Friday, November 16, 2007

I. Am. Terrified. lj idol

It just seems like a crutch now. It has been a short 41 days since I lost my dad. I remember my last words to him like it was yesterday. My mom and him were at our "fancy" Italian restaurant up the street, Amalfis. We talked about going to Body Worlds, he was so happy to talk to me he even snatched the phone away from my mom, just to talk to me. I remember getting off the phone, smirking, and telling my roommate that my dad was "such a dork, but whatever, I love him."

Fast forward to an hour later.

The call was the most terrifying thing I have ever heard. I could hear my mom, and there were voices in the background. Lots of voice.

"Ok, ma'am, we need you to move. You need to get out of the way." It was the voice of a man, he sounded calm.
oh, my god, were they in a car accident?!
"MOM! MOM, WHATS GOING ON?" I tried to get her to talk to me.
"I need you here, now. Somethings going on with your dad." She sounded so shook up. "I don't know, he spewed something, and his eyes rolled back in his head. JUST HELP HIM!" The scream was blood curdling.
"Mom, whats going on with dad? Is everything ok?"
"I NEED YOU HERE NOW!!!" She started screaming in to the phone. I could hear her talk to the paramedics some more. "No! Its my daughter. SHE HAS TO BE HERE!"
My heart sunk.
Oh, my god. Dad.

My mom and me think he knew. That in the grand scheme of things, he saw his death coming. He made sure I got a good car when my last one blew up on me, he filled up the oil tank on the house to last all winter this summer, he took my mom on a train ride through the Oregon Gorge for the dinner train the weekend before he died. He had always been the good dad. He worked 7 days a week (graveyard for the first 25, and all the time I lived at home.) to provide for us, and on the weekends he wasn't working he would drive us (and any of our friends who weren't as lucky to have fun parents) through the gorge and we would stop at Cascade Locks to have ice cream or go to the Charburger for dinner. We would stop by the park out at the locks and play in the grass, or we would go to the Bonneville Fish Hatchery and feed the "sharks." (sturgeon at the BFH are freaking GINORMOUS! Welcome to the BEAUTIFUL pacific North West) Every Mothers Day dad would drag us out to the Eagle Creek fish hatchery for a picnic that, as tradition holds, included Kentucky Fried Chicken. I don't think we ever ate KFC any time of the year except for Mothers Day. My dad knew how to make memories, and he never shorted us on starting traditions.

Thinking about it still... its tough. I get all teary eyed, even if its good thoughts, and I choke up. Its like I don't want you to see me cry over it, even though I know I should just get it out. Usually I don't care, crying isn't a big deal. My dad means a lot to me. He was the one person who pushed me and stood behind me, he was damn sure that if he had his way, me and my sister would both do better than him. To the one person who had all the faith in the world in me, and I feel like I let him down. Like I should be more than this. That doesn't terrify me though, it just makes me really disappointed in myself.

I'm still not scared of dying. I'm more scared of what would happen to my family if I died. What would my mom and sister do? I'm still pretty scared of losing my mom. She has always been the sick one, and for my dad to pass first, it just seems so backwards... I really don't mean to sound morbid or gross here. I apologize if I do.

I wrote an entry in my personal lj the other day about how I wasn't scared of anything right now, about how this topic was so mundane and cliche and that, at 41 days after my dads death, what was I supposed to write about. I wanted to use this season as a way for me to grow up and become more of an adult and to use all the thoughts floating around inside my head for good, instead of just anger and sadness. I'm scared someday I'll wake up and I'll be all alone, I'm scared of the day my mom will die, I'm scared my sister won't go to college or that she won't fulfill her potential because some dude doesn't want her to be more successful than him, or that my car will break and I don't know how to fix it, that Dre will run away or someone will try to take him from me, or that that one guy who considers me "the one that got away" really is the only dude for me and that no matter how hard I try, I still can't find that attraction to him.

I am literally scared out of my mind over everything. My biggest fear now is trying to figure out how to survive. It seems so trivial. My dad was my go to guy for everything. If I needed help, he was there. One time, after telling me he would never help me again, my water heater exploded. I called my mom, sobbing. "My water heater tank blew up, and I can't tell dad, he's mad at me." He got on the phone, and without even mentioning our previous blow up, came straight to my aide. We went to Lowes, picked up an energy efficient water heater tank and even looked at new over the stove vent hoods, because mine went out. It didn't matter that we were mad at each other, or that we had been in a huge argument earlier in the day. I needed my daddy, and he was always there for me.

I would like to come back to this entry in a year and say that I have overcome this fear. That my dad wasn't the only person in my life who could make everything ok and that I posses that very power in these little old hands of mine. My mom used to tell me that I was so much like my dad and I used to get so angry at her. As we walked down the aisle leading out of my dads funeral, and I lead the family, arm in arm with my grandmother, not shedding a single tear, proud to be there celebrating my dads life and all his accomplishments, my mom patted me on my back and with a smile told me, "You remind me so much of your father."

It was one of the best compliments I have ever received.

Written for week 2 of therealljidol

Monday, November 5, 2007

My best day as a kid... EVAR!!!! for lj idol

I originally posted this one today, November 5th.

"Ok, do you want strawberry, chocolate, or vanilla?"
"One large strawberry shake, please."

The Humdinger was an old neighborhood drive in that my parents used to hot rod around in their 71 Vega at. All the party kids in the Capital Hill area of Southwest Portland had grown in to adults and now spent their Saturday afternoons with their kids on the benches in front of the tiny burger shack, sucking on milkshakes, devouring big, sloppy hamburgers, and inhaling fries. The food was good the way dive food is always good. Greasy, fast, and would make your kids shout in chorus, "THANKS MOM AND DAD!!!"

"Have you ever wanted to be a big sister?" My dad asked as he smiled at me.
"No way!" I answered back. My friends all had little sisters or brothers, or even worse, older brothers and sisters. Why would I want to give up having my own room and toys to have to deal with a little screaming brat? I don't even know how to share!

My moms smile sunk. I'm sure she was excited, as was my dad. Finally, another shot at a baby. My mom had suffered through a miscarriage before she had me and, at the time, it was probably the most heartbreaking thing had ever happened to her. My parents fought and fought, all they wanted was a little boy. They'd even gone as far as to pick out names. Had I been a boy, my name was to be Gregory Michael, named for my dads lifelong best friend who died in a motorcycle accident before him and my mom had gotten married.

"Well, your moms pregnant. You're going to have a little brother or sister! We just found out today!" My dad said as he placed his hand on my back. He was so excited. I could see the smile on his face grow bigger, I could see his eyes glimmer. My bottom lip began to quiver and my eyes got teary and red. I was seriously hurt. I didn't see it as they did, I saw it from the prospective of a spoiled, bratty 4 year old. I would have to share my toys, my bedroom, my orange tabby cat, and my mom and dad.

Kids don't see these things as adults do. My parents knew that me and my sister would grow up to be best friends. We would always have the other one no matter what, and if theres one thing you should be counting on, its family. I thought I had done something wrong. Why would they need another baby if I was there? Wasn't I good enough at being a kid? What did I do that was so wrong that you felt you had to go and have another baby?

I often times like to think of pre-sibling Michelle as the young Drew Barrymore. My parents, more than capable of LOVING a child, were not quite ready to stop being 20-something to have one. They would have wild parties and here I was, little Michelle. I would get in front of everyone and it was just natural. I would dance, sing, tell jokes, "she's so cute, look at her go!" I didn't have a lot of friends my age, and I didn't need them! I had the most grown up group of friends ever. Even though most of them were trashed, they treated me like I was the most special thing any of them had ever come in contact with. I was the first baby among the group of party friends. The last thing I needed was another baby to compete for all the attention with.

Katherine Mae-Del DeFord entered my world on October 9th, 1989. My sister proved every misconception wrong. From day one we were typical sisters. We fought, played, messed around in moms makeup, flushed weird things down the toilet, and harassed the neighborhood. We cry on each others shoulders, we STILL fight like cats and dogs, and we still stick up for one another. We go to shows together, battle on Guitar Hero, and we still take care of mom.

How could a day I was so bummed on be considered my favorite childhood memory? I think it caused a lot of major triggers in my life. In a short 4 years, so many awful things had happened. My dad had been hooked on heavier drugs, as was my mom. While having me showed them that they wanted to have a family and live this all American dream life, having my sister showed my parents what they were going to have to do to live it and that they had to clean up to do it. The parties slowed to every weekend, to once a month, to once every few months, to hardly ever. My parents grew up the day they found out they were having Katie.

My sister has grown in to such a beautiful young lady. She's a senior in high school, she's on the honor roll, shes a member of her schools leadership team, and she has had the same boyfriend since she was a sophomore. By all means possible, there is no way she hasn't made me proud. The Humdinger is still there. A few years later we moved away from Capital Hill and the drive in across the street from Safeway was farther away now. Every once in a while I get the urge to drive 30 minutes for a burger and fries. Unfortunately, I've never been able to look at a strawberry milkshake the same from anywhere.

How could the day I found out I'd be getting a life long best friend not be considered the best day of my childhood, let alone life?

Who I are. for lj idol

This was my first post that got me to number 14 out of over 100 writers from around the world. I posted it 10/30. The repost is mainly here for my mom.

Introductions are one of the most important things you will ever do in your life and first impressions are everything. I guess I've always kind of believed in this. Meeting people is funny to me. I always try to be super nice when I first meet someone, usually depending upon who I am meeting them through and the environment, of course.

So, my name is Michelle and I am 23 years old. I am currently alive in Portland, Oregon with my roommate and her boyfriend, who are also my best friends. I have a 14 month old brown AmStaff named Dre. I work at an Electrical Apprentice program in Northeast Portland as an Administrative Assistant.

I have been a "writer" since I was a kid. I would write short stories, poems, essays, rants, longer stories, anything, just to write. As I got older I still loved writing, and I still got compliments, but the crowd changed and thats the only way to explain it. Everyone grew up and writing became less and less about expressing yourself and what you were in to and wanted to talk about and more about trying to outsmart one another. I occasionally would write things for my parents which would usually end up in one of two things: either my mom so happy she was sobbing uncontrollably, or me and my dad screaming at each other because I could "make a career" out of writing, but why would I want to try to profit at something I didn't even enjoy doing anymore? He saw it as a gift, and I saw it as a curse. I was still pretty in to writing in high school, but once you graduate and don't go on to college there isn't really a huge market for expository writing about the shipwrecks of the pacific northwest or Corsica, France. ahaha

My dad just died, and not to sound gruff or harsh or overly morbid, but we were a very close family and I think that its important you should know that about me. Its a very scary and intimidating and mentally straining time. Everyday I feel like I'm fighting something. I feel like I'm in this huge race to get over the fact that he died, but I hate myself when I start to forget about him, or I don't think about him every second, and I know thats not the case. I am supposed to deal and vent and its going to be hard and scary and sad and eventually, its going to be ok again. But, you couldn't pay me to think that right now. I wake up in the middle of the night because I think I can hear his voice, or I'll see cars that look like his driving down the street in the neighborhood and I still look to see if its him. My dad wasn't supposed to die this young, or before my mom. Maybe I'll be able to get in to that in a later topic.

I used to have all the luck. I used to tell everyone, "Someday it will run out and I'll be forced to deal, just like everyone else." I am guessing my luck ran out somewhere around December of last year. I've lost friends to everything from gossip to heroin. I've broken, lost, destroyed, shattered, and ruined pretty much every thing I've gotten my hands on, and I alienated a lot of people close to me, all by way of bad luck. This was the cherry on the top of my life-shit sundae this year and I am done taking it. I am determined to make a different mark on the world besides the girl that used to have the good luck, and right now I am content sitting back and seeing how exactly I can make that happen.

So, here I am. In front of my keyboard thinking of what else I can tell you. My life story is short; I was born in Beaverton. When I was 7 my parents picked up everything we had in our small house in the nice neighborhood and we moved to the ghetto. When I was 11 years old I had to switch schools and in a way to show defiance to my parents, I ended up falling in love with hip hop. I knit for all my friends, anything from hats, scarfs, to stash bags and pouches. I get way more excited than I should over old cars as I was raised around them. I was a cheerleader in middle school, a social butterfly and the "biggest flirt" in high school, and an outcast amongst my friends when we graduated. I worked at a diner for 3 years which I closely associate with the lyrics to "Famous in a Small Town" by Miranda Lambert as far as why I worked there for so long and why I liked it so much. When I turned 22 I hit a growth spurt. I moved and started working at my first "grown up" job. I still like to rock out to Creedence, blare Snoop Dogg extra loud, and I know all the words to Through Being Cool by Saves the Day. I am a kinesthetic learner through and through and can only grasp things when I can get my hands on them. And at 23 years old my heart was broken for the first time in my entire life.

So, here I am. Battered and broken, but I am ready to fight.

written for week 0 of therealljidol