There is a spider living in my living room. In the 9 years I have lived in my aparentment, there has only been one other spider. It was when a friend subletted the place while I was in Vermont. She had stuff from storage. The spider got in. It wasn’t a Daddy Long Legs, but it also wasn’t a Brown Recluse. It was probably your average, everyday spider. No larger than a dime. It was in my shower on a Saturday morning years ago. When I pulled back the shower curtain, there it was. I was not clothed. Things got ugly. After nearly hyperventilating, I grabbed anything I could find to not provide a show for the neighbors, struggled to the kitchen, and found Clorox. I burned that bitch.
I hate spiders.
My mom was here a few weeks ago, and I asked her to kill this newly residing spider. She never really saw it in its glory. She went in with a wad of tissue, and…missed. It retreated. She stuffed the tissue in the window jamb, puffing herself up to the fact that “it’s a goner.”
That was 3 weeks ago. The damned thing is back. And it’s spun an enormous web over my entire living room window. It was there when I got home tonight as the rain came down. My window was more than halfway open, so I had to close it. And it smirked at me, perched high above my reach, as far as it could go on my bay window. It’s not the size of a dime, and it’s not a Daddy Long Legs. It’s also not a Brown Recluse (at least I don’t think), but it’s larger than a quarter, and very, very dark.
Work is killing me. I have never seen this many gray hairs on my head. And when I went to Nordstrom the other day to buy a higher coverage foundation, the wrinkles on my forehead dissolved my soul a little. I am a walking P. A. for the affects of stress.
On New Year’s Eve, I bought myself this FEARLESS bracelet. My wonderful, thoughtful, slightly critical mother (aren’t they all?) taught me when I was in high school, enduring a horrible stomach issue, that I could fool myself by looking better than I felt. In 1995, the peak of Grunge, this included leaving my Doc Martins at home, and instead, wearing palazzo pants and suede green flats. And don’t forget the extra blush.
I hate to admit that she was right.
I still do this. Enter my stupid, cherished FEARLESS bracelet that I take off only to sleep and shower. Like Wonder Woman’s Bracelets of Submission, it makes me invincible. Or at least I fool myself into thinking this.
I’m as far from fearless as possible. I fear America, and feeling, like most of us, disjointed from the morons running for President. I fear that all the crap at work will not get better. I fear that I’m going to be alone, writing a blog and plotting the death of a spider for the rest of my days. I fear that I have lost my love for writing, singing, sewing, crocheting, drawing, photography-ing. The list continues.
But yet, despite these fears, I wear my FEARLESS bracelet, I dress for work better than I feel, and as Ms. King told me, I have to get up every morning with a smile on my wrinkled face and show the stupid word all the effing love in my heart. Even if I’m fooling myself.
I taught The Diary of Anne Frank for 3 or so years, when I taught 7th grade. My students had to write an essay, an opinion essay, regarding Anne’s famous quote, “Despite everything, I still think people are really good at heart.” I always had a few cynical 12 year olds who felt even then that the world outside of academia was going to hell in a hand basket. And despite today, frustrated with work, frustrated with being single, frustrated with my weight, frustrated with Whole Foods not having beets in the salad bar today, despite everything, I still agree with her.
The world right now as many of us see it is pretty disheartening. But I get up every morning with a smile on my face and show the world all the love in my heart. For my students, yes, I do this. After all, workplace politics are beyond them, and that can’t interfere with their learning. And I don’t let it. And I put on my FEARLESS bracelet, fooling myself and maybe others that I am, in fact, FEARLESS.
Driving home tonight in the pouring rain, I was so frustrated with things, that at the top of my lungs I screamed the F word. Only I heard it. And it made me feel 118% better. I no longer fear heights, or breaking an ankle with unshaven legs. I no longer fear acknowledging my weaknesses, saying I am sorry, or saying that I am not sorry for speaking my mind. I no longer fear making mistakes at work. I no longer fear that I over-think things. I no longer fear any of these because I have lived them in real time over the past 38 years.
After a glass of wine tonight, I grabbed my DustBuster, and headed for my window to suck up the stupid spider that I refuse to call Charlotte. If I panicked too much after sucking it up into the vacuum, I’d let it sit there for weeks until it suffocated. Or find the Clorox. So I pulled back the curtain, and the damned thing had vanished. I fooled myself into being ready to get the sucker, and it slipped one over on me. And so I will go after it again tomorrow morning.
It feels so damned good to write. I’ll continue to tell myself I am FEARLESS. Even if I am only fooling myself…a little.
Memphis Midnight/Memphis Morning–Lyle Lovett
Don’t Cry–Guns n’ Roses
Don’t Cuss the Fiddle–Wille Nelson and Waylon Jennings
The More You Ignore Me–Morrissey