Thursday, June 6, 2013

I Support You. And Your Oil Habit.

I was sitting in a living room with a bunch of my Mom's friends, watching her nervously stack her notes against her thigh while I nervously stacked cheese into my mouth. We were at an event she was hosting- for a product my Mom had suddenly and passionately attached herself to and wanted to sell. She had discovered the healing benefits of essential oils, and now her house smelled like a Catholic church and she had this new job. I questioned this new endeavor of hers, and was not at all on the slippery oil bandwagon. In fact, I sort of teased her about it mercilessly, even right up until she had dragged me to this party for support where I supported myself with dairy products. She caught my eye mid-cramming-my-mouth and walked over, clutching a machine that looked like a robot hand.

"For God sake put the cheese down and let me read your imbalances."

"My what?"

"Your imbalances. It will tell you what your system is lacking, and then we can find the right oils to balance you."

"I bet Melissa's system isn't lacking wine." My 19 year old sister chirped next to me, as I fixed her with a glare. "I saw you have a glass before we came here, even though Mom said it would throw your balance off." She whispered.

"You never go to a tupperware party, an oil party, or any party that sells glass swan figurines without a glass of wine." I hissed. "Life lesson. Tuck it away."

Mom sighed loudly while attaching the robot hand to me, hooking it to a computer that immediately whirred to life. I admit I sat transfixed as it clicked and sorted colorful looking charts that were apparently reading my cheesy, wine rich sweat. A few minutes later it slowed considerably, before shooting a number across the screen. We all leaned forward to read the verdict...which basically said something along the lines that I was dying, a disappointment as a daughter, and should be covered in oils constantly.

Of course. 

"You need balance in your life, Melissa."

I needed more cheese.

The rest of the party had us sitting in a circle, passing oils around and rubbing it into our temples, the bottoms of our feet, and underneath our tongues. I felt like I was at a massage party gone wrong, and when they passed the lavender oil (for sleep) I accidentally dropped the contents of the entire bottle into my crotch. So, there I sat, with the room getting hotter,  and my warm little body became a natural diffuser. Essentially my vagina began putting me to sleep. My head lolled back on the couch as I struggled to stay awake, and my Mom's face was victorious. "See?! NATURAL. OILS. It works! You're tired!"

"I also smell like a prostitute from the Biblical times." I sleepily answered.

"I wish you wouldn't joke about this. I care about this. Can you try a little?"

It was a weak moment for me. I was drugged out on lavender, I was lubed up like a body wrestler, and I very much wanted to be away from the nonsense that was this party. "Listen Mom- good for you, ok? But, I'm going to go home. This is all...too crazy for me."

I wanted to take it back as soon as I said it, but her face fell as she nodded. "You're right. Ok. Go home. See you later?"

As I drove back home I couldn't stop seeing her face- once so hopeful and then immediately crushed. And I thought oils were crazy? I lived in Berkeley and had pee thrown on me my first day of school! Why couldn't I support her in this one thing when she supported me throughout my whole life?

I was, essentially, an oily douche.


The next morning over coffee, my oily faux pas forgotten, my Mom and I sat on the couch- mapping out my suddenly wide open and terrifyingly empty future. I threw out crazy ideas for the next year: travel more alone, change career paths, maybe revive that once old dream to start a children's theatre. With each idea my Mom nodded and smiled, encouraged and drew up plans. And as I sat cuddled up with her, feeling so supported and buoyed by her love- I realized something.

This was the same woman that LOVED my childhood dream of me being a whale trainer-when I was afraid of swimming. The same woman that published my first poem- which was about a bird that talked to God and then fell out of a tree. This is the woman who high fived me when I told her I wasn't going to college right after high school, but was going to "become a famous actress." Like that's an actual job title or something. She literally stood by and let me do stupid shit all the time because I declared them dreams. 

And I couldn't accept her robot hands and vials of oil.

We can't just let people stand in the wings of our life and cheer us on, only to duck out of the theater when the spotlight swings their way. We have to encourage, we have to rub oil all over ourselves and drink wine after, not before. We have to sometimes support our parent's crazy ideas- even when we think they would be better suited to...oh, I don't know...moving in with us and making us food all day.

Which is why I stood up, rubbed my stomach, and looked at my Mom with a crease of concern. "I've been having stomach problems all day. You wouldn't...happen to have an oil? That could help?"

She smiled at me, understanding my olive (oil) branch I was extending her way, and jumped to her feet.

"I do, actually. And since you're now interested...let's try a few oils! What else is wrong with you?"

"Everything." I answered. And held out my wrists to be anointed.

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