Filed under: In the beginning
When I was a younger version of the me that I am now, I looked up to my mother and believed every story that she told me. She was my superstar hero who could do no wrong and I held each word she offered me in a painted shadow box under my bed -saved for later recollection and memorization. I would capture her thoughts like frail fluttering butterflies in a net and treasure them as the jewels that I thought they were. She was a genius! She was a goddess! She knew all of Maria and Gordon’s songs from Sesame Street! She loved cherry kool-aid too! We both had brown hair and green eyes! Hoorah!
Sometimes, in the way of too-young parents, my mom toyed with my infallible trust. She loved me to death but I was her doppelganger puppet and she was a stay-at-home mom with an absent husband. I was her dancing monkey and boredom made her take advantage of my puppy-eyed adoration. Flawlessly (and irritatingly) mimicking her, I would cock my hip, point my finger at my brothers and demand that they stop pulling knives on the neighbors. When my younger two-sibling squad would be caught mugging old ladies and dealing drugs to the neighbors, I would sigh exasperatedly alongside my mother, help her drag them into the house, peel off their muddy attire and would contribute to the “That’s not nice” lecture.
I labeled myself as Mom Part Two. I was my mother’s sequel, alternate and ever-ready stunt double. I was the Benny to her June, I was the Bonnie to her Clyde and I was the olive to her peanut butter. Why my imp brothers didn’t gang up and murder me in my bossy sleep is beyond me even today. They had the manpower to make things happen after all. Two brothers, cowboy boots, lariats and an entire hutch of GI Joes were more than enough to take down a knobby-kneed brat –even in the late 80’s.
I owe my brothers a serious apology for being such an intrusive dictator. My mom owes me a serious apology for turning me into her five year old best friend and confidant. My dad owes my mom a serious apology for marrying her when he wasn’t prepared to be a grown up. Shame on all three of us for not making such long overdue amends to people that we supposedly love (or loved at one time).
Life in the Weekley house was a riotous roller coaster with never a dull moment to be found. My childhood was atypical but mainstream in the fact that the standard of ‘normalcy’ is so rare. I emerged, fairly scathed and strong as hell, from a broken home. With leg scars from the kid-labeled Hill of Death and memories good and bad, I lived to tell my tale.
My parents hated each other, they fought constantly and stayed in their marriage for 12 years too long –they were married for 12 and a half. My brothers and I threw a secret three person party (complete with cake) on the day that their divorce finalized. It was an undisguised blessing.
To piss my dad off, my mom wove a yarn that led me to believe that Steve Perry, the lead singer from Journey, was my biological father. I would watch television concert specials with the long-haired power ballad belter with a tight knot settled deep in my stomach. To see my real father on stage knowing that the man I called “Dad” was unaware of the betrayal was excruciating.
My ultra-sensitive little heart would bleed for the man that I lived with. I hated that a wonderful, talented, beautiful, gifted child such as myself wasn’t truly his to claim. I was the product of a song-filled one night stand in a dusty tour bus rolling its way to Chicago. I and an autographed drumstick were my poor mother’s only souvenirs from her single night of Steve loving! The horror of the situation was too much to swallow. I knew that as soon as Steve found out that I was his child, undoubtedly proven as I was gifted with the singing voice of a harmonious angel, he would kidnap me from the safety of my family and force me to tour with him across the world. I would never learn to read as there wouldn’t be time between sets. I would eat takeout with chopsticks and be a haggard slave to my fans. All of this would be happening whilst the father who I had known from birth howled in pain from a Scottish bell tower. In my mind’s eye, Dad’s red beard had grown scraggly and his eyes crazy in his grief-stricken state. He couldn’t eat or sleep. He just sat huddled despondently, rocking himself in the harsh wind for comfort.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it 18 gabillion times: I’m dramatic. This character defect has been with me always –it wasn’t one of those late developing traits. I have carried this load of theatrics since birth. My mom didn’t help matters by spoon feeding my developing grey matter a pile of crap story about misplaced birthfathers.
Yeah, real funny mom. I hope you got a kick out of that one. Thanks for waiting until I was 22 to clue me in on the fact that the whole story was bullshit. I am not, in fact, the rock legend’s illegitimate daughter. NOTE: I like to call him a “rock legend” even though it’s not entirely true. The story is a bit more impressive this way.
Now, amidst my adulthood, I am mortified over the millions of letters I mailed to Steve Perry beseeching him to never reveal the truth of our blood ties. I’m lucky I didn’t end up in the slammer as a 12 year old stalker. Christ Almighty. What a wackadoo I was.
Luckily and against all odds, I am now a ordinary adult. While I occasionally eat takeout with chopsticks, I generally use forks to scoop up home cooked dinners. I no longer picture my father’s tear streaked face mourning my absence while watching my talent unfold on MTV. I have a healthy relationship with both of my brothers and allow them to be the astronauts of their own lives. My mother and I are distant but I love her unconditionally and understand why she was the way that she was.
It’s nice to be a well-adjusted, semi-educated, settled, happy, half crazy, tall lesbian in rural Arkansas. I’m good to go and happy with life.
There’s just one thing…I wonder if I could convince Steve Perry that I am his love child. I bet he still has some of that royalty cash stashed somewhere –if he hasn’t spent it all on black eyeliner and LA Looks Hair Mousse. I know I can make this happen if someone would slide a karaoke machine my way. I just hit freakin’ pay dirt -Dad will never have to know.
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