Swan Song

Closest thing I came to a photo app with a swan in Cannes.

I’m exhausted. Spending what seems like a lifetime locked in survival mode mentally. It’s too easy to blame a series of failed relationships (two divorces, two million heartbreaks including ones I served) and childhood faux pas which can arguably be deemed as dysfunctional. But fuck it. I’m 52 and as Captain America once put it plainly, “I’m not looking for forgiveness and I’m way past asking for permission” from my ego.

It is with Baileys enhanced coffee, leftover salmon rillettes (homemade) with artisan crackers, Christmas pjs, Radiohead blasting and my MacBook Pro at 7:54 am during my five well-earned PTOs, I am happy to write this piece, my swan song.

Let me start off with the obligatory cursing of the last two year’s pandemonium. No doubt this sucks big ones and it’s beyond frustrating hoping to get back to “normal”. And yet, I’m not dead or have suffered any physical complications…yet. The focus, however, is somewhat of personal epidemic widespread throughout the 86 billion neurons within my brain — give or take a few billion from college mixers and a couple of visits to Burning Man.

If anything, Mother Nature’s two years and counting punishment to send us all to our rooms to think about wtf we’ve done to her home serves as a final form of enlightenment for me mentally. Healing, making peace, radical acceptance blah, blah, blah of post traumatic experiences. Yeah, I get it. I mean eight months without human touch really fucked my shit up and also served as a fantastic reminder to never EVER commit a felony.

But…the phoenix rising from the burn is this realization: I don’t belong. I really don’t fucking belong. Anywhere. A strong statement for some who know me to absorb, but true for CC. Fuck. It stings writing it out loud. [pause for another shot of Baileys]

Poor me, right? Not really. Usually I relish in empathy and attention. I’m a Saggitarian. But this is pinnacle. For me to confront with or without any crumb of dignity expected from ‘woke’ fuckers who believe in that strong, independent, black woman horseshit? Dude. 

Pre-COVID I suffered like many, mostly in silence, a series of traumatic experiences. Heartbreak, loss of a parent, job loss, potential homelessness, etc. I was lucky to connect with a therapist who challenged me to take a deep dive into the wtf is going on sister gurl and why. It turns out according to an excerpt from a suggested reading of Women Who Run with the Wolves, my trauma, my attitude, my decision making, my failures, my successes…all point toward a sense of wanting to belong. What the book describes as the ‘typical’ Ugly Duckling Syndrome. 

Wow. Hans Christian Andersen was a childhood fairytale go to. I remember checking out the book from an elementary school library and the guilt I felt from not returning it. I also remember reading it in a dark corner of one of many apartments we lived in Detroit or Grandma’s house in Herminie, Pennsylvania after being chased and buillied (by white kids at Granny’s and black kids in Motown) after school. The Grimm ending where the ‘duckling’ looks up from the ground post beating from birdie bullies to see a flock of beings that look like him/her flying in pattern was exhilarating. It became a dream. To fly away with my homies.

I was always determined to find my flock. My epic fails include one too many one-sided, unrequited relationships, mean girls, a few book clubs with Real Housewives of [insert past residences], and, ultimately my fave, attempts at working hard AF expecting some kind of recognition or promotion for it. Once, a lifetime movie ago, the intern I trained was promoted to be my boss. [Laughs hysterically. Baileys shot.]

I have spent the majority of my life trying to fit in whether it be love, career, friendships and the most challenging that happened during the pandemic — being alone with myself. The Real Slim Shady (moi) was not having this punk ass version whining to escape her real truths.

Real truth: I have survived the traumas and, on the surface, I’m in a good place finally. I’m not sick and with hard work, I look great and my career has more potential than ever. I didn’t end up desolate and homeless is what I’m trying to convey. It’s just…well, this cycle of self sabotage rears its head when trying to belong or fit in to fill a need. A fear. Dying alone. I’m 52 and if it is pussy to admit it then, Lord, I giveth my genitals. [Baileys shot and deep breath.]

For those still reading, so why the Swan Song? I’m fucking exhausted from fear and being in survival mode. I can’t live like this. No one should. And, I have a feeling there is a community, a tribe, a flock of swans and seagulls (see what I did there) who may feel the same and want to stop running so far away. I am today years old when I realized I actually do belong. Not somewhere in particular. Or with just one crowd. I like to think I am spread throughout the universe to serve others and more importantly, (in my Samuel L. voice) my mother fucking self.

So…what’s next Miss Swan? [Unscrews bottle of Jameson.] *Gulp.

(Happy New Year.)

Allow myself to introduce…myself.

I am not Richie Cunningham nor do I have a wife named Oprah.(Pop culture reference.) I AM  fortysomething and can be fabulous when blessed with enough boredom to shut my laptop and ignore social media alerts. Lately, these blessings are few and far between so I thought why not be even more fabulous and write as much as I read and scroll. I have come to terms that my unused B.A. in Journalism will not make me millions but, what the hell? Those student loan payments have to count for something! Continue reading