I'm in what everybody calls limbo. They ask me what I'm going to do next and I say I don't know and they say that this is limbo. But I've been in limbo for at least seven years if not longer. Limbo probably started when I left Adam and moved overseas to teach English, but it may have started even before that when I got my undergraduate degree in Literature and moved to the country with Adam. The Limbo, from Oregon to Korea back to Oregon and then to California, followed me around like a stray puppy dog. It begged to be noticed and fed and understood. I never understood it, but it wouldn't go away and here it was being verbally returned to me because everyone else could see it again. For three years I was off the hook. For three years I was back in academia getting my postbacc degree and my masters in fine arts at a small private school off of curvy Lombard St in San Francisco. For three years I studied photography and conceptual art, I got a DUI and I moved three times, and I quit my job at the running shoe store, and I started smoking again (even after my grandfather and great-grandfather), and I became even more of a hermit relying on social media as my contact with the outside world separate from the classroom.
The first of those three years I replaced my obsession with a coworker with a fairly miserable affair with a boy who I was positive was gay. I accused him of being gay and he proved to me that this wasn't the case, though I later decided he was bi. And after him there was my friend's boyfriend, but he had assured me that they were broken up and that she had cheated on him. Later he accused me of ruining his life and being the reason she nearly committed suicide on her birthday. After that I let a boy use my bathroom and was raped but no one talks about that. I guess it was a pretty lousy few years. They ended with graduation, and I walked across the old theater stage in a flowery dress, and watched as a joy with a fifth grader's science project quality MFA show won best in show from our final exhibition, and watched as the main alpha dog of our class got up and gave a ten minute mundane speech about passion and commitment to our practice as artists. Twenty minutes later I was far away from all of the students, and except for an an hour one afternoon a week later to clear out the remaining trash in my studio, I was free and far away from everyone I had blissfully ignored this past year from school. The closest I had made to a friend was a girl who needed a ride to the graduate exhibition the last week.
Undergraduate was somehow a polar opposite experience and yet also very much the same. I was still a hermit, completely flattened over my bed, staring at the ceiling, and hiding from people, stoned and melancholic. That was five years of undergrad. The most outgoing was freshman year in the dorms when I bought a two-cd set of love and kindness meditations and made an intense effort to be sociable and find my clique. I did find them, and we four girls started an online journal called "poop in my butt" and each of us had nicknames of a similar embarrassing nature, and from there we created and dramatized the freshman year experiences for our online readership and for our scrapbooks and our later retellings subsequent years when we split into different houses and boyfriends and branches of friendships. We remained good friends until the very end of undergrad, when two of the girls moved to Portland, and one moved to California and I stayed in the country with Adam. This was when I first decided to be a hermit. Adam told me that I needed to be dead to the world. It was a concept meshed somewhere between Sri Aurobindo and Osho, and further enhanced by my recent class in Middle English Mysticism and the Cloud of Unknowing. I needed to close all my doors and burn all my bridges, and need for nothing, and become detached. And as I burned bridges and cut ties I placed all those cut ties around Adam, and cinched him closer to me, and together we worked and lived and made love and argued and fought for a year, side by side. At the end of the year he said he needed to live alone and I became upset and my restlessness and fear of ending up further entangled with someone who could never imagine marrying me sent me all the way to Korea where I taught children how to speak english better, or at least how to talk about recycling and global warming in english, and how to smile on camera, and conduct an interview from a tree.
In Korea I practiced being a hermit without a boyfriend. I shaved my head and wore a hat to school. I fell into a LOST marathon depression, curbed only by this new passion for photography and LOST and reading. I took bus trips to Seoul. I ran to the center of town and ate street food and bought cheap shirts with english writing on them from the local department stores. When the year was over and my contract completed I backpacked southeast asia, and then I flew back to Oregon and had sex with Adam and returned to this emotional limbo that echoed what I had been living inside. This was the beginning of a more externalized limbo. I no longer looked near marriage. I no longer had close friends or a job that could lead to a career or even made sense (I began working in computer sales and later running shoes). I no longer had a place that really felt like home. From Portland to New Jersey to Berkeley, California, I ran away from one mistake and into another that seemed like a potential something.
There's nothing nearly so aggravating as someone telling you what you already know, and telling it to you like it's going to be a great lesson and that this major insight will change your life. Because they don't know that this is what everyone says. About love. About finding something. About settling down but not settling. That everyone says these things. About it all happening when you least expect it and not to sell out but not to wait and not to expect too much. Everyone says these contradictory things and they are all stemming from what we've told through contradictions of dreams and reality our whole lives.
School ended for the last time and my parents came to watch my graduation. The one boy I had thought was cute in our whole 100-person class said hello in the long warehouse hall the last day I cleaned my last pile of photos and frames from the studio. He said Hi and I said Hello as a Bye and Goodbye, and that was the end of a chapter. I even said as much on Facebook: "This is the end of a chapter" and my friend asked what was next and if I might return to Portland. I joked that the weather was better and that the people were too, and from that my crazy cousin lost her mind again and de-friended me. Is that even a real word? So another bridge burned, a flimsy one made of old twine that needed to go and fall into the river and be washed away along with the pretentious boys from my class and the timid professors and the spaced out narcissists.
Limbo is a series of fragments and distractions. It's procrastination and moments of intense awareness and truth. It's loneliness and clarity and desire. It's little moments where you forget where you are and stare at a little green bug for fifteen minutes. It's mistakes. It's sleeping with a boy you met from the internet and wanting so bad for it to be destiny and getting mad when you know it isn't. It's panicking when all of the general goals you had are finished and not knowing where or how to create a new goal. It's sitting over the sunset. It's fearing meeting someone else who will try to cut all your ties and burn all your bridges and consume you completely. It's realizing that there are no bridges left to burn. That's one Limbo anyway. That's my Limbo.
I moved to Calaveras County. Every American knows the name Calaveras. You may not remember why but you do. It's from a short story by Mark Twain, The Jumping Frogs of Calaveras County. If you go to the little town of Angels Camp you'll see plaques from all the winning frogs who jumped the farthest distance each year. The whole historic downtown is covered in them. The town I moved to is even smaller. It's covered in wine tasting rooms and clovers instead. Clovers are painted on the street like little Irish emblems. People come to get drunk and sit and enjoy the sunset over glasses of wine and tapas. I moved to a hilltop looking over the vineyards. This isn't a story about being in Limbo, but a story of moving to a small town three hours east of San Francisco.
Irma helped Buttercup farms find this house. She said she found the house and it was basically her house and she would be damned if anyone would steal it from her. She didn't really say it like that. She smiled and looked at me condescendingly. She's tall so she looked down at me and told me about he previous tenants who nearly ruined it. She was worried about my cat. "We've never had a cat here before. Your dog is okay but your cat has to stay in your room." "But she's an outside cat most of the time. She liked to go in and out." "You have to keep her in your room and take her out yourself." I opened the window a crack. At 5:30 in the morning she woke me eyes wide in panic. There was a grey wolf she said, and it had something in its mouth. "Is your cat inside??" "I don't know. What time is it?" I went back to bed and my cat came in the window half an hour later. It had been a coyote. Two coyotes actually. An owl was hooting. Or maybe it was a dog howling. It was hard to tell. Maybe it was a coyote. I couldn't sleep.
Irma went back to her husband and her actual house in Oakland. She would be back again a few days later to check up on everything. For the farm. For her house. She wanted to make sure everything wasn't ruined. But I spent these days alone in solitary bliss. I swatted mosquitoes. I drank beer and watched shows and got a P.O. box and a bottle of expensive red wine that smelled like blackberries.
If you walked around at night with all of the lights turned off you could see Saturn and Mars and the sky looked like a giant black wall speckled with white paint. It looked a little like my old studio floor, and I downloaded an app for the stars and tried to learn their names. I unpacked my keyboard and guitar and record player and surrounded myself with music. I practiced with violin and the harmonica. I studied french. Mom called and asked me when I was going to find a real job. She got excited when I applied to the Pentagon as a reporter and got an email that I was qualified and might hear back. "Tell them your parents were in the military. Did you tell them that?" "When would I have told them that? On my resume?" "Whenever you can, it will help you. Tell them about your dad's experience with the CIA." They emailed me the next day and said the position had been filled. I ordered a telescope and bought a state parks pass. I took my dog up to the Sierras and hiked. I bought a peanut butter cupcake.
31 years old. This is when everyone I know is sharing baby pictures on Facebook. This is when I'm no longer a child but not really considered an adult. The old lady still looked down on me and frowned when I asked to redecorate. "I just want to put up my old paintings." "Where?" I waved at all of the walls in my room. She took down the little cliche flower her husband had photographed and grimaced. "Well, that's alright. But this is a trial period. I don't know if you'll be staying here. I don't know if you'll want to. Don't do too much." I took down the other flower and stored it in the closet with the ironing board. I hung the painting of the Alhambra, and the painting of the little girl with the cello. I vacuumed the worms and spiders off the carpet in all the corners. I dusted the bathroom. The mess apparently didn't stop after the last tenants left, but Irma's hip replacements made it hard to bend over and maybe she didn't know about all of the worms and spiders and dust. I threw the trash out at the carwash. I left all of my extra books and clothes in the barn.
Murphys, the town of wine and clovers, was first started in 1848 by the Murphy brothers who came to mine for gold. One brother made nearly 2 million in gold and left to marry and become the sheriff of San Jose. The town burned down three times. The gold disappeared. Vineyards popped up around the valley. The first nobel prize winner in Physics was born. Mark Twain visited. Hells Angels camped out. Outlaws stayed. The town had character and wine and art and culture. Little Murphys with pastel sunsets and a haunted hotel.
1. Your opinions will be considered more valid as you get older; doesn’t matter that we’re all dipshits.
2. Some think you’re nonchalant because you’re wise; I think you’re nonchalant because you’re emotionally repressed.
3. Every man with a beard is fat.
4. Guys with tiny penises own big guns.
5. People need to stop trying to be different and just be themselves.
6. You can tell a lot about a person from their blog. like how shitty they are at spelling and why their wife left them.
7. One man’s trash is another man’s future divorce.
8. Everyone’s Emo on the inside.
9. It’s sad how anxiety is often caused from a false belief that you matter.
10. Sometimes the best way to make a difference is to go away.
Have you ever noticed how crazy people don’t need a reason to act crazy? There are lots of crazies in SF and Scotland too apparently. I was thinking about how many damn babies there are in the world compared to adults. I figured we were completely outnumbered so I looked it up and it turns out the baby boomers are still taking the lead in population. With their social security and their retirement plans. Turns out in the states anyway one out of every 8 Americans is “old” and represent 12.9% of the U.S, population. Those age 65 and older numbered 39.6 million in 2009, a number that has continued to explode. The latest U.S. Census Bureau brief on data from the 2010 Census shows seniors increasing faster than younger populations, raising the nation’s median age from 35.3 in 2000 to 37.2 in 2010, with seven states having a median age of 40 or older. That’s not old to me considering I’m about to turn 31 but it does surprise me. No wonder employment is so low and the economy is in pieces. Between this and the excess of the 80s. January 2011 ushered in the first of approximately 77 million Baby Boomers, born from 1946 through 1964 and surging toward the gates of retirement. Each year more than 3.5 million Boomers turn 55. Their swelling numbers predict that, by 2030, there will be about 72.1 million older persons, more than twice their number in 2000. Now how does this relate to crazy? From an article I read: As they begin to experience declines in their physical and sensory capabilities, they will demand—and respond to—products and services that help them maintain their active lifestyles and activities: flexible scheduling, continuing education, travel, intellectual and stimulating experiences, and opportunities for companionship. Match that with the incapacity our nation has for meeting these demands and you have millions of people damaged by their own expectations, dreams shattered, divorces and hardships accumulated, and social detachments from prolonged dependency on technological vacuums (like this one) prolonging isolation and distraction from any real life connections. I’m over generalizing here because my study is based on pondering and a couple articles but all I can hope for the future is that the population and excess will continue to level out with increased awareness of our impact on the environment and our psychological response to excess and isolation, and the younger generations will learn to recycle and restructure the trash we’ve compiled in the last 100 years. Another article I read says if we think of having a diagnosable mental illness as being under a tent, the tent seems pretty big. “Huge, in fact. How did it happen that half of us will develop a mental illness? Has this always been true and we just didn’t realize how sick we were—we didn’t realize we were under the tent? Or are we mentally less healthy than we were a generation ago? What about a third explanation—that we are labeling as mental illness psychological states that were previously considered normal, albeit unusual, making the tent bigger. The answer appears to be all three.” I have a couple friends who have been dependent on pharmaceuticals since they were in sixth grade. It seems to be worst today where parents diagnose their kids (like my 6 year old cousin) with ADHD and mania and have them watched like a hawk for any weird traits like having a personality is a form of crazy. Why does this remind me of the hysteria of the 1800s? Women locked up in bedrooms by the insistence of their doctors and husbands only to go stir crazy and see voices in the wallpaper. What they really needed was a good lay and yet here they were sent to psych wards and shunned as unstable for speaking up and being different. Each generation has a form of this social discrimination but only recently has it been controlled by heavily addictive and expensive substances with names we can’t pronounce and ingredients we can’t understand. If there were a war and we lost access to these dependencies how would we respond? Would everyone be up in arms counting stars like cartoon children or running mad like The Plague? I assume all of the nuts in SF got there because of the large number of homeless shelters and drug clinics in the area. I can’t speak for Scotland other than my personal experience with a stalker so of course I just mean to say that geography doesn’t matter, this behavior exists everywhere in different forms. It stems from extreme narcissism mixed with delusions. A strong sense of self without personal awareness. Overthinking without real analysis. That’s how I see it anyway. And just to wrap this up younger generations are “sicker”. There is much more anxiety. Much more emotional reactivity. We drink more caffeine, sit for more prolonged periods of time with no fresh air, no movement; people become preoccupied with lists of accomplishments and the ladder of success rather than emotional connections; we escape via social lubricants and tv. Why don’t we have even more nuts with all of this? I suppose I’m not giving any solutions other than the obvious like try to listen when someone calls you out on your shit but also realize when someone else is being crazy or manipulative. Try to listen to your gut instincts. Avoid crazy, you are not their confidants/teachers. Try to take a walk every day and get fresh air and listen to your body. All the simple things we forget about when something easier and quicker comes along for a moment. What if that something disappears and you are left with yourself and only yourself? What about that? Do you want our current generation of babies to grow up cursing our existence like we do the baby boomers? Do you want to forget why you ever enjoyed life when the show ends and you can’t sleep? I don’t know this has been a rant sort of. I’m going to go take a walk.
When people repeatedly try to pull my strings and realize I cut them off. Is it enjoyable to pick a person apart based on a few assumptions from their blog? I think you find it easier to look at everyone else so you don’t have to look at yourself. When you poke at others’ insecurities pay more attention and you may find that they talk about them now because they’re no longer an issue. Can you say the same for yourself? Being a puppetmaster means first learning how to not be a puppet. You can’t have drama with a person if you refuse to play their game. I’m glad I learned that.
I kind of want to be a librarian if only to spend my time where people shut the fuck up. I know libraries are louder these days than they were in the time of rotary phones and index cards. There’s a reading room and an internet room and a crazy homeless person picking their teeth in the art book aisle. But libraries are still a place of solace. You can still check out anything you want on astrophysics even if you don’t understand it and stare at the ceiling for an hour without being questioned. I’d rather a library than a church. They don’t even ask for money and more reading material. And if you want to ask forgiveness for your sins you can do it to shakespeare rather than a god you don’t believe in. The best libraries have a million little corners with comfortable chairs. In these corners is dappled sunlight and a view of pedestrians and rose bushes. Is there any other place where no one invades your space even with noise pollution? If they carried martinis and bottles of whiskey in between the stacks they’d be near perfect. Maybe a pile of pillows in the rare books room on the top floor.
L.A. seems like the kind of place you want to move if your silicone isn’t getting enough attention. I don’t mean to pester my friends in LA. Many bright and talented people live there, and a few of them will read this. I adore you guys. But let’s face it. That’s where all of the fake boobed jaded single ladies go to find meaning in their lives. Is it meaning you want or someone to appreciate your silicone implants and mediocre jokes?
I blame Ernest Hemingway for all of my drinking problems. Have you ever read Hemingway? 90% liquor menus and 10% heartbreak. He was a man’s man because every bearded twenty year old reblogs him in a fishing boat but was he though? He spoke about depression and heartache and killed himself in his sixties because the weight of the world was too much. You want to glorify his manly appraisal of exploration and alcoholism go right ahead, but I love him for his bleeding heart and sensitive eye and I think frankly that’s why you do too, little fawn.
Can we just skip the formalities and go straight to the part where you get weird and start ignoring my texts? If you want to build a relationship with someone you have to open your eyes to all of the red flags, especially when you don’t want to see them. Like “I don’t give out my number I only use kik” or long silences interspersed with flirtatious innuendos.
If I could tell my future grandchildren anything it would be “people are fucking retarded”. Cussing is not bad for children anymore than occasional candy or wine. Tell them life is rainbows and unicorns and Santa is real and alcohol is off limits and fuck is bad and sex is bad and a few house chores are good because they can win an Xbox but chores without allowance will get them nowhere and honestly you’re going to have a real mess on your hands. Tell them people will break their hearts and lie and also be surprisingly beautiful and sweet because you never know until you do. Take this from someone who is working her way up to motherhood with plants, a cat, a dog and a steady stream of cuss words.
Sometimes when I’m on my period I just feel like a walking tampon. I bleed more than Joffrey at his wedding party. I can hardly move and guys complain about being misunderstood.
"Look a tattooed couple fucking in a bathtub in the forest, that makes sense" -tumblr. I’ve seen it all and usually 100 times because the strictly Reblogger blogs have short term memory loss and an obsessions with the mundane and absurd decorated with tatts.
If I were a bear I’d eat all the bad people and then I’d move to Antarctica because fuck this noise. I’ve always wanted to go to Antarctica and if not there Alaska because there’s something magical about seeing nothing resembling humanity for miles and the possibility that you’ll be swallowed up in the white void.
I want to date a nerd who doesn’t get off on talking about what a nerd he is. Why do you feel compelled to tag “nerd joke” is it because you feel like studying science makes you more worthy of being passionate for the universe and stars and space? That memorizing comic books makes you “different”? We’re all nerds here, lose the pretense, the false humility doesn’t become anybody.
Have you ever noticed how every handsome man has a female friend watching him like a hawk? “We’re just friends” she insists smiling nervously every time he flirts with a new girl, remaining ever loyal in the background like a shark ready to devour its prey. Please for the love of all romance do yourself a favor and let it go. He will never be yours or it would have already happened.
What’s after postmodernism? That’s what I need to know. Do androids dream of electric sheep meets Eckhart Tolle meets reality tv.
I think I have a different idea of good friendship than a lot of society. For me it isn’t assuaging your ego or crying about all your hardships to gain sympathy (that is knowledge you gain in time not to reel in a friendship), and it isn’t public performance, social obligations, extravagant birthday parties, presents and daily gossip sessions with your clique. I love jokes and wit and general goofiness and those help solidify a connection but for me a real fucking friendship is consistency in compassion and respect; being there for the occasional meltdown and being there for spontaneous surprises. It also means some patience getting past people’s barriers, discernment, some raw honesty, acceptance but also challenging constructively the parts inside you that want to crumble or flower or scream. Friends I’ve lost were never my friends, and even if it’s sad to lose them it does give me space for people who will really be there not with flirtatious words, ephemeral promises and begrudged obligations but rather with their hearts.
Just had a strange thought while reading something about retirement plans of all things. I thought, everyone goes for these things and likewise grumbles about their student loans and buys insurance and prepares for their futures and social security and the stock market and car and house loans and mortgages because frankly we all think we’re going to survive for awhile. Nobody ever thinks “going to get a bunch of loans and rack up a debt because I plan to die at 35 and I won’t have to pay this shit off”. Even people who think they’re going to die young are mechanically following all of our social expectations in regards to taxes and insurance and social security because if someone were to say you’re going to die in a few weeks from an accident and none of it is going to matter and you might as well enjoy these last moments, you would say “bullshit what do you know” and a little shaken you would still feel very present, because here is your body and your home and all of these routines and plans and relationships and hopes so there is just no way that could just vanish. But it could. So it’s funny how we disregard that thinking we will persevere. We made it through the uterus after all, grew up, experienced some hardships and survived. Won’t tomorrow be just the same? No, it won’t be. It never is, and the changes happen with more intensity on certain days and when those days end we return to the familiar and forget again that it will soon end before or after our loans are paid off; it doesn’t matter.
Everyone gets this idea in their heads that the longer a relationship lasts the better it is. I hope someday I meet someone who is my best friend and we don’t miscommunicate until our clothes fall off or argue to prove a point but rather make dinner and laugh and cuddle and do things together for the rest of our lives. I want that but it doesn’t mean value is lost in the short-lived relationships that were furious and heated and confusing. They had other aspects of connection that I’ll never forget even when I’m angry and diminishing their memories with their ends. A day on the beach. A letter. The first night I went to your empty house. The day I returned. These were important loves, and they may not physically last til death do us part, and they may not end with flowers, but they’re going to always be there breaking and filling our cracks into a life worth living.
Why do people ask me questions when there is Google? Why can’t the Genius Bar be filled with cocktails and Einsteins? Names are so confining. Why can’t I just call you whatever I want: Squirt, Boss, Fatass. Something to fit your character; the Indians did it. Why always a loud bark? Is there no crescendo or decrescendo in the dog world? Why don’t you jump on my bandwagon for once? Why do international stewardesses always look sharp while American stewardesses (excuse me, flight attendants) look like plastic pop tarts? Why am I here? Why are you there? Why do I know you at all? Why does the car chase scene always happen where there’s a symphony orchestra? When it hits close to home you open your eyes. Why can’t you keep them open for the rest of the world? I don’t know why some people like you and some don’t. Why’s nutmeg poisonous? Why do goats have rectangular pupils? Just the laws of nature. Why do people have to experience a tragedy to wake up and stop performing? Why are friend and fiend so close in the English language? Think they’re cousins? Why are these expensive hipster cafes so minimalist? I feel like I’m paying loads to eat in a convent. Why are you referring to your kid as a number? This isn’t a concentration camp. Why does every teenager seem to think it’s the end of the world? They have a lot more misery ahead of them. I feel like people are always trying to test me. Why can’t you just love me? “Why?” she asks herself for the one millionth time. “Why is?…great I must have been drunk” -me receiving my netflix dvd in the mail. Ugh why does anyone attempt to give me a high five? You know when you meet someone good and you wonder why you wasted all that time before? Nobody can replace anybody, that’s why we wait. Why do the most oddly shaped people always wear the leopard print jeggings? Some people say to fight for what you want. I say why fight for that idiot who didn’t treasure you in the first place? Fight a better fight. Hold on to the one who got away so more get away and you wonder why you’re all alone. Why is it that sometimes I’m really “on” and other times I can hardly swallow my vitamins? I wish I could just say no, I don’t know why I have to explain everything. I hate feeling tied down, that’s why I’m floating away in a cloud of balloons. I am not my past. That’s why I’d rather talk about penguins. Why do they even say people’s names in movies? It’s like an hour and a half, I’m not going to remember that stupid detail. I don’t even know why people develop crushes on me it’s like you haven’t even read my essay on the inherent parasitic nature of romantic love. If you don’t want to marry me why did you text me? If there’s no point to anything why not try to be happy in your pointlessness? I used to wonder why Charlie Brown’s teacher sounded so ridiculous and incomprehensible and then I became an “adult”.
This is a little about me growing up. While I didn’t like dolls, and I was usually involved in a game of red rover or tag with the boys, I was definitely a girl. My favorite colors were “hot pink, hot orange, and hot yellow”. My favorite animals were penguins and unicorns. My favorite movie was Dirty Dancing. My own personal hero was Rainbow Brite.
I’m 6 at the beginning of this memory. My best friend was Natasha and everyone loved Natasha. I liked Jason and Natasha kissed him behind the giant tire that was stuck in the mud. I would climb on the monkey bars and watch everyone below like a bird, feeling majestic and all-knowing, but always alone.
In the afternoon, most of the kids would go home, but some of us had parents who worked late hours. My parents were separated at the time and my mom was still in the AIr Force, and wouldn’t be home till 7 or 8 in the evening so I’d go to an afternoon camp that usually meant trips to different playgrounds. Since it was Fortworth/Dallas there was a giant web of playgrounds. Some had monkey bars, and sandboxes, and some had the works- tether ball, four square, intricate ladders and bridges and ponds and trees.
I was a monkey. I climbed all the trees. In first grade I climbed a tree so high I refused to come down. “Help me I’m scared” I begged, and the teacher said “no, you got up there you can get yourself down”. I refused and spent the rest of the day in the tree. Lynn, my teacher, eventually helped me down. Mercedes, my other teacher who was also one of my many babysitters, and Natasha’s mom, and liked to play “The Wind Beneath Your Wings”, rolled her eyes at me. She was large and Colombian, and her hair was a massive fro of curls. She looked at me like I was a silly little white girl. I looked back at her like “fuck you my dad is tough and so am I”.
When Jason kissed Natasha all the girls were also kissing each other. I never talked about this because I’m embarrassed about it, even today. Megan, (Lynn’s daughter in the third grade) told us that we had to know what we were doing if we ever wanted a boyfriend, and she took all us younger girls to the bathroom and made us kiss and touch each other and make out.
And one day I was touching a girl whose name I can’t even remember and her mom saw and she spanked me with a wooden paddle she kept by her aquarium. When my dad came back from his town three hours away to scoop me up for the weekend I was crying, and I was confused, and he did something because I never saw that lady again. And that was probably a good thing because her house smelled like fish and white trash.
I had so many babysitters living as a military brat in Texas that I wouldn’t even want to begin to list them. But there were bike rides, and crystal exchanges, and lots of macaroni and cheese and Inspector Gadget.
My mom was working all the time. She was a Captain in the Air Force, with a higher rank than my dad even though he once jumped out of planes, and she was a nurse, but regardless they were both too busy being somewhere else, and I was always on a playground.
And if it wasn’t a playground I was in my room. My entire room was dedicated to Rainbow Brite. I had rainbow everything, unicorns everywhere, hot pink, hot orange, hot yellow. I was the quintessential eighties child, even though I never listened to New Kids on the Block or cared about Molly Ringwald.
But I had the instinct for slap bracelets and leg warmers. And Megan had the style I wanted. Third grade, lesbian in the making, she knew how to dress edgy. Every pair of shoes she bought I had to have. Mary Janes. Check. Reebok pumps. Check. “You’d look better with curly hair”. Ok. I let her handle me like a doll. Okay.
When I was in fourth grade I moved to Huntsville, known for its executions and its four story Sam Houston statue (he was the president of Texas when Texas was a country). I hated girls. Check. I wanted to never see a girl again. Okay.
I went to a private school with blue and white uniforms and bluebonnets draped around the entrance, and there was only one other girl I talked to in a class full of boys. Marty. We would get into trouble together, and we both hated other girls. But Marty’s dad drove drunkenly off a cliff and Marty did something that must have been worse then anything I did because she was expelled and I was alone again..
Fast forward to Portland. I moved to Portland when I was 25, and I had just been living in Korea and I was unemployed. I finally found a job at a mac computer store and I can tell you now that everyone working at a computer store is either a nerd or a lesbian. So I had this fear or this pent up anger of lesbians. I told my old boyfriend that I didn’t think there were real lesbians. I thought maybe it was anger at being fucked over by a guy and the self-loathing, stubborn response. But I later realized, when I was alone with my thoughts for along time, single and lonely and then not lonely but just alone, that there were things from my past I hadn’t dealt with, and there still are things. Childhood is blurry and we remember the neon colors while choosing to forget the confusion that causes our fear. But it all helps to begin with unicorns and rainbows, and eventually recognize what’s behind them.
Clou le Fou
In conjunction with my photography exploring negative space, I have also been writing in that silent time between midnight and 4am, and here I have gathered memories and words from that space between dreams and reality.