Friday, December 6, 2013


I’m back on junk. 

My junk of choice is the acceptance, love and approval of housekeepers.

The proof of my addiction comes in the form of an acrylic heart with a laser-etched picture of Jesus, which sits proudly in my entryway proclaiming he is love.

My disease has no limits.
I have; sung in the wedding of, thrown showers for, been the maid of honor for, dined at the Ivy with, put through school, roomed with and given all my good clothing to different housekeepers over the years. 
I have never fired a housekeeper.  I have; moved to a different country, gotten a job, lost a job, broken my leg, come down with mono and talked them into college.  I am too concerned with their approval and love to actually fire them.   

My addiction started at a young age.  My parents had a slew of "helpers" over the years but one in particular destroyed me.   Her name was Maura and she was an El Salvadorian pin-up girl.  A "Bom Bom de la Semana."  She had just arrived in the States and thought she could continue her “Bom Bom” status.  In the States, she was more like a “Bom” and never imagined she would end up cleaning houses. 

Maura had a habit of smoking inside our home and I took great pleasure in tattle-tailing on her.   One day, in an act of retaliation, she showed up to work wearing white Keds to which she had puffy painted the following phrase: "Genna es Gorda."  Not so loosely translated: “Genna is fat.”  I was a pubescent 13-year-old and I wasn’t "a thin." I also wasn’t "a fat" but it was the absolute worst thing she could have said to my weakened self-esteem.
That was the moment that destroyed me.  I became a desperate child needing the acceptance and love of all domestics. 

My family has always had boundary issues with housekeepers so my co-dependency never felt that odd.  Once, a housekeeper gave birth to a baby in our upstairs toilet.  My mother, knowing the baby was the reincarnation of her newly deceased father, wanted to adopt the child and name him Pancho.  Pancho's birth-mother had different plans for her son.  I have never met my would-be adopted brother/grandfather Pancho, but I think of him often. 
Pre-divorce I had Jenny.  Jenny wasn't my subordinate.  Jenny was my best friend.  She was with me for the births of my babies.  For the end of my marriage.  For the beginning of my new life.  Jenny was my rock.  We talked about growing old together.  Jenny told me everyday that I looked like I had lost weight.  Everyday.  She made me feel pretty.  She made me feel seen.  She wouldn't twitter all day and ignore me during meals.  But then I got divorced and had no money so Jenny quit. 
As it turns out, we were not soul-mates. 

Jenny was rock bottom.  

Like most addicts, I tried to go cold turkey.  This time it would be different.  This time I wouldn't cross the housekeeper/ best friend in the universe line.  
I asked my mother's longtime housekeeper-slash-bestfriend-slash-worst enemy Lucero, if she knew of anyone to replace my beloved Jenny. 
Lucero, whom we all call Luz, suggested I meet her friend Luz, whom we all call Luz.
I was toast from the get go.  Luz told me that I was not only beautiful but also skinny and so she immediately got the job. 
I was using again.  I didn't ask for a reference.  Didn't care if she could clean.  She thought I was skinny and that was good enough for me. 
We were soul-mates.

As Luz and I ate left-over birthday cake from her son Steven's party (which I was invited to but couldn't attend because of my mono) and drank coffee that she brought me in a travel mug from her house because my coffee is too weak, she gave me unsolicited advice about my life. 
Luz believes I have too much estress.  She feels very strongly about this and claims that the estress medicine that American doctors give out is not estrong enough. 
Luz believes that I am entirely too weight obsessed.  That I should drink more full-fat milk and the weight will simply fall off.  
Luz thinks that I look extremely young and therefore my uterus also looks young giving me many more years of baby-making ahead.  She has taught me the tricks of having a girl.  It involves the lunar cycle, odd sexual positions and a strict diet of beef tongue.  
Luz thinks I drink too much water.
I don't wear enough make up.
I don't rest enough.
I don't take time for me.
And Luz thinks I'm extremely thin so nothing else matters.

Last week she told me that she would understand if I needed to find someone else as she doesn't babysit and can only offer me a few hours of cleaning a week.  She gave me the out.  I gave her a raise.
Luz brings me little gifts all the time, like 
a Mickey Mouse Christmas snow globe and underwear to name a few.  But she recently gave me the greatest gift of all.

My youngest son Leo is what one might call “an eater.”  An eater is just a nice term that my mother came up with for someone who can become morbidly obese if they aren’t nagged daily to stop eating.  I too am “an eater.” 
One day Luz looked at Leo and said, “Ay lindo precioso, mi Gordo.”    I flipped out.   She was going to make him into a desperate needy child as Maura had done to me so many years earlier. 
Luz told me to calm down.  That I was acting estressed out.  That in her country calling someone "gordo" (fat) is a term of endearment.  It is a name reserved for the most special and loving children.   It has nothing to do with weight. 

And that's when it happened.  Luz freed me from my past.  I'm not fat.  I'm special.  So special that Maura puffy painted it on her Keds for all the world to see.  Perhaps it's no accident that Luz's name means light.  She enlightened me after 24 years of pain and frustration. I was finally free of my addiction.

That night, I slept a little easier.  The next day, Luz brought me an acrylic heart with a laser-etched picture of Jesus proclaiming he is love.  She said I needed more Jesus in my life.  That acrylic heart will forever and proudly remain in my entryway, because Luz gave it to me and Luz thinks I'm thin and Luz is my best friend in the whole universe.   

Friday, May 17, 2013

Sofia the First; and Other Tales of Divorce

I'm a couch potato.  Anyone who knows me knows that I can waste a good four hours in front of the television.  Some people garden.  Some read.   I watch mind-numbing trash in an effort to escape my reality.  My genre of choice is reality housewives or psychic housewives.

Lately I've gone against type.  I've been enjoying a more thought-provoking, scripted show.    A work of fantasy that makes me contemplate life.   The show, nay, masterpiece, is Sofia the First.  It's on Disney Junior and I go to bed early Thursday nights so I can wake up Friday mornings at 6:30  to watch.

It's about a "village girl" named Sofia who's  "doin' all right"  who  "became a princess overnight"  when her seamstress mother marries the King.  So sayeth the opening title song.

It's a Disney fairytale and for 22 minutes I suspend disbelief and attend a royal slumber party. (Not pass out in my sweats with a toddler's foot in my face. )  I ride a flying horse.  (Not a filthy car with an unexplained b.o. escaping through the air conditioning.)  And  I make music with the local trolls. (Not alone at my piano contemplating my operatic comeback at age 37.)  Friday mornings at 6:30  I'm not a couch potato mom in need of a root touch-up and a manicure.  I am Princess Genna.

But here's where they lose me.

Never has Sophia mentioned her father.  Not once.  In fact, the moment her mother marries the King she immediately calls him Dad.  That's not her Dad.  Where is Sofia's father?  Why is there no mention of him? 

Okay, so maybe,  just maybe,  and this is just me spitballing...

Sofia's father cheated on her mom with many,  but ultimately left the mom, Miranda,  for some local hotsy-totsy.  So the King, known for being "down with the villagers,"  takes pity on her.  He drops in on Miranda's little shop just to let her know that the whole kingdom is behind her and that she'll be "doin' alright" in no time.

Their eyes lock.   There's heat, but he's the King and married, and she's certainly not going down that road.  

The King and Miranda see each other from time to time at local ribbon-cutting ceremonies and Best Pet in the Kingdom competitions.  Things like that.

At some point, the Queen notices their mutual attraction and in an attempt to control the situation commissions Miranda to make her a gown to be worn at the big Inner-Village Peasants and Noble People Ball like they have at Downton Abbey.  

Knowing this is the job opportunity of a lifetime, Miranda slaves for days over the gown.  She works her fingers till they bleed.  She calls in the local woodland creatures to help.  The gown is a masterpiece.

Miranda shows up at the ball knowing she has ensured a better life for herself and Sofia, only to find that the Queen has done a full switch-a-roonie.  She's wearing some other local designer's gown.  The Queen whispers in Miranda's ear, "Stay away from my husband, you whore."

Miranda runs out of the ball in tears.  Is it not humiliation enough that her scumbag village photographer husband left her for a young circus clown?  Must she endure the humiliation of the Queen as well?  The King sees her leaving and runs after her.  He takes her hand and apologizes for his wife's behavior.  He explains that she struggles with bipolar disorder and is hideously unattractive. He apologizes because he knows he has been inappropriate with his advances.  He begs her forgiveness and gently kisses her wet hand.   It's raining.

The Queen watches the exchange and comes charging after Miranda but a mischievous woodland creature trips the Queen and she falls in a mud puddle.  The poor Queen has humiliated herself in front of the entire Kingdom of Enchancea.

That night, in an act of great selflessness, the Queen hangs herself.  The King is beyond thrilled to find her lifeless body dangling and immediately heads to the village to claim the seamstress and her, let's face it,  bastard child.  The King's teenage children are told never to mention their mother's name again and poor little Sofia, the kindly bastard child of the local seamstress is now Sofia the First with a talking pet rabbit named Clover,  played by American treasure Mr. Wayne Brady.

That's just one possible theory.  There could be a different back story but I highly doubt it.

Yes.  It's my favorite show but that doesn't mean it gets a free pass.

To this day, I  struggle with  what happened to Carole and Mike Brady's spouses.  There's no "every other weekend" for that Bunch.  Cindy never went to  behavioral therapy because her father abandoned her.  If Mr. Brady's wife had died why didn't they discuss her?  What?   She dies and they all just pretend she never existed?   And none of the girls rebelled?  Their father up and leaves Mrs. Brady for some chicky and gives up all custody of his kids?  He's got some new young trick who spends all his money and the kids are all cool with that?  Please.  That's not real life.  In real life, those Brady girls are slutbags.

Here is real life.   You marry.  You have the best of intentions. You try your hardest.  Sometimes it ends.  You share your kids with people who have hurt you in ways you can never describe.  You smile through it, cause you're "doin' alright."  You watch your young boys love another woman.  It hurts. You smile.  You make the best of things.  You cry when you don't get to spend Mother's Day with them.  You pray that only kind words are said about you and you do the same, though it kills you inside.  You meet a good man.  A kind man.  A man of integrity.  They call him Zack, not Dad.  You lead your children by example and you carry on.

And every Friday morning, you wake up at 6:30 to watch the fantasy version of divorce and mixed families with your two young boys.  You force them to sing the opening song with you.  Sometimes you wear costumes.  You squeeze them and hold on for dear life because you know these days of fantasy are fleeting and soon there will be real questions to answer.  The holes in the story will need to be filled and they will realize that life is not a fairytale after all.