Thursday, November 29, 2012

Demons in the backseat

It's been such a long time since I was a morning person.  I am finding that I actually love being awake before the light, watching the sun come up, feeling the stillness of the house before anyone wakes up. I fancy myself deeper in the morning, I fancy myself, a lot of different things.  The one thing that completely escapes definition for me is,  There is something very interesting about the aging process, it is not something you could explain to anyone who is not there yet, but those who are will understand I am sure of it.  The fact that your inner person becomes significantly more interesting than your outer person, is indeed a fact (for me and those I am going through this with it's just a given).  I started off, like everyone I assume, concerned and pre-occupied with people's perception of "me".  I wanted to make my parents aware of me, proud of me and so I spent my days trying to do the things that would facilitate that notion. I wanted to make friends in school, so I adopted whatever personality would make that happen, in elementary school I found that just being quiet and not saying anything that would draw attention to myself was the best way to skip the verbal abuse they threw at each other so that was more of a fit in by not standing out sort of thing, that carried through middle school, where I was horribly shy and lonely and not coping very well, probably not a unique scenario.  To be someone in school who didn't get bullied or have self esteem issues was a miracle, I was not so lucky but I tried to make myself a smaller target, I missed a ridiculous amount of school, sometimes hiding in my closet until the bus went past, once my dad left for work I was home free and my Mother was glad for the company. High school was all about who I knew, how I looked, and who looked at me.  I learned very early on that if I was the absolute opposite of the "me" I was in middle school, I would kick high school's ass.  In my sophmore year I decided to be noticed and I wasn't going to do it just being myself so I adopted this personality and look that would change everything for me so I could get through it and maybe enjoy the process (I never did get that last part I hated school with a burning passion).  I changed the way I dressed, I didn't eat in the bathroom stall anymore, I actually ate in the lunchroom where everyone could judge my choices and then I cut my hair off and joined ranks with some of the more popular people though I didn't really like them, most of them, at all.  I found myself a boyfriend, popular jock type, very cute and I was in with the in crowd.  All I cared about was how I looked, and who noticed me.  I was very thin, fashionable and quirky, I used and abused it to get my way and I was not overly "deep" I had as much depth as your average 16 year old in a high school environment. I wanted to shop, dance, make out and draw attention to myself.  I liked the attention I was getting, it fueled me.  I did not get a lot of that attention before that, I was somewhat afraid of it but now I found that I liked it and the monster was created. After high school, I was an attention addict, started singing in bands, dressing in clothes that would single me out and let everyone know I was not like them, I talked louder, danced harder and was just all about myself. I was enjoying what my late teens and early twenties had done to my physical appearance and I had no idea what was going on in the world outside of Akron Ohio and the club scene, it didn't even seem real, I was just a big ball of loving the moment and waiting for the next event, everyone I knew was just like me...very self centered, fun first.  The difference was the fact that I had a lot of baggage at home that couldn't be ignored so I gave up a lot of evenings out to keep the home fires burning, that should have been a positive, something good I saw in myself so I would more fully understand that I was not a one trick party pony, I should have liked myself more because there was a redeeming quality there, but I didn't like myself much at all and that's a whole different blog, so I made sure that other people did.  Once I was married I shifted a bit, it wasn't all about me, it was about the impact Tony and I together would make, we were quite a thing and I really knew it and abused it.  We were both (really) blonde and blessed with very dressable bodies, I loved clothes, we were all leather and spandex  (it was the 80s after all). The people just gravitated towards our wonderfulness (that's how I saw it) and I felt very loved and adored which was something I could never feel about myself so I let other people do it and that seemed to work for a while, how bad could I really be if everyone else thought I was awesome?  Even a trip to the grocery was full of attention, our fav cashier at the Sparkle Mkt. in Akron always said we were just so beautiful, what  perfect couple, we were her favorite customers and she always told everyone about us, how we "stood out" and should be living in New York, and we were just completely in love with us. My Aunt Fern once said that "we were not really in love at all we just thought we were because we were in love with what we were together".  Having Tony as a side kick was the best because he drew women to him like a magnet, he was such a bad boy punk rocker, so ridiculously good looking and I hate to say it but I loved making them envious.  These were the girls, in my mind of course, that hated me in middle school, said I was ugly, anorexic, pale, wanted to kill me, and now I had the company of the guy everyone wanted, we were like Akron's 80s version of Gavin Rossdale and Gwen Stefani, (and when my bands popularity eclipsed his bands he did not handle it as well as Gavin Rossdale I can tell you that) and I was very aware of how to use it.  We made the paper when we got married, seemed to be noteworthy to people and I thought I was just the shit, well...I was, I was shit.  I did not care about anything except climbing the popularity pole, and whatever it took to get there.  It was NOT a ladder, that would have been far to easy, it was indeed a pole, straight up and straight down!  I was addicted to having my hip and shoulder bones stick out, I liked looking a little gaunt because it gave me more of an edge, less of a pop princess and more of a punk (the punks thought I was shit pop and the pop peeps thought I was bad punk so I didn't pull that off completely and they were both ultimately right I had NOT found my groove).  I threw up constantly for fear of calories invading, I worked out like a maniac.  I was an avid dancer and gymnast and not a day went by when I spent less than 3 hours moving intensely. I always looked at my back and if my back had even a hint of fleshy over pants, I went into a tailspin. I would not eat without throwing it up until I looked at my back in the mirror and saw that the little fleshy pocked was gone.  I never starved myself much, I was not anorexic, I was definitely bulimic, I was diagnosed in my teens, treated off on and until my late twenties, then I kicked it's ass with very few relapses.  I have the same doctor to this day and she still asks me if I am throwing up (should be pretty obvious I am not). I am sure that was the point when I realized I was off course, it took motherhood to put my life on my radar and I did not like the size of my bleep. Once Cory was born I shaped up, stepped up, gave up the self centered, narcissistic, ass that I had been.  I no longer cared who I was seen with, what I was wearing or who noticed me.  I actually gained so much weight during my pregnancy that I didn't go out much because I was humiliated.  I think it was close to 70 pounds, I was so thin at first and then I had such a ridiculous appetite and I knew I could not throw up or it might cause problems so I just rolled (literally) with it.  Tony thought I was fat and he slept on the couch (he told me if I ever got fat he was on the couch that was his constant worry that I would gain weight) sad thing is I was pregnant and I thought that was like a get out of jail free card, but it wasn't it counted and that was the beginning of the end for us.  By the time Cory was 2, Tony and I had seperated and eventually we established a great working relationship, friendship (after a really bad rough patch we saw the bigger picture and it was Cory). I put all the focus, all the energy on Cory and I was really turning from someone who was not very conscientious into someone who was finding a true sense of self and purpose, I was not looking my best but I was completely suprised by the fact that it wasn't a big deal (for a while). I eventually lost the pregnancy weight because I was still to vain to accept myself as chubby but it was no longer all consuming like it once was, it became something I could deal with, my weight obsession, I definitely dealt better and  was seeing hope that one day I would just let it all go and my mind would be free of the thing.
I got back into music at the age of 29, it unfortunately caused a slowing down of my personal growth as the focus was put back on me, my appearance (short relapse).  My comeback album Standing Alone was really a great achievement for me, I overcame a lot, reclaimed my love of music which was always the biggest factor even when I was self obsessed, I was a music person first and foremost. It was at this point that I realized there was a huge difference in creating music for the love of it and creating a product using music and image.  I still cared about the image more than I should, but I was shifting.  By the time I was winding down the Standing Alone promotion I was ready for a break, I took a break and dealt with a few things that had been waiting to be dealt with.  Losing Tony was HUGE, I hadn't properly worked that out emotionally, though working on the album, working with Persona 74 had been a great outlet for me as a writer and I found it amazing that I could vent so much musically and not be called out on it.  The guys in Persona 74 really gave me freedom to create and I loved that band. I finally called an end to my soul search mission which was 3 years of no dating, no relationships just self study, and growth and I stuck to it.  THEN out of nowhere I felt like I was (just maybe) falling in love with Scott Shepard and it scared the hell out of me.  I will absolutely say without doubt that he saved me from a lonely bitter life.  I had wrapped myself so tightly and wrapped Cory WAY to tightly to protect us from going through that kind of devastation again that we were almost on our way to living in a cabin in the woods, with no contact.  Scott showed me, not only, what love COULD and SHOULD be but how much it could take me out of myself and into others by putting them first.  After Emma and Marisa were born (back to back and OH MY GOD that was hard raising 2 girls that close together and its still not a walk in the park I must say OY VAY)! I was no longer this self created Tracey Thomas person whom I did not like so much.  I was not even slightly in love with "her" or "her" lifestyle. I had adopted a strong love of Yoga, meditation and (some) selflessness. I was caring for 3 children and that was what now mattered most, my Mother was getting older and was unwell so I took her on and there was no time to even think about myself and fortunately I found out that my priorities were solidly in place dispite my best efforts, I was not a monster, I was someone who loved deeply, took myself out of the equation as needed and stepped up.  Remarkable really when I think about how I was and how I am.  I constantly (still) struggle with the fact that I feel ignored, overlooked and under appreciated, and I am all of those things now and it's not always easy, I truly believe this is the middle aged woman curse and we just kind of become invisible except to each other which is why I treasure my old bitch warrior friends.  I realize one thing for certain's  a bit of Karma.  Karma is real people!  I am a perfect example and you know what?  I am glad to be paying it off, it's a great system really, it makes me feel better like I am attoning for my former self.  So today as a 53 year old Mother (always first) musician and wife, I have gotten over my self, I have raised wonderful people to put out in the world, not without some emotional issues to deal with I mean they are mine after all.  I have gotten over my obsession with my appearance (obviously) I would now call it a worry not an obsession.  I love to cook, cooking for my family is something I treasure and with Cory living in Colorado and Emma out on her own, I still can't control it, I cook way to much food at one time.  My weight is 50 pounds over what I said would cause me to jump off a bridge if I ever "got there" and my happiness is 60 tons over what I ever thought it could be dispite a rough patch financially and in my marriage.  I still want to run and hide when I have to dress up for an occaision, like my CD release party in 2012 GOD!!  I was so self absorbed then, I had a bit of a relapse because I didn't want to go on stage fat and I knew I had to overcome it.  The beautiful thing is, I did.  I put it into perspective, convinced myself it wasn't about my age or body size it was about the music I had created that I wanted to share (Thank you Judi Collins).  The thing is now, the "me" thoughts go away fairly quickly, they have to or I would be a terrible wife, mother, friend.  Scott and I have become fairly complacent, I think it's normal after 19 years together, he is always in his own brain, not very talkative these days and I pout about it now and again.  Even if he doesn't spend as much time with me (he can't because of that thorn of a store) I know he loves me and would probably at least break an arm for me, it's unconditional though not overly romantic these days but I think that's what solid relationships evolve into.  The kids are doing the things that people do as they grow up, they don't need (or want) my input anymore and I am struggling with that, trying to find a place or a purpose because I have been a mother for 25 years, it's a hard thing to just "retire" and not advise the hell out of everyone but I'm working on it.  I have come full circle, I went from someone who wasn't noticed, to someone who was over noticed, to someone who is just another face in the middle aged woman crowd.  Sometimes, I hate it, sometimes I love it. It's funny the one thing that bothers me is when I have my hand stamped to go into a show/bar whatever, I leave and comeback and they ask to see my stamp and I am always shocked that they forgot that I walked through the door, HA!!! PATHETIC but funny. I was never forgotten before I turned 30, it was always "Oh I remember you" or "Go on in" no one, forgot me...ever and now no one remembers me and you know what?  It's all so poetic really......Karma, life, love, circles, beauty and fading, aging and growing inside while shrinking outside.  There is no fighting it, you have to ride it out, learn and enjoy all the processes that brought you here.  The other day I looked in the mirror and I was really happy with the fact that I am the age I am and my eyes are not wrinkling yet, it was a really "me" moment it had no importance in the grand scheme of anything, nothing does really, but it was a nice feeling to see that those eyes that have looked into themselves for 53 years, still held some beauty, some hope and reflected back the woman that I have become, against great odds, a woman of substance, love, character, a wonderful Mother Daughter and Friend.  The frown lines around my mouth are disconcerting (to me) they are deep and they make me look sad, but they are representative of everything that brought me to this place, in front of the mirror, summing up my worth, my purpose and well, my age.  I am the perfect representation of former self meets current self, I think you can tell that I have been challenged and hurt and scarred (like most of us) and I think you can tell that while I still struggle with that damn "no one really loves me at all" demon, his voice is quieter and he doesn't shine out of my 53 year old eyes like he once did, he seems comfortable in the back seat, with his seat belt on, letting me drive him around for a change, maybe even demons grow old.  The best part of putting my demon in the backseat now?  I get to pick the music and I

1 comment:

Cyndi said...

Thank you for another chapter from the book that is you.