a girl in her city, watching the sunset

Archive for the month “January, 2013”


It is no secret I am queer.  And I don’t mean only in sexual orientation.  I’m generally opposed to classifications/stratification/castes.  This, also, not a secret.  Part of my opposition to putting things in boxes or categories is admittedly defensive.  I don’t fit in them.  They do not work for me. In order to fit in anyone’s proscribed comprehension of one or another label, I have to contort my very being in manners that do not become me.   (OMG, that’s such a profound sentence, check my shit out.)

So.  I have this awesome mother.  I call her The Moth.

(For the record, we weren’t always close.  We got to be friends around the time I was 25 or 26 years old.)

She’s built from different things than me.  Where I am saltwater and glass, she is ether and moonlights.  My spiritual grandmothers are elephants, hers are swarms of butterflies.  We still understand each other.  She gave me the tools of analysis and criticism.  She lives feminism and ferocity, but does not preach.  Her example is kindness to everyone. No one is worse or better before she knows them.  (Caveat: right-wingers are always deserving of dismissal.)  We differ in that she is superstitious and I tend to derive my routines more from logical process engineering.   Even with her superstitions (which aren’t of the usual variety, to be sure), she is thoughtful and can debate.  Superstitions for her do not enter into things like politics.

When we lived in Austin, she moved into an apartment that was for the older-set.   As is The Moth’s fashion, she makes friends everywhere she spends any amount of time.  There was another single woman there, divorced, retirement aged, adult children, etc.

Let’s call this new friend Alice.  Not that there’s anything incriminating in the following.

Alice and The Moth share a similar political philosophy and if memory serves, Alice had work experience in government, like The Moth.  They get along famously.  The Moth tells me how she and Alice went to get french fries at Sonic one afternoon, how they took in an art museum another day.  The spend free time together.  The Moth reports that Alice invited her over to eat dinner and she made steaks and they watched TV together until midnight, as they enjoy the same shows.  “Alice got us ice cream and we made sundaes!”

So one day I say to her, “Hey, The Moth?  Is Alice your girlfriend?”

The Moth is funny. “Well, she’s a female friend.”

“No, no, The Moth, I mean, are you seeing her?  Like love/relationship/dating shit.”

The Moth sounds flustered.

“H,” she begins, drawing a breath, “I’m just…I’m…not gay.  Will you accept this about me?  I’m straight.  It’s ok, it’s who I am.  There’s nothing wrong with it!”

We stutter with giggles at the reversal this is for usual comings-out.

The Moth’s open-mindedness is a thing of beauty.   Her ease with the existence of alternative sexualities, or body-mods, or weird haircuts, or, “ok, sure, if you want to wear that scarf as a turban, go right ahead,” or her grace in allowing me to make and learn from what choices I may;  this has all been tender and instructive.  She maintains a sunny outlook without drenching anyone in pollyannaism.   I can’t say enough good things about her, or relate how grateful I am for her patience and support.


Of things I do not expect.

In my place, I know what and where everything is.  I’m closer to minimalist than anything else in these terms, though I don’t necessarily embrace austerity in this.   I have a pouch of things I might consider sacred.  I’ve reduced this from a rather over-taking-everything kind of altar to a satin bag that the moth gave me for travel.   It has feathers and train tickets and various memento that probably mean nothing or not much to anyone else.  There is a lovenote from Sweetbest to her younger daughter on a bit of paper from a takeout joint in Pismo Beach that was left in a book she gave me.  Things that may be cast offs but beautiful.  A shred of tissue paper that Manda used to wrap a present, on it are the words “She has the gift of sight.”   Atop this pouch sits a tiny figurine of the Venus of Willendorf.  (Also a gift from Manda.) She was a on a keychain fob, but I released her from that so she could rule over my shelf thing.  (Or just sit there being pretty and relicky and royal in her art history.)

I made friends with Randus last year around March.  He may have been my first independent/new L.A. friend.  We had a long talk one afternoon that buoyed me for days.  I wrote about it.  Since then our camaraderie has developed.  I am honored to be his friend, I appreciate him at every turn.   

I asked him to give me a lift to an interview I had on Tuesday to which the public transpo was nearly intractable.  He spent the night before on my couch, because mornings aren’t his thing and we had to hit the road by 8.45a, (which is practically lunchtime to me and in the realm of “RUFKM?” to him).   I was asleep when he arrived, but I knew he was coming so I left the door unlocked, pillow and  blanket on the couch, and a note that said have a beer if you want, man, they’re in the fridge.   I woke for a minute or two around 3a and he was here and I was glad he made it and I mumbled something silly and went back to bed.

We chattered on the hour long drive there and back.  He reminds me that learning myself is not a one-shot thing.  He reminds me that keeping a good outlook is an undertaking in mindfulness, and mindfulness touches my whole life.  The easy way he and I get along reminds me that there are always wishes to manifest and while setbacks may come, they also ebb.   I appreciate his honesty with me, I appreciate his strength.   I am grateful for his company, I am touched he shares things with me.   

So I was eating an apple a moment ago, and I wandered over toward the shelves of the things I keep.  Housed here are nearly all of my possessions.  I think I was on my way outside but something caught my eye and then got my full attention because I did not know what it was.  I was alarmed.

A tiny piece of paper, 2×3 inches and it’s not blank, but I can’t see very well, and I know it’s not mine, and I didn’t put it there and I’m suddenly concerned and curious.  I took up this foreign, interloping scrap.

I made no sense;  comprehension escaped me.  I stood holding my apple, regarding.  Suddenly, I acquired focus.  With alacrity, the whole thing sharpened and I saw it all.  My breath caught.  I turned the leaf and the meaning of it occurred to me in that blink and I instinctively sunk to my knees.  The overwhelm took away my balance.  I couldn’t stand.

From Randus

From Randus

This was me.  These words is how he sees me.   I’m still teary and stunned.  I think of all the ways people in my life reach me, how I am so lucky and profoundly thankful for everybody.  I haven’t considered with any weight that I might be touching others.  That need for recognition/approval isn’t on my mind.  It doesn’t motivate me, you know?  I don’t feel like I have to say to anyone: “and you think I’m lovely, too, right?!”   I used to exist entirely in abject desperation that I was of any small import to anyone at all, “please someone, someone tell me I’m cute/sexy/funny/smart/anything.  Please someone say you see me.”   

But somewhere in the last year it went away.  If I feel now like I am not seen, I go out and meet people, or visit Sheddy’s and say hi to the kids there, or descend upon Tiomio.   I take it upon myself to do something about feeling invisible. The “pleasepleasetellmeIamsomeone” thing faded.  I giggle over beers or coffee with whomever and stumble home, and I don’t think as I walk, “I wonder if they’re saying nice things about me now.”  I got over it.  Sure, everyone likes attention, and sure, I like that the people I meet seem to think I’m cool enough to chatter with for a while.  And I don’t think I give off an aura of IDGAF, because I like pretty much everybody with whom I spend time.  Because I don’t care to surround myself with anything otherwise.  I enjoy you.

It just might be the case that everybody I like feels mutually.  And that isn’t so bad at all.

Thank you, Randy.
Thank you, Everybody.


A glimmer of my own

My then-husband took it hard the first time I miscarried.   I was 21 years old.   Pregnancy had been entirely unplanned, I was in school, he was a freshly-certified teacher.   I really wanted someone to hand me a chocolate bar, a handful of ibuprofen and make it so I could sleep for a week; to have some semblance of comfort.

At that point in my life, I was a busy Christian.  Sunday church services (two morning, one evening, lunch in the middle), mid-week groups, choirs, bible studies, volunteering.  The times I wasn’t working or in class were booked up solid with Jesus.  Or, something.

Oddly, being a Christian (which I said I was from ages 14-22)  never made a dent in my understanding that abortion should be available to women.  (I was raised by a liberal woman).  I felt profoundly confused, and do to this day, at Christians who are so loud and illogical about their disgust with abortion, taking the mantle of “pro-life,” when they are also totally a-ok, yep, fine, sure, with the death penalty, and spew empty parrot rhetoric like, “a fetus is innocent.”  They don’t call themselves “pro-innocence.”    They say “life.”   And, why is one life better, please?  In those books they read, where does it say that anybody has the right to determine a person’s worth?  It doesn’t, I don’t think.  I think it says, “do not judge lest ye be judged.”

When I said that my husband at the time took my miscarriage hard, I mean he blamed me for it occurring.  I had some part in “killing [his] kid.”

The words had barely settled on the rug between us when I determined with the ferocity of the ocean that  I would never have a child with this man.

A fetus is not a child until it is born.

Despite my attempts at birth control, I became pregnant.  I’ve had two abortions.  One of these I underwent with a group of women who accepted me into their midst for a long weekend, wrapping me in their wisdom and soft arms.  They chanted around me and massaged me, fed me teas and herbs and bark to chew, and encouraged me to meditate upon beautiful words and ideas.  I listened to their stories, their lovely songs.  It was a place warm with love and good food, and a time I spent considering my life.  If I had a child at that point, that child would have no good life.  I was not through school, my marriage was rocky, my sense of self was everywhere but with me.   I knew I did not want to be a mother and I did not want to share parenting with a person who said I had been at fault for miscarrying.
That Sunday morning it happened without trauma, sickness, or agony.  I wasn’t even sure if it really was what I thought it may be. I gained some tiny sense of what it was to be in control of my body, of my life.  In an ancient ritual and embraced by those strong and beautiful women, I did not have to brave clinics, or protests, or anaesthesia, or aftermath.

I mean that: ancient.  Women possessing their own bodies is not a new concept, and the idea that those people who have penises should have any say in what happens to a woman’s own body is a bit logic-bending.    At no point will a male have to choose whether to carry a fetus to term or to terminate a pregnancy.  I can say this with ultimate confidence.  I can barely stand to listen to a male anti-choice point of view, not just because they are generally soaking in stupidity and rife with bullshit about how babies are unspoilt or whatever, but because the logic never makes it across the divide.  If a man does not have to choose, why is he against it?  His precious morals are of no fucking consequence.   None.

Choice is not about forcing abortions.  If you don’t want an abortion, don’t get one.

Choice is not about killing.  It’s about living.



Virginia Woolf and my damnable pedestrian pride

I had a bizarre and disturbing dream.  I was crossing a street and was hit by a car. I became paralyzed and couldn’t walk any longer.

I woke hyperventilating and crying.

It occurs to me that I’m quite proud of being as ambulatory as I am.  The follow up consideration is that I’d like to get rid of that.  Not the ambulatory bit, the pride.

Of late, I have been aware of how very little I actually need.   Four months into unemployment, I have pared down a weekly ledger that usually exceeded $400 to one that is routinely less than $100.  I eat and drink coffee and smoke cigarettes.  I keep trying to quit smoking.  It doesn’t work.  Friday, I splurged on a jacket and a dress and that totaled around $12.  Not big bucks, I don’t think, however you dice it.  I was at the market later and tried to think of something special to get,  to celebrate, but I wandered the aisles and checked out, having saved almost twice what I spent.  I tried to talk myself into something chocolate, or a can of almonds or fancy mustard.  I wasn’t depressed, I just couldn’t find a reason past buying things for the sake of buying.

I want to work. I want super a lot to work.  I miss working.  As calm and un-bothered as my schedule is, I am ill-at-ease.  I have the hardest fucking time concentrating.  I haven’t written much of substance in weeks, though I keep planning to do it, my plans dissipate.  I don’t lack ideas, I am amassing an embarrassing amount of notes that would mean sfa to anyone else, but they are not finishing shit.  It’s not only about lacking creation.  Without creating anything, my confidence as an author is going to hell.  Am I a writer?  It’s said that if you write, you’re a writer.  Stalling is frustrating that identification.  I understand Virginia Woolf’s  assertion that a woman needs a room of her own and a bit of spending money.  I grok that so hard.   I don’t need nearly anything.   Where do I apply for the job where someone says, “here’s your rent paid and wine and meat and coffee and  Camel 99s; here’s fifty bucks to blow every week at Sheddy’s;  here’s a bus pass for a month. Write some good shit.”  Where is this job?  

So, that’s a long way around to say I’d like to disabuse myself of the notion that I need my legs.  Maybe better put this way:  I would like to learn how to accept, with a modicum of grace, that if I even if I couldn’t use my legs, I’d still be O.K.

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