Long ago, and oh so far away

TMI about Dawn. Which could, of course, be the name of this blog. 😉

Meme swiped from the treasure-filled Prattcave.

25 Years Ago (1980)…
The last Super Bowl won by the Pittsburgh Steelers. I was six years old and we had a party at our apartment. I used to have fantastic hair — it was long enough for me to sit on. My mom had fixed it in pigtails and tied them with black and gold ribbons. Let’s see, I turned 6 years old, which puts me in kindergarten (spring) and first grade (fall). I have a photo of my kindergarten teacher spanking me on my birthday (Mom had brought in these adorable upside-down ice cream cones decorated like clowns with sugar cone hats — freaking cute as all hell). It would be the first spanking of my life, and not the last. Take that any way you want. LOL.

OH, and I always got sent home ’cause my dresses were too short. Mom went all Harper Valley PTA on them about that. And she wouldn’t bring me back to school in a new outfit, as they requested. She picked me up and took me out shopping every single time … for more miniskirts. Hence why I still love them — I’m a rebel like that. 🙂

20 Years Ago (1985)…
Went from fifth grade to sixth grade. Wrote my very first poems. Was listening to Prince, Madonna and Blondie, along with my grandparents’ country music, my stepfather’s classic rock and my mom’s R&B. I had a poster of Robin Williams (as Mork. Jesus H.) above my bed, along with Michael Jackson. When I got into sixth grade, I discovered Bon Jovi and immediately got rid of all the other posters (including Smurfette and other characters from the ’80s) and PLASTERED the walls and ceilings with pin-ups from Hit Parader, Circus and Metal Edge magazines. Set my heart on becoming a groupie and a novelist.

15 Years Ago (1990)…
Sophomore year of high school. Hated it. My history teacher was hot for my mother, and it was the worst class in the world because A) he didn’t teach — just left it as a study hall four days a week, and B) it was full of the “dumb” kids who all bullied the living hell out of me. I hated it — it was last period, so I’d skip out and go work on the student newspaper. I got 100 percents on all my report cards even though I was NEVER THERE. Most of the kids in that class dropped out within the next year — my high school had the highest teen pregnancy rate in the county. After that, I never scheduled a class that was not an Advanced Placement class — dorks don’t tease other dorks. I busted my ass for the next two years in my A.P. classes, but I loved every minute of them.

10 Years Ago (1995)…
I had to drop out of college because I ran out of money. I graduated a year late (1997) and have been dodging the student loan officer ever since. 🙂 Actually, in 1995, I fell in love HARD and never got brave enough to do anything about it until it was too late. People meet other people — they don’t wait for you to get your act together. I was working three jobs and partying my ass off — my friends and I would get drunk and go dancing all the time. Times were tough, but I had great strength of spirit and knew things would get better. I had confidence and a wonderfully snarky streak that often got me into trouble but more often got me right back out of it!

5 Years Ago (2000)…
I was underpaid and overworked. I’d finally gotten the hint that nobody wanted to listen to what a “kid” had to say in the workplace. But I became sort of the office ringleader and was constantly organizing parties and happy hours with the “cool” colleagues. Holy shit, did we have fun. We tried every dive bar in Pittsburgh. And, OH MY GOD. My friend Rob was in this awesome band and I SO became a groupie. We practically lived at the BBT and ate Polish Platters and downed shakers of Kamikazes like they were spring water. Rob is an incredible vocalist and, although he did LOTS of fantastic original songs, I was never happier than when he was singing “Jessie’s Girl” — which often closed the shows.

Oh, and Rob and my friend Dawn (we all used to work together — there’s this pattern of everyone in that group of friends marrying colleagues) just got ENGAGED!!! YAY!!!

God, I miss that group. Rob and Dawn live in the D.C. area, which is awesome if we could align our schedules. But it’s nice to know that people from my past are really close by in this sprawling metropolitan area.

3 Years Ago (2002)…
Was stressed the hell out. Had landed a GREAT job with the fringe benefits of NEVER LEAVING IT. Had a great supervisor and the world’s biggest idiot on my staff. (Not Tiff — she literally saved my sanity by being a complete joy to work with.) Was a little too cozy with several male colleagues and quite a few others I met on the good ol’ Internet. Had a burning desire to run screaming from my life. Enter Tiff and her Grand Scheme to move to D.C. — she asked me to come with. And I did. I had a bad feeling about the job I took but really ended up glad that I made the move. And it took me awhile to find the “right” job, but I think I made the most of every opportunity that came my way.

Last Year (2004)…
Worst year of my life. Unceremoniously left my full-time job. Tried freelancing. Tried selling stuff on the side. Tried surviving with no sense of identity and income. Turned 30. Turned inside-out. Killed my beloved Caterwauling blog. Sold tons of personal possessions just to put gas in the car. Got eviction notices and repo notices. Died a little inside. Cried a lot. Watched people come and go. Watched others emerge and stay. Pretended I was fine. Waited to become fine. Found myself in the right place at the right time at the end of the year and don’t doubt for a second that things happen how and when they do for a reason.

Yesterday (May 5)…
05/05/05 — I hit the 33,333-mile mark on the car. Felt insanely empowered throughout the day. Noticed that for the first time in months, my eyes had color to them. Sure, they’re always green, but they had an amazing sparkle, a fire to them. I haven’t seen that spark in years — I hoped it would stay forever. I was surrounded by fantastic, fascinating people who want me to succeed. I went to see Dave’s new place — which is gorgeous! I’m so proud of him, and I told him so. And he told me he’s proud of me, too. And I realized that the past is exactly that — the past, and we shouldn’t look back when we all have so much ahead of us. We’ve gotten things we’ve wanted — he a home that he owns and me a job that finally feels right. And, of course, we still have more to achieve in life, but we’re not doing too terribly right now.

Today (May 6)…
Had a good day. Worked hard, enjoyed my colleagues, drove fast, ate well. Stopped at the liquor store. Hung out at Starbucks with a caramel mocha and my notebook. Had a mind filled with dreams and lips filled with smiles and even laughter. Looking forward to a tomorrow full of more visions of things that do (or could) make me happy. Enjoying being me. Finally! 🙂

On iTunes: Allman Brothers, “Melissa”

2 Responses to Long ago, and oh so far away

  1. Anonymous :

    Yay for finally enjoying being you! Sometimes it takes a while, it’s a journey. But those hard times definitely show us the person we can be if we have the strength to get through them. 🙂groovebunny

  2. Pratt :

    I liked your version of this more than mine. Hope you dug the geeky 80’s pic i threw on .

    the prattcave has treasures? just a ginat penny and a dinosaur.