When I was a little girl, my Mama always taught me that life could unfold however I dreamed. I could write, I could act, I could do comedy or become a fucking surgeon if I wanted. Early on I knew that life’s potential was a garden that needed to be nurtured and fed, and eventually beautiful buds of success would appear in bright colors. I would get multiple degrees from prestigious universities and marry a rich man, drive a Volvo, and have glowing golden-haired children with pink bows in their hair. I would exercise for fun (because that’s what rich, successful people do, right?), have a constant tan and perfect skin, and be able to travel the world with the never ending prosperity and high cotton-ness I would experience. Little did I know in those younger years how life would ultimately tar and feather my ass and drag me through 4 states until I was left broke and alone with a drinking problem and no direction whatsoever. Funny story, huh?
Growing up in small town Louisiana, a girl learns much about how to maintain dignity, show respect, and be charming. I learned early on that if I didn’t say “yes ma’am” in response to any girl a day older than myself, my face would get popped and my ego bruised. As I progressed into preteen/teen-dom I also learned how to NOT act with boys. Mama would say, “Never call them. You have to seem unavailable.” “Make ’em think you could give a shit if they like you or not! You’re way better than that.” Neither of which I EVER did. I was never great at covering up my emotions. Also, Southern girls ALWAYS wear lipstick. You just do. You look healthier with it. My lips, though, always blend with the pale creamy color of my complexion. My Mama always said I looked “washed out.” A lady also has to maintain a sense of gracefulness and delight when doing ANYTHING. This means, you smile the whole time someone is speaking to you. You make them feel comfortable in your presence. No matter if you are losing your mind listening to how they gained 6 pounds over Christmas break, because they had so much leftover cornbread dressing and just couldn’t stay out of the refrigerator when they knew it was sitting in there spoiling. And posture. It’s all about your posture. Slumped shoulders do not get you a husband in the delta.
For the most part, I was not born to do these things. It’s not in me. It never has been. These small things that I was typically incapable of performing are just footnotes to the slew of insufficiencies I felt during my childhood. By my early 20’s, I knew I would not be able to fulfill those dreams that my Mama embedded in me (at least anytime soon–LATE BLOOMER 4 LYFE). No Volvo–I am the proud owner of a Jeep with 250,000 miles on it, but it’s MINE. No lasting love or money–There have been many “loves” but not the love that will stick around for longer than a few years. Maybe the money inadequacies play a part in that. God knows I have no fucking idea. Definitely no children–Yet. I will adopt or get artificially inseminated if I have to because we all need someone to care for us on our deathbed, and I don’t want some bitch I don’t know giving me my pain meds. I was also never the girl that dreamed of her wedding day. That shit terrifies me. I don’t want a dress, a venue, eyes on me, or even necessarily a husband. My Daddy, on the other hand, managed to get married 4, YES 4, times, but I can’t even find a man with a car or a job. WTH is that? I do want a partner, though. A compadre. Someone to tell me I’m being irrational, or funny, or that my outfit looks great and to cuddle with me until i get annoyed by it because too much cuddling can be irritating. I did, however, develop a determination that drove me to multiple dead ends and u-turns, in search of finding myself, someone, or something to give me purpose. That’s what it’s all about, right?
During this journey I am managing to find my footing and beginning to work towards something that somewhat resembles a normal life. It began with sobriety, because let’s face it, an alcoholic can rarely get shit done. Now I am living alone in Jackson, Mississippi, attending nursing school at a community college, working at Whole Foods full-time, and being broker than MC Hammer. I can assure you, however, that soberlife does NOT mean boring. Approaching my 30th birthday, I’ve begun to reminisce about these life events that have shaped me into a less than conventional southern maiden.