Hello, bitchez. It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? Lots has happened to me since the last time I blogged, and I’ll try to sum them up in a thousand words or less*.
First of all, I am single again. Not going to get into any details on that. I will say it’s for the best, but it hasn’t been easy – I’ll leave it at that.
I am still politically-blogging for ABL over at her place, www.angryblacklady.com and raising hell whenever I can, in a good way.
You can find me on the Twitter Machine after I vowed I would never tweet at @asiangrrlMN.
My latest bit of good news is that I have been asked by another respected lefty blogger to write fiction for his site, OsborneInk.com, which is an amalgamation of blog posts, cartoon, fiction, videos, and other shit. We chatted it up on the Twitter Machine – really, all the best deals are made on Twitter – and when he found out I wrote fiction, he asked to read a piece. I sent him one, and he asked me if I did flash fiction**. It’s not my strong point by far, but I have done it in the past. So, he extended an invitation for me to write fiction for his site when the muse hits. I accepted immediately and was elated. I am moving away from blogging and back to my first love – well, actually my second as poetry was my first – fiction. As much as I get jazzed about blogging, my fiction nurtures me like no other writing I do – and I do a hell of a lot of writing.
‘Lo. I’m back with the fifth and final (I think) installment of Truly, Madly, Deeply: JAZZ HANDS–er, a tale of a grrl and her ape. Before I start, though, I have to regale you with a funny/cringe-worthy anecdote about my mother. She’s here visiting for a month and a half. She called two days before she came (right as I was about to clean for her visit!) and asked me many questions about the ape. I was cautiously optimistic at the tone she took, but I knew the real test would be when she arrived. Of course, one of the first things she wanted to talk about was the ape. After I answered her questions for roughly half an hour, she said, “Dad told me I shouldn’t tell you this, but–” Pro tip: If you want to tell someone something, do not start out with, “So-and-so told me not to tell you.” She then proceeded to tell me how, you know, she’s been praying for me (I know). Well, she usually prays that my relationship with God would be healed (shudder), but in the past few months, she’s been asking Him to bring me a good man.
Inside, I’m laughing, but also rolling my eyes. I said, “Why did Dad tell you not to tell me that?”, thinking, “He knows I do the opposite of what you say”, or, “‘Coz you sound a leeeetle bit crazy right now!” She said, “He knows that you’ve been hurt in your past affairs, well, you know what I mean–”. I interjected, “Relationships.” She went on as if she hadn’t heard me, “And he doesn’t want you to get hurt again. He’s very protective of you in that way.” That was the cringe-worthy part. I shrugged it off, but I also felt a flash of pure anger. Protective of me? What the fuck is that shit? Still, I said in my head, “A good man is better than God, apparently!” and moved the conversation to another topic. This is huge because even a year ago, I would have gotten into it with her over her words. Now, I can just say, “Whatever, Mom,” and go about my merry way. And, as friends pointed out, if she thinks she had a hand in me meeting the ape, she’ll be more for the relationship. And as another friend said, “Let her nag God. At least she’s leaving you alone!”
All right. Back to my narrative. When we last left the titular couple, they were climbing Mount Everest, swimming in the Amazon, and–oh, all right. They were at taiji and meeting with the grrl’s best friend for dinner. Which went swimmingly. We closed down the Thai restaurant, causing the manager to push a vacuum noisily past us as a hint to get the fuck out.
Then, Friday. Idle’s last full day here. We planned on getting Indian food (his favorite) and visiting the Snoopy statues around St. Paul. We didn’t manage the latter, but we did do the former. My absolute favorite Indian restaurant got raided and closed years ago. Three others have come and gone, but couldn’t hold a candle. The one to which I took Idle was very good, though–except for one thing. It was ninety degrees out that day, and the restaurant didn’t have air, for whatever reason. It was brutal, especially since both of us do not like the heat at all. Sometime in the evening, I started saying, “It’s not so hot. It’s not bad at all!” Idle looked at me and kindly said, “You’re hallucinating, honey.” Apparently, part of being dehydrated is entertaining delusions. I didn’t care ‘coz at least I didn’t feel as if my brains were being scrambled in preparation for the zombie apocalypse.
Hello! You know the drill by now. Go read the previous posts of this stories, especially part III in order to be caught up with this thrilling tale of love, danger, espionage and–oh wait, it’s mostly about love.
Where was I? Oh yes, musing about having Idle in my life. More on that later. For now, more on the rest of his visit. We’re up to Wednesday, and I have to share with you an odd detail about me: I hate the end of things with a passion. If I’m watching a TV series on DVD, I will delay watching the last episode because then I have no more left to watch! It’s so bad, I start the countdown when I am halfway through the series (if there are not a large number of episodes). Take, for example, Miracles. There were only 13 episodes made of the show. When I hit 7, I became increasingly morose with each episode viewed because it meant I had less to watch than I had already watched, if that makes sense.
I’m the same way with trips (at least, ones I want to take). When the midpoint arrives, I start becoming depressed thinking about the end of the trip and how soon it’s approaching. It’s funny because my friends were shocked I’d let Idle stay in my house for eight days (so long!), and all I could think of was, “I wish he were staying longer.”
Wednesday was the halfway point of his trip. I pushed it to the back of my mind because I wanted to enjoy his company to the fullest, but it was lurking like an evil, lurky thing. We went to my therapy session–or rather, I went to my session and he wandered around St. Paul, the lesser-known of the Twin Cities, in the ninety-plus weather we were having at the time. After my session, I joined Idle in the wandering, and we checked out some of the local shops. Oh, he also got excited about the Snoopy statue we saw in front of a nearby vet’s office ‘coz he’s a big Peanuts fan. Charles Schultz is from MN, and they did a series of Snoopy statutes to commemorate something or the other in relation to him. We saw another one further down the street that had been vandalized. Poor Snoopy. Idle didn’t have his camera with him, so I said we’d do a tour of the statues. We didn’t get to that, but hey, it gives him added incentive to visit me again, amirite?
Hello, my gentle readers. Before we return to the enthralling saga of our heroine (moi) and her ape (Idle), I have a housekeeping note. Astute readers will realize that I changed the title of this series. Instead of attaching these new posts onto the old series, I decided they deserved a series of their own, especially as I feel this is not the last post on the subject. That out of the way, back to our romantic tale already in progress.
By the way, have you noticed that where I left off, with the hug at the airport, makes both a perfect ending and a perfect beginning? Chew on that for awhile as I regale you with what happened during the actual visit.
Idle and I hugged for what seemed like forever, but was probably only minutes. He felt solid, comfortable, warm, reassuring, and just so damn right in my arms; I didn’t want to let him go. I did, reluctantly, and we were on our way. I had to focus on the road, of course, so I didn’t get to stare at him as I wanted. I did catch him staring at me when he thought I wasn’t looking, and it didn’t really fluster me as it normally would. I pointed out things of interest on the way home, but I wasn’t really thinking about my city. I was giddy with happiness and lust that the ape had finally landed. It didn’t seem possible that we were actually in the same city, my city, in my car, driving back to my house.
I was nervous, yes, but I was also just overjoyed to have him with me. We stopped at Subway because he hadn’t eaten all day, and then I drove him to my house. I am uncomfortable having people in my house for many reasons, but I was so eager to be with Idle (and touch him), I managed to quash the small panic I had as he walked into my house.
How did the cats greet him? In their usual way. Raven sniffed and let Idle pet him right away, and Shadow stood aloof. But, I am very proud of my shy guy because he didn’t leave the room. And, he did let Idle pet him the first day. By the middle of the visit, Shadow had accepted this stranger into our household–probably because Idle awoke before I did and would go to the kitchen to make coffee. Those with animals know that any time you go into the kitchen, the animals think it’s feeding time. By the end of the visit, Shadow was planting himself in front of Idle and arching his back–his way of demanding to be pet. Raven accepted Idle as another piece of furniture and would flop all over Idle, sometimes at inconvenient moments.
Back to the narrative. After we ate, Idle and I retired to the bedroom so we could get to know each other better.
So. In my last post, I dropped the bombshell that I had met someone. If you haven’t read it yet, take five ten fifteen how ever long you need and look it over. Go on. Do it. Otherwise, this post won’t be as full an experience. Done? Good.
As we last checked in with the grrl, she was anxiously awaiting a visit from her ape. When he told me (the grrl. Try to keep up) he had bought the tickets, I was jubilant. In the back of my mind, I was afraid that he would back out at the last minute. I couldn’t quite believe he actually WANTED to see me, so much so that he would fly a thousand miles to meet me. He hates flying as much as I do; he hates change as much as I do; I was floored that he was actually going through with it. With my history, I have a hard time believing that I’m worth someone making that effort, especially someone as averse to traveling as he is.
Once we had establish that yes, he was coming for realz, I had to do something I hate: Clean. I absolutely loathe it. Plus, I suck at it. Not a good combination. I’m not comfortable having people in my house, not even good friends, and here I was eagerly offering Idle Primate to share my bed. My friends were floored by the fact that I was letting him stay in my house. Frankly, so was I.
As I prepared for his visit, doubts started flooding my mind. I am a dynamo online. I’m funny and witty and charming as hell. I am MUCH better with the written word than I am with the spoken word, and I was worried that all my neuroses and quirks and idiosyncrasies would be annoying in person–not endearing. The demons were whispering in my ear that once Idle Primate spent some time with me, he would realize that he had made a mistake. I didn’t want to disappoint him. One thing that made it marginally easier for me not to panic was that I knew he had similar worries about disappointing me.
We have some of the same life experiences, which means we have similar issues. We also both think of ourselves as the caretaker in a relationship, which makes for a very interesting dynamic. In the past, I’ve tended to be with people who, in the long run, didn’t want to be with me as much as I wanted to be with them, and then my concubine nature would take over and I would do whatever it took to make them happy. Idle has a similar personality, which is actually refreshing. We both wanted to make the other happy, which is much better than one person doing most of the work.
As his visit neared, we started to post more on each other’s FB walls. Mostly videos, and mostly ones that one of us found funny. We have a rule that we had to listen to the entire song if the other person posted it on our wall. As we both have devious minds, it led to lots of mirth, especially as neither of sleeps very much and one of us has OCD (that would be me). For example, as I said in my last post, I loved the hair bands of the ’80s such as Cinderella and Warrant. My poor Idle, well, let’s just say he was a punk back then and leave it at that. In our serious moments, he posted the video Home by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros. I had heard the song before and hadn’t been immediately captured by it, but through my new lens of love, the song had a resonance that it lacked before. I felt such a strong connection with Idle, being ‘with’ him was like being home. I wrote a brilliant essay many years ago (as it’s not online, you’ll have to trust me. It’s quite possibly the best thing I’ve ever written. Pulitzer Prize worthy) about how I found ‘home’ in people, rather than places, and I felt it strongly with Idle.
Hello, all. It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? Three months. Damn. There are cobwebs all over the place, and I’ve never been a good housekeeper. Hold on a second while I tidy up. Yes, that lamp goes there and this table needs a good dusting. There! I’m ready to post now. Last thing I wrote about was Minna 4.0 and all the changes she’s gone through. Well, it’s time for another update because Minna 4.0 has gotten a major upgrade–one that I never thought she’d get*.
Remember how I’ve written in the past that while I have started longing for a relationship, I never thought I’d find one? Of course, that was back in the dark ages (MONTHS ago) when I wondered if I was dating material. I wanted love, but I was deeply afraid that I wouldn’t find it in this lifetime. I thought the best thing to do was to go to activities that I would enjoy anyway and see what happened. I would test the water and see what was out there. I would take it slow and not expect anything to happen for some time.
At least that was the plan.
Funny how things change in a heartbeat.
A few months ago, I got into an epic word battle with a guy on ABL’s Facebook wall. He went by the name of Idle Primate, and he knew ABL through a cultural commentary site called Pajamas or something like that**. I don’t know how the great ate debate started, but it evolved into the two of us exchanging ripostes involving words ending in -ate or derivations of. We went on for hours. It was a blast, and I included a song that he immediately claimed. It’s the first video posted below.
He requested to be friends on the FB, and I accepted. We started flirting almost immediately after, but I was determined to keep it light because he wasn’t in my city or state. Hell, he wasn’t in the States at all. He’s from Ottawa, Canada, and I was determined not to get into another long distance relationship. Sure, he was intelligent, witty, funny as hell, thoughtful, goofy, creative, poetic, and we clicked right off the bat. Yes, he was single and not afeeeeered of commitment as my past partners have been. He was in fucking Canada, and not in Winnipeg or anywhere close-ish. I was NOT going down that road–uh uh, no sirree.
The internet is a funny thing. It allows for a connection that isn’t based on physical proximity; indeed, I didn’t even know what he looked like since he only had pictures of apes as his profile pic on FB. Yes, we were both putting our best feet forward, but the real us still came out loud and strong. We quickly moved to PM’ing each other, and then I suggested we take it off FB because I don’t trust them at all. No, I don’t trust Google and gmail much more, but FB really is the nadir of privacy.
I soon grew to anticipate emails from him. My heart would skip a beat if I had one, and it would thump in disappointment if my inbox was stubbornly empty. Sure, we bantered on FB, but it wasn’t the same. Still, I told myself that it was just for fun and that I was just practicing my dating chops since I haven’t used them in a long time. Honestly, I’ve never really dated as I find the concept an anathema–I tend to plunge right into relationships or flings or whatnot. I was determined to keep it on a fling-like level because he was so far away and the chances of us meeting were slim. Months earlier, I had decided that I wasn’t going to be the first one to fly to meet, especially not for a booty call. I’d done that in the past, and I didn’t want to do it again.
All right. Back to the software upgrades. Go read the other parts of this series if you want to be au courant on the subject, especially the last post.
Minna 4.0 is more stable in functioning. The downtimes are briefer, and maintenance is not as intense. In addition, her firewall is stronger.
The earlier editions of Minna had a big flaw–I couldn’t say no. I thought if I said no or stood up for myself, I would lose a friend. For the most part, this wasn’t the fault of said friend as my friends are solid people who love me for who I am. But, there have been people over the years who didn’t like this one bit. And, because as I said earlier, I tended to store things up until they exploded, the ending of said friendships were ugly and brutal. And, of course, it would reinforce my notion that I couldn’t voice my real opinion or I would lose my friends. My best friend, Kiki/Kat, who has been there for me since 1994, gave me a plaque for Christmas that has this quote by Dr. Seuss:
“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. ”
It really resonated within me, first of all, because she’s one of my biggest supporters. She’s seen me through some ugly things, and she’s never faltered in her friendship. Secondly, I am used to feeling that I fall short of some amorphous ideal, and it’s soothing to hear from a very dear friend, “Hey. I like you the way you are.” Thirdly, I am slowly reaching the point where I am OK with myself. And, that quote just underscored the inchoate sense of self-acceptance that is burbling inside of me somewhere.
So. I am slowly starting to say no once in awhile. I’m beginning to demur and say, “No, I don’t agree. ” In other words, I’m becoming more than a mirror for other people, merely reflecting what they want to see. And, if someone doesn’t like it, then she wasn’t really a friend in the first place, was she?**
Minna 4.0 is not easy to run. There are bugs, and at time, the program suddenly freezes up. Then, I have to shut her down and start her up again. Sometimes, it’s a simple ‘file not found’ error or a ‘low disk space error’, but on occasion, it’s the blue screen of death and panic sets in. Then, I just have to shut her off and let her rest a bit before trying to reboot.
For the most part, however, I just have to deal with incompatibilities between Minna 3.0 and Minna 4.0.* There is a surprising amount of software which is not usable in the upgrade, and I have to figure out how to get rid of it without trashing the entire program.
For example, Minna 4.0 can’t keep her temper, anger, and opinions under control as well as Minna 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0 did.
All right. I have to say this. There is going to be a lot of recapping in this post. I will talk about things I have talked about previously. So, if you are a long-time reader who starts feeling a sense of déjà vu as you read this post, it’s not you. I really am saying shiitake I’ve said before. Now, back to the show.
I was taught that all negative emotions were not to be expressed and that anger was not acceptable. No, it was stronger than that–anger (except as exhibited by my father) was a display of hate. If you were mad at someone, that meant you didn’t love that person. No, it was never said in words, but it was felt deeply–at least by me.
I want to be careful here. I have talked to my brother about our childhood, and his memories are vastly different than mine. We were talking yesterday, and the topic of our visit to Taiwan came up. He was wistful as he said, “That was so much fun.” I made some murmuring noise and changed the subject. I didn’t need to get into it with him why I felt differently, but it struck me anew how two people can have such diametrically opposing reactions to the same experience.
Listen up, bee-yotches. In my last post, I gave a eulogy for the past incantations of me. It was surprisingly hard to do especially as I’m in the midst of grieving for her/them/the past/all the years lost/winter being over, but I needed to have some temporary finality on the subject. And, since I’m a writer, I find that I figure things out best by writing about them.
Now, today is my birthday. Longtime readers know that I have a tempestuous relationship with my birthday. I disliked it as a kid, positively loathed it through my twenties and early thirties as it was a nasty reminder of the fact that I was, yes, indeed, alive in body and that I was a year older with nada to show for it. In the last five years or so, I had been slowly working my way to being neutral about my birthday. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it any more.
Last year, I returned to struggling with it, and it’s been even harder this year. Why? Well, first of all, it’s a round number–40. Now, I have never cared about my actual age. In fact, at the beginning of the year, I just say I’m a year older in order to prep myself for my birthday. Of course, then when my birthday arrives, I sometimes get confused as to how old I really am, but that’s neither here nor there.
40. That’s old. Or at the very least, middle-aged.
I fixate on certain things (no, really?), and apparently, 40 is one of those things. I keep staring at the number as if it’s an alien being with three heads. It doesn’t look anything like I feel. On the one hand, I wasn’t taught healthy ways to navigate the world when I was younger, and I stayed frozen in time for fifteen years. So, on that hand, I feel very young, as if I’m just learning to walk. On the other hand, I’ve experienced things that I sincerely would not wish on someone I loathed because the way back is just so long and arduous. I feel as if I’ve been alive forever, so on that hand, I feel very old.
40? How can I be 40? What the Hades happened to my twenties and thirties? For that matter, where are my aughts and teens?
We are gathered here today to mourn the passing of someone very dear to me: Me. Oh, I know I am still alive, so obviously, I am not mourning the actual physical passing of me, as fascinating as that may be. No, I am mourning the passing of the girl/woman I used to be–the one who I am trying to no longer be.
For decades, I hated that girl/woman. I wanted her to die. If I had the guts, I would have killed her and her whiny, mopey, puling ass. I couldn’t stand being inside her head as she brooded about how much her life sucked for hours on end.
I hated that she was weak and indecisive and just so gumdropit* spineless. She was a complete mess, and she couldn’t do anything right. I hated her with every fiber of my being. I wanted nothing to do with her–which was problematic, of course, because she was me. As hard as I ran, as much as I numbed out, as much as I tried to get away from her–I couldn’t.
That depressed me even more.
Hate. it’s an ugly word, but it’s apropos in this situation. I can’t tell you how much I raged against her, how much I tore her down and shredded her into tiny bits. The demons in my head didn’t have to egg me on because I was a willing participant in her destruction. I berated her physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. She couldn’t do anything right, and oh, how I hounded her with that truth every Damascus Fig moment of her existence.
Let me be brutally honest: There was a time when I didn’t like a single thing about myself besides my intelligence. I hated my face, my body, my indecisiveness, my low self-esteem, my freakishness, my skittishness, and everything in between. I thought I was the biggest piece of shiitake on earth, and I didn’t think I deserved to live.
I abused myself physically in many ways because I just couldn’t express my disdain for myself deeply enough with mere thoughts and words. Horrifying? Yes, in retrospect. At the time, I thought it only what I deserved.