I am broken. After a really shitty week, I give up. Many of my friends have bolstered my spirits (and a big thank you to you all), but the lingering sadness, pain, anger, and hopelessness have persisted.
I am vulnerable with no defense to the attacks that seemingly come from all side. Of course, I am hypersensitive to them right now, but they are definitely there. People blithely assuming that there way of life is the right way, the correct way, the mature way, the only way, the agreed-upon way. Again and again, I am on the outside looking. I have to either shut up and let the speaker assume that I am in agreement or speak up and be the troublemaker.
I am so tired. My heart is heavy with all the added burden. I alternate between being absolutely numb and having tears stream down my face as if they will never end.
I have given up one path after the other in my life. I have little personal regret over most of them, but they have caused me no end of grief when dealing with other people. For example, not getting married and not having children. To some extent, I would add my decision not to seek out a longterm monogamous relationship to the list. These are all the accepted societal norm. Indeed, as a woman, it is supposed to be my ultimate goal to get married and have children (so speaketh my mother, on the latter at least). My decision not to have children was the easiest decision I have ever made in my life. Just as some people know they want kids, I knew I didn’t want them. Marriage was a little more difficult, but I eventually realized that for a variety of reasons (yes, including political), it wasn’t for me.
I didn’t go out of my way to bring up these issues, but they are not easy to avoid especailly for a woman. Most of the skeptisim I faced as a young woman for my decision not to have children has faded as biology triumphs over social mores, but I still feel the sting bitterly. It was an early reminder that besides my race, there are several things that set me apart from the rest of society.
Now. Throw in the rest of my shit (bi, tats, total lack of appreciation for current pop culture, agnostic viewpoint, etc.), and I feel alienated even among the funky fresh cool people. Take, for example, Quentin Tarantino. He is considered this cool, hep, edgy director. He’s won raves for his movies ranging from Reservoir Dogs to Pulp Fiction to Kill Bill. I recently listened to a twenty-minute discussion (by really fucking cool people) over whether his newest movie, Inglourious Basterds is brilliant or merely really good. Is Pulp Fiction his best film, or Reservoir Dogs? I mentioned briefly that I hated Pulp Fiction, but I didn’t elaborate because I didn’t want to break into the Tarantino lovefest that was developing. I never saw Pulp Fiction in the theaters because I knew I would hate it. I only did, years later, because the guy I was dating thought it was a brilliant film and was convinced that I would love it. then again, he also thought I would love Titanic, so fuck him. Oh, and he dumped me after I told him why I didn’t like Pulp Fiction. He said that he couldn’t be with someone who had my worldview.
I hated Pulp Fiction. It’s on my list of the worst movies I’ve ever seen (with the addendum being of movies that were really hyped and not purely bad movies). I thought it was pretentious, completely artificial, way too smugly impressed with itself, and just–bad. I wasn’t shocked; I wasn’t floored; I wasn’t amazed; I was pretty much disgusted with the movie. My list for worst supposedly-best movies includes (in no particular order):
- Pulp Fiction
- Star Wars (the original one)
- Being John Malkovich (I really liked it until the last ten minutes, and then it freaked me out, and I hated it)
- The English Patient (except for the hotness that is Naveen Andrews)
- Leaving Las Vegas
- Donnie Darko
- The Matrix (again, I enjoyed the movie up until the very end in which it gave in to the biggest movie cliche ever and therefore betrayed its very premise)
Music I don’t care for at all (who are icons):
- The Rolling Stones
- The Beatles
- The Who
- Elvis Presley
- Bob Dylan
TV shows I don’t like or have no interest in (again, considered iconic or at least insanely popular):
- Monty Python’s Flying Circus
- The Simpsons
- Sex and the City
- The Office
- Desperate Housewives
Granted, not being into pop culture is not a life or death situation, nor does it affect my daily life. However, it does limit the conversations to which I can contribute. I can’t even pretend to like most of the stuff in pop culture because that would mean actually having to watch/listen to/read the crap. Lonely in a crowd, as it were. It was a relief to find out my best friend hated Pulp Fiction as did another good friend of mine. I felt a tad less alone.
This week, I have just been hit hard with how “unacceptable” my viewpoint is on everything ranging from marriage to abortion to fucking Quentin Tarantino. I spent much of my life trying to muzzle my true self, and I ended up in a severe depression. Recently, I started cautiously letting the real me out only to have to deal, once again, with being a fucking freak. The problem is, when one (and by one, I mean me) has the nonconventional view, it is assumed that I arrived to that point out of a deficiency or a weakness. I’m in denial about how wonderful a lifetime relationship can be, for example. I don’t understand how having children is the best thing a woman can do until I actually have them. I am rationalizing a life I cannot have.
Even if that was true (and it’s not), what makeos people think that they don’t arrive to their conventional ideas out of weakness as well? When I decided to be with my last longterm, committed (on and off) partner, I did so to prove that I was desirable, that I could be in a relationship, and because I needed someone else to be strong when I felt so weak. I came to him out of weakness, and it’s no wonder the relationship foundered once I changed–and he didn’t. Yet, if we had settled down and gotten married, it would have been with the approval of society–an approval that somehow is not marred much any more by divorce. I could have stayed with him and struggled with a marriage filled more with frustration and longing than with satisfaction and joy. We could have procreated and been a conventional family (well, mostly), and our day-to-day issues would have been considered normal. However, since I chose to do something different, many in society deem me deficient.
It happened when I deliberately decided to read only Asian American female writers my second and third year in college. People would accuse me of being discriminatory, and I would reply, “Yes. I am, and I bet I have still read more dead white guys than you have people of color.” At that time, dead white male writers were still the norm, and it wasn’t considered discriminatory only to have read Faulkner, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Poe, Salinger, Heller, James (Henry), Hawthorne, Vonnegut, London, Steinbeck, Carver, Updike, Lewis (Sinclair), Orwell, Dreiser, Conrad (Joseph), Lawrence (D.H.), Miller (Henry), Roth, Kerouac, Hammett, Burroughs, Twain, Joyce, Kipling, etc. To be fair, not all of them are dead, but they are all white men. If you spent all your life only reading from the list above, you would be considered well-read and highly literate. If you spent your whole life reading Angelou, Law-Yone (Wendy), Wright (Richard), Cisneros (Sandra), Anzaldua (Gloria), Wong (Nellie), Mirikitani (Janice), Sherman (Alexie), Yoshimoto (Banana), Massey (Sujata), Mura (David), Takagi (Akimitsu), Miyabe (Miyuki), Divakaruni (Chitra), Morrison (Toni), Cather (Willa), Hurston (Zora Neale), Lim (Shirley Geok-lin), Kogawa (Joy), Tsukiyama (Gail), etc., then you are being discriminatory.
I am a freak in the literal sense of the word. From the Cambridge Online Dictionary, we learn that a freak is (as a noun): a thing, person, animal, or event that is extremely unusual or unlikely and not like any other of its type. It also means (as an adjective): very unusual or unexpected.
Ninety percent of the time, I am fine with it. This week, I am keenly aware of how lonely it is to be a freak. I am set apart in little ways and in big ones. I had a very painful event happen this week, and it just underscored that maybe, just maybe, it’s better to keep the real me under wraps. I am tired of defending myself. I am tired of being so unconventional. How much fucking easier it would be if I just sanded away my rough edges and become smooth, bump-free, and blend the fuck in. My fake-hubby told me to banish the Stepford-Minna because I would be popping the Valium on an hourly basis if I ever did follow the conventional path. While I agree with him, sometimes, I am desperate enough to make that trade-off. I will be Stepford-Minna if you would just stop judging me as deficient or weird. I will be the me you want me to be if it will make this abyss of sadness, despair, hopelessness, and loneliness fade away.
I know it’s just a pipe dream because even if I assumed the trappings of conventionality, I would still be a freak on the inside. I can’t deny the real me, as much as I want to right now. I can muzzle her or hide her away, but I cannot kill her–no matter how hard I try. And believe me, I have tried so very hard over the years. I am trying so desperately to be strong, and I am failing utterly. The confluences of this week have firmly kicked my nonexistent ass. To the greater society: I wave the white flag, and I surrender. You win. I cannot keep fighting against the tide because I am just one grrl, and I recognize that my resistance is futile. Not only is it futile–it’s worn down to nothing. I cannot be who I am not, but it hurts too much to be who I am. I am broken, and my warranty has expired. No matter what Kel says, I don’t think any amount of duct tape is going to fix me.
Apocalyptica, a four-cello cover band of Metallica, doing Fade to Black, lyrics here (H/T to Morbo, a commenter at BJ for unleashing the awesomeness that is Apocalytica on me. I played the cello when I was younger, and it’s my all-time favorite instrument).
P.S. Of course, I know it’s up to me to ignore and deflect, but I just don’t have it in me right now.