Moving in Stereo, Noblesse Oblige and the Double Standard

doesntplaywell

It’s so easy to blow up your problems
It’s so easy to play up your breakdown
It’s so easy to fly through a window
It’s so easy to fool with the sound

It’s so tough to get up
It’s so tough
It’s so tough to live up
It’s so tough on you-

“Moving in Stereo”- The Cars

If I had to guess, I’m not the lone ranger as far as anxiety issues go.  In the middle of the shit storm there is nowhere so alone, especially when I’m surrounded by people and I have to maintain a professional, cool façade no matter what.  I am one of those people who is never more alone than when I’m in a crowd.  Dealing with people is twice as difficult when all I want to do is run and get away from them.

I think that was a good part of the reason why my health went south so quickly about 10 years ago.  I was pretending to be someone I wasn’t, and the façade couldn’t hold.

Thankfully I don’t get the panic attacks and what I call extreme anxiety spells terribly often anymore, but here in the past few weeks I have discovered that I am just as vulnerable to them as I ever have been.  Part of the solution, or at least a way to cope with anxiety in a healthier manner, seems counterintuitive: I have to admit to my vulnerability.  I have to realize when I’m trying to move too fast, do too much, or when I’m shouldering blame that doesn’t belong to me, and I’m not good at it.  My idea of boundaries is to be completely open or completely shut down, which I know isn’t healthy.   I’m one of those people who always feels as if I owe other people something, even when I don’t.

specialshortbus

When I was growing up I had the concept of noblesse oblige drilled into my head.  Because I was sickly and my medical costs were outrageous, I was made to feel guilty about that.  I was also made to feel as if my medical issues were my fault and that I had no right to complain if I didn’t have clothing that fit right, or if I didn’t have glasses when I needed them.  Because my medical issues were expensive, and I was painfully aware of it, I was the one who helped Dad out at his shop, and I was the one who did all the household chores when Mom had her back injury and was bedridden- while my sisters played sports (which I couldn’t do because of my health issues) and had actual social lives (which I didn’t have anyway.)

Because I had certain abilities, my parents and even (some) teachers held me to a higher standard than the rest of the kids.  I was expected to do without, to tolerate more, to do more, to be more, to accomplish more, and not just in my areas of strength.  I still remember my 9th grade algebra teacher almost throwing a fit at me because I truly struggled to get through that stuff.  Higher math did not make a lick of sense to me then, and it doesn’t make a lick of sense to me now.  I can get through basic math, and I can understand percentages and ratios, but that’s about it.   He accused me of “slacking” in his class (as in why could I get straight As in every other subject but his.)  The truth was that I spent a lot more time and effort trying to get a B or C in that class than I did getting straight As in everything else.

I got grounded for any grade lower than a B, regardless of the subject, while it was perfectly fine for either of my sisters to maintain a C average- across the board- without inviting scrutiny.  To her credit (even though she was a ruthless and sadistic bitch) my oldest sister, in spite of her average IQ, did manage to be an honor student (didn’t take much then, and takes even less now) and wormed her way into Miami University (one of the most expensive colleges in Ohio.)  Eventually she did graduate and get a degree, and a submissive husband from a wealthy family, but Dad pretty much ended up paying for a 7 year long bacchanalia.  Few women have ever had the tolerance for alcohol as Butterface.  Even when she ended up in jail for DUI (which she got out of, thanks to her future husband’s family’s connections) Dad put up bail money for her so she wouldn’t have to spend the night in jail.  He also made sure to point out to me that he would not do the same for me, as according to him, I “know better,” and she doesn’t.

beerdinner

Granted, I was very clandestine with my high school/ college drinking.  Since I could only afford to go to a local technical college (all Dad’s money was going toward Butterface’s beer, and anything else she couldn’t get financial aid or her boyfriends to pay for) if I wanted to enjoy a fifth of MD20/20, I’d simply to go to a friend’s house, get blitzed, and crash where I partied.  Oh, and I did.  Frequently.

I don’t know why so many years later I get bitter about my past.  A lot of the things that happened to me weren’t fair, and I was held to a number of double standards, but it could have been a lot worse.

I can’t balance out the inequities of life, but I do need to end the guilt trips.  I’m tired of being made to feel guilty for taking up valuable oxygen, and I’m tired of believing that the only time I’m worth anything is when I’m overextended and burned out.  I’m also tired of taking the blame for others’ ineptitude, and feeling as if I always have to take up their slack.

I’m only human, and the gifts that I’ve been given have always been balanced with gaping holes.  I have some wiring that other people don’t have, but I’m missing a lot of wiring too.

What I gleaned from the double standards imposed on me was that it was perfectly OK for me to give and do to the end of my strength and ability, and not to expect anything in return.  To a point that’s OK, but perhaps my recent forays into the wonderful world of anxiety are sending a message.  I can only do so much, and beyond that, tough titty.

unwilling

Greetings from Nattyvana- Wish You Were Here!- and Sometimes The Possum Really is Dead

 

Nattyvana: That drunk-and-stupid state of mind one reaches after consuming a 12 pack or more of Jerry’s favorite Anheuser-Busch product- Natural Lite.

Never mind that Natty is only 4.2% alcohol. Never mind, but I can only imagine that horse piss has more flavor.  It is a “value priced” beer after all.  It takes persistence, but if you drink enough of it, you can get shitfaced.   Personally if my aim were to get shitfaced, I’d go for something with a lot more punch, like Jägermeister (35%- 70 proof)- if you can get past the fact it tastes just like Formula 44-  or just plain straight vodka (Stolichnaya is 40% or 80 proof.) 

To me drinking beer to get drunk is like driving through the ghetto to get to work.  You’ll get there eventually, but it takes longer, smells worse, and carries a higher element of danger than taking the freeway.  I don’t like the taste of beer anyway.  Natty isn’t the worst beer out there (take it from someone who used to party with people who drank Schaefer Light) but it’s pretty nasty even for beer.   It’s chock full of all-natural formaldehyde, with a wispy aroma vaguely reminscent of onion-tainted sweat socks and a despondent resignation to a life of obscurity and ignominy.  Whether or not Natural Lite is derived from anything “natural” I don’t know.  I do know that “all-natural” does not always mean “beneficial” or “healthy.”

All-Natural Ways to Die (for instance)

*Arsenic is an all-natural heavy-metal poison. (not to be confused with the 80’s heavy-metal band, Poison, though I can cite far better examples of that music genre)

*Ebola is an all-natural deadly virus.

*Black Mamba venom is an all-natural venomous poison.

*You can be eaten by an all-natural shark, should you choose to go into the water.

*You can be mauled and partially devoured by an all-natural grizzly bear.

*You can fall off of an all-natural cliff, or asphyxiate on all-natural bat guano fumes in an all-natural bat cave.

If you’re a possum, you can have the (mostly) all-natural Lilo the GSD/Chow mix snap your neck for you.

I’m glad I don’t get drunk anymore, if only because I have to be somewhat aware and sane to handle stuff like this.  The dogs do occasionally bring home some rather grisly finds. 

I really do feel sorry for the woodland creatures who dare to venture into our back yard.  This I think is probably Possum #4 for Lilo.  Her possum kill rate is rather surprising given that Lilo is 1. crosseyed, 2. bow-legged, and 3. slow.  Yet Lilo (unlike most dogs) is primarily an ambush hunter.  She lies in wait and then springs on her prey when they are unaware.  Clara and Sheena hunt like regular dogs- flushing and chasing.  Perhaps Lilo has had success with possums because they too are slow and low to the ground and can’t see that well.  I still feel sorry for the critters, though.

This poor unfortunate beast was immobile but still appeared to be breathing when Lilo deposited it in front of the kitchen door.  Jerry assumed that it was simply “playing possum” and acting dead so he scooped it up and put it back outside.  Sadly I found it the following morning, deader than a doornail.  Apparently it wasn’t just an act, or it was too badly injured to recover.  I tried to tell Jerry that I thought Lilo had snapped its neck, but hope springs eternal.  I was hoping she hadn’t mortally wounded it. If it did wake up I wanted it to be outside in its natural habitat, so if it were just stunned or playing possum it wouldn’t be waking up out in the foyer.  That’s all I need, some wild critter staring up at me with a mouthful (possums have 50 teeth- 8 more than dogs- which is a scary thought) of razor sharp teeth snarling at me as I’m trying to let the dogs out for their morning constitutional.

I very seldom drink anyway, and when I do, I drink wine, because I like the taste of wine.  Just a small glass will take me on a trip to mellow town. I don’t need to get shitfaced on it.  The last time I was truly shitfaced was almost 20 years ago, and I have no desire to wake up submerged in freezing water in a motel room bathtub with a half-eaten Domino’s pizza sitting on the ledge. 

It’s good that my health pretty much forbids me from doing much drinking.  I’m on enough blood pressure meds to kill most people outright, so I usually fall asleep before I can really start pounding ’em.  When I did drink to excess, back in the day, I was a forget-it-all drunk.  All I remember about one drinking party I went to in college was that yes- I did finish the whole fifth of MD 20/20, but I couldn’t remember whether or not I had slept with one of my friends’ skanky, geeky twin brother.  Nobody would enlighten me as to whether or not he had gotten lucky either- not until after I knew the coast was clear.  Since I had given up hope and let my birth control pill script run out, I had a rather harrowing two weeks of “waiting for Aunt Flo.”  Once everyone knew I was “safe”-then they told me what really happened- that he had passed out before I did, so I was never even subjected to the possibility of actually contributing to passing on that particular freakazoid’s genes.  Thanks, guys.  But at least they didn’t leave me passed out with my drawers down and my butt hanging out of the bathtub like what happened to one of my other friends.  When you weigh over 300# it is never a good thing to pass out on the toilet, especially if that’s the only toilet in the house.  Just saying.

It’s a lot safer to observe and let everyone else get drunk and stupid.  If only there had been such a thing as YouTube in the mid-80’s.  It’s probably a good thing that we were too poor for video cameras back then.

Sports, Spectatorship, Wine (without the “h”) and Alternative Activities

I am not a sports fan.  I can appreciate the aesthetics of men’s swimming and men’s figure skating, (even though those sports are generally not popular with straight men) but as far as organized sport in general goes, I would have to side with my Dad.  Sports are only fun if they have the word “motor” in front of them, and I’m not talking about NASCAR.  Three hours or more of a continuous left turn is only fun to watch when they wreck.  I can imagine that it would be more fun to watch the redneck freak show in the stands than to watch the actual race.  I don’t think I could bear to hear that much country music or see that many visions of inbred, badly dressed,  poorly tattooed, dentally challenged, over-fed humanity.   The denizens of Wal Mart take a field trip!  I think I’ll pass.

When I refer to worthwhile motorsports, I am talking about ones to participate in- such as off-roading, rally racing, drag racing, or boating. 

For instance, I would get into off-roading big time if I had an FJ40 like the one pictured above.  Old Landcruisers are awesome.  I always liked the Landcruiser guys when I worked in Toyota dealerships.  Landcruiser guys are generally easy to work with, willing to pay whatever it takes to get all the goodies for their trucks, and technically knowledgable.  The bad thing is, Landcruisers- at least the old FJ40 series-are virtually indestructible, but they’re difficult (and expensive) to acquire and maintain in Central Ohio.  I would have to have plenty of money and time to get into off-roading in an FJ40.

But because I’m a poor old cougar, I have to entertain myself on a budget. 

I don’t care much for football.  I just don’t have the attention span, and they wear way too many clothes.  I think I’ve figured out how guys do it though.  I’ve never seen a guy watch a football game without sucking down lots and lots of brews.  Apparently beer makes it more exciting.  Since I’ve never been a beer drinker, watching football just doesn’t work for me.  I like wine, (without the “h”) but who goes to watch football over a vintage cabernet- or as is more likely in my case- a bottle of Gallo or Sutterhome?  MD 20/20, maybe, but that’s not technically wine.  And I generally only need a small glass of Gallo or Sutterhome to go to sleep quite nicely.