Saturday, December 26, 2009

And The Myth Goes On...

Seeing as how I don't believe in fairytales of any sort, I've already told The Duchess that Santa is a bunch of hooey. Of course, I put it to her in more p.c. terms than that, but the message was clear.

Poor sweet girl. For the past month her head has been filled with Christmas movies on television, all of which feature Santa and or Mrs. Santa, pictures of chubby elves peering off every advertisement and songs about Jolly Old St. Nick being piped over the Muzak system in every store. She just can't quite reconcile what I've told her with the reality of seeing the fat bearded man at the mall holding children on his lap and looking quite obviously like Santa. She knows I've never lied to her, but she SEES him with her own eyes for hell's sake!

So I continue to play along and label her Christmas gifts with tags that read, "To: The Duchess, From: Santa." Rudolph gives her gifts, as well as Buddy the Elf and Vixen and Mrs. Claus are very generous as well.

As is tradition in our house on Christmas morning, Daddy reads the tag and hands the gift to the appropriate beaming recipient.

Daddy: "To The Duchess from Mrs. Claus!"
The Duchess: *squeal!*
Daddy: "To The Duchess from Donner!"
The Duchess: "Oh my gosh!" *squeal!*
Daddy: "To The Duchess from Buddy the Elf!"
The Duchess: "Buddy?!" *squeal

So on Christmas morning as The Duchess was nearing the end of unwrapping the ginormous pile of gifts bestowed upon her by various reindeer, elves and members of the Claus family, she looked at me and said, " go get the presents that you and Daddy got me!"

Mmmm hmmm. Those damn fairytales will screw you over every time.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Letter To My Sister

Dear Little Sister,

Middle Sister has recently informed me of your latest drama. Once again, you have no job, no money, no food and are spending your days in your pajamas waiting for the eviction notice you know is inevitable.

Instead of being actively engaged in the pursuit of employment and housing, you are schlepping around your apartment complaining of feeling sick. No surprise. That's what happens when your body isn't getting the drugs it's used to ingesting. Such is the sorry state of a junkie.

You told Niece that your family hates you and that they are too judgmental. Only one of those accusations is correct. I don't hate you, but I most certainly have passed judgment on you. Your actions over the past several years have been pathetic and despicable. There has been much to judge.

For many years, Little Sister, you have been an addict. Because it is the nature of addiction, you have lied to everyone around you including those who loved you most. You have not only been a user of drugs, but a user of people. You will always be able to find drugs, Little Sister, but you will not always be able to find people who are willing to help you. Eventually they grow tired of giving you money, being lied to, listening to excuses and bailing you out of disaster after self-created disaster. They grow weary in their hearts of watching you self-destruct despite their many attempts at helping you.

When you stole prescription drugs from my home, it was the last straw for me. My husband and I had opened our home to you and offered you a new start. You had assured me that you were ready to begin a new drug free chapter in your life and I believed you. Within days, you repaid us for our offers of a place to live and help finding a job by stealing from us. After years of watching you make poor choice after poor choice and seeing the trail of burned bridges and human destruction you'd left behind, I was finished.

Our mother wouldn't, or wasn't able to turn you away. As she repeatedly gave you shelter both physically and emotionally, you used and abused her at every turn. She was the one person in your life who wasn't willing to give up just yet and you did nothing but take advantage of her and abuse her motherly compassion.

You certainly knew how to work the system, I'll give you that. Not only do I not understand the mind of an addict, I don't understand how a person can manipulate and connive with such ease. How did you escape going to jail when you were caught red-handed writing prescriptions for yourself on a prescription pad from the doctor for whom you worked? He'd given you the ultimatum of rehab or jail and you spent one hour at rehab. How many times have you evaded rehab now? Five...six? It's been too difficult to keep track.

While you were a minor, Mother had the chance to help you, but you did a fabulous job of convincing her that you didn't belong in that awful place with those messed up people and that you weren't one of them. She didn't have the fortitude to keep you in rehab long enough for them to help you and now it's too late. You are a thirty-four year old woman who is penniless, homeless and friendless. No one can force you to get help now. No one can make you clean up. Unfortunately, you have pissed away every opportunity you've ever been given and spit in every helping hand offered you.

You have done things I cannot imagine. They are the things I see on television shows and movies that turn my stomach. They are the degrading and pathetic acts of miserable junkies who live only to score their next fix. You have never once that I've known of, accepted responsibility for your actions. It's always been someone else's fault. Someone else made you do it. Someone else, someone else. Never you.

So yes, Little Sister, I judge you. I know where you come from and I know the opportunities you've been given and then thrown away. I know firsthand that your childhood was far from ideal, but it's bullshit to keep using that as an excuse. There comes a point when you must realize that you are no longer subject to the whim and will of your abusers and that you have choices to be made about which direction to take in life. You have chosen not to move forward. You are not even stagnant. You are humanity in decay.

There are pictures of you from your childhood that are heartbreaking to look at now; pictures of a sweet, cherubic and devilish child, full to the brim with loving adulation from her parents. Do you remember your first words? They weren't the typical first words of a child. They were, "I pitty." Translated as, "I'm pretty." You must have heard, "You're so pretty," a thousand times a day for the first few years of your life. Dad was in love with you and Mom referred to you as her "Miracle Baby." Sure, as was typical of Dad, once you hit puberty, he emotionally abandoned you as he did the rest of us, but you had a fierce and loyal ally and guardian in our mother. That is something that the rest of us grew up without. I consider you having had an advantage over us.

Regardless...whatever the perceived issues were that inspired you to make the brilliant decision not to finish high school, right down to the decision that ingesting drugs would be a swell idea, are not ones that the rest of us didn't have or that the rest of the world hasn't had and worse. The difference is that you had so many opportunities to right yourself and didn't take them. You had a mother who would do anything in the world for you and you abused her. Middle Sister has given you thousands of dollars over the years and attempted to be a confidant and friend and you have repeatedly taken advantage of her good heart and compassion. I have paid bills for you, given you places to live and helped you find jobs. In return, you have lied to me, stolen from me and abused my trust.

I have the odd and (to my husband) disconcerting ability to be able to break things down and compartmentalize them. I know that you are my sister and I have compassion for you, but I also know that you're an addict and I cannot knowingly expose my family to your lifestyle. Being "family" is not an automatic pass to use and abuse people simply because you share the same DNA.

Every now and then, those compartments break down a little and I have momentary flashes of fear. I fear hearing the phone ring one day and picking it up to hear Middle Sister's voice on the phone telling me that you are gone. Not the "gone" you are now, but the real and terrifying final version. When I think about it, I want to take you by your emaciated shoulders and shake you and tell you how selfish you are and and how your choices have affected us and that if you die, it will be the end of so many things.

It will be the end of a life so full of potential. It will be the end of a sweet, funny and bubbly girl who had a world of possibilities at her feet. It will be the end of The Colclasure Sisters. As scattered and tattered as we may be, we are a group united by secrets, fears, laughter, shared memories and love. It will be the end of our mother as we know her because since the day you were born, you have been perfect and flawless in her eyes.

It makes me angry and sad to think about because I know that if you die, a little piece of me dies with you. I don't hate you, Little Sister, but I don't know who you are anymore to love you either. Maybe the real Little Sister is still inside of you somewhere, or maybe she has already left in order to save herself. In either case, I miss the girl who walks like me, laughs like me and who was always a willing party in my wicked and warped sense of humor.

I would be forever grateful to have her back.



Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What I Should Have Said...

This past Saturday morning as I was cleaning my kitchen after a lovely breakfast with my family, you interrupted my bliss with a phone call. "Riiiinngggg.....riiiiinnngggggggg!!!! Hello. This is Mr. Non English Speaking Asshole from A-Holes R Us Collection Agency and we'd like to speak to M.C. please."

Shock was apparent in my voice as I almost squawked, "How did you get this number for HER?!" I barely listened as you explained quickly that you got your information from "several different sources" and that you would remove our home phone number from your call list.

The second I let the handset drop back into its resting place, an overly loud, "SHIT" uncontrollably escaped my lips. I'd  allowed myself to lose my composure and had let an opportunity slip right through my fingers.

So, here goes. This is what I SHOULD have said to you while I had you on the line.

"Are you fucking KIDDING me?! You're calling MY house NINE years after my husband divorced this woman?! You're interrupting the morning with my family so that you can try to collect a bill from a woman who hasn't EVER had this phone number and who has NEVER lived in this house?! Have you ever heard of the fucking INTERNET?! Try typing her name into Google and you'll find out where she works. Open up and type in her name and you'll find her address and phone number. Take a quick peek at her credit report (which you friggin' have access to, you a-holes) and you'll get just about any piece of information you need. But noooooo. You track US down several states away in our new home and call US on a Saturday morning to try to collect a debt from HER. UnfreakinBELIEVABLE.

And, oh. Remember when I had my car accident two years ago and had just come home from the emergency room in an immobilizer and was loaded on painkillers and you rang our doorbell at 2:00 a.m. to repossess HER car? remember. You rang the doorbell on my ten month old home that my husband and I had just built, in order to repossess a car that we had never owned and knew nothing about that was registered in HER name. Sure. I know how you got our address. Her name was listed as a former owner on the car I'd just wrecked. Did you hear that? FORMER FUCKING OWNER! If she'd FORMERLY held joint title on the car, but no longer did, why in the hell would she be at the current address listed on the title?!

You people are not only assholes, you're moronic idiots who have no grasp of common sense and who don't even possess the intellectual ability to use the simplest forms of modern technology. In less than five minutes, I located several of her former employers, found out where she currently works, where she lives and what her phone number is. I also found that she's on and on Facebook, both of which list her location and other personal information.

We've paid all of her bills we're going to pay. Nine years and almost $40,000 later, we are free from any financial obligation ever tied to her. We've endured nine years of letters in our mailbox addressed to her and nine years of phone calls from collection agencies trying to track her down. We made it through the financial shit storm SHE walked away from by filing bankruptcy. We paid debts that weren't ours to pay and at times we were almost crushed by the burden of it. We not only survived those years, we came out on the other side and have thrived in spite of it.

So, Mr. Collection Agency, if you ever call us again, I'm going to be much more coherent and I'm going to tell you EXACTLY how to find her, including drawing you a fucking picture if I have to.

Have a lovely day, and...fuck you."

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

You Are Beautiful Like a Rainbow

There is a debt of gratitude I owe. To Mark, Denise, Kyle, Jeffrey, Brian and Eli, I thank you.

You were among the very first who allowed me into your lives and who opened my eyes, mind and heart. You showed me without even knowing it, what I had somehow always known; that “gay” and “lesbian,” are just labels, not definitions.

In your homes, I have seen your family pictures hanging from the walls and they remind me of the pictures strewn around my home. “We are all brothers and sisters,” those pictures whisper.

You have shown me wit, intelligence, humor, compassion, friendship and generosity beyond measure. Together, we have laughed, cried and behaved sillier than adults probably should. You have literally doctored my family and I with compassion and diligence and you have visited me in the hospital when I was scared and in need of a comforting hand. You have defended me when I was incapable of defending myself and I am forever grateful.

We have remodeled bathrooms together, danced together, cooked for each other and shared the most intimate contents of our hearts. You have taught me more than you will ever know.

What you have taught me in part, is that being “gay” or “lesbian” is no different from being “French” or “American.” Those labels give one only a minute bit of insight into who a person actually is. They absolutely do not define you. What you have taught me, is that by keeping my heart and my mind open, the world suddenly becomes a much larger place filled with possibilities for creating friends and adding to my family.

Because of you, I now have so many other beautiful men and women in my life who make me smile and touch my heart. Without these dear and darling humans, my life would be such a drab and boring place to live. They have welcomed me into their homes and hearts with open arms and I just cannot thank them enough. I hope we have many, many more wonderful times together.

Your true colors shine through and I wish the world could see your light for what it is. My heart breaks for the injustices that stifle you and which attempt to deny you the pursuit of happiness. Please know that I stand with you, hand in hand, in your quest for equality.

To Kyle and Jeffery: I love you as though you’re brothers from another mother. I take pride in your successes and anguish over your losses and stumbles. I will always be here to hold your hands and go through it all with you, if you will allow me that privilege.

To Eli: There are things about you I will never forget. I ache that you are ill and that your time on the planet has been far too short. I hold in my heart funny and beautiful memories of a funny and beautiful man.

To Brian: Your generosity and warmth is amazing. You are kind and loving and thoughtful beyond reason. I’m so glad to call you “friend” and so happy that you are a good and loving partner to my Jeffrey.

To Mark and Denise: You two define “family” in such a beautiful way. Even through the exasperation and frustration I know has been felt at times you always know at the end of the day that you love each other without question. You have pulled together in extraordinary ways to care for your parents with love, humor and compassion. You are both wonderful and talented human beings whom I admire greatly.

So lovely people...thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my heart. You have added color, joy, love and humor to my life and have taught me invaluable lessons. I love you all.