I must confess something…my family is neurotic. We prefer the term ‘eccentric,’ but truthfully, either is accurate. Raised an only child of two teachers, I lived a rather sheltered life as a child, but managed to get into trouble anyway. We never had money to travel, although we did take a few road trips which were almost epic. Almost. I was with my parents, after all.
We did not have much ‘disposable income,’ and as a result we shopped at used clothes stores and thrift stores. Now it’s cool, but back then…not so much. If you weren’t wearing Jordache jeans, fringed leather, Nikes, or whatever was in style I can’t remember, you were mercilessly ridiculed. Oh, yeah, I lived that, and I don’t mean the Jordache jeans either. I was wearing cords 10 years after they were ‘cool.’ Out of spite, I did not wear cords for about 20 years. Currently I only have 1 pair of cord leggings. I may still bear a slight grudge…
I was a kid who liked to read, wrote poetry, and could not relate to others to save my life. Nowadays I’d probably be evaluated on the Asperger’s spectrum somewhere, but back then they just called you weird or a nerd or a dork or something worse. I had a small group of friends who tolerated me most of the time. But I was lonely and depressed almost always. This was before the Prozac popularity. Oh, well, I survived, even my Freshman year, which we won’t talk about, and graduated high school with a 3.0 average because I was…um…absent most of my senior year. I didn’t want to go to college (one of those hindsight being 20/20 instances we all live to regret), and then hit 18 and lost my mind. Not literally, but parties, late nights (early mornings really), bad boyfriends, sewing wild oats, all came into it. Really it’s a miracle I survived and my parents didn’t completely loose their…sh…poop.
I got married at 19, which probably saved my life, and began a long period of workaholism. I was a respectable adult and, by golly, I was going to prove it to everyone, especially my parents. I think my record was 3 part-time jobs and a volunteer position at one time.
We bought our first house. We thought, ‘It’s only 936 square feet. We’ll fix it up in a year and flip it.’ Ever seen the movie The Money Pit with Shelly Long and Tom Hanks? Yup. Nine years later and an ulcer for my husband I’m sure, we purchased my grandparents’ home from their estate and here we still are. Yeah, this one needs work too, but what the heck. It’s standing. Yes, I like clichés. So there.
Along the years, we gained and lost a variety of rescue pets. Currently, we have two dogs and two cats, subject to change at any moment. Personally, I prefer the cats, but my husband and daughter prefer the dogs. I love them so, we have dogs. My daughter likes both, actually. If it were up to her, we’d have ferrets, birds, fish, rabbits, guinea pigs…getting out of the pet store is not pretty.
At the ripe age of 33, I birthed our daughter, and slipped into postpartum depression. Here enters the Prozac. Actually it was something else to begin with. After my maternity leave I went back to a revised and much more stressful position and spent the next 6 years falling apart emotionally. Between the work stress and the altered body/brain chemicals, I eventually had a ‘severe depressive episode.’ My husband had to force me to seek help. I lasted another six months at my uber stressful job before I mentally crumbled and got fired.
Enter Severe Depressive Episode Two. After being shut in my house for two weeks, I saw a posting for volunteers needed. Eureka! I could volunteer while looking for a job! Being a driven individual with compulsive behavior, I ended up volunteering at 5 different organizations in our town, and ‘working’ more than full time. Then my husband said ‘TIME OUT!’ Really, he said something along the lines of ‘what is your deal?!’ I gracefully bowed out of a couple of volunteer positions, and was then offered a job with one of the organizations I was working with. It was the perfect answer to prayer. Really.
Since then I have managed a thrift store benefitting Chehalem Youth and Family Services, serving at-risk youth and families. Through the store I mentor, work with individuals with disabilities, help people get court ordered community service hours taken care of, network with many of the other non-profits in town, and stress out over, oh, a lot. But I love it.
Lately I’ve been in the grip of a mid-life crisis of sorts, and have a rather impressive growing collection of tattoos. I have also been finding quite a lot of satisfaction in purple hair dye. I also shaved the hair at my temples. I’m going for the elegantly punk look. I’m considering a nose ring…