Thursday, March 31, 2011

Emo Before Emo Had a Name

I am a complex individual.

No really.

Seriously. Stop laughing. It's not nice.

As I was saying, I am a complex individual. I am incredibly emotional, largely territorial, non-confrontational, passive-aggressive, day-dreamy, grumpy, not-so-much romantic, but highly sentimental and most of the time, antisocial. I am a conformist, but only on the outside. On the inside I'm all screamy and covered in tattoos and my hair is black and I have on an indordinate amount of black eyeliner and I probably don't return library books on time or rewind VHS tapes before I return them to the video store. Wait. No one rewinds their VHS tapes anymore because it's a dead technology even though I got in a huge argument with my high school boyfriend and swore that I would forever and ever use cassette tapes and VHS because I was resistant to those evil silver disks of doom and we nearly broke up over the fact he told me I was an idiot for thinking cassettes would make it to the next century.


In grade school I was a dork. A nerd, if you will. I was reading well beyond my grade level from Kindergarten on. I absorbed everything there was to learn and only wanted to please my teachers. In First grade Mrs. Pirrong told me to quit talking in class. After the third time she told me to stop talking she made me sit in the corner. I sobbed the entire time I was there and continued sobbing after I went back to my desk. I was crushed. I had disappointed her and myself and I was certain my mother was going to shun me like an Amish with a iPod. In Third grade I vurped (you know, when you burp and accidently puke a little?) and politely raised my hand in class and said, "Mrs. Elliott, I vomited." (My friend Stacie still laughs at me over that one.) What nine year old says "vomit"?? I was a chunky kid and unfortunately my last name was Bass. I still hear "Kristin Bass has a fat a$$" on those dark and lonely days. I had a mullet. I wore glasses AND braces.

Seventh grade was a time of remaking for me. I got my braces off in November of my first year of Junior High. I grew out the mullet and started using a curling iron. I had a pair of those wonderful flowered denim jeans. I popped my collar. I had a Michael J. Fox poster in my locker. I was in the Pep Club and while yes, I was in the Band, it didn't carry a huge stigma back then. Or if it did, we were all oblivious to it. I got my first kiss at 14 1/2. I loved everything about diagramming sentences.

High School was hard. I started dating at 15 1/2. Lost my virginity at 16. Had two pregnancy scares before I graduated. I dated one boy steadily for two solid years. After he dumped me (over the phone) (jerk) I went into a serious depression. My parents were convinced I was suicidal and anorexic. I starved myself in an effort to lose my "birthing hips" as my Biology teacher so lovingly told the class I posessed. I wanted so badly for someone to love the real me that I used sex as that magic potion to open the portal of acceptance. I wore a lot of black. I wrote a lot of dark poetry about death even though I've never had a suicidal day in my life. I cried daily. I maintained perfect grades through it all, still trying to please everyone around me. I had no desire to go to college, yet teachers and the guidance counselor told me I had to lest I risk wasting my potential. I missed my boyfriend and would have done anything to get him back. I dated a few of guys, I slept with a lot more. I was trying so desperately to find myself.

It wasn't until a few years ago my friend Stacie and I had this epiphany that we were emo before emo had a name. We were ridiculously emotional, tumultuously moody, desired things we didn't seem able to attain, we were obsessed with the dark, depressing side of everything, we cried a lot.....

If we were in high school now we would both totally look like this:

Okay, she nearly does. I envy her. Even today at 37, she has had green hair, pink hair, a fauxhawk and has her nose pierced. I just turned 38 and have gray hair and wear cardigan sweaters. She and I both sport a variety of tattoos, however all of mine are hidden because of some twisted fear I offend someone or be judged. I don't have my nose pierced because my husband says no. It's ridiculous. I'm a closet emo now. I've sold out.

When Abby was in Sixth grade and part of Seventh, she went through an emo phase. She was continually brooding and nearly broke the bank buying black eyeliner. My mother was convinced she was going to have a lazy eye because of her bangs covering one side of her face. Her father was bound and determined to "break" her of her hibernating in her room. I assured him she was fine. He said it wasn't normal to spend that much time alone in her room listening to loud music. I told him she was just figuring herself out.

Now as Eighth grade winds down, the brooding, angry emo-child has given way to a self-confident young lady. She is 100% perfectly fine. She wears a standard amount of eyeliner now. And she doesn't have a lazy eye. She likes to test boundaries and push limits, but she respects them when she finds them to be unmoveable. I love everything about her.

Sam is 12 and in Sixth grade. He's growing his hair out right now. He asks daily if he can dye it black. He writes in a journal. It is driving his father absolutely and swiftly UP THE STINKING WALL. "If I wanted three daughters I'd have had three daughters" is his standard quote. I usually don't point out the obvious flaws in this statement seeing as how he didn't actually choose the sex of his children by merely pushing a button and ordering them. I just assure him that Abby turned out fine and so will Sam. Sam is figuring out who he is right now and that's tough when you're full of emotion, go to a school full of country kids, have already surrendered to preach and yet still want so badly to wear your pants on the ground and use a skateboard as a mode of transportation. When Paul jumps on his back for being moody I occasionally drag out one of my very favorite pictures of he himself at age 15. He was a freckle-faced punk-looking kid with the wildest red LONG hair. I'd have so had a crush on him then. You know, if I hadn't been in Kindergarten and .....FIVE. But what I'm saying is, he had long hair. He intentionally broke the rules just for the sake of breaking them. He was mouthy. He was rebellious. He stole a stop sign. And look at him now. He is a responsible redneck adult. Wow. Talk about an oxymoron.

Kady is nine. She is me all over again. I see a lot of me in Abby, but Ab is an equal balance of her father and me. Kady? ALL ME, but with a princess diva flair. She desires and expects perfection from herself. A B on a report card sends her into a spiral of self-loathing. She wants to please every adult in her life. She wants to be everybody's friend and when they don't reciprocate it crushes her very soul. She cries almost daily.She sweats glitter. I said back when she was in First grade that I have been down the path she is on and I know what lies ahead for her.

I'm stockpiling journals, tissues and black eyeliner already.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spring Break 2011 or When Leslie Blair Saved My Daughter's Life

Last week was Spring Break. Ah....glorious Spring Break. This was the second year the kids and I spent the week in Yukon, OK, visiting my sister. Last year Mom spent the whole week with us and Paul and Pops stayed home. This year Mom, Pops and Paul all came down mid-week. Tuesday and Wednesday Sis and her husband had to work, so it was just me and the five kids. Tuesday we vegged out, played Wii and didn't do much of anything until Sis got home, then we went to the mall. A mall where they have a Lego store. Did you get that? THE PENN SQUARE MALL IN OKLAHOMA CITY HAS A LEGO STORE [insert 600 gazillion exclamation points]. Just reiterating it to you in the exact style my son announced it to me oh, about five bazillion times. The boy does love his Legos.

Toward the end of the excursion Sis said, "Come on, kids. Aunt Kiki is going to the Pandora store. Alone." Be still my heart! She sent me into the Pandora store to shop alone! I was a little light-headed walking through the door. While I would've like to have bought one of nearly everything I was a good girl and only bought a clip for my bracelet, or as I so redneckedly callled it to the clerk "a stopper". She didn't find me as charmingly backwoods as most.

Wednesday after lunch I took the kids to the park and worked on my savage flip flop tan, then we went to Sonic for free WiFi. Never have five kids and a redneck diva been so happy - half-price Sonic beverages and super fast internet. It was divine. We hogged a stall for nearly an hour.

Oh and? The Homeland off Mustang and Reno in Yukon, OK, is mega friendly. You should go sometime.

That evening when Mom, Pops and Paul got there we ate dinner and visited while the kids played in the street. See, we live on a dirt road. No street. Sis lives on a cul de sac and the kids found it insanely irresistible to play in. Even the two semi-morose teen and nearly-teen cavorted merrily in the street. I didn't get it, but I guess I didn't have to.

Thursday morning Dad had to have some tests done at the VA in the City so we did some shopping that afternoon and that evening while Sis worked at her second job, my brother-in-law took us all down to Bricktown. We visited Bass Pro because I think it's in our redneck contract somewhere that we cannot be in the vicinity of one without going inside and paying homage. All it took was a tweet that we were in Bricktown to prompt a query from one of my favorite OKCitians, Leslie Blair. She met us at Marble Slab where she partook of some amazing ice cream with us and while she says we didn't frighten her and that redneck is a language she fluently speaks, I still worry we scarred her for life.

She did save my youngest child's life, though, and for that I thank her. She also said in exchange for her heroic actions she expected a blog post about it. I splurge and included it in the title. Leslie, you are very welcome. See, a car full of punks came speeding through a parking lot looking for a rumble (ooh I just had a Happy Days flashback) just as Kady stepped from between two cars. Leslie heroically grabbed my child and pulled her from harm's way. Moments later, after I could breathe again, I looked ahead of the group to see the two of them holding hands like they were BFF's. Leslie said Kady looked up at her and said, " wanna hold my hand?" I guess someone saving you from being a pavement pancake will make you want to hold their hand. Yeah, my heart melted. Or maybe that was the after effects of it having stopped mere moments before. As we were heading back to the cars to trek to the OKC Memorial, I hopped in Leslie's car and said, "Meet y'all there!" Paul didn't think much of it, but I'm pretty sure my brother-in-law thought I was either running away from home or was being abducted. Bless his heart.

The OKC Memorial is a great experience when you're with someone who works for Oklahoma Tourism. Just sayin'. (Okay, gratuitous Leslie adoration completed.)

Friday Pops had to have one more test back at the VA, but when that was done we all caravanned to Arcadia via THE EXPRESSWAY AT 4:30PM ON THE FRIDAY OF SPRING BREAK. Yeah, the heart-stopping the night before when Kady nearly became roadkill? NOTHING compared to the panic attack I fought off all the way through the City. Boy howdy, I am very spoiled to my little town and its little traffic. We visited Pops on Route 66 and it was great, though. I began to feel my fingers again by the time we had picked out our sodas and went to pay. I got a Hot Lips blackberry soda which gave me heartburn, but it was still divine. Paul and Kady each chose brands of root beer they had never tried before. Abby got a Jolt. (A 14 year old on Jolt -- think Tigger. On meth.) Sam has given up soda for Lent, so I may have told a little fib when I told him that cream soda isn't technically a soda really. ("Yes, it has "soda" in its name, but it's really not soda. Really. Sure I'm sure, son.") I mean, I wanted the kid to get a soda from Pops' for cryin' out loud. God won't hold him accountable. God will hold Sam's lying mother accountable.

We got the round barn in Arcadia 15 minutes past close, but the kids weren't broken-hearted. Abby looked at it and said dryly, "Wow. A barn. A round barn. Whoopie. Can we go home now?"

And home we went.

Life is back to normal again. Conner is back here with his Kiki after having spent a week at the beach. The kids are back in school. Abby is back with her boyfriend again. Sam is still soda-free. Kady is still a drama queen. Paul is still a redneck. And I need a nap.

Pretty much status quo.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Man, I wish I'd brought my laptop on vacation. I have blog fodder for weeks right now! Spring Break with my family is always interesting. Check back next week!

Friday, March 04, 2011

Because I'm Still a Grammaric

I saw on Facebook, courtesy of Melanie, that today is National Grammar Day!What with me being a Grammar Nazi and all, this day is worthy of my celebration. I'm by no means perfect in all things grammar, but I do try. I try hard. Texting has created an entire generation of grammar sloths (as well as spelling nincompoops, but I shan't digress on that right now - I'll wait until International English Spelling Day on October 9th) and it is a HUGE pet peeve of mine.

Since I have a barfing nine-year-old on my couch right now I don't have time for a lengthy tirade of all the things that bother me when I read blogs, status updates, tweets and text messages, so instead I'll just quote from a post I wrote two years ago on National Grammar Day. Also, you should know that when I wrote this I had no idea it was National Grammar Day. Yeah, that's just how awesome I am.

A person who is addicted to alcohol is an alcoholic. Correct?

If someone declares themselves to be addicted to chocolate they call themselves a "chocoholic", right? Or if they say they are addicted to shopping they say they are a "shopaholic", right?


The "ohol"in alcoholic is from the word ALCOHOL. According to Wiktionary the suffix "ic" is "used to form adjectives from nouns with the meaning 'of or pertaining to'". If someone wanted to declare themselves addicted to chocolate they would be a chocolatic. Or perhaps a chocolic. A person who likes to shop is a shoppic.

Make note of it.

That being re-posted and off my chest yet again, I bid you a Happy National Grammar Day.

Now...where's my Lysol?

We....the people

Originally published in The Miami News-Record, July 2020 Everything is different now. I’m not just talking about masks and social distancing...