Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Life Lessons

Throughout my life I have been fortunate enough to work with ladies that taught me important life lessons even if they were unaware of it at the time. They were all older than I was and even if I was a punk ass kid at the time, I was smart enough to realize that I was given a gift and that I needed to pay attention.

No matter how long I wear the proverbial rose colored glasses, my relationship with my late mother was severely damaged . Damaging to me and most likely her. Between ego, bourbon, anger and the fact that we both knew she really had no use for a daughter, it was fucked up to say the least. Did I push her buttons ? Every damn day, and I enjoyed every minute. A child's anger , hurt and angst at not being good enough to love is a powerful motivation. It is a deadly weapon and I delighted much to my adult shame in using it.

Did I love her ? Yes, in the ever hopeful way the wallflower hopes that the cute boy will finally notice her and ask HER to dance.

Did she love me ? I doubt I will ever know , really know in the way that matters to each and every human being.

To get out of the house, I married my worst possible choice and paid the price. My take away was the gift of a mother in law that I revere to this day. She was kinder to me than any other female had ever been . Was my own mother jealous ? Possibly, but I will never know.

My mother died in 1981 when I was 26, and even though we had been estranged by both geography and emotional IOU's, in my heart I tried to break through to her on that last Easter conversation when she was coherent before her death at the age of 52.

I tried.

Bu being a grown ass married lady, I thought I knew it all.

I went to work at WSU and met three older women, Doty, Virgie and Nadine.They all taught me something .

Doty taught me that  pretension and insecurity was not limited to my mother and thus , how not to behave .

Virgie , bless her soul, tied to teach me common sense and showed me that a good mom was there for her kids , no matter the cost or schedule. Family mattered.

Nadine...ah Nadine. I knew her least of all, she was a quiet survivor of some of the worst thing that a mother could go through. In her way he helped my deal with my losses and how to hold your head up.She also taught me that a lady ALWAYS wears lipstick. I'm trying Nadine, I am.

The baby punk ass princess paid attention.

I had to finally leave Washington state in order to survive and so I came to Texas, the only place I have ever felt at home. I grew up moving in the military so this feeling of finally finding home was profound to say the least.

Once again, I got a job where I was the youngest..sense a pattern ?

Dru, Kaye and I all started at the firm in 1982, within 3 months of each other as receptionists at the firm where I am still employed  .

And I was again the punk ass kid .

Drusilla, I miss you to this day. You tried, at times in vain to teach and show me how to be a professional and a lady much as Nadine did. You to everyone who knew you personified elegance and grace. I will never meet your standard but that's okay because you showed me how to have my own style and standard.

Kaye, the news of your passing hit us all hard . You were so like Virgie, You were again one of the kindest ladies I have ever known and your devotion to your family and all of the heart break that you all suffered with Brian's issues ,  blossomed into you being one of the fiercest advocates for the Mental Health support system here in the Gulf Coast .I wish I had been able to reach out to you when I was dealing with Carl's paranoid schizophrenia .

Pride is an awful thing.

To all of the ladies I have mentioned above, I love you all and appreciate the time you took to try to guide a punk ass kid even if you weren't aware of it at the time.

 I am presently at least 10 years older than you were when I entered your lives as we began to work together and the biggest take I have from all of this is the drive to show the ladies that I work with ,who are frankly much younger than I am (Karma ? Irony ? ) , the kind of grace and kindness you all showed to me.

The Punk ass listened.

EACH of you gave me the life lessons that my mother was incapable of doing and for that , I will always be grateful.

I love you all.

Blessed Be.