Tuesday, June 12, 2012

This is Why We Can't Have Nice Things

To this day I can hear my parent's voices reminding me as a child: "Kristen, this is why we can't have nice things." Whether there was a broken plate on the floor, an Italian ice melted on the couch, a half-chewed Barbie doll in the bunny's cage, Sharpie art on the carpet or a piece of corn up my nose, those eight words were more of a "reality" then a "threat." As a child I was a walking disaster. I should have known that corn doesn't belong up your nostril, that drawing is reserved for paper and that Annie and Precious will eat Rock Star Barbie's leg if fed to them like a carrot. I think my parents just assumed (and then prayed) that I would grow out of it. Unfortunately, I didn't.

Up front, right here, right now, I am going to announce that I am never going to be that girl who can put on a white shirt in the morning and not have a stain on it by night (um, noon... fine, 10am). Once people accept that minor detail about me I think there will be fewer perplexed looks and less questions about my sobriety at that present moment. But the older I get and the more run-ins I have with my inability to live life as a "normal" human, I'm starting to think I may never grow out of it.

It's no secret I'm single. It's no secret that I live in a tiny apartment with 2 cats who, but for the grace of God go thee, are still alive (feeding them is such a hard thing to remember). It's no secret that I have spent the past 21 months trying to lose weight while balancing my love (obsession? addiction?) for sugar and hatred of the gym. I live in a world where cooking dinner means there's a risk someone two buildings over might get hurt... Where straightening my hair may result in 2nd degree burns... Where a simple walk on a treadmill could result in crutches and a boot... Where vacuuming will result in losing at least 1 cat toy and a pulled, unraveled rug... Where a staircase is literally a risk to my life... Where driving in reverse usually causes people to flee... And where I will stand in front of my apartment door and use the button on the car key to lock it.

I had a conversation with my mom not too long ago. Somehow we got on the topic of her "grown children" and I asked which was one her favorite. This question should always be expected when speaking with the middle child. She advised me that she loved us all the same and in very different ways. But out of all of her children, I kept her up at night, worrying, the most. Well that was news to me! She has a daughter who is a mother of a 2-year old and a son who is a police officer. Yet, her impoverished grad student, historian daughter, 1221 miles away, brings her the most concern. That comment really got the wheels turning in my mind. Then, last night, after accidentally ingesting two Benadryl instead of Tylenol, and waking up this morning with a ring pop in my hair, I realized: I am "that special kid."

I'm that child that parent's proud of but not because they accomplished great feats like birthing a child or fighting crime on the streets of Texas. I'm the kid who made a "pretty picture" with crayons and stickers that can go on the fridge. I'm the kid who can proudly say, "I went the whole day without forgetting to take my Ritalin and I actually remembered the way to drive home after work." And I'm the child who parent's look at and say, "It's your fault she's like this."

Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining in the least. I think being someone that stands out of the crowd a bit is a good thing. Now, I'm not about to show up in a meat suit like Lady Gaga to prove "I'm different, notice me!" That is definitely not who I am. But you'll most likely be able to identify me by the bruises or the band-aids or the cream cheese on the steering wheel and the ring pop in her hair. I'm just the girl "that can't have nice things." And that's ok, because one, I've come to terms with that fact and two, I can't afford them anyway.

So if you see me on the street with a stain on my shirt, just know that I didn't pay a lot for the shirt and I'm completely aware that it's there. Perhaps this complexity to my personality plays a great factor in why I'm still single. But at the end of the day, if a guy isn't going to put a ring on my finger, I can always find a great big sweet watermelon one embedded in my messy ponytail. And for now, that works for me...