Day 145 – Don’t Worry, Be Happy

It has been 11 days since my last post- wow!! It’s not that I haven’t had anything to say, it’s that I’ve been that damn limited on time.  To begin with, I realized that I was a week behind in school.  Apparently new classes began on May 11th, the same day as the old ones ended!!  I assumed new classes began on the 18th, giving me a week off because that’s what usually happens. Yeah, yeah I know what the word assume means.. hahaha

My dad had his 61st birthday this past Friday.  When I look at him and when I see him do all the things he does in a day, I feel that 60 is the new 30. It gives me hope, hahaha  Now I know his body hurts and his energy level falls more rapidly than before but he never lets on. All dad’s are like a mix of Superman and Prince Charming to their little girls I guess. I know that my dad is my sanctuary, my safe place, my sanity – always has been.

My dad loves me unconditionally.  He is very good at showing love for his kids.  My dad also has this amazing ability punish his kids without saying a single word.  It’s not even a look really– it’s more like an invisible barrier that surrounds him and it oozes disappointment; all you can do is hang your head in shame. It’s 10 times worse than being grounded or spanked. hahaha

The funny thing about that is, my dad isn’t the type to spank or even scold.  I have never been grounded by him and I remember only one time being spanked when I was very young. He doesn’t have to do those things due to that damn oozing sphere of disappointment he wears when he looks at you. haha  I’m not like him in that sense.  I have never been able to hold my tongue when it comes to someone being disrespectful- my temper is hot!!  I am much better at 40 than I was at 20, or even 30.  But it’s also strange how growing older works. Where my patience has formed with my kids and even more so with my grand-kids (seems you get more tolerant with each generation) it has disintegrated where rude ass adults are concerned. I have zero problem with standing up for myself and those I’m close to. I am so sick of the drama that surrounds certain people in my life to the point that I refuse to live my last 40 years the same as the first. Because of that fact I have had no problem cutting loose those people who like to keep a stirring pot.  The older I get the more I realize that a happy life can only exist when you surround yourself with happy people.
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Day 78 – Zero Tolerance

I was an only child until my dad married a woman who already had an 8 year old son– my age.    When I first met Earl I felt intimidated by him.  The more I was around him the more that intimidation grew until it was full-on hatred.   Jealousy consumed me to the point I began to dislike my dad, feeling that he had pushed me away in order to make his new wife and kid comfortable.   Those fuming emotions ignited by their new house, his own room but not one for me, his new Nike’s when I had Keds (before  they were in style), his $300 school trip to DC while I got to stay in seat, his new clothes when I wore hand-me-downs from my aunt who was a size 9 when I was a size 0.     Don’t get me wrong, my momma did what she could and I never went without- but to see Earl living the life I should have had …well, it pissed me off big time. 
Perhaps you wonder if my dad paid my momma child suppor. No, he didn’t.   Here’s the deal with that- I’m not my dads biological child.  My momma met my dad in junior high school when they in 9th grade then again when they were each 21 and I was a year old.   You see, my momma had me out of wedlock after her husband went overseas and didn’t return.       She married my dad when I was 18 months old and that’s the only dad I’ve ever known.  When he and my mom divorced, I was around 6, he still came to get me on weekends and stuff like that.  I was his daughter as far as he was concerned so when he remarried a couple of years later, it was a huge struggle for his new wife.  I can’t say that I blame her for being intimidated by me-  it’s a hard thing to understand and accept, especially back in 1982.  Times weren’t like they are now, where anything and everything goes. This is why Earl had all the new shiny stuff and I didn’t. No one’s fault, just the way it was.

As we grew older Earl and I went back and forth in liking/disliking each other. Again, we were the same age and unfortunately we were in the same school district. I hated going to school with Earl- and it was hard to explain how we were “siblings.” I remember one time we made up a lie about it saying that we were actually twins and because he was so much bigger, they took him out 3 months earlier in order to save my life-
Yeah, I don’t know what the hell we were smoking coming up with that whopper and I don’t know what kind of dumb kids we hung out with because no one knew we were lying. Hahahahaha

Earl and I ended up living together in our 20’s. I was already divorced and established in an apartment when he went through his divorce and needed a place to live. It worked out overall but this was the beginning of his downfall. Earl is not a good looking man. He wasn’t a good looking boy or a cute kid. I’m not being mean, it’s the truth. He wore glasses, he was zitty, kind of pudgy and he had a sour personality. Im really not sure he had more than a handful of friends. You wanna know why he was such a dorky sourpuss? His momma made him that way. His momma is a good women but her controlling ways made Earl a freaking wuss with a level 0 self-esteem. To prove my point, I was about 5 foot tall and weighed 90 lbs. Earl stood 6 foot tall and weighed 150 lbs and I use to beat his ass!! No joke. He’d mouth at me and throw some slurs about me being poor and I’d put his head on the ground and dare his ass to move. He didn’t move. Hahahahaha so funny. My dad would yell…”Brandy!!!” And I’d be like..”We’re just playing dad!!” all while eyeballing Earl in a way to dare him to even blink.
I was mean little kid.

As life goes, it moves on whether you’re ready for it to or not. I’ve always been the type to grab life by the horns and ride that bitch out in full force while Earl tucked life between his legs and cowered like a whipped pup. Earl turned to drug use as a way to cope with his pain. He tried to blame it on the painkillers he took after his back surgery but that’s a damn lie. His drug use began when we lived together. His drug use started with clubbing and alcohol then went to weed and then to pills.
Earl has stolen THOUSANDS of dollars worth of stuff from his mom and my dad- rare coins, collector bottles of Maker’s Mark, jewelry and my great-grandfathers pocket watch- not to mention the THOUSANDS of dollars my dad has spent on paying Earl’s back child support, his truck payments, his rehab bill. And that still doesn’t incluse the other THOUSANDS of dollars spent on my dad’s attorney fees, court fees and house alarm. Earl has taken everything from my dad except his last breath.

Over the past couple of months Earl has reached out to me. I accept his text messages but I do not allow him to call me. I want everything documented. I do not allow Earl to know where I live exactly and I have made it clear to him that I carry and to be around me is a violation of his parole.
Daily Earl sends me texts whining about the consequences of his actions and daily I find myself reminding him that he made the choices. I carry no sympathy and I refuse to sugarcoat where his whining is concerned. Whining is for freshly weaned puppies and that’s the only time it is acceptable and tolerable. Don’t get me wrong, I love my brother but he doesn’t need me to love him right now- he needs me to keep it real and tell it like it is. Tough love. That’s hard. Probably the hardest thing to pull off without feeling bad about it somewhat.

I just remind myself that life is tough and drug use is the wuss way to go about it. Drugs don’t just hurt the user, they hurt everyone around the user. I remind myself how much Earl has taken from my dad and his mom and
I do not allow him to manipulate me.

I miss the Earl I grew to love as my brother. I doubt I’ll ever see him again.

Day 27 – Rotten

To have been a poor white child growing up, I’ve always been pretty spoiled.  Maybe that’s because I didn’t know I was poor… hell, I didn’t even know I was white!! I’m not kidding. Half of my life I lived in a predominantly black neighborhood but I just thought I was light “skin’ded” or albino or something.  I fit right in with my hair style. 😂 My aunt would sit for hours microbraiding my hair- I know her wrist had to be falling off the bone, but she couldn’t stop with the braids, I had to have multicolored, multilayered beads on each strand.  Now listen, us light skin’ded black kids don’t have hair like the darker skin’ded kids.  Darker skin’ded kids had the kind of hair that you could just twist on the end and the braids (and beads) would stay put.  Not me though. My stick straight hair made my braids look like they had tiny little paint brushes on the ends, tied togther with little rubberbands.  And lemme tell ya, those damn things were torture coming out!  Rubber bands back in my day were made of rubber, not fancy schmancy anti-breakage elastic. Kids these days don’t know what hard times are hahahaha.

Anyway, I didn’t know I was poor because my parents always dressed me in fine clothes and shoes and I always had the latest toys and whatnot and I got to get the 64 pack of crayons – not the 8 pack..that’s how you know you’re spoiled right there.

My dad likes to tell the story about how my momma spent over $500 for girlie  Christmas toys for me; dolls, Barbies, Barbie penthouse, kitchen set…  blah, blah, blah… but he spent like $20 for a set of Tonka trucks and that’s what I played with. Oh, it gets better- –
I was so spoiled that my dad built me a sandbox in my bedroom so I could play with my Tonka backhoe and dump truck in it. Who else do you know that had a private sandbox IN THEIR BEDROOM?? Yeah, that pretty much meant I was the shit.     When I was little my dad had just started with with telephone company. He made like $3.50 an hour which was better than minimum wage back in 1979. My mom worked at Dunkin Donuts for tips.  To have had such little money, I never did without.

Truth is, I’m still spoiled.  It’s also true what they say about little girls and their daddy’s.. but I don’t if he is wrapped around my little finger or if I am wrapped around his. 

*side thought:: I know I’m 40 but I wonder if my dad will buy me a real limited edition Tonka truck for Christmas this year?

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-Willow