Disco Dreams

She could hardly breathe, her heart was jumping so high in her chest.

After all of the preparations, all the effort, here she was. Dressed in the new outfit she’d painstakingly chosen at the discounted designer clothes store, she felt almost pretty.

She’d managed to find an outfit she could afford with her babysitting money: a pair of green drawstring pants that miraculously fit her pear-shaped, chubby body and a bright orange, sleeveless terry cloth top.

Her short hair was styled in its usual two round parallel curls on either side of her face which her brother had nicknamed “doo doo curls.” Her short bang unfortunately only accentuated the width of her face, but there was nothing to be done about that.

The freckles that sprinkled her nose and cheeks from summers spent at the pool were the only color on her face.

She’d had her parents drop her off at the club where the party was well into things. She knew it would be painful to walk into it. Better to be in a crowd than risk being seen too clearly.

She entered and walked in quickly, grateful for the darkened atmosphere. It was a disco-themed party for the 7th grade dance club, and so everyone was dressed accordingly and the venue was an actual disco. Instead of alcohol, soda was served.

She went from room to room, seeking two things: the few friends she had that might be there too, and him.

She found the friends and nervously stood, Sprite in hand, the condensation from the outside of the white plastic cup dripping down her hand.

She sucked the inside of her mouth along the braces that lined her upper and lower teeth, finding a strange comfort in the metal that was at the same time so maddening to her.

Through the pulsating lights, she saw him finally: Scott Prewitt, in all his glory. He was the most popular boy in school, blonde and tan. She sat behind him in Spanish class where, amazingly, he’d spoken to her a few times. Not just to pass papers back or anything. He’d made little jokes and seemed to enjoy her laugh.

She had looked forward to this afternoon for weeks, imagining that here, in the lights, in her new clothes, he’d maybe talk to her, which would be incredible.

She forced herself to smile and step forward from the shadows into the light, even though she was so nervous she could barely breathe and felt dizzy.

And just as she did, Scott Prewitt looked right at her and smiled and waved, his face beaming. She couldn’t believe it! It was happening! Her dreams were coming true.

Finally, everyone would see her differently. Because Scott Pruitt saw her, they’d value her, too. Everything would change.

She waited, breathlessly, as he walked towards her, her cheeks almost aching from smiling.

Just as she was saying “Hi Scott,” eyes twinkling, he walked passed her and grabbed Susie Moore, the most popular girl in 7th grade, in a hug, which made Susie squeal.

For what seemed like a lifetime but was actually several awkward seconds, she stood there as her “Hello Scott” hung in the air anemically before being dissipated by Susie’s squeal.

She stepped back into the shadows as she felt the familiar, hot flush of shame shoot down the length of her body.

She drained herself of feeling, determined not to cry. “That will teach you not to hope,” she said to herself as she pinched her arm, punishing herself for thinking things could ever be any different.

She found the restroom as quickly as she could, and there she remained for the full agonizing 40 minutes until her parents came to pick her up again.

Once home she sought and found numbing comfort in a pint of vanilla Haagen Dazs ice cream, and fell asleep into a full-stomach-sugar-induced coma.

Her hope did not have it so easy. A large piece of hers had fallen out of her heart and onto the floor of the disco, where Scott Pruitt and Susie Moore danced across it over and over again until it became unrecognizable.

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: awkward

A Funnel Cake Life

Sometimes I still think everything would be fine

If I just had a deep-fried Twinkie or two (or three)

Or perhaps a few handfuls of Lilac chocolates

A half dozen chocolate chip cookies right out of the oven

A pint of Moose-tracks or Honey ice cream melted just to the right consistency

A big bag of Jelly Bellys, assorted will do, but plenty of Popcorn, Chocolate Pudding and Cherry, please

Some Banana Cream Pie

A box of salt water taffy

And unlimited funnel cakes

My sugar days are over, alas

But I still long for its soothing, sticky-sweet promises

Carnival-candy dreams for a happy life ahead

The high, the pleasure, the fullness, the love

I miss it all

But I know better

Inspired by The Daily Word Prompt: funnel

Estate Wagon Dreams

Francine was beyond tired. The kids were being brats in the back seat and she had more important things on her mind than who was putting buggers on who’s arm.

Just one more errand to do, and then she could drive back home, get the kids started on their homework, and head back to the bedroom to have some alone time. She had a new mystery she was dying to start, and she just wanted to lay there, read, and finish the half-eaten jumbo candy cane pole hidden in the bedside table drawer.

Just as she was about to make a left into the library parking lot, some car from the next lane over pulled in front of her. She jammed on the brakes, which sent the kids flying into the back of the front seat and her heart into a flip-flop. After the shock wore off, she rolled down her car window, and honked the horn, yelling after the car, “Freak!!”

Hearing the shrillness of her own voice, she was surprised that that was what had come out of her mouth, but it was the worst thing she could think of to say in front of the kids. She looked back to see if they were OK, only to find that they were actually more than OK. They were cracking up over it all.

As she rolled the window back up, she quickly decided that they could forego the library for today. She gunned the gas, heading straight home to that bed and that candy as soon as humanly possible.

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: honk

Anna & The King & I

One of my favorite songs in musical theatre is the song sung by the character Anna in the 1951 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, The King and I.

I have always loved it, even when I was very young. I watched the movie version with Deborah Kerr, one of my favorite film actresses of all of the many Hollywood movies I watched after school.

Of course I wanted to be Anna. Never mind that she was a widow and having to go to a country far from home to make a living as a tutor and raise her son. Those things went over my head, I think.

She had a wonderful accent and wore gorgeous costumes. And she and the King had such a romantic and special relationship. I practiced talking and moving like her, and sang her songs, preparing myself for the day that I, too, would be a Hollywood starlet like her.

The lyrics of this song have grown more meaningful to me as I age. I feel I can sing this song with real conviction at this point in my life, having known great loves of my own.

Here is the scene from the film. Anna (Deborah Kerr) sings to the king’s many wives, letting them get to know her:

Hello young lovers whoever you are
I hope your troubles are few
All my good wishes go with you tonight
I’ve been in love like youBe brave young lovers and follow your star
Be brave and faithful and true
Cling very close to each other tonight
I’ve been in love like youI know how it feels to have wings on your heels
And to fly down the street in a trance
You fly down a street on a chance that you’ll meet
And you meet, not really by chanceDon’t cry young lovers whatever you do
Don’t cry because I’m alone
All of my mem’ries are happy tonight
I’ve had a love of my own

I’ve had a love of my own like yours
I’ve had a love of my own

Back then, I was not fully cognizant of the seriousness of the situation the lovers in the story find themselves in. They are servants to the King, and their love is forbidden. They indeed must be brave to try to be together, literally risking their lives to do so.

One would think that this ancient story would no longer be relevant. Sadly, it continues to resonate truthfully, reflecting the danger that still can exist between people simply trying to love one another.

I often catch this song floating through my psyche, when times get tough.

Be brave, young lovers, and follow your star. Be brave and faithful and true.

It never ceases to bolster me.

 

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: brave

Lust Life

Much of my adult life has been about coming to terms with lust.

Having grown up in a fairly conservative family with mainly Protestant roots, I learned early on to deny and repress my lust: for life, for sex, for fame, for love, for food.

So much so that I lived a kind of double life from my teens into my twenties.

I hid many behaviors that all revolved around my various appetites. Somewhere in my somewhat stunted emotional development, I had learned that being seen as having a need (be it physical or otherwise) was weak, unattractive.

And so I learned to pretend I did not have them.

And yet, at the same time, I also had a very strong need to be seen as a sexual object. (See Sexual Healing, my previous post on this issue.) This presented quite a war within me. I desperately wanted to be seen and treated like a sexually desirable woman – that was sort of the ultimate need. At the same time, I had shame and embarrassment around this and had strong messaging that that was bad, and that I should be a good girl with no sexuality, appetites, strong opinions or feelings.

And so I pretended to be one one way while in secret I acted in other ways.

I invested a great deal of time into creating the illusion that I was chaste, a normal eater, and had  a very neutral opinion on just about everything. I monitored my emotions and watched myself around people, carefully choosing mannerisms and tones to project a good girl.

Meanwhile, I was living quite another kind of life, a life I hid from my family, my friends. A life of appetite and lust and danger.

There were certainly angels watching over me. I was often in the wrong places at the wrong time. Somehow, I survived.

At a certain point in my twenties, the jig was up, as they say.

My psyche demanded that I heal the split, and I began the process of recovering wholeness again.

Of uncovering my own genuine appetites from a place of love, curiosity and acceptance. Of letting go of the urge to keep my appetites hidden.

I began a process of embracing of my true nature and wants and needs as beautiful reflections of my own humanity. I began the shedding of the shaming nature that I inherited.

An unlearning of the social pressure that happens in middle school to put a damper on enthusiasm, to keep a lid on want to look cool.

I learned to let myself eat as I really wanted to in front of others.

I learned to let myself be seen trying, excited, wanting, sexy, hungry, angry, hopeful, happy, disappointed, frightened, messy, unhappy, empty, full, vulnerable, awkward, lonely, blissful.

I learned to let myself be seen. As I really am.

Today I value the self-honesty that I live from. Truth is of huge importance to me.

Though I am still in awe of the capacity I had within my own psyche to maintain such a dichotomy the way I did – that I could compartmentalize two such distinct worlds at once – I am so grateful that that is just a chapter in my story.

Today, I have one world with many parts: parts that co-mingle and bring me great joy in their diversity.

I celebrate my appetites, I revel in my enthusiasms and passions.

I love my lust. It is what lets me know I am human. And alive.

So today, I try to wear my lust like a smile.

 

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: lust

 

Shallow Depths

Deep within
There is a certain part of me
Who stills believes
Life would be so much better
If I'd been born beautiful:
A super model, a movie star

Shallow, I know,
But that part of me's convinced
Nothing sways her
She doesn't care that you
Can't cherrypick and you'd get
All their shit too (and that we all have shit)

She is absolutely sure
To be adored for your looks
Would beat the rest
That being loved for a face or body
Is more than enough for her
And she won't hear otherwise

This part of me
Would make a deal with a thousand devils
It would sell my soul
For the chance to find out
If life really is better for the super stars and models

I've given up trying
To win her over to Self-Love Land
She cannot comprehend adult logic
So I hold her hand
And I say "I hear you," then lead her into the deeper waters to play

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: shallow