This week's Five Star Friday is brought to you by the truth about writing for free, the spectrum of alcoholism, watching your baby go out on his own for the first time, finding your own true beauty, some of the fallout of really heavy drinking, fun sex, the ongoing injustice of colonization in Canada, moving out of a loved home, the last days with beautiful mother, and the late Elmore Leonard:
photo credit: MDCarchives
A line of dialogue is not clear enough if you need to explain how it's said.
— Elmore Leonard, in "What I've Learned: Elmore Leonard", interviewed by Cal Fussman in Esquire
Make sure you remember you and your abilities are worthless. If a plumber came into your house to fix your sink he wouldn't work for free, but why not? Shouldn't he do it for the love of drains?
…so maybe these posts are not about preaching or pontificating but about permission. Permission to look at yourself and rethink things. Permission to make changes that might make you feel better. Permission to walk away from something that seems to be bringing you down. Permission to feel things fully. Permission to put yourself first even though maybe you’ve forgotten how to do this.
I look back on all of that now and I'm just in awe. Not in awe of the adult he has become, but in awe of the adult he has inspired me to be. If I could choose one word to describe him, it would be BRAVE. From auditions to social stresses…from academics to the arts…from the stage to the classroom… he has shown bravery in every aspect of his life. Bravery I don't think I discovered in myself until I watched him demonstrate his. Every time I get scared, I think of all of the challenges he has faced in his 18 years and I scoff at my fear.
On a day of no particular significance, I got tired of feeling ugly. I got tired of trying to be a single-digit size with long legs and a specific set of graceful features. I got tired of constantly being compared to a narrow set of guidelines I would never meet. I will not be that model or actress or pop star, ever.
I decided I simply had to be a beautiful human being.
Then one day, I woke up and noticed my hands were shaking. What's this? That's so after-school special kind of alcoholism. So stereo-typical. So not my Ripley's Believe it or Not kind of alcoholism. When talking to friends, I would often cop to being an alcoholic. "But I'm not one of those… you know…" I'd hold my hands out and make them shake, "I need a drink or I'm going to die kind. All Ray Malland and shit."
Well, it was looking like I was becoming all Ray Malland… and shit.
Holy shit, sex for FUN? If these creepy monkeys were doing it for fun, I reasoned that humans also did it for fun, including the bum sex kind. And before reading the article, I didn't even realise that men could even have sex with other men, and women with women. Perhaps it was naïveté on my end or the fact that I had been taught sex ed mainly by a catholic school, but this was a total revelation. Sex for fun changed EVERYTHING.
This is me and my people. We've been living with this thing pressing on our communities and on our bodies and minds for five hundred years. We've been given the shit end of the stick and told to like it. We've been colonized. Living with the aftermath of colonization is being through a psychic war. Especially when you are told that your people need to be "managed" by a racist piece of legislation that was forced on your communities without you being able to vote against it. When your people were cheated and betrayed out of every agreement we tried to make with the tide of newcomers, when you are forced into battle against an enemy that says it has your best interests in mind. Every single day of your life you are in flight or fight mode.
It was a home we made friends in a community we loved. And while it's easy to sit here and feel anger about the reasons why I'm leaving this home, the truth is, we needed a fresh start. A new chapter that includes a healthy bank account and credit cards with zero balances. And it will be an opportunity to mend fences and strengthen relationships.
One day while driving, as she said so softly to herself in Spanish, "The green of that grass… look how green, like emeralds," I remember my stomach clenching, as I realized it. I looked at her while she stared out of her window, and I remember thinking, in disbelief at how soon it was going to be, she knows she's going to die. Because she hung on to everything as if she knew she'd never see it again. But it wasn't desperation, it was wonder.
Please come back and share good writing with us over the coming week to be featured on the next Five Star Friday. Submit it by Thursday at midnight CST to have it featured on Five Star Friday.
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