Most people, I think, hear the word fraud and think of money or maybe counterfeit goods. Or maybe they hear fraud and they think of some guy preaching from the pulpit of a ‘church’ while he commands the plain folk to give money else Christ will be sure to make thou heathens pay for ye ‘sins.’
I got a real story about a fraud.
I knew this woman once: good looking, smart, pretty well put together and she could talk her way out of a paper bag (or maybe into one). Her charm was only exceeded by her wit and both were trumped by her smarts. Men were wooed by her – bewitched – as they fell for her wiles, but she only possessed these wiles when she was sober.
And sober she was not very often.
She was one of those women you may have seen at the bar: first, she is the picture of beauty and poise but soon after she starts slamming back the shots, she morphs into this whacky, immoral tramp that decides it is a great idea to flirt with your boyfriend in front of her own boyfriend.
Ugh. What a bitch!
Oh wait, that was me. I was that fraud of a woman pretending to be mature and just, all the while the alcohol would let the real me slip out 100% every damn time. I lied to everyone and anyone I could so that I could either be the victim, the hero, or the shining star set at center stage.
The truth was: I hated myself. I hated everything about me and I hated everything about anyone else that was just like me. Okay, I hated everything about everyone no matter what they were like. Nothing ever went right, no one ever treated me right, blah blah blah.
Well, how the fuck could they? They never knew who I was because I never knew who I was! It’s like trying to have a moody alligator for a pet. Sure, he is nice once in a while, but no one knows when he is gonna snap (your face off). I was happy for ten minutes but then someone looked at me wrong or maybe it was too warm that day and I didn’t get the right compliment on my outfit.
You’ll all pay!
So I would use my fraudy ways to get people to like me and spend time with me and then as soon as I was sure I had them right where I wanted them, boom. I would start to change, little by little, bit by bit.
I think the correct term is a NARCISSIST. I guess it is close that I was a narcissist, but, if I truly were, there would be no helping me without years of intensive professional therapy. Narcissists don’t recognize their demented ways, so I can’t say without a doubt that I was one.
All I know is that I was a fraud. It was a long, hard, winding road to get to a point of sanity and self-acceptance but I am here now. I work on myself daily and really try to be a better human every day. Of course, I have bad days (don’t we all?) but getting through the bad days helps me appreciate the good days.
People complain about pain, but pain helps us grow. It tests our boundaries and lets us know what we like and don’t like. It helps us feel when we’ve had enough. Pain shows us what we can handle and what we have to change.
Change is inevitable. Sometimes I hate change, but it has to be. I mean, nothing changes if nothing changes. Sometimes I wish it was still 1986 and I could get a ‘do over’ but then my life might be different right now. We can talk about fate, journeys, and predetermined destinations in another post.
I watched the miniseries on Ted Kaczynski (the Unabomber) and I felt sad. I felt sad because he was a man who was a genius who had been through a lot. He could have helped so many people but he chose to hurt people. He could have used his knowledge and pain to help others and make a difference. Instead, he used his gifts for malice. He lived in a hunting cabin in the middle of nowhere and that frightened me because I would love to live in a cabin in the middle of nowhere. Does that make me a psychopath?
I went to the park Saturday to take a walk and reconnect with nature and also with myself. I’m still weeding out stuff to write this memoir (which I already started) that is really a rough draft. I have gone through every event in my life so far.
I have been through hell.
But I am still here.
So my story needs to be told – not with homemade bombs but with powerful words.
I used to be ashamed of my scars, but now I am proud. Why should I be ashamed of things that have shaped me? I shouldn’t and neither should you.
Never be ashamed of your scars. They are a part of who you are.
Fashionable. Ha! What a riot. I have always been two seasons behind on fashion. My grandmother tried desperately to keep me up with the times when I was a kid and a teenager. “Oh, Darlene, it’s the latest fashion. Don’t you want to be in style and fashionable like all the other girls?”
I guess after seeing how much dirt I played in and clothes I ripped, she decided I was a mini version of her and gave up. I tried to get ‘back into it’ when I got older; but, after a while, I gave up because it was just too much work. How the hell do you women keep it together getting all dressed up, doing your hair, full face makeup, and ill-fitting shoes every single effing day? Do you love it? Does it make you happy? Do you even think about it when you are spending countless minutes, sometimes hours in the mirror prepping yourself for the world? Could you leave your house and feel just as confident without makeup and fashionable clothes as you do with them? I am not asking as a smartass… these are legitimate questions I have because…
To me, it is exhausting. The most effort I ever put into getting dressed up and looking nice was the first four months of my sophomore year of high school. By January? I was wearing ripped jeans, flannel shirts and going to school with wet hair and no makeup.
I am not knocking the women who do it… I just know the whole time Iwas doing it, I felt false. Like I wasn’t really being me. I was just being the version of a woman that society wanted me to be. And as long as I pretended to be the ‘woman I wanted didn’t want to be’ I would like myself.
As much as I admire all you ladies for your hard work, I also wonder about these things for myself. There was another time in my life when I couldn’t leave the house without makeup, hair styled, cleavage aglow, and the highest heels I could find, because me being 5’10” just wasn’t tall enough when I was in my twenties and thirties. I did this because I hated ‘the me’ inside and I felt like if I could fake the outside, the inside would merge.
I played that part for a while, but every day when I was getting ready for work, school, to go to the bar, whatever… I was annoyed the whole time. And at first, I was seriously judgemental about women who I saw often and were dressed and spiffed to the tee. I said awful things about you in my head and now, as I reflect on that part of me, I know that I was as envious as I was jealous. I felt like it was your fault that I had to dress like that.
I wanted to be like you! I wanted to get excited about picking out an outfit and putting on makeup and going to the nail salon for a pedicure. I wanted to get excited about styling and/or getting my hair colored. But now I am in my mid-forties and I just give up. It is too much effing work and in the end, I feel like everyone can see through my facade of falseness.
These days, I do get dressed up (a little) for holidays or maybe if my husband and I go to a concert or something, but even still, when we go out, I am not really dressed up compared to most of the other women I see. I’ve accepted this part of me at this point in my life. I am as comfortable not getting dressed up as some women are getting dressed up.
Someone once said (and actually, people say it often) that people die every day. My grandparents passed a long time ago, and maybe yours did, too. My husband lost his sister to suicide in 2012 and my coworker lost his sister the same way about four years ago. There is no good reason to mourn famous people, some say because regular people die every day. No one is talking about them in the media.
So what if Tom Petty died, or Prince died, or some other famous person died. What is so special about rock stars? Why do we mourn the loss of famous people so openly? What’s so great about them anyway?
Because they connect us.
When a family member dies, the family and close friends gather all around, maybe at the funeral home or the house of the closest loved one. We all grieve together for our grandmother, father or maybe a brother, aunt or dear family friend. The family is connected. Honestly, we are really grieving for us.
It’s really the same way for us commoners with rock stars and other famous people.
They interest us. They make us feel things; heighten what we feel and sometimes make it go away. They help us to trek on, to not give up and they do it with anthemic lyrics and pulse-pounding bass. They heighten our love, loss, fear, and sex.
How many times have we tried to talk to someone who just didn’t get where we were coming from? And then we hear a song and listen to the lyrics and right then we feel it. It consumes us with such fervor, that we have to play it for someone – for that someone – we have been trying to get through to for so long.
“Here. Listen to this. This is what I was was trying to tell you.”
First, we’re just tapping or humming along but then… then we listen to the words, and it hits us. This guy gets me. Tom Petty gets me. He’s been through it. He’s singing what I want to say. His music is for me; it is to help me cope with life when I don’t know what that word even fucking means.
Our rock stars feel like family. I cried hard and loud yesterday… I’d like to say that I cried for his family, for the loss they will feel now that their dear loved one has passed. But that’s not why I cried. I cried for myself. I cried as I listened to ‘Breakdown’ and countless other songs while I relived my youth and thought of all the times I wanted to give up.
But I didn’t. Music saved my life and so did Tom Petty.
Sharing my story openly and honestly about living, surviving and thriving with Bipolar 1 Disorder and PTSD to increase awareness, educate, reduce stigma, prevent suicide, inspire, give hope and let God's love shine through me and touch you...