05/20/14

oops, I did it again.

First I had to kill all the ants. And I love ants. In my youth I read E.O. Wilson’s big book called The Social Insects, and I remember in horror someone told me that the collective intelligence of a thriving ant colony equals one human brain.

There were tiny ants all over the floor of the maritime engineer’s bedroom and I had to go in there with the shop vac and suck them all up. It’s wartime, I reasoned. The Engineer got this house in foreclosure and paid for it with his own money; the ants are trespassers. Of course I know the ants are really innocent, and let that be a lesson. Everybody’s innocent of everything all the time, but guilty too so what does it matter when we’re sent to our makers. I want you to know I killed those ants with a lot of reverence. There weren’t as many as I expected. I doubt they had the collective intelligence of a dog or a toddler. So it’s only like I killed a dog or a toddler, or else they’re alive and circling around in the dark, dusty shop vac right now, each of them programmed to rally and rebuild. It sounds futile, and it is. Now look at you, going back to school to be a doctor. What if all this time you were trying to be a doctor in a shop vac but didn’t know it? Think about that!

I went to a job interview at a private tutoring company in Bellevue, Washington. They gave me the job on the spot, and like Morrissey it was all “Heaven knows I’m miserable now.” I dreaded it all weekend, then Monday came and to my horror nothing had happened to prevent me from going to the first day. As I pulled out of the driveway I had the very crystalized thought, “I’m going to miss an exit or something, be late for my first day, conclude I can’t be late for my first day and then come home.”

That’s exactly what happened. Why do I even bother with the song and dance of getting in the car and driving? I think I was sincerely trying to make myself do it. Before turning around, I felt the fear of a new job buzzing in various pockets of my body, like a murky sickness. Every fiber said “Danger, run away, don’t go to the job.” Now, is that my intuition talking, or is it the psychotic coward who dwells in all of us and hates change? Yeah, I don’t want to help rich kids do even better on standardized tests designed by the winners to keep the winners winning, but then again, I am aware that people need jobs. I’m not out of money yet, but I will be. Don’t think I don’t know that behind every jerk-off young person who refuses to work for the man, there’s an old, tired parent who knows what the world really requires of us sending that jerk-off kid money for rent and food. I get that my decisions don’t just impact me, okay? I understand that I will have to find a different job.

But first I’m going back to Onalaska, Washington to serve on a 10-day meditation course starting tomorrow. This will be the fourth time I’ve done a course, but those other three times I was just there for meditating and this time I’m going to be on the staff helping the other meditators. I think the difference is like instead of 12 hours of meditating a day I’ll only manage 4 or 5. Serving a course means you level up in the Buddhist community, like I’m about to unlock special shit and exclusive content.

Last time I did a sitting, I felt bored and restless because my mind was filled with attachments and fantasy. I had this thought like I wasn’t doing it right, that everybody else knew how to do it and there was something fundamentally wrong with me. On day eight I had a sobbing fit in the teacher’s conference room that had everybody worried I was going to commit suicide. I think I was on some sort of polite Buddhist suicide watch. Last time, I didn’t figure out until it was too late the true secret of “equanimity.” You’ve got to not mind what happens, no matter what. I mean, you can’t make yourself not mind, but you at least have to know that that’s the goal. I was all “I can’t keep my mind on the breath and that’s the whole goal, I have failed.” But that’s wrong. You’ve got to get in there and not mind the wandering mind.

Always I go to these things with some boy waiting for me on the other side, or the dream of some boy, or the idea that it’s going to do this or that, and this time I feel like I’m doing it for no reason and I’ve got no goals or expectations. Really I don’t even know why I’m doing it, other than that my brain probably would rather go to jail for 10 days straight than work at a private tutoring center. Whatever my brain wants to do, my body’s like, okay, meat and bones, let’s keep this bitch happy.

It’s hard to explain. I might seem like a crazy person lately, but emotionally, I don’t know if I’ve ever experienced such an uninterrupted calm. I want to keep it going.

See you in 10 days, my loves!

05/16/14

red dead redemption.

He said, “Meet me at the show in Tacoma later.” Then he added, “Wear a dress. Come be my arm candy.”

I can only imagine my more ardent feminist readers are already furious, but whatever, not everybody went to college, calm down. As for me, I was touched to be thought of in that way, and I appreciate gentle reminders. Cuz it’s true, I’d have worn my oversized lucky Iron Maiden t-shirt otherwise.

Not to belabor the point, I know we’ve been over this before—but I own dresses. I own a lot of shitty, weird dresses with crudely cut hems and missing buttons that I buy at Goodwill and safety pin together again. In 2009 I met a witch named Kristen who taught me that second hand dresses are magical, or else I just figured out that men are uncreative and need flowery reminders, but anyway I’ve been collecting dresses ever since. Fashion is interesting, and it matters. When you get up and walk to your closet, those are your clothes. Since you were young, you’ve been amassing a collection of outfits that you picked out yourself. They’re like the cells in your body that regenerate every seven years and yet they always make an uninterrupted you.

Shit changes but consistently I’ve felt the most me in jeans, a t-shirt and a hooded sweatshirt. Hoodies are like tuxedos that make the wearer look thin and invisible; everybody looks good in a hoodie. Here’s how it really is. A girl walks into a bar in the jeans and hoodie get-up. She’s like a walking convenience store with a sign around her neck that says “Sorry, we’re closed!” Put that same girl in a dress and it’s “Yes, we’re open!”

Having said all that, does it surprise you to learn that I have a fetish for women’s shoes? It sure surprised me to learn it! No need to get into the particulars, but long story short, I see a heeled foot, I want to lick it. I’d like to wear these kinds of shoes in public but I’ve literally never in my life had the courage. It’s absurd, right? You’d think I were Ed Wood skulking around shamefully in my apartment dressed like a woman. But I am a woman!

It’s not just that I have a terrible time walking in them, although there is that. They are very hard to walk in. It’s not even that in heels I go from already too tall to a freakishly large person, although I don’t like that either. It’s the audacity. There’s no reason to wear shoes like that unless you want to look pretty and get attention, and what could be more humiliating than advertising that truth. You flip the “yes, we’re open” sign over and maybe they won’t want what you’re selling. I mean, fuck.

I got the idea that I was going to buy some heels at the Goodwill and wear them when I went to Tacoma to meet my new gentleman friend (whose name, by the way, is Philip). I wear a size 11. You can find a lot of sensible loafers in that size, but not as many of the super hot shoes (Plus, I think in Capitol Hill I’m competing with the men. Which is fine.) I found a pair of patent red pumps with an open toe and 2-inch heel. They had the kind of heel that get stuck in soft grass and look good pressed against your lover’s chest. I took off my boots and tried the shoes on my bare feet. I wore the heels and carried my boots, and it seemed okay. I heard them click on the linoleum, and I thought, I can do this. I can wear these shoes in public.

I put on a push up bra and a five dollar black cotton dress with the plunging neckline. Showing my tits embarrasses me a little but not as much as the shoe thing. I don’t know why, maybe it’s because I can’t trip over my tits. All of my shit’s in boxes so I couldn’t find my fishnets. I had to wear the sheer black pantyhose and that wasn’t as good, it sort of ruined the whole look and I felt bad about myself. I have some makeup, but not really. All I could find was a maroon tube of lipstick that I continually put on my lips, became horrified by and wiped off, again and again. I probably did that five times before I ever left the house and another five more times in the car. I’m beginning to wonder if I don’t have serious mental problems now that I’m well into writing this account, but what’s the use in speculating.

I took off in the red pumps but I grabbed my black zip up boots just in case. I’d have felt unsafe without them, like what if a tiger came out of nowhere and I had to run a distance; you can’t do that in stilts. Alone in the car in the dark, I thought about the shoes and fretted. I projected myself into a high heeled future and all of the terrible things that could go wrong. I imagined rolling my ankle. I pictured the band suddenly stopping the music to look at whoever’s hooves were making such a racket on the dance floor. I imagined being the tallest, heaviest person in the room and how much safer that room would be in black boots compared to red pumps.

The same thing happened in kindergarten on Halloween in 1987. My mom’s boyfriend went to drop me off at school and I was afraid to get out of the car. I’d gone all out with the Witch costume and suddenly panicked I’d be the only one. My mom’s boyfriend got mad at me. He said, “You’re too old to be acting like this,” which, I mean, that’s debatable, but anyway he took me to McDonalds then home and I spent the afternoon watching TV instead. 27 years later and it’s the same fucking story.

At the exit before the venue in Tacoma, I got off the freeway to get gas. The credit card machine was broken, so I had to get out of my car in the heels and walk to the armored booth. There was one other car in the parking lot, and of course that other car was surrounded by three young men who very obviously watched me walk from the car to the booth, because this is my dream, right?

When I got out of the car, I realized that walking in the pumps with the stockings on was infinitely more difficult than it had been in the store. My feet were slippery, and with every step, my heel slipped out of the back of the shoe. I had to walk deliberately and clench my toes. It couldn’t have looked good.

Ladies, I don’t understand. I don’t know how you do it, and I don’t know why I can’t figure it out.

The gas station attendant turned out to be a 60-something butch with a silver crew cut. I bought the gas, plus cigarettes, because I don’t know why, I like to smoke when I’m nervous. She asked to see my ID, which I thought was a little absurd. I was thinking about all this as I walked back to the car: the shoes, the lipstick, the men huddled around their car watching me—and just then the woman came out from behind the booth and called out to me an ominous warning. She said: “Hey! Be careful out there.”

Who knows what she meant. If I was in a rough part of town I didn’t know it, and anyway, I’m from Detroit, there isn’t a city block in Washington that scares me. I can only conclude she meant, “Be careful out there. You’ve got stilts on. You’re an embarrassment to honest dykes like me the world over. You’re a sitting duck.”

The men watched me the entire time I got in my car. They didn’t call out or snicker to each other, they just watched, as was their right, because my sign said “open.” I quickly concluded there wasn’t a chance in hell I was wearing those red heels into the bar.

I’m glad it happened because I learned something new and important about life that night. I used to think that girls who got all gussied up were compensating for a greater weakness inside of themselves, but now I think I’m wrong. In fact, a girl in heels is the bravest. And in this specific way, I realized that I am not brave. I couldn’t even hang with the lipstick; I wiped it off on my sleeve a final time on my way up to the door.

Here’s what happened when I got inside: First of all, why was I worried the other girls were going to be hotter and better at wearing clothes than me? I was at a shitty rockabilly concert in Tacoma. The aesthetic for that crowd is 1950s pin up, but chubby. Almost every single girl on the dance floor had coiffed hair, a shit load of makeup, deliberate outfits and high heeled shoes. I could see every one of them in the mirror beforehand getting ready, and in them it didn’t seem like anything to be ashamed of. They seemed like nice, happy girls. Why I can’t cut myself the same break, I don’t know.

Philip had on an oil stained t-shirt and squinty eyes from drinking. He looked happy and uncomplicated. He whispered in my ear,  “You look phenomenal.” Isn’t that nice? What am I going to do with a man so nice. Later on I said to him, apropos of nothing, “I don’t like horses.” He looked glumly at the ground and said, “My name means ‘lover of horses.’” It was too bad. I wish I could go back and say the opposite, because really my feelings on horses is mixed. Instead I shoved his face in my tits to show him once and for all how not shy I am.

05/2/14

may day.

What is this shit. This shit has cobwebs all over it. This shit is a clipper ship filled with plague rats adrift in an ocean that never happened. Here’s a sample of my thoughts and feelings since February.

A Witch

I was walking down a residential street in Queen Anne trying to cast a pretty spell on myself. To cast a pretty spell, you just imagine a big salt shaker full of sparkling pretty suspended over your head, shaking down on you. A moment later, I saw a man up ahead skulking around in someone else’s bushes. He pulled a glass bulb out of the ground, the kind they sell on TV that water plants. When I walked by he tried to hand the bulb to me, like a bouquet of goddamn flowers. In what I hope was a kind voice, I said, “Put that back. It doesn’t belong to you.” He said, “Okay,” and stuck it right back in the ground where he got it, then we walked off in opposite directions. Now try to tell me that I’m not a witch and magic isn’t a fine, black art.

A Series of Sports-Related Injuries 

I keep getting hurt. First I skinned my knee pretty badly on the wet moss on the sidewalk trying to walk a blonde tank of a dog named Baxter. The fall ripped my flesh open and made my jeans look cool.

knee

Next, I burned the top of my hand on the broiler trying to make waffles. That’s not a cool story but the wound hurt. I ate 20 magic gummy bears and lost about six hours to the creepy void dealing with that one.

hand

At the Mastodon concert I got my hand stomped on, a lot of bruises on my arms and legs, and a big ugly shiner on my left eye. My friend was like, “I bet somebody punched you on purpose.” But I don’t think a fellow fan would straight up cold clock a girl in the face and then retreat into the shadows, I mean, I’m actually a very nice person.

Screen Shot 2014-05-02 at 12.58.49 PM

A security guard on the light rail said to me, “Who did this to you?” and then, “I hope you really fucked up the person who did this to you.” But I had forgotten about the eye and didn’t know what he was talking about. I thought he must be referencing my ruined life. I said, “No. I don’t know. I did it to myself.” and he said, “You did it to yourself?!” Then I finally caught on. I said, “No, my boyfriend did it to me,” because I thought he was hitting on me and I panicked, but then that was weird and it became this whole conversation I had to stand there untangling for what seemed like hours.

I know not a lot about metal music. I mean, I’ve been listening to it for years but have failed to develop a discerning ear. I go to metal shows because I like banging into a bunch of sweaty, bearded dudes. I can’t think of anything more fun or erotic. I don’t know why everybody isn’t lining up to do it every minute. Afterwards the men are like, “The first band sucked. The second one was better.” And I’m thinking, “Both bands sounded exactly the same to me, want to fuck?” The point is, we all have different gifts. Some girls can buy pants and shoes in normal sized stores, and I’m a meaty, 6 ft tall girl with a sturdy base conducive for organized violence, everybody wins.

Your Feng Shui is fucked, brah 

Slowly, I’ve come to know my tiny, weirdly-shaped studio apartment as a prison . The blinds are cheap and dirty and they remind me of broken teeth. I’m worried they’re facing the wrong way and people will look inside and see me eating pasta out of the pot while sitting on my bed which is, let’s face it, a mattress on the floor next to the refrigerator. You could say without lying that everything in my apartment is next to the refrigerator. My shower stall looks like a place made for hosing off meek rape victims, and the water doesn’t get any warmer than luke. We call it the “freddy kreuger shower” or the “jeffrey dahmer shower” or the “david lynch shower” or the “holocaust shower” and every one of them applies.

photo 2 (1)

You can’t have the foot of the bed facing the direction of the front door, lest your spirit crawl through the bottom of your feet and out of the room. You’ve got to have two nightstands on either side of the bed if you want to have a boyfriend, but all that furniture contradicts other basic feng shui principles, like, “don’t have a shitload of furniture in your apartment.” Any guest of mine can just set their beer on the carpet next to the bed and if it spills it spills. I’m not trying to live a fear based life, are you?

I found a paper skeleton in a box on the side of the road. This is my lucky day, I thought, and I taped the skeleton to the outside of my door. The skeleton waves at the other tenants on their way to the laundry room and it makes them wonder what great person lives inside.

photo 1 (1)

Helloo!

My pet sitting clients, without exception, live more comfortable lives than I do. Everybody wants to get a lot of money in this life because otherwise you have to be uncomfortable and cramped and it’s hard to keep things clean. The size of my apartment is a problem. All my stuff piles on top of me like an avalanche. I feel like Woman in the Dunes (a film about a couple in Japan who have to dig their home out of sand every night for reasons I can’t remember) except I’m digging myself out of clothes and books and garbage. With money you can make more space in between things. You can sit in a chair in a room without the chair touching anything else, and once a week the women come along and clean off all your surfaces. You can take off your shoes, feel the plush carpet under your manicured feet and know that you’ve made a comfortable life for yourself. The contrast between decadence and squalor began to gnaw at me, like life was taking me and dunking me in and out of hot and cold water to cure my schizophrenia. I started to lose my mind. So.

Long story short, I gave up my apartment, quit my dog walking job, and now I’m staying with a maritime engineer in his house in Seatac, Washington by the airport. I haven’t told my mom yet. Don’t tell my mom yet. I’m going to call her soon.

Date Night resumed 

There was no reason to be hung up on the mathematician. This was a man so committed to living in the present moment, he wouldn’t so much as quicken his gait to catch a bus. His wardrobe is gray, gray, gray. I don’t think that man told one good joke the whole time we were dating. Fuck that guy.

I picked up again with an old boyfriend, the first guy I dated when I came to Seattle but this time we’re “poly,” which means he has two girlfriends and I just wander the landscape like that bird who fell out of the tree looking for dicks to land on and then marry. Last month he went on a trip, and I said, “how are you getting home from the airport?” He was like, “The other woman is picking me up.” I sold my car, I can’t pick anybody up from the airport, but I became insanely jealous anyway. That’s the kind of unexpected shit that pops up with non-monogamy. Your boyfriend’s other girlfriend picks him up from the airport and suddenly you’re like, Fuck this polyamory, what is this shit, I’m putting my head in the oven. But then you’re just like whatever and you feel hungry again.

He brought me home a plain blue shirt made of soft material that I hope isn’t cashmere but might be. He said, “I thought about buying you a pretty floral scarf but concluded that the present I picked out for you instead was much more indicative of your personality.” (I’m paraphrasing; he talks like a normal person.) “You would never wear a pretty floral thing,” he added. Now, I can’t even count the times that I have self consciously paraded around this man in one of the many, print floral dresses I own in an attempt to get him to regard me as a feminine person, but never mind. The truth is, he was right about me and in the end I think it was a very nice thing. Accessories are confusing. I can’t wrap my head around a scarf.

I’ve evened the score, everybody. My new Seatac boyfriend wears coveralls on the daily and has a million rusted out cars in his backyard. He’s not on Facebook, can you imagine? I was like, “What are your favorite books about the sea?” and he said, “I don’t really read.” Sometimes I do things and he says “You’re being a total Taurus right now.” I like that a lot! We’re nice to each other for now, but I’ve been tricked before. Now I’m just waiting for that inevitable moment in our future when we tear each other’s hearts out and eat them savagely, in the dirt, like wolves.

This post is private, don’t read it.