Reflections

As the new year approaches, I feel the need to reflect on 2013.  At least that’s what Facebook told me to do and according to Mark Zuckerberg the highlights of this year included a lot of drinking and dragging my kids from place to place.  Yay me!  Carrying on the family tradition of drunk parenting.  Humph.  I hate you Facebook.

In all honesty, its been a very good year for me, I created my own position within the company I’ve worked for for 13 years, started performing again in a most fulfilling way, continued to hone my improv skills, reconnected with lots of old, positive friends, made new friends that support me in a meaningful way and started writing seriously again.  And yet despite all that I’ve accomplished and all I have to look forward to in 2014, the terrible monster inside me that tells me I’m not good enough is still lurking inside.  A friend of mine told me he calls his Carl.  I’ve decided to call mine Nancy, as in Negative Nancy.

Nancy is a real bitch.  She is constantly telling me I’m not good enough, not smart enough, not pretty enough, not wealthy enough, not thin enough, not anything enough!  Despite many great triumphs this year, she is harping inside me that this is all a facade and that everyone will figure out I’m really just a scared 14 year old girl who doesn’t know what the fuck she’s doing.  And Nancy is right.  Most of the time, I’m totally faking it.  I don’t know what’s going on, I don’t feel confident, I don’t feel good enough, I’m heavier than I should be, I’m don’t manage money well, I can hardly manage my day to day life….but if I just keep telling Nancy to go fuck herself long enough to get through whatever it is, then things are okay.

Nancy has been with me my whole life. Not in that fucked up Sybil multiple personality kind of way, but you know, the regular fucked up way.  I grew up in one of the wealthiest counties in the US and we were far from being anywhere close to the median income.  Thus Nancy started out very early in life comparing everything about me to everyone else.  My parents were the first of anyone I knew to divorce.  Nancy made sure I knew what a freak I was about this and used every opportunity to point out whenever another parent would look at me with pity.  If there is one thing I despise most it is pity.  I’m strong, I stick up for myself and even though I may end up in the fetal position crying my eyes out from time to time for no apparent reason, I don’t want to be pitied.

Nancy whispers into my ear all the time that everyone I know is having a “let’s have fun without Amanda party.”  And she’s right.  I’m sure there’s a party going on right now somewhere, where everyone is toasting and yucking it up over how much fun they’re having simply BECAUSE I’m not there.  You sons of bitches- if I ever walk in on one of these parties- well I don’t know what I’ll do- but the party will definitely be over, because…well, I’ll be there and then what’s the point of the party?  So there.

Nancy second guesses every compliment I ever receive.  Now, I do have some manners.  I know that when someone gives you a compliment you should just say, “thank you.” But inside, Nancy is telling me they don’t really mean it, they’re just saying it to be nice, they really just feel sorry for you and what a fool you are.  Fuck you Nancy!  Why can’t I just receive a compliment and enjoy it?

Nancy is even looking back at me every time I look in the mirror.  She is sure to point out every imperfection.  She especially likes to turn the mirror to the magnifying side so I can get a real close up look.  Ahhh..I’d never noticed that one little black hair that’s growing out of the wrong place on my face, or those fine lines beginning to form around my mouth and eyes, or the black heads that go unnoticed by everyone else, but in that magnified mirror, well they’re like the goddamn Alps.  She sees every dimple in my thighs, every stretch mark, every scar, every new spot (my mother calls them age spots- I like to think I’m just super hip and am developing a leopard print on my face- because, ya know, leopard print really never goes out of style).

2013 is the first year that I made a New Year’s resolution and actually stuck to it.  Now, it wasn’t very hard, but at least I accomplished it.  I ate on the fine china every goddamn day of 2013.  And even though Nancy was against it from the get go, she did not win!  I’ve even become a bit superstitious about it.  If I have something extra special happening that day, I make sure I eat off the fine china or I fear things may not go so well.

I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to fully kick Nancy’s ass.  I’m pretty sure she was born with a black belt, nunchucks, and chinese throwing stars.  But, I’m going to try very hard in 2014 to ignore her nasty comments, to tell her to go fuck herself everyday, to tell her she’s the one with the complex and to evict her from my head.  They (whoever “they” are) always say you should make resolutions that are attainable to achieve a sense of accomplishment.  I’m pretty sure Nancy will be with me to the grave, but if I can just learn to duct tape her ugly little mouth shut more often- well I’ll take that as a success.

Elf on the Shelf

Disclaimer:  If you think the “Elf on the Shelf”  is the greatest thing since sliced bread- then beat it sucker- this post ain’t for you.  If you’re a relatively new parent and considering purchasing an Elf on the Shelf- then let this post serve as fair warning.  And for those of you like me that have stuff to do, I don’t know, like earn a living…you’ll appreciate this (I hope).

It all started out so innocently about 7 years ago.  My eldest was a lonely only and just 3 years old.  I was still bathed in the hope that I could be the mother I always longed to have; create cute family traditions, wear an apron and greet my children with cookies and milk when they got home from school.  Ahh…what a fool I was.  I don’t know why I thought the fact that a child had grown in my womb would somehow change my crass and cynical personality.  But, when your little one is still just being naughty by not eating her peas, or saying no all the time, you somehow think you can still achieve the unattainable.

The most wonderful time of the year was swiftly approaching and I was starting to feel the anxiety of creating the best Norman Rockwell holiday season for my small family.  My boss lady/dear friend and I were having lunch at a beautiful gourmet restaurant, surrounded by the city’s most fashionable.  I was telling her of the trials and tribulations of the terrible 3’s (the terrible twos are just a myth- created by someone who couldn’t find some good alliteration to go with the number 3).  And then she so kindly offered some friendly advice that she had just learned of from a friend of hers:  The Elf on the Shelf!  It was the latest and greatest parenting tool that you could only find in the most elite boutiques.  The Elf would magically appear just after Thanksgiving and then keep an eye on your little ones and report back to Santa.  An easy peasy way of getting your little ones to behave- right?  Wrong!!  Mind you, she’d never done this with her own child, who was practically grown at this point, so she was blind to the terrible horrors she was about to unleash into my life.

For those of you unfamiliar with this little demon spawn, let me explain.  You (the parent) are supposed to read a cutey patootie booksie about a cutey patootie elfie that the jolly fat guy himself has somehow sent to your house – but don’t tell your friends because they might not be as special as you and have their own private elf.  Each night after your little one is so sweetly tucked into bed… after fifteen trips to the bathroom, 47 bedtime stories and 75 billion other excuses for not sleeping….you’re supposed to REMEMBER to go move the fucking elf to a different location.  Then, oh what fun, when they wake up each morning they get to search the house to find this little motherfucker hanging out somewhere.

Well, soon word began to spread, the elf was no longer available exclusively in high end boutiques.  Every fucking card shop, drug store and convenience store was selling these little shitbirds.  And soon, moving the little fucker- which I could barely remember to do anyway, was no longer good enough.  Pictures were popping up on Facebook with the elf getting into mischief, eating cookies and spilling milk, taking a shit on the toilet, or tearing up long rolls of toilet paper.  What the fuck??  I thought this little shit was supposed to make my kids behave by reporting back to Santa- not SHOW my kids how to misbehave.  And besides all that, I can barely remember to move the blessed thing each night to a new location- much less give him creative activities.  You know who has to clean that shit up??  Me- that’s who!!  Like I need one more thing to do in my life.

And how many times, have my children asked forlornly, “Look mommy, the elf is in the same place as yesterday. Do you think he forgot to go see Santa?”  The answer is too many to count.  Fuck- knife to my heart- just one more item to add to my long list of parenting failures.  “Oh no, sweetheart, I think he just found that spot so comfy he decided to go back to the same place.”  Yeah, they only buy that lie one time- but when you’ve forgotten for 3 or more nights in a row, well let’s just say the magic starts to wear off.  Even they stop looking for him- the bastard.

Now, I know, I have a lot of very talented friends.  They love to post cute things their little elf is doing around the house on Pinterest and Facebook.  Some of them even find time to move the little motherfucker several times a day.  I’m happy for them that they get such a kick out of tricking their children and creating more work for themselves.  But, stop making the rest of us losers feel bad.

And on top of it all, I’m now hearing that having one elf is not good enough.  Oh no…-you must have an elf for each of your children so they can take it with them when they’re grown and shove this beautiful, consumer-driven tradition down the throats of their own little ones.

Today is the day after Thanksgiving, and I’m going to have to have that little shit show up sooner or later.  I look forward to the days when my children can look back and laugh- or perhaps they’ll just be crying in therapy.  Either way, at least I won’t have to move the fucking elf anymore.