Excerpt from:
Confessions of a Partygirl;
Dena Mascaro Mata
Riches. Rags. Redemption  

That time I burnt Christmas...  

So...funny story. I can make very complicated food requiring all-day prep in a 2*2' kitchen now and plate the finished results artfully, but I almost burned down the "house" with an innocent popcorn faux pas today with a stove top jiffy pop foil thingy, holy shit, there was burnt pop-corn everywhere in our tiny R.V. kitchen homeless, home. 

This time of year reminds me of that time I fully "burnt Christmas." 

As an undercover drug user with four beautiful daughters, I HAD to make every outward appearance of our life look perfect because anything less might give away our dirty little secret. I understand now that when we grow up with anxiety as a result of living with severe abuse, that we cannot control, it's common to become control freaks in any aspect of our lives as adults. 

I used drugs, namely speed, to have the energy to keep up with our busy life, raising our girls, with all the familial running around, shopping, cooking, keeping the house perfect; working events, keep cleaning others’ houses, being available for high-end clients who called at all hours of the day and night needing, fill in the blank sort of odd-ball, unexpected requests, demands. 

All of this was to help make ends meet. And, I was thin, which I didn't hate. 

Malcolm and I had a fight, so I threw the Christmas tree out of the house because what I envisioned Christmas to be or look like, the Christmas experience I tried to fabricate wasn't happening. There was no middle ground with my anger; it had to be perfect OR there would be NOTHING! 

In that life of hiding drugs and myself behind the veil of perfection, a little fire on the stove may have resulted in the entire house burning down. My anxious (on-fire trigger), wound up like a top about to explode nature made it impossible to find solutions to put any fire out. 

Dissecting the pieces of my childhood, the severe physical abuse at the hands of my mother, my early teenage addiction, and my rash behaviors as an adult- I ruined my favorite day of the year instead of just taking a breath and moving forward because, you know, shit happens, including disagreements, and we live to love another day. 

Rationally I know this, but not in the heat of the moment back then. 

I cannot change any aspect of the past and have come to love ALL of my life, even figuratively burning down Christmas, as bittersweet as that is to speak of out loud or in writing. I tried to be perfect for all of them, failed horribly and they witnessed my failure, but it was STILL time with my precious girls. 

I hope THEY learned from my hot-headed, life-by-fire model and reach a point of understanding who they are sooner than I did at fifty-something. I hope that they can put out fires, even those of their own making, and that they can salvage the best of the popcorn and savor it because it is worth enjoying. 

Popcorn is life-everyone got that, right?