Farts Are Part of Life

At least for me they are.  I learned this as a young child growing up with two brothers.  I learned it more when I inadvertently ripped one in front of a guy friend in high school and subsequently almost died of humiliation.  And I learned it even more when I had children.  Especially when I got a smartphone, and some twelve-year old invented– and grew rich off of– the very first fart app. 

My three children begged and pleaded with me to anoint my technologically advanced device with a free, downloadable fart app.  They insisted it would help make their lives complete, and indeed, it did provide endless entertainment when we were stuck in traffic or waiting for my husband to finish a level on Borderlands so they could watch Netflix.  I did not realize at the time that fart apps, by their very nature,  are just as humiliating and spontaneous as real farts.  Allow me to elaborate.

Around the time I bought said smartphone and downloaded said fart app, I had also just become a trainer at the restaurant where I worked.   I was embarking on the first growth of my career, and I was really excited to be teaching someone else how to be a paid servant rather than simply being one myself.  My first dinner shift with my first trainee was going really well.  We were busy enough to make money but not so busy that it would scare the new guy shitless, and most of my customers were friendly and in a good mood.  The kitchen was popping, the temperamental chef had yet to hit his mid-shift, bipolar freak out, and no one was complaining yet.  Ideal training environment.

The one thing that irked me was the fact that my shoes were unreasonably squeaky.  I could have understood it if the floor were wet (but it was carpet) or my shoes were new (but they weren’t).  I could not, for the life of me, find the cause behind the embarrassingly loud, squeaky sounds my shoes were making.  On carpet.   So I shrugged it off, dismissed it the four or five times my trainee wondered aloud about it, and continued my natural flow of greeting, order-taking, order-ringing, and food delivery.

At one point in the evening, after an hour of squeaky shoes, I realized that my tables were noticing when I passed by and giving me strange glances.  I decided that something had to be done.  I squeaked into the kitchen, trainee on my heels, and whipped my shoes off.  There was no apparent cause for the squeaking, which only occurred when I was walking, naturally. 

As I slid my feet back into my shoes, I suddenly had a horrible and almost unthinkable realization.  It wasn’t my shoes.  It could only be one thing.  I discreetly pulled my phone from my pocket and glanced down at the screen to find that the fart app had activated itself.  Due to the fact that it was set off by motion  (like gently shaking the phone), my walking had basically become a continuous fart concert.  My tables hadn’t been disturbed by my squeaky shoes– they thought I’d been vociferously crop-dusting them all evening.

I didn’t realize my trainee was standing over my shoulder until he pointed at the little, bent-over stick figure on my phone screen with the fart cloud spouting from its ass.  “What’s that?” he asked, understandably confused and slightly disturbed.

“That, my friend,” I replied,  “is the story of my life.  It’s all just one, big fart.”  And with that, I turned my phone off, pocketed it, and continued the rest of the shift with no further explanation or startling fart sounds.  The most important lesson my trainee learned that night is that, sometimes, ya just gotta roll with it.  Even when “it” is an hour of obnoxiously loud, public farts.


Strength Doesn’t Always Feel Like Strength

If there is one thing I’ve learned about strength,  it’s that you can’t always feel it.  In fact, most of the time, when things are really bad, you feel like strength couldn’t be further from your reach.  You feel like you’re drowning or suffocating or like you’re stuck at the bottom of a pit so deep that you can’t even see a pinprick of light at the surface.  But those are the moments when you learn just how strong you are.   In those moments  of darkness, in the midst of those storms that feel like they will quite literally rip you to shreds before they release you,  you learn about that of which you are truly capable.  
I have spent much of my life in therapy, and most of my therapists run together like streaky paint, but I had one who taught me more about myself in one sentence than all the rest put together.  She was very good at using simple thoughts to shake me to my core and change my view of myself and of life. Shortly after we began meeting, we had a particularly difficult session in which I educated her in very unlovely terms about my life up to that point.  As I sat with a damp ball of tissue clutched in my hand, silently trying to recover myself, she looked at me without saying a word.  After a moment, our eyes met, and she said something I will never forget.  She opened her lips and spoke one sentence:  You are a survivor.  She said it with such conviction that she made me believe it for the first time in my life.   And for the first time in my life, I began to see myself as more than a doormat, more than perpetually flawed person just struggling from one moment of life to the next and always fucking up.  I walked out of her office that day feeling as though I had accomplished something simply by making it to that point in my life.  And I had no idea at the time that my worst days, my most gut-wrenchingly painful moments, were yet to come.
I’m glad my therapist gave me those words when she did because,  shortly afterwards, things got much worse.  Her voice has echoed that sentence in my mind at my worst moments.  When I was going through a horrible divorce that I was convinced would literally kill me, I heard those words.   When I locked myself in the bathroom and curled into the fetal position on the floor, ripping at my own hair until blood ran down my face, I heard those words.  When I walked into my mother’s house where she had lain dead for three days, I heard those words.  When my children were with their father and I missed important moments of their lives and felt like the most horrible mother on the planet, I heard her words. 
What I have learned is that being a survivor does not often feel like anymore than that—surviving.   Breathing in and out when you’re praying for your heart to stop.  Putting one foot in front of the other when all you want to do is collapse.  Forcing a smile onto your face at work as you go through your day when it’s taking every bit of your self-control not to collapse in tears.  That is surviving.   That is strength.   It’s finding the will to keep going,  one moment at a time, when it takes every last bit of energy you have left.  It’s refusing to lay down and die when living hurts beyond what you think you can bear.  And it’s learning that those moments that drain you and beat you and shred you to bits are just that—moments.   They are temporary.  They will pass. 
Being strong, being a survivor, means knowing that the really awful parts, the unimaginably agonizing times, will go away, and you will walk out the other side.  It’s also taking the hand of someone else who is suffering and hurting and reminding them that they are strong too.  It’s being strong for someone else who may not have your courage.  It’s helping people who are hurting to survive their hurt, as you survived yours.

Driving Cross-Country with a Grown-Ass Man Who Can’t Control his ADHD

I was going through the pics on my phone just now and found a bunch from when my husband and I drove across the country between Texas and California for the second time.  These pictures in particular struck me:

It was our first In-N-Out after three years of fasting in Texas, which, for some unholy reason, does not have In-N-Out except for Fort Worth.  (Yet another reason I hate Texas and Texas is basically Satan’s butthole.)  I remember the  moment we saw the sign from the highway, just outside of  Tuscon.
We’d already been stuck in the cramped cab of a Budget van for two days, which sucks when one of you is a lazy shit who wants to sleep the whole way, and the other suffers from adult ADHD.  I, clearly, am the lazy shit.  My husband, on the other hand, gets so bored that, every time I doze off, I startle awake to a finger digging into my ear or bellybutton.  He’s a weirdo– he can’t help it.  The unmistakable sign was an oasis in the literal desert.  The conversation that followed between my husband and I went something like this :
Hubby: I’m pulling over.  Stop screaming!  Damn, bitch.
Me: (emitting high-pitched shriek that only dogs can hear)
Hubby: There’s construction.  How the hell do I get to the parking lot??!
Hubby: (desperately searching for a parking lot in which he could re-direct a moving van towing an SUV)  That’s eight lanes of  traffic!  Put your seatbelt back on!  There’s a cop up there!  Don’t get me pulled over, woman!!!
Me: You’re passing perfectly good parking lots!  For shit’s sake, man, just get me to In-N-Out!
Hubby: Shut up!  I  know what I’m doing! (finally finds a place to turn around, almost hits four parked cars with our SUV)
Me: Clearly you do not!  I’m growing murderous!  Park the goddamned truck!!!
Hubby:  (parks and looks far more murderous than I do)  Stop talking.  Walk.  (grabs my shoulders and physically directs me to the restaurant)
Ten minutes later we were sitting at a  crappy, plastic table with the most glorious burgers and fries in front of us.  It was a dangerously irresponsible amount of food.  There is nothing on this planet like sinking your teeth into an animal-style In-N-Out burger and animal-style fries (only true In-N-Outters know what I’m talking about) after three full years of nothing but Dairy Queen, McDonald’s, and Whataburger.  Ya know how they say food brings people together?  (Do they say that?  I don’t know.  In my  opinion, delicious food is capable of all sorts of miracles.)  Despite the fact that my sweet husband and I had nearly ripped each others’ heads off trying to find a parking spot (and the fact that my cranial orifices had been repeatedly and uninvitedly violated by wandering fingers), what followed was the most pleasant stretch of our trip.  If it wasn’t for the fact that I have a metabolism that can handle about one meal a day, I’d be a full-on foodie.  Food is the great equalizer.  And death.  But food is way funner to think about.

Oh, Sweet Jesus, Waxing Philosophical

Occasionally, you will find a serious post, when I’ve had a hard day or something knocks me out of my bubble of detachment into the world of feeling.  I’m usually really good at distracting and self-medicating away from the realm of emotions, but music is one of those things that invariably makes me, ugh, feel.  This song especially strikes me.  Please, please click on the link at the top of this post.  It is beautiful and poignant and strong.  I’ve been this woman.  More than once, unfortunately—in fact, most of my life.   It began as a child, as far back as I can remember, and then branched out into about 75% of the  boyfriends I ever had, and then my first marriage.   I  met plenty of “nice guys” along the way, but, because I  had no schema  for what a “nice guy” is, I thought they were alien creatures  and really didn’t know what to do with them.  So I continually ran back to what I knew, which was very unhealthy and destructive,  and  was broken again.  And again.  And again.   This is one of those deeply personal, drunk confessions that I’m going to regret tomorrow, but it’s so important to reach out to other women who have been in this place.   When you’re lying face down, bruised and broken, and you look up at the person who put you there and say, “That didn’t hurt,” you’re trying so desperately to take power back.  It’s the emotional equivalent of getting knocked down in the ring for the 10th time and standing back up while every bit of self-preservation is screaming, “Stay down, you fool!”  But you can’t accept defeat.  So, knowing it might literally kill you, you muster up every shred of strength and dignity you’ve saved in your entire life, turn to the monster who is literally and/or figuratively crushing the life out of you, eyes bruised and swollen shut, blood running from a busted lip, and say, “That. Didn’t. Hurt.”  And even if what follows is horrible punishment– physical or mental or emotional– you know deep down that you took some power back.  And that means you still have some life left in you.  It means you are a survivor.

Def Leppard is the Motherfuckin’ Shit

My husband and I have a beautiful and shameful ritual of getting really drunk every Friday night and listening to the 80s music we loved growing up.  And fortunately for us, YouTube has every music video ever made, no matter how old or obscure.  Chugging rum and Coke while watching a bunch of guys in spandex shake their hair sweat all over the stage is weirdly therapeutic after a week of dealing with assholes and morons in equal share.  Come by our apartment at any given moment on a Friday between 8:00 PM and 5:00 AM, and you’ll find us drunkenly belting out the lyrics to Rock of Ages and our frustrations along with it.  You’ll also find my husband playing air guitar in a wonderfully obscene way that looks like he’s having the greatest upright sex in history.   I’m jealous of that air guitar.  Then my hubby gets really sweet.  He makes me dance to Rod Stewart and Barry Manilow and Bruce Springsteen while he softly sings in my ear and holds me against his solid chest.  This ritual is the highlight of my week.  I’m a supervisor at a fine-dining establishment.  By the time Friday afternoon rolls around, I  am so sick of dealing with an ungrateful and entitled general public,  and wound so incredibly tight from the stress of running the joint, that I feel like a rubber band that’s on the verge of snapping.  I firmly believe I have found the perfect formula for releasing that stress in a way that doesn’t lead to me being arrested for going on a murderous rampage or streaking naked through the grocery store while shrieking hysterically and flinging poo at everyone I see.  (Though if I do ever get arrested, I want it to be for that.  Part of me really wants the phrase “crap-flinger” on my permanent record.)

There’s Some Cheese in That Sandwich…

I chose this blog title carefully.  I am an open-faced sandwich—what you see is what you get.  And, with me, you get a lot of shit: funny shit, sad shit, angry shit, stupid shit, bullshit (my initials are even B.S.  How fucked up is that?).  Hence the name.
If you’re easily offended or religious at all, this is not the blog for you.  For one thing, I  don’t care to hear that you disagree with me or that you feel mentally assaulted by my writing or that you firmly believe I will burn in hell for having a wildly inappropriate sense of humor and little to no moral compass.  I write for my own well-being and to entertain anyone who happens to find my particular brand of darkly sarcastic humor amusing.  I deal with enough contention in my everyday life, so if you don’t like what you read here, go away. Quietly.
Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, we can get down to dirty, filthy business.  I am far too unfocused to have any kind of theme here, so expect it to consist of mildly incoherent ramblings about whatever happens to make me laugh or piss me the hell off at any given moment.  Also, expect some drunk blogging.  I once tried to start a blog based on writing while drunk (because that’s when I do my best writing—or maybe I just think it’s good because of the temporarily overly-inflated sense of self esteem), but I quickly realized that I couldn’t drink nearly often enough to make that a success.  So expect roughly one drunk post per month, probably containing at least one deeply personal fact that I will strongly regret revealing the next day.
Okay, title explanation, disclaimer, further disclaimer about having high expectations of me…  I think that’s it for preliminaries.  I’m sure to reveal more about myself than is really necessary, as I  write more posts, so you have that to look forward to.  I like to live life in a way that gives a big middle finger to pretty much everyone who isn’t awesome and to virtually every established government, organized religion, and institution.  If you’re good with that, we should get along fine.