August 21st, 2003

ham

    Or, 10 years,
a gallon or so of teardrops, quite a few gallons of whatever else and
close to zero fun. ---or you can get the misery straight and unmediated
when you talk to her, since she's perfectly upfront about her chronically
low self-esteem, the men who did her wrong and her self-destructive methods
for trying to feel right. "I think everybody knows by now that I had a lot
of problems with drugs, drinking and abusive relationships," she says.
    just sits quietly under a patio umbrella with a couple
of friends, taking it all in. Every once in a while, she'll do that thing her
um have seen so many times, a sort of secular version of getting the Spirit:
closing her eyes and swaying to the sound of her own voice as if no one else
was around. What's different is
    she was a high-school dropout from a broken home, with an
edgy voice and an attitude to match. The label tried to coach her on deportment
after she had some nasty run-ins with the press--she once invited a reporter to
step outside to settle their differences--though it didn't seem to have much effect.
This combative front couldn't hide her insecurity over her self-worth, appearance
and talent. "I had a tight relationship with my dad when I was a kid," says,
"and I wondered if I had done something wrong to make him leave. Then I started
listening to the kids in my class who said I looked like a camel. I couldn't see
myself being good at anything really. No one had ever really told me I could
or do anything good."
    "I never had that. I was always alone, looking out for myself.
So when
and started looking for
just like me,
it really hurt me."
"I know it sounds like something everybody says---but I had to like me
and I didn't," "I was drinking, which was something people in my
um did all my life, so I thought that was the answer. But it just blinded me to what
was really going on in my life and in"
"It's amazing what people will do to you when they think you're not looking. It
had probably been going on for years."
"told me that the alcohol had to go or would go," "a pretty, and wanted me to live
that same life. So the first thing I did was to ask
to take the people out of my life who didn't need to be there.
The people who were bringing me down and keeping me in that dark space. I realized
a lot of my friends preferred the drunk Mary, the drugged Mary---the Mary who didn't
know. You don't realize it at first. And then they don't return your calls."
But one of her old friends still wanted to talk.
-Newsweek