Seven weeks ago I left my little “perfect” life that I had created and set out to do things on my own and in my own way. I left with an extra set of clothes for myself and the kids. The only other things I brought (other than makeup and a toothbrush of course) were my ancient laptop and my cute little monogrammed bag that held all of my tabbed and organized binders for my various volunteer committees. It was on my mind that in exactly one week I had a huge volunteer leadership retreat to pull off for some very talented women, and this was the first big event of the year for all of our committee chairs and board members to come together and plan. I had spent time and effort planning this with some really great gals and did not want to disappoint them, or more importantly myself, by dropping the ball. I had a Camping theme for the big event and had coordinated other people to present their ideas and activities around it. When I planned the theme and activities months before however, I hadn’t ACTUALLY planned on camping out at other people’s houses when this all went down. HA! Maybe they would just all think I was some sort of method actor who had to get into character by camping out with my kids for inspiration. Geez! Who was going to know about my recent hike from home and start fishing for answers. I was nervous, but I kept this old movie in my mind the whole time.

Does anyone remember that movie, Something to Talk About? The fabulously neurotic, Grace has a marriage which is falling apart, volunteer commitments and a family business to run and hilariously struggles to keep all of the balls she is juggling in the air.

I have a cookbook to put out, and a daughter to raise, and the God damn winter Grand Prix. And I just don’t have time for the nervous breakdown I deserve, so please, don’t ask me to stop and think! -Grace

Whoa! I didn’t have the whole cookbook thing since I’m not on THAT committee this year, but I was trying to pull together my big retreat for the year, manage the family business and raise my kids while being a little bit center stage as my marriage fell apart. When I left, I didn’t even tell my best friends, much less the glorious group of women that I would be facing exactly one week after my surprise flight. What if they all stared at me and actually knew everything already through the grapevine and were actually WAITING for me to fall apart as if EVERYONE would do that like they don’t have their own lives to lead and struggles to face?!?! Awesome!!!!! Just a few minutes into indulging that fantasy I had just proved myself to be conceited too by thinking anyone would CARE. Ohmygod! What if I lost my mind and stood up in front of everyone and had a super-massive-stress-induced-temporary-loss-of-sanity like Grace does and started pointing out flaws in everyone else’s marriages?!?! That would most CERTAINLY not be graceful. Or, maybe, what if, I dunno, I vomited in front of everyone when words tried to come out?? Even worse, what if I cried. Hard to believe I guess for most people, but crying in front of everyone would have been the worst case scenario for me. It would have shown some vulnerability that I was struggling to keep at arm’s length. Isn’t that CRAZY!?! I WOULD HAVE CHOSEN TO VOMIT PUBLICLY!!! I didn’t barf, though that would’ve been funny, and I think the event was a success thanks to a lot of great people. The parallels with the movie have continued though.

Somewhere in the movie, Grace’s mother tells her to stop making a spectacle of herself and to just accept how things commonly are. Return to life as normal and don’t set her expectations too high. Don’t cause any waves, right? Don’t make anyone else feel uncomfortable or God forbid awkward around her when they see her. She should DEFINITELY not question her place in life lest someone else feel inspired to do the same.

You’re telling me that if I just eat shit politely with a knife and fork and learn to swallow the handfuls of bullshit I’m served, then everything will be A-Okay? – Grace

Guess what I think? Eating SHIT makes you fat. It’s true! I should know. It works in two ways. First, listening to everyone around you tell you what you should want and should believe and should allow starts to get a little mind numbing. After a while, you quit being numb when life just doesn’t work that way for you and you get sad. Numb is easier than sad any day, so wine and another late night lonely dinner work to numb some people. Then you just start to feel like shit yourself and take the easy route… right through the drive through when everyone is hungry because it’s easier than listening to the kids complain about your culinary capabilities. Billy’s mom must actually feed her kids nuggets and jelly beans for every meal because the way I get looked at with my SOUP can NOT be normal, and THAT lady never looks tired. Before you know it, everyone is eating crap – both from the “truths” we’re fed by other people AND the fast and fried food that takes less effort – and we’re all FAT.

Let me tell you what I won’t do anymore; eat the shit that I’m served from other people around me even if it’s sugar-coated. A glass of wine to wash down the taste isn’t going make it any tastier either, and I’m pretty sure about that now. That’s the worst kind of crap to take, isn’t it? I mean, it’s all cleverly disguised, but it still stinks to high Heaven no matter what fancy china you choose! If you invite me over to a sugar-coated turd, bringing out the china just ends up making feel awkward and inferior anyway like I’m going to mess up and use the wrong fork if I even pretend to taste your delicacy. Please don’t get me wrong though. It really isn’t my place to stop YOU from eating the unpalatable. I will mind my manners and let you eat without saying a cross word, but someone please tell me how in the world am I supposed to trust you and your ideas about what is good and healthy when you’ve just eaten a turd the size of Texas and gone back for more! Now you are LITERALLY full of it! And your breath stinks too. And when you start to get all gassy and full of hot air by telling me everything you know to be true, I’m going to see it for what it is: a shitty burp. Go away and come back another day because lucky for me, my mama taught me that the only time it’s acceptable to eat excrement is when you’ve been in an earthquake and have to lay in the rubble waiting for rescuers. She meant that literally too, so your “perfect” marriage and “perfect” world crumbling down around you don’t count.

People are always going to find something to talk about, and the Bird People never run out of things to say. Something else will come along though, and I KNOW it’s gotta be more scandalous than me. I’m just a girl in a new little castle with bunnies and birds and a couple of dwarfs to entertain me. Here’s hoping that if this fairy tale ever hits the big screen, Julia Roberts herself will play me because SOMEHOW her movies keep ending up in my blog! Someone should call her. πŸ™‚

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