Tuesday, November 19, 2013

How to Find a Job



1. Be very quiet. Jobs are scattered, fragile things. Have you ever met a really paranoid person who wasn't a pothead, but was just really really scared and therefore defensive and angry all the time because their adrenalin levels were always spiked? That's what jobs are like. They let home security salesmen into their houses, feed them whiskey and let them sleep with their daughters. If you're going to get close enough to snag one, you're going to need to be a home security salesman, or a girl scout, or a member of the church of jobs.

2. Find the most beautiful, hospitable, relaxing place in the world. It should be covered in sunlight and trees and blue skies. The weather should always be the exact temperature of blood. Once you've found it, take a moment to appreciate it and wonder what your life would be like if you lived there always.

Then seek out the exact opposite of that place - where it snows or hails all the time, where the land is flat and featureless, and there are only 500 people in a 200 mile radius and they are all covered in mosquito bites all the time, and people regularly lose fingers to either frostbite or paramilitary militias.
That's where all the jobs are.

3. Be beautiful. Jobs are like unicorns - they only care about virginity and sex appeal.

4. Pray to the Job Monster. The Job Monster lives under your bed. It lies there eating the hours of your life you spend staring at the ceiling, wondering what illicit and ill-advised things you can do to make just a little bit more money. The Job Monster sends you emails constantly, of people also looking for jobs, trying to scrape out a living on the black market catching freelance half-jobs. You're a slightly more discerning collector than that - you know better than to waste your precious minutes tattooing 500 words on some mangy half-job's ass so you can come back and find it later, and use it as bait to catch another one. You know it looks lazy, but you also know that somewhere deep inside of you there is a well of really good art, and you don't want it tainted, and you want time to search for it slowly, not panicked or stressed, but quietly and softly, so that the really good job sitting there at the well's edge drinking doesn't catch your scent and run off.
You are starting to realize that you should have settled for a husband years ago, because now you're going to die alone and poor, and it's not like this appeals to you, and you're trying not to be an idealistic brat - but there must be a reason why being sincere about it worked for all those other famous hunters you admire.

These are the thoughts the Job Monster is gobbling and sucking up as they fall off your bed sheets like snowflakes or dandruff.

5. Stare out the window at the morning sky. Wonder at how very vividly blue it is, a certain kind of sunshine at 10:30am blue, and the yellowish green of the tree leaves shines out against it. The air smells like September. You feel something in the back of your eyelids lift and heave up in a gasp, and there is an empty feeling in your chest as everything inside you jumps up to your skull, and out your eyes, and this is how you transcend, like the Virgin Mary, just let everything defy gravity and head speedingly up up up...and then while you're ascending through the clouds, if you get scared of the upcoming lack of atmosphere, if you decide the approaching view of space is not worth the inevitable suffocation and death, if you chicken out - you can turn your head around and try to use the vantage point of being a satellite to try and spot the best job. Once you see one, don't worry, you'll fall fast enough. You'll be mad you're descending so quickly, you'll wish you had stayed up there just a little longer. Every once in a while, you'll regret not burning up in the atmosphere. But at least you'll have a job.

Monday, November 18, 2013

7 Tips For Making Yourself More Attractive


photo courtesy of this terrible article and also cause this looks like the still of a really good movie 


Every one of us has had a morning where we stand in front of the mirror, the whole day ahead of us, and we look at our face and think "How am I going to pull this off?" The desire to be more attractive to the opposite sex is the most primary natural instinct we have. We smell like it. We taste like it. Our bodily functions cycle on it. Every single person in the world, from the time they are born until their last breath, is going through this.

 Unfortunately, not everyone is given the best equipment. Some of us, most of us, just have faulty genes. Our families have been pumping poison and crap through our blood pool for centuries. We have been bent and molded like plastic dough. However, it turns out since we're all mostly like that, you can actually change yourself to compensate for your shortcomings. They did some study recently that said people totally cared most about traits that were only a matter of pulling out the credit card. Good hair, good clothes. Being neat, well put together, and confident. Being nice. And being generally within the norm of physical fitness.

But also, all that stuff is hard. So here are some other, more (I think) easily achievable ideas.

1) Try not brushing your hair all that often.

Maybe this isn't true everywhere, but here in North Carolina, the humidity makes everyone's hair kinda curly, and if you brush it all the time, it get's thin and frizzy. But if you never brush it, just maybe comb it every couple of days, let it air dry,  most of the time it looks cute. And if it doesn't, then just take comfort in the fact that you're helping to keep the bar low for the rest of us.

2) Remember to ask questions about other people.

I'm not going to qualify this one. I'm just going to give you a blank stare.

3) Don't be upset about something all the time.

Make sure you set aside a few hours during the day to not be angry or worried or sad about something. It doesn't matter what you feel, as long as it isn't one of those things. Some people call it "me" time. I call it "how to maintain and care for your humanity" time.

4) Be clean.

Just in general, don't smell. You can smell a little. You can even occasionally be smelly, anyone who *does* stuff can't help that. But shower, or bathe, or whatever, every couple days. I will even accept bathing in the ocean, if you really want to conserve water. I accept that as a thing. But water should touch you en masse every once in a while.

5) Have thoughts about things that have no immediate relevance to your life.

Like, try reading a science magazine. The actual articles, not just the i09 writeup. Or read a book, but not a book about running, or mothering, or anything at all that actually is something you do already. Like, a book about something you never even thought of doing - murder or prostitution or the cod industry.

All anyone really wants in a partner is someone who's going to be entertaining, and if you are only average looking you can't count on sex being entertaining always, so you need some other assets. Random science facts or being able to play music, those things count. People who are really into international news, that counts. Baking croissants counts. It's not that hard to be interesting, you just have to be interested.

6) Girls, always wear a flushed cheek, and put a little rosiness on the swoop of your eyelid, and try to match up a pink lip, and honest to god, this makes it look like you just came sometime in the very near past, and guys totally dig this. Not a lie. Totally true.

Guys, just smile more and stand closer.

7) Do something, some adventure, all alone by yourself. Make it something really cool, like two weeks in Turkey or a coffee tour in Jamaica. Then you have a cool story to drop anytime you're talking to a new person at a party, but also since you did it by yourself, you're automatically going to get this look of introspection and mystery, cause you'll be remembering something you've not related to other people, and that's really, really hot.



8) Have a pet dinosaur or whale or giraffe or lion or whatever, something really really big.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Lashes


She got them because when she wears them, she feels like a movie star, like an animated character, something more approximating a sex kitten than anything she ever feels by herself. And as such, they give her power, the only kind of power a girl can really feel, because maybe you can talk men into doing things - paying you, respecting you - but you haven't got any real power over them until they want you. 

They come from Indonesia, or China, somewhere gray with industrial dust, and green with predatory vines, full of small brown people who smile widely at foreign cameras, their teeth rotting in their skulls and the stained walnut sheen of manual labor and poverty. In those places, the visual images of beauty have been laid bare, stripped of the intellectual justifications of the West - women are either pretty, or they are cattle. She was told once, in a moment of first world poverty (which is the kind where you don't go to the bars for a few months and you live off processed cheese) that she should move over there, with her big blue eyes and huge tits she could make a killing just by being a hostess at some bar. The person telling her that didn't hear the stink of rape in those words, not hers but all the girls in that world who wouldn't look like her, and therefore not be okay. If she had brown eyes and darker skin, there would be no talk of adventures with moneyed businessmen, there would only be settling for the first somewhat gentle guy to think she can keep a house and have babies. There would be no long studied conversations about self-awareness over cocktails, there would be only work, cook, worry, get fucked, get a few hours sleep, wake up and do it again, for the rest of your life. Know that you aren't good enough for anything else - cling to the daily pains and suffering as the only things that actually make you an individual. 

The lashes are long and shiny and black. She wipes off her mascara before going to bed, and the unnaturalness of them sticks out even more - the plastic black against the soft, thin brown of her own. 

Whose lashes are those? Were they ripped off some child in Africa? She smiles at the girl asking the question, but she wants to point out they were only made by a child, not physically tortured off one. What's the difference, really? Older, richer, desperate women have been sucking the youth from children for centuries, to stain their lips and drape soft things across their skin - an entire class of Madame Bathorys, Countesses of Blood. 

When she wears them, people tell her how pretty she looks, what has she done differently? They can't even remember what she looked like before, not enough to know, even though it's obvious - they could never be real. But people still ask, are they? As if doll things could occur naturally, aren't they supposed to?

She goes to sleep with them on, and dreams of plastic hair, plastic lips, plastic dresses and stockings and shoes and plastic skin gleaming unblemished and powdered perfect, of men pulling out plastic - sitting across small tables enchanted by things that have been manufactured for them, to keep their attention, like ravens or trolls. Then she dreams deeper. She dreams of factories made of sheet metal walls, dirt floors packed down and crawling with fleas and lice and roaches, of eating cheap noodles out of lead painted bowls - the bland bleached flour taste sour and slick on her and she sees more men. They are everywhere, their faces grown bulbous and elephantine by years of drink and smoke, not even the same creature as her but Men, who demand money, who demand work, who grope and poke and laugh, who pull her hair and tell her why she is ugly - all the reasons she is ugly and useless and no one will ever love her because her skin is not white and her figure isn't thin, and she doesn't smile, why doesn't she smile? 

It doesn't matter, if she smiled they would just tell her that her teeth are too crooked to suck their cocks properly, and then kneel her down in some back room and push it in between her cracked and dry lips, because nothing is good enough for what they deserve but they'll take it all anyway.

She dreams of drunk men in uniforms, thick with fire and brimstone and the command of craftier men than them, dreams of them rushing in like wolves in the middle of the night to tear their wooden houses apart, to cut the communists' heads off with piano wire, to slice open their faces and tongues, and she sees the women huddled in their night clothes, being pulled away to the jungle one by one as the soldiers feel like it, and the next day she will see those same men in the town, running their soup stands and hat shops and those same wolves will cower to the bigger, badder wolves in suits, who eat and shit Western money, but no one would ever think to cower before the stone, the concrete boulder sitting on her chest, underneath which lives her pain. It waits inside her, inarticulate, unknown to even her, leaching it's toxins into her bones and slowly smouldering into a fire. 

She wakes up and knows it is a lie, it's an idea of an idea she saw or heard somewhere, but she feels the stone inside her own chest - a pebble in comparison, but building building building like a dirty snowball. In the dream, she felt fury and fire. In the morning light now, she feels only the desire to be numbed by it's persistent coldness, until she can't feel anything, and can only go through the motions - smile, manicure, pick something cute, reapply lipstick, smile in the face of humiliating rudeness because you're just a girl and you shouldn't be crazy.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

This is How Myths Start



I am, by natural inclination, a very superstitious person.

Wait, let's start here instead.

Once upon a time, when the Earth had just formed out of a coagulation, a collision of rocks and space dust, when it was just a ball of smashed together minerals, the heat from the impact of all those little bits and pieces grew to be so hot all the metal was able to run together, and the planet was nothing but a molten marble, a suspended drop of swirling heavy poisonous rock. And when this happened, all the iron and nickel in the molten mixture started to gather and sink to center, pulled by gravity and whirling dervishes, and it all came together in a dense crazy whirlpool of super-heated stuff, and is now what's known as the Earth's Core. The thing that gives us our magnetic field and therefore allows our entire atmosphere to exist. This is known as the Iron Catastrophe, Jere told me about it as casually as one sends a link to their friend of a Dogs Eating Pickles tumblr. And I felt two things when I read it - first, shame at not knowing about this already or more likely, having forgotten about it already, and two, gratefulness that it existed and a desire to honor that it existed and tell people about it.

I think this is the base emotional process behind superstition - the shame is basically fear of being found not worthy, unable to prove your value or competency in the face of a huge universe that isn't capable of showing mercy for your best intentions, and which you will likely never be able to know or conquer, whose attention you may never be able to catch. Right, like, when you are something way smaller trying to not get killed by something way bigger, it's important to decide if you either need to hide from their attentions, or you need to try and get their attention so they don't step on you. I guess it depends if you prefer to see the universe as something hunting you, or something marching past you unaware. I prefer the latter, it seems less psychopathic. So first, the shame and fear. That's where the gesture of a superstition comes in - the throwing of salt, or the motion of avoiding a crack, or the carrying around of certain objects.

The second part then is the belief. Once you've made the gesture, you have to have the belief behind it, or it won't work. Any 15 yr old witch will tell you that. Spells require real belief, and that's where the gratefulness comes in. Because it creates a rush of emotion that sings out "Yes, and Thank You", one of top ten most powerful things you can utter when you really mean it.If I were to believe, for instance, that all I had to do to conjure something I wanted - a desire or a safety - was to think very hard about the molten core spinning around at the center of our planet for millennium, and the very wonder of its formation and existence and slowness of process, then if I was clutching a magnet in my hand and thinking of its mother iron at the same time, that would be a spell.  Superstitions are just the little spells we all do, all day, to compartmentalize our worlds.

I have excuses for believing in these kinds of things, and also for looking and seeing signs of synchronicity all around me. I was raised Catholic, and I was read fairy tales every night before bed. What else could possibly have happened to me? Of course I was going to have an unwavering sense of magic, more so than god or law. Here are some examples:

- My birthday is 7/10, Sean's birthday is 10/7. I believed this was important for the longest time, and attributed significance also to the fact that the last number in the year I was born was the last number in the year he was born, but flipped upside down, and also kinda believed this was why we always had such bad birthdays together, because we were birthday opposites.

- A few years ago, I created a fake fb profile for my fake boyfriend, just so I could have my relationship status read things like "Bridget is currently separated from Sunny Disposition. Today is Sunny's birthday, according to the random date in November I picked when I made his profile. Turns out, today is also the birthday of a guy I met 8 months ago, whom I'm consistently halfway in love with.  No part of me really thinks that's a coincidence.

- A guy bought me a rock. I carried it around with me cause I liked it a lot. I lost it, and we started being awkward around each other. I found it again, and everything smoothed out and got better. So now I'm attributing the health of our friendship to whether or not I've got this rock on me.

Obviously all these things are crazy. Only a crazy person would believe they were true, and I know they are not true, but....I feel they're true. I know they're not; I feel they are.

And lately I think I've come to a decently solid interpretation of this contradiction, which is that I don't believe in God, but I believe in the Narrative. I believe in the human brain's infinite capacity to turn anything into a story, with a beginning, a middle, and an end. I believe that the practice of drawing those lines between events in order to sequence our experiences is the creation of time, and the constant evaluating of our memories creates place,  and the position of hero or villain in our stories creates our sense of identity, creates us. We honor the great Narrative in our lives when we create these stories and recognize them.
  
In my particular story, I am apparently boy crazy. Anyone who knows me will tell you it's true. I don't really know why, I'm just that kind of person and always have been, I relate everything in my life to sex. I take a morning supplement that is basically what they give to guys to increase virility, and honest to god, it's the healthiest for keeping my coat shiny and my teeth sharp, the sex plant simply works on my cells best. I think some people are just based in certain emotions, like the humours of the body or the elements. And to write it off as just an excess of lust, like it's something a little common decency could fix, is oversimplifying and naive. There's a lot of emotions and actions and choices and beliefs that play into my kind of personality. It's a very vulnerable and risky thing to be - the kind of powers you choose to fuel your life say a lot about you, and sex (not as the act, but as the mindset) is one of the most uncontrollable, but also one of the most potent. When you choose to use it to try and relate to the universe, to let it be your key into understanding reality, your filter or translator or however you want to take this metaphor, then you are saying "It's more important to me to be powerful than it is to be safe."

My point is, I'm a girl who knows about spells, and it doesn't surprise me at all that I would seek out the most dangerous power source for my own magics. I don't know how you're supposed to be a priestess of the Narrative otherwise.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Can't Undead the Dead



I had a weird thing happen to me yesterday. I hooked up with this guy, just strictly a very casual thing, but he's a nice guy, and so hanging out with him was naturally very sweet and affectionate, and it all sort of happened as easily as it could have - there was none of the "does he like me?" or "what's going on here" tension that I've been flooded with this past year. I mean, there was a little, because there should always be a little, but only for an hour or two when we first met, and then everything was very obvious and mutually acknowledged. It was, one could argue (especially any "one" that read that post a few days ago when I was in the thrall of disappointment), exactly what I needed. Wilmington, and maybe North Carolina as a whole, has this spell where it does that - it waits exactly until you've hit rock bottom needing or wanting something, and then it drops it in your lap. You just have to stick out the desperation. Ran out of my savings - needed a job - came down to 2 dollars in my bank account and the next day got a job at a place that gives you free food. Couldn't afford my apartment, was going to be homeless sleeping on my friends' couches - Teresa and Steve suddenly need to get a place too. Fallen deep into the self-loathing hole of rejection and vanity - meet some nice guy who doesn't tell you that you're so smart or confident, but instead tells you how sexy and pretty you are. North Carolina's versions of miracles - or maybe this is how homeless people live.

So this morning I should have been in a good mood. But as soon as I got to work, as soon as, in fact, my fingers wrapped around the little pink rock I've been keeping in my pocket as a worry stone, I felt this terrible melancholy sit on my chest. I couldn't shake it, it got heavier and heavier. I was just flooded with this sense of focus-less guilt and shame and mostly missing - it was as if my psyche, once it was away from the nice, comforting petting, became irrational aware of the hole of being in love. I mean, I'm always a little in love, with something or someone or everything and everyone - I'm one of those plastic molds they poured love into when they were making the diorama, and I've just been slowly melting in other people's heat since. And like, my head finally fell off or something, just another thing broke inside. I was inexplicably distraught. I think I may be addicted to touch. I think once I get it, I become a junkie, and the withdrawal is that much worse. One heavy petting and I'm off like a powder keg, I explode in affection, and then for another six months I'm depleted and raw. 

It reminded me, no wait, it was exactly the same feeling I used to get when Sean and I would break up and not see each other for a few months, before running into each other out, and then right back into the habit of being in love.

Then, of course, it got really busy at work, and I got really stressed out (which is dumb, because even the most stressful day at the co-op isn't really stressful at all). I have a button on my apron at work that I write different sayings on each week and this week it was " Sincerity is Underrated". It's been good for reminding me, and customers, to talk to each other like people who see each other every day, rather than just cashier and customer - I've learned lots of interesting things about people, especially older ladies who could be my mom, my mom is exactly the sort of lady who will respond to that sort of thing thoughtfully, and so I guess it makes sense her daughter wrote it in black sharpie to wear on her work apron, like David used to write on white t-shirts to wear to shows. A guy I have a crush on - a really smart guy I always feel the need to impress, and probably fail at miserably every time - came in, and he asked me how I was doing and I actually told him. I mean, I didn't tell him the boy stuff, but I told him about school, and life, and how I felt off kilter with my whole life at the moment, like Jere's visit had shaken all the silt in me around, and at the moment I just felt muddy and unclear. And he told me about work stress, and then at some point we talked about rainwater reservoirs being water jugs for huge animals, like if there was giraffe rescue, like how much better my life would be if I could just drive by the giraffe rescue and see their heads poking up among the pine trees. Because sincerity is underrated. And then another boy, a friend of mine, came in, and he was on the phone the whole time he was in the store, but as he was leaving we gave each other a huge long hug, and see, sincerity is underrated. Then I realized I was dehydrated, drank a large glass of water, and eventually felt better. 

That picture up there is from a battlefield around here. It was the first place I walked around and really felt the blood in the sand. There's a church there, or the ruins of a church, and on the older plaque inside the church, it talks about how the settlers of the fort tried to save up for ages to build the church, tried a lottery and everything. But then one night, a Spanish galleon crashed on the coast, and the villagers took the loot that washed up, sold it, and were able to afford the church. Cute, right? Only later on as you're walking through the ruins of the fort, there's another more modern plaque, the kind Park Services builds under pavilions, and that plaque pointed out that the "cargo" which had washed up on shore during the storm, was actually a boatload of slaves. So basically the slaves that managed to escape the sinking ship, and survive to swim to shore in the cold Atlantic during a storm, were then captured by settlers and sold off, and then they built that church, and I swear I've never stood in a building I wanted to see completely torn down and disintegrated as much as that one. 

So yeah, you can smell blood everywhere in that place, dead bodies everywhere. The trees have drank off it, the vines have grown through it, the little tiny sand crabs have eaten it. That's why everything in this place is so predatory, it's because we gave it a taste. 

But I correlate the way that place made me feel, and the way I felt today, standing at the counter with my homemade life sayings pins, ringing up almond butter and gluten free cake, knowing how ready I was to be in love again. Not with that guy. Not with any guy I know. But with someone. It's like, you can feel the past destruction, the past loves, the past murders, and the sense of the impending long slow march pools at your feet and tries to suck you into the bloody sand, but you know this is just how this place is now. This is just how you are now. You can't unkill soldiers, and you can't unlove love. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

History Lessons



This is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Of course, every place is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. But this particular place, at noon on a hot Sunday in August, getting lost with Eric looking for a place called Sugarloaf, this stands apart in a history of beautiful places. Place and time are inextricable, you can never go back to this place, it's never the same light or smells or clouds or person.



I might have said this earlier, when I first moved here. I remember thinking it at least - that one very obvious thing different about this landscape was how detailed it was. All these little shards of color and shadow, broken up in contrast as if someone had applied one of those HDR filters to the entire world, and then used their flash because everything is So Bright. I never thought about it, but Ohio is much more watercolored and smudged.

There's just so many leaves everything, thin leaves. It's all thin here, instead of broad and flat.



In the state parks, the sand lies hard packed into hilly wooded dunes, covered with pine needles and decomposing plants. It's a weird texture to walk on - like you can't really go barefoot cause it's rough, but also you can't wear sneakers because it's all sand and there's nothing worse than getting sand in your socks and having to still walk 2 miles back, in more sand. I have learned to hike in flip flops which seems really really unhealthy, though for reasons I just can't pinpoint. I was always so self conscious about my feet, I like how quickly that fell away, like, last January. Anyway, you have to wear flip flops, or straight up boots, or one of those expensive hybrid shoes they sell in camping magazines.



There are little pockets of the smallest cypress groves ever. Like, as if we are wandering in a diorama of the Pleistocene era at the Natural History Museum - trudging through the ground up shells of mollusks and the worn away bones of mammoths. There are giant sloths watching us from the trees, and everywhere the acid of evolving life is bubbling and churning away, sending it's DNA stink into the clouds and into our lungs.



I don't know how I'm expected to *not* fall in love with everyone here. I'm living in the same primordial soup as the people who first created language.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Wilmington Vasectomy




There's a guy I know who just got a vasectomy.

It's bad, because at first when he told me about it, I was all supportive and sympathetic, because I had a boyfriend once who got one, and every time I say that out loud to myself, I feel this dark twinge of "Oh geez, he *really* didn't want to get me pregnant..." I mean, no matter who you are, you're going to have some deep pyschological reaction to the idea of a vasectomy or hysterectomy.

So anyway, I was the good, sensible, positive friend. And then he told me about how since he only had one ball, from a previous trauma, the doctor had given him a half price vasectomy. Because they only need to do half the procedure, right? See? And now I can't stop laughing every time I see him. Which is not what you should do to a man who just got fixed.

His girlfriend (and let me tell you, it was a bit weird having casual frank conversation with a couple about their vasectomy) knew a girl who had to have a c-section, and she had them do a hysterectomy at the same time, cause hey, you're already in there. Two for the price of one hysterectomy and baby delivery.

There's a Wilmington Vasectomy Commercial. When Mom came to visit, she was particularly impressed by the soft core porn style billboards for plastic surgery all around town, and also we have local commercials for vasectomy services.

A bunch of women at the co-op where I work just had babies. They are all the cutest babies ever, and not just cause they are babies, but because the general attractiveness of everyone in this place is so much higher, and that also applies to babies. It's gotten to the point where I feel bad when I see a not so cute baby in the place, because it must feel self-conscious next to the virtual Gap ads being carried around in swaths of Egyptian Cotton by their yoga model mothers.

Look, the thing is, I'm not against yoga as exercise, I mean, I have a neutral opinion about it. Certainly everyone I know who does it is much prettier than normal. But the culture of it? With all the clothes and mats and headbands and blissness - it's creepy. I call it Yoga Brain. People come in after class, and they are blissed out on an exercise high, and they're half asleep, wandering around, getting into their cars and driving. Sometimes it's hard to have a conversation with someone who is *really* into yoga, because that weird calmness makes it hard to read the normal physical and social cues. On the other hand, it's pretty easy to convince people with Yoga Brain that you're awesome, because you just have to be sweet and friendly to them, and they think you embody happiness in the universe at that exact moment in time and existence.Which is why I always feel bad when a Yoga Brain's card gets declined, it seems so mean to harsh on them like that. It's usually just cause they entered their pin wrong. But sometimes it's because they've been taking a 20 dollar class twice a day.

I don't know why vasectomies and yoga go together in my brain, but they really do.

I bet there are a lot of old rich men in this town who get vasectomies specifically so they can fuck whatever girls they want to and not have to worry about any illegitimate bastards coming after their fortunes, which are already divided up enough between three alimonies and child support. I bet that's a thriving industry here - the vasectomy that frees you to enjoy the fruits of your manhood and early retirement. A vasectomy you deserve.

If I was an old, rich man, I'd get one.
But also if I was an old rich man, I'd look homeless, so it wouldn't matter. I'd probably *be* homeless.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The One Where We Try This Again



This weekend, Jeremiah came to visit me.
We drank a lot with people in Halloween costumes, and went to the chilly beach, all around the big old mansions and hidden gardens, into the hipster house party and the southern polish festival and down the Cape Fear river on a flat boat with a piano and a dog. I made grits. It was the best I could do for him.

Every time a good friend of mine from Cleveland comes down here, I feel a conflict of personalities - a deep insecurity about how the Past Me will measure up to the Present Me. The Past Me was riddled with bad emotional decisions and squashed ambitions. The Present Me has sun bleached long hair and no money ever and the vulnerability of a small puppy that's just been weaned and needs someone to hug it. I'm not saying one is better than the other - no, actually that's exactly what I'm saying. But I need approval, I crave it constantly, and so a visitor will bring out a need to show them why I'm here. And every time, it works. They all love it here. They all say they want to move down here with me. I seem so happy here, they say. And I'm left feeling drained by my internal conflict, unable to process the validation, and somehow feeling rejected by the world. I want to follow them back to the safety of my neighborhood. I want a world that embraces me and loves me.

People have been repeating a refrain to me lately - how much Wilmington loves me, how amazing it is I know so many people, how great I'm doing for only a year here. I remember hearing the same refrain in Cleveland, and there's something about that kind of praise that makes me feel worse. Because I know it isn't true. I know it's just a facade of confidence I've put on, a persona that is still a persona no matter how hard I try to keep it real and true, and they see what they want to see. I mean, I get this is what we all do, present our good and sane face to the world. But in Cleveland, I had people who had seen me at my worst, for years. Here, that hasn't happened yet. My worst has been lying curled up in a tight little ball inside my chest, and just because I've learned to put a leash on it and teach it to sit doesn't mean it isn't there and it doesn't also need love. That's where the disconnect, the deep unhappiness I feel sometimes, comes from with this place. Most of the time, I'm fine. Half of the time I'm ecstatic here. Some of the time there is a gray heavy fog of despair, and I'm lost in it, and I don't understand why no one else can see it.

One night, I said to my roommate, as we drove back from the bar, "I don't understand it, I'm fuckable, right? I'm not hideous, right?"
And he replied, "Bridget, you're the most confident person I know."
Which is not the response any girl wants to hear.
But there's only a few adjectives Wilmington knows to describe me with - confident, brilliant, intimidating, hilarious. I know I should be grateful to hear those, and I am, but it's only ever those four, ever. Over and over until they lose their meaning. In Cleveland, people threw beautiful or sexy in there occasionally. I haven't heard either of those in over a year. That makes me feel like something is horribly wrong.

 And this is what Jere said to me, he said "Bridget, all the men who have fallen in love with you, it's been through your blog. That's how you get people to want you. You are never going to be the one they look at and fall for, they have to read you."

I think that's depressing as shit, but what can I do?
They don't know, but I know that anyone who loves me for my mind is going to eventually have to deal with the worst of me, that isn't house trained and jumps on people and barks at passing cars all the time. So that'll never last anyway, and the only obvious conclusion is I'm just one of those people the world will love, who will never actually get love. That's a conclusion that tows the fine line of realism versus nihilism. Because sure we all know it's the *wrong* thing to say, that several good souls will try to console me and feed me lines about hope or whatever, but also it's a Very Real Possibility. It happens to people all the time. Especially really smart people who have ambitions of not settling, who are incapable of settling because they know it will turn them into a bad person. It's why having such a reliance on love like I do is a deep personality flaw, and one that will inevitably let you down again and again.



A friend of mine is going to a spiritualist conference this weekend, and the theme is "The Question That Drives You" - figuring out your personal koan. From their website:

"When we take all our life-actions into consideration, what primary drive are they trying to satisfy? If we want to increase our chances of fully satisfying that primary drive, would it make sense to pay more attention to the feeling of it, our interpretations of it, and how we could phrase it to ourselves in question form - in effect finding and working with our personal koan? Does it take great doubt to arrive at certainty?"

It's becoming increasingly obvious that one of the main stories in this town is the seeking of spiritual clarity. I think that must go along with the ocean thing - people attracted to the Great White Noise are seeking respite from the harsh daily noise of the physical real world, and so it makes sense they would be seeking emotional respite as well. There are a million churches here, and they are not all traditional Southern baptist. There is a growing collection of non-denominational, meditation based, yoga based, crystal and oil faiths - all the little closet ones that exist to help the bourgeoisie find a semblance of wisdom by talking to them about their favorite subject - themselves. All human beings love talking about ourselves. It interests us the most. It makes us feel special and important, to be the subject of introspection and critique. Tell me what my soul is like. Tell me what color it is, and what plan it has for me. Tell me how my heart should feel, how to forget I have a mortgage and kids and insurance bills, because I have enough money to cover all those, so I can afford to forget it for a while. Teach me how to be special, how to become superior to the other lost souls around me, and how to find all the other superior people so we can hang out together and talk about how great we are.

In that respect, Catholicism will always have a special place in my heart, because they just get together to talk about how non-special and awful they are. It's refreshing, that old school self-hatred.

I was somehow, almost completely against my mother's will, raised to believe I require no other moral structure than the one already in my head. I am weirdly unimaginative that way - I don't long for a god, or think to myself when I look at a beautiful sunset that there must be one. I don't believe in an afterlife, or anything other than decomposition, and I'm not scared of that, death seems totally normal and non-traumatic to me. My heart stands on a solidly concrete floor where it doesn't feel the need to ask questions of the universe that can't be answered. My heart thinks if there are other answers, I'll just learn them as they are presented, but why bother wondering about them until then?

But I do want to figure out why other people are so obsessed with them. I naturally come to that from a place of superiority, where I think "silly people, don't you know this is futile and doesn't help poor people, and maybe if we all just stopped thinking about ourselves for a few minutes and thought about real world things that would help people, maybe capitalism wouldn't exist." (As a counter-point, I offer this entire blog entry - but I know I would be a better person if I thought about myself less.)

That isn't a helpful attitude to have towards spiritual folks if you're trying to suss out where they come from and what they're about, and why people choose religion. Just like only thinking about yourself isn't helpful to life, thinking you're just naturally smarter than 90% of the population isn't helpful either. I have a fear of coming off like the biggest rube - the one missing some essential part of the human experience and just assuming it doesn't exist cause I don't see it.

So yesterday I was thinking about my own personal koan. What is the nonsensical statement that sums up the inspiration of my self-doubt the most? What is the clutter stopping me from seeing my own personal drive? Or do I already know it, and yes, actually I'm just more intuitive and well-adjusted? And HOW WILL I EVER KNOW IF I KNOW IT?

Is that it?

I mean, what is it that I want? Do I want love more than anything? I have lots of love around me, maybe it's to be desired that I want most. Or do I just want to be sure of what the hell is going on around me? Just to have a real knowledge that how I see reality is pretty close to the truth, and therefore some camouflaged cosmic angler fish isn't going to lunge out and surprise me and chew me up with sharp little teeth. If modern man has become aware that what he perceives as reality is a construct of only his experiences and therefore not reality at all, then isn't it just a primal form of self defense that we try to figure out if we're right or not?

A guy told me recently my desire to never be bored was intimidating. I thought to myself when he said it that he didn't understand where the truly interesting things about knowing someone lay, that when I really like someone, they are never boring to me - that really no one is boring if you are really looking at them and not just at yourself.

Last night, I watched something called John Safran vs. God - it's on Youtube, go find it, all 8 episodes are amazing. But in particular, the Buddhism episode. He goes to a monastery and tries to learn to meditate, to answer the koans correctly, and hold focus. He ends up getting beat with a stick a lot. And in the end he says he doesn't understand why Western Buddhists have left behind the best part of this ancient Eastern religion - which is getting to beat people with a stick a lot.

Maybe if American Buddhists beat each other with sticks, instead of buying 80 dollar yoga mats and burning 20 dollar beeswax candles of the Buddha, maybe I would like them more.






Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Leave of Absence

I've been gone for a long time.
It's my first summer by the ocean, and it turns out that the worst place in the world to have writer's block is by the ocean, because it's a giant white noise machine designed to get you addicted to cooking in your own sloth. But even worse, everyone tells you how healthy and awesome it is you're going to the ocean every day, because they don't understand you're using it to run away from the 5 stories you owe that you can't seem to write, and the bills you struggle to pay every month, and the general lack of affection in your life that's slowly becoming more of an obsession because sex is more interesting than the novel you were supposed to spend all summer working on that you no longer feel worthy of.

If you're interested in what failure looks like, it turns out it's very, very tan.

After this last full moon, I felt this release of frustration, a venting of sexual energy fed by disappointment and shame, and it came roaring out into the night, almost threw up in the parking lot of Blue Post, and caused me much mortification the next morning when I checked my text messages. But then, as if a boil had been lanced, the paralyzing shame of my own ineffectiveness drained away, leaving room for resolve to be better, and I can feel my head clearing up from the pheromones, and the twenty thousand crushes I had slowly being replaced by the much more useful desire to be a good writer. So I think we're back on track now, or getting there. But I won't be attempting to get back to this blog for a while, because I have those stories, and that novel, and then school starts in two months again. And I am SO far behind.

In the meantime, as a marker for anyone who's googling me and seeing this defunct site (which I still love very very much),  here is a story I recently had published in the UNCW literary magazine, Atlantis. 


Deer Eggs

Gladys comes into the office holding a carton of eggs in her hand. The office is very modern, all the walls are painted happy shades of yellow and white, and the furniture is pale blonde. Gladys is not pale blonde, she is dark mahogany, and her figure is very trim. She wears cotton skirts and cute button up blouses. The effect of her walking across the tastefully gray carpet towards my desk is very neat and professional. Except for the eggs.

She puts the eggs on my desk, and I can see they are larger than chicken eggs, very large in fact, and cracked all over. “You need to take these,” she says, and it is not a request. One of the eggs shakes a little, quivers on its axis in the plastic carton. There is a new crack. Something is moving around.

“What is it?” I try to remain calm. Everything is always a crisis around here.

“Deer eggs. I found them in my backyard, and I can’t have them in the house, Gary will go apeshit if we get deer. He loves his chrysanthemums.” She stands there with her perfectly formed hands on her trim little hips, and for a minute I am consumed with hate for neat little Gladys and her neat little yard and her neat little husband who gardens and has the same first initial as her. But it’s fleeting. I actually like Gladys a lot. I just wish she wasn’t so pretty.

“What am I going to do with them?” Everyone in this office comes to me with the weird stuff. I suppose it’s because I don’t dress like I belong there. I tried at first, but then my entire wardrobe became work clothes, and I felt boring when I went out socially, so I decided it was better to not fit in at the office than not fit in with my friends.  And if it’s not my clothes, it’s probably the mousepad on my desk, which is blown up photos of viruses and bacteria I got from a friend of mine who works at an animal hospital. Being the weird one is okay. It keeps the serious stuff off your desk, and it’s important to not let things land on your desk. Once it’s physically on your desk, the problem is yours; that’s the golden rule here.

“I thought maybe you could take them out to your mom’s farm. Let them live there. They’re mostly deer eggs, but I think there’s a few chicken in there too. Doesn’t your mom have chickens?”

Pushing aside the absurdity of the situation, the fact that Gladys has just brought me a tray of living breathing about to be born animals and that she brought it as casually as one might bring in a jello salad to the company picnic, my nurturing sucker instincts take over. If there are chickens in there, they need heat. I pick up the tray and position it under the small sun lamp I have for my cactus. Gladys seems satisfied that I’ve taken ownership by my act of touching the damn things, and walks away.

I’ve never heard of deer eggs. I sit there in my office chair for a minute studying them. They are large, almost the size of ostrich eggs. I pick one up carefully with two hands. It is hot and disturbingly smooth, like a child’s hand. It gives a violent shake and I almost drop it, so I put it safely back. But they will need to be moved. I have a bread basket on my kitchen counter, I think I can line it with a towel and that should do. It is impossible to work after that. I try to type, but the slightest movement of the eggs distracts me. I google “deer eggs” and find nothing. I feel a fear building in me, a worry, I have no idea what’s actually in those things. Are they hawks? Ducks? Platypuses? Obviously I know it’s not deer, I’m not an idiot, I know how mammals work. But it’s hard to fight the instinctual excitement of something being born. Whatever’s in there, I want them to survive.

Finally the day is over. I drive home carefully, the eggs cradled in my coat on the front passenger seat, my hand hovering over them in case I have to stop suddenly. I feel infinitely relieved when I get them upstairs to my second floor walkup and they are established safely in my smallest laundry basket, the bread basket being too small after all. They sit there, on my kitchen counter under the sun lamp for the rest of the night. I lock the cat up in the second bedroom. I drink a beer and sit there on my only stool, watching them, gently touching, tracing the cracks with my fingertips. I can tell which ones are the chicken ones, there are two of them and they are much smaller. They don’t move nearly as much as the four larger eggs and I worry they are dead, but maybe they are just not ready to come out.

The next morning when I wake up, I’m ecstatic to see one of the chicken eggs is cracking too. All of them are moving like crazy, it shouldn’t be much longer. I remember something about turning the eggs, to make sure they are coming out right side up. Sticking my hand in the basket to gingerly move them is the same as sticking it in a basket of scorpions. I recognize there is now a terror weight in my chest, a large beast breathing slow hot air into my cheeks, which are vivid and red. I call off work, tell them I have a fever. I have a little fantasy while I'm eating cereal that Gladys wonders why I'm not there, wonders if something happened. But better that it be me, the girl living alone with no husband or kids to worry about. I start to feel more charitable to her, but only a little.

It's a beautiful warm sunny day. I take a book with me to the back yard, and the basket. We lay in the sun. I'm vaguely aware that an actual mother would never do this because of hawks and vermin. "Lucky eggs, you. You landed in the arms of a superior predator, " I say to them. They are being still at the moment, it must be hard work, hatching. Especially if you're a little deer, trying to kick out with your spindly little knocky knees all tied up in knots. Someone close by is cutting the grass, and it smells warm. I fall asleep briefly.

I dream of the pulsing red beats of life, of the color of your thumb when you hold a flashlight to it, of the spark of livesavers in my mouth late at night around a school trip camp fire. I dream of falling off my bike, and first dates.They are dreams of being afraid and full of awe at the same time, a euphoric lack of control over the universe’s laws and regulations.

When I finally open my eyes, my body is cold and stiff. The sun has gone down, way down, and the yard is night time dark. There are crickets chirping in the blue shadow leaves, and the memory of the sun still lingers but has chilled considerably. I sit up. Even the grass feels sharper. Looking down by my side, I can see the eggs are lying broken, empty.

They are stumbling in the weeds, a few feet away. Tiny, delicate, and awkward; only a few inches tall and glowing a faint moonlight green. The hooves of their stumbling glass feet must be smaller than my fingernail. My eyes trace the contours of their arched necks, their pointed fawn ears laid back in confusion, their big dark eyes wide with introduction. The babies stumble and climb up unsteadily again, the strong ones are fairly walking already. Among the stalks of grass that are barely taller than their heads, the light from their bodies sparkles and drifts, interrupted like glitter. I stay incredibly still, and barely I catch the soft high pitched squeals and murmurs. It sounds like pieces of chandelier glass knocking against each other.

Then I catch a different sound, a very ordinary cheep, a chirp, from a little closer. By my knee, the one little chicken to survive. She is shivering in the evening air, curled up against a fold in the blanket. I reach down and cup her beating weak body in my hands, hold her up to my cheek. She settles into me immediately, and falls asleep. I think to myself that I’ll give this one to Gladys in the morning, she and Gary can take care of a chicken, they’ll probably like that. A pet chicken playing among the chrysanthemums. The chick and I watch the deer,  keeping each other warm.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Desperate Times Call for Desperate Confidence



So I'm in a self inflicted bind. I need some way to get at least 700 dollars in the next two months in order to stay afloat with school, and an apartment. It's not as bad as it was a month ago, when I was basically fantasizing about mild acts of prostitution as a possible solution (I'm sorry Mom, but we're all adult women here and we've all had those holes.)Thanks to the fact that I have some superpower when it comes to finding really amazing friends wherever I go, the fog of "Oh my god, this is so fucked up I can't even imagine it ever changing, good or bad, like I can't even conceive of the very worst result", that fog has lifted a little. But...there's not a very large margin for error, and I want to be able to stay in school, so I'm not fucking around with this.

I don't think of myself as someone with very much to offer this planet, but I do think the one thing I know how to do with semi-reliable accuracy is write a short short story. Especially when I have a very specific audience. Like, you guys know, you've read those posts that were very obviously intended for one person, usually a boy. I'm not a good typist. I'm not a particularly good comedian. But I can be a good writer.

So for a donation of ten dollars, I will write you a 300-400 word story, about anything you ask me to. Anything at all. I'm sort of hoping you will get creative with it, but I will not promise to write porn. I won't *exclude* it, but I reserve the right to ask for a new subject. And then you will own that story. If I ever want to use it again, I'm going to have to ask and possibly pay you. If I was a painter, this would be the equivalent of me painting caricatures for tourists on the beach. If I was a musician, it would busking on a street corner in Ann Arbor.

Also you can totally buy more than one story, but you can't buy a longer one for more, like I'm not writing a 1000 word story for 20.

After you buy one, I would ask that you come back to this post and leave a comment telling me if you like it or not. I will allow you one edit - I will go through and change things you ask me to.

As an added selling point, I would like to remind you I wrote this. 
(I love that post so much, I will pretty much link to it at every given chance for the rest of my life.)

I really really didn't want to start a kickstarter, because this is isn't 2009. So I'm just going to request you use paypal. My email is sharpshinyclaws@gmail.com. So make a payment and then email me what you would like. Within 5 days I will email you back a story.

If nobody does this, and this was a stupid idea, I'm not going to tell you guys either way, so there.

Friday, April 12, 2013

A Conversation Between My Dad, Dorothy Day, and Cesar Chavez

This is what Dorothy and Cesar look like when I try to put them in the same room in my head. 



Today is my dad's birthday. He is not dead, just to clarify, this isn't some conversation taking place in heaven. I just thought I'd bring two dead people back, because when I think about who I'd like to see talking to my dad, these are the two foremost names I associate with him. That may not be completely his fault, the choice of pacifist urban catholic hippie school they sent me to had a large part to do with it. Remember, before environmentalism, how we used to celebrate Peace Day by writing presentations on Day, Chavez, Ghandi, and MLK, and then sending off large amounts of dangerous balloons careening into the atmosphere? It was very pretty though. And they stopped it, a while ago. We were just so innocent then.

So anyway, my dad is not dead, and looks like himself. Chavez is dead and now thanks to Google is irrevocably illustrated in my head as a Dora character. Dorothy Day, for reasons best kept to myself looks like a combination of Dorothy Parker, and Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. In real life, that's not that far off. She's also dead.

Scene: A Parma Pizzeria, with green vinyl chairs and little red votive candles on the table. 

Dorothy: Food for the body is not enough, there must be food for the soul. In the spirit of that sentiment, I would like to suggest we order the Vegetarian Lovers.

Cesar: If you really want to make a friend, go to someones house and eat with them. The people who give you their food, give you their heart. So we should probably just get the House Special. I can pick off the peppers. Also, extra pepperoni.

Dad, to Waiter: Can we please get one large, with half green peppers and mushrooms for the Saint here, and the other half pepperoni?
(aside to Dorothy) Cesar's not such a fan of vegetables unless he knows where they come from.

Dorothy: Don't call me a saint, I don't like being dismissed so easily. But whatever.

Cesar to Dad: The fight is never about tomatoes or peppers, it is always about people.

Dad: I know. You said that.

Cesar: I mean, it's never about ferries.

Dad: Very funny.

(The pizza comes. Dorothy covers hers in red pepper, and Parmesan. Cesar eats his plain, with a fork. Dad gets a slice on his plate, then stands up at the bar a couple feet away to eat it.) 

Dorothy: So, I don't understand facebook.

Cesar: I can see how social media has the potential to be a powerful organizing tool, but the last rally we held, we had 217 replies that said they were coming, and only 20 showed up. That seems like an irrational proportion.

Dad: Well, that's why getting low income people internet access is so important - the people who need the organizing don't have those lines of communication yet. And you cannot get a job in today's workforce if you don't know how to use a computer, you can't even be a mechanic anymore. And it's why it's so important that we fight for keeping the internet unmonitored, without corporate regulation. Because this is how the world talks to itself these days, this is the beginning of a new era in human connectivity, and we can't let people be kept behind. Facebook is just a sort of commercial infancy, but it has it's uses. For instance, my daughter has never been able to remember my birthday ever, her entire life. It took her twenty years just to get it in her head it was in April. But this year Facebook told her. She's still super poor, so she can't get me anything, but I'm sure she'll call at least.

Dorothy: I'm sure part of her inability to remember you or her mom's birthdays is because somewhere in her very active childhood imagination she associated your birthday with you dying one day, and we both know if you or Bonnie ever die, she is totally screwed, she needs at least twenty more years to be okay on her own.

Cesar: Maybe she'll marry someone rich and get them to build the ferry for you.

Dad: That's enough Cesar.



The Plain Dealer gave a birthday present to my dad today, go read it here. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Missed Connections




Guys, I'm obsessed with Missed Connections on Craigslist.
And I'm not the only one. I keep meeting people, one here, one there, who all admit they read it every day.
I recently referred to it in a set as the Romantic's Lottery, which no one found very funny.
But a couple people did.
In Cleveland, for a minute, for a good six months, I got really into writing fake ones. But like, obviously fake ones. One to every hipster boy in the ABC on a Thursday night. Another one to all of my ex boyfriends at once. I usually got a lot of responses to those - boys who just wanted to say how funny they thought it was, others who obviously trolled the boards writing every single w4m ad trying to arrange apartment trysts in the time between their girlfriend leaving and their shift at Olive Garden.
In Cleveland, you always saw a lot of Missed Connections posted for pregnant women, there were a lot of pregnancy fetishes - or maybe men in Cleveland are just obsessed with fertility in the face of crushing economic depression.
Here in Wilmington, there's not as many, and most of them are for bartenders or college girls. Not a lot of people use craigslist. I've become a cheerleader for it, in the hopes of making it more active, I tell people about it constantly. It's 2004 again, and I'm still hoping someday all the regional craigslists will take off, as I wander wistfully through the NYC boards.
I've never had one posted about me, except maybe this one that I think was from my ex boyfriend, about how much he never wanted to see me again and how much my book sucked. I'm not positive it was him, but I read it and thought immediately it might be, which is how these things work. If it's not him, then somewhere out there is another girl writer whose ex also hates her, and that scenario massively appeals to me too, especially cause I want to know if her book really does suck.
Recently there was an ad posted on the m4w boards here with the title Bigfoot was a Republican, and was a "literary" ad, which basically just described his dream girl as a barefoot hippie with a lot of trash in her car who picks up hobos and reads a lot of Tom Robbins, and then threw his vision out into the universe, waiting to see what stuck to it.
I wrote him and told him I liked reading it. We emailed each other a few times. It died off, like these things do.
But the point is I am skidding on the line between just reading and actively participating.
The other day this very cute guy was at my friends house, and mentioned he read them all the time too. he has a girlfriend, but if he didn't, it would be incredibly tempting to write him a real one. Except how does one even do that?
Yesterday a customer brought a professor from school in who I hadn't met, and introduced me, and he made a really good impression. Then I googled him, and found this hilarious local paper article about him, that made me like him even more. But the teachers are never searchable on facebook really, so I wrote him an email at his school address that was basically like " this made me laugh a lot, sorry this is creepy I googled you, if you want to talk to me here's my real email." And I keep feeling like I've done something untoward, even though I don't think I have really? He's my age. We're adults. But before I actually wrote the email, I actually thought about writing him a Missed Connection, just to see if he was the type.
Because there's something nice and a little crazy in a comforting way about someone who reads them, to me anyway.

But they are so crass mostly. It reminds me of the people who pick up civet cat poop to find the coffee beans. Just digging in shit for some caffeine.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Wait, Kurt Cobain is Dead?



 Something like Kurt Cobain dying, I guess I wasn't old enough for it to really be anything to me, but it seems like it means a lot to everyone else my age. I don't know why this is, except for the way I was culturally behind all my classmates cause of my parents being hippies/hipsters/weirdo nerds. I mean, don't get me wrong, all the hippie/hipster/weirdonerd parents I know now, my taste turned out awesome, I think it's properly bloomed in all the right places. But be aware that you are automatically sending your children through the same cultural growing pains you went through. And maybe they won't care about Kurt Cobain the way they are supposed to.

 Nirvana Unplugged is the album that meant the most to me because it was the one I had consistently in every car or radio I was regularly around. The first album of theirs I actually got was when I was in eighth grade and I signed myself up for one of those Columbia club things - my credit was doomed even then. It was one of those deals where you get five free cassettes for the price of one, or you have to cancel in thirty days or something like that. I ordered Nevermind, The Blue Album, Whipsmart, Dookie, Flood. Flood was the only one I actually knew I liked. The rest were guesses. They were pretty fucking good guesses for an eighth grader.

 Kurt Cobain's sweater probably influenced me more than anything else. If they make a time capsule of the nineties, that sweater should be in it.
 And then they should burn it, the whole thing.

I don't understand why the nineties have come back into style.
I'm not ungrateful, I understand that as a single woman in my thirties, I have a unique opportunity to actually know a little bit more about dressing in that particular crushed velvet style better than the girls who are awkwardly struggling through how to wear floral print right now. But I don't want to. I hated that style even then. The only good things that came out of that were plaid shirts, doc martens, and army jackets. Frankly, it's a little cheating to claim army jackets for the 90s instead of the 70s, but you guys are old, you're not going to argue. You're more worried about your taxes.

 I'm in my thirties, I should be worried about my taxes too. But maybe that's one of the reasons why everyone still talks abut Kurt Cobain's anniversary even though there are far more important things going on in the world -( like for instance last night I learned my moon is in Capricorn, which apparently tells me that I'm constantly trying to be pragmatic about my emotions, which totally explains my fling with open relationships.) Anyway, no, that's not one of the important things, but my point is why do we bother nineteen years later to conjure up any emotions about this short lived singer who while very influential musically, hardly taught the world anything meaningful except how we all have weird fucked up sexually ambiguous lyrics bouncing around in our psyches. We've all moved on to more self involvement - we've clarified our selfishness over the years. I guess that's an important lesson - Kurt's championing of self involvement definitely influenced the blogosphere and Twitter. But not Facebook, it didn't influence Facebook, that's a whole new kind of self awareness or lack of, and that to me proves that he's sorta defunct in this time. It's not far enough away from the turn of the century for us to be idolizing our turn of the century monsters yet. Give it another thirty years and I'm sure Kurt will feel more relevant. To me Nirvana, and the early nineties, was about a large part of the population discovering culture. Now we've got too much culture, our society hasn't figured out even how to process it correctly yet, we're lagging behind our accesses.

 But we've run out of fashion styles to fixate on (there are far many less styles of human dress than we like to think, it is only a fraction of the internet), in this day and age where it's more about costumes of self than ever. So the nineties got resurrected, because it's cheap and easily replicated in Targets. All the loose cuts mean it's easier for clothing manufacturers to mass produced the patterns and prints. Pleather is cheap. Plus, honestly, tights and leggings are never going to go away. Once it become socially acceptable to wear them without dresses, girls were never going to wear pants or pantyhose again - because we like being comfortable but we all hate our legs. I'm hoping what will happen is the cuts of the nineties will stay and the prints will change.

 Maybe that's what Kurt did - and that's why even little grade school me liked him - because he kept all the same cuts but changed the prints - made them solid lime green wools that beaded up easily in the washer, and were impossible to wash blood stains out of. That's why I resent him being thought of so importantly, because to me the lesson was the singer was totally unimportant, what mattered was an entire group of people growing up in the same economic class, dressing the same, in the same country, the same TV culture, all understanding what he was saying and feeling that potential in ourselves, both to be great and to be a colossal failure of a grown up who does too many drugs and ends up killing themselves out of pure spite in like, the most selfish way possible. A messy way.

 In summary, I think this is all about clothes.And also about how we worry as adults that the kids won't be as angry as we were, that the world will run out of time for anger, like we have in our always exhausted adulthoods. Which I guess also is all about clothes, but in a more sweatshoppy way.

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Breaks in Communication



Things that stop me from talking to you like I would talk to myself, washing dishes in my kitchen on a sunny afternoon, listening to the water pour over porcelain bowls and into the metal of the sink, with my cheeks and hair warm from the light, and the thoughts that lay heavy but quick on my mind, drumming:

1) I cannot stand the way your hair looks, the patterns and teases it takes on. Him with the fractalized mop of muppet coal, Him with the thick golden brown mane of dog hair, Him with the silvery patina carefully sculpted and trimmed. Your hair silences me, it takes all of my concentration to not touch it, and then there is no energy left for being witty. I feel my own lank oil pan brown tresses, which are soft in my fingers, but overall disappointing aesthetically, and I want you to want to touch my own hair the same way, but doubt that many people in the world feel the need for touch the way I do, and therefore out of deference, I never do. He once accused me of not being affectionate enough, but when I heard that, I thought of all the times I had looked at him and thought about kissing him, thought about touching his face or his shoulders, and had refrained because what if it wasn't right? This is how I feel most of the time, like I am a vast being of air and wind which longs to caress everything, and I am bottled up inside a short squat rubber mold, disconnected even from the nerves that flow through this plastic skin, cut off by the habit of courtesy. Of not wanting to make people uncomfortable.

2) I am not witty. I string any witticisms that come out of my mouth from the fragmented broken bodies of other better thoughts. I cut and pare and pair, until a thought has become a joke, but I never like my jokes as much as I do the messy convoluted things I say to myself, out loud, or to you, stoned on a Friday night, trying to explain how I can be personally offended by you calling your ex crazy, not because I'm actually personally offended, but because on a universal level all women are offended by a man who judges them crazy without attaching the caveat of his own craziness, and all older women, we recognize we have been brutalized by this, we shy away from the suggestion of it as if you had raised your hand against us. But if I explain this to you, you will merely nod and think to yourself that I am crazy too. Which of course I am, we are all crazy, we long for punchlines instead of discussions so we can easily compartmentalize the crazy and quickly judge it, because crazy is okay as long as it produces art, and only then, and even then not for sleeping with.

I am exactly like every other girl. When I was younger, I pretended I was not, and I got laid a lot more. But I don't have any interest in lying anymore.

3) I am awkward. I fumble with my body. I overthink how I look, how you look, the distances with which we're sitting, the surrounding people, the position of the car seat, the smudge of my eyeliner, the little curl by my ear, and the proportion of skin to cloth. I think this way because I want you to love me, guy or girl, dog or bird or car, I want you to love me enough to keep me close by always, I need protection. I collect people like armor. Despite my attempts at being correct, this desire to be loved seeps through the best intention and artifice. It is thick and gray and like fog or cilantro, some people have the yen for it and others only smell fire and taste soap. He told me that it was a problem for me, this wanting to be loved so much. I told him I knew, but I couldn't change it, the way you can't change current or the natural color of your hair.

4)  I don't look up to you. I don't look up to anyone.  Therefore, if you won't give me escape from this awkwardness, I won't beg for it, and it will harden and cement, as if affection and ease were a liquid to be mixed in slowly with the dry, folded even, tablespoon by tablespoon, and once the bread bakes up flat there is no saving it.

5) I have assumed things about you.

5) You should understand that these charges of emotion that hurl around me, while volatile and vulnerable, are not the things I subsist on. You take my pronouncements as seriously as if I had just cut my wrists in front of you, but I only articulate these thoughts for entertainment. I was only heartbroken once, when it broke for months and I ate nothing, and did nothing, and felt dead. You weren't responsible for that, and you will never recreate that, and I'm sorry that black stain exists in me now because it is definitely the immovable dark part. I purge these happy flitting emotions, the every changing crushes and angers, vanities and rejections, like blistering fireflies boiling up from my skin, and then they float away and I'm still here, the large dark purple squid floating in a black ocean, nameless with unknown intent, waiting. I breathe in a larger hope, living on it, and when I breathe out, anger and lust are the gaseous rejects of my body digesting love. Not your love, necessarily. Love. The thing larger than ourselves that breathes hot on the back of our necks and makes it hard to talk to you.

The point is, I don't know how you're supposed to talk to a squid either, so I forgive you and I'll just be floating over here when you realize you are bored.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Blood Week



I'm going to try like heck to start posting on this blog at least twice a week. Because when I don't, I notice I start to measure my self worth by things like how shiny my hair is, or did anyone come over to talk to me at the party. This blog acts like a time stamp, a brand marking my true worth, and so when you see it lying dormant for a little while, the world has come between me and myself and that way lies madness. Lots of cigarettes and madness.

So here's what I got so far.

1) House of Cards is awesome. Question: Did I have a Southern accent fetish my whole life, and this is actually why I wanted to study writing down here, because I wanted to meet Kevin Spacey and let him mind fuck me into a vaguely euphoric kudzu infested sleep of submission? Answer: possibly. What I do know is that my predilection for grossly stereotypical Southern blowhards means I have to stop criticizing people with a Louisiana vampire fetish, cause basically they're the same thing.

Last night the Prince called me at 1am to tell me he thinks Kevin Spacey's character has directly influenced his life, because he was super productive and unfeeling yesterday.

2) My taillight on the car is out and I can't afford to fix it right now, so the next few days will be full of cop paranoia. Which is like money paranoia, except worse, cause I'm already full of car breaking down paranoia.
I vaguely miss not having a car, but once the financial hole I got myself into by taking that Cleveland trip is resolved, my natural ability to turn stress in a water soluble digestible fiber should take over.

3) The first day of my period this month was also, coincidentally, the first day of Passover. I don't know, possibly not a coincidence at all. Maybe my body was all like "Hey God, I don't actually own a doorway, but the vagina is a metaphorical doorway, so I'm going to just smear this blood on it and hope you metaphorically leave my firstborn alone." I love the story of Passover because it's all about communicating with a higher power directly through blood, as if God was a lurking sneaking stealthy beast who speaks no human language, and we can barely control it enough to sic it on our enemies, but it also might turn on us at any moment if we don't appease it with blood. Spring is a good season for Blood Holidays - Passover, Easter, International Workers Day. Spill the blood and take the blood and make the universe listen to you with it.

I also love that it's the one holiday where we're all like - hey, god could kill you whenever he wants, like, immediately, with no reason or circumstance, just by being like boom! gone! So don't eat any yeast.

This menstrual connection is really fleshing out here.

4) My voice has somehow gotten much better in the last year. I mean, not great, but for a while there I wasn't really able to sing at all, and now I feel like I can at least as well as I could in high school. This makes me incredibly happy, and I'm singing all the time now, whenever I can. That's a big difference between the bus and a car - you can't sing on the bus but you can sing the entire time you're driving. Everyone make me CDs okay. Not itunes playlists, I can't play those in the car.

5) If it weren't for the inconvenient messiness of it, I would actually enjoy my PMS week/ period a lot, because in these two weeks I can actually feel the waves of hormones and emotions, good and bad they become physical and real instead of just health book hypotheticals, and I can imagine the drugs my body naturally produces coursing into my brain and making all the little electric neurons go frantic, like a Lite Brite had sex with a Simon Says. When it's so real you can actually taste the pennies, it's makes it so much easier to know your own intentions. Like, tonight my intention is to go to sleep, forever. In twenty minutes, my intention is to stand in a hot shower for an hour. Later today I will become effusively happy, and then dead tired, and it will be entirely predictable and minutely controllable. When I'm not a churning bag of hormones, who knows what the fuck I want. Certainly not me, most of the time.

If you want a straight answer out of me, I try to give that all of time, but there's one week in particular where I can't do anything else, and that was last week. So...save them up for next month? I think I just like myself more when I'm bleeding. It feels so much more true, like whatever mask I'm trying to wear for your sakes doesn't even fit that week. And then the blood actually starts, and happiness returns to my cells, and life flows on again, having sated the blood god one more fertility season. Women are springtime incarnate once a month, that's a gift.

But also, I am the firstborn. That means something. Plagues and sacrificial desirability. Inheritances. Staring down the Beast, who isn't Kevin Spacey, but if Kevin Spacey were to play the Beast in a movie, none of us would blink at the image of him growling dark and incoherent around doorways, waiting to drag the eldest off for the sin of being born to his enemies. Someone make me a CD of Kevin Spacey coming for the Egyptians, and I'll learn to sing along to that.