When we moved to Augusta in December, I decided to try super hard to be normal. Or, at least to contain my crazy as best I could to situations that didn't involve people outside my family. I mean, B is a respectable citizen with a grown-up job, my kids are getting older, and I suspected it would be in my family's best interest to behave my bad self and act like a good, sweet, Southern adult who cares how she presents herself and plays well with others. No wandering around the neighborhood in my nightgown and carrying a glass of wine. No freaking out on other people and following them through parking lots yelling curse words at them. No bedazzling the things that I buy so they'll be their own original item. No telling my kids to stop acting like assholes when other people can hear me. No saying what's in my head EVER. So that's what I've been doing for the past ten months. Smiling and carefully minding my manners and making sure I leave the house in lipstick. Behaving myself.
Let me tell you, guys-- it fucking blows donkey balls.
You know what it has gotten me?
Well, let's see. There was the guy I met who told me that he had heard of me and what he had heard was that I was "passive." (First of all, I wanted to laugh because I've been called "batshit crazy" before, but not "passive" until I moved to Augusta.) There's the fact that I don't talk to ANYBODY about ANYTHING because I am afraid that I'll slip and forget to be reserved and they'll get a tiny peek into my real self. There's that I'm miserable ALL THE TIME because I feel like a big ole LIAR for acting this way and that I hate myself for essentially living life as a Stepford Wife. All because everyone here is SO judgemental and SO concerned about status and I don't want to reflect poorly upon B and the kids. I don't want to be the home that other children aren't allowed to play at because "that Mom is super weird." And here? I feel like here that's exactly what would happen.
This morning I was thinking about all this and I checked my Facebook page only to see the button pop up where you can look back at your old memories from this day on years before. The first thing that popped up was a 2013 status from my friend Janine that said "I'm having a Haley McPhail moment right now!" The comments that followed from my friends said a lot-- here they are:
"Because you've had too much wine? Or because you're a magnet for crazy strangers? Or because you just dyed your dog's hair pink?"
"Because your daughter just shouted, "Somebody give Mommy a Xanax!"? Or because when you asked a kid in the art class you were subbing what the number 1 rule in Mrs. McPhail's class was (answer: don't talk when Mrs. McPhail is talking) and he said, "Don't poop on your art paper?"
"Because your kid automatically brought you a martini at 5pm that he had mixed himself?"
"Because you've been banned from ANOTHER public place for something you probably didn't do?"
"Because somebody just sent you an unsigned letter with a ring, a $20 bill, and a death threat?"
And they said these things because THEY HAVE ALL HAPPENED. And they are just a drop in the bucket. My life isn't SUPPOSED to be normal. I'm not SUPPOSED to pretend to be something I'm not. If that made me happy, then looking back at these memories from friends who truly know me wouldn't have made me laugh so much. I miss my pink dog and weird life and my occasional assault charge. I don't even know what I'm DOING here, with all this cookie-cutterness.
So I gotta stop. Because I'm not gonna find my Augusta people if I don't. (Although one good friend of mine from Suffolk did suggest that my people are probably the ones hanging out at "Alley Katz," the dive bar downtown that advertises $3 Jaeger bombs. It wasn't an insult. I'm pretty sure she was trying to help.) It's time to dye the dog and glue ribbon and rhinestones on my rainboots and give the finger to all that goddamn Lily Pulitzer bullshit that people in Georgia are so fond of but that I think is super hideous.
It's time to find my Tribe.