My life in buckets

As I mentioned in my post Of College and closets, me and W and the kids had an overnighter last Saturday at a resort in the Pocono Mountains.  A college chum was throwing a big birthday bash for her hubby’s 50th.  Five-oh.  How did we ever get to be as old as our parents?

Anyway, college pal paid for the whole thing — rooms, food and activities — for 100 of her closest friends and family members.

My friend has done rather well for herself.  Turns out that she was just promoted to Chief Technology Officer for a Fortune 500 company.  Cool fact: She now has access to the company jet, which means she’s practically Wonder Woman.  Sweet.

This is all hard to process because among our peers my friend is most famous for drinking beer out of shoes.  Who knew this would lead to promotions, enormous wealth and jets?

The weekend was a blast.  We told old stories and drank.  And drank and told old stories.  I had a hang-over that lasted into today, so you know it was a good time.

I’ve known my college friends for nearly three decades now.  That’s most of my life.  We met at that crucial time when we were all trying to figure out who we were and where we were going.  Our bonds are forged in steel.  Steel made moist and slick with beer, grain alcohol and something sticky like Ouzo or maybe peppermint schnapps.

With that said, W is relatively new to my life.  We’ve been together for about six years now and are still weaving our history.  Each day is a new stitch.

Last weekend seemed to raise some issues for her.  Before you start thinking that I’m super-intuitive, I should probably tell you that she tipped me off.

“This weekend raised some issues for me,” she said.

W only knows the me that I’ve been presenting to the world in recent years.  Short hair.  Clothes purchased in the young men’s section of department stores.  Dr. Martens.  Tattoos.  Chivalry.

She doesn’t know college butch, who wasn’t a butch at all.  I think the stories about picking up guys threw her.  Again, she told me as much.

“Those stories about picking up guys threw me,” she said.

W never met the me with long hair and painted nails who had one-night stands.  With men.

If I had a do-over button, I’d push it without hesitation.  Multiple times just like I was waiting for a slow-to-arrive elevator.  One of my regrets in life is that I’m not a gold-star lesbian.  Potential.  Totally wasted.

I never liked having sex with guys.  Never.  Not once.

I was trying to fit in.  To be boy crazy like my friends.  Isn’t that what I was supposed to be doing?  Who I was supposed to be?

But it was more than that.

I was looking for comfort and closeness and love.  That was my heart’s desire.  I thought that if I could just find the right guy …

Maybe even the wrong guy would do.  I tested that theory on numerous occasions.

I didn’t know it back then, but the closeness that I so craved would never be found in the arms of a man.  I’m not built that way.  Good one, God.

When W cuddles close to me, I have everything that I want — that I have ever wanted — within my arms’ reach.  It’s the woman-to-woman physical closeness intertwined with intimacy that makes me feel complete.

Those other snippets from decades past are just that — random parts and pieces that never added up to me.  The long blood-red nails.  The long hair.  The men.  I’ve shed these appendages like a too-tight snakeskin.

When I think of all of these former selves, I visualize a row of buckets.  Actually, a closet full, but that’s way too easy.  The buckets allow me to keep track of all of my transformations.  Plus, the ergonomic handles are convenient for toting them around year after year.

It’s like some demented version of Fantasia but with the role of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice being played by this butch lesbian instead of Mickey Mouse. Seriously, folks, this is how my brain works.  Good one, God.

For example, there’s school-age me, and crazy college me and married-to-a-man me.  That’s my bucket list.

Personally, I’d like to bury the buckets, but their contents scream too much at night and what would the neighbors think?

I have stuffed those past versions of me into plastic pails because I’m mostly embarrassed by them.  The little girl who randomly picked out boy classmates to like.  The college co-ed who snuck guys into her dorm room.  The young woman who committed to a man “til death do us part.”

They were weak and scared and vulnerable.  I still feel weak and scared and vulnerable now and again, but if you ask me what’s going on I’ll tell you “nothing” and then threaten to put you in a submission hold like a Boston Crab or Crossface Chicken Wing.

There were glimpses of what was to come, and I talk about those things more freely.  Like the tomboy me who could launch a kickball farther than any guy in the fourth grade or the newlywed me who used to “borrow” her husband’s hidden porn stash.

I guess the trick now is to work on loving all of those parts of me.  Because you really can’t just lop them off with a straightedge and put them in a bucket.  That’s really gross.  And very unsanitary.

And straight out of Hoarders or Silence of the Lambs.

So cliché.

Just like long red fingernails.

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7 responses to “My life in buckets

  1. Great post. and I personally think you nailed it with this statement right here:
    “I guess the trick now is to work on loving all of those parts of me. Because you really can’t just lop them off with a straightedge and put them in a bucket.” But of course who hasn’t tried to do exactly what you describe…and with the same degree of non-success. I’m finally resorting to the same thing…”working on loving all of those parts of me…” This post serves as such a reminder to myself. Thanks.

  2. I have a couple of those same buckets. We are definitely works in progress, but I’ve made a commitment to try to forgive myself for things I didn’t know any better to prevent and to be kind to myself, which is always a challenge. We’re all just trying to find our way. I guess it takes some of us longer. ❤

  3. Really good post. I agree we all have different parts; I think that’s normal and probably healthy as long as they are all cooperating and none of them has gone rogue. I mention in one of my posts that I think the whole long red nails thing is just an unconscious attempt to emulate strong female predatory animals, e.g. wolf, lioness, etc. They hunt, they get blood on their mouth (red lipstick) and blood on their claws (nail polish). Strong females basically, who can take care of themselves. If you can wrestle someone into a submission hold, I reckon you’re a formidable enough woman that you don’t need any nail polish! 🙂

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