Friday, December 28, 2012

December 28

I always feel a little weird coming back from a blog white-out.  There was stuff I would have blogged about at the time, but ten days later it seems a little silly.

I am super duper sleepy, although a lot less exhausted than when I left.  I have the house to myself for a couple days which is weird.  I am back to hating the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport.  I am more okay with telling Cassidy that I love him, but I refuse to let "I love you" stand in for "bye now."  I have now beaten my dad TWICE at Scrabble.  This is a first.  I mean, the first time was a first, and the second time was a first that I'd done it twice. 

Before, when I would go to San Diego for Christmas, I always stayed through the 28th, because it was my grandmother's birthday.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The question isn't.

He wants to tell me that he loves me.  I think that, unless I tell him not to, he will tomorrow night.

And so, I am trying to decide if I want to stop him.

If the question were simply, "Do I want him to?" the answer is, "No."

But the question, "Do I want to stop him?" isn't quite the same. 

I do think that this relationship is more than what it was.  I do want him to know that this relationship matters to me.  But I also think that there's more than this.  I think that we can be more than this.

But that isn't really the point, either.  The question isn't "Is he wrong?"  Because he gets to decide what he feels.  The question is whether or not I want to stop him from saying what he's decided he feels.

I said, I don't know.  I wish I could tell you yes, but I can't.  I don't know.  I'm sorry.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Because this matters.

So all my public spaces are talking about rape again, which means that some new things are being said, and some old posts being re-linked, and the Shapely Prose's Schrodinger's Rapist post was put my way again.

I wanted to quote this bit, in particular:

...If you pursue a conversation when she’s tried to cut it off, you send a message. It is that your desire to speak trumps her right to be left alone. And each of those messages indicates that you believe your desires are a legitimate reason to override her rights.

This is why I take BadEx seriously. This is why I respond to short, friendly, innocuous-seeming emails with FIRE.

This matters.

Cassidy, part 2

I have a boyfriend.

Duh, you say, you've had one for six weeks, and you've talked about little else since then

Yes, but.  I'm getting used to having a boyfriend.  I'm starting to feel as if "having a boyfriend" is a trait, and not an event.  It feels strange. 

And awesome.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I think Ratatouille for George might be my new band name.

I'm thinking of re-pseudonyming Red Flag Guy.  Not that he isn't still all of the things he was named for.  Barring death or dismemberment, the flags are permanent.  And I much prefer the flags to death and dismemberment.  But Red Flag Guy is the name I gave him so that my friends wouldn't have to bother learning his real name.  And I'm thinking about switching in real life, which means I'm thinking about making a switch here.  Not to his real name, because names and power and such, but maybe a new pseudonym.

It can't be a variant of his relationship to me, since that is subject to change.

I'm thinking of keeping RFG, and reassigning the initials.  What else might RFG stand for?

Rodeo Frogs Galloping

Radical Flaming Galoshes

Really Fucking Great

Ratatouille For George

Riding Fat Gophers

Whaddya think?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

This horrible other-me.

So here's something: My boyfriend slept on the couch Saturday night because he couldn't stand to sleep next to me.

That's how badly I snore.  It horrifies me, in part because I feel so helpless.  It's as if I become this horrible other thing when I fall asleep.  I am so self-conscious about it, so embarrassed.

He is not complaining about my attractiveness or personal hygiene.  But, still.  I feel gross.  I feel horrible and gross, because no matter what he says, what I hear is, "I can't stand to be next to you." 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Grown Up Things

Introducing yourself and using your full name.

New Tag (to be applied retroactively)

So I'm trying to fight off irrational insecurities, and trying to find the right balance between "keeping him at arm's length," and "leaning too hard."  Trying to not give him the entire FEELINGSDUMP, not because he wouldn't help, but because it isn't helpful.  But I don't want to give him the poster version of me, either.  I don't want the person he comes to know and care about to be the person I've curated for him.  I've done that before, and it never works out well.

And I check Facebook.  And someone else is dead.

It isn't anyone I knew.  It isn't even anyone I knew existed, until now, when he doesn't exist anymore.  But a couple I know from dancing, some of the first people to reach out to me and be welcoming and friendly, they had a son.  And he killed himself last week.

I just want to scream at something.  I want to scream and hit things.  

The weekend after Thanksgiving, one of my dad's wife's best friends died.

I just—

I don't know.

Friday, December 7, 2012


Sock yarn, size 2 US needles.  Eleven months.

Approximately 6' wide

Other things on my mind today.

The Very Last Class of the Semester is going on RIGHT NOW. 

I get to see RFG this weekend.  Like, TONIGHT.

And the next time I think, god I wish... we can.

We've been fantasizing for three weeks.  That is a very long time for me.  Waiting is not my strong suit.

Money.  I need to take it seriously.  I'm behind on my student loans.  I pay every month, but not the whole amount due, and it's adding up.  And my credit cards.  It's out of control.  This month, I am on a serious money diet.  But I need more than a month's dieting.  I need to make changes.

I told RFG that we're eating in this weekend. 

I really need to get some photos of the blanket I'm knitting.  Maybe today.

I'm going to be on a beach in, like, TWO WEEKS.

I am optimistic.  This year has been difficult.  Next year will be better.

Things Yay

I don't do presents.  It's not that I never give anyone anything, but I don't participate in gift-giving occasions.  I had a post written once, explaining all the reasons behind my present-giving-fear, but it comes down to, "It stresses me out enough to make me miserable." 

I try to make sure that people who might be affected by this know in advance, which is sometimes kind of awkward.  In case you were planning on getting me a present, you should probably know that I won't get you one is not exactly winning me any tact awards.  If people don't want to give me anything, that's fine with me.  If people want to give me something anyway, that's fine with me, too.  If someone gives me something, but resents the non-reciprocal nature, that's not something I can control.

So I feel extra sleezy at times like this, because I'm really excited about the presents I'm getting from my dad.  Remember the luggage I didn't buy in August?  You know, the kind of thing I never get around to getting except when I need it, and then it's too late.  It seems like a silly luxury, which it mostly is.  The backpack I took to Europe in 2000 is still sturdy and functional.

But this luggage is so light!  And pretty!  And brightly colored so I can see it from afar on the luggage carousel and it won't get confused for someone else's (although, since it is mass-produced I'll probably look for a way to personalize it a little more).  And since I seem to be making regular weekend trips to the Quad Cities, I would really like to stop borrowing other people's tote bags or overstuffing my old camera bags.  I would really, really, like a good, pretty, lightweight, bag.  So I've asked for the rolling duffle/carryon, and the weekend duffle bag.  And I keep going back to the site and drooling.

Look!  (Okay, so the matchy is a little much, but they won't be used together all that often.)

The thing is, I don't avoid present-giving because I think that present-giving is bad.  It's not an anti-consumerism stance, or an anti-holiday stance.  I like things.  I like having and getting things.  It's just that I have certain neurosis revolving around gift-giving, especially en mass, and I'd rather give up on something I like (getting things yay) in order to get the piece of mind that comes from ignoring the whole process.  And then when I still get to get things yay I feel like a hypocrite and an asshole but it doesn't keep me from drooling in anticipation.

(I'm thinking I can sew bright ribbon to the straps.  It shouldn't weaken anything, and I think I can do it nicely enough to not look DIY.  Lime green, I think.  Or vermillion.)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Beauty of Household Pests

First off, given the number of times that some combination of "plus size womens tuxedo vest black" shows up under "search terms" in my blog stats, I think it's obvious that someone really needs to go make one of these.

Secondly, Captain Awkward strikes again.  This time on Teh Fatties.  This whole losing-weight thing I've been doing is based on the assumption that, no matter how much I try, I can't manage to internalize fat acceptance.  I can find physical beauty in anyone else, but I can only see mine when my waist is 46" or less.  And because I can't accept—and love—myself, the next best solution is to change myself into something I can.

But maybe I gave up too early.  Maybe I didn't give myself enough credit.  If I can make the kind of changes it takes to lose weight, maybe I could make the kind of changes it would take to quit the damn double standard that makes me need to lose weight.

I say that, and it terrifies me.

I am so in love with the idea of myself in a size 14 (shopping at normal people stores again!)  I think, no wonder I couldn't accept myself, I never really wanted to.  You know, that thing about not being able to help someone who won't help themselves. 


Early on, I told Red Flag Guy about the web site, and the naked photos.  I said, "I'll tell you my last name, but I'd rather you not look at the photos.  I'm not entirely comfortable with them."  He agreed, but eventually caved to temptation and looked them up. 

I am proud, still, of those photographs.  I believe that they are honest, and expressive, and challenging, and they were fucking hard to make, and there are even times when I can look at the color and shape and think that they are beautiful photographs.  I am proud of them, but I have a hard time looking at them.  Because even when I can see the beauty in the photograph, it is despite, and not because of, the subject matter.  It is the beauty of spiders and cockroaches.

And, at the time, even that was more than I'd ever managed before.  The ability to look at myself and see any beauty, even the household pest kind, was a victory.

Knowing that he'd seen them, I could hope that he'd realize that I don't look like that anymore.  I could hope that he'd be able to see some hint of what I look like now in the photos of what I looked like then.

It never occurred to me to hope that he'd like them.  That he'd like me in them.

But he does.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Green Flags

... and then Captain Awkward goes and posts something like this, because Captain Awkward is strangely prescient. She says,

What you have now sounds pretty happy from where I’m sitting. Key phrases in your letter that have me counting green flags:
  • Recently started dating…”  = It takes time to work a new person, even an awesome new person, into a busy schedule. Give it some time!
  • “Totally on the same page about priorities…”  = You can feel comfortable and secure that this is a going concern. That’s huge! So often people who have just started dating end up taking the temperature of the relationship all the time because they don’t know or can’t tell whether they are both equally invested.
  • One date night every week…”  = Even with your busy schedules, you’ve found one night/week to be together, and you communicate regularly by text. That’s not nothing!
So, yeah.  We are new at this.  But we are comfortable in each others' affections and priorities.  We DO make time, and we communicate regularly. It's OKAY if dates mostly consist of food and sex.  This is normal and healthy.  Green flags:

1. He is honest and up-front, even when it's difficult, even when it's potentially bad for him.  This really needs to be numbers 1-10 on the list.  It's HUGE. 

2. No pressure.  If he wants something, he asks for it, using his words, and respects my decision.  And not just in a "I respect your decision but I'll complain a lot about it and hope you'll change your mind" kind of way.  He asks, and then that's it.  I'm the one who needs to work on this.  (See previous post.)  He's got it down.

3. He uses his words.  Even when something might just be assumed, he asks anyway.  He is always appreciative when I do the same. 

4.  He obviously makes me a priority, but within reason.  I am not his only priority.  He doesn't offer to change his life for me, or blow off responsibilities for me.  Someone who makes bad decisions for me is going to keep making bad decisions, and not always in my favor. 

5.  We don't always have enough to say to have a conversation every night.  Sometimes when he calls before bed we just have a "Hey, I miss you.  See you later."  But, not every night.  We manage to talk beyond what we did each day, and I laugh, for reals, and not just to acknowledge that I understood something to be funny.  I'm never bored when he's talking.  I'm never annoyed at him for going on about something I don't care about.  And I know that I'm not particularly good at separating PANTSFEELINGS from FRIENDFEELINGS, but I know what FRIEND FAIL looks like and this isn't it. 

This is new, and we've only seen each other with our good faces on.  We haven't had time to get annoyed at each other, or deal with serious disagreements.  There are many tests we have not yet passed.  I will worry about them when they come, and not before.

Friday, November 30, 2012


I hate it when I realize that my browser updated and reset things like "don't track my own pageviews."

I so don't need to see how many times I look at my blog.  That's just silly.  And, a bit embarrassing.

So this will be extra long

Part 1: Do-Over

I don't feel stressed.  By that I mean, I am not worried about anything in particular, I am not frazzled, I do not feel as if I have too many things to do, or difficult things to do or anything like that. I do not think, how am I going to get through the day?

On the other hand, my back hasn't relaxed in days.  Maybe a week.  I mean, I take a hot bath nearly every day, and even after a long hot bath listening to old favorite going-to-sleep soundtracks, my back only manages to achieve "somewhat better" status.  And I am in deep Dealing With Things mode, which means spending as much time as possible on the couch wearing flannel pj's, eating large amounts of food, and generally making a lot of "but I wanna" decisions.

And to go with the Dealing With Things mode, I find myself getting hit with things that shouldn't be problems.  I was in full anxiety yesterday, because I sent a message on Facebook that might have been perceived in some indefinably negative way by the recipient.  And before that, I wallowed for nearly half a day because of someone who was mean to me fifteen years ago.  It's not that these things don't ever bother me, but they usually aren't so crippling.  Now, they are taking over my entire day.

I look at all of this and think, well, it's obvious that I am stressed.  These are all symptoms of stress. 

And I look back at the last six months and think, I broke up with someone who has long been a good friend, my grandmother died, my brother jumped off a bridge and my friend was killed.  In six months.  I introduced myself to a guy while I was home for my grandmother's memorial and now he's a potential stalker.


I could really use a break.  Or a do-over.

Part 2: Love, again.

We know the word we can't say.  He said that he might stop trying to not say it.  (Talk about compound negatives!)

And I'm not ready to say it, not yet.  But I am ready to acknowledge that this is real, and this isn't going to just go away.  This is the thing I've been running from, dreaming about, methodically hunting down, afraid of, envious of, aching for and hoping for, for so long.  It's been four years.  I could have gotten a bachelors' degree in being single.  And after so much time it seems very strange and kind of anticlimactic to actually have a boyfriend.  One that I'd like to keep.

And he's not who I was looking for and it's not convenient and yet.

I want this one.

And that feels like more than love.  It feels bigger and scarier, because I love a lot of things, and I love a lot of people.  I've had a lot of love in my life, but I've never had a functional romantic partnership.  I think we could do that.

Part 3: Google

I googled my mother today.  It's not hard, not when her business is Her Full Name, CPA.  It's the first time I've seen her face in four years.  I'd almost forgotten what it looked like.  It looks very vulnerable, although I'm probably just projecting my own memories and cultural stereotypes.  But, still, I find myself marveling at this face on the internet, thinking this is my mother.

Shortly after their last fight, my uncle Louie* and my mother mended their relationship.  He says that he refused to acknowledge that she'd broken it.  And I think, maybe I just didn't try hard enough.  If he can do it, through perseverance, am I just too stubborn? 

Because, god knows I'm stubborn.  I can hold a grudge.  I build polished wood floors over the memory of my enemies so that I and my righteousness can waltz over them.  I know this about myself.  I get it from my mother.

But I also know that Uncle Louie succeeds because she lets him.  I know that she will never let me succeed, not for long.  She is the glass mountain, and I live in Iowa now.  Our hills are grassy and low.

*Not his real name, but the pseudonym fits.  I may go through and make a pseudononymous family tree because "my mother told her brother who told their sister who told my aunt" is not very helpful for actually understanding events.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


There was a list.  First there was an essay, then there was a list.  And they were all deleted because I am embarrassed to exist in the world today, much less say or do anything to call attention to it.

I feel so fragile these days.  Like all my issues are coming home to roost and I don't have the strength shoo them away.  I just cower, and cry.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Still maudlin.

It was long ago and far away.  And yet, it seems as if it keeps coming up, lately. 

And I was trying to figure out why that is.  If it was so long ago and far away why would I be thinking about it now?  When I am so much better?  But I think that maybe it was always coming up and I just didn't know it.  I was reacting to things without knowing the reason why.  It's only lately that I had a moment of recognition: this bad feeling is like that bad feeling, and that's why I suddenly want to curl up and protect myself!

Only, with the awareness comes the price of remembering. 

Sometimes it's hard to pull myself out. Sometimes it's as if I'd rather wallow.

We discussed & negotiated a few sex-things.  Which involved me identifying personal boundaries.  Which involved me thinking about a possible thing, examining my feelings towards this possible thing, deciding what those feelings were, and then moving on to another possible thing.  I find my borders by reaching them.  Which means that I've spent some time this morning on the other side of okay, identifying potential problems, and the associated memories.

I could use a hug.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I am starting to think that this is what I've been looking for.

When I told BadEx that I did not love him, that being with him made me unhappy, and that staying with him meant sacrificing my own happiness, he said, "I love you.  Don't leave me."

When I needed some time alone to process Red Flag's warnings, he said, "Do what you need to do to be happy."

It's all the difference in the world.

I am taking this seriously.

When I said, "I am unwilling to have any contact with you ever again,"  I didn't mean, "Wait three weeks and then try again."

Perhaps the words, "harassment," "legal," and "action," will be harder to misunderstand.  I really hope so, but given his talent at reading what I say and interpreting it to mean whatever suits him, I am not optimistic. 

And if not, his behavior falls under the state definition of harassment.  As a university employee, his behavior also violates university policy. And I talked to people who know people, and they say The University takes this very seriously.  It feels good to know that, not only do I have a social Team Me, but if I need to, I think I have an official Team Me.  The kind with big, University, guns.

So I wrote down the timeline so far, and emailed it to myself.  I am saving his email and my response. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cultural Capital

I find myself reading this, over and over.  Not because I have a secret, lower-class, background, but because despite that I find it hauntingly familiar.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

"Fond," we say. And, "Adore."

I keep comparing this relationship with the last.  Because the metaphorical ink hadn't finished drying on one before I started the other, because if I'd cared even a whit about the first then this would be a rebound except that there wasn't any bound in the first place.  So, having so recently watched myself begin a romantic entanglement, I find it hard to not compare notes as I watch myself begin a new one.

And, since the last ended so badly, and this one is still flush and glowing, it's easy to say, look how much better this is in EVERY way!

But, seriously.

How much better in EVERY way.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Memorial Dance Tonight.

At first there were moments when everything was fine.  And then there were hours.  Hours, even, when I knew that she was dead, and it was a sad, but bearable truth.  And then it hit me again.

Tonight I am going to wear a pretty sparkly skirt that I think she would have liked.  And when a swing song comes up, I will not search the room for her.  I will dance it with someone else, and neither of us will be what the other really wants, but both of us will make do.  We are all a little dull in comparison, a little slow. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

What we lost.

She was tall and long-legged.  Pear-shaped, if one is going by fruit.  I suppose she wasn't beautiful, although I could never really look at anyone else when she was around.  She had high cheekbones and a pointed chin, huge eyes in a small, elfin face, and she was always, always, smiling. She was graceful, of course, they are all graceful, but she was also bubbly, bouncy, she was always a little lighter than everyone else.  She could dance to the growliest, juke-joint blues guitar and it became something uplifting, something that carried you up, made you laugh. 

She moved like joy

If I could have only watched one person dance for the rest of my life, it would have been her.

Something happened, in a "nothing really happened but I feel kind of gobsmacked" kind of way.

And then something, for real, happened, something that isn't about me or my love life at all, and now I can't write about the first thing because, really, how selfish can I be?

Someone I knew died.  She was young, vibrant, incandescently happy, and she was in a car accident on Saturday night and now she's dead. 

I feel like I need to make a new tag for "death."  There's been an unusual amount of that here, lately.

Friday, November 16, 2012


I told (texted) him that.  The thing about not waiting for the other shoe to drop. 

So that happened.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

You know what doesn't give me a knee-jerk reaction?

RFG's shrink asked if he was dating anyone.  When RFG said, "yes," his shrink asked, "So, why isn't this one going to work?"

RFG said, "You know, I think this one might work."

I did not think Oh shit!  Stop that.

I did not say, "You can't build anything on me."

Because I'm tired of being afraid of feelings I don't have.  I want this, and I've been waiting, and I'm done waiting for the other shoe to drop.

This might still fall apart in a week or a two, but it exists.  I didn't make it up.  I'm not pretending that nothing is wrong because want to keep feeling special.

I like this guy.  And he likes me.

Also, I have had sugar and caffeine, and (accidentally) extra sleep.  I am MIGHTY and I am going to kick today's ass.  So you know.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Story

The email my dad sent on Thursday never reached me.  If it had, it would have told the following story:

My mother sent an email to her brother:

A— jumped off a bridge.  He was picked up by the police and is now in the hospital being evaluated by psychiatric staff.  I'm trying to stay optimistic and focused on my work.  

Have a good day,

Her brother forwarded this email to their sister.

Her sister called me.

I called my dad.

My dad called the sister.

My dad called his brother.

His brother called my mother.

My mother yelled a lot.  Something happened, but since no one but her cares, or has ever cared, she isn't going to give anyone any information.  We are undeserving.  There was more yelling.  I'm paraphrasing from old scripts, since I was not actually privy to the conversation, but I don't think much has changed since she said them to me.

So that's it.  Something happened.  But nothing changed.  End of story.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Three weeks.

Okay. It's been almost three weeks.

Three weeks after meeting Crazy Ex (look, he finally got a name), I was stealing his favorite t-shirt and cataloguing the endearing things he'd said.

Data collected after three weeks is not data. It looks like data, but it lies.

But I'm afraid.

That's not the point. I'm not afraid for him. I'm afraid for me. That's new.

Three Days.

Will we all just let ourselves forget?  Will it ever matter if nothing happened or if we all just acted as if nothing happened?  Is it the same in the end?

I told Red Flag Guy, I don't know if it makes a difference.  Nothing has changed between us.  What would it change?  My brother is alive.  My mother doesn't speak to me.  This never happened.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Street View.

The woman at the San Diego police station said that there was one call about a jumper at 1:00 am on November 6th, at the corner of 47th and Imperial.  The call was made by a suicide hotline who had spoken with him.  I think, could this be my brother?  Would he call a suicide hotline?

I look for a map of 47th and Imperial.  I don't know where he lives, so it doesn't help much.  I know where he lived in December 2007, but I can't count on it meaning anything.  And so I follow the street view from the intersection to the freeway overpass.  Someone called a hotline here, in the dark of the morning on Tuesday.  Maybe it was my brother.  I turn the camera so it looks over the rails.

It is mid-day in the photograph.  I know the place, even though I don't.  After sixteen years away it doesn't even look like home anymore.  I take a screenshot to post here, although after all this lead-up the photo itself is very ordinary. 

It might all be nothing.  It might not be.  A man who might have been my brother was here.

There is no more news.

Even if my hopes and fears are correct (both at once, really), and this is all a really big mistake due to an entirely unreliable narrator and a (literal) game of telephone, wouldn't someone have said something to me?  If I was on the original phone tree, wouldn't I be on the "no, really, it was all a misunderstanding," tree as well?

Or maybe the communication was ordered shut down.  I wasn't supposed to know in the first place, and no one's allowed to tell me, even that, that there is nothing that I ever will know. 

Because, really, I am sure that my mother would want this kept silent.  She would want it kept specifically silent in regards to my father and I.  Information is power.

I don't know what my brother would think.  I don't think he'd care either way.

Red Flag Guy says that I should call the San Diego police department and ask if there have been any calls about a suicide jumper on Monday or Tuesday.  The hospital admittance would be private, but police records wouldn't be.

I want to yell, goddammit, he's my brother.  But it hasn't meant anything before.  I have no right to demand anything because of it now. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

How do I know?

I start to wonder, did that really happen?  It seems so surreal.  I have a blog entry, so I can't have imagined the whole thing, right?

Suddenly I'm terrified that I somehow made this up.  That I will get on the phone, and call my cousin, and call my aunt and uncle, and tell them this horrible story and it will be a strange, incomprehensible, lie.  Who would do something like that? 

I have the text from my cousin in my phone saying, when did you last talk to your mother and brother?  I have the text I sent to Red Flag Guy saying, are you awake?  I'd like to call.  But it is poor proof against this new fear soaking through.

And how do I know when it's telling someone who has a right to know, and when it's just gossip?  Would they want everyone to know?  Does it matter if they don't?

There is a wikipedia entry for "suicide bridge."

Are there even any bridges in San Diego tall enough?

Don't they build rails? How did he get there? He doesn't drive. When did they find him? Did he actually jump, and survive, or did they talk him down in time, and why don't I know if my brother actually jumped off a fucking bridge or not? This seems like something I should know the answer to.

I couldn't tell you what he eats for breakfast, or where he lives, or the names of any of his friends, any books he's read or games he's played or even how tall he is. But I really ought to know if my brother jumped off a bridge yesterday. Or the day before. At any given point, if someone asks, "has your brother jumped off a bridge?" that's an answer I should know. But I don't.

I know he's alive. He's in a hospital. He's being evaluated by the kind of people whose job it is to evaluate someone's brother who jumped, or maybe just tried to jump, off of a bridge.

It was my mother's sister who told me, and I think it was my mother's brother who told her.  My cousin texted me this morning to ask when was the last time I spoke with my mother or brother, and I was mad at her because I thought she was going to try to start some drama.

I called my dad.  And then I called Red Flag Guy even though it's only been two weeks and I have no right to ask him for this, not yet, but I knew he wouldn't be at work, and somehow I couldn't quite manage to interrupt someone at work to tell them.  I was still in shock when I made the call and I didn't think I'd be crying on the phone.  I just thought I needed to say it again, out loud.

I google "suicide attempt."  I google "psychiatric ward San Diego."  I google "jump off coronado bridge."

I do not learn much about the long-term possibilities for treatment-resistant depression.  I learn that when a family member attempts suicide it's important to stay close by.  I learn that I should try to make statements such as, "I'm sorry you felt that way and I wish I could have helped you," or "I'm sorry I didn't realize you were in such pain. " I learn that I should consider having them make a survival box with safe and comforting things inside.  I learn that the Coronado Bridge is the third most deadly bridge in the United States.  Of course, I don't even know if it was the Coronado Bridge.  It might have been a freeway overpass.

When my brother tried to jump off the roof of our pink, two story house on Garden Road fourteen years ago, my mother told me that it was up to me to save him.  I know, I know she was wrong.  I don't feel guilty.  My brother's life is not, and has never been, in my hands.  But I can't stop thinking about it.  I escaped my misery.  I drugged it away.  My brother never did.  Fourteen years later, he still wants to fall. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


There are these guys who write in to Captain Awkward, or leave comments on feminist blogs, saying, essentially, I treat women with respect and do not engage in X, Y, or Z problematic behaviors, so why can't I get a date?  And the answer usually contains something like this:

Why, yes, I *have* used this image before.  That's because I LOVE IT.

The point is that "not a dickhead" is rather faint praise.

And so, I'm trying to not get all WOAH up in here about all the shit that Red Flag Guy doesn't get wrong.  But, the sad thing is, it feels all WOAH up in here, because it's such a relief.

He gets that boundaries can seem arbitrary and capricious, and that doesn't make them any less important.  That I might have just done something that now I'm not comfortable with, and that's how it goes sometimes.  That there are different kinds of ways to want something. 

He's aware of his own problems, physical and emotional, and lets me decide how I want to respond to them.  And he's completely willing to find ways to work around them.  He asks me questions and listens to the answers, instead of looking for ways to convince me otherwise.

Yes, we are infatuated with each other.  We are star-struck and dreamy-eyed.  But we've both been here before, and I don't have to tell him what the limitations are.  He already knows. 

ETA: It's that he's actually a grownup.  Not just someone grown.  And I've never really been in a grownup relationship before.  I tried, with Mike, but I was still putting myself together.  And then, after Mike, I didn't even want to try.  So this is all very new to me.  And I love it.

Monday, November 5, 2012

You think?

ME: Given your unwillingness to respect my boundaries, I'm not willing to have any contact with you ever again.

HIM: I was trying to break the ice.

HIM: Or I would have said that first.

HIM: I had trouble the first weeks.  I thought I would try to text nicely.

HIM: Is that okay?

HIM: I didn't want to disturb you.

HIM: Hey?

HIM: Is that bad?

ETA: and then it gets better...

HIM: I just mean, I can't read minds, so I asked. (emphasis mine)

It takes time to learn to sleep with another person.

I have things to say, but everything looks sort of blah when I start writing.  My back hurts.  I didn't get much sleep.  I don't feel bereft now, but I know the exhaustion is there, waiting, for the right moment to hit.

Some things are better than last time, some things are worse.

Every time I do this, I think, maybe this could be real.  Maybe this time.

I had the dream again.  This time, I was walking through Chicago, except it was also Rome, and it was also a city I've dreamt before, whose streets I've walked before.  And somewhere on those streets, I lost Mike, or he lost me, because I wasn't watching for him.  I hadn't known he existed until he called, feeling abandoned and unloved and, yes, disappointed.  They are always disappointed.

Mike hasn't been in that dream in a long time.

Every time I do this, I think, maybe this could be real.  Maybe this time.

This time I also thought, I want this to be real.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Magic tricks

He puts XOXOs in his texts.  He calls me sweets.  And I think, dear god, when did we get so damn cute?  When did this happen and how?  And then I think, when has this NOT happened?  How long, after all, did it take before I was "falling into" the last guy, before I was asking Satanist Dan to be my boyfriend?  Cuteness is, apparently, what I do.

And I wonder if it's because I pick guys who are inclined to syrupy proclamations, or if something about me brings it out in them.  Is this my super power? 

I think he's bringing me flowers on Sunday. 

I realized that I always frame attraction to me in terms of supernatural powers.  I am a superhero, a siren, it is something I do to compel these men to me.  (That is, of course, when I'm not the ogre in the story.)  I think it's because I can't quite believe that I would have actual appeal, so I must be doing something to make them think I do.  It's all a magic trick somehow.  And when I say it, I know how unreasonable it sounds, but some of me believes it anyway.  Enough of me for the joking to seem just a little bit real, a little bit true. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Do you know what we are doing?

We are, over text, playing imaginary poker with Evil Genius Plot Devices.

He raised my evil laugh with a diabolical hand wringing.  I raised him a dramatic thunderclap.  He raised me ten henchmen.  I raised him an overly elaborate doomsday device.

We make me laugh.

Seriously, if he can amuse me half this much in person (and, given the kind of options for amusement available in person, it seems likely), then I am quite pleased indeed.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I mean, seriously!

There is so much communication!  And maybe it's because he lives in Davenport and works second shift so there's nothing we can do right now besides talk.  But, damn, we've been talking a lot.  The "this is what I like to do and have done to me and how do you feel about that?" kind of talk. Even the "I've never done this but it sounds exciting and I'd like to try it with you," kind of talk. Which, let me tell you, is not something I do easily. I asked. He will. (Hell, yes, he said.)


Oh, and I name-changed this blog again.  Hopefully anyone who actually followed me will be able to follow me back?  Sorry for all the mess.

I think I might change my OK Cupid name instead.

And again...

What you want is to continue this discussion. You are interested in it; you are interested in my opinion.  That's flattering, and appreciated.  I'm impressed with your willingness to ask.  

The thing is, I am not enjoying this discussion.  It makes my day worse when it shows up in my inbox.  These are things I push at, deal with, all the time, and it's exhausting.  I do not want to seek out more.  I'm sorry if I wasn't clear before, but I am ending this discussion.

He didn't manage to leave without some "wisdom to empart," (his words).  Something about being in charge of my own happiness.  *eyeroll*  Every time I think, maybe there's something there, he goes and tries to mansplain happiness to me. 

Dear Happiness Expert: Yup.  That's exactly what I'm doing.

I actually sent this one.

 Slightly toned down from the previous version:

I don't feel attacked. However, I feel that the fact that you refer to my views as "radical," says a lot about what you consider "normal." You refer to feminist views as being opposed to humanist or scientific (as in, rational, logical, and evidence-based) views, as if feminism were something that hinders rational thought rather than something that stems from it. It shows both a deep misunderstanding of the concept, and a lot of condescension, and I'm not interested in wading through the latter so I can try to address the former. If you are actually interested in opposing viewpoints, and are willing to accept that people who have them are just as rational and logical as you are, I suggest you start here: 

It pisses me off that I will probably be another example of women who Just Won't Listen in his mind.  That I will probably do more to enforce his shitty world view than I will to improve it.  I hate that. 

Red Banner Guy (due to popular response, he got an upgrade) reminds me that people change.  And maybe this guy will.  But I'm so cynical these days.  I can't even try.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

I found my awesome. Now what?

He says he'd better learn to ballroom dance.  He says he's told me a lot of things he doesn't usually talk about.  He says that in January he might be able to switch to first shift.

And I feel like it's all happening again.  Like it already means too much.  I feel like I shouldn't have made out with him like a horny teenager and it kind of pisses me off because I shouldn't have to pick between NOTHING and EVERYTHING.

It was good.  I'd do it again.  But I also know I'll be moving on.

I wish I remembered what I'm looking for.  I know I had it once.  I know it isn't fair to expect it right away.  But I look at them and think, I'm not done looking.

Friday, October 26, 2012

New Crush

It's hard, sometimes, to look at today and believe, really believe, in tomorrow.  To eat a giant meal and believe that I will ever be hungry again.  I know it, of course, but despite all past evidence, it just doesn't seem possible.  I look at this blog where I have four years of impossibilities logged down, events I couldn't live through, feelings I couldn't ever lose, and even with all this laid out in front of me, I can't shake the feeling that tomorrow will be just like today.

I did live through those events, and each feeling has run its course.  Tomorrow is not today.

I know that.  But this time—this time it's different.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

10 of these 12 notes are about dancing

1.  Red Flag guy continues to be charming.  I continue to squee. 

2.  I have been noticing a particular problem when I lead.  It's going to sound like braggery, but hear me out:  when I dance with beginning dancers, I have a really hard time being in charge of where we go.  I keep finding myself spiraling inwards away from the circle of dance, and I try to steer us back, and I can't.  I would be tempted to say that it's my partner's fault, except that I see other leads dance with them without that problem.  So other leads don't have that problem with newcomers, and I don't have that problem with advanced dancers.  So it could be because I'm doing it right, and so it works with someone who knows what to do, or it's because I'm doing it wrong, and the advanced dancers are compensating for me.  But if I'm doing it right, then why doesn't it work for me when I see it work for other people?

This is a question to bring to class, I think.  I actually miss taking classes at Dance New York.  They're smaller, and there's more interaction with other students and the teachers, and even though I still don't feel totally integrated, I don't feel like the kid sister. 

3.  I think I mentioned this before, but I checked the competition rules again, and I can dance in the Newcomer category for ever and ever.  Because female leads always qualify as a Newcomer.

4.  I hate not looking at my partner.  I didn't do the correct pose before, but now they're getting at me to do it right, which means looking into the air above and to the left, while my partner looks to the air above and to my right and it feels so rude.  Especially when things are not going well, I want to look at them, and smile, and be friendly and maybe even a little conspiratorial, hey look we're doing this thing together.

5. Dances I love: east coast swing (duh), hustle (all the fun parts of swing without the footwork), waltz, foxtrot.

6.  Dances I like okay: salsa & mambo, cha-cha, nightclub two-step, country two-step, west coast swing, cumbia.

7.  Dances I avoid: tango, merengue, bachata, rumba.

8.  So, basically, I dance like a white girl. 

9.  Two people who didn't know asked me if I'd lost weight.

10.  Do you know how the ballroom club picks partners for competition?  I didn't know until yesterday.  They give everyone a sheet with the possible categories (newcomer rhythm, bronze smooth, etc.) and then everyone goes around and finds people to partner with.  You're supposed to pick someone at your level, because good dancers should dance with other good dancers to maximize the potential for winning.  Which means you need to know how good other people think you are.  And THEN, after what seems like a miserable social activity, sort of like finding eight dates to eight different proms, you submit your sheets to the team leadership who will take your choices into advisement.  Which means that there is NO reason to make choices public.  There is NO reason that choices need to be agreed upon if they are only personal preferences and not actual decisions. 

Asking people to dance is hard.  It's hard and it's scary and it sometimes it takes more emotional strength than I have available.  Every time we pair up in a circle, I find a place and stand there and eventually someone, usually last, picks me.  And maybe that's because I'm just standing there, avoiding eye contact, and maybe it's because they would rather dance with someone else.  But most of the time I can't bring myself to try to pick someone because I wouldn't want to impose.  I wouldn't want to assume that they want to dance with me.  Even for sixteen counts, before we switch.

This self-selection of partners makes me want to curl up and hide and I could understand it if that was how we made decisions.  But it's not.  We're probably going to be overruled anyway. 

11.  The combination of #2 and #10 on this list scares me.  I don't mind dancing with someone I need to keep it simple for.  I've been the lowest common denominator.  I'm scared of competing with a partner that I feel as if I'm fighting with. 

12.  This is depressing.  I have a date on Saturday.  We are going to get lunch to go and take it with us to Hickory Hill where we will walk and eat lunch and then get a movie and watch it on my extravagant TV.  I am going to wear a flouncy skirt and sweater and nylons and boots and I will channel ALL my awesome and he will be blown away.  Just, y'know, not too blown away because I don't want more declarations of love, I just want declarations of awesome.

It will be AWESOME.  So there.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

In happier news

I have a date on Saturday.  An actual, declared, date.  Activity still to be determined.  He's used the phrase "hands off," but I'm pretty sure I'm going to nix that part of the plan.

Radical Feminist

Dear Anti-Feminist.

The fact that you refer to my views as "radical" is a very good indication of what you consider to be "normal."  Because I haven't expressed anything beyond the belief that 1) sex for fun is okay and doesn't make anyone less of a good person, 2) both women and men are responsible for their sexual decisions, 3) women and men don't need to decide their relationship dynamics based on gender.  These beliefs are apparently far and beyond off the spectrum from yours.  If I were less biased by my radical prejudices, so you say, I would understand you.

And, in a way, you're right.  If I were a moralizing, anti-feminist, prude, I would understand your views.  

So, no, I didn't read the next 1,061 words you wrote.  The ones beginning with "You grew up in a world that..." and ending with "if you could look at it from a non-feminist viewpoint, and instead look at it from a more human or scientific viewpoint..."  Because maybe someone could explain to you that "feminist" and "human" are not opposing concepts, that women are equally capable of logical reasoning.  But it's not going to be me.  Get yourself a book. Get yourself a good blog.  Get yourself some fucking eyes and empathy and some of that reason you're so proud of.  Or go back to looking for a damsel to rescue. 

Just don't come to me.

Without rehashing the 1000+ word message I didn't read much of, I'll just say that Probation Guy will not be a Person of Interest.

I texted Red Flag Guy and asked if he knew any bad jokes.

I vented to Ms. W while waiting for my bagel.

Red Flag Guy said:  Lucifer, Poncius Pilate, and Judas buy a drink at a bar.  When it comes time to pay the tab, Lucifer swears in some ancient languages, and disappears in a puff of sulfur.  Poncius Pilate says, "I TOTALLY wash my hands of that," and so the bartender looks at Judas.  Judas shrugs and says, "That's okay.  I just got paid anyway.  Do you take silver?"

Ms. W, who has a slight Carolina drawl, and a smile so wide and warm it nearly runs out of room, suggested I write this letter.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


It was genuinely and literally pouring this morning.  Also, someone, a new someone, told me that my profile was "edgy, daring, honest, funny, and good natured."  He has a funny story about getting on probation.  So if he needs a name it will probably be Probation Boy.

The new chart isn't as pretty as the old one, but I can edit from my iPad which is important.

I think I'll be seeing Red Flag Guy on Saturday.  The squee is strong with this one.

Monday, October 22, 2012


I think I would like to separate this blog address from my internet name.  It may not help much, given two years of cache, but it can't hurt. 

So anyone who is here, and would like to stay here, please reset your dials to

I'll move at the end of the week.

Could it be the weather

I am a little disappointed in myself to see just how much of my affection was simply a reaction to being wanted.  I mean, everyone wants to be wanted, everyone finds that an attractive trait in other people, but this was a rather drastic change.  One day I was reminding myself that I can't text him, because I can't risk slipping back into such tempting arms.  Two days later, I am exasperated to see his name on my phone.   His desire, now that I have another source, is an inconvenience.  Please, put that away, I don't want to see it. 

Because, oh god, this is so much fun.

Red Flag Guy asks: If teenage zombie you came back from the dead, what word or phrase would she wander the countryside mumbling?

My answer: Teenage zombie me would try to sing Tori Amos to express her teenage zombie angst but probably would only manage, "oh god could it be the weather"

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Person of Interest

There is a new Person of Interest.  There are red flags.  Even I can see them.  And because I know that he needs to be named NOW or risk becoming another generic pronoun, which is about to get really confusing, I am hereby declaring this Red Flag Guy.

Red Flag Guy and I texted all afternoon.  I, of course, am not concerned about the flags.

Friday, October 19, 2012


Part 1:  Temptation

I can't get it out of my head: the echo of his passionate plea.  So dramatic, so perfectly scripted, and I was the smart and beautiful and interesting and funny and sexy woman in his story.  He was proud to be my boyfriend.

It's so enticing, his image of me.  Oh, it's sweetly dangerous.  It would be so easy to have it again.

This is why we can't be friends.  Not yet.

Part 2: Habits

I am trying to identify and restrict my personal writing clichés: the word desperately.  The run on sentences, and the sentence fragments.  Not every subject really wants to grow up and marry an object, and some nouns are really happy alone.  But when they become my clichés they become shorthand for what I really mean.  They become the easy way out.  When every time I want to communicate urgency I say desperate, the word loses the very importance that I want to communicate.  Like awesome, which no longer bears any connection to the feeling of awe.

And I think I do okay at restricting standard clichés, because they teach us that in writing classes, but these are only cliché when I use them.  So listen up blog: I'm watching you.

Part 3: Ohio

I can't compete in Ohio.  Or rather, I can't compete for less than an $1,800 investment, which is essentially the same thing.  I was surprised at the strength of my disappointment.  Even though, at the dress rehearsal, I felt shabby and unprepared, not in a "how I'm dressed," or "how I am today," but in an "essential quality" kind of way.  And when the dancers processed grandly onto the floor, arms wide and palms up, following rules that no one had ever told me, I thought it looked terrifying, but I still wanted to go.

I was home on vicodin the night they signed up.  And the week after, I was home because I was tired and grumpy and didn't feel like it.  And, to be honest with myself, I probably wouldn't have signed up even if I could have.  But I feel bereft.  I feel exiled.  I am just close enough to liking these dancers, who are acquiring names and personalities, that I can enjoy watching them, I can admire them.  But I am not so close as to feel like I belong.  I still feel like the kid sister.

God, I always feel like the kid sister.  It was almost more fun when I despised them.

Part 4: Details

I have maintained a steady 195 pounds all week.  Given recent events, and the pie and cheese that I've treated myself with, I'm kind of amazed.  I think my body feels sorry for me and has decided to give me a break this week.

My gray pinstripe vest came in the mail.  It, sadly, will not match the gray slacks I already own.  It is also too big.  Not in a ridiculous kind of way, but a hiding kind of way.  It's what I would wear if I thought I were fat and kind of wanted to pretend I was a guy.  Rather than send it back and hope that the next size down will work, I'm going to take it in.  So it will be fitted, like actually tailored.  It will be the kind of thing I'd wear if I were feeling confident and sexy.  The kind of thing I wore when I kissed the sexiest woman I've ever seen, then or now.  She was full and lush and kissed me softly back.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Llama Limbo*

It has occurred to me recently that some of my standards are rather off the norm.  For example, I find myself dating a disproportionate number of fixer-uppers, people who are still getting over troubled pasts, people who trail hurt and disappointment behind them like a bouquet of deflated balloons.

I don't see warning signs the way other people do.  He used to shoot heroin?  That's interesting.  My Chicagofriend snorted cocaine once, through a hundred-dollar bill, off the breasts of his girlfriend, the porn star, the one he dumped to date me the second time.**  That's interesting, too.

And the thing is, Chicagofriend is someone I greatly admire.  He's got his shit together.  But he has stories.  He has a checkered past, legally, romantically, etc.  We went to high school together until the time he put a bomb on a school bus and got taken away in handcuffs.  And so when I meet someone with stories like that, I'm not alarmed.  I've known amazing people with stories.

The problem is that not everyone is Chicagofriend.  Some people are sad-balloon people, but I don't see it.  And when I start to see it I'm so busy understanding and not judging that I still don't see the balloons. 

When I tell people that I broke up with my boyfriend, they ask how he took it.  And I think, he's miserable.  But he didn't threaten me with a knife.  That's something, right?  Because my fiancée did that once.  I think he wanted to be someone who might do something drastic more than he actually wanted to hurt anyone.  But he had a knife and he was sobbing and hysterical and I was scared.  This is the standard I judge breakups by. 

*A real competition at the Iowa State Fair.
**And, by the way, he dumped a porn star to date me.  I should remember that more often.

Still Breaking Up: Snippets

I think I could have stayed, if he hadn't loved me.  If I could have been a girl, instead of The Girl.  I would have liked that.

I should probably clear out my text folder. 

When I get a text, even knowing it won't be him, I hope and dread that it is.  Because he shouldn't.  I don't want him to.  But I miss that little thrill. 

There are moments when I forget that this is happening.  Sometimes, it's something that has happened.

He changed his internet status (Facebook, OK Cupid) right away.  It seems healthy, which I like, and also it makes me look less eager when I change mine.  He has a new profile pic.  I look at it and want him all over again.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Part 1: Love

He said it.  He said it explosively, he said it pleadingly, he drew it out slowly and then threw a dozen of them, quickly, one after the other.  He opened the floodgates of it, as if he were drowning in it by himself, he let it sweep out and over me, saying it again and again.

Part 2: Friendship

I live in a house with two of my friends.  We were friends before we were housemates.  And sometimes, I find myself telling a story and saying, housemate, and then thinking, should I have said, friend?  Have I just devalued their relationship to me?  Sometimes, it matters in the context of the story, but sometimes it really doesn't.

I dunno.  It's not a big deal, but it snags in my head sometimes.

Part 3: Friendship (again)

I searched for words.  What do I feel for him?  I am no longer smitten.  I don't have romance-feelings.  But I am not without feeling.  So I say, friendYou feel like a friend.  Because it's the closest analogy I have.  Somewhere between I want you to be my Person, and I want you out of my life.

But now I have to say, I can't be your friend.  And he is bewildered, because I just said that I was.  And I don't know how to answer.  Explain.

Please.  Just don't.

Don't ask.  I can't answer you.  I don't have the words.

Part 4: Someone Else's

I think you should read something else for a while.  You should read this.  Because someone I don't actually know very well but was in a writing class with, who I admire enough to cling to that connection—I was in a class with her once!—moved to Dallas, and instead of rolling her eyes like every jaded non-Texan I know, including myself, she decided to love it. 

And then, because I thought, it's a shame you can't see her other work on the blog, because there are so many amazing things to see and love, I googled her and found them.

She says: Tell me, as if I didn't know, about Love lost.


Part 5: Counting

In the course of two hours, I said (texted) "I need time" three times, and "I need space" twice.  I also said (texted) the word "can't" eight times, "friend" six times, and "friendship" once.  Sometimes I said (texted) "need," and sometimes I said (texted) "NEED," but together there were five of them.

Last night he said that he didn't want to just be another number.  Another first message in my project.  I didn't tell him that he already is a number, he always has been.  First he was his message number, and then a word count.  It wasn't really 504, even though I said it was, but it was over 500 and I couldn't remember the exact count.  504.  I was smitten with that number before we even met. 

Transcript, thoughts.

I said, I can't be your friend right now.  I need time to adjust.  You are not alone, but I can't be your person.

I said, Because this is a change.  From being "ex" to "friend."  One gets in the way of the other.  I can't be your friend with the relationship hanging over us.  I NEED time apart.

I think, am I leaving it still too open?  Am I only leading him along even longer, in a sort of half-life of waiting?  Do I want to be his friend, ever, and if not am I being cruel?

But I think that we could, maybe, be friends.  I might like to be.  Just not now.  Not like this.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Not tragic.

Sometimes I think that it will never happen, that through choices or chance I will never meet any of the people who could share with me the things I want to share.  Or I will meet these people after they have met someone else they can share them with.  (I don't believe in The One, singular.  I believe there are many different lives we can take, different ways to share ourselves, and no one person is the only way.)

And I think, would it be tragic?  No.  It would not be tragic.  But it would be sad.

Not Anymore

Lying in the bathtub at 12:30 in the morning, eyes closed against the dark.  I kept thinking, why aren't I crying?  I should be crying.  He deserves that much, at least.


I said, My feelings are changing.  I can't stay.  I said, I'm not your girlfriend.  Not anymore.

He crumpled.  Silent.  And when I didn't know what to do and said I should go, his hands flopped sadly up and down.  No.

He is good, and kind, and thoughtful, and curious.  He's like a heating pad for my heart; everything in me unclenches when I hold him.  And he cares about me so goddamn much. 

I remember lying with him and trying and discarding all my words to find something to say that wasn't love.  I couldn't say love, but care and want and like all fell so short, too quiet and timid to express the noise in my chest.  But that word, the word that isn't love, it's gone.  I don't not-love him anymore.

I said, I don't know why.  I said, I can't explain.

I said, It's over.  I'm leaving.


Except it's not over, not exactly, not yet, because he asked to see me tonight.  Because he was so tired last night.  Because it was so sudden. 

I said, I can come over tonight.  Let me know when you're home.

Monday, October 15, 2012


A grocery store game: mentally replace "instant" with "sudden," in all packaging and ads.  It's as if the entire store begins to leap off the shelves, or it might, at any time.  Turn the wrong corner, and SUDDEN PANCAKES. 


I saw my mother in a bathroom mirror in Madison, Wisconsin.  The bar was called Mickey's Pub and it was filled with people I almost knew.  Madison was like that.  It was almost a place I'd been before, almost a place I'd seen out of the corner of my eye, filled with people who were not quite the people they seemed to be. 

It was the first time I'd seen the face to match the gray hairs that have been sneaking their way in with the black.  (I used to say, adamantly, brown, because I envied what I thought of as true black hair, but no one else has ever made that distinction.)  It was an old face, puffy and tired. 

And I knew that it would fade in a moment, a trick of bad sleep and worse lighting.  No one looks good in a bar bathroom.  But it haunts me, still, my mother's sad mouth in the mirror, like a bad fortune.  This is the face I will wear.  This is the woman I will become.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

More Melodramatic

Back from Madison, feeling as ambiguous as ever.  Or rather, feeling unambiguously like I need out, but knowing that I will likely cave soon, and I will want to stay and this will happen again in another two weeks.  I have no reason to think that it will stop.  It has, in fact, been this way from the beginning.  I want, and then I don't, and I do and then I don't.  And I kept hoping that it would get better.  That the ambivalence would resolve itself. 

And in the meanwhile I am alone in a cold house and I don't know what to do with myself because I had thought I might be productive, I might go back to the radio essay about my mother because I have thoughts about it except I barely remember how to work it and the inspiration is gone and I tried to buy a book twice except it didn't work and now I'm trying to log on to Adobe, hoping that will solve the problem except that Adobe says my email address is already registered but when I ask for it to send me my password again, nothing happens.

I don't mind the cold, really.  But it makes it sound more melodramatic.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


I broke the mold we were using to test the thermoformer.  So we need a new one.  This is not the mold.  This is, in theory, what the finished product will look like.  This is a highly optimistic render.

This is another highly optimistic render of the second version.  I like this one better.

Also the scale said I weighed 194.6 pounds this morning.  I'm pretty sure that is also highly optimistic, but it was nice to see anyway.

They have dim sum in Madison.  I don't want to push too hard to go, since this is an us weekend, and not a me weekend, but it's worth casually mentioning, you know, there's dim sum in Madison...

Monday, October 8, 2012

Things I want to write about later

Social anxiety, pot lucks, and Katie Perry.

Cultural differences between swing dancers and ballroom dancers.

That wrong feeling, still.

Friday, October 5, 2012


I have a tooth.  I HAVE A TOOTH.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


Good to know :)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Bad dreams

In the dream, I screw up. No one told me. I was sick that day. It wasn't my fault.

But no one listens. And someone is disappointed in me.

It always goes like this. The events change, as do the people. But the disappointment is always the same. I always wake up crying.

198 pounds

I spent all of Monday evening worrying that I might lose him.  I spent all of Tuesday waiting to see him.  And it was good.  The talking and the cuddling and the touching and the sex.  And then it comes back.  The feeling of wrongness, settling in like fog.

It is a vague and unsettling feeling.  It resists definition.  I try to poke at it, understand it, but there is nothing there.  I don't know what I mean by wrong.  I don't know why.  And so I ignore it, or try to.  I label it Future Problem, the kind that is Not To Be Borrowed. 

Instead I tell him I need more me time.  I probably don't say it well.  He worries.  Is he being too clingy?  Is there something wrong?  What do I mean and why?  And as much as I like that his response is so much like what mine would be—I get it, I do—I worry that he has too much at stake.  But I don't say so.  Not yet.  We made definite plans for Friday, and tentative plans for Thursday. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

scans I guess

I need a new start.

Iowa State Fair 2012


At 5:00 last night, I was worried that he might perhaps decide to google me again, or that he had already, and that would be a very unkind way to begin the conversation.  By 7:00, I was terrified that he had read this.  I was terrified that I had broken us.  Which is a very informative response.  Because, maybe, some of that was because I didn't want it to happen that way, and some of it because I wanted to be in control, but a significant part of my fear was fear of losing him.  So, apparently, I am afraid of losing him.  That is rather an important thing to know.

So my goal is to find a way back to my life, the one where I watch my weight and save money and play a lot of XBox and have a boyfriend and dance all the time and not worry so damn much.

Monday, October 1, 2012

With fire.

Un-drafted the previous post.  I had thoughts.  I may regret them, or at least un-think them, but I thought them once so they stay up.

I have since had other thoughts, thoughts like, wow I went quickly from "something isn't perfect" to "kill it with fire."  Thoughts like, maybe I should calm down, stop seeing Doom everywhere, and text him about my day like I want to.  Because I do want to.  Thoughts like, maybe he should be part of a decision making process.  

So, I am calming down.  I am reminding myself that all-or-nothing reasoning is a logical fallacy.  I am not freaking out.  I am going to continue to examine my feelings and ask for what I need, including space, and I am not going to turn away a good thing because I see Doom everywhere.

The other question.

I don't know.  I don't know.  I had a post full of questions and I re-set it to draft, because I am afraid to even ask the questions.  Which is partly because I don't like the questions, they are hard and make me sad, and partly because I never did answer the question about this space, and appropriate ways to use it.

I am sad, and I want him to make it better.  Because he does that.  I breathe him in and feel better.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

My Jesus Year

Lying on my side in my boyfriend's bed, eight-thirty-four on a Sunday morning.  I am thirty-three years old.  My hands under the pillow, his wrapped around my waist.  Warm: enclosed.  I think, I have been here before. I think, I am going to break your heart. 


I am in my room listening to the air conditioner on high.  I am not sure if I am crying because I am sad to lose him, or sad to hurt him, or if I am just sad because I saw a sad movie this afternoon.  I cried in the theater, but I wasn't sure why I was crying then, either.

I told myself that it didn't matter if I thought I would leave him, someday.  If I knew it wouldn't last.  I told myself to not go borrowing future troubles because maybe they wouldn't come true.  I still think I was right. They might not have come true.

And I still want him, just not in the right ways or for the right reasons.  Not the way he wants me.  He thinks he's found what he's looking for.  But he's wrong.  Because staying means lying.

And leaving means hurting.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mood Swings

I can't believe I did that.  I threw away my tooth.  Hidden in a napkin so I could eat.  I dug through the trash cans; I didn't find it.  And I have a performance in a week and a half so now I'm hoping that I will get the chance to pay an extra $400 for a tooth I can wear for less than two weeks, if I'm lucky and they can actually get me one that soon.

And I really just want to close my eyes and forget everything.  I want to forget that I did something that stupid, I want to forget that I might be toothless for two weeks.  I want to forget that last night I was electrified but he was insulated and I am worried that I may have handled it badly. 

I want to forget that everything I do is seen through filters that say women are more likable but less competent than men.

And then, I work with a student, and we get it right.  For the first time, his piece looks the way it was meant to look, and I am a new woman again.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Another two weeks

There was going to be a post about skirts and dpi.  But now there is just this post about my dentist fucking up because I was going to get a tooth tomorrow and now I'm getting a tooth in another two weeks.

I am ashamed of my face.  And so just the act of being in public, of having a conversation, or even buying coffee, is a little bit harder than it was before.  It takes a little more strength to get through the day.  I forget for hours, maybe, at a time, but then it comes back to me, even worse because I wonder how many times I smiled during those hours, unaware.  Did I smile?  Oops.  Wasn't supposed to smile. 

And I am so very tired of remembering, tired of forgetting, tired of this face that isn't, that shouldn't be be, mine. 

I was going to get a tooth tomorrow. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

What happened with that

I did not get into the advanced class, although the reasons were not entirely clear.  Obviously, there are still hoops to jump through, but she did not specify which hoops, exactly, I need. And part of me wants to force the issue, to get really good but still not compete, to show them See look I've been certified on the bronze and silver syllabus, with the same instructors that you use, why do I need to dance in competitions to take lessons when I pay for them and dance at the same level?  But part of me wants to compete, now.  Which is why I don't want to compete.

Because, you might have noticed, I'm really fucking competitive.

Really.  Fucking.  Competitive.

I don't want to compete, I want to win.  I want to win spectacularly.  I don't want to work my way up, I want to train in secret and start at the top.  I want to be The Black Stallion.  I want to be Susan Boyle.  There are times, lots of times, when I want a good game.  When I want an opponent I'm not sure I can beat, an opponent who will beat me three times out of five.  But those are friendly competitions, with friends.  This is different.  This isn't about the fun of playing, this is about showing off, showing people up.  This is about proving something to the cool kids, the beautiful girls, they are all so goddamn beautiful.

And that's why I don't think I should compete.  Because I love to dance, I love it so much, and I'm afraid I'll forget.

(This was going to be a three-part, numbered, update.  About the dance lessons, and the boots, and being someone worth staying for.  The boots are here.  I am not sure how I feel about them now that they're real.  And he is still making good decisions, ones that don't depend on me, but his words were worrisome and made me afraid.  That's all.)

p.s. To the double-space-after-a-full-stop-haters.  To the ones who say, "It breaks up the flow of the writing to add the double space," and the ones who say, "It makes the reader pause when there's a large blank space."  I say, yesThat's the point

Monday, September 17, 2012

Shoes, part one million: Autumn is coming.

I bought more shoes.

They are so baggy on the calf of the model that I think even I will be able to get these over my calves.  Not too equestrian, not too fashion-y, and will look so much better with a skirt and leggings than my Chucks.  It will get cold before I manage to get a working pair of mary janes.  (Note to self, MUST call the mary jane people and discuss my sad state of affairs.)

They get here in 4-5 working days.

Don't Bet on Me


Have you heard nothing that I've said?

You can't.  You can't.

You can't stay for me.  I can't let you.

Friday, September 14, 2012

I should probably learn to write transitions

Especially when my lists are actually themed.  But lists are so much easier...

Notes on the intersection of gender and my life:

1. I am turning 33 soon.  Like, in fifteen days.  Which is four days after I get a tooth.  (Not the finished product, but at least I won't have to take it out to eat.)

So I made a Facebook Event, likeyado, and invited anyone it wouldn't be creepy to invite.  And, looking at this list of People I Think Might Want to Knit or Eat Sushi With Me, I notice that, out of 27 people I invited, three of them are men.

I do have one other male friend who wouldn't be weird to invite, except that he lives in Chicago and probably isn't going to drive for 10 hours on Saturday so he can spend two hours eating sushi with me.  But that still only brings my total up to four.

I had something written that explained why this is, or at least some obvious and influential factors.  But, meh.  The reasons are not exceptional.  I just thought the results were kind of interesting.

2.  I really hate it when people use "male" and "female" as nouns.  I don't quite know why.

3. I was not a feminist in college.  I defined feminist as being someone who A) agrees with basic feminist theory, and B) often looks at things from the point of view of gender and power.  Actually, I still define it that way.  Feminism, to me, is not just agreeing with tenants of feminist theory, it's using those theories to look at the world.  Ideally, it's attempting action, but I'll settle for awareness.  I had part A down, but I didn't pick up B until the last five years or so.  I think, really, I didn't pick up B until Iowa.

4. I was talking about self-identification, specifically in terms of what categories do we prioritize in our self-image.   I think, in order of priority, from high to low, mine goes something like this:

33 years old (I always round up in my head)
Somewhat Asian

Something like this, at least.  I had "Liberal" in there, but I was kind of going for non-voluntary attributes, except that I kept "Atheist."  Liberal seems like what you get when you add everything else together, though, a derived statistic instead of a primary one.  Because, honestly, I don't see how it's possible to have this list and not be a liberal.

In high school, Queer was much higher on the list, and Female would have been at the bottom.  In college, Somewhat Asian was above Female and possibly Queer.  These days, it seems as if everything in my life is gendered, sometimes happily, sometimes not.  And every time it happens, Female moves a little higher on the list, and now that I'm (almost) 33 years old, I think it's my primary self-defined characteristic.

5. A few links that came up today, unsurprisingly appropriate (see above about everything being gender-related these days):

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Rain, flannel pj's and Vicodin

Listening while drifting in a Vicodin half-sleep to my classmate's radio essays.1  They are so very, very, good. 

I was in pain when I came home from the dentist this morning.  And I was exhausted and terrified because there is something at work that might be wrong, the kind of wrong I can't even say, not to anyone, because I am too horrified to even say it in my head.  And I hadn't slept a full night for days, and I didn't know when I would sleep this weekend, or how to handle all the food, there will be a lot of it this weekend, too, and it was not too much but only barely.

What I wanted was my bed, my stuffed walrus, maybe my friends later when they come home.

And it's funny, but I'm proud of that.  Because I didn't want him.  I didn't want his apartment.  I wanted the things that give me strength, and it is my life that does that, my home, my bed.  Three years ago, I loved Satanist Dan for the escape he provided.  I ran away to him.  Now, I don't want to escape.  Not anymore.  I'm home.

I joined the ballroom competition team, and the gold shoe girls smiled at me and introduced themselves.  I will never be as good as the girls with real training, the ones with ten years of ballet and modern, but I am good.  In nine months, I have learned to waltz, tango, foxtrot, rumba, hustle, country two-step, nightclub two-step, cha-cha, and in two different parts each.  Well, I can't lead a country two-step yet.  But I will.  Remember that salsa step that kicked my ass?  I can do it now.

And Born This Way?  It's totally a hustle.  And it's SO. MUCH.  FUN.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

TWoT got some things right but some of it just pisses me off.

(Or, I am Not a Rosebud)

I hate saidar.  I hate being told to "open up" to possibility, to magic.  I hate being told to "not force things."  I hate the rhetoric of passivity.  I hate the idea that, for things to happen, I only need to be receptive to them. 


Really.  They don't.  It's science.  Things happen because other things happened, and those things happened because other things happened before that.  And, lots of times, we didn't do the things that led to the thing we wanted, it happened seemingly randomly, out of our control.  We were looking the other way and WOW HAPPY.  But looking the other way isn't what caused it.

And trying is not the cause of failure. 

Three things for a Tuesday

Bad dreams. 

Money and weight are increasingly uncontrollable. 

But the first UI ballroom lessons of the semester (for me, since I had to miss the first set) were last night and I totally rocked it.  I am a good lead. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

"You're superlative," says the cute girl in Hugo.

The sum total of what I have to say:

He did something endearing.

He said something endearing.

I'm like a new parent, except, luckily for all involved, I don't have a virtual stack of photos in my phone to show off.

I do have his Sonic Youth t-shirt.  The one he got at Lollapalooza and left on my floor Saturday night. 

I'm totally going to wear it before giving it back.  Sort of like giving a casserole dish back with a casserole inside it.  He gets his t-shirt back smelling like me.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Something happened, nothing happened

I've sought him out for fun.  For drinks and making out.  I've sought him out for sex.  For the shiver of need that cuts through me, out of nowhere, nodding off on the bus or reading on the couch.

But yesterday, it was comfort.  Because the thing I wanted most in the world was the feel of his t-shirt against my face.

This is how it happens.  No fireworks, no swelling music.  Just a slow creep of comfort, like moss, softening rough stone.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

What was I talking about again?

Besides the obvious, I mean.  I'm sure there was something I was talking about that wasn't about dating, but I can't remember what it was.  I think it was shoes.

(I ordered a pair in 6 1/2 wide.  They are too small, in both directions, although hopefully stretch-able.  Then I ordered a pair in 7 extra wide.  They are ENORMOUS.  Way too big in all directions.  The fuck.)

Anyway, it's not like I interrupted anything serious with this new frivolity.  I interrupted the frivolity with more frivolity. 

I need a pen name.  Not for me.  For him.  Because I did decide that true names were powerful enough to use only with extreme caution, and that means that I've left his name out of this space.  But replacing a proper name with a generic male pronoun is getting really awkward.  He's been named He-Man by others (because of a charming story from early on involving the power of Grayskull), but something about the name doesn't quite stick with me.  Boy and Boyfriend are obvious choices, but common, and thus potentially confusing.  I could use his initial, but some letters just don't lend themselves to speech very well. 

I could give him a pet name, except that my usual sleepy term of endearment is Sweetheart, which doesn't stand up while I'm standing up.  Or even sitting up.   Perhaps I will simply pick a name.  A completely unrelated name.  Like when I changed Evelyn to Olivia when I was writing a story about someone I knew when I was growing up. 

The problem with all of this is that whatever name I pick will probably become his name because that's how names work.  Which makes calling him something like Sam kind of awkward and likely confusing.


Maybe I'll call him "Sam," but with scare quotes.  Or Sam (Not His Real Name).  I could shorten it to SNHRN.

Or I could just stick with He-Man, since that's what my friends already know.

Sigh.  Boyfriends are complicated.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Like bunnies.

You will be happy, as I am, to know that I do not have HIV.

I am also cleared, as much as anyone can be, of genital herpes and genital warts.  I didn't get the blood test for syphilis because if I have it, I got it two years ago, and I would know.  On the other hand, if I got it recently, it wouldn't necessarily show immediately.  I'm vaccinated against Hepatitis B.  In a week I will have my results on chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HPV.


The last person I dated with any seriousness was Mike, and we started dating more than ten years ago.  Even then, by the time we started dating, we were already best friends.  I had no secrets left, no boundaries for him to cross except for the physical ones that I had be hoping for a year for him to approach.  Out of the four serious boyfriends I have had, only one of them was not already a good friend before anything romantic occurred.

I'm not saying that this, now, is serious.  But for the first time in four years, I'm not unwilling to entertain the possibility.  Satanist Dan was the recipient of a kind of desperate, needy, affection, and I had to fight my growing emotional attachment.  But I knew I needed to fight it.  I knew that there wasn't really anything there between us.  I was excited about H— once, but I don't remember any of it.  I don't think it lasted more than a week.  I tried to find a record of him on this blog, but all I could find was:

H: Boyfriend. But not unequivocally so. He might not be that into me. I might not be that into him. That second part might be because of the first, or it might not.

So this is the first time, really, that I've been able to observe things like, which intimacies do I guard closer than others?  The answer surprises me a little.

Because the last bastion of trust seems to be my bedroom.  He can't come in.

This is partly because I haven't cleaned, (despite his own messy apartment, I still dislike him being witness to mine), and partly because I am very self-conscious about other people being aware of the sex while I'm having it.  But those are only the superficial reasons.   I don't want him in my bed because I want it to still be my bed after he's gone.  I don't want a memory of us in that place. 

And, I dunno.  That seems kind of interesting.