Looks as if I won this round of 5 Truths, 1 Lie. No one came close. Of course only 3 people played, versus the 90+ on my new friend Jen’s blog, so I’m thinking statistically speaking the odds were in my favor to pull off the lie…
1). I love going to the beach and body surfing in the waves. FALSE
I am beyond petrified of drowning in the ocean and have a very real fear of swimming in it. Why on earth do I live in Southern California? I ask myself that almost daily, but that is a whole different conversation. Like most things in life there is a story behind this phobia.
At 15, when my fearless son Max was in the infancy of cultivating his adrenaline seeking addiction(s), he loved to body board. Being that he was below the legal age to operate a vehicle…I often drove him to our local beach. On one of those countless outings I was dutifully perched on the beach, book in hand, eye on the waterline, when lo and behold…I fell fast asleep. I woke with a start, frantically searched the waterline and there was Max–the roaring Pacific his playground, sun readying itself to set–surrounded by dolphins.
It was breathtaking.
In fact it was so incredible I wanted to join him. With the eagerness of a teenager I darted to the water, swam out toward him while shouting furiously with delight, “That is so COOL!”, when out of nowhere a wave caught me by surprise. Remembering Jimmy’s advice, I attempted the “duck dive.” Within seconds I was slammed into the bottom of the ocean…head spinning, dazed and confused, no idea which way was up…it was awful. I managed to break the surface only to be struck by another wave which completely machine washed me. Horrified that my son would witness his mother drown, I swam with all my might toward shore. I literally crawled my way to the beach…it was by far one of the more humbling moments in my life. Since that day I have entered the water via the beach once–it wasn’t pretty, but I did better than put a toe in, I actually got my hair wet. It was over 100° that day…so I can’t pretend this was really a breakthrough.
Learning to surf is on my chalkboard bucket list–that’s the kind where you write it then erase it a bazillion times. Stay tuned I have not yet given up hope.
2). I consult my 8 Ball when I have yes and no questions. TRUE
It began as a joke. If you worked in homebuilding during the years, 2005-2007, in San Diego and were responsible for pricing homes, then you might get why one of the home counselors that worked for me left it on my desk. Getting it right was the equivalent of catching a falling knife. The 8 Ball has been with me ever since.
3). I sold Avon products door to door while living in Olympia, Washington. TRUE
In 1984 I moved to Olympia for about 5 minutes. There were no jobs–as in n-o-n-e. Desperate to get myself off my dad’s shit list, I took two jobs, one, as a telephone sales solicitor of magazines. This entailed dialing the east coast at the crack of 8:00AM their time. This also meant I was required to be at my desk, phone in hand, at 5:00AM my time. Now let me just say, I was 21. Clearly I was trying to build up my self-esteem because for job two, I signed up to be an Avon Lady.
I remember calling my mother to let her know about the Avon gig:
“Well dear…I’m really not sure how people will respond when they open the door to find the Ivory Girl offering make-up for sale…have you ever even worn make-up?” She said in her very breathy voice laced with unmasked doubt.
As you may have already guessed that lasted all of a nano second.
There is nothing like being hung-up on and having countless doors slammed in your face to make you run the entire 3,000 mile distance back home.
4). I have more fears than letters in my full legal name. TRUE
The irony of this of course is that a lot of people think I am courageous, but, for people who know me well this is no secret. By people, I mean my people: Jimmy, Max, Kodiak and Chandler. They tease me Ad nauseam for it too. Then again…I really don’t know what it’s like to be in the car with someone like me as a passenger. You know the type…the one who uses her foot to pump the non-existent brake, grabs desperately at the handle above her head, and lurches to the left as if doing so will prevent the car we are passing from coming through her door. That’s me. Then there is traveling by boat with me. And of course as luck would have it I have children which gives my over active imaginations piles of what-if-scenarios to pour over. Once again I do feel the need to defend myself only this time, because a picture tells a thousand words, I will provide an image for you to mull over:
5). I was fired once for telling my boss to find his fucking spine. TRUE
Not one of my finer moments. But boy did if feel AMAZING!
6). I was named Wendy Bell at birth and called Wendy for 9 months. TRUE
Perhaps this will explain both the birth of my neuroses and a lot about my mother. Indeed I was born Wendy Bell Stebbins. My Grandmother (bless her heart) vehemently told my mother that my name sounded like a boat. Not sure how soon after my grandmother’s proclamation it occurred, but the certificate shows,
BELL and then Margaret is typed above it. All that being said, I was called Wendy for the first nine months of my life. My mother, who clearly was suffering from some bizarre Peter Pan obsession, found that everywhere she went mother’s were screaming for a girl named Wendy. She agonized over the realization that she had not selected the right name for her last born. Resolved to remedy the error of her ways, she then insisted that everyone begin calling me Elin, I was 9 months old. My brother Rodger told me that he has a vivid memory of calling my name when my back was toward him, I did not turn around. After 3 “Elin” attempts he checked that my mother was not within earshot then said, Wendy, in an exaggerated whisper…I of course turned around.
Later in 1967 (I was 4) Mom obtained a court date for the legal change of my name from, Wendy Margaret, to, Elinor
Margaret. Elinor after the aforementioned beloved grandmother and my mother. Thankfully they continued to call me Elin.
For 48 years and 3 month I despised the name Elinor. Then my mother died. After which I came to know her as a young person through her letter writing to her mother and my dad. Because my mom also saved a number of letters that she received from her mom, I also have come to know my grandmother. It has been such a gift to see them both in a different light, not as a mother, not as a grandmother but as women. Strong, articulate, outspoken women. Although I will never choose to go by Elinor, the name itself embodies a new sense of strength and for that I am quite grateful.