I hope you will still be my friend. I know you are so mad at me and probably think I am a freak. I am sorry that I blocked the gate when you were trying to leave yesterday. You thought I was being weird. You just wanted to go home…I just wanted you to stay.
There was a clear theme that defined the misdirected roles in my relationships for more than four decades. I would be the needy, emotional one while friends and boyfriends (god bless ‘em) played my independent, stable counterparts.
Standing in front of the gate panic had set in. I did not want Joelle to leave. She was a safety, a distraction. Having her there was like a nine year-old’s cocktail. Her company would numb the pain of loneliness; cast a blur on the caustic perversity that was my family life. On that particular day I was desperate, I knew once Joelle left I was going to have to sober up to the reality inside that house…and fast.
I thought if you just stayed a little longer we could talk my mom in to it; convince her to let me stay the night with you. I love Friday nights at your house so much!
My mom rarely said no. I thought she was a pushover. I now realize the depth of her ‘spoiling’ was a product of a guilty obligation she put on herself to compensate for my dad’s abusive nature coupled with the fear I, her sole ally, would abandon her. There was only one reason my mother ever said no, that was my father, Dee Brock. I knew he had been in a foul mood that afternoon and it rarely got better as the day went on. With me at home my mom had her own cocktail of distraction. More important, someone to hold her as she cried herself to sleep with the aid of a small white pill. I did not know for sure if they had been fighting. I did know it was a Donny and Marie night and I did not want to be at home.
At Joelle’s house Friday nights were the best. The honest to goodness…stuff nine year old girls dream about…BEST! If we were lucky there might be beef stroganoff for dinner. Her mom would make popcorn and there would be chips & soda. In the morning it was doughnuts and Strawberry Quik with just enough milk to make paste…Yum! The Muppet Show kicked off the night at 7pm sharp! One hour later we would bust out the vacuum. In the late 70’s the vacuum cord served as the perfect microphone for lip-syncing. As the seasons and technology progressed the dynamic duo went cordless and so did we. We upgraded to inverted Revlon bottles. To this day if there’s a good song on the radio when I get out of the shower I am tempted to pull out a nail polish bottle and belt it out…when I do there is a rush of memories that make me smile with my whole heart. At the time I didn’t see the entire picture, but in Joelle’s home my nine year old eyes saw enormous amounts of laughter, love and just plain fun. We would laugh so hard I am certain I wet my pants more than once. But, the absolute best thing about Friday night sleepovers…it meant Saturday morning at Woodbrook stables.
I knew if I stayed over, Saturday morning your mom would ask if I wanted to go to the stables with you. I wish more than anything I could take horseback lessons, too. Last week when you let me give Magic a carrot I was so happy. I may have even pretended I was you for a minute…imagining that I was there for my own lesson and that it was me letting YOU brush him. You have no idea how I wish this was true. I hate my mom and dad for not letting me take lessons with you. How do they “know” I would quit, they never even let me try? I go with you Saturday after Saturday, sitting in the freezing barn watching you ride back and forth, wishing that was I was you, wishing I was someone else, anyone else…and forgetting I was me, forgetting about home, at least for a few hours.
That evening there was not going to be any distraction. Finally, pushing me out of the way with, “I WANT to go home”, she left. I watched Joelle walk down the street and turn down the alley. I stood by the road until I couldn’t see her anymore. I knew had to go inside. I closed the gate and walked down the driveway.
Passing the kitchen window I could hear the crackle of Crisco heating in the cast iron skillet and utensils being slammed back and forth on the counter. My mom banging around was not a good sign. I stopped at the back porch stairs, took a deep breath and walked in. The smell of hot grease and Pall Mall Gold permeated the air. My mom stood at the stove with her back to me, hair in rollers and smoke circling up over her head from the cigarette hanging from the right side of her mouth. She was turning some sort of meat in a flour mixture. She glanced back at me when she heard the screen door close. Her eyes were red and swollen, the undeniable evidence of my dad’s demeanor. Without saying a word she turned back to the stove and started dropping the meat into the grease. The theme from Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom came from the next room. I could see the black leatherette chair pushed back to recline through the doorway that led to the living room. ”Please don’t let him notice I am inside” and “I just have to be able to go to her house” are fightingfor first position in my mind. I quietly walk closer to the stove where she was working.
“Are you okay?” I whispered. My mom motioned with a fork. I knew it meant that my dad might hear and that I should drop it.
“Mom, can I please just go to watch…” She lost it. “Dammit to hell, I said NO!”
“But her mom said I could…”
“I don’t give a god damned what that woman said…” with a quick turn to make her point clear the ashes from her cigarette fell onto her worn slipper. “SHIT!” shaking her foot. The slippers had so many burn marks it was hard to tell where the smoldering embers had landed. “I don’t want to hear another god damned word about it! Go down and get two jars of beans.”
“But…” I started to say.
“NOW!…Go on…and stop that pouting!” I opened the basement door. I tried not to cry, but I was so mad. I did not understand why I had to be stuck there just because she was.
Once downstairs, I stood in the egg-room for a few minutes, crying, searching my mind for any angle to get out of there when she hollered down the stairs, “Would you come on!” I grabbed the beans and headed up the stairs. “And stop that crying!” Like she had room to tell ME to stop crying! Under my breath, or so I thought, I muttered, “I hate you, you old heifer…” I was three stairs from the top when I heard the footrest of the Lazy-Boy slam down. Oh no, what have I done?! He heard me and I couldn’t take it back.
“What did I hear you say?” my dad yelled as he came into the kitchen. I hit the top of the landing, dropped the home-canned beans on the floor and took for the back door. I slammed the screen behind me. “You better get your ass back here!” he called after me. Leaping from the stairs; I did not notice I had broken the glass out of the bottom…that was not going be good. I didn’t have the sense to run where I wouldn’t be found until things cooled off. I ran straight to the barn that was about 50 yards behind the house. By the time I got there my dad was coming down the back steps and at the top of his voice informed me that if I did not get my, “…god damned ass back in the house right this minute…” he would “…beat (me) within a half inch of (my) life!” I already knew that was going to happen, why on earth would I speed up that process by surrendering to the man? For the next few seconds familiar wishes of rat poisoning in the coffee…heart attacks…bullying the wrong bully flashed through my head. The light switched on…no wishes answered today. He came around the corner of the dog’s bed and reached for my arm. “No, please…I am sorry!” I pleaded. “Damn, right you are! You get in there and tell that woman you’re sorry and meet me in the bathroom.”
I stumbled and pleaded all the way back to the kitchen. I begged and pleaded once in the bathroom. There was no changing the course of action. He was miserable, full of torment and hatred. He was going to make sure I was, too. After pulling down my pants and bending me over his knee, my dad used all the strength he had to bring the foot long warn leather belt piece down on my bare skin over and over, the entire time telling me that it hurt him more than it hurt me…threatening that if I did not stop my crying he’d make sure he gave me something to cry about. This was not the only time I left the bathroom with welts from The Strap. As far as it “hurting him more than it hurt me,” I disagree.
I knew my parents would be fighting. I can’t stand it when my dad is mean to my mom. My mom just cries all night and if I say anything they take it out on me. God, I wish he was dead. Anyway, I am so sorry I couldn’t explain that to you. I hope you will forgive me. You are my best friend. Maybe next weekend we can have a sleepover, ok?
It was an unusually sunny fall afternoon in Seattle when Kelly White, life-partner and keeper of Beatrice Rater, was in the middle of an impromptu meeting with Executive Producer and Founder of Larj, Tina Nole. The focus of the meeting was the launch of KellyBe. Bea Rater knew of the meeting and had been less than thrilled at the thought of losing her partner to a new venture.
The meeting was dynamic. The energy in the room was intoxicating as Tina and Kelly made plans for the next steps. Kelly reports that at 2:15pm the two ladies were completely immersed in discussion when “…the door just burst open and Bea Rater was standing there with a bomb strapped to her chest…” Tina let out a blood curdling scream telling Kelly, “Don’t just stand there…DO SOMETHING!” Kelly reached for her Colt 45 aimed and pulled the trigger. Though Rater tried to hang on, her time had come…the bullet was fatal. She was pronounced dead at 2:16pm October 23, 2011. Beatrice Rater was nearly 44 years old. The authorities have ruled it self-defense and there will be no further investigation.
Bea Rater had a full life. As a relationship specialist she collaborated with a wide variety to bring instability to the foundations of some highly visible friends and family. With a keen sense of timing she could terminate a project at its moment of launch with the accuracy of a sharp shooter. She played a large part in saving Kelly from landing an executive position with a luxury west coast golf company. Multi-talented, she wrote a best seller on the topic of unhealthy body images and won a Grammy with the recording of ‘You’re Never Gonna Be Good E’Nuff’ with the pop sensation The Men In My Life. She was unforgettable. Anyone who knew her would agree…She always had just the right thing to say…especially to Kelly.
Recently, and what some speculate to be what brought on Bea Rater’s erratic behavior, was the loss of her executive position at The Wine Bar. She had taken Kelly on a 48 month bender with unprecedented success. In May of 2011 Bea Rater was forced to resign with no compensation package.
Beatrice Rater is survived by Worthy, Confidence, Contentment, Tenacity, Strength, Dazzle, and Sparkle.
There will be a Wake held in conjunction with the official launch of KellyBe. This will be a private function.
On my quest to BE I have become a bit of a self-help addict. I am pretty sure Tom is starting to worry that if the stack of books on my nightstand topples in the middle of the night he will wake up to find me flat as a pancake. (I secretly would love to hear how he explains that one!) In one of the books I read about an exercise and thought I’d give it a go.
A few weeks ago I drew a bull’s-eye type ‘map’ on a blank piece of paper and with myself being the center. Next I plotted people in my life. Those on the inner most circles are people that I either spend a lot of time with or I feel my relationship is very intimate. I also included people I spend a lot of time and energy on…this is not necessarily a good thing. On other rings I added the people I see or talk to less often and also people that are more peripheral in my life. As I was plotting I realized I needed to include people that I am not in contact with anymore, but that impacted my life…kind of a crap shoot where they might end up. I did not move people around. I put them where the pencil landed…first instincts…no over thinking. This was really hard…but I did it…left them right where my gut put them. When I finished I put it away for a week.
Yesterday I took the map out…I looked at it…I mean REALLY LOOKED at it. Sadly, I was not surprised. The map did not draw a healthy picture. Clear as crystal I could see that all of my life I have been prone to giving an extraordinary amount time and energy to people who do not make me feel good and are not positive additions. People who range from a little passive aggressive all the way to blatantly awful I have spent time and energy on like it is going out of style…AND not surprising…When I have made poor choices in my life (the numbers are staggering) I have been my most insecure and afraid…and spending time on or with people who are not so great for me…duh!
It showed that people who are good to me…love me for who I am… are so supportive… I tend to keep just at arm’s length or sometimes chase right off. There are, regretfully, a few that I have adored, but they simply could not afford me and my craziness. I totally get that. One person you would think I was closest to, my husband, was not the inner most ring. Not surprising to him as he has told me so many times that I didn’t really trust him. I thought that was ridiculous…NOW, I totally agree…I didn’t! I did not trust he really loved me…and I have spent the better part of our 17 years testing what I would have to do to make him NOT love me…to prove I am not good enough… It has really only been the last 6 months I have put my real self out there to him…and get this…he actually likes me a little bit. I read this and think…how sick is that?! Crazy crazy crazy!!!
Looking at the piece of paper I do not like the way the map reads…AT ALL…and I need to change it. The events and exchanges I have experienced to date created that map…it’s pretty messed up. I have given so many people in my life permission to make me feel inferior…less than worthy. They have taken up pricy real-estate on my map. I can see that the wonderful people that I should celebrate and embrace…trust enough to include in a vibrant life…aren’t too good to be true. They are real…and not going anywhere.
I’ve got a lot to think about…and a sparkly new map to create!
I wish the wisdom of Waking Up Full of Awesome (thank you, Melissa Atkins Wardy, owner of Pigtail Pals – Redefine Girly) was an intrinsic reaction to every new day for me. It would be marvelous if being full of awesome was just my natural response to life in general. It would be fabulous if I didn’t need to work on it or read about in 2500 self help books to learn how to ’accept’ it. I wish it was more like breathing. No thought to how or why, it just happened. I’d love to know it without swimming through a big f*ing shit storm in my head first. This is not the case for me…not yet, anyway.
THEN…Today….without warning…this very minute even…I am having a glimpse of awesome. Real live…from the gut…feel it in my bones…see it in my eyes…AWESOMENESS. What better day to stop the madness of preparing for perfection than on the day I am experiencing a glimmer of waking up full of AWESOME!?
Dear Universe, I have arrived! Much love, Kelly…oh P.S please let all the people who told me Couldn’t, Wouldn’t, You’ll Never, and Can’t Ever know that I said thanks…all that energy is working to my advantage now!
I am certain one day soon I will wake up in the familiar place that is my midlife malaise and I will be gasping for breath. I will pinch myself to see if I really am awake to enjoy the fabulousness of my daily life, i.e. carpool, class parties and toilet cleaning. And on that day when I forget I am full of awesome…forget my life is full of awesome…when I listen to the people that are full of shit and contemplate if they just might be right…I will refer to this…day one, post one of kellyBE, follow the link above…and renew my awesome for the day!