Like many teenagers, I was fascinated with the high school gothers. I wanted to be one. Of course, I’d only really known about them for a few months. See, I started out my life as a total redneck. Grew up in a town with only a church and a gas station. My graduated class was knocked a tick under 30 when I moved away - to live with a parent I hadn’t talked to more than a handful of times in three years in a suburb that she inhabited, scandalously, with a man ten years her jr. We were a neighbor of much intrigue, I’m sure. My new school had over 5000 students - most of whom were born to wealthy, techie parents. To say it was a culture shock is like saying Carl Rove was a little nervous when Sheryl Crow touched his arm - DUH!. Needless to say, I’d never seen someone with purple and red hair that went down their scalp in one long, curly streak before. I was awestruck. It all started (and ended only a week later due to my uncool issue) in drama class. Our teacher had just decided that too many assignments weren’t being taken seriously and started demanding that we all turn in a mime project. I, being a smartass and a hostile child, inquired as to what this project was that I was to do and failed to in the mere three days I’d been enrolled in the school. I’m sure she loved me for that.
Everyone was supposed to do a mime and couldn't stop their character until someone in the class had guessed what they were doing. She had come to class in the classic black mime tights and white painted expressions all over her face. I was kinda impressed so, naturally, I put a lot into my mime project before we went to drama later that week.
I’ve always believed that killing two birds with one stone is better than throwing many stones at one injured, limping bird. My mother had taken the liberty of shopping for school clothes for me. I know that for most normal people, this would be humiliating. I ask you to ponder how strangely humiliating it was that the following was presented to me: 1)A denim skirt and jacket with studded rhinestones and a silver flashing zipper up the back of the very short and tight skirt with a red tank top, red heels, and a red wool hat. ZZ Top video, here I come! 2) a black mini-skirt and crème silk blouse with taupe leggs egg pantyhose and black spiky pumps. For if I have to go to a funeral or something, she said. 3) a cotton, skin tight royal blue mini dress , sleeveless with turtleneck collar and blue sequined pumps. For parties and Fridays, she said, her cigarette dangling as she rolled her hair in hot rollers. and 4) a pink floral dress with a wool blazer for ‘when you need to look decent’. I just didn’t ask. When your mom is a busty blonde with blue eyes like Lucille Ball and long legs that make people crash into street signs - you just don’t ask. Anyway, she wanted me to dress like a
prostitute very much older woman than I even knew how to be. My standard wardrobe up to then was jeans, tshirt, and boots. But mom had been riding my case about dressing ‘like a boy’ and I needed to satiate her at least once. I went for the gold and wore the skimpy, skin-tight royal blue thing with the shiny ‘come and get me’ pumps.
I was the third mime and everyone was getting bored with the stupidity of trying to figure out someone was writing a letter, etc. So, I got up and smoked a cigarette - for pretend, of course. One smarty pants jock yelled, “she’s a hooker”. Teacher gave him a mean glare and then the punky, Athena said, “She’s smoking a cigarette” - and we moved on. The next few mimes were disastrous but I somehow got a reputation for being able to figure them out well. It was two minutes to the bell and Athena was up. We thought for sure Teacher would let us finish later but she announced we would not leave until all mimes were done. Athena sat there doing no damn miming at all. Everyone was starting to panic. Smarty pants jock was becoming agitated and nervous, “What the f… is she?” “I don’t know,” I answered, “she’s just sitting there.” And that was the answer - she WAS just sitting there. It was like hitting the winning home run. We were forever released from the mime project and another crappy day of school. Athena caught up with me after school and announced that I was inducted into the goth click - on account of the fact that I had proven my insight and also that my new outfit suggested I was changeable. I re-adopted the jeans, boots, and heavy metal t-shirts (no sleeves cuz I was no longer a dork) and a studded dog collar. Oh, and some black make-up and A LOT of AquaNet hair spray. I was to go to a party at the lake that Friday and meet “R” because he ‘liked me’. “R”, I was assured, was way cool and to go out with him was an honor. “R” and I went out for about 20 minutes. Here’s how it went:
Cute dude with way too much make-up approaches me at said party with a Styrofoam cup in hand and says, “here, have some.”
ME: (looking into the greyish sludge in the cup thinking, just what the hell do these city kids put in their liquor?) I wanted to drink it and just be cool….and because I was an awful and evil teenager, I really had no problem drinking. But this stuff looked too weird. “What’s in it?” I ask, trying to be cool
“R”: Shrugging, “It’s paint.”
ME: (Stumped and wondering why someone would screw up good booze with freaking paint but leaning over to smell it just enough to verify the guy wasn’t fooling me) “But, doesn’t that taste like crap and stain up your teeth?”
“R” : shaking his hands around the getting all pissed off, “YOu don’t drink it, stupid, you sniff it. Man, what the f… is wrong with you, anyway, are you RETARDED?”
The irony of the whole part about being retarded for not knowing, instincually, to sniff paint was not lost on me as he stomped away, turning back to laugh and shake his head once more.
The next drama class I was informed that “R” had decided I couldn’t hang out with the goths because I was so ‘redneck stupid’ that I was practically a liability. Later, I would come to know some real goth people who would fascinate, frighten, and thoroughly rival my adolescent experience with the goth realm. I dyed up some roving in this dark green, silver, and black colourway I call “Raven”. The single spun yarn is a nice dk wgt with about 150 yards from this 2.3 oz. skein. The three ply is a navajo ply of 3 ozs. and weighs in at a worsted wgt. at 135 yds. I don't know how I feel about the color. I was feeling a little like a dark and mysterious bird when I got the news from another crazy auburn haired friend of mine last week that her mom had died. “H” and I have stuck this friendship out for over 15 yrs. beyond the leaving of nests and building of others. She was my family when I was all alone. Sometimes, she’d take me home with her and her mom, Sylvia, would always seem to have some pearl of wisdom that I’d cling to for a long while. I am not sorry that she suffers no longer but this place has lost one very good woman.
After raising her own five kids, I felt kinda silly one day when “H” and Sylvia were playing with Thing 1 (a toddler at the time) and I burst out crying when they said she was so cute. The day before had been a rough one, with toddler screaming fits, messy diapers, and total disasters of the bookshelf emptying via angry tantrums of a baby whirling books across the room kind. I had gotten so angry with her for breaking some of the books that I shouted at her and had to remove myself from the room. What kind of creep, I told myself, could get so mad an at innocent baby? So, I blubbered to Sylvia about what a crappy mother I thought I was and she just laughed. “Oh, you silly, “ she cooed, “I love all my kids but there hasn’t been a one of them that I haven’t thought of just ….:” I won’t divulge the shocking revelation entirely as for privacy appreciation but let’s just say that I realized, that day, two things. One, mothers are human. We don’t necessarily like admitting that but usually will when absolutely forced to. I learned that I needed to lighten up and take it easy on myself. Two, that this woman was a very important person in my life.
She was not my mother. We rarely talked. She was my best friend’s mom and she was also a mama. I admired her for both but from that time on, I thought of her as a sort of ’Master Mama’ just as there are master gardners, like mamas everywhere ought to learn from her how to love without losing themselves, how to discipline what your heart tells you is already perfect, and how to let things just be. The last time I saw her, 6 years or more ago when they’d come to Maine to visit and thing 3 was toddling around their hotel room raising all kinds of havoc - I looked over at Sylvia, who was patting his furry little head and smiling so wide that he was captivated by her, and she looked at me and winked. I felt proud like a lioness. I had received a compliment that meant the world to me, “You’re doing real good”, her eyes said.
Lighten up on yourselves and have a good time on this day for Mamas - you're doing real good.
Spinning, Knitting, Crocheting, Organic Gardening, Living off-grid, and chasing sheep - because- I'm, like, NOT SANE!