Kids, Love

Kid Love


Grown ups laugh and say kids can’t possibly fall in love. But it’s more that they don’t know quite how to do it yet. It’s like that thrill of putting on your first pair of roller skates, setting off and gaining speed, flailing with the scary and thrilling momentum, falling and getting scraped, maybe crying a little or surprising yourself by crying too much. Eventually you’ll figure it out, the adults say. Try something new; maybe you’ll discover something. No one gets it exactly right the first time. No adult ever stands over you laughing when you fall, telling you it’s not real, that you can’t possibly ever roller skate, and that you don’t even have the faintest chance of beginning to understand how.

When I was five years old I fell in love with a boy named Adam Rainy who had what seemed like every Lego in the world. We ate alphabet soup together. We played doctor, but a much more innocent version than what you’re thinking of right now. He told me every day as he held my hand on the bus ride home from afternoon kindergarten that he loved me. He’d smile and his blue eyes would shine with sincerity as he promised that he’d marry me one day, as long as Kristina, his best friend’s twin sister, never loved him. After all, I was his second most beautiful girl in the world.

We went to Kristina’s 6th birthday party at Ronald McDonald’s playhouse and I felt special in my new pink dress. I’d always wanted to go there. It was so hip and I had a date. I remember I had trouble enjoying myself and wondered why. My little hands shook when Kristina opened Adam’s present. I saw how he looked at her and my small heart broke. She was my friend, but I wanted her to get run over by a school bus.

I went to the bathroom and took deep breaths and couldn’t believe what I’d just wished would happen to my friend on her special day! I looked in the mirror and hated what I saw.

Every day Adam made me the same promise. You if not Kristina. Second most beautiful girl in the world. I felt thankful. I was so happy someone thought I was beautiful. I was special. And second most special in the world is better than everyone else except one after all.

When Adam moved away, I cried for what felt like months, but was probably only a few days. I believed I’d lost my soul mate, something I’d seen in movies. I’d never be anyone’s second most beautiful girl again and I was devastated.

Kristina told me how sorry she was I’d lost Adam. She said she knew we were in love. That made me feel even worse for drawing stick men pictures of her dying in fires, falling out of a burning building, her hair for some reason falling out on the way down so she looked ugly and bald.

I tried to be her friend that summer, but I kept thinking about Adam, and those drawings, and one day I squirted glue in her thick curly hair when she wasn’t looking. And I wiped a booger on her jacket. And I stared at my crooked teeth in every mirror wishing I could be her.

When my mom told me we were moving away I pretended to be sad, but I knew it was my chance to be a good girl again. I would keep my boogers to myself. I would be happy for my new friends if they had pretty hair.

In first grade I started dating Chris. He told me he’d always loved this cute blonde girl named Nicole but she’d never liked him back. He wanted her to marry him on the playground but she’d said no. Once I married Chris, Nicole started hanging around, offering to help him clean out his desk at recess. I cried but I kept my boogers to myself.

To this day I catch myself hating blondes. Pangs of jealousy hit me when I see girls with perfect curly hair. And every Nicole I’ve ever met has been a fucking bitch.

Crazy, Family

It gets better – my mom is a nut job but I seem to be okay


I saw a douchebag dad screaming at his kid the other day in public. Out for a family stroll along the California coastline, on the type of pristinely beautiful day I’ve dreamed about my whole life, he grabbed his son by his backpack and started to shake him, eventually shoving him forward while screaming, “You better keep walking or you’re gonna get it, you little piece of shit!” His wife kept walking by his side, strutting in Lululemon yoga pants with her perfectly straightened “blonde” hair, smiling straight ahead in her designer sunglasses.

The dad continued to scream and create a scene, the son looking downward while his dad ordered him to keep walking, apparently completely unconcerned about the costs of his 10 year old son’s future anxiety issues and therapy bills. And the mom kept smiling tightly and strutting along, her thin muscular legs actually looking pretty hot in her overpriced yoga pants, considering that her husband was fully gray and looked borderline elderly, and she had to be at least forty-five.

My new friend and I had just finished swapping stories about our triumphant survival of traumatic childhoods, subtly trying to outdo each other, commenting on our hours spent in therapy or lack thereof. My mom crashed her Subaru into my stepdad’s Suburban, more than once; hers blew weed smoke into her face when she was a child, teasing her and calling her a goody two shoes when she acted upset. I lived in a moldy trailer; her family was homeless for a while and then lived in an RV. Her parents had multiple diagnoses; mine refused to see mental health professionals…

We laughed so much during our hike that anyone eavesdropping must’ve thought we were nuts for finding what we were saying even remotely funny. But that’s the thing about traveling straight through the eye of the insanity storm and making it out the other side – it’s so absurd you have to laugh. It’s so impossible to believe that somehow you’re okay, and that somehow the borderline stranger walking next to you atop an oceanside cliff in paradise has been there before and is okay too, that you nearly trip and fall off the cliff together, guffawing at the unlikelihood of it all.

When we saw the douchebag dad, we were on our way back to our cars and we had just finished off comparing notes, agreeing that most of it probably couldn’t happen these days. “The 80s and 90s were crazy.” “Domestic violence laws are different now.” “The cops came to my house every night and never actually did a thing.” “Today that would never happen.”

Apparently being out of the woods has made us delusional. We’ve lost sight of the fear a parent can instill in a child with a scream, a hand held high, a threat, or even just a few harsh words. We think it’s all better, because we seem to be all better. Or at least we hope so.

Later that night I felt like shit for not saying something, for not somehow standing up for that poor little guy. No matter what he did, or his father thought he did, he didn’t deserve to be berated and belittled, screamed at and shaken and shoved in public. I texted with my new friend about what we could have, or perhaps should have done. And in the end, we somewhat reluctantly agreed that we felt okay about being a couple of girls who had done nothing at all. We know from experience that getting a dad like that all worked up would probably lead nowhere good for that boy. And we know from experience that they both would’ve most likely been mortified and angered by negative attention from a couple of normal-looking, young-ish California girls.

That night I wished I could somehow tell that kid it gets better. Like those YouTube videos to gay teens about their promising futures, the hot college parties that await them, and acceptance from their future peers, I hoped that something would get the message across to that blonde boy in his backpack: “Your dad’s crazy, but you might just end up escaping out the other side okay. Just hang on. It gets better.”

So I’m starting this blog in hopes of gaining a few followers, perhaps some who need to hear that it gets better, perhaps some who have the power to convey that to someone who doesn’t quite believe it yet, and hopefully some who can read my stories about my often crazy life and laugh and relate.

My mom’s a crazy bitch, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love her. She probably traumatized me, but she probably also made me stronger, and more creative, and indirectly taught me to be more aware of the impact my behavior has on others.

It got better, and I’m okay now… I think. 😉