Flashback Friday: Channeling My Inner Rockstar---Madonna

I'm flashing back today with Deb over at Web Savvy Mom. Back to good old 1985. ish. Or so.

Pictured here is my BFF & neighbor, Jennifer. She was Madonna for Halloween that year. And me? I'm the dorky juice box. I'm practically drooling over her costume, as the two of us had spent many an hour crooning the "Like a Virgin" lyrics into our hairbrushes every day after school. Jennifer's mom also kept a giant box of Blow Pops around, so it was super fun to hang out over there. Don't laugh, girls--you know you did it, too!

Anyvirgin, my jealousy is palpable. Note the envious expression on my face. I may as well be eyeing a plate of french fries I'm about to devour---because I wanted to be her. Not just her, my friend....I wanted to be Madonna. But I wasn't cool or creative enough, my mom only knew how to make costumes out of boxes (which were a bitch to walk in, by the way---my knees knocking on the cardboard), and let's face it-- I wasn't ready to channel my inner Madonna just yet.

But now? With Halloween merely weeks away (and in case it wasn't already crystal clear, it's my FAVORITE holiday), CIP under my belt, my skeletons coming out of the closet, and Abby teasing me with her Madonna shirt which she insists upon wearing every day it's clean....

It's time. It's my turn.

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears: I am morphing into MADONNA. I am going to channel my inner rockstar. And it's gonna last way beyond Halloween, so gird your loins, people. I'm taking on her attitude--not going to care what people think, not going to be afraid to change, and I'm going to say what I want. And you're going to like it. Or at least pretend that you do. I have always had a thing for Madonna and she's my idol. Which could explain the new artwork we bought from @TwoOldHippies in Aspen recently. More on that another time.

Some of you reading this may recall my brief stint as Madge in college. One day a hypnotist showed up on campus for an evening of fun in one of the lecture halls. A big group of us went because there were no fraternity parties that night out of curiosity. He asked for volunteers from the audience and unbeknownst to me, my "friends" sitting behind me were pointing & wildly gesturing in my direction. Because I'm oblivious, naive, and unassuming like that, I got picked and had to get up on stage. Inside I was feeling cautious, but confident because I knew it was all an act. Next thing I know, I'm cowering behind a row of chairs because this hypnotist has convinced me I'm completely naked. Five minutes later he informs me I'm Madonna at a concert; suddenly I'm singing and strutting my stuff all over the stage, belting out lyrics and sounding like a sick cat. Clearly this guy was gifted because whenever I've assumed the position on any type of stage, my voice cracks and shakes, I am a total wreck, and I basically want to vomit thinking of all the people looking at me.

But back to our adventure in the hood today.

Confession # 1: I may or may not have dragged my innocent daughters into a seedy costume shop in the hood that had actual black iron bars over the windows.

Confession # 2: I may or may not have encouraged said children to follow me into the musty, dank, mildewy-smelling basement to look for Madonna garb.

Confession # 3: I may or may not have actually enlisted the help of a salesperson to assist me in assembling the perfect Madge ensemble.

Confession # 4: I may or may not have made several purchases. Said hypothetical purchases shall not be revealed until the week of Halloween. I will, however, complain that I've been unable to locate any of those jelly bracelets. If you know where I can get my hands on some, contact me IMMEDIATELY! Silly Bandz are not gonna cut it. I found some on Ebay, but I'm not sure they're THE jelly bracelets. Help!

Who are you channeling this Halloween? And how can I convince my husband to dress up this year? Furthermore, what should he be?


Gay By Proxy?

Today it's time for a smoothie. I'm taking chunks of real, juicy events, throwing in some changed names, places, times, etc. and blending it with some artificially-flavored details. However, it remains "Pretty All True" in the words of my favorite Olivia the Pig, and one of my new favorite bloggers, Kris, of Pretty All True.

Gay By Proxy.

Back in 1996, my gaydar was going off. Constantly, it seemed. In my Senior Seminar class with Dr. Miller, in Cups Coffee Shop on Old Canton Road, walking around Northpark Mall, and even as I was helping myself to a giant red concoction full of Everclear on Fraternity Row most Thursday nights.

Gaydar is genetic, you know. My dad is gay, which means that gaydar comes free for him. And somehow he passed it along to me, which sometimes made me think I was gay by proxy.

Which could explain why I fell hopelessly in love with a girl named Lauren. Actually, I became obsessed. Clad in old cowboy boots, she strutted her stuff in my daydreams, all over campus, and into my Women's Studies class upstairs in the creaky John Stone House. I sat next to her self consciously, barely daring to breathe lest the grits I'd had for breakfast waft her way. I stole glances at her and was shocked to discover her meeting my gaze. Unable to maintain eye contact, I looked down at my lap and immediately felt my face flushing crimson.

Eventually I grew a bit of confidence and became friends with Lauren. Admittedly we were better friends in writing than face-to-face, perhaps because of my writer-y-ness, and because what confidence I had wasn't enough to let me look her in the eye whilst having a real conversation. I was too shy and scared. And I quickly learned that she was, too, although she'd never have admitted it. But I felt it.

The emails started flying between us.We had so much to talk about. They became intensely personal, lengthy, and some days I was under such a heavy fog that I didn't realize what was happening around me. I confided in her about everything, and she me. I began to analyze every word. Over the summer we also wrote letters back and forth, sometimes 8-10 pages long. Written by hand.

Even with my head in the clouds, I knew this was unusual. I knew I was feeling "things" for Lauren. And my gaydar was going off wildly, so loudly that I couldn't ignore it anymore, but I didn't dare say anything to her. To anyone. I could barely admit to myself what was carved upon my heart and surely visible to everyone else. What made it harder is that I started to sense that Lauren had feelings for me, too...

Desperately seeking validation, I took everything to my shrink's office. I knew I could count on Robin for an unbiased perspective. Loaded all Lauren's letters in an old box along with a scrapbook she'd made me. The inside covers of the scrapbook were covered with hundreds of pictures of flowers she'd painstakingly cut by hand out of magazines. Like the walls of Idgie Threadgood's room in the old folks' home in Fried Green Tomatoes, one of my favorite movies/books of all time. In my mind, we were Idgie & Ruth.

Robin opened the scrapbook and simply gawked. The time, energy, and love that had gone into it were obvious. She looked right at me and said, "You don't have to show me any more. I truly believe Lauren has mutual feelings for you." Robin sensed my frustration and I told her I was tired of hiding my true feelings. She helped me realize it was time to fess up, that I had to come clean and tell Lauren what was going on inside my head.

One night I asked Lauren to meet me in one of the lecture halls so we could talk privately. It was quiet and empty, so different from during the day. Darker. Things echoed. We sat next to each other on the steps leading down to the stage. My heart was racing in my chest and I didn't think I could do it. Somehow I did. I don't really remember any of what I said that night except that at some point I whispered (while looking down at my Doc Martens--not at her, not making eye contact), "Sometimes I want to kiss you."

She talked me out of it. She blamed my dad. She convinced me that I was just feeling our friendship very deeply and that we were so connected/in tune with one another. She rationalized it all and soon I was crying and apologizing and she was hugging me and it was all over not really.

I bought into her arguments, I clung to them. Because on one hand they made total sense and also because as you know, I have a big heart. I love everyone. But after that moment, I hated myself. Although I'd told her everything and didn't have to hide anything anymore, I felt exposed, naked, stupid, and wrung out. Which led to the episode in the shower.

Lauren found out that I'd hurt myself and things were never the same after that. I distanced myself because I didn't know what else to do. I'm sure she didn't understand it all, potentially blamed herself for part of it, and also resented my doing it in the first place.

But I can't take any of it back. I can't un-do it.

These are the pages of my life.

**Please don't forget to check out my giveaway which ends this Friday!! Go here to see Arizona Mamma's cool jewelry and leave a comment to enter. You don't have to be a follower or a blogger---you just have to leave a comment w/ your email address in the pretty white box! ***

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