I just entered the last year of my “the fuck you” forties. I am ok with being 49. Shit, I never thought in a million years I would make it this far. I must say, I really haven’t learned much. I am still kind of a screw-up but, I feel, a lovable screw-up. I have learned a few big things. These are the things that have kept me, relatively speaking, going. One lesson is that things that have always worked don’t always work. The second lesson, the one I will talk about, is TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS!!
I have been out for the last six nights celebrating the International Week of Me. Translated, that is the week before my birthday. I used to begin my birthday countdown around March 23rd. Then, for the sake of everyone’s sanity, I went to beginning my birthday countdown on April 23rd. Then, my family got really sick of that (Capri and my girl did as well) so I decided to shorten the countdown (and make it international) and just do a week. Yeah, I freaking LOVE my birthday. I love it. It is my special day and fuck anyone that tries to ruin it. I like to think of my birthday week as a get out of hell free pass. This is similar to having a son become a priest or holy man or a daughter becoming a nun or holy women. I can get away with almost anything because nobody wants to be the one asshole to tell me to dial it back.
I was at dinner with one group of friends and we they were talking about this person I don’t know. When my one friend says,
MOF: I want to like her. I just can’t. There is something about her and I can’t put my finger it. I just don’t like her. I smile and am polite but I am so frustrated
Me: Why the fuck do you have like her.
MOF: Because she hasn’t done anything to me. Everyone else thinks she is great. She has given me no reason to not to like her.
Me: She has given you a reason. Your instincts tell you she is no fucking good. That’s your reason. I wouldn’t even bother being polite. I feel that lets her think she is getting away with something.
MOF: You are only half right. I am not going to be rude.
Me: Suit yourself.
My one friend not being rude is why she does better at life than me. I can’t fake it. I just can’t. I have tried and it just makes me feel like a liar. If I am cold to you, it is one of two things: I am feeling you out or you are setting off my instincts like bells on a cathedral. If I speak to you, we are usually cool. If I don’t speak to you, just stay away. We have no business with each other and it will end badly. It won’t end badly for me. See, the thing is I am not ever wrong when it comes to trusting that gut feeling.
I am one of those people in life you meet and you love or hate me right away. I never really have made an effort to be anything more than what I am. I am just me. Fucking take it or leave it. Not sorry. My instincts have never disappointed me. My instincts do, however, make me wait. It usually takes two years for me to be proven correct about a person who gives me a bad feeling. During this time period, I become a raging bitch when in their company. My friends will tell me to behave or grow up or won’t invite me to the event person in question is attending. I get very hurt by my own behavior. I put people in a position of choosing and, with good reason, they don’t choose me. I behave very immaturely. I just can’t fake it.
Here are two events that come to my mind. The first one happened when I was still in St Joseph’s. I was around 11 or 12. This new Brother comes to our parish, I will call him Brother Jim. He was a big man and spoke softly. He quickly ingratiates himself to all the ladies of the parish. He then worked on the kids. Everyone seemed to love him, except me. I told my mother and she laid into me about respect and he was a man of God. She was very old school and didn’t question. She befriended him and then, in true parish lady competition, he is eating dinner at our house. The night he was to come over for dinner, I just couldn’t do it. I could not sit there and watch him eat my mother’s food and schmooze my parents. I stayed in my room knowing I was going to get hurt after he left. The beating happened and so did the guilt. I was the only time in my life that my mother told me she was ashamed of me. I was my own worst enemy, she told me. That much was true. I knew in my heart that if I just ate dinner, smiled and excused myself because I had homework, I could have avoided being slapped physically and verbally. I couldn’t do it. It felt like if I faked it, he would think I was stupid as the rest of them. I wasn’t stupid. I was right. Two years later he was arrested for fraud and stealing. He was a con man and I took the greatest pleasure in my mother telling me. Her heart was broken. She had put so much time and faith in their friendship and didn’t listen to her daughter. I smugly shrugged my shoulders. “I told you so” became my new mantra.
The second event involves my boss. I love my boss dearly. We have been together for almost 17 years and we drive each other crazy. We are opposites. She sees only the good in people and me, well, I don’t. That’s why we work. As she is chasing butterflies and rainbows, I make sure she doesn’t fall off a cliff. She is like many of my female friends which are probably why they are my friends in the first place. I love the fact that so many women in my life see beauty where there isn’t any or at least none that I can see. I love their hope. They love me because, hmmm, I don’t know. Anyways, my boss is buying some advertising from this woman. We work in a very casual setting that makes people comfortable. Anyways, this broad starts laying this story on my boss about her life and troubles and her cancer. That’s right, cancer! Who would lie about cancer? Trust me, it happens. The lady leaves and I say to my boss, “You know she is lying about having cancer.” It is to my benefit that I am a great earner otherwise, I am pretty sure I would have been out in the streets. I couldn’t let my boss be taken. I took the beating like I had before. This time it only took a year. When our contract was to be renewed a new salesperson showed up. She was a nice lady, I could tell. The conversation went like this:
Boss: What ever happened to our last sales lady? Is she alright? How is her cancer?
Nice lady: Oh God, I hate telling her clients this. She lied about having cancer. She was stealing and writing bad checks.
I was standing at the desk when the conversation happened. I shrugged my shoulders. My poor boss was speechless. When her meeting ended and it was just the two of us, I acted like a complete asshole and even did an “I told you so” dance. Like my mother said, I am my own worst enemy.
So, what does all this mean? I don’t know. I know that when confronted with someone that gives me a bad feeling I will react badly. I can say that, at age 49, I am done with beating myself up over an instinct I can’t control. I can also say that, at age 49, I will not handle it well. Love me or leave me alone. Either way, I told you so!