Can I just be a self-centered gripping bitch for a moment here, please? If you said no, please stop reading.
There should probably be a disclaimer stating that I am a privileged, white, able-bodied cis woman who has more love than she knows what to do with. I also have internal organs slowly, steadily, rhythmically reaching out of my body and to the moon above us for the last forty-something hours. My skin has yet to burst open from the effort. My heart beats blood into this personal anarchy which only encourages the process. I think my eggs travel through my legs before reaching their destination. Or, they may be like so many other women before me, asking their friends to dress as decoys to prevent kidnapping and inevitable destruction of property via rape. I imagine the fated egg within me, talking to her girlfriends.
“We all know I’m gonna get ready and go out and no one will be there.”
“Psh, girl, at least you’re going out!”
“I knew someone who went out last year and we never heard from her again.”
“Well, whatcha gonna wear, anyways?”
Eventually, after clothing is matched with shoes that will be ignored and shimmery jewelry to distract from the shine in her eyes, she’s ready to go. She begs her friends to come with her.
“Well, not WITH ME with me, girls.” They burst into collective knowing giggles. And of course, her girls rally support around her.
The rallied girls dress up in small aching shoes and uncomfortable matching dresses. They parade around before the egg starts her fruitless journey. They go to my thigh and dance, decorate, and make me crave my monthly blood. They travel away on weekend to my lower back. They indulge with alcohol and drugs, which I support if only to numb the pain and terrifying future. All along these anticipatory traditions the egg follows her own journey. Despite her friends support, she is alone. Maybe for the last time, she is truly alone.
I have to wonder, is there comfort or fear in that solitude?
One of the most selfish feelings I’m having this month is about my friend James, who recently passed away. Suddenly passed away.
It makes me cry to know that James liked to read everything I wrote. And he won’t read this.
Being me, I have to drag out my trauma to play with all my new encounters. My trauma jumps around like a new puppy, excited to see a new friend it can distort. The knowledge and loss of a beautiful human sits quietly, the excited puppy jumping and lightly barking as it circles its new companion.
I blame myself for the death of my friend. It’s irrational and nearly insane. This was a terrible heart attack’s fault. I am not to blame, his family is not to blame, his paramedics are not to blame; it’s an awful thing that just happened. The way life just happens. One day, you’re hanging with your girlfriends and one announces that she’s going for the big one, and boom, life happens. One day you’re at home with your loving family and boom, death happens.
As a fan of Rick Sanchez, I feel I should be less emotional about this whole process. As a person who doesn’t believe in an afterlife, I should feel comforted knowing that James took every adventure he found along his journey. I should feel grateful that I still can remember him with other people who loved him.
While I’m at it, I should be cleaning the dishes, or the floors, or the bathroom, or all of those things. I should be sanding down the desk so I can repaint it. I should be putting the bed frame together so the bed isn’t on the ground like I’m nineteen. I should be repotting my plants and training the vines to accept their new trellis. I should be working on craigslist to find better carpet and that inverse thing my girlfriend needs. I should be doing yoga and trying to feel my whole body. I should be eating a well-rounded dinner that has a variety of colors and half the meat I think I want. I should be practicing self-love with encouraging, supportive self-talk and time set aside for physical gentleness to myself. I should brush my hair. I should be acting as a better sister, daughter, niece and granddaughter. Fuck, come to think of it, I should probably be being a better aunt, too. One of my nieces hasn’t heard from me in months. I should be finishing-scratch that, rather starting-my thank you cards for the best birthday I ever had. I should be writing the two meditations I missed writing because wedding drama. I should be writing the erotica I’m working on for this stunning woman I’m dating. I should be seeing my friends, who are long-suffering and full of forgiveness. I should probably write thank you cards to those people, too.
I’m in love with Jared Black. He’s been in a favorite among my phone contacts and at my feet for years now. He scares me to no end with his boundless acceptance and love for me. He is good. That someone as fundamentally good as he is would pursue me makes me confused and fluttery. That’s right, I said fluttery. Fucking deal with it.
I’m also in love with my girlfriend Niki. She is a rock alight with stars that shows me another path home. She makes me curious and kind. I am fueled by the constant emotional challenge to stay present, grounded, and open. She carries me between nightmares and hushes my panic back to sleep.
I’m mid-tumble (so, shoulders over knees?) into love with another woman made of light blushes and deep kisses. She’s a sparkler of joy and I want to stand under her colorful fiery rain for as long as I can.
During July of next year, it’s likely that I’ll be shifting my home base from Colorado to Louisiana. I hesitate to say I’ll be moving because I am sitting in my Colorado home right now. I’ll be bouncing between the two cities, between the pulls of my heart, living the dream. I’m being handed tools to build myself up. I’ve been gifted with these materials since Steve dropped me on my ass.
My ex is going to be at my friend’s memorial. And of course he is. James was in the same social circles and everyone loved him. In fact, Steve knew James before I did.
My ex is gross. Not just because he’s someone who made impossible promises and used my money and then dumped with me next to nothing. Although that does suck. Mostly because he thinks it’s cool to straddle the line that exists between “fun, negotiated scary things” and “a violator of women”. It’s not that he’s harmed anyone on purpose because I have not seen him do so. However, there is the implication. Just the implication. It’s enough.
On my thirtieth birthday, I received a text from a number I did not recognize. I showed it to my partners, who had flown into New Orleans to be there with me. It read “Happy birthday Brittany”. I thanked the nameless number and asked for an identifier. The reply was a romantic throwback to a time in my life where I could be downgraded to “just a girl” who deserves love for around 60 seconds. I replied the same way that the same two partners replied immediately.
He replied back with his name, which I knew. I thought the single-syllabled response I provided contained all of the following implied statements:
How dare you contact me today?
How is it that you can manage to make everything about yourself?
His reply showed me that as usual, it hasn’t occurred to him that the fact that I don’t talk to him and the fact that I won’t let him hug me means I want nothing more to do with him. Steve has served his purpose in my life. He introduced me to amazing people. He brought me into a place where I can communicate openly and expect the mutual respect that comes with clarity. He showed me what living with a kind father can look like, and taught me all the reasons not to move with someone you don’t know very well. Steve never sought to harm me, and he sure as fuck didn’t break me. But he did treat me poorly, and he ended things really badly. I’m not a fan.
His reply was along the lines of, “It’s me, your ex. I thought you would recognize me by that phrase. Hope you had a great birthday”.
That’s nice. It is. He didn’t have to do anything. I didn’t do a goddamned thing for his birthday. But he went out of his way to text me. That’s sweet. Right?
Then why do I feel so belittled by a phrase he’s polished in his mind to shine like a gem and not the kicked-over rock from the back roads that it is.
“Just someone who loved you for a minute. :-)”
I feel like I want to punch that happy face emoticon right out of his fucking phone.
People love me for multiple minutes, bitch. Whole years, in fact. Fuck you and your minute. The minute I spent on Steven Fanara was full of passionate strife and lies painted up beautifully. It wasn’t a waste, and it’s not a regret, but it’s sure as fuck good to be done with that. Done with him.
And yet, he’ll come up to me tomorrow night. When I’m failing my sister by missing her bridal shower and mourning my friend who should’ve had much more time. Steve will wander into my field of feelings and expect recognition for his existence in this world. The whole idea makes me wanna vomit. Maybe I can hold it in til I see Steve.
All that to say, we’ve come full circle on my selfishness. That I’m thinking of my petty issues when someone is dead is insane. That I think my gut pains merit the airing of such thoughts is absurd.
It’s exhausting to recognize and greet my feelings as they arrive throughout my day-to-day. I have so many other things that I think should come before my fucking feelings. I see others successfully contain themselves and manage in the outside world. I load another bowl and think about what I might hear if it wasn’t a constant playback of abuse on low volume instead my brain. Would it be quiet? Would I miss the sounds of a child crying herself to sleep?
Tonight I have plans that sound fun and exciting. I’ll be with a woman I love standing near, especially when she lets me hold her hand. I’ll be seeing friends I’m building dynamics with, and people will tell me they’re happy I’m around. Before that, my girlfriend will come home and let me hold her. Tomorrow I have more plans, less exciting but important and hopefully healing. I have plans for almost every day I’m in Colorado this month. Then I have plans for New Orleans in September and more Colorado plans for September. Then California plans for October and Indiana plans and then back to Colorado. Come November, the next time my calendar is not filled, I may book myself to do nothing. I may hide for days under my blankets, hoping the early snows will cover me from all the things and people.