Today I was having a conversation with my mother in which she told me she was trying to leave a message for me on Facebook but couldn’t. I was feeling all warm and fuzzy inside, mom wanted to spread the love . . . then she told me it was to say shitz on me for being happy about my cross country trip in two weeks. My niece had texted me several times saying she was having a bad day, so to make her feel better, I posted on her wall: In two weeks you’ll be in Texas. Little did I know making my niece feel good would make my mom feel bad. Didn’t she want me to be happy? Was she negatively affected by my telling my niece to chin up, good things are on the way? In a sad nutshell, yes. Mom went on to say, “Should I post that in a month from now I’ll be in Germany?” Why not? Why not let everyone know you’re happy with your life, excited? She said, “I don’t want to rub it in.” Rub what in? It’s not like you want to say, “I’m going to Germany, nyah nyah, fuck everyone who isn’t, you poor bastards, nyah nyah.”
Let me tell you a little something about my mom; or a lot of somethings. My mom is beautiful. Physically. Always has been. She was a child model and wanted to pursue that career path. Her father told her models were sluts. That she was ugly. That was the end of that. My mother is loving and kind. My mother is not perfect. My mother is giving. My mother is strong. My mother looks about twenty years younger than her actual age. I love my mother very much. She was, and is, my first female role model. It is always a proud moment for me (shitz be damned) when I am told I look like her, which is often. Both her current and former husbands love(d) her very much, think she is the bomb, think she is sexy as shit. My dad never got over losing her. Her children and grandchildren, her sisters, her friends, her nieces and nephews, all would say the same thing: they love Suzie. They love being around Suzie. Suzie is so beautiful. So why, oh why, doesn’t Suzie? Why does she look in the mirror at herself and slap her body and yell, “Fat fat fat!” when she’s positively striking? Why has she beaten herself with hair brushes when frustrated? Why does she call herself a stupid ass when she misplaces something? Who did this to her? Seriously, what asshole drummed it into my mother’s head so hard that she was worth nothing that she continues the tradition, carries the torch for her abuser even today? That she has passed it on to me, who hates to have her picture taken or look in the mirror? Who will get mad at a man when he compliments her? Surely he’s a liar. I’m ugly. I come from ugly stock. I am shitz when I am proud of myself or happy. I am no good. Surely he’s making fun of me, just like my family did when I entered a room feeling absolutely stunning only to have them all look at me and find my flaws. See; even at your best, you ain’t so special. I wanted to be an actress, passed on a drama scholarship from Allentown College because I couldn’t take the scrutiny. Taking a dump on that opportunity is among the top three regrets of my life. But if my own family ripped me apart, what would the public do? Too risky. So not only was I shitz, but quite cowardly.
I know: what the hell is shitz? More lingo, too difficult to explain, but you don’t want to be it, trust me. But how many times have I heard, “Shitz on you being so happy.” Soultion: don’t be happy. Or, when I was happy as a child, “Stop being so happy or we’re not going.” “Take that present away from her, she’s too shitz happy.” And I’m a brat if I open a gift with a poker face. Can I win? Absolutely not. Would I have gotten to go to the movies or the park if I continued being shitz happy? I don’t know. I never wanted to find out, so I stopped showing my happiness. I stopped showing that I felt pretty. If someone complimented me, I would say, “Yeah, but my hair is awful” or “Please? I look terrible.” There. I already discovered my flaw, you don’t have to find it, can we just move on now. Why am I afraid to fly? Because surely I will be punished for being excited about traveling somewhere. Better I downplay it lest God strike me down for being so shitz. Why do I pick brooding assholes to love? Because successful and happy is shitz and unacceptable. (The Pianist is my first exception to this rule. He was so happy. Always smiling and silly. He was the first person that made me bubble up with joy from just being around him. He set me on the path of believing it was not only okay to be happy, but the ONLY way to fly.)
So I say, people are beautiful when they’re happy. I’ve gone from saying about that girl in a bikini on the beach with that special strut, “Oh, look at you, you conceited bitch, don’t you think you look so cute, I see some cellulite on that ass, you’re not so built” to thinking “Good for you for rocking it, I wish I had one-tenth of your confidence and self-love.” Better to strut in your bikini than hide under a blanket.
In case my mother reads this, I want to end on this quote from Tori Amos: “When are you going to love you as much as I do?” Because I do. So so much.