To me, discovering my Fancy is not only about the physical attributes of myself, but also about the inner workings of Miss Lori. Things that I have shelved away like a lost holiday present and suddenly “Lo and Behold!” there it was all along.
I have never been a Fancy dresser. I typically have worn clothes that seem suited for the occasion. Working out in the garden? Throw on some clothes that you don’t care about getting dirty. Cleaning house? Stay in your jammies so you don’t muck up your clean clothes. Running errands or playing with the kids? Usually the first un-stained, semi decent outfit I can throw together, which also has to be temperature friendly, as I can’t maintain my own body temperature. Occasionally, I will be asked to dress up for an occasion and I always seem to reach into the closet for the same outfit over and over. I feel “sort of Fancy” in it, but not much.
Whenever someone hears that I have three kids, the first comment that comes along is “You must really have your hands full.” You ain’t kidding. My day consists of getting three kids fed, diapers changed for the boys, helping everyone get dressed, managing the two basset hounds, making sure Daddy has everything that he needs for the day (including at least once a day locating his keys, license and bank card), keeping up with the normal household duties, cleaning up disasters, breaking up UFC-style fights with the kids, cleaning up the various “parties” that the kids have created around the house (toilet paper – check, toothpaste – check, shampoo – check, lotion – check, baby powder, check). You get the idea. There is never a place for a mom to be a Fancy mom in my house.
So then I started doing some soul searching. Something that truly rattled me to the core was a conversation that I had recently with an ex-boyfriend (who remains my friend). We hadn’t talked for years and I found him on Facebook. We were chatting it up, you know, how’s life, how’s the family, etc. Out of the blue ~~~~ BLAMMO. I get hit with the following words:
“ I profusely apologize how that all went down. It would have been much different if I didn't have my head up my ass back then. My brother always gives me crap about screwing that one up” (Sorry, ex-boyfriend)
What makes this so interesting is that this “romance” was almost 20 years ago. I have obviously made some sort of impact to feel so welcomed by their family and that they’re still talking about me. I believe ‘Lori the Brain” was used quite a bit. A phrase so suitingly (at the time) coined by ex-boyfriend’s older brother. Interestingly enough, this is the THIRD ex-boyfriend to come around after we have long long broken up and has made comments to me to that effect.
Would I ever rekindle any of these romances? No. None of them were healthy relationships for me. But I have to ask the question: What qualities do I have to offer? I rarely remember these romances too much anymore to even remember what redeeming qualities we had when we were together.
See, what most people don’t realize about me is that I was the victim of abuse growing up. My parents physically and verbally abused us as children. It wasn’t pretty. My older sister molested me for a number of years and I question whether the same thing happened between my sister and brother. Did I report it? NO. Partly for fear of retaliation for being a “tattle tale” and partly because my parents wouldn’t believe us and then would punish us all equally later on. We’re talking electrical cords, metal coat hangers, belts, whatever was handy. My sister once went out of the designated “play areas” and
she wound up having her head bashed into the refrigerator countless times while my brother and I watched.
Stress and fear have ruled my life for so long. My high school yearbook is filled with comments from friends apologizing for the amount of stresses that I was under and they knew maybe one percent of it all.
As I’ve grown older and the abuses stopped, I (as the youngest and most reliable) became the family’s problem solver. When my mother found out she had breast cancer, she was 42. I was 16. My dad and brother drove her back and forth to
her various treatments, but once she was home, she was my responsibility. Dispensing medications, food, drinks and of course, cleaning up the ‘accidents’ caused by the medications.
I had no help, nor did I have a choice.
It was a “you do it or else” situation. Once my mom recovered, I graduated from high school (with no positive praise from my parents) and entered into the legal field. For the 11 years I worked as a paralegal, I was now in charge of handling anyone’s legal problems. It didn’t matter if I had a Brief that needed to be filed that day at the Courthouse. The family needed me and that completely superceded anything else going on. When my sister’s marriage dissolved and she returned to work, I was the sole caretaker of her daughter. 24/7 for almost 10 years. I made the child care decisions, I took her to work with me, I did everything for her that a mother would do and I had no choice in the matter.
Years later when my father struggled with cancer, I was expected to drop everything and take charge. It didn’t matter that I had a health crisis going on that kept me bedridden for three years. Even when my pain levels were so bad that the narcotic pain medications couldn’t keep it under control, I was expected to be there.
Even in my marriage, my co-dependent nature has had no choice but to step in. At 41 years old, my husband has no idea how a bank account works, how to pay the bills, how to manage the household, etc. I’ve been forced to take on those responsibilities because he doesn’t get it. When I became pregnant, my husband was overjoyed. Six years of being told that there was no way I was going to have children and surprise! You’re pregnant!
When my daughter was born, I was left in the hospital room by myself to figure things out. It didn’t get any better as she’s grown older. Now that I also have my twin boys, nothing has changed. My inlaws were in town. My husband chose to stay with them. I was visited ONCE by my husband for an hour. The boys were in the NICU for 3 weeks. My husband came to visit them twice. Even now looking at videos taken at the hospital, he still can’t tell which baby is which.
So now I sit . . . . in the quiet of the shed, taking a break from life before it kicks me in the butt one more time, I am contemplating this question .. .. “What makes Lori ‘Lori’ and what does she have to offer to the world?” My challenge is to work through all of the issues that I have and embark on a journey.
A journey of self discovery.
I have no answers for “What foods/movies/music is Lori interested in?” “Does she feel like herself in this outfit?” “What are your redeeming attributes?” One day I will have those answers and then, only then, will I have found my Fancy.
Lori is a former paralegal-turned disabled SAHM to three children, a daughter aged 5 and 2 year old twin boys. When she isn't a jungle gym/entertainer/imagination builder to her children, she is usually found in her large garden, fondly referred to as her eco-friendly farm and occasionallywriting on her blog:
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