Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Hisotry of Effie: The Girl You Think You Want to Know

It is the end of the school year here and the flurry has descended. Today was the very last day of school and the kids are home. Arguments have ensued and I am wishing heartily for the biggest Xanax they ever made.

Sometimes those cravings just refuse to stay gone.

There have been questions as to what kind of person I am... some people don't believe that my picture and I are the same person, or that my pictures are me in some other form of self that doesn't exist except in the land of photos and that I am hiding the true me. This has come up in more than one internet venue, so I'm making an effort and addressing it.

I've said it before that I am who I am and I'm not going to pander to anyone for anything. If you don't like how I look, don't look. If you don't like what I say, don't listen. If you don't like what I write, don't read it. It's not MY problem. But for those that do like what they see, hear, and read, and still doubt that the simple and plain looking girl in the picture has those dark and strange things in her head, here's a history of Effie. It's what defined me as a person and what makes me tick. This is far better directly from me to you, with no editing or filters as it's just me, and that's exactly how I like it.

I was born in West Virginia and have lived here for most of my life. By most of my life, I mean pretty much all of it. As a kid, I was bright and creative, with an imagination far too big for the little girl that contained it. I was never really a pretty girl--as a kid I had this awkward and strange face that could have belonged to either a boy or a girl, eyes that were far too dark to be real and gapped and horrid teeth. I have always been cursed with stupidly long legs that are impossible to buy jeans or trousers for. I was a thin kid and did cheer leading, karate, choir, band. Straight A student. I had promise.

But what is all that, really? Surface shit. It's what you would have seen twenty-some years ago, before the real world showed itself to me in all its ugliness.

15 years ago, you'd have seen an awkward, if mildly pretty teen girl who didn't know who she wanted to be. She wrote constantly and listened to music, sang songs and took long, lonely walks. She hand only enough friends to count on one hand with fingers left over, but that was okay with her. She'd have rather had two true friends than a hundred pretenders. And she wanted to be loved. It never occured to her that she had two very good parents who loved her more than anything. This girl wanted that one love, and you know what I mean.

Well, that girl found it. To her everlasting sorrow.

About 8-10 years ago, you'd have seen a teenage girl trying desperately to balance a baby on each hip while her toddler held onto her belt loop or back pocket of jeans that didn't fit and had holes everywhere, with a diaper bag over one shoulder and pacifiers over several of her fingers. One for each kid's mouth. This girl was too skinny, rarely if ever brushed her hair or her teeth; there just wasn't time. Her eyes were constantly circled in purplish-grey because she never slept and those same eyes were almost always red and dry because every chance she got, she lit up a doobie just to feel sane. This was a sad, desperate, angry girl who wanted to be anyone or anything other than the failure she was. Because I was a failure. I'd quit school, popped out babies every year from my 16th to my 19th and while those babies slept, I scribbled in notebooks, pretending I was a writer and not just another drug addicted teen mom with less than a glimmer of talent.

Her boyfriend-turned-husband is an asshole, mean and cruel. He never has a kind word for her; she is lazy and a lousy housekeeper, a terrible mother, she smokes too many cigarettes and does too much of the dope that he pays for.

She gets a job.

She works her ass off for a little bit of nothing and hands him her paychecks to pay for her cigarettes, pot, and cocaine, or pills, or whatever it is he has that week. Her children are now all toddlers, and she sings to them every night, reads them books, does flashcards and teaches them to read and write simple words, all before they are even school age. But she is a terrible mother. I hated my husband for daring to say that because I never beat my children. Back then, not beating them was equated with not so bad. Showing them how to read and write was that extra step toward good to this poor, stupid girl who didn't know better.

But one day she loses her temper at work, a famous franchise of restaurants that will stay nameless, and throws a full pan of freshly baked potatoes at her boss, clocks out and walks the seven miles between work and her house.

So now she's home, all the time, with nothing to do but take care of kids and snort more blow, smoke another doobie, crush another Xanax or hell even take a handful of them.

I do not exaggerate when I say I was high for more than 8 years. There may have been days when I had nothing to get high on, but on those days, I was so dope sick I was just as useless. Puking, shitting out the foulest stuff you can imagine, shoving Cheetos, a cup of milk and peanut butter crackers at my kids and calling it dinner so I could run back to the bathroom. And when my husband finally came home with some dope, I was waiting at the door, hand out.

Until he stopped coming to the door where I lived and started going to someone else's door. Then I was all alone with my kids and my habits in a place I didn't know. I called my parents and came back home. He came back, of course he did... but that's another story for another time.

That was a sad, lost girl. That was me.

I have dark things in my head because I've been dark places, the darkest places you can imagine. When you have an imagination like mine, it's dangerous to combine that with drugs, especially hard drugs. I tried to kill my husband not once, not twice, but four different times. I tried to kill myself far more. I never ate because I was never hungry--the pills fed the only hunger I felt--and there were times I remember eating five or six hydro tens and then waiting until it all went away, the blue or the green ones only... the pink Vicodin never did a damn thing for me unless I had more than eight. Percocet slowly became my drug of choice, but even it faded to coke.

That was in 2005... when my father died.

By then sleep had become a far away thing I barely remembered and I walked around in a constant stupor... a breathing vegetable just waiting for her next rail. A dope eating and snorting machine. If I didn't have a line to toot I was a class A raw bitch and no one wanted to even talk to me. Except my kids. My anger never extended to them. I know that sounds like a lie, but it isn't.

I never grieved for my father and have never visited his grave. I guess to me, seeing where he is would make it real. I think I'll go soon. It's time, I think. Maybe. Soon.

So, we have the now Effie to look at I suppose. I still smoke pot, but the other drugs are behind me. I can't go back there... if I do, I'll die. I no longer play with my writing, about two years ago, I stopped with the coke, though the pills took longer to give up, I think quitting coke was harder. I got my first computer and started typing my stories up. I started looking at publishing and realized just how badly my stories sucked. I was writing everything with nothing more than my imagination and a tenth grade education, plus GED, and I was horrified to find that what I was writing wasn't even close to good.

But writing was the only thing in my life that had been constant. And when I sat down to write, I was real. I knew I was real. Writing became something like a job and I started to be serious. I started to really want something beyond my walls and kids.

I want this. I want to write, I want people to read what I write and find the little truths in my words and worlds. They may be dark and twisted and disturbing, but they are mine and they are real and they are true. Just because they come from a place of imagination doesn't mean they are all fiction. My words come from a true place most of you could never face without pissing your pants.

Those places are still inside of me and all I have to do is remember to know what I don't want.

I have my kids to care for, my mother to care for. I have my writing and am working hard for the few publishing credits I have. I have my life and I am grateful for it because there was a time that I wasn't even human. That is what molded the woman people think should look differently than she does simply because of what she likes to read and write. I am cynical and I am bitter. I am dark and brooding and rarely happy in the most accepted sense of the word. I look "sweet", as some people say, but how many of you knew the truth of me before this? Do you like it? Is it interesting?

Do you think I'm pretty? All of me, inside and out? The ugly things inside me are the truths and the almost pretty face and decent enough body shape is the lie. I know what I am. I know what kind of monsters I have in my heart and head. I know what I can be, good and bad, I know my capabilities.

When it comes down to it, it's my choices that brought me to this place. And I chose to be better. I may never be completely drug free, I may never be completely whole or wholesome. But I am what I am. Aren't you so very glad you know me now?

Peace & Love

PS: As an added note, I'm taking a little break from the blog for a week or two to deal with some real life issues. I keep getting my posts in later and later and not on time and I am having to take time to deal with one thing and then another in my life that can't be put off. I will be posting still, but very sporadically.


  1. you're kidding me!! You look so sane and so calm..maybe your inside is not as bad as you think...I think maybe you were all of that but now you're becoming something else, something clean, beautiful, bright and good..you just need to see it!

  2. Maybe. But I don't think a person can ever separate who they were and who they are, because we are not many people, but one. I may be sober (enough, anyway), and I may take better care of my kids, but that person is still inside me. She always will be. Forgetting what we are in our darkest moments brings only more darkness.

    The point of this was to show people that what they say(especially those who say the me in the picture can't possibly be the girl who reads and writes what she does) is going by my looks. Just like you said, anon... "You look so sane and so calm". I know what I look like. But looks are just the surface coating. Just because I look sweet and cute in a weird way doesn't mean I am. It's a hard truth with no varnish, but there it is. It's not so pretty when you take away my looks. And if you (general you) met the inside me, one who looked exactly on the outer as she is on the inner, most people would walk by, being sure to give me a wide berth as they did. I wouldn't blame them. I guess what I'm saying is that looking at me isn't the same as knowing me and far too many people have taken the liberty of commenting on how I don't "look" the part of a horror fan and writer. I'm sorry if my looks don't match who I am. But that's me, inside and out. I'm not changing just to match someone else's opinion of what I should be.

  3. You didn't write this for anyone but yourself. You may not realize that, but it's true. And it's real. Accept it.

    And go visit your father. You both deserve it, and need it.

  4. It may be true there, K. Wood. It may be for me just as much as it is for those who think my looks show who I am. Probably more for me than the others.

    And I will. Soon. I just have to find someone to watch the kids and stay with Mom while I do.

  5. Ef, I feel perhaps my teasing has burned instead of the tickle I intended. For that please accept my apology. I know the outside speaks poorly of the inside. Those that think else-wise will get stung. You seem quite jovial and lighthearted in your postings, even excited about the creepy things that you post about. There is much contrast within them for those that try to read deeper than the text. But this one feels like a deep and sad anger that maybe only scratched the surface of grief and pain. I sense a deeper pool. I know first hand about a lot of what you said out loud and maybe some of what you didn't. Not that I would presume to know you. It's curious that we all write, almost as much as what we write. I used to try to write children's books but happy endings seem so deceptive. I can't write them, I guess because I've never had one. I usually settle for survival. I think writing is survival and even therapeutic. I know about hiding the truth in the fiction. My stuff is full of it. I tried to write the truth once about something disturbing from my past and people I didn't know accused me of lying. It's just fiction to anyone that hasn't been there. Keep hiding it.

    It's encouraging that you are climbing out of your pool. That takes character and strength. It's a hard road most people never have to travel, and many others fail. It deserves respect.

    Don't let people get to you. We don't really matter in the whole of things. Best of luck in your real life issues. And yeah, I am glad to know you now. Now you're real.


  6. Does it really matter if you're pretty inside and out hon? Pretty is just a perception. Isn't it?

    We've all seen shit, done shit, had dark times in our past. I think the most remarkable thing is that you've posted this for the world to see. The hardest thing to do is to talk about those darker places, for many people. You face them head on, with a sword in the form of your words. Sharp and to the point and that's you.

    Damnit hon, I wouldn't change you for the world, if I could lessen the blow of what you're life had been like when you were younger I would, but then again you wouldn't be who you are today.

    I heard no "please pity me" in there, and I never have. You are a brilliant writer, and I've know that since I met you.

    Visit your father when your ready to visit your father. Don't force it because then it will be uncomfortable for you. If you want some company let me know. I'll come with you and hold your hand, or not.

    Either way, I'm more happy I met you now that I've read this than before. While I did know some things, I'm in awe of the courage you have to tell them.

    love ya sweets, no matter what.

  7. You're gorgeous, Effie. Or Ellen, because I somehow think it was her who wrote this. But that beauty persists. In every way. This little snippit of life simply proves it.

    PS - It's eerie how similar our early life paths have been. Teenage parents, drugs, the collapse of a poisonous relationship. I'm with you, Lady. You amaze me.

  8. @JJ: Not really your comment that brought this. I keep getting requests from people to see me in my "goth garb". I'm sick of people assuming that just because I write horror that I'm some goth or emo chick. It... sticks in my craw. Everyone has dark stuff in their past. Yes, this only scuffs the surface, after all it's only generalized snippets... a synopsis of my early days if you will, and people turning my whole person into some flasehood of makeup and black clothes pisses me off because I'm not even like that. There's no need to apologize. I knew you were teasing. Some of the others weren't. But... it's still a cry to know me, right? They wanted a deeper look at me. That's something only I could give them. Their flawed perception of who I should be will never be altered if I don't set them straight. We're cool, man. No worries. I do get excited over creepy stuff, but creepy makes me happy. I get excited because I'm having fun. *shrug*

    @Hinny: Yeah well, you're my best girl. I KNOW you ain't going anywhere. I take things head on, yes. I don't know any other way to do it. I've always had to, you know? And if you try to pity me, I will so kick your ass. ;) Love ya chickie.

    @Robert: Yes, I wrote this. Ellen, Effie... either way, it's me. As far as gorgeous goes... you can't beat the perfection that is me. *poses* What? You aren't convinced yet? DAMMIT!

    PS: There are tons of us out there, Robert. People who persevere no matter what. That's why my next tat is gonna be the word "ENDURE". Because I have and I can.

  9. "I do get excited over creepy stuff, but creepy makes me happy. I get excited because I'm having fun. *shrug*"

    Yeah, me too.


  10. Hello Effie. I still owe you a complete crit of your short. You will get it this weekend.

    We have a lot in common. The only drug I did not do was heroin. Acid, cocaine, angel dust, pot (tiddly winks here), opium, speed, thorazine (horse trancs), MDA, quailudes, crystal meth . . . you get the idea.

    We just really need to learn to love ourselves. Not such an an easy task sometimes.

    I hope you are still writing and come back to our site.

    You are missed.

    Much love.