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No. No. No. No. No. I don't want to be this tired and grumpy. I don't want to slog through life. I don't want to fixate on comparing my merits to others'. I don't want to hear the defeat in my voice. I don't want to take the road least repaired. I don't want to collapse every time I sit. I don't want my passion to be a burden. I don't want to play games to capture attention. I want to have a positive (or at least productive) attitude even if it annoys the hell out of everyone around me.
The phone rang as I was getting out of the tub last night, so I ended up having a 2 hour long phone conversation with this man that I'm getting to know while completely naked. The conversation wasn't vaguely sexual or even flirtatious, but in retrospect it makes me giggle. People in chat rooms, with their "what are you wearings" and "now I'm touching mys," are probably actually scrubbing the floor or trimming their nails, while I listen to someone talk about his broken heart and it doesn't occur to me to get into some jammies. Que es mas sexy?
Got sidetracked shopping on my lunch hour. I walked into the store knowing at least vaguely what I was looking for. I liked everything I saw, but didn't really fall in love with anything. Then I started to feel my eyes drawn to all this stuff that I'd normally never wear and I walked out with this tailored pair of pants in thin stripes of bright teal greens and tans. I think that maybe this is a metaphor for my dating life, but I think that I'll spare myself the agony of following that metaphor to its logical (messy) conclusion.
What you need, young lady, is a big old kick in the aspirations. Don't give me that look. You can talk dream pine sigh till the cows comes home and it ain't gonna do you one bit of good.
These characters are fictional. Any resemblance to hairstyles of actual persons living or dead is purely coincidental.
Have I mentioned that June is my favorite month?
"Fiddle de dee," she said brushing her friend's impatience away with a gesture at once lazy and regal. I can't believe that I just witnessed someone actually saying Fiddle de Dee.
He left a message the morning after our first conversation, just to say thank you. He flirts nervously and sincerely. He admits to thinking about me, to being excited about talking to me, to being nervous about what's going to happen. He makes me smile. He's not playing games or trying to be detached and cool. I love his voice. There are a million reasons to be cautious, but he's so sweet that my mind keeps going back to that happy excited hopeful place, foolishly knowing full well how I'll feel if I don't get the same message on Sunday.
Summer is my favorite season. This is time for drinking mojitos on an outdoor deck, for running under the garden hose, for eating watermelon. For camping trips, bonfires at the beach, music at lunch hour downtown, Shakespeare in the Park, street fairs, outdoor movies, and ice cream. My birthday is this month. I have art enough to fill me until August. There is possibility of a hand to hold. Of your hand to hold. Here's the truth: the beginning of every season is my favorite season. Right now you are my favorite season and you could be all year round.
He said he needed help. At first I thought money, but the look in his eyes was more desperate and to tell the truth, I was afraid. Unsteady or dangerous? "I'm gonna fall." He lay down on the grass. Sick or drink? I rushed to the coffee shop a half block away, made the call and back again to the corner to wait for the ambulance. The medic said "good job" to me, but it turned out that he just had too many beers. So why am I less patient now with the ones who are just asking for change?
Reactions to yesterday's story have been odd. I made a phone call on behalf of a life that was never really in danger. I find it kind of pathetic that I live in a world where doing so little is considered a great kindness, an act of bravery, heroic. I'm glad he's ok. I'm glad he was never in danger. I'm sorry that I hesitated. I'm even more sorry that my hesitation was a very necessary thing. Someone asked for help and I questioned his sincerity and his motives. In another story I could have ended up in a ditch.
Today was all about the heat. Not the good sexy kind, like this weekend when it was so hot but it felt more sultry than stultifying, a kind of a temporary New Orleans. The air conditioner shut down at work and the heat built up like an angry dust bunny in our cavernous new office space over the two days we were gone. Oppressive. Dizzying. Death Valley. Everyone ran their fans for relief, which just blew hot air and the smell of someone's slightly burnt onion bagel in our faces. I think that hell smells like a burnt onion bagel.
A friend told me that I should see a psychic. (I did once years ago and was told I'd be married by this year, which is completely absurd.) No, a good one, she said. And I would except that they wouldn't tell me anything I don't know already. It's just noticing patterns. I see the patterns myself, I just don't know where to focus my eyes. For the first time in my life, I want someone to tell me the outcome. Show me the future so I can tell if I'm on the right track. C'mon. Please. Just a peek.
Falling asleep last night, I remember thinking how comfortable by bed was and then suddenly I was surrounded invisible things that were moving my bed, throwing things, swatting at my face, trying to touch and kiss me. I tried to wake and found myself in another layer of the dream, over and over, sometimes I couldn't even wake from one dream into the next. When my eyes finally opened, bed still, room silent, heart beating, cat sleeping, I'd been asleep for less than two hours. I don't know how long it was before I was unafraid to close my eyes.
Ok, I admit it. We know what we both want so let's get it on. We know it will be hot and sweet and wild and tender and sweaty and all we remember. No strings. No expectations. But here's the thing: don't pull that crap you pulled last time. Don't make me feel like a diversion. Use me for sex, fine, but don't use me to kill time. Give us both a little bit of comfort, a little bit of passion, a little bit of romance. Don't treat me like I'm second best. Make me feel like I'm worth it.
I'm tired in my bones. I'm trying very hard not to cry. Is it the long week, bad commitments at work, the gradual slipping away of adrenaline, or just too many stories that end the same way? Yes, at this moment, I feel like I know how every beginning ends and I keep beginning anyway because "what if" Everyone I meet either wants me but not what I want or wants what I want but not me. Could there be someone who is drawn to me and not scared of the fact? What if? That seems like a small miracle.
He said, sincerely, "let's be friends." Is friend an invitation, a fence, or a promotion as I once told a sometimes lover? Am I included in a wide world of possibility or labeled and put in a box of things that are taken for granted and never opened? Friend or lover, I want to be adored, prized, cherished, both with the same intensity and the same open heart. We should find another word for someone to whom we are not attracted but do not wish to hurt. Friend should not mean "you are not enough for me." Friend deserves more.
I feel the need to tell you this. I really truly am happier than I've ever been. The lack of love is nothing compared to the purpose and fulfillment in my life. If I am disappointed it's because I keep setting myself up for disappointment. I'm making those choices. Maybe I'm just a fool and I should enjoy the surface joys instead of yearning for that missing piece of the puzzle. When I put it that way, it's a no-brainer, but I've accepted the difficulty of wanting even more. Is greed my downfall after all? Now that would be ironic.
Reading my most recent words I'm starting to feel like a freaky Sex in the City Bridget Jonesian of the worst kind. Is it enough to say that I'm not looking to belong to someone? That I'm a really big fan of love and I just want to give and receive a little of my own? That I miss sex? That I want my own kind of partnership built from mutual delight and respect with the same spirit of collaboration and creativity that I've tried to build my life with? Fine, I'm pathetic. But not as pathetic as you think.
Today is my birthday and today I want you to know who I am. I want to you see me clearly, with all of my fabulousness and all my faults and I want you to love me for all of them. Don't look over your shoulder, I'm talking to you, yes you, unknown or unmet you. For my birthday, I want you think about me, a stranger, as a whole complex person, as body, as words, as life, as thoughts, as skin, as dreams. And I will do the same for you one day too. Whenever you need it most.
This is not the rain that fell on Noah's ark
No torrential downpour this is
Not rain that washes sin away
This is the rain that leaves last night on your skin
Like his kisses, sweeter than memory,
a surprise, he held you in his arms
until you were nearly asleep
And when he left it was like this rain
soft apologetic gentle
a benediction a promise
leaving you smiling more than sad
This is the rain that barely matters
Spits and mists and gets in your hair
The rain that comes once a year
The rain that you miss
Songs for the Soundtrack of my Life:
Maktub "You Can't Hide" (Opening Credits)
Susanne Vega "Tom's Diner" (walking song)
Ben Harper "Steal My Kisses" (bad blind date montage)
Elvis Costello "I Want You" (sex)
Joni Mitchell "Big Yellow Taxi" (working/editing song with lots of tearing of paper)
Hem "Leave me Here" (lying on my bed with the cat, reading, look up, have a silent moment of truth, music swells)
B.B. King "Try a Little Tenderness" (drunken dancing in the living room and more sex)
Almost anything by Ani DiFranco (coffeeshop music/break up music/random outrage and joy)
Judy Collins "Suzanne" (remembering)
Anastasia ran from the stable, her bodice unlaced and hair disheveled, looking for sanctuary she knew not where. She felt a pain in her side but dare not stop, tripping over her skirts not knowing if Lord Zane pursued or merely turned back to the manor to throw her humble belongings out on the lawn. As the blood pounding in her veins began to calm, she heard the equally rhythmic galloping of hooves behind her and started to see the mysterious masked rider in pursuit. The violent wind on the moor could not hide the pleasing musculature of his form.
Ah, poor neglected June 21! I just found you all alone and unspoken for when organizing my batch for the month. I didn't mean to neglect you. In fact I'm quite sure that I meant to give you something very special to say because I can tell you in all sincerity that you are and have always been one of my favorite days. The fault is all mine and I hope that you will accept my humblest apologies. So, here's to the Summer Solstice! The first day of summer! The Fremont parade with all the nekkid bicyclists! Here's to you!
Dinner date tonight. I was so tired and it was such a long day that I felt a little more like work than play, but not his fault. I wish we had a little more time, a meeting place that encouraged letting guard down. When he dropped me off I thought for a moment that he was going to kiss me, but wasn't sure. I know I could make it easier for him but something holds me back. I like hanging out with him and he's an amazing person, but he's so hard to read. Of course, so am I.
If I were to draw my self portrait today, it would be a circle face, eyes with angry diagonal eyebrows, a wild squiggle of hair, and an angry squiggle of a mouth. I am all straight bold lines and knots. Heck, maybe I'll give myself horns too, and a pointy tail. A dark cloud over my head. Untied shoelaces. Casting no shadow. The entire world on my back and a hole in my pocket. Shades of grey in smudgy pencil with lots of eraser marks. Not even worth 100 words. I don't think I'll draw my self portrait after all.
I just found an old fortune cookie fortune stuck in my notebook: "You have a keen sense of humor and love a good time." Well, duh. Who hates a good time? Yep, that good time sure sucked! I should get a job writing these things. I could use my keen sense of humor to write fortunes worth reading. Instead of Confucius, I'd quote Dorothy Parker. Instead of platitudes masquerading as prediction, I would write dares and random beautiful words. And instead of keeping these little slips of paper tucked in your wallet, you would burn them in a ritual fire.
This is the blessing. No matter how terrible the days are, my real work, my passion, my heart's work, my soul food, my evenings leave me nourished. More than a lover, family, home and kids are supposed to, it is my art that makes my life worth living this week. A great performance. A productive rehearsal. A useful class. I know what I am here for and there is no mere office job that will crush me. I may curse the mornings, but I am ending my days smiling, and thank all of the gods and goddesses for that much.
This is my five minutes. My 100 words. My time sponsored by my employer who shall remain nameless to protect the innocent, especially since I have been working in the dark for the last hour. Actually, it adds to my sense of the gulag metaphor. Moving on the eighth hour of what will be at least ten before I comfortably leave it all behind, I know that my attitude has been for shit this week. I tried being positive but it didn't make things any better so I'm throwing my whole heart into negative. I never do anything by half.
I think of it as "the light," my own personal store of brilliance. I know people who always shine. But I tend to move quietly through the world. It's waiting inside of me, ready to ignite on stage or in my writing, in a perfect conversation, or sometimes just at random. When the light turns on, I become my truest best self and no one in the world can resist me. Here's the thing. I have absolutely no control over it. All I can do to make it happen is to throw myself off the cliff. Give in to it.
Of course you can't know this, but you are feeding a particular piece of my baggage: being second best. It's not that I'm competitive, just that for a time I always felt like I was the first runner up for everything I really wanted. So I don't know if I can be cool and casual knowing that I could fall for you just as someone else is sweeping you off your feet. I want to know you but the unspoken rules are just as powerful as the electricity between us and I don't know which I should be listening to.
This is the tyranny of time. I am so overburdened with details to take care of that my rare evenings free have been spent merely staring impotently at the piles and then sighing into the guilty escape of a hot bath, a good book, or bad tv. My busy life was my escape this week. It's always disturbing when the only thing standing in the way of everything I absolutely must do today is me. Phone calls are owed. The broken computer beckons. This is not an end, just a pause but I'm too tired to properly enjoy its possibilities.
Five years ago today I woke up in a hotel room in Spokane where I stopped early the night before because I was overwhelmed by the impending new life that I wanted one more night of peace. Got in the U-Haul and watched the desert-like terrain of eastern Washington morph into hills and finally mountains—purple and majestic like the song says. I drove the truck, which I'd named Eunice, over the Cascades and the floating bridge at I-90, and into Seattle for the first time. My new home. I came in search of change and I got it. Wow.
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