so easy to be lazy, to fall into patterns that feel safe and you don’t even realize that you’re doing it.


You begin again.



May 27, 2021

I just realized that I haven’t let myself eat in 40 years.

The real kind of eat, where you actually sit at a table and are hungry, and you think of the very thing you want.

I am fucking Caesar salad bitch.

I am that girl, with the Coach handbag, who claims that she isn’t that hungry anyways.

I hate that girl, but she’s fundamental. She is the thing I know.


I was better when I was pregnant. Let me tell you, I was aces about the eating and holy crap, my girls were still so small. I couldn’t even do that right.

So I sit. And am adamant that I haven’t fucked up my most precious things about food.


And I don’t even know what to say to you.

But maybe, there’s a little part of you that gets it. That makes you gasp for air because yes.


Rachel is having a party. I hear about it first in a school hallway, by the hanging hooks of coats and mittens. Rachel is blonde and athletic and popular, if being popular in the fifth grade is a THING, which it is. I hear them whispering, the girls with the painted nails and Kissing Potion lip gloss in three flavors. I check the mail, hoping. A week later, I’m still checking.

I get my delayed invitation on notebook paper. The front of it has a tracing of an exploding balloon on the front, emblazoned with “It’s Gonna Be a Blowout!”

I am wildly exited. I, relative unpopular person, have been invited to Rachel’s party. Kevin Gasvoda, the boy I have an endless crush on, will be there. He’s got spooky green eyes and vampire incisors and is often sarcastic, which I sort of think translates to mean because he makes girls cry with his words, including me. But he’s beautiful, that boy, with his flashing teeth and wavy hair.

There are about a million ways this party could go bad and a million ways I could blow it with Kevin Gasvoda, but I am up for the challenge.

I march up the stairs and wave my invitation. My mother is plucking her eyebrows with deadly verve, but she knows I’m in the doorway.

“What?” she says.

“I,” I say with enthusiasm and gravitas, “Have been invited. To Rachel’s party.”

“Isn’t that lovely,” my mother says. “Let me see the invitation.”

I hand it to her.


She hands it back to me, flick of the wrist. “You aren’t going.”


I swear I feel my heart hit the floor and go all the way down, down to the creepy basement.

“No! Mom! You can’t say I can’t go. You just can’t, you seriously can’t. Everything–seriously!–depends on this party.”

“You’re not going,” she says, and then turns to look me in the eye. “Period.”


My mother is the biggest, meanest bitch on the planet, I swear. I am livid.

“Why?” I holler. “Why can’t I go?

She looks at me. Dead shark eyes. Waves the paper invitation in front of my face.

“This,” she says, “Is no excuse for an invitation.”

“What do you mean?” I huff. “Everyone got that same invitation!”

“No, they didn’t,” she says, still calmly plucking her eyebrows. “I saw the real invitation on Renate’s (neighbor) refrigerator door, for Karen. It’s a real card invitation, and she got it a week ago, and you only just got yours, now. People must have cancelled, so you got this.”


“God, so what?” I cannot believe that she won’t let me go for the dumbest reason on the planet and Kevin Gasvoda is going to flirt with a girl and it won’t be me and I’m going to miss it and dammit.

She turns and gives me her full attention. She rips the invitation to Rachel’s party right in front of my face and lets the pieces fall to the ground.

“I will tell you what’s what.” Her eyes are blueblue.

“You. YOU. Are not a last-ditch invitation. If you are not first choice, you are no choice at all. You will NOT! By God. Let someone treat you like secondhand goods. And you will not be attending that party.”


And that was the end of it.

I did not go to Rachel’s party.

I did not get to see Kevin Gasvoda kiss a girl named Sherry, which apparently happened.

And for years, I thought my mother was a bitch. A stick-in-the mud, outdated, rule-following, Southern, high-maintenance bitch.


But of course now I know better.

Thank you, Mama, for giving me a lesson that I will never forget.

A lesson about my own worth.

I didn’t think I needed it but damn.

I need it still.


Happy Mother’s Day week.


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