Monday, November 16, 2015

Luck of the Draw

"You're really lucky to have the body to wear that."

"Lucky?" I took another bite of the obscenely large sandwich that I would most likely finish. And the pickle. I would eat the pickle, too.

"Yeah. I can't wear a dress like that."

"But you could. You can wear a dress like this anytime you want. Nobody's stopping you. Except you." More chewing. God, I can't get this sandwich in me fast enough.

"But it wouldn't look the same."

"Do you even know...what I do...during the week? To my body? Like really know?" I started lifting my hem to show her the shins that were peppered with bruises. I started taking my shoes off to display the medical tape wrapped around each foot and a big toe, to show her the jammed up bones and the knotted arches. She stopped me.

"Still, you're lucky."

I tapped at the yellow bruise on my cheekbone, covered by make-up, wondering how this conversation would go if I had a dick dangling somewhere from the middle of my body.

"Hey brah, looking good. Taking care of yourself. Your arms are sick, man."

"Thanks, man. I've been working hard."

"It shows man, it totally shows. Keep it up. Proud of you, buddy."

Fucking lucky...

It's a cultural disease, this thing...this fantasy of luck that follows the female species around. I am lucky that my kids are polite. I am lucky to have a pretty thriving freelance business. I am lucky to be able to play music. I am lucky to have all these opportunities. Because when I was born, God shit charmed glitter all over me and determined that I should be lucky.


And I should be grateful for all this luck. Grateful to the universe. What a good life...

"Everything will fall into place, babe. It always does."

My husband has stopped saying this to me. He knows not to say this anymore. The last time he said it, I was marinating in sweat, hallucinating with hunger, bleeding from my knee, and eating unwashed carrots over the sink freaking out about not getting three major checks that were more than a month late.

"Of course it will fall into place," I growled, spitting out hard peels. "Because I always make it fall into place. I work like a burro to make it fall into place. There is no magic wand. I am the fucking wand, man."

I have never said to my little brother, who has no body fat on him and can eat like pork rinds and cupcakes all day and not ever look any different, that he's lucky. It's an insult. He's a tree climber. He literally hoists his own weight all day long up giant gnarly trees. And he suffers for it. Every moment of every day. If I told him he's so lucky to be so lean and muscular he'd flick a lit cigarette at me and tell me to get fucked. Then he'd eat a hot dog and something from a box while limping to his truck.

"You're so lucky to be a freelancer. To work from home."

Yeah? That right? Cause the work just floats to my inbox every day and all I have to do is write the story and voila, the check comes within the week. Like magic. Other writers know. That to make a living doing this, an actual living, you gotta be a hustler. I mean an honest-to-god hustler. Same rules apply. Right down to getting paid.

"You gotta make it rain." That's what I say to the kids when I'm depositing checks at the bank. That I've been waiting on. Some I've had to wrangle like a mob boss--street style. Right as my account is about flatten like a dead balloon. Lucky me.

And the kids. I can't imagine someone saying to a single dad or even a married father, "You're so lucky to have such great kids." Maybe, but I doubt it. Mostly it's "You've done such a great job being a role model to your kids." Or, "look at you, doing your daughter's hair. What a great dad."

You know who's lucky? My kids. Especially my son. HE is lucky that I have watched him like a bear-hawk for most of his formative years, not taking an eye off him even to take a piss. Because seriously, he would have killed his own self. We are talking about jumping THROUGH glass windows, trying to drive cars out of the driveway, multiple knife and choking incidents (I have fished more food out of that child's throat...oysters and cheese still terrify me), jumps off of hay lofts where I have caught him literally by the loose threads of his clothes. When he told me they got a laser cutter for his inventor's club at school I almost fainted.

We, all of us men women boys girls people personas whatever, need to get it out of our heads and our mouths that women are lucky for their success. Or anyone for that matter. I have never equated my hard work with luck. That's a dangerous thing. Because that means I am waiting on chance to get me where I want to be, not my own ability and capability to get shit done. If luck is a major part of my equation, then hope is not.

I can't have that.

Getting an extra nugget in a 6-piece is lucky. Finding $20 in the parking lot is lucky. Winning at roulette is lucky.

Having a strong body and endurance is the result of hours of hard work and pushing through the urge to just give up. On one occasions I distinctly remember whipping my water bottle across the parking lot, which was dangerous because I used to be a pitcher, then sitting in my car after a jiu jitsu class. I threw out every insult about every mother I could find (in French) and swore I was never going back to "that goddamn fucking class" and "I'd like to see them push through a dance routine or keep up with me on the trail and do this training, too. Connard!" It was vicious. And stupid. But I went back. And I still keep going back. It's not luck that drives me to that class.

Luck didn't show up for any of this. There may have been some lucky moments, but I am owning the rest, so I don't lose it. Serious, dig-deep, bitch get your ass out of bed cause you ain't done yet, hard work.

Just one more mile.
Just one more roll.
Just one more punch.
Just one more turn across the floor.
Just one more hard lecture about real respect.
Just one more early morning drive to the school.
Just one more paragraph.
Just one more night burning the midnight oil.
Just one more day where the pain is unbearable.
Just one more turn with the medical tape.
Just one more payment this month.
Just one more lunch to pack.
Just one more trip to the hospital.

I can do this. Luck can't. Luck is a little bitch. But I can.

Aren't you all lucky?


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