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.