This was a rough weekend. Listen…I really don’t care who gets to sit on the Supreme Court for life, Republican or Democrat or Hare Krishna for Jesus. It doesn’t matter to me. What does matter is that the person isn’t clearly partisan; I mean, they all are. Realistically. Liberal presidents nominate liberal justices, and vice versa. But one thing I always noted about justices I knew were clearly not on “my” side was that I’d at least be able to trust they’d at least LISTEN to the opposing side’s arguments. This guy?
So to someone who views feminism as angry and scary, this probably will make that person go: yeah, these women clearly have daddy issues. And you know what? Maybe we do, jerk face. And you should think about why that may be. And you should think about why WHY there was such a gutteral, deep and keening pain heard all over America from its women…at the thought of a possible sexual predator being confirmed to the Supreme Court. And why we’d have such a problem with one sitting in the White House already.
This was a REALLY rough weekend.
So I’m going to finish my anxiety/depression thingie I started last time because god knows I’ve been mired in nothing but anxiety/depression all weekend.
I was on Number 10 of 20 things that make me smile last time I was here. Here are numbers 11-20:
11- Genuinely, truly good men. I do know them, and they make my heart happy. These are men who don’t use women, in any way shape or form. My brother is one. My friend J, married to my friend R, is one. My sweet D is one. Even when I get upset with him or he gets upset with me. My child’s father. A handful of men I’ve become friendly with online. My father’s cousin’s husband. My nuevo amigo J in Barcelona who, dios willing, I’ll one day pay off my credit card debts and actually have some money to visit him in Espana, which I have always wanted to see.
I know good, truly good, men. These are men who when they recognize they’ve hurt someone, they try to fix it. They sincerely make amends. They don’t keep on behaving like dickholes. Consistency matters. All you have to do to be a good man, gentlemen of the world, is to be consistent. If you recognize you’ve hurt a woman, then make the amends and be a good friend. The end. Men like that make me happy. And I feel blessed to know them.
12- Music. This song. And this song. And this one. When I listen to them, my soul soars with hope and faith in love. And this song, song of my soul. Sara Bareiilles’ She Used to Be Mine feels deeply identifiable to me. The Storyby Brandi Carlile too. City of Stars from the movie La La Land…oh my heart. When I need to feel uplifted and hopeful about life in general, I listen to pretty much any song from The Greatest Showman: this one for loving myself…this one for dreaming big dreams, or this one…pretty much I could just live with the soundtrack from this movie in my ears all the time. I sit with goosebumps all over me through almost every single song.
Music helps me sleep AND dream. It’s playing in my ears right now in fact. Because it also helps me drown out the world and focus.
13- Nature hikes. Which I meant to do this weekend and then allowed technology and the world’s chaos to suck me in. I wish it wasn’t so hot still. Or that I at least liked getting up early on the weekends. I always feel better after I’ve been outside. Vitamin D via sunlight is always a good idea (for me). Even if I have to be out on a cloudy day, it’s better for me that hanging out in a small, stuffy apartment.
14- Art. I like sculptures AND paintings. I like portraits, landscapes, AND messy modernists. I have also determined I need a Frida Wall. I think I may start one in my bedroom next year. I’m going to start collecting muchoscorazones for it.
15- Crucifixes AND Buddhas. I have these all over my home. I have absolutely no problem mixing religions. For instance, right now I’m absolutely obsessed with Mary Magdalene. But in all of her forms: whore and saint, the goddess forms of Isis and Asherah, the Jewish metaphysical representation of Eve and Lilith, Mary Queen of Heaven and consort of Jesus of Nazareth. Mother, sinner, lover, healer. I think she’s fascinating and I could read about her for forever.
16- Magic. Specifically, the feminine divine. I have been intensely interested in this for years and years and YEARS. When I was small, I was terrified of men. Terrified. Eventually, I relaxed and everything became man-centered. Even God. When I was little I’d sing to God, hoping he’d like my songs. Maybe because I was too shy or afraid to sing to my dad. But once upon a time, God was a woman. Did you know? Once upon a time, God was a woman. So the concept of spirituality as it once was before men dominated it interests me beyond ways I can properly express here in writing; this is more of a deep-seated sense of longing that’s been inside of me for most of my life, pushed down for many years – decades, even – to accommodate what the various men in my life needed from me. Now? I want to get to know Her, and one day write a good story about Her.
Women are infused with magic, and magic is power and I think that scares many men. Though I don’t understand why, because in goddess-centered religions, men also have been infused with their own kind of magic.
In other words: I have not JUST started my feminism this weekend; even when I was spinning my wheels in anger and resentment at one man or another, it was always because of some sense of injustice I felt from one boy or another. In high school, my senior AP English thesis was titled “Strong Women in Russian Literature.” I contrasted/compared Boris Pasternak’s Dr. Zhivago and Ivan Turgenev’s Fathers and Sons, both novels written by men. Even at 17, I was intensely interested in the feminine divine…how to find it, how to coax it out of hiding, even in the most male-dominated, patriarchal of cultures.
17- The first cold days of fall. I mean, REALLY cold. Not just: ooh, I may need a jacket cold. I mean: time to break out a big, oversize sweater and my comfy boots cold. I hate that it gets dark so early, but I love the idea of evening bonfires and hot toddies.
I feel the same way about the first warm days of Spring, but with spaghetti straps and flip flops and warm evenings with cold margaritas…and some brief but intense anxiety about how pasty pale I am and how much winter weight I added.
18- Thanksgiving. I’ve decided THIS is my favorite holiday, followed by Christmas. I’m cool with Halloween still, but I like how Thanksgiving is really just about gathering with friends and/or family for a big meal and then crashing in a food coma on a sofa. There’s no pressure of having to have a cool costume and walking around in the dark on a school/work night begging strangers for candy then having to argue endlessly with my child about why we actually do NOT need to eat said candy in less than 3 days’ time. And there’s no pressure of presents at Christmas. Or stress-related nervous breakdowns in January over financial situations. Thanksgiving is the best. Even though it marks the beginning of several centuries of oppression, apartheid, ethnic cleansing, and horror for America’s native peoples. And social media is a barrage of bipolar memes about happiness and togetherness vs European oppression and violent cultural appropriation. I’m also studiously ignoring what happens to turkeys every November.
Hm. Wait. I need to do 18 over. This one totally percolated my anxiety.
18 (part 2) – You know what makes me intensely happy? When someone plays with my hair. I could have my hair gently brushed by someone else for literally hours. It lulls me into almost a stupor. Like what happens to sharks when divers flip them over and rub their bellies a certain way. Yes. That’s way better than Thanksgiving. I bet if the Native Americans and Pilgrims had just brushed each other’s hair, Donald Trump and Brett Kavanaugh wouldn’t even be a thing today. Or they’d be hairdressers. Win either way.
19- Hot showers. I always feel so much better after a long, hot, good shower. I feel fresh. Like I’ve washed off all the bad vibes. Showers are also where I do my best thinking. Or win the most arguments with people I’m super mad at.
20- Hugs and forehead kisses. They just make me happy. Really, intensely happy. I think because I feel safe. And okay. Loved.
i have things i want to write about, things i want to say. i’m not sure how to organize them in my brain enough to do a very coherent job of it though. these are things about people. people i know and love and respect tremendously. people i don’t know at all yet respect tremendously, or don’t respect a single bit. people i’ve known and loved and now do not and never will again.
i have things to say about the way people are, and how they can be, and what that can do to you. things about how strong you have to be to keep going and not give up in spite of what these people do to you, can push you and push you to do until you do it, and it is something that isn’t you. things about what these people can turn you into.
i have things i want to think about out loud, things about the kinds of people who will tell you they love you…even as they admit to pushing you into doing things they know aren’t good for you. or right. or even very fair. and then i want to think things out loud about those kinds of people and how toxic and cruel they can be to the very monsters they helped create. i want to write things about the hypocritical nature of people. their masks. how they hide, even as they sneer at other people for hiding.
i have things i want to put into words about how some people create the very storms they claim to fear. things about how people only see each other from their very limited, egotistical, narrow points of view; that these points of view are always self-serving, helping them to keep their masks on. to hide. to judge. to not really see themselves. to avoid the reality of their lives. to continue surface living – to play the role of mom of the year. or kind and generous person. or party girl. or cerebral caustic. or literary genius. i want to write things about our labels, those we give others as well as ourselves. i want to write things about how when you try to help someone remove their label, they lash out at you. they fire anger in the wrong direction. they deceive, they manipulate, they hurt, they destroy. to preserve the label. to preserve the lie.
i wish i could find a way to put into words the things i’m feeling about people who condemn this group of people or this person but not that other group of people or that other person, and how they do this because if they really saw the world, their lives, themselves as is, they’d have a mental breakdown they’d never recover from because they simply aren’t built or equipped to handle reality or the truth, no matter what they tell themselves, no matter what they scream into the wind.
i want to write things about how some people are trapped in a movie they desperately wish will come true for them, things about how some people want to exist in a fairy tale that isn’t real. i wish i could cohesively put into words, in a way that would reach these people, that love doesn’t fix or save anyone but especially people who cannot exist without blinders. i want to write things about how duplicitous some people are, how they view love and reality as a game. how people are pawns to them, in their quest to have their fairy tale movie life.
i have things i want to write about, about the nature of honesty versus lies. about how some people talk a lot about freedom being the most important thing of all, but then go on to work themselves to death to help other people get richer. i want to write things about how money is so necessary now that even people who have found a way not to work to help anyone else get richer have to ask for money from others who are working for other people’s enrichment. i want to write things about how sometimes people are so focused on not helping others get richer they forget and end up preying on people who are doing that. they enter relationships that aren’t happy, because they need to pay the mortgage. they beg the internet for money. they use sickness and love and tug on heart strings to pay the electric bill. i want to write things about the evils of money. about how it traps us, and makes us people we aren’t. i want to write things about how fame can do that, too.
i want to write things about the predatory nature of human beings but particularly men, how some men are predatory in non-violent ways. i want to write things about how men who like the hunt will search out women who are vulnerable and struggling with self-esteem, then mark them for their personal ego gratification. i want to write things about how these kinds of men say anything, do anything, to keep those women on the fringes of their lives…through the use of quiet manipulation, outright lies, the abuse of love. i want to write things about how someone can find a very lovely human being and pour gasoline on them over and over until they have no choice but to light themselves on fire…to get away, to save themselves. i want to write things about how manipulation isn’t a sustainable way to have a relationship with another human being. nor lies. nor cheating. no, not even utopian concepts like polyamory.
i want to write things about pain. about how easy it is to give into it, to keep going back and touching the wounds though you know the only way to let them heal is to give them to the air, and maybe god, and that the only way for air, and maybe god, to work is for you to stop touching them.
i want to write things about how hard it is for someone to watch a person they love touch bleeding wounds over and over and over and know they can’t stop them from doing it, this is just what they have to do until they learn. until they learn.
and i want to write things about how some people never learn.
i want to write things about how hard it is to be here. how hard it is watch people you love leave and not be able to follow them, or even to text or call them again. i want to write things about how hard it is to grieve someone you murdered yet is still alive. i want to write things about how hard it is to be able to watch them through a glass darkly, though gossamer threads of technology. i want to write things about how we can know someone so well, so thoroughly, and when we finally see them without their mask know: this is not who i thought, this is pain. i want to write things about how we can watch someone through a glass darkly and know about karma, and how people are just not as happy or as okay as they put on their timelines or their feeds or even in their blogs. things about how we can watch them still, waiting. waiting. waiting. for what? i want to write about those things. and why we’d even want those things. for people we once loved, or claim to love still. i want to write things about how even monsters can be beautiful, and not completely terrible.
i want to write things about working in careers that are not really your passion, but help you pay bills so you can cook food and clean the toilet and drive your child to dance class and have technology to watch other people through a glass darkly. i want to write about how exhausting it is, and how there doesn’t seem to be much anyone can do about it. for now. i want to write things about debt, and the people who make money off of other people who go into debt. i want to write things about what true freedom looks and feels like, and how that most likely doesn’t involve a job or money or debt or looking through dark glasses of gossamer technological threads. i want to write things about how most of us are so very conditioned to help enrich the richest that we would simply not even know what to do with real freedom if we truly had it. i want to write things about what true freedom actually looks like, feels like.
i want to write things about bodies, and how these feel like traps. things about industries that make fistfuls of money from people feeling trapped in and unhappy with their bodies. i want to write things about sex, things about industries that make fistfuls of money from people who are addicted to it, who use it to fill voids, who feel entitled to it, who are willing to risk their worlds and self-respect to have access to it…even if it turns out not to be fulfilling at all. i want to write things about women who make money to pay their bills and raise their children by using sex, things about how that’s always been a thing and why is that?
i want to write things about people – men in particular – who seem to be obsessed with this idea that we are, at heart, just cave people still. men like to hunt, women gather. men want to spread their seed, women take care of the cave and its children. i want to write things about the misogyny at the heart of that faux science, the pain it creates in general but also to specific lives. i want to write things about polyamory, things about how sometimes ideas are good in theory but incredibly impractical given human nature.
i want to write things about how misogynistic men can cover it up – even to the point of fooling themselves they are not even slightly misogynistic, in fact, are champions of women – by using love concepts to get what they want. i want to write things about what creates this, about what mothers can do to their sons and fathers can do to their daughters, and vice versa…what mothers can do to their daughters and fathers can do to their sons. i want to write things about how we pay other people to listen to our things, hoping that getting it off our chests will lead us to find solutions, fixes. i want to write things about how sometimes things just are, that there are no solutions, or at least not the solutions we were hoping for. i want to write things about paying others to listen to our things, and how that only works when we tell the absolute truth about ourselves, and our things. i want to write about how so many of us rarely do that because the masks are so comfortable, so safe. we prefer the lies. the false dreams. the illusions.
i want to write things about how darkness seeks out light, to consume it. things about how bright light has to be to fight the darkness, and that – even when it does – light is often dimmed for a long time by the shadows in darkness, shadows created by all of the things i just wrote about wanting to write about it, and how it takes such a very long time to find the light again, because the shadows are so shadowy, and the darkness is so dark.
i want to write things about how easy it is to hate other people, to hate ourselves. i want to write things about how important forgiveness is, and that forgiving ourselves is actually far more important than forgiving other people. i want to write things about how finding the ability to forgive – ourselves or other people – can take years, decades, a lifetime. i want to write things about how forgiveness is somewhere in the light, but the shadows feel safer. i want to write things about how important it is to claw your way back to the light, away from the shadows, but that is a fight for your life and you are defeated more often than not. i want to write things about how defeating that feels. i want to write things about how there is a true you and a false you, and that anyone who tries to tell you thinking that way is distancing language is not someone who knows anything about love or how to live authentically. or in the light.
i want to write things about how many things take a very long time, sometimes much longer than we have here to do them. i want to write things about how limited our time here is, how important every second is, how dark gossamer threads of technology steal those seconds; and i want to write things about how draining it is to keep fighting everything the world brings us, and how the shadows like this, that this is why shadows exist in the first place. i want to write things about how everything i want to write about has always been true for human beings, and i don’t know how to write about things that are that hard.
i want to write about shadow things. i think that was my point to this. i wish i could write about things that aren’t touchable, yet feel as solid as mountains.
My angry-at-men story was shite, as the Irish say. Imma put it aside and work on it another day. Maybe.
You know what I figured out today, though? There are actually a LOT of men I can take my angry-at-men-two-men-in-particular out on. These men all worship Donald Trump, and sometimes they decide they’re gonna show ME on Twitter. Gonna show me. ME. Like that’s actually a safe and smart plan. Clearly they haven’t been following my life the last few years.
I LIVE for these people. They give me a chance to flex my feminist muscles AND get some negative energy out ON the negative energy in the world. It’s really a win-win: they get to pretend they’re super clever, I get to slam-shame them into tiny pieces AND try out my most creative cuss combos, then I block them because they’re clearly psychos and possibly Russian operatives, and we all go on with our lives, bada bing bada boom, WORLD PEACE, Y’ALL.
Also, it’s cathartic. And cathartic is ALWAYS good. Ask Sophocles and Shakespeare.
I didn’t write tonight. Or I did, but I did a hashtag game called#secondcivilwarletters. Apparently those of us who do NOT support or like Trump are to start the Second Civil War tomorrow, July 4, 2018. Alex “Why Am I Not Hospitalized And On Anti-Psychotics Yet” Jones of InfoWars said so. Which so surprised me, because MY personal 4th of July plan was to just eat a hot dog and drink a Budweiser. Maybe light a few sparklers. The sparkle lit ’round the world. I guess? Far right conservatives are weirdos. But okay. Second Civil War it is. For YOU, Alex.
Anywho. I think I’m going to work on my dark fairy tale. It’s closer to being finished, and it makes more sense. I’m not giving up on my anti-user men tale; I’m just taking that idea and letting it sit for a bit til I cool off some more.
Also, I have to go to Whole Foods. I hear all Democrat Socialists are gathering there for a strategic planning meeting on how to send a mass shipment of pork butt to the White House. Desperate times call for desperate measures. This is War, and War is hell.
These are my contributions, aka my writing process for Tuesday night, July 3 (aka The Eve of the Second Civil War):
I’m going to start a story. I’ve been working on it in my favorite location, which is my sofa, IN MY BRAIN. I was going to outline some stuff, and I may before I start actually typing. I can’t sit and outline the story arc PLUS the characters PLUS the plot twists and whatever. (A) that’s too disciplined, and (b) I’m not disciplined, I don’t know if you’ve noticed yet or not. So I’m just going to start. I have the working title (“Repeated, Intense Stress”) and the basic gist of the story I want to tell. I probably should at least get some main characters, figure out what they want, and what is stopping them getting it. There. That will be my outline:
Main Character 1
Main Character 2
Begin typing, tally ho and away!
This is pretty much how I approach every single thing in my life. Which may also be why every day I go: I’m going to get up early tomorrow and lift weights. Then I go to bed at 1 AM and sleep til 10:30 AM and can barely make a pot of coffee before it’s 3 PM and I’m already trying to figure out how to pull myself the couch and at least empty the dishwasher. (I’m joking, it’s not that bad…except on Mondays, Wednesdays, and every rainy Sunday.) (Also: I make ZERO apologies for how I spend my summers. I fit 12 months of work into 10 months, and half of that is front and back end loaded on the end of my work years, and really I don’t know how it’s gotten like this but if anyone can figure out how to make it stop I’ll gladly work a regular work year and only whine a tiny bit less about it.)
Man I’m angry. Listen. Don’t try to interact with me on Twitter if you’re there to judge me on any level, be an arrogant jerk, or apologize for some man accused of some heinous thing. I no longer have the patience for it.
Also: don’t try to interact with me if, two years or two months or even two hours ago, I unequivocally and very clearly with great and tremendous force told you to stay the ever living hell away from me. For. EVAH. And don’t whine to me about forgiveness of YOUR sins. If I’ve stopped interacting with you, punching at you with my words, etc etc and so forth, trust me: you’re forgiven. But it does NOT mean you and what you said or did are forgotten. I don’t care WHAT you have to say about MY actions. Focus on YOURS. Take care of YOU. I don’t care how many women you’ve convinced you’re a great guy. I don’t care how many spiritual people you quote or how much lip service you pay to goodness and kindness, how much you talk about how you’ve changed. Are you kidding me?? I’ve got gigantic files saved on a flash drive to remind me of what you did, lest I start to get stupid again. I don’t keep these to be an asshole, I keep these as insurance policies, to protect myself. I now understand the nature of selfish men. You know what you did. So if I’m not going after you to publicly ruin you, then you’re forgiven. But forgiveness does NOT mean I have to EVER interact with you again. In any way, ESPECIALLY if your intent while interacting with me was to take advantage of me, use me, prey upon my vulnerability and lack of boundaries, and just generally use me as your personal hump toy. You are a bad man. Go away.
So don’t like my tweets, don’t encourage your latest social media friends to follow me, don’t interact with people you see me interact with frequently, don’t even LOOK like you’re trying to get one of your little toes back in my door. When I get to a point I very angrily and publicly tell you to GO AWAY, and start calling you names, a door has been slammed, locked, bolted, with several 2x4s nailed across it and a gigantic piece of metal welded on top of all THAT, for good measure. This is called theINFJ Door Slam, even though I officially always come out INFP on those tests. I do have some INFJ in me, quite a lot actually, and I’m wondering if the two are just really kind of interchangeable. Or maybe I’m sun in INFP with a moon in INFJ. Either way, the INFJ Door Slam is a real thing, and even though the INFP in me is begging the INFJ in me to please not be so cold and hard-hearted, my INFJ feminist has put in her ear buds and is currently blasting Alanis Morrisette’s You Oughtta Know until her eardrums beg for mercy.
That’s how I work.
Speaking of…I got to hear from an old friend about two weeks ago. He texted, then he called me. It was a good and a bad conversation, in that I was able to apologize in person for going after him very publicly for hurting my heart. He did try to do the right by me, and I acted like…well, I acted like an entitled little bitch. Which I am not, but in that time period, with what I was dealing with and going through? I was. So I told him he hadn’t deserved a lot of what I said about him…but then he said a bunch of things that made me go: hmm. Maybe you DID deserve at least SOME of it.
The last conversation we had via text basically was him being very cutesy, and me going: get in touch with me if you want to have a REAL conversation and be FRIENDS. Because unlike the two men I’ve INFJ door slammed on, I did not INFJ door slam on B. Which makes me sad. Because I genuinely kind of adore B and think he’s funny and has got great man growth potential. When he’s not being a perv.
Which is also part of the story I’m about to write. Kinda. Sorta. Just…Men, please don’t use women. On any level. Not sweet women at least. If you’re old enough, you know the difference between a sweet, nice, good girl versus a female version of you. I’m sure there are chicks out there who are just out for the sex. Please go find them. Please do not find sweet, good girls on the Internet and use them. Just please don’t. Because what happens is, you wreak havoc and damage and then whine and get upset when it comes back on you. I will NOT apologize for any horrible thing I have said or done to ANY man I’ve met via Twitter. Ask those two guys. They may not tell you the whole truth, but I guarantee if they read this they know exactly what I’m talking about and why. They know what they did.
Guys are all weirded out and upset by the #MeToo stuff and our extreme anger. Are men seriously saying they reeeallly don’t understand and are shocked why some girl they really thought was very sweet would suddenly go ape shit angry on them? After being physically and verbally abused by men in the past? And then told she was basically just a convenience? REALLY.
Go do some self-examining. YOUR past actions, YOUR past choices. You wanna get mad at us for being upset you used our bodies for your needs? Then don’t do that. You wanna get mad at us for ruining your “happy” home life by taking out a wrecking ball (YOU handed to us) and becoming whistle blowers? Then don’t cheat. Plus, while you’re so upset about the repeated, intense stress that caused you, does it ever occur to you that you, yes YOU, caused repeated, intense stress for the women you were so gleefully hiding right out in plain sight? You think that was fun? You think deciding to be a whistle blower is fun? You know what happens to whistle blowers, right? Go look it up. They don’t have fun lives. Look at Edward Snowden.
So yeah. I’m pretty ticked. I don’t have a lot of patience for male tools on the Internet OR the apologist, simpering women who gang up on the women for them…the chicks who don’t get what’s going on yet. I probably don’t punch the women as hard, and that’s probably because I used to be in their ranks, and I know why they are the way they are. But Internet dudes? Oooh. Y’all. Y’ALL. Just. Make wise choices. Please.
Anyway. I don’t know how this story will turn out. I’ve read different opinions: don’t write mad…write mad!! Don’t write while drinking…write drunk, edit sober!! Don’t write fictionalized real life narratives…write what you know!! So screw it. I’m writing a fictionalized real life narrative while mad and drinking. (which, contrary to what you may be thinking at this point, I have actually not started doing…yet.)
Here’s an excerpt I worked on the other day. I was texting a friend about some stuff she was dealing with, and I literally looked at a paragraph I’d typed to her and went: that looks like it should be part of a story. And off I went.
And just so no one thinks I’m completely lost, please know I have GOOD men in my life. Steady men, men who bring my heart a lot of happiness, a lot of peace. And I even have men I interact with online who are GENTLEMEN. Sweet, good guys who I think will make lovely friends for a long time. Plus, I’m pretty sure I’ve scared them shitless. So we cool.
today is national writing day so i felt like i should finally pay attention to this blog i’ve paid $40 per year to have a domain for, with no ads. i just painted my nails so i’m reducing the amount of keyboard clicking by not hitting the shift button and also i just don’t feel like hitting the shift button today for capitals…punctuation only, and i’m mulling over writing the rest of this blog sans that, too.
i really don’t know what to write about, i’ll be honest. other than i’m having a rough summer with my 9 year old. kids are exhausting, particularly girls. and it’s hard to be an introvert who’s just fine reading or watching tv all day to be raising an extrovert who needs people around her to feel okay in the world. on the one hand, summers are supposed to be boring. kids can and should be bored sometimes; the world (and their parents) aren’t here to entertain them – in fact, i say it’s the other way around: dance, little kids, dance. amuse us, minions.
last saturday miss m and i helped potential new american citizens apply for citizenship. i learned a lot. things like…the application is actually a book. the second 50 pages is the actual application; upon which you – the application filler outer – must write the 9-digit green card number in the right hand corner. ON EVERY PAGE. the first 50 pages is teeny tiny print of all the restrictions, red flags, requirements, and expectations the united states of america makes of its potential new citizens. if only it had these for its natural citizens! there would certainly be no president trump, i assure you. for example, one of the requirements is to have no tax fraud for the whole time they’ve been here. i’m just going to leave that little subtle accusation right there. argue if you like; he refuses to release his tax returns. i believe nothing til i see ’em.
i helped two little old couples. neither spoke much english, but there’s an exemption for older citizens who’ve been legal permanent residents for at least 15 years. the first couple qualified – the grandpa was a tall, stately looking mexican gentleman. i promise he may have been zorro at one point in his life. his wife was a tiny, sweet lady whose body somehow carried ten babies full-term in her younger years. bless. i had one, and while i actually enjoyed being pregnant, i think about the birthing process itself, what she did to my body, and what she’s doing to my mind currently and just…bless.
the second couple needs to come back in about 4 years to apply so they can meet the exemption. i had to ask each person why they wanted to be a citizen, and each replied: because it’s time. but because of what’s going on, i did wonder: are they also here because they’re scared? they want to make sure no ICE shows up at their door for no reason and sends them back? if you aren’t a natural born citizen, these are scary times. my god, i’m a natural born citizen and i’m getting a bit nervous.
at any rate. i really don’t have much more to say or write about today. i wish there were no borders. miss m’s dad refuses to put down those divider things on supermarket conveyor belts; he feels they’re unfriendly and not neighborly. i mostly agree with him, but i use them anyway because one time i wasn’t watching and the person behind me let me pay for 3 of their things before stopping the cashier. i went ahead and paid because they were little things, i’m too nice, and i used it as my random act of kindness for that day. but i have my suspicions, to this day, that kind of person does that a lot.
….but then that’s me being donald trump isn’t it? we just help our fellow people, and if they take advantage of us, they take advantage of us. we can always get on social media and shame the crap out of them for being anuses. be sure to have written or photographic evidence on a flash drive somewhere because anuses always like to go: i did not!! when, in fact, they always did.
i have story ideas floating around in my head, but no focus to write them but i’m going to try tonight, for YOU, national writing day. for you.
what happens with me and writing is, i go: before i write today, i need to clean the kitchen and do this load of laundry and deal with the clothes on my bed that have been sitting there for almost a month and i’m tired of sleeping on the sofa even though i think all of this has re-trained my kid to sleep in her own bed and room. but i need my bed. so i make plans to clean the kitchen, while washing clothes, and doing laundry. then i end up shopping or at the pool for three hours, and when i get back i’m pooped. so i sit on my sofa for a bit looking at twitter getting worked up over politics or whatever. then it’s time to make dinner, then clean the kitchen. i did not get to the laundry, i did not get to the clothes. it’s late, i’m tired, and there’s the tv and my phone (televisions and smart phones are of the devil, and the devil is laughing because he knows we need them – i need them…i need the tv to keep my kid occupied and i need to phone so the outside world can reach me as i have no landline anymore). and once more, i go to bed having done no real writing. anne lamott made me feel a bit better about this yesterday on twitter. apparently, her writing day yesterday involved a lot of laundry, too. and she has a lovely house. i hope it smells like lavender and patchouli. (that’s my house smell goal. i want to have a lovely home that smells like lavender and patchouli.)
or i don’t write because i get icked out by some jerk. (a jerk from my past “liked” a tweet of mine the other day, and it sent me reeling into enraged PTSD…life was pretty cool not knowing where he was on that website, and i actually pretty much forgot he’d even existed…now here he is. he’s latched on to some sweet woman who has no idea what he is, and he is still very much the creep he was two years ago. the more things change the more they stay the same.)
how do real writers do it? how do they write with laundry to do and wayward children to raise, with horrible things going on in the world, and horrible people reminding you they are still horrible? i don’t know. i don’t know.
i have nothing further or productive to add to the national writing day convo, and i should probably at least shower. also my nails are dry so I’M ENDING THIS USING ALL CAPITAL LETTERS FOR BALANCE.
Elizabeth Gilbert says that memoir is actually far less intimate than fiction writing. Isn’t that interesting? Writers actually reveal more of themselves when they write fiction than they do when writing memoir. Because you get to write about the things that happened to you, I’m going to. But I’m not stupid. Naive yes, but stupid no. I know the legal parameters and consequences involved when doing that. And that is where my love of fairy tales comes into play.
Fairy tales have so much: good and evil, magic, mystery, adventure, romance. So I was re-reading the (horribly shitty) draft of the dark fairy tale I posted here a few months ago, and it does seem to have the basics of the story I want to weave. I haven’t had a lot of time to really focus on it lately. But I have some more quiet time coming up and I can give it more attention. I’m going to print it off, edit, make some plot and character notes, and off and away I’ll go.
Meanwhile, there’s the pool, and a possible trip to a cabin on a lake with my family, and about ten books in my To Read queue I want to get to. A busy, good summer ahead, with a couple of projects to keep me busy (always a good idea). My daughter and I are adding more fruits and vegetables to our diet and are going to take some hikes on local nature trails, do lots of swimming, and try yoga and belly dancing together this summer. What’s cool about having a 9 year old, I’m finding, is she can do STUFF now. I can share some of my favorite bad 90s rom-coms I love with her: Hope Floats, Music and Lyrics (okay fine that’s 2007, but BARELY out of the 90s), Notting Hill, My Best Friend’s Wedding, While You Were Sleeping, Muriel’s Wedding, Never Been Kissed…she’s already addicted to Clueless. And other movies that I just love with all of me: Forrest Gump, The Color Purple, Legends of the Fall, Practical Magic, Titanic, Groundhog Day, Edward Scissorhands, Braveheart, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Dances With Wolves…I mean, clearly we’ve got Movie Nights at Home covered.
I took her to see Solo the other night. Meh. And she slept through half of it. I think the Star Wars stories with female leads are simply better now. More Leia, less Luke. Why are movie dates so expensive?! $28 for two tickets, $25 for one popcorn/drink. Crazy. Movie night at home is so much better, plus less people to wade through and process. The theater we saw Solo at had reclining seats. The man sitting next to me took his shoes off and brought a blanket with him…I mean what?? Also, he used the arm rest between us. I vowed if he tried to use my shoulder as a pillow, I would poke one of his eyes out with an elbow. I am really really beginning to avoid strangers more and more. Other people exist in the world, and it is not all about YOU, strangers in movie theaters.
On the other hand, I can’t wait to take her to some concerts. And outdoor Shakespeare in a park! Or Shakespeare in general. And some plays. And some concerts she likes. I thoroughly enjoy my daughter’s company at these things. And I like talking to her afterwards, to see her perspective on what she experienced.
I feel like this is an incredibly bland, boring blog entry. It’s entirely possible it’s bland and boring because so am I these days. I am over drama and people who thrive on it. My last complete rage was Saturday, when that calmed down I vowed to never allow another human being to disrupt my inner peace like that ever again; I have spent the last 3 years being scared, crying my eyes out over a selfish person, and being made to feel used rather than wanted. I have said my piece, and I am focused on doing what is best for me now. And what do I want right now? I want quiet. I want peace. I want to work through my darkness and bring forth the light again. The best (and only way) I know how to do that is to write. And I write openly and publicly because I just do. This is how I’ve always done it, and I’m not going to stop because someone else gets their panties in a wad about it. I was advised, in the past, over and over: nobody owes anyone else a thing. And so I’m putting that advice to good use now and focusing on writing in a way that makes ME happy.
When I was writing blogs in 2014, I was completely able to do this…I never thought: is XX reading this?? Or: if I say this, could XX feel this? Or: who cares about this?? I just wrote. Because I felt like it. In my head, I created an imaginary person, someone I’d like to hang out with very much, and I wrote to that person. That was my audience: an imaginary person that didn’t actually exist, but if they did we’d be BFFs and they’d read everything I wrote and high five me. I’m having a hard time finding that person again. And the girl who wrote that 2014 blog.
My boyfriend says I sound just the same as I did back then. So maybe it’s that I no longer FEEL the same. I have been skittish since late 2015. Now my skittish is skittish. I like people (who don’t take off their shoes and bring blankets to movie theaters), but I understand the darkness of people now, and how their darkness can bring out your own. And what that does to a person. I know what it has done to me. I don’t feel like myself anymore. It makes it hard to find (an imaginary) muse, and to feel free as I write. Which, again, is why this may be my most boring, bland blog.
Oh wait! I thought of something to write about that’s not bland…can I say one more thing before I sign off (I’m not actually asking, that was rhetorical)?
Being a woman is scary. I once was followed for about 4 blocks in Midtown Atlanta by a man who “just wanted to talk to me.” There was no one else around and I made it very clear I did not want to talk to HIM. Yet he continued, and kept following me, until I reached the main road where a female police officer was standing on the sidewalk…I practically ran to up to her to ask directions to the theatre. And the man disappeared.
Online, I have learned there are men in the world who deeply hate women, and some of them hide this very well. Others just do it anonymously, the coward’s way out: the other day on the Internet, I had a scary man with a scary @ name retweet and reply and quote tweet some of what I said…none of what he was attacking me about had absolutely anything to do with him; it didn’t involve him at all. My real face and name is attached to whatever I say there, so I think it takes a special kind of coward to verbally attack someone from an anonymous account. The person I was interacting with was male…and he wasn’t attacked. So you can imagine what narratives my brain can run with on that. Whatever the case, male misogynists are on both sides of the political aisle, and they are all horrible people. I find gamers to be particularly plagued with this problem, and women are regularly attacked online for expressing emotion, opinion, or telling our stories. There’s a reason the #MeToo movement is so huge; women have been dealing with crap like this for eons. Don’t even get me started on what black women have had to put up with, still do.
I’ve read very well-written, thoughtful pieces by men about the hardships women face online…and then these very men are often discovered to be guilty of that which they have protested and judged. Men are interesting like that…is it their ability to compartmentalize so thoroughly, they can’t see the log in their own eye? I don’t know. I love several. I have a good handful of men in my life who are very, very good men, so this is not a diatribe against all men. I’m just stating what I have experienced at the hands (fingers?) of men on the Internet (100% on Twitter, by the way) and have observed happening to other women.
So I fight back verbally now. If I catch bad behavior by a man, I’ll call it out. I am ONLY interested in interacting with and hearing from decent men, who deeply and truly respect women. Men who quote Bible verses then retweet a porn video? Bye, Felipe, you’re one sick puppy. Men who write about protecting women online then go on the attack against one? See ya, wouldn’t wanna be ya. My boyfriend hates blocking people; I don’t have a problem with it. Blocking and wall building are my two special magical talents, and I like to use them freely on that particular social media website. It is very very bad there. Very bad. I’ve said (20,000 times, I’m told) I hate that place and am leaving. I’ve even been encouraged to delete my account by certain icky men there. The fastest way to get me NOT to do something is to tell me to do it, though. But mostly I don’t because I was fine there for a very long time. I let one dweeb in, then another, then a true sociopath, Donald Trump gets elected, and BAM. Now I’m doing regular battle with bored psychos who hate women. Crazy. But I’m tough. I’M not quitting.
I know I could easily get rid of them by just quoting happy happy peace peace friendly cute puppy gifs and memes. Be completely boring. But I want to write again, and I’ve Google researched it: writers HAVE to have a Twitter. And, like Mara Wilson observed in her excellently written article about this particular website, I genuinely like SOME people there. It has brought me some very good people–two women friends and a lovely gentle soul in Los Angeles who writes poetry and has been quietly supportive for a steady three years of utter nonsense from me. I met a man I love deeply there. These aren’t just patient people, they are people who don’t seem to have rules or unspoken expectations for conformity from me to the friendship. And those are the best kinds. I find.
Where was I? I think I’m completely off tracked now…writing, dark fairy tale, 90s movies, weird theater people, misogynists on social media. I have no idea how to wrap this up. I think I just felt like typing thoughts out. And thus goes my brain.
Wait! Here. Here is a summary of my Memorial Day, 2018. I had delicious shrimp teriyaki and mango boba tea, bought sunflowers to foil the rainy day, there were sweet memories, and tie dye shoes were made (plus one shirt destroyed), and one crazy picture of the love of my life was taken – quirky gifts I am occasionally left to find when I open my phone.
I’m gonna be okay. I just need to be tough and THWACK! at the hyenas out there, and get to a point where I just completely and utterly and totally ignore their whining and yapping. But mostly: write. Writing always makes me feel better, even if what I write makes no sense to anyone else (secret: I’m not writing for anybody here but me) (…and an imaginary muse, if I can think one up).
Let’s try this anew. Fresh. I’m a big believer in fresh starts. Because fresh is awesome.
Allow me to reintroduce myself. This is my story and then I shall be off and running once more here.
I’ve been writing since Mrs. Tippie chose my story about an owl family and shared it with my 2nd grade classmates, declaring it “one of the finest stories” she’d ever read. Mrs. Tippie failed at teaching me how to borrow and regroup in Math, but she is one of the catalytic reasons I continue to express myself best via written word to this day.
Since then, I have written middle school sappy romances involving boy bands and various muscle-y superheroes and emo soap opera stars I desperately wished would love me. I have a stack of journals full of my progress (and many times DEgress) through life as a young adult to (as my 9 year old daughter calls it) a middle-aged woman. In 2005, I discovered blogging. Over the years, I have maintained (and abandoned) numerous blogs.
In 2015, I separated from my husband and my daughter and I moved to an apartment. I met two men who flipped my world upside down in bad ways, and eventually in 2017 I gave up writing altogether.
While I firmly subscribe to the belief that bad people do good things and good people do bad things, that we are all a mixture of light and dark, and I am certainly no exception, I’m also healing from some really terrible people I let in over the last few years. Whenever I’ve struggled with hard things and weird feelings and anger and sorrow and fear and just general “wtf is wrong with the world and other people??” thoughts, the one thing that always helped me work through icks like that is words – reading other people’s and writing my own. Because stories heal us. They connect and teach us, and help us examine ourselves. And they heal us. Even when they connect us to bad people. Those teach us, too. Because we are made of stories.
THAT is a brainful of a title for a mere blog entry, I apologize. But I’ve gotten my bathroom cleaned, my grocery shopping done, my job-work prepped for next week, and so I’m self-exploring today, and of all the overly dramatic titles I came up with, it was the most forthright.
Are you interested in a dark fairy tale? I’ve been working on it since this morning. It originally started as a navel-gazing, whiny reflection on a past hurt, a this-is-why-I-build-walls-dammit blog entry that got wieldy and really, really dumb. Then I suddenly felt like writing a dark fairy tale semi-based on it, and now here I am. It’s long and very much in shitty first draft form so some parts may be confusing or ramble-y with odd word phrasing and/or word choice. Occasionally my inner spell checker starts drunk-typing and writes pore instead of pour and the like. And you’d need some time. Do you have time? Are fairy tales super cliche? But I mean seriously, there’s a fucked up evil wizard and a betrayed sorceress in it and everything.
(…….seven hours later edit: I have to break this up into parts. I’ll post the other parts tomorrow and whenever I finish them.)
Once upon a time, there lived a sorceress. She was neither bad nor good; in fact, she really didn’t understand her magic or how to use it. In moments she did use it, it was simply to conjure a new fantastic flower she remembered once catching a glimpse of from an idea of a long-forgotten dream of a traveling, sleeping faerie nearby. Or she used it to sing to her bees, to encourage them to grow new trees dripping with inexplicable fruit that could feed armies, and soften long-hardened hearts with the sweetness of their juices. The Sorceress passed her time singing and dancing alone, sometimes in glittering garbs made from silk spun by fat worms under Harvest Moons, sometimes offering her pure, naked skin to the Sun god or the Moon goddess, glowing with their light as her wild dark hair teased and kissed dewy air.
Without inhibition or shame, she made fierce and free love to the gods and goddesses of wind and fire, rain and thunder, happily giving them her sighs and moans and deep throaty laughter with all the the other offerings from her Garden. Because though it was a hidden thing, her magical, mystic Garden, in truth the Sorceress had no known enemies. In fact, had one informed her of the reaches of her power, the Sorceress would have laughed a hearty laugh to hear of it, to learn she possessed magical skills that were near goddess-like. There were times, though, when she had quiet and thoughtful moments and tried hard to remember a Time Before, prior to when she’d arrived in her garden. She found she couldn’t remember being born, growing up, or how she had arrived to be in her garden. She could remember nothing except being alive and creating flowers and dancing and plotting with the bees, making love to her gods and goddesses choreographing grateful rituals of hedonistic dances for the abundance which sustained her. Because to the Sorceress, she was merely a gardener. She simply tended her plants with love, convincing the weeds by loving them to love each plant they grew near exactly as she did, that there was no reason at all for any living creature or plant in the world to kill or steal from each other; for the Sorceress it was simply impossible that anything in the world was incapable of living in beauty and harmony. And so in her garden everything flourished together with abandon because that was all she ever imagined and whatever she imagined passed into being.
Thus, whenever someone new and strange did stumble upon her and her home, she welcomed them into her garden without guile, bringing wine she’d pressed herself from dripping honeysuckle, feeding them enormous grapes from her own fingers, and wiping the juices that dripped from their corners of their lips slowly and seductively with her own tongue, teasing her guests until they squirmed with desire for her. The Sorceress would softly coax their deepest longings or dreams they’d long forgotten, from their hearts, then reach for either her flute or harp and quietly begin a song created only for her gobsmacked visitor, male and female alike, as she wove gentle tendrils of peace and love into his or her being, until they climaxed in waves and were exhausted and spent, drifting away on a patch of soft grass, with nothing but her garden’s soft, warm breeze wrapping them into a deep, satisfying sleep.
(I bet right now you’re going: Amy, the hell? How is THIS a dark fairy tale? That kind of starts further down, but not full-on dark until Part Two. Also: stop interrupting my dark fairy tale.)
Indeed, the Sorceress and her garden were legend. Both traveling peddlers and battle-scarred knights who knew of her and had somehow managed to stumble onto her mythological Eden would awake on its soft grasses at the edge of it at least once on their many journeys. Some would even pluck a rose or two as either a souvenir or proof or both, then boast of their fortune at taverns where they rested. There, still reeling from her touch, they would tell stories or sing songs or recite smitten, drunken poems of sleeping under her trees while being caressed by gentle, warm breezes even in the middle of frozen blizzards. They told stories of smelling sweet grasses and honey, of dreaming impossible images filled with colors they could no longer find words to describe. Some who’d woken and bravely wandered even further into her magical space often tried to detail, to anyone willing to listen, the swiftness of the sparkling tails that swept softly past their faces or behind their backs by the hundreds, and swore they felt gentle fingers tracing their brows, drawing mysterious and protective sigils onto their foreheads then their shoulders and chests and backs while a faraway voice hummed lullabies to them, sweet songs they recognized as the very ones their mothers had once sung to them long ago, while they nursed at full, silken breasts dripping with rich, sugary milk.
They’d hold up the souvenirs they’d stolen for their audiences, roses that never withered or died, that stayed ever red or white or yellow or pink, with ethereal glows that seemed to emanate deep from their stamens, as their listeners stared in slack-jawed disbelief, yet determined by an inexplicable pull to experience it all for themselves one day.
Eventually, though, the Sorceress’ visitors would eventually come to doubt their memories as they grew into bedridden old men, broken by war and life and thousands of nightmares they’d created for themselves out of millions of nightmares they’d cast upon innocents they’d pillaged and raped.
Surely their impressions were merely the dreams of lost, war-torn soldiers wandering long from home, building fantasies around themselves to mend mutilated minds gone mad from both the loss of innocence and the taking of it. They would die, mere shadows of the giant warriors they’d once been, now withered and bald and toothless and wrinkled old men mumbling fantasy stories of a Sorceress and a garden, their voices cracking and bitter and tired, weeping of their craving to return to its safe warmth, as they clung to a vague hope that the recollections they had of silky hair caressing their sleeping eyelids had, indeed, been real. They begged silent deities their ravaged bodies, now as dry as leather and forever covered in dank sweat that sat and crusted between their wrinkles did truly once feel soft lips trailing the entire lengths of their bodies, creating shivers that once sent their minds reeling in swirls of indescribable ecstasy. They would often cry out in their sleep into cavernous, black nights silent of echoes, nights that were ever increasing in their lengths, their bony fingers beginning to scratch at the corners of the the life and breath the old knights clutched at desperately, sobbing at the memories of feeling pleasures that now came to them in thin wisps, that they would never have again now that life was leaving their weakening bodies.
All the while grime-covered grandchildren wiped at runny noses as they sat spellbound on the floor near their grandfathers’ deathbeds, listening intently as they poked sticks into crackling fires and listlessly stirred boiling kettles of broth concocted for their dying grandfathers because it was the only thing old men could keep down, and their witch-like grandmothers had told them to do it and they knew their angry, lice-covered mothers would take the switch to them mercilessly if they didn’t. The children all knew these tales weren’t real at all, because the dead roses their grandfathers clung to were black and withered things, just like the world outside of them. Yet they were pretty tales to think of, and they thought maybe when they were bigger themselves they would escape this life and go out into the world to become bards or peddlers, and weave them into songs or stories to tell in front fires on their travels and perhaps earn an extra coin or even a kiss from a maiden they might pretend was their very own Sorceress.
There were, once upon a time in this same land,fretful wizards who saw the beauty and power of the Sorceress’ magic – they glimpsed, in the choking smoke splutters from their spell-castings, her enchanted flowers and streams of glittering waterfalls with mermaids that splashed in rainbow pools and unicorns and the elusive Pegasus of lore that ate from her fingers, that allowed her, and only her, to tame them and ride them, barebacked, into inky night skies glittering with stars and wisps of clouds, softly snorting as she combed their manes with her deft fingers, untangling the barbs and massaging their neck muscles of knots. The visions blinded the wizards, awoke lecherous lusts to understand the Sorceress and her magic, so they could use it in their own spells. The most talented wizards knew how to cast dark spells of furious magic that made them rich men, bringing creatures of mystic forests to their knees in supplication, and offering them fantastic treasures which incurred them favor and honor with kings and lords. Yet even their most powerful magic always seemed to lack the kind of true strength they suspected existed in the world, dominance that rightfully ought to belong to them, and only them. The wizards deepest needs were hungers that often matted far down in the nethermost caverns of the murkiest parts of their souls, the bottom of black abysses. So the wizards were never quite sure what their desires actually were, but sensed if they could just possess the right magic, the kind of power only known to gods and goddesses, they would finally be able to access their every need, wishes even their own souls were unaware of, and their dominance would be realized, and quite permanent.
The most dynamic and efficacious of these wizards was a very nondescript, gap-toothed yet unattractive, pale man who often woke paralyzed by fear and hate.
His name was Stephan the Forgotten, and he didn’t know it, but the hovel of a hut in which he existed touched the very tips of the Sorceress’ garden he’d begun to spend his every hour seeking fitfully, both awake and dreaming.
Stephan lived alone, his tiny pigpen of a home covered in soot from the constant fire that burned in the center of his one-room home, a black kettle on it always, filled either with Stephan’s dinner of bland stew or a foul concoction of a spell that Stephan would sell to lords and ladies, kings and knights, serfs and commoners alike…who he bartered with never mattered to Stephan, as long as he was paid and tales of his magical abilities were spread far and wide. His coffers were always filled either with gold or bread and, once in awhile, an oh-so desperate farmer in danger of being evicted from his own hovel, would bring him one of his somewhat comely but filthy daughters so Stephan could terrorize, torture, beat, and rape her of her virginity and innocence before discarding her in a village somewhere far from all she knew, to a life of whoring, which is all Stephan truly believed women were worthy of. Stephan did this regularly to the peasants of the valley in which he existed, from the village he lived in but also villages near and far, in exchange for a drop of dark hope from his kettle, a bottle to be drunk under a new moon after slaughtering a pig or a cow and bringing that as well to Stephan. In exchange, he gave them promised magic that next season’s crops would produce more than they had this season, and thus the lord would allow them to stay on a bit longer, continuing to eke out any bit of existence he possibly could, even though he would turn over almost all of it to the lord of the manor in the castle high above his pathetic existence.
For the kings and knights, lords and ladies, Stephan wove spells that shrouded their dreams with images of spices from exotic places, or promises of lost relics from the Holy Land, of triumphant battles that would win them the hand of a princess along with a noble title and all the land and riches that came with it. Stephan wove spells that gave them even more riches, even greater glory, bigger castles with deeper moats and the strongest weapons. In return, they filled Stephan’s hovel with jewels and gold coins he added to wooden boxes he buried in the dirt floor beneath his hut, boxes so spilling with rubies and emeralds and pearls that Stephan was constantly carving new wood into more boxes.
Ladies who found Stephan’s unusual looks strangely enchanting wove him intricate tapestries by their own hand. Some of these bore simplistic pictures of mundane life, others attempted to seduce him with bawdy depictions of ladies sucking the appendages of men who looked very much like Stephan, lying in amazing positions with their legs wide open to be probed with the men’s stiff members which were often the size and width of oak trees. These he hid away in piles in a separate, much smaller hut that leaned to the right which allowed the rain to run off it in rivers and kept the contents it sheltered safe and dry. Inside, next to the tapestries, were also dented goblets and shimmering fabrics and ancient coins with strange-looking rulers adorning one side…all from the Holy Land that a rowdy, drunken group of Knights Templar had once brought him, in exchange for vials of heady-smelling oils laced with spells of greatness and promises to make their seed the most virile, bringing them male heirs who would continue building their families’ wealth, ensuring their names endured for centuries, long after they were dead and forgotten.
Stephan had been proposed to by queens and princesses and duchesses and ladies-in-waiting. He had been offered the bodies of the fairest of maidens, had been kissed alluringly, with the supple and teasing tongues of widely desired beauties who possessed eyes of all colors, lashes as long as horse mane’s, and hair like sunshine or black as night or red as sunsets. But he denied them all, deferring politely and shyly, preferring instead to secretly release his vulgar needs into the holes that existed between the legs of the greasy-haired, dirt- and manure-covered daughters of the serfs who surrounded him.
For Stephan the Forgotten was completely and most utterly disinterested in love; his visitors would never know the story of when he was a young wizard just learning magic, of the day he’d met his witch, a wily and weak but pretty witch he’d discovered hiding in a nunnery, cloaking herself in holy water and crucifixes to avoid the villagers intent on burning her at a stake for her evil deeds. Rivulets of copper brown curls hid beneath her wimple and veil, utterly bewitching him the night she’d first let him have her, shaking them around her shoulders, covering her full breasts and taut, pointing nipple she would demand over and over he bite until she screamed in pain.
Soon after finding her, Stephan left the apprenticeship of the hunched over, acrimonious wizard who had already begun to bore him with his teachings of paltry, insignificant magic mere traveling peddlers used to steal petty bits of coins from their stinking audiences. He whisked his enchanting find away from the nunnery into a cold wintry night, after placing the nuns under a simple but long sleeping spell. Stephan believed the Witch’s words, wild promises she’d woven in his brain, pictures of a life filled with brawny lads and dutiful lasses she’d gift to him from her womb and a lifetime of fucking and magic and stealing from both the rich and the poor, which all left him dizzy with her hedonistic visions and completely, utterly besotted and seduced.
As they traveled from village to village, beguiling peasants of their food and what little riches they’d saved, Stephan and his witch plotted the kind of castle they would build together with their magic, magic they’d continue to learn and grow by their own cleverness. They dreamt of the power they’d cultivate and wield, together, over peasants and nobility alike. Stephan would lie with her under trees in forests, broken twigs digging deep into his back creating painful but pleasing welts as the Witch writhed on top of him, her eyes taking on a sharp hunger for something he instinctively knew had nothing to do with him. When she fell asleep under his cloak, her head resting on one of his thin, hairless forearms, he would spend most of the night just watching her sleep, his throat dry and parched from pleasing her, his eyes swimming in tears of disbelief, wondering how he’d fallen upon such a creature. He did not think he would survive without her, and could not imagine how he had reached the age he had without ever knowing she existed with him in the world.
Each time he thought of their couplings now, Stephan’s face contorted in pain and disgust. His devotion to the Witch had been stupid, his heart weak and too trusting. He’d taken her at her word when they arrived at the moat surrounding the castle of that region’s richest lord. The Witch promised Stephan she simply wished to visit the lord of the manor to enamor him, and relieve him of some of his jewels and gold. These were treasures they’d been seeking for many months together, the very riches they’d been dreaming of that would bring them so much closer to their destiny.
Three nights later, his witch returned, informing him a secret enchantment spell she had begun working on long before he’d rescued her from her villagers and the nunnery had worked. The grey castle’s lord had become enraptured with her, he had requested her hand in marriage, and she had accepted. Giggling, the Witch had then opened both hands so Stephan could see the lord’s dark and wet heart wiggling as it beat against her fingers. Then his witch had kissed his forehead, straightened his most errant lock with a bloodied thumb and forefinger, skipped a charming little dance to a ballad only she could hear, and she had spun away from him on one of her barefoot heels, the very heel he had licked with abandon a mere fortnight before. The Witch left Stephan stunned and alone, the now chilly and dark forest frozen and engulfing him, its small animals frozen too, warily watching him, their insides instinctively stinging with an ancient, inborn caution that caused their paws to quiver, their fur to stand straight up from its skin, and their lungs to cease their intake of air until the wizard moved and they knew in which opposite direction to run. Every living thing surrounding Stephan in that moment knew: this was a wounded Wizard, haphazardly trained, and one cast without warning into a dank cave of loss and despair, where the most dangerous of magic was always formed. Creatures as small as hummingbirds had only to make the fatal mistake of flying too close to one of these kinds of warped magic makers once to forever serve as cautionary tales that wove themselves into the genetic memories of each one of their descendants’ bodies.
For years after her goodbye, Stephan stayed where The Witch took her leave of him. His body and mind ached with rage and loneliness, desperate to touch his Witch just one more time, yearning to feel her blazing breath on his loins, to release himself one last time into the muggy depths of the nebulous and mossy cave between her legs. As soon as he could, one last time, he thought he might take his dagger and plunge it into her wicked heart as soon as the last drop of his seed left him and settled into her black, deceptive depths. Then he envisioned turning it on himself, to end his tortured existence, in the hopes they would end up together forever, somewhere in the abysses of the Underworld.
He decided to live in the trunk of the ancient oak under which she’d announced her betrayal. He carved out its guts with both magic and his own sinew, setting up an alter when he finished, dedicating it and his soul to Gwynn ap Nudd, god of fallen warriors and the hunt, but adding his own dark and wicked twist by infusing his offerings to the god with the rotting hearts of the forest’s reptiles and barnacle-geese for which he traveled for miles, once every three months, by foot and enormous, winged dragons he conjured from the fiery depths of Earth, until he reached the rocky beach pounded infinitely by furious, salty waves where the barnacle-geeslings hatched and he could capture, kill, and rip out their innards by the hundreds for the most evil of his blackest concoctions.
All for the perverse love of a corrupt witch.
After ten years had passed, Stephan finally not only understood but also accepted his love had been used, twisted to suit the Witch’s deepest desires and dreams. By then, he had conjured demons and the darkest of the Underworld’s gods. When visited by black magic’s most perverted goddesses, he always drew forth his dagger and lunged at them; all feminine energy was suspicious, lewd to Stephan. He had no use of it. His power had grown in ways he never once imagined it ever could; yet his witch remained impossibly steadfast to her dark lord in his grey castle atop the hill overlooking the shadowy depths of Stephan’s oak den. Each night, he slept in a chair he’d fashioned from twisted birch branches, which he carefully placed so he could stare at the window behind which he’d watch their bodies cavort, swapping sweat and saliva and the lord’s vile seed and the Witch’s foul secretions that leaked between her legs. Stephan sat, each night, watching every act of fornication, and his heart turned black. To be betrayed and rejected was hurtful enough. To know this clumsy bear of a mere mortal had such control over something that belonged to him, created a searing pain deep in his colon. He vowed to make the lord pay for his thievery, and his Witch for her treachery.
As his power grew, so did the blackness choking his heart. But his witch knew; for every night she watched him watching her. Her glittering, green eyes stared at Stephan with calculated consideration from under the lord’s thick, hairy back as the wide shoulders moved over her, back and forth. The Witch watched Stephan watch her; she stared back at him from over the lord’s muscled shoulders, a look of slightly bored but interested caution on her face, daring him to try it, daring him to kill her, and take her lord too.
Each night, Stephan silently accepted the Witch’s challenge again and again, his tortured screams keeping the nocturnal animals well away from his tree as he raced around its inside circumference, mixing dried and poisonous weeds and the bones of real and mythical creatures that killed with his bare hands then eaten their flesh and ground their remains into powders, forever in search of a way to do it, a way he could end her, and stop his pain.
The more powerful and clever he became, the more Stephan knew he would never be able to bring himself to do it. That meant her magic was far more powerful than his own, even as it increased with formidable darkness and evil, night by night, in all its increasingly dangerous power.
And for that, Stephan both loved and hated The Witch. He had never been so powerful, yet so weak.
After ten years of this, Stephan finally felt it was time. He could bear their nightly ruttings no more, could no longer breathe the rancid air of the forest around him. He gathered up his Book of Shadows, its pages covered with blood and soot and wrinkled from splashes of strange, wet mixtures Stephan had concocted seeking rage and revenge. He packed his most powerful and precious magical tools into skins he’d made from stags and bears he’d slaughtered by magic, pushed down his years of raging thoughts and vengeful plans, hushed them sternly as they protested, promising them they’d one day have their time again soon.
And then Stephan the Forgotten left. To start some a new life, promising he would forget her until he could make her his again. He took out a dark spell he’d worked on for three years, knowing from a nightmare this time would come, a binding spell to make himself as forgotten as she had made him feel the night she left. As he walked away from his oak tree, he could hear the Witch laughing at him. Coward, she whispered, Where go ye? Why leave now, after all this time?Pathetic chitty-faced afterling of a weak man. You’ll be back for more, eventually. The bile rose in Stephan’s throat, because he would be. But she was wrong; he would forget her until the time was right. He’d forgotten his boyhood, and his mother. He’d forgotten a dirty peasant girl he’d once fancied he loved for making him a man, and by leaving this haunted place, turning his back on the Witch’s obscene couplings with a man he could never be, he’d amass the riches they’d planned by himself. He’d forget she existed, but not what she’d done. And for a very long time, he did.
Until the day he arrived at a peaceful, strangely happy and well-fed, well-kept village of peasants nestled in a valley owned by a renowned Knight just home from, and made wealthy by, the Crusades, who was favored by the King, all of which was as far removed as could possibly be from his tortured oak tree, from his witch’s mocking laughter, from the shadows of her hairy lord’s grey castle. It was here, in this quiet little village, that Stephan the Forgotten, a most powerful wizard most studied and learned in the darkest of the Dark Arts, both indebted to and in command of demons and dark gods of the Underworld, decided to begin his forgetting and build a modest, straw-thatched hut from which to live and continue to grow his dark magic while beguiling the lord of the manor, his peasants, and every nobleman and lady who ever passed his way of their riches. And he chose to start his plan, to build his cottage at the edge of a garden he didn’t know existed. A garden with magic far greater than his, magic Stephan the Forgotten would one day attempt to harness, a garden he began to listen with great interest in as visitors began to frequent his hovel for his potions and tell him of, a garden that possessed a beautiful Sorceress with great power that could help him win back his Witch, a Sorceress who he lived for quite a very long time unaware was, in fact, living right in his very own backyard.
I’m having a hard time. Other than whatever drivel I stick here, I just don’t want to write. Not even poetry, to be honest. There’s a part of me that’s still pulled to it occasionally, but I’ve really just lost the heart for it now. Even here, I’m forcing it, and really all I’m doing (I feel) is coming here to bitch. Vent my spleen. And the only reason I’m forcing it is because my therapist told me to. I’m not going to keep up with an offline journal because I just don’t feel like handwriting anything out. I suppose I could just make this blog private and bitch-vent-type privately, but I paid for a domain/hosting service for a year, so no. The bottom line though, is: I’m not doing it for me, I’m doing it because someone else told me it would be good for me, so do it…and I did. (Story of my life.)
And it’s at a point where I’m kind of inner vomiting when I see people all excited about whatever they’re writing. I’m not vomiting at them…because I’m supportive, I want other people to write. I’m vomiting in general. I guess because of where I’m at emotionally with it, I’m happy for other people, but I’m just not in a space right now where I can really be anyone’s rah rah cheerleader about it. It’s kind of like…I used to work with this girl who desperately wanted to have a baby and nothing they tried worked. Finally it did, but then she miscarried. She gave up having her own child, and was sort of in this depressed/longing/bitter/checked out/angry sort of place. So when other women at work would announce they were pregnant, she was happy for them (how can a decent, nice person not be happy for someone else’s happiness?)…but she couldn’t bring herself to get them a shower gift, attend the shower, and be sincerely excited for them. And she’d get really really uncomfortable in conversations that started to revolve around any babies or incoming babies and excuse herself when the squeeing started.
Having occupied that depressed/longing/bitter/checked out/angry sort of place now for going on a good year or so, I completely understand her now. Different situation, different “baby,” but I get it.
I was much younger and a completely different person back when I knew her; I hadn’t been through half the crap I’ve been through now, and so whenever she’d excuse herself and leave or whenever she’d go weird about something because of the baby stuff, I’d be all: “Man, what’s Carla’s problem? She’s being kind of selfish and bitchy.” (Carla is not her real name.)
But Carla wasn’t being a bitch. She was dealing with real ick. Some people could look at Carla (and I was one of these “some people” as recently as 3 years ago) and go: Wow, what a negative thinker…chin up, woman up, Carla, get over yourself. And now I know: people who think and say things like that are either real judgmental jerks or they’re people who can’t see beyond their own nose. Or both. At any rate, they’re pretty clueless about whatever kind of psychic pain or ickiness the person they’re judging is experiencing. Or they’re the kind of people who just skim the surface of their emotional life, never really sitting down to do some hard drinking with their dragons, never getting to know them and know them well. They push their dragons down, down, down, until one day the dragon erupts…or they die never really confronting their own icks. They’re the kind of people who put an end date on the mourning/grieving process. They’re the kind of people who think in absolutes. They’re the kind of people who think “you can choose how to feel.” And some of my favorite writers are among those people, by the way. I disagree now. I think it chooses you, and you dance with it and drink with it until you feel done.
By the way: people who can emotionally skim through life are fine to invite to baby showers and have casual conversations with and even meet for dinners now and then to catch up on what’s been going on in each others’ lives, but you certainly don’t want to tell them your deepest, darkest secrets. Or invite them to your tribal ceremonies. Because they are not your tribe.
Sort of related side note example: Last night, I was having a moment, and I posted a meme onto Twitter. Some man (grrr…men! there is an extremely small group of you I can handle at the moment; the rest of you need to be so so SOOOOO careful with me during these days, I cannot stress this enough to you) came in and went “So don’t.” to what I’d posted.
LOL. Just…”So DON’T.” ????? Asshole.
Had this come from a woman, I’d have had a conversation with her, or just eye rolled and moved on–bitchy I get. Had it come from a man who had the privilege of getting to know me before the social media crap experiences and other icky life stuff had descended fully, I’d have had a thoughtful though tense conversation with him about male behavior in relationships. But this was just some rando. A man I didn’t know, who didn’t know me. Who’d never spoken to me, ever, had no clue what my story is.
You know what I do when stuff like this happens? I go visit their feed, I take a good look around, and then sit back and try to analyze the individual so I can thoughtfully make a decision to respond/not respond, and how to respond if I decide to…I try to decide things like: is this person just an asshole? or are they obtuse? is there some hidden motive behind why they’d say such a thing to someone they don’t even know on the Internet? are they a Trump fan (this would explain a LOT)? a men’s rights activist? bored? or do they have a death wish? or are they just like a lot of ding dongs on the Internet and just really, really judgmental and think they know when they actually don’t?
In the end, I decided he fell into the latter, the last category, the judgmental kind who thought he knew when he actually didn’t. And I saw he’s a writer. And had won some kind of writer award awhile ago. And who knows why he’s on Twitter, talking randomly to some woman out there who has never interacted with him, ever. And therefore, he and I probably don’t need to be connected on any level, for any reason. I chose to respond, sarcastically thanking him for his input (his mansplain-y like input), then soft blocked him…in other words, I kicked him out of my followers. So don’t follow me, if what I post is going to annoy you. Go. Away.
This is where Twitter gets really weird to me. Complete strangers who don’t know me or my story, who have no clue about me, coming in and making judgment calls about me and my life…which is fine, I certainly can’t stop them from having thoughts. But when you speak the thoughts out loud? THAT I can stop. Bye, strange man who thinks his opinion about me carries any weight. I see you and I are following one another; I have no idea when or how that happened and I guess I followed you back because I was still writing back then, but since I’m just shit-blogging now and don’t want to WRITE write anymore, then let me just fix this situation for you since what shows up from me in your Twitter timeline seems to bother you so much: Bye, Felipe. (that wasn’t his name, that’s a wordplay on the line by Ice Cube in the movie…never mind.)
At any rate. Every time stuff like that happens, my own Wall goes higher and I become even more reluctant to interact with other users there. I cannot tell you how incredibly cautious I am now whenever someone new follows me on Twitter or actually speaks to me, and I am very hyper aware of that whenever I decided to hit “follow” on someone else’s feed or talk to them. Because of my experiences with other people I’ve met via social media and the Internet, in that respect, I very much understand Trump’s need to build a Wall. The difference between his Wall and mine, though, is his Wall is the kind of wall deranged assholes build and mine is the kind of wall damaged people build. One is to keep different, The Other, out…one is to make sure the wrong kind of person doesn’t get through again. (Mine has a Secret Garden door, in other words…you just have to do some digging and thoughtful searching to find it. And you won’t, if you’re a sociopath, because I now know what to look for.)
Where was I? Oh, right. Writing. Attitude. Ick.
It’s gotten to a point where I don’t want to follow any more writer accounts on Twitter or anywhere else. I don’t read about it. I don’t want to interact with other people who are actively doing it. Great if other people are enjoying it, but I don’t give a shit right now. Happy for you, please forgive me if I don’t do any joyful jumping and stuff. Right now I’m busy drinking with my disgusted dragon, and our bartender is my distrustful dragon.
And if that makes you roll your eyes at me, then my anger dragon is vomiting fire in your direction right now. Go read one of your happy joy rainbows and positive thinking blogs instead of this one.
Or come for the train wreck process. Either way, I’m fine spewing into an echo chamber. It’s what I’ve always done.