Saturday, December 19, 2009

So, Um, I'm Almost Afraid To Admit It...

...but I think I may have Fallen. Again. Admittedly, I fall easy; it doesn't take a whole lot. Really somebody just needs to be genuinely nice to me and there I go...

the difference is this time it seems to be mutual. I was thinking about it this afternoon, on my way back to the Rock from his house where I stayed over. The last time I felt this comfortably warm about anyone was in Las Vegas. And that gave me a terrible fear, but I realized that at three months into that Thing I was already plunged into the depths of hell, whereas here, it's been four and I'm only just now feeling the comfort... and it's been a pretty steady four months.

What made me Fall in the weeks preceding Black August was a feeling of being cared for, of being looked after. But BigMan has supplanted that memory with the real thing; when I'm over there it gets to be hard to leave cuz someone making you breakfast or feeding your drunk ass burgers, or getting up in the middle of the night to get you water and Excedrin...that stuff hardly ever happens to me. Granted when he's here it's the reverse... in my own environment I'm so used to doing everything that I just naturally do everything. But over there, at his place.... it's different. Yeah, I know it all changes once folk get used to each other. But it's nice to have that, even for a little while.

The other thing that makes it easy is he rolls with my "isms". Not to say they don't piss him off but where my "isms" would send the ParentingPartner into a frenzy, BigMan will give me shit but he gets over it. Last night I'd asked him to meet me at a club where my HS Peeps were gathering... I really wanted him to experience them. He first had to take BestGirl to her therapy appointment as he usually does so I tried to time my arrival with his. Well, I was late. I got into playing with the new printer Poppy bought me, and then realized I HAD to go to the Post Office before I left the Rock and that threw off my timing. Plus... I couldn't find anything that fit my fat ass, but that's another story.( I've gained back whatever weight I'd lost... but I'm not as heavy as I thought I was; I weighed myself at the docs Wednesday. But I'm still heavier than I've been in a while and it's pissing me off.)

But anyhow...

I got there after him and he was TICKED. And he didn't hide it. Since he had a right to be annoyed I didn't get ticked at him in return. But we ended up having a great time together, and he didn't crowd me when I talked to my friends and he danced with me. I got twisted off of "Well" vodka over ice and he led me home and made me burgers...

This morning, I kept trying to get it together to go. I wanted to get home and claim my Sun back from his father, since Sun has to go back over there Sunday night as my surgery is at the crack of dawn Monday morning. But it was hard... and BigMan was joking something about "Well if you put a ring on my finger..." Not sure what he meant but I said seriously that if he wanted rings he was going to have to get them. This time I'm not orchestrating anything, cuz when I do it turns to shit. He said it wouldn't... I said I wasn't taking any chances.

However this go-round I don't feel much like running... there's not the same fears or tinglies... not the same type of distress. But I think it's because he puts in as much effort as I ever have and that makes it all feel very different.

But.

Shit can happen and change everything in the blink of an eye. But at the moment I'm reluctantly and cautiously optimistic....

Friday, December 18, 2009

Why I Ramble On...

When I started this blog in 2007, at first it just started as a way to tell stories, then a way to explore my past, then a way to explore my crazy and shut the Voices down... now it's kind of an old friend. People still read... not as much as at my peak, but it's OK. I looked at my stats when I logged in just now and I've got over 740 posts here, and have been writing pretty consistently for almost 3 years. That's pretty friggin' cool, if I do say so myself. Most folks who started with me or because of me or even who were there before me have long since fell off. I think the longest I've ever gone without writing anything is maybe 3 weeks. And I managed that one month to write every day.

What I like about writing here, as opposed to writing in a diary that no one ever sees is that anyone who cares to know anything about me can find out all about me here, get the "backstory" so to speak. It saves a lot of time. Even if I'd started out pretending to someone, or even if I was pretending here that I had it all together, anyone really reading this would soon figure out um, NOT. There's good and bad to being this exposed... and I've learned through trial and error not to direct just any old person over here. Some folk plain take advantage. I only told BigMan I even WROTE a blog last week. And I still haven't invited him to read it. Don't know that he's found it--he may have but he's not quite as stalker-ish as I am.

And I don't really care if he did... I don't think he'd really find anything here I haven't already told him about--even about the Scrub. The only thing BigMan may have issue with is my ambiguity about him, especially in the beginning. But honey, in case you do read this... I'm pretty much settled on you now. There was that period of the "White Tails Flashing" but lately I don't feel much like running. No doubt there's times you really annoy the crap out of me but I can tell by the way your nostrils flare that I get under your skin, too. Like the other night when I was WAY late for that cocktail thing. You were pretty ticked. And I was sorry... and it really wasn't my fault cuz I don't know the evening bus schedule off The Rock and miscalculated. Plus, I HAD to burn that CD or I would have HAD to come home. See, at least I was able to go home with you. But I'll try to be better... I like you enough to try.

Another reason I like writing here instead of other places is... I am held accountable. I have to be consistent with myself. If I decide that I'm going to change perspectives or rethink something or re-form an opinion, I have to first come back here, find what I wrote, and try to figure out why my opinion or perspective has changed.

If I write about loyalty or honesty or my feelings about a person or a subject, I can't very well slide on myself... It's here in black and white for all the world to see--and for me too. I use this blog to call myself on shit. But I like that, like being able to call myself out. I think that in the past few years I have grown an awful lot although my life is still in flux, but I'm pretty consistently who I am.

At least I think I am. I'd certainly like to think so. But I can go check back to day one and see...

This week I've been trying to knock stuff out, clear the decks. I'm having foot surgery Monday morning. I have a nasty old bunion on my left toe, which really escalated it's development in the past few years. I really don't think it's the shoes I wear... I have LONG since given up stilettos. The Podiatrist I found (a board-certified one in the City) said that bunions are really hereditary and caused by several things; one leg being longer than the other and so the longer leg compensates and throws off your balance, or maybe your toes don't have all the bones they're supposed to, like my two baby toes. Each toe has three bones in in... my baby toes only have two. How's that for weird?

The foot started to hurt--it SUCKS when I wear shoes--so I decided while I have no job and have medicaid, let me go take care of it (and I say again... low budget healthcare SUCKS ASS). Get my sexy foot back. There's not a whole lot of body parts of mine that I like... my boobs used to be way bigger than the rest of me causing me much grief; I never liked my ass cuz it was low, I have a long torso/short legs, a big face, even bigger head. But I always liked my feet. Wasn't crazy about the big bump growing there, and even less crazy about the fact that it actually hurt. Pain is annoying; it gets in the way. So... I'm getting it fixed.

...wow that was spaghetti-like, even for me...

Back to the original topic.

When major shit happens to me, I ruminate over it a loooooong time. So the Big Burn is now over a week old, going on two, and I'm still mulling the whole thing over. And there are moments I still rage inside. But mostly it's kind of a dull burn, like two-day old sunburn. Sometimes I get a little annoyed with myself that I even still care, but then on the other hand, caring about shit is what makes me me. Cuz I think about how I feel, then, WHY I feel the way I do about specific things, what I DON'T care about in the situation, try to accept the parts that are acceptable, decide what I'm going to do about the parts that aren't. Then I look at the things in my life--the backstory--that make me the person I am, and analyze whether or not the "backstory" has an influence over how I'm feeling. Then I try to figure out, well, if I had grown up ANOTHER way or in other circumstances, would I still feel what I feel now? Are my circumstances particular or general? And if I were someone else, would I feel the same way?

Really. I really DO think all that stuff.

It's like following a tree branch... I analyze and explore every great branch down to the smaller branches right out to the twig on the branch tip, look at the leaves... are they different from other leaves? I used to get lost in all that thinking, but through time I've learned how to pull myself back to examine the main trunk of the issue. Then, I may even go exploring the roots... but I've learned to bring it back to the tap root.

And after I've done all that thinking, then I can finally let whatever it is go... compile the data and file it under "ABC" in my brain, linking categories. So if the situation/question/problem/whatever comes up again, either with me or someone else, I compare what's going on with everything I've already stored in my head.

It's very exhausting.

But way useful.

I make a point of noticing details... gestures, facial expressions, language ticks. I go on gut feelings. I've learned not to dismiss anything anymore. The one thing you failed to pick up on is guaranteed to be the ONE thing that smacks you in the ass.

The problem is though, the older I get the more I think I'm running out of scratch disk space on the old hard drive... but what to let go/erase/delete???

Yet another reason I like writing on the blog. I don't have to remember quite as much. And it's easily searchable. Ever try going through an old diary?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Once Upon A Time

my ex-best-friend and I were thicker than thieves... like Fric and Frac. We did everything together, went everywhere. She was definitely the more dominant one in the relationship which was fine by me at the time. She had a pretty big ego, which was OK cuz she had reason to be; 6 ft and blue-eyed, blonde (dyed but it suited her) and sang her ass off. She was secretly involved with a married man, but around the time we started hanging out, he left his wife and moved in with her.

I was recovering from a major break-up with JerseyBoy. My heart was a mess... as a matter of fact it was the beginning of the Great Unraveling of what had been a pretty structured life up till that point. With EBF I was content to follow her around and play second fiddle cuz it was easy. But I loved her, actually, and we had great times.

The boyfriend turned out to be psycho, and I had just gotten involved with who would later become known as BD/LP/IFKALP/SD/Parenting Partner. She spotted the crazy in him because he had the same traits as her crazy Ex, but I was already too far invested in the relationship to cut him loose like she said I should.

She finally managed to cut the psycho loose one July 4th, and in celebration she and I took off for Rye Playland, one of my favorite places on the planet. We both loved riding the Dragon Coaster at night. As we stood on line, she turned to me and said "You're the best friend I've ever had, and I love you, and I bet we'll be best friends when we're old and crotchety. I don't ever see us not being this close." We got on the Dragon Coaster and watched the fireworks that Rye sets off on Friday nights.

I'll never forget her saying that or that moment... I wanted to remember it in case what she said came to pass. Because I knew the odds of it happening were actually pretty slim. I'd already had a BestFriend I didn't speak to anymore.

About a year later I suspected I was pregnant and before I was even certain, I told her. I told her everything first. We went looking for a pregnancy test but it was late and we couldn't find a store that had them... we drove down to the A&P on Bruckner Blvd and were amazed they didn't have any. Despite the fact that we already knew BD was crazy and I dreaded telling him about the pregnancy, the prospect of a baby was a little exciting, and she told me that if I was, and if I decided to keep the baby she'd be there every step of the way.

It turned out I was, and that I was right about BD. All hell broke loose, and he made my life miserable. And through it all, EBF held steady, sharing my cravings, riding my moods. If I felt weird or uncomfortable I'd get a call from her complaining "This pregnancy thing is really uncomfortable!" Or I'd get a call early on Sunday morning: "I'm craving hashbrowns... is that your craving, or mine?" and usually it was mine and we'd laugh that she could feel absolutely everything.

In my gut though, I could feel her not wanting this baby as much as I had decided I did. When it came time to choosing a Lamaze/birthing partner, I couldn't see her in there with me, so I chose another friend, BeautifulHair, to go with me. My reasoning to EBF was that BeautifulHair already had a baby and so she'd know what to do and what to fight for, and also, EBF worked a lot of nights singing so if she was out on a gig when it was "That Time", she wouldn't have to cut it short. But I expected her to join me and BeautifulHair as soon as she could.

Towards the end of my pregnancy, EBF finally met TheGuy she'd later marry, and started spending a lot of time with him. I didn't mind so much... by this point I was fat and slow and got out of breath easily, and the nesting instinct had kicked in. And I could feel her pulling away...

but it wasn't until after the Sun made his debut that I realized we were done. I was dropped. And it was then that I needed her most. The excitement was over and people went home, all the cute little baby clothes were washed and put away, BD had gone home to his mother's basement, the Professor had her own family to take care of, Poppy had just been operated on for bladder cancer and there I was alone, with a tiny, squawling baby and a baleful-eyed cat. I needed her. I had other friends, ShoeFly and the CrazyWoman, both of whom already had kids, but EBF had been my girl and I needed her. But she was "busy" she told me when I confronted her, spending all her time with TheGuy she would later marry and she was sorry, but she just didn't have time. I was crushed. On top of the very mild PPD, and the newness of life as a single parent, I just cried.

It was then that I realized that true girlfriends are hard to come by, and it's easy to fall in love with a new friend and think she'll be "the one". And much like an intense but brief love affair, you experience all the same intensities, the excitement... and when it doesn't work out you have all the same sadness. People grow apart in any relationship, and it doesn't hurt any less whether it's a boy or a girl. But if you're hetero, it's all the more difficult to break up with a friend because it can be very confusing.

I read an article a few years later about what happens when you break up with a friend, and it was the first time the pain I felt over EBF was validated. And it's kinda funny, because there are women, just like there are men, who are "serial monogamists", or in the case of a best friend "serial BFFs". They stick around and the friendship is intense, and then one day they find a new friend and drop you like a hot potato. And it sucks ass, just like it would when it's a guy. A little bit after EBF and I "broke up", I ran into one of her EBF in the supermarket. She asked me how EBF was, and I told her I didn't really see her anymore. She looked at me sadly, this woman, and said "I'm sorry. That's how she is... intense and your best friend and then 'poof'! one day she's gone... has a new best friend. She did it to me, too."

With time,you figure out who the real girlfriends are... the ones who are always steady, the ones who always call, the ones who give you shit--and even if it pisses you off you take it cuz you trust where it's coming from, the one you count on to pick up your kid in a pinch or feed him or keep him for you when you forget your head and go off on some drunken spree. The ones you know are family. And like good men... they may not be the most exciting and you may not giggle girlishly over stuff, but when push comes to shove you know, beyond of a shadow of a doubt, that they have your back...

You miss the EBFs, if you're brave enough or crazy enough like me, you cry over them. It hurts...sometimes for years and makes you highly mistrustful of "girlfriends". But in the end the steady women you do have in your life more than make up for the EBFs, and you look up 15 or 20 years later and they're still there... calling you, giving you shit, feeding your kid in a pinch... still family.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Lucky For The World

...that I'm a profoundly lazy bitch.

It's almost a week since the BigBurn, and my emotions have settled from a raging fire to hot coals. The more I mull shit over in my head, the more focused I've become on exactly where I hurt, and exactly where I'm pissed the fuck off. Scabs are a wonderful thing and I've a thick crusty one going; underneath it's painful, but I can deal. It's not oozing and weeping, and I don't pick at scabs... it's not worth it. But the cut is deep. It's going to take a while.

The rage... again it's a good thing I'm lazy cuz I'm a plotting kind of bitch. In my younger days I was great at avenging wrongs with elaborate undetectable plots, but I have way too much shit going on in my life for that sort of thing these days, so while thoughts occur to me and they do amuse me... eh. Who has time? Besides: "Always Take The High Road" is another mantra that I repeat regularly to myself. For good reason. Revenge may be sweet but it can be an awful lot of work.

The coals are hot, red and glowing, largely cuz I still suspect there's more to the story and folk aren't ENTIRELY forthcoming. It annoys me when folk think I don't know shit but on the other hand it's kind of useful to play dumb. And while it sort of matters to me on principal, it's not enough to do anything about.

Every so often the coals flash a flame and it takes my breath away but from experience I know these die down after awhile. The larger issue in the Burn Story was really never about me, anyhow, and I get it... but where it intersected with my life kinda fucks me up. Yeah, there's stuff there that really gets to me. Shit that makes me wonder. But I've been through worse. I think the thing that makes me saddest is that my gates are up again. They won't be coming down for a while. Fuck y'all. You won't get me again.

On the brighter side though, I think I got a good deal in the BigMan. It's been what, four months? And for the four month mark it's going pretty good. The only thing I wonder about really is... how long will THIS last? How long before there's foulness? Or a waning? He keeps saying he's in it for the long haul. But, talk is cheap.

Though there is something in the way he holds me that thinks he may be telling the truth. And it's not that he "yes"'s me to death or always takes my side, and I know I annoy him from time to time already. The one or two things about this relationship that bothered me initially, well, one of them is manageable/quite OK. The other is money. He just doesn't have any. And that's not good for either of us.

On the other hand, loyalty and honesty can't be bought...

It occurred to me the other night, how fickle life can be. How I met him on a fly by. How I almost didn't accept any of his invitations to get together. If the Scrub had been available that August evening, BigMan and I might not have ever been. Except he tells me it was fated, we would have met at some point because we are meant to be. And that makes me smile.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Well, I Tell You What

...one thing I'm sure of, after almost 45 years on this earth, is if it smells like bullshit, it IS bullshit. You can dress it up or down, serve it hot on a plate, cold in a salad, garnish it with flowers or throw it at somebody or call it fertilizer, but it'll still be bullshit. And since I'm a pretty good bullshitter, with a sister who possess an MSW, it's even easier for me to spot it when I see it.

When the Professor graduated, and got her first job in the field, I told her that if she ever got jaded I was gonna tell her about herself. That I wanted for her to always believe in the best of people. A few years later I got into an argument with her cuz she said people really only come in a few basic categories, and it pretty much has to do with what the hell was done to them as children.

I struggle with that sometimes, cuz I like remaining hopeful about people even though I'm pretty certain that 98% of them are full of shit (including myself... don't think I single myself out cuz I don't). And I'm no MSW but the older I get, the more I think she has a point.

Cuz the thing is, the world is full of shades of grey. I KNOW the world is full of grey. It's one big happy fucking grey area, with a whole bunch of fuckers playing both ends by the middle. I fancied myself a master painter in shades of grey, till I got to Family Court. That's when I observed a bunch of people all playing in the grey, with a bunch of other people specifically trained in the art of black and white.

Mr. W was the Sun's Guardian Ad Litem for most of that 6 Year War, and he had (I'm pretty sure of it) sort of a thing for me, which was kind of icky. But it was also pretty useful, cuz he'd spend a lot of time talking to me in his office. A GAL is supposed to remain absolutely neutral and not appear to have favor on either side; it's the job of the GAL to only have the best interest of the child. So he couldn't come right out and tell me he had my back. But I began to listen to his stories about court with interest, cuz they all were all very much about the big messy grey areas in the relationships between people, and how very black-and-white court has to be, in order to cut through the bullshit. I began to see that basically, he was telling me how to be black-and-white. I learned a lot from Mr. W. I appreciated him. It made it easier to tolerate the creepy late-evening phone calls I'd get from him.

So Monday was a painful blur, Tuesday I thought I felt better but was so turned around I left my bag--with keys and ID (no money, thankfully, since I have none) at the kid's violin school, and I was so mad at myself for realizing that I was obviously more fucked up about everything than even I thought, that I dropped my phone as I was trying to dial someone.

The phone made a sad "pft" sound and went completely dead. So Wednesday I went with the flow, completely enveloping myself in a fuzzy grey cloud. It felt good, actually. The Sun had gone off to his school camping trip which meant I didn't have to deal with the Parenting Partner (talk about your big grey area) and since BigMan had thoroughly pissed me off by signing off IM rather abruptly (I don't like being hung up on or signed off on, for that matter) I refused to get in touch with him till he had realized the error of his ways.

I was very tired of being empathetic. Of looking at the other side. It's kind of amazing to me that people don't seem to think I do look at all the angles. I mean, it's kind of why I started this blog so I could ramble around my head. But by Wednesday I was pretty tired of seeing the angles, cuz what happens is, nobody's covering your angle. So I went downtown and sold some scrap gold I had laying around which garnered me enough money to pay off most of my Sprint bill, and then came back to '25 to pay off said bill, find some DVD+RWs to burn pictures to, enjoy a beef patty, and revel in not having anyone be able to find me. I did check in with Bigbear, though, just in case I got snatched or something. I got $280 from the scrap gold and could only spare $20 on myself to get my eyebrows done.

I had the Sun's phone with me, but no one has the number. Additionally, the little bugger has a lock on it, which I didn't remember till it went dead. Once I charged it, I couldn't get back in it to dial anybody. But since I'm on his important list, I could actually dial my own voicemail to see if anybody gave a shit.

Finally around 5:30P BigMan proved he did, leaving a very direct message for me to give him a call when I had a chance, so I called him back. I only needed for him to call me first. Since he was the one who cut me off.

So we talked. I had a chance to remind him about the Chihuahua, and he made some smart ass remark, but he also made me dinner. Then I went with him to watch him shoot some wanna-be pin-ups for a calendar.

He's a pretty good guy. He's honest, and funny, and above all loyal. He works in a very grey area... not-quite-porn-but-really-it-is, but he gets the need for black and white. And while I have, in the past, harbored some longing for the Scrub--my big grey area-- this week I'm effectively done. I told the Scrub once that I knew he was a snake when I picked him up, and BigMan may be some things but he's not a snake. I like that about him. It's refreshing. So I think I'll keep him for a little while; especially since he loves me.

As for the other crap...

Yeah I dunno. I resent feeling played. About the worst thing is a having an MSW for a sister. When she was in school she wasn't all that confident in her writing (which is crazy cuz she writes very well and always has) so I got to read all her very interesting papers for my writing input. The DSMV became one of my favorite books. Her case studies and the anger management and conflict-resolution seminars she ran taught me a hell of a lot about spotting bullshit and playing in the grey. On the one hand I'm happy I'm aware of it all; I don't think I would have won my 6 Year War quite as decisively without her. On the other hand it makes me SO sad when I can spot hot steaming bullshit coming my way. People really are predictable. They really do fit certain categories. The things a parent does to a child really do have long-lasting ramifications.

And I'm no saint. No perfect person. I struggle with the every day shit. My apartment reflects my inner mind, my inability to grab ahold of myself disturbs me. I make rules about shit and have been guilty of breaking them. I don't hold myself above anybody else.

I do often wonder if it's me or the rest of the world, and truthfully the only reason I'm willing to say it's me is because it's a proven fact that only the insane or the narcissist thinks it's "everyone else".

I do have narcissistic tendencies. I suspect that they are probably more "narcissistic" than "tendencies" and I never would have been aware of them if it hadn't been for the 6 Year War and the psychological testing and analyzing I had to go through during that war. But I DID go through that test, and I have the report. The ironic thing is that report was court property, and I wasn't supposed to see it. But I did... and I think about it a lot. One of the things the psychologist wrote about me was that I appeared to have higher expectations of my morality than was normal. I think about that a lot.

Some people are pretty damned certain what they would do or wouldn't do in a given situation. (I was one of them.) And then when they get into that situation, they do something completely different. (I've been there, too.) And maybe it's the wrong thing. The question is once they've experienced a given situation, and analyze what they did or didn't do... should that situation arise again, will they react differently the next time? Will they make the appropriate decision? Are they qualified to KNOW what's appropriate for others in the same situation? I'd like to think I've learned from some of the foul/not quite right/sorta grey things I've done, and I'm pretty damn certain given my experience that there are things I just won't do.

But are you supposed to play in the grey? What if everyone does, and no one's looking at it in black and white? Why have rules? What's the point? Why have laws? Are some things just plain wrong? Or do you look at everything in terms of grey?

Before the 6 Year War I could easily stay in the grey for over. For one thing, it's pretty fucking convenient. You can never be held to anything. There's always an "out". Till you end up in someplace like Family Court. Or have some foul shit done to you. Then you realize how every body playing in the grey is really very self-serving. Then you appreciate having an (hopefully) ethical, uncorrupted judge or GAL looking at things in black and white.

Lots of questions. And, at least according to the 98% of the world who's playing in the grey, there are no easy answers. But I'll be honest; I sort of think that's a cop out--that "no easy answer". The truth is the truth. For every action there is a reaction. There are consequences to the things you choose to do. It's what prompted my grandfather to write "Do right because it's right to do right" and I think about that a lot too. There's just some shit you have to decide not to do.

If you know that to do a thing will cause a person grief or pain, do you do it even it benefits you? If you knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt that if you pushed a red button, you'd get a million dollars but you'd kill someone you didn't know, would you push it? And how would it affect your decision if it was someone you knew?



Ethics. Are they a worthwhile pursuit?

Speaking of ethics, we toured Fieldston on Tuesday; the ParentingPartner, the Sun and myself. The school was founded on the principals of training ethical leaders. My grandfather, he of the "do right" persuasion, sent both of his children there. It's the only reason I'd even consider applying... because Poppy went there.

"The ideal of the school is to develop individuals who will be competent to change their environment to greater conformity with moral ideals."
Felix Adler, Philosopher, humanist, and founder of the Ethical Culture Fieldston School


I would love for the Sun to go there... but at (some huge sum of $$ I refuse to look at) it's unlikely he will unless they decide they like him enough to take him for free. (Boy the odds for the poor in this country sure are stacked against them, but that's an entirely different subject.) It's too bad too; the Sun LOVED it. All the wonderful things he could do or be...

On the other hand, will it ruin him? Will it instill in him the same ethical values it did in my father, who in turn cursed me with them? Will it cause my beautiful boy grief in the end?

Is it worth it to teach him how to be ethical? When the world is full of grey... he could be doomed to a life of pain.

On the other hand, he might end up a master of the grey....

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Familiar Empty

is settling in my gut. It's sort of noteworthy cuz I haven't felt it in a while.

What happened yesterday is still lingering, still stinging. There's a myth about the 5 Stages of Grief: it's widely cited but I remember reading somewhere that the person who is attributed to this said that it's not quite that simple. They don't happen in succession, rather they happen simultaneously. With some other stuff thrown in.

But the major emotions are easy to recognize, and I feel them now, not in succession but all at the same time. I struggle with believing... is it really true? Were there motives behind the discovery? Am I disloyal for even believing? And then rage: I could scream. I've learned that I need to give myself at least 24 hours before reacting to anger, but after 24 hours I realize I'm going need a hell of a lot more time than that. And so I bargain with myself that if I give myself some time, I might feel differently. That if I look at it from several angles perhaps I won't take it all so personally. Or maybe time will prove that I'm just plain wrong. Mostly I'm sad... like a loss, deep and profound. A loss of innocence. Another tear in the already flimsy fabric of Hope that I surround myself with, so as not to be beaten down by life.

But I'm not at all accepting. Not yet anyway. And I'm not sure that I ever will be.

When I was younger, I was much more judgmental of life and people than I am now. I think--I hope--that I'm even less judgmental today than I was even three years ago when I started this blog... writing and thinking have given me the space to analyze myself, rethink my positions on a lot of things. Allowed me to find the humanity, the kindness, the understanding. All this thinking led to the inclusion of the mantra (included in the post "Surviving the Dark Days"): you cannot control what other people do; you can only control your reaction to it.

Everyone has drama and issues and things that make them dysfunctional, and with my ability to feel mental distress I tend to be hyper-aware of those issues. Particularly the ones I refer to as "white-hot core" ones. The ones that flash out to burn you when you get too close to them.

With time and understanding of myself I realized that my rules of operation can really only be applied to me. I can only hold myself to my own moral standards... I have no control over what people do or how they choose to rationalize their actions. I cannot be the one to blame or judge. It's not my place. I can only state... and choose to stand by, the rules I've set for myself. And I've done my shit. I've done my dirt. I am far from perfect. I've even broken some of my own rules. But there are about two or three I can honestly and proudly say that I have never broken no matter how tempting, and so it hurts to feel that those same rules were not applied to me.

With sadness I realize that the small circle around me is even smaller than I thought. There are several reasons this is true, and I know that some of them I contribute to. For example, my impatience with people who don't take the time to deal with their core issues, especially the ones who make the same mistakes over and over. Or the rage I feel when I think someone I care about is being hurt or taken advantage of--while not intended to be directed at the person I care about, very often comes across that way. I get frustrated very quickly when I can clearly see another, more productive path for someone I love than the path they are on and they themselves can't see it. Or worse, are too mistrustful of themselves to close their eyes and take that leap of faith. So lately I've had some harsh words with CNC because she has some of those repetitive issues that make me bonkers, and also I thought she was being ripped off by someone. When I told her this, in my usual intense way, she accused me of being negative.

The BigMan's words resonate in the quiet: "It's not WHAT you are saying, it's the WAY you say it." And he called me "relentless".

But after what happened yesterday I felt compelled to call my friend up, and try to make her understand, as nicely and patiently as I am capable of how much I care about her, how much more I see for her, and how badly it bothered me that I thought she was being ripped off. One of the things I love about her is that it seems we apply the same rules to ourselves, and because of that she trusts me. That trust enables her to let my raging run off of her. But she's also strong enough and brave enough to let me know I hurt her.

And I can tell her I'm sorry, and I mean it. Turns out she had also spoken to the Professor who had the same feelings about the rip-off as I did, and so she canceled the transaction. And secondly I made her promise that she would look into going to college. My friend is going through life on a 5th grade education. She never went to middle school. Or High School. Let alone college. I told her that I thought that she was brilliant, and kind, and able to handle school, to take it one small step at a time, and I'd be there for her. So I hope she'll do it.

In my heart, I counted the folk that time has shown me I can trust, who accept me for me, who don't take my ragings or crazies or Voices personally, or as an excuse to do things because they think I can handle it. Or maybe they think I deserve it. Or maybe they never really gave that much of a fuck about me in the first place, choosing to fulfill themselves regardless of the cost to anyone. Even if I happen to be in the way. Just when I had gotten used to and happy with the idea of a larger world, my world is suddenly very small again, and my heart is broken.

But I've been through worse. I've been through the Black and the Dark, and it never ever hurts as bad the next time as it did the first because for one thing, you learn to cover the holes up quicker. You can see when the bleeding begins that you'll need to act more quickly before the trickle turns to full-on hemorrhage.

The worst thing I do to myself in times like this is second guess myself. Or over think. Accuse myself of being melodramatic. And sometimes I allow my empathy and understanding to get in the way of my own self-preservation... it's why I stayed in that awful relationship with the ParentingPartner for so long. I hadn't spoken to anyone about what happened. I can't, for several reasons. But because my UpstairsNeighbor is close to my heart, I went upstairs and unloaded. The first time I gave spoken words to my pain and ugh, it hurt just as much letting it out as it did keeping it in. I asked her if she thought I was over reacting. She said no. She would have felt the same way and that made feel slightly better, but not a whole lot. Because the hole is still there...

Day two, and it still hurts. But I'll survive... though it's compounded by the BigMan making no effort to understand the Beast. To use kindness. And I've no patience and no desire to be understanding. He's bearing the brunt... I'm tired of understanding and being empathetic.

I'm tired. And worse I still wonder if I'm wrong...

The Greatest Thing....

...you'll ever learn
is just to love

and be loved
in return....

-"Nature Boy" written by Eden Ahbez

The Big L word had come up in conversation a few times, with the BigMan joking that I should just go ahead and say it. I told him he'd need to say it first; I was done being the first.

We went back and forth jokingly a few times, and then last week he asked me again. In my heart, I knew I couldn't, wouldn't say it first... and I asked him please.

And he said he loved me.

And I said I loved him...

..and it's been a slow decline ever since.

I realized, at that moment... the moment he said those words, how ridiculously long it's been since anyone--a man, I mean--has said those words to me. Like years. How important it was that I hear them, feel them, before I gave them back.

In that moment I realized I've been taking the easy way out. Saying "I love you" really is easy. And it gets easier with practice. It's also really easy to love when someone doesn't love you back, there's a rhythm to it. A strength in being the one able to love. But it gets hard when someone loves you back... you realize there is a responsibility in being loved. You hold that person's heart in your hand. Though people seem to forget that.

At the same time, unrelated stories began exploding all around me, from unexpected yet very close places. And it made me start to doubt the whole love-thing again, made me wonder if maybe I spoke to soon. It never seems to work out anyway. Rarely it does. Everyone wants whatever it is they don't have, and fuck up what they DO have.

Today in particular really sucked ass. Some things thrown at me out of left field that I will never discuss, but at the same time I realized that the Beast inside had been picking up strange shit for awhile. And I had been packing it down, not paying attention, thinking maybe I was being girly about shit. And the one thing I HAD been paying attention to, I was completely off base about where it was coming from. I can at least pride myself on saying I noticed something. But my own inner hope and backstory made me think it was coming from one place when really it was coming from quite another.

Rocked. Took my breath away, really, and I know it shouldn't have. I should have long been done crying. I had told myself I was healed, I was OK. Had put it all in a place where I was OK. But I'll never be OK, though I will learn how to cover it, hide it, walk with it. But underneath it's taking a lot longer than I would have liked.

And BigMan didn't get it. Didn't pick up on it. He's not particularly intuitive--maybe he hasn't known me long enough. Maybe all his own baggage and issues prevent him from reading me. Maybe I could have handled the day better. But it hurt. Not as much as other things or times... I'm so jaded now none of it matters, least of all him. Just another flash in the pan.

My ex-sister-in-law tried to kill herself once. One night afterward we were talking and she had said that at the time, she just couldn't take the pain anymore. That she could look at someone and feel all their pain, and hers, and she just got tired. Wanted it to end. I think about her and those words a lot, because while I am far (assuredly very far) from suicidal, I sometimes wonder if I'll ever really learn to manage pain. Some times are easier than other times... and some times are harder.

Because right now, though I hurt for myself, there is other pain and sadness that I can feel, can sympathize with. And actions resulting from that pain have hurt me more than I can say. And so its' all jumbled up, and I can't even write about it, can't talk about it, and even if I did it would be ridiculous anyway. Cuz I shouldn't feel this way. But I do.

So I'll cry for a few days, when no one's looking. And I'll give myself some time to right myself, and I'll be OK. Till the next time.

It sucked. My hands were shaking. I missed the bus I should have been on, and the next one got caught behind the drawbridge off the Rock. In the jostle to get going after the arms of the bridge had lifted, the bus I was on tapped the Parks Department Van in front of it. The Driver had to make a report, and called the police. As the police arrived, they somehow crashed into a car in front of them. So then another set of policeman had to be called to take THAT report. It should have been funny. But I couldn't stop crying.

And of all people in the world to trust, who I could call... the ParentingPartner. He went down and picked up our Sun and brought him home.

And I thought to myself... this can't be happening. I can't do that again. I won't. I will not. And I cried some more.

But I'll be alright. Just a temporary setback, a shitty day.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I Get It....

...this relationship thing. At least lately, I've felt like I do.

I'm a dork, I guess, for it having taken me so long to realize it. Or maybe because I grew up in a family where the relationship between my parents worked pretty well, I took for granted how it works, assumed that it was all the work that made it that easy. I knew about the work and compromise... at least my parents always told me about that, but maybe I came to think that the work is what made it work not realizing that the work was easy.

And so I became focused on the work of it... forgetting about the ease. Cuz when a relationship is working, it's very easy. Easy to work at.

I always tried really hard in relationships... and most of the time it seemed I ended up being the one who tried the hardest. And that's not a good thing, because the more I tried, the less it seemed any body else was trying.

Most of the time I was the one that did the pursuing, the understanding, the waiting... forgetting that it goes both ways.

Because this thing with BigMan is very easy. And it's funny to me, cuz he's not anyone I would have picked: he's not really my type, and not that his ethnicity has anything to do with it but I haven't met a man of African descent in a long while who hasn't annoyed me.

Largely men of African descent annoy me because I didn't grow up here; I don't have the same biases or understanding of "black-white" that many have, I don't carry the same racial baggage or the hundreds of years of hurt. My parents effectively erased that from my psyche by taking me away from it, by not referring to "black" or "white" but by "brown" and "pink", by continually reminding me of the Native blood flowing in my family. And I have narcissistic tendencies and can be impatient with things that don't change. So I get annoyed when people are "stuck" in patterns of "black-white".

I've had a hard time dealing with anyone carrying that baggage, but with brown men in particular because being a brown man in this country seems to automatically saddle him with a load--with a hurt. But there was annoyance with Caucasians too, cuz they suffer from the flip side of the same disease.

I had pretty much given up on ever meeting anyone I'd be able to tolerate for long, and I had completely given up on anyone who would tolerate me. It made me try extra hard to manage "the crazy", quiet The Voices.

And then all of a sudden there he was.

It's an odd feeling to be cared for, and to be cared for by someone who is secure enough to care without demanding anything in return. It took me a while to figure out that loving freely without NEEDING it back was a good thing... I began to figure it out when Nene was in the picture. It's amazing to have someone be as kind to you as you are to them... which I began to understand when the Scrub came around. The unfortunate part to that was that he was only kind in the pursuit but not at all kind once he'd gotten what he needed. It was wonderful to be "heard" and understood, and I learned that when the Cricket resurfaced, but the problem with that was he was like that with everyone (which is a good trait, really except that it meant he wasn't doing it cuz I was of value to him.)

BigMan makes me feel valued. Little things like making sure I walk on the inside when we walk down the street. Opening a door for me. Carrying a heavy bag. And when I protest, telling me I should let him because he wants to, not because he's trying to curtail my independence or rob me of my strength. That I won't be weak because I let him do it even though I could do it myself.

If I start stressing about something--a responsibility I'm not meeting, a problem I'm having, his suggestions aren't condescending. "Sweetie," he says, "you're making this a bigger deal than it really is. It will be OK." Or, "you're doing the best you can, you can't do anything else so stop worrying about it." With anyone else I might get really annoyed because I WOULDN'T stress if it wasn't a big deal, but he seems to remind me of something I already knew, and coming from him I don't mind being reminded.

If I jump from one subject to another, and he looks puzzled, having explained to him the waffle/spaghetti theory I'll say "Spaghetti, Honey" and he'll say "Well, wash the starch off so they'll stop sticking to each other."

There are times when something he's done or not done has annoyed the crap out of me, and I feel the venom rising... but I've been through enough shit to try to be fair, to sort out what I'm feeling. And I can tell him what I'm feeling and he'll listen. If he's wrong he'll say "OK". He doesn't negate what I'm feeling, even if he doesn't agree.

But most importantly he's kind to me; in a very matter-of-fact, non-dramatic way.

It makes it easy to be around him, easy to be kind in return, and I've yet to feel that any of this is "work."

I count myself lucky because I really had given up hope that I would find someone like him... and I'm still a little reluctant to let all the floodgates open cuz shit happens. And it's only been a few months. But so far, so good.

Course the downside is time. I'm a lousy time-manger anyhow, and time with him distracts me from other things but that's my own issue.

And not having any money sort of prevents me from "girls night out", and I really miss my girls. I know some of them are convinced it's BigMan, but it isn't really... it's sometimes I just don't have the carfare, let alone the drinkfare to go anywhere.

And I miss writing. I have to figure out how to get the time back to write. I'm learning so much... seeing so much...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Ramble on Music

Lately, I've been too busy living La Vida Low Budget to really deal with the world around me.

But it's funny how things work; I can't afford my satellite subscription, and so on Sunday afternoon previous my TV went dead. What sucks about satellite is when your service is down you can't even get local channels, the cheap fuckers. So I have no idea of what's going on in the world on a daily basis, or what the weather's gonna be, and I still haven't seen pictures of Sammy Sosa's lightened skin. And I'm not that interested enough to go Google it.

But what I DO have is Link TV, Satellite's public access channel. I get world wide news five months later, but by the same token... what's really going to change in the next few days anyway? I mean really? We have a brown-skinned President and the general novelty has worn off. The poor thing is swimming upstream against the worst economics seen in this country in a long time, two wars he didn't start, and the worst (and most embarrasing) case of racism I've ever seen.

And Bloomberg bought himself an election. And P.S. on Bloomberg... a few years ago when I didn't see the point in voting when you're at the bottom of the foodchain, some very liberal Jewish people convinced me of the numbers game. It worked with Obama. It didn't work with Bloomberg. I'm back to being jaded. I don' t really care what's happening in the world; it's not helping me and my immediate problems anyway.

However.

What does, and always interests me is music. I think that music tells more about a culture or an outlook or a time period than anything else. Music transcends language. If you don't understand the language the songs lyrics or in, or if the music has no lyrics, if you listen you can still feel the mood, the culture behind the song.

Music can create visceral reactions in people, which always interests me. What causes them to have such a reaction? And what's interesting is that the more "primitive" or simplified the music, the stronger the reaction. HipHop is a classic case of music and strong reactions for and against... but when you think about it most hiphop is stripped to the most basic elements; a beat, and some lyrics. And it fascinates me that some people can't even get past the (primitive) beat to pay attention to what's really going on. They automatically hear the beat and assume it's "that kind" of music and they don't want anyting to do with it.

I grew up listening to music; it provides the score for the soundtracks of my earliest memories:
  • Poppy in France bringing home a 45 of Ray Charles singing "Eleanor Rigby". Playing it over and over, loving how Ray had added soul to an already powerful Beatles song.

  • James Brown singing "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" and me thinking that maybe it was about Poppy who loved to make bags out of old jeans legs... but even at three years old I knew I'd never met James Brown so how could he know about Poppy's bags?

  • Standing at the turntable watching the label of an Archie Shepp record go around and around... the music filling me with fear all of a sudden so I cried. And me not being able to explain why it scared me so.
And many many other memories...

As I got older and went through school and life, even though I didn't follow a musical path my love for music has always stayed and my interest in the cultural differences or the history has grown. I may not like all of what I hear, too loud, too aggressive, too sad, too European--but I will at least take a listen to hear the story the music has to tell.

I'm amazed that most people won't take the time to listen to something other than what they know, or "like". Or don't listen at all. There are so many stories they are missing, a whole understanding of the world that they'll never see. Never "get".

So all I have is LinkTV right now, but the beautiful thing about that is the half-hour blocks of world music that they'll play. Music Videos from all over the world. Some known, like Shakira. Some known only to the culture they're from.

For fun, I try to listen to the story of Africa... are there any African-inspired beats? Harmonies? I owe this latest game with myself in part to the Sun's percussussion group, Speaking In Rhythms. The founder/leader of the group got a few kids together a few years back, and took them to Puerto Rico to learn about the African beats that go there via slavery. A few years later they got to Belize. This year they're trying to get to Peru.

Peru? Who knew Africans had made it to Peru? Around the same time CNC introduced me to Joe Arroyo, a salsero from Columbia. Two songs of his fascinated me; one I've already posted here about slavery in Columbia (Rebelion), but another, Yamulemao, caught my attention. A little digging into the song provided something very interesting:

"Yamulemau" was originally recorded as "Diamoule" by Laba Sosseh, a singer from the West African country Gambia. An interesting example of cultural interaction between Africa and the Americas, Sosseh was first inspired by popular Cuban music and salsa. Arroyo sings "Yamulemau" in the original African language, imitating the phonetics much the same way African artists like Sosseh have done with Spanish.

Here's the video:



And for fun, here is the original African version:



I could spend a good day (and probably will when time permits) playing both version over and over to hear where they cross, where they differ...

I digress a little.

But here's the thing; most music invites dancing. And if you think music evokes visceral reactions, dance does the same thing. Dance is the visualization of a culture and movements can be very particular to a region. But people travel... slavery happened and there are movements particular to Africa that are now world wide.

What started this post, the story behind the story, was that over at Keep it Trill, she posted a video of a baby dancing to "Stanky Leg". She posed the video as a test of your own racist reactions, and pointed out the rather vehement rather racist comments on YouTube. Someone pointed out the absence of racist comments under another video of an extremely blond French girl doing African dance (extremely well, I might add). Rather than repost the discussion or some of the comments I urge you all to go visit, cuz it was a very interesting discussion: Keep It Trill's blog post is here.

(For fun though, I also recommend going over to YouTube and viewing the original Stanky Leg and the hundreds of people who have posted themselves doing the dance--including some pink girls who do a pretty good job.)

One thing I brought up over there in passing, is how ashamed people can be made to feel about their culture or heritage. Frequently, this is the result of one group of people dominating another; the powerful group uses all the things indigenous to the dominated group against them. Breaks it down into a stereotype, so that the dominated group begins to hate those very things about them that are essential to their nature. We often can't see it when we look at ourselves, but if we look at other cultures maybe we're not so blinded by our own feelings to see it.

Case in point; my Native cousins. Babies snatched and sent to "Indian Schools", their hair cut and made to feel ashamed of what they were taken from; forbidden to speak their languages, sing their songs, dance to their music. We know it happened to the Africans too.

But those traditions linger. They got passed down despite the beatings, the mental and verbal abuse. And my Native cousins have been slightly more successful at reclaiming their heritage with pride than my African cousins have been. It's why I love pow wows; the Native beat, the dancing, the honoring of Native spirits and traditions.

I particularly love this video by Native actor/hiphop artist/activist Litefoot. I love that it's a Native beat, with Native singing and dancing but it's got a definite HipHop flavor:



And just for giggles, here's a collaboration between Caucasian and Aborignal Australians... but watch the video for the hints of AfricanAmerican robot-dancing:







And get past the "hiphop" beat to watch this video by New Zealand/Maori group Dam Native:

Monday, November 9, 2009

Further Adventures of the LowBudget Life

I never went back to Welfare. Fuck that. And I'm not answering the phone. I need to write my landlord a letter and tell her look I'm sorry... I just don't have it.

And I need to figure something out. I applied to two jobs at an ad agency I've ALWAYS wanted to work at. No response, other than "your application was submitted". Fuckers.

Then my printer died. Right in the middle of printing my picture of Charles Oakley. Just died. Luckily, my Poppy said he'd buy me a new one. I need a printer, a 13x19. I use it ALL THE TIME. But I wondered if maybe God is telling me to just quit, move on, find something else to do. The odds are against me. But. I don't WANT to do anything else. I am not cut out to do anything else. I know because I tried. Several times and for many years. Cuz except for the fact that I'm three months behind in the rent, Con Ed is over due, I have no Satellite and couldn't wait for my Food Stamps today, life is pretty good.

BigMan stayed over last night, because he wanted me to come sit with him while he went to the Clinic to try to resolve some of his health issues, one of which is "extremely low levels of potassium".

The Hospital I used to work at redid this major new clinic in the building I used to work in... it was a little freaky to walk in and have everything inside be COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. Even the elevator banks were moved. So after dropping the kid off at school, BigMan and I walked over to the clinic.

The guard sent us to the 8th floor. BigMan signed in. We sat for an hour... only to discover we were sitting in the ophthalmology clinic. The internal medicine clinic was on 7. So we go to 7 and sign in, and BigMan tells the receptionist that he doesn't have insurance. She says he has to go down to Patient Services and make arrangements. BigMan gets aggravated easily, though inwardly. I could feel him getting restless but the receptionist assured him it would only take a minute.

So we go down to 1 and find Patient Services. The woman rather boredly tells BigMan his clinic visit will be $50. "I don't have $50" he says. She looks at him blankly. She says there's a sliding fee scale but he has to bring in documentation. He tells her he's not working, has no insurance which is why he's at the clinic. Finally some little light goes off in her pea brain and she hands him the address of the Hospital's Medicaid office.

Of course he had none of the documentation needed; he was expecting to only go to the clinic. But still. Or maybe I'm just used to la Vida Low Budget and tend to come prepared. To be fair, the ER he walked into the other day for a check up merely gave him prescriptions and told him to go to the clinic for a follow-up, and he went through the ER without insurance--ya think maybe someone would mention something.

Needless to say... no clinic today. And BigMan needs to be insured. Even more than I do. But he's going to have all the same horrible issues I had when I tried to get the Sun on Medicaid... they want documentation but seem incredulous when the documentation supports your claim that you have no money. And BigMan REALLY needs to go to a doctor. Fast. He really needs medical coverage or free health care. And it's not going to happen.

So we went back to his place for a minute and I took a nap. I had to be back at the Sun's school by 2:30 to bring cupcakes to PerpetualMotion who now attends pre-K at the same place. PM turned 4 yesterday.

BigBear met me at the school and we did the cupcake thing. PreK kids are really cute. And squirmy. And headstrong. Especially PM.

When school let out, BigMan drove me to the supermarket. He's had the car from his partner again. It seems to me she's a lot nicer to him when I'm not around her so I've made myself kinda scarce.

For the first time in about a year, I actually walked out of the supermarket with foodstamps left over. I wonder if I can make them last till the end of the month?

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

My last post I spoke about my frustration with BigMan and the timebending thing. And then I realized, should he ever stumble upon the blog (and no... this time I have not pointed him here to read SHIT since it doesn't seem to work out so well when I do) his feelings might be hurt. Might be, cuz he's pretty thick-skinned and I don't seem to phase him. But... I actually felt bad about that, cuz I do kinda like him. I wouldn't want to hurt his feelings. And I realized that right now I'm REALLY stressed about the living situation and when I'm stressed I go into chihuahua mode... lots of barking and nipping. I try not to take that out on people, but sometimes people just don't get out of the way. Or pick me up and pet me.

And I was feeling a little weird cuz I woke up the other morning thinking about the Scrub. Who I haven't really missed too much lately so it was sort of odd. And it was odd that it was vivid. And where in the past I would feel compelled to contact him, this time I didn't. But I've learned that sometimes those dreams aren't about the person, really, but more about something that's not right in your present situation.

And there's stuff with BigMan that's going to need some work... and while half of me wonders if it's really worth working on, the other half of me acknowledges that unlike most other people I've ever been in a relationship with, this one actually tries. It matters to him that he try. And that counts for a lot.

So I called him to tell him that if I had been more spicy than normal, I apologize... there's a lot going on. But then he pissed me off completely by totally taking it the wrong way. Ugh. Shit like that makes me tired. He came over later and we talked about it... and I pretty much told him again what I'd said the other day: I only say what I mean, and I only bother to tell stuff to people I care about it. So take it or leave it. We made up. He saved himself for another day.

Today in the car I'd said something implying I might get fed up and wander off one day, and he said "You ain't going NOwhere". It was such a funny declaration, and I laughed. On the one hand it said to me that no matter our differences he's committed to riding it out and won't just throw his hands up in frustration one day. Of course on the other hand...

...but I have a little faith in this one mainly because so far he has always been respectful of me; of my body, my feelings, my opinions, my heart...

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Theory of Relativity...

Einstein was a fucking genius. Yes, I know the world knows that already. He's famous for it.

But seriously, think about it. Who in the hell comes up with shit like the theory of relativity? What was he smoking? And is there any left?

The simplest version of any kind of an explanation that I found was this:
"Special Relativity says that every person has their own time. One person's clock says something different from another person's clock. The reason a person's time can be different from another's is because of Time Dilation, which can be thought of more easily by the Twin Paradox."

Time. Me and time don't deal with each other very well. I am always late, always behind, always trying to outrun time. There are always so many things I can do with my time--too many. The good part about that is that I am NEVER bored. Seriously. I can't remember the last time I was bored.

The thing is, there are things that I WANT to give my time to; and right now mostly it's my kid and being a mother. I essentially, am a stay-at-home mom and every full-time stay-at-home mom knows exactly how much time that takes. The problem with that is that most stay-at-home moms have a husband or partner who at least brings in the money so that she can be home with the kids and take them to karate or soccer or violin, help them with their homework, be there for them.

I don't have that, and that's a problem. A HUGE problem. And I'm wracking my brain trying to figure out how "full time stay-at-home mom" and "full time work-at-home graphic artist/photographer/illustrator" go hand in hand and seriously, I don't think they do. Cuz the other thing I notice is that other women who work at home full time have some kind of a help-meet... a nanny, a partner.

Now I could be wrong. Maybe I'm just rationalizing my failures away. It's a good possibility cuz I really am good at rationalizing.

But I know it's not because I'm NOT working that I'm broke. I work all the fucking time. I never ever (unless I'm really sick or have a migraine like I did about a week and a half ago when I crawled home, stripped at the door, got in the bed and slept all afternoon) am sitting around doing nothing. Yeah, I surf Crackbook. But seriously... while I'm surfing Crackbook I also have several other applications open, am probably trying to write, am probably cooking all at the same time and probably have a load of laundry going. AND, the main reason I surf Crackbook is contacts and networking with people. And I've gotten some work from that... so I can't say that Crackbook is a complete waste of time. Except for maybe when I play Scrabble or Wordscraper, but honestly, those games last days because I don't play consistently. I've long given up on Mafia Wars or Bejeweled Blitz cuz I don't have the time.

So enter the BigMan into the TimeSpace Continuum. Einstein says heavy objects bend time, and um, yeah. That would be true. BigMan takes up time. And I don't mind, I don't. I wanted it. But there's a downside to everything and the downside is that when he's here, in all fairness I really should sit with him and pay attention to him or talk to him or watch a movie with him. And I want to do those things, and I'm getting better at doing those things without my brain racing in my head saying "You know you could be doing this. Or that. And there's still THAT that needs to be done. And you could do a load of laundry too, while you're at it". He says I need to relax more, to get more sleep. He got kind of mad about it. And I told him listen... If I had the fucking time to sleep I would. But SOMETHING'S gotta give, and dishes don't wash themselves and laundry doesn't put itself away, and when the cat yukes on the rug I have to clean it and then of course there's work I need to do to finish projects.

Or, write, to clear my head, because it's essential to my well-being.

So he washes dishes for me, and mops the floor when I ask, and I like that, I do. And I appreciate it. But sometimes he just sits on the couch and bends time and THAT tends to piss me off.

Last week he'd gone home and I missed him and asked him to come back, and he did. But he was really bending time and it was making me nuts so when he went home I felt a little relieved.

And I'm not sure I should feel relieved when he goes home, considering how much I cried that I had no one when he wasn't here to bend time with.

Mr. True God, I'm not ungrateful. I really am not. I was specific in what I asked for and You pretty much sent what I asked except for one or two glaring exceptions (which I am really trying to weigh how essential they are to my happiness). I am trying to be patient and be cognizant of my narcissistic tendencies, and I am realizing more and more that I'm a lot more like my mother than I initially thought. Probably because the BigMan has certain tendencies that REALLY remind me of Poppy.

Poppy can bend time like no other. Poppy gets snarky when BigBear tells him what to do. "It's not what you say" he's said to her "it's the bossy way in which you say it".

Which gave me quite a start when the BigMan said exactly the same thing to me, only he used the words "condescending" and "relentless".

My response was, about a day later and in a joking fashion "Look, I don't give a shit about most people, and when I don't give a shit I don't say shit cuz it's not worth my time. So if I say something to you it's because I give a shit. And I am relentless in my explanation, and passionate in my delivery, and you should take this the way it's intended--from the heart--cuz if I DIDN'T give a shit, trust me, you'd never hear me say a fucking word."

And I do try to be rational and understanding and thoughtful when I speak but sometimes fuck, I just don't have time for all that. Just do what I say and your life will be a lot easier, can't you see that? Must I sugarcoat everything???

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

The other day I started the process of applying for Welfare. The end result of that experience in Hell is that the next motherfucker who rants about "Welfare recipients who do nothing but collect checks and have children on my dime" within earshot of me is going to get slapped.

Why? Cuz the ones who have the fucking time to waste going through the process and dealing with the bullshit deserve to get it. And Welfare is designed to support just those very people, because anyone who REALLY desperately needs a break does not have the fucking time to deal with the bullshit.

On Friday the 30th I went about 10AM to the Welfare center and stood online for an application. The app booklet itself is fairly simple and straightforward; slightly more info is asked than on the Foodstamp app, but not much. But in addition there is this HUGE amount of fucking paper booklets that go along with it. You get a blue ticket and go up to the blue floor (all the signs are blue and the walls are blue--the FoodStamp Floor is lavender). And wait.

If you think the waiting room is full of nodding junkies and pregnant black women, um no. Pretty much a broad spectrum of ordinary folk and no, no Mexicans. Those motherfuckers all have jobs. Cuz they will work for less than minimum wage in slavery-like conditions as busboys and nannies and live 10 to a room to save money, and one day those motherfuckers drive up in their SUV and buy your house in Yonkers.

You can't be in a four-year college and get welfare.

You can't be working and get welfare.

And Welfare, in New York City, land of the overpriced housing market, only pays $280 towards your rent (in 1987, when the Professor and I took over the $200-a-month apartment next door to the parents and had just taken over the Diva's life, Welfare paid $197 a month). And they'll only pay THAT if you have "plan of action" that tells them how you plan on paying the rest of your $1,000+ rent. And no, bitch you can't have a job. Cuz that cuts into your budget. So really, you need Section 8 (and that list/program has LONG since been done) or someone who will pay the balance.

Except for the screaming/bored babies, it was pretty quiet with most folk avoiding eye contact. Nobody in their right mind REALLY wants to be there. Later on I peeped that the ones who DO make eye contact are the professionals.

So after sitting there all morning I met with a very nice Hispanic woman who took all--and I do mean all--my info and input it into the computer and told me all the shit I was going to have to do in the next 5 days just to keep my application open. "Non-compliance" means they immediately close your case. My case is already closed, I'm sure of it, but I digress.

One of the things you have to agree to is finger-imaging. Let alone the fact I've ALREADY been finger-imaged cuz of FoodStamps. Um, it's not like my fingerprints are going to change. But no... I would have to be finger-imaged again. I also had to have my child-care provider fill out this rather large booklet (which requires them checking off "yes" to questions like "Provider agrees to refrigerate leftover milk and formula" and supply their social security info and whether they themselves are receiving foodstamps or welfare) and bring the booklet back to the Center on the 4th. I needed proof of childcare to get my childcare allowance so I could go sit in the FEGS office all day.

I had some other paper to fill out from the landlord about my rental arrears, but the really nice worker had a Hispanic accent that was so thick I couldn't understand a fucking word she was saying (and seriously, that's thick, cuz I can even understand my Dominican hairstylist).

So on the 4th I dragged my sorry ass back up to the Center. This was Wednesday morning, about 10, after I dropped the Sun off to school. The line was out the door, down the block on both sides of the entrance. The longer side was the Welfare side, the shorter side FoodStamps.

I went first to the childcare section. I told the woman my kid was 10 and I could leave him in afterschool so I didn't need to provide any data. When I checked off "no" to the question "Could you accept a job today?" I meant no, not THAT day cuz it would be unexpected and I'd have to make arrangements to pick up the kid. She was very nice that woman, and spoke English and when I told her have a nice day I meant it.

Then next I went to the Yellow Floor with a Yellow Ticket, which was the HDU floor. That's the floor you go to when you have rental arrears or an Impending Eviction and are looking for a One-Shot Deal. There were nothing but women there, and later one lonely young man who was probably aging out of the foster care system. It was then that I remembered I'd been on that floor before, when I was in School and broke, and I hadn't had any relief from them then.

And ain't gonna get it now.

Welfare will only pay your back rent IF you are in court with a Pending Eviction AND you have a "plan of action" on how you're going to pay your rent once they pay the back rent. In other words... you need a job.

Which is sort of an oxymoron, don't you think? If you had a fucking job you wouldn't be behind in your rent.

And if like me, you're applying for Welfare cuz you've been looking for work/not making enough and DON"T have a job, they MIGHT pay your rental arrears IF the apartment is legal and the landlord provides documentation that it's legal AND you have a plan of action detailing how you plan on paying your rent from now on, especially since Welfare only pays $280.

And the worker rather snottily explained, IF you have a job you have to come report it and they get to DECIDE whether or not you're making too much.

I don't have time to figure that shit out. I walked out of there thinking fuck this, but went downstairs anyway to my mandatory job-training/FEGS orientation that was about an hour long.

Really, the talk the facilitator gave was about 20 minutes, in which she told us (all women, one pregnant and two who had small children) that we were REQUIRED to go sit in the FEGS office for 35 hours a week and work on jobskills. And look for jobs. And if we still couldn't find a job, they would assign us jobs. And no, we weren't working for "free", see... we were receiving benefits. Except, um... I was to report to FEGS the next day and STILL wasn't told I actually had Welfare yet.

In my head I was doing the time equation: 35 hours a week in a hot (probably) basement pasty-colored room with slow-ass people who had government jobs instructing me how to write a resume or practice my interview skills.

I have a fucking resume.

Maybe my interviewing skills suck. They probably do... I haven't had an interview in probably 5 years... but at some point I apparently interviewed pretty well since at one point in my life I made $87,000 a year. But I'll be goddamned if I sit in a hot fucking office sleeping and twiddling my thumbs when at least if I'm home twiddling my fucking thumbs, I'm networking Crackbook, working on shit, doing laundry, cooking, and applying for jobs. I have a computer and (so far, still) Internet service. I touch type 90 fucking words a minute.

IF I CAN'T GET A JOB FROM HOME, CUZ THE FUCKING AUTOMATED JOB APPS DON'T EVEN CALL YOU BACK, THE FUCK MAKES YOU THINK I'M GONNA GET A JOB THAT PAYS MY BILLS SITTING IN FEGS? Or better yet, working at my WEP assignment.

The pregnant girl said she was six months... the facilitator said that didn't matter. Your ass still needed to go sit in FEGS. And don't worry, they won't assign you anything like cleaning trains, you can do a customer service training course or a clerical gig. You know, filing all the fucking denied Welfare applications.

A colossal waste of a fucking day.

I'm really not sure what I'm going to do, but I know one Goddamn thing... Welfare is not for me.

But I don't think my landlord is going to like that too much so I'll just continue not answering the phone. She'll send me a nasty letter eventually. I'll deal with it then.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-==-=-=-

On a happy note, time spent practicing something useful makes one better at whatever it is one chooses to spend time practicing. It's really nice if you actually ENJOY the time spent. In the Sun's case, he claims to not enjoy violin, but he was dared by Roberta to practice 6 days a week for two weeks and she bet him a dollar he would be better. And he did it, with not too much screaming. And he got better. He's got tone. He's even getting a little vibrato. when he plays "Eleanor Rigby" it almost sounds like singing. His "Minuet II" makes me want to dance a pretty waltz. I love when he plays "One-Masked Tango". And he can transpose "Florida Blues" into another key with no music... just his ear.

Little bastard. I'll never let him quit. The downside was I bribed him with a new phone if he met Roberta's challenge, which meant more to him than the dollar she promised. But I couldn't fulfill my end of the deal, since I owe Sprint a lot of money and they won't let me upgrade his phone. Shit like that bothers me even more than the landlord's nasty letters...

Saturday, October 17, 2009

"Men Are Like Waffles


...Women Are Like Spaghettii..." is a statement that changed my life. I don't think I read the whole book but I read enough excerpts different places to get the gist of it, and I agree completely.

Particularly since my mind is a a huge bowl of spaghetti.

I actually started this post two weeks ago and didn't get to finish because my life is so jampacked there's not a whole lot I can do at one time. When I take something new on, invariably something else gets dropped even though I don't want it to. But I've learned it's just the way I work. There are only so many hours in the day... and whatever I do I do wholeheartedly and you can't do everything wholeheartedly. Which is why stuff gets dropped. It's awful. It disorients people I deal with, it fucks up projects I'm working on. But see, this is why I write. Because I started this post two weeks ago to explain the debate BigMan and I were having, and I'm glad I held on to the thought in writing because it's actually a pretty good way to remind myself of what I was thinking. But this actual post is going to be a little different, I think, than how it started out.

And I just realized, while writing the above paragraph, why I have such a hard time with continuity.

So to finish the epiphany I was having... I've stopped writing as much because the BigMan has entered my life and taken up that space/time I had to write in. And I don't mind... I like him. But I miss writing everyday. But there's just no time. And I have projects due but haven't been able to finish them because the time I would have spent obsessing over some project or another, I've been obsessing over my photography.

The payoff is that even I can say my photos are pretty good... and I am truly my harshest critic. I've recalled some things about my years in the darkroom, and the books I've read about Ansel Adams or Weegee or Cartier-Bressont or even my dad, and used them to a.) take better pictures and b.) "process" them better. I've gotten better at making them feel like old silver-gelatin prints, rather than digital. I'm happy with that.

But the downside is I owe two people who paid me work, and it's haunting me. And I know they are pissed as fuck. That "all-or-nothing" thing has a downside. And the ADD/OCD combo thing is tough to manage... because I'm obsessed until I'm distracted. And then I'm obsessed till I'm distracted. It sucks. I'm trying to manage it better; at least I realize what the problem is. And it's why I needed a groundwire. I prayed hard to the Higher Power to send me someone who could be tolerant of my isms, who would love me and who I could love (because love makes you hellatolerant of shit), who was patient, not intimidated by me enough so that I could fly unfettered, who was solid enough in his own security to not get upset when I flirt (and I only flirt for a purpose--a picture, a job, a drink). I realized I couldn't live life by myself anymore. The loneliness was killing me. Not that my life isn't full, because it is. Not that I don't have people who love me and who I love completely, because I do. But I needed a groundwire, I needed the balance of a man's mind and I have to say that for about 95% of what I needed, BigMan fits the bill.

But I'm still not consumed by him. I very rarely feel "mushy" about him or dream about him when he's gone (which is rare at this point but enough so that I can breathe). I like him; he's definitely getting under my top layer in a very comfortable way. But he's still a man, and he thinks like a man. And even though I'm obsessed/distracted, it would seem that I put things in a little box but I don't because the whole time I'm obsessing about something, it's just the sauce. Underneath that sauce those spaghetti strands are still looping and twisting and are all connected to each other, and I'm still subconsciously following those strands until one of them pops up in the top layer of sauce and I get distracted and move on to that thing. I like that BigMan doesn't have all that shit going on in his head.

I got into a discussion about the Waffle/Spaghetti thing yesterday with LilacBlue and ManCandy. ManCandy (probably named something else somewhere on this blog) is the father of a bunch of kids at the Sun's school, one of whom the Sun is pretty good friends with. ManCandy is fine. He knows it, too. He makes butch-ass women giggle. I've seen him do it. After awhile you get used to him and might even think "ah he's not that cute" but fuck that. There's something about him that sizzles and it's not just his looks. He has that jitter juice. He's also a famous womanizer which has caused his Wife to be a little um, what's the word... well she tracks his ass like the Armed woman she is. Meaning, she carries a gun as a profession. But anyway, I digress...

The first thing I've noticed about people when I say that Men are Like Waffles and Women are like Spaghetti is that most women want to claim they think more like men. That they can; that they are the exception. But it's bullshit. I understand that feeling of not wanting to be labeled. I resent it, as I say frequently. But the Professor is a social worker and she one day made the sweeping statement that people--all people--generally fall into one of a few categories. Of course that pissed me off. And I argued with her that no two humans are exactly alike. You look at two people's hands or fingerprints and nothing will make that clearer to you than that. By the way, that fascinates me... that the lines on one person's hands will never be EXACTLY the same as the lines on another person's hands, even if they are identical twins.

And it's true... no two people are alike; there is a wide variance in the category. But the facts remain that a.) people generally fall into one of a few categories, and b.) men and women do not think alike. Women tend to find that things are connected, and men frequently do not see the infinite ways in which things are connected. There are some men who do... and there are some women who are very compartmentalized. But generally, the more I make my way into the world, the more I throw myself into all these different scenarios the more I see that men and women just are different. EVEN those women who go into boymode. And I've seen a lot of those lately. A whole contingent of them. And as butch as they may appear on the outside, underneath the boyclothes and inside the manshoes they are still chicks... and their relationships with each other--even if one is wearing the pants and the other is wearing bright red stilettos... they still act like a bunch of chicks.

Which made me remark to BigMan one day that on the one hand, I totally get the attraction to women. In fact, there are some women who are just beautiful. Or who aren't beautiful, like StarStripper, but have the jitterjuice. And there are some women you can love fiercely and with all your heart. Women are cool. 80% of the time I'd honestly much rather spend my time with women than with men. Because they can follow me on the spaghetti strands--even BestGirl on her best boyday can follow me in a way that the BigMan can't, cuz I've already had that experience with them.

But there's no way I want to be in a sexual relationship with someone exactly like me. Women can be tiring. I need the balance of a man's mind.

There's still some stuff that needs work. There are still sometimes I wonder if I want to spend the rest of my life with him. There is still a part of me that misses certain elements of certain other people, and every so often what I miss hits me right in the heart. But of all the men I've dated or married or had a child with, no one has ever said to me "Are you really my girl?" "Huh" I asked? "I guess so, why?" "Because sometimes I can't believe you're really mine. I look at you and you make me feel good."

...sigh... I laughingly told him that flattery will get him everywhere but inside I melted, I admit... the whole quietly genuine way he said it got to me. Things like that will get a bitch hooked.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Holy $%!#

...two weeks. OVER two weeks and I haven't written. That sucks. I saw LilacBlue today and she told me it wasn't good for my mental health not to write.

It isn't. Though my mental health has really been pretty good.

My major malfunction was needing a groundwire. And I have that, now. And even though the rest of my life is perilously close to a complete wipeout, my mental health is pretty OK. Except for my mental block about looking for a job but that's another subject I have to get into later.

I hate not writing regularly because I always feel I have to backtrack and explain where I've been rather than the experiences. Cuz where I've been has everything to do with my experiences. And I've had a bunch of experiences lately that have given me all sorts of shit to explore and write about. But I keep thinking that if I just jumped into the subject, the reader would be like "what tha FUCK!?"

I don't like to be defined--by people, by experiences. I was just saying that over on my friend's blog in response to an ultimatum posed to her (well it could have been a suggestion but had it been presented to me it would have seemed an ultimatum): "You can be this, or you can be that". Which is a very "man" thing to say, by the way. And a choice I would present to the Sun, for instance, cuz he's a boy and his mind works that way. Because "Men are Like Waffles and Women Are Like Spaghetti." I totally get, as a woman, that you can be BOTH things plus a few other things. It's easy. It's like putting on clothes cuz none of those things are you, yet everything is. It's the way women are built. We are built to be mothers/wives/sister/daughters/lovers/nurturers/fashion plates. We function in different roles depending on what is required of us. We take pride in being able to be all those things.

At least I do. I have my preferences of who I'd like to be, of course, and usually that means not being any one particular thing.

In order to keep that freedom, it means throwing myself into new experiences on a regular basis. And those experiences can be vastly different. But they give me very interesting perspectives on life, keeps the juices flowing, gives me new ideas to try on, other ways of being. Or not. So that if I choose not to be a particular thing I know why I'm not choosing it... cuz I've put myself in a situation to test out my taste for it.

For instance, two weekends ago, I went to BigMan's BestGirl's birthday party at a strip joint. A Black strip joint. And last weekend I went to an SCA event in which everyone dresses as someone from medieval times, particularly (with this host group) the era of Genghis Kahn. There were 3 "Black" people there, not counting my bi-racial kid.

Oh, but I need to backtrack because I haven't written in two weeks. Almost three. BigMan and I are still going strong. I could feel icewater creeping in my veins and could feel shit shutting down, because in manfashion he'd had an "incident, got through it and put it in a little box and said he wasn't going to discuss it anymore. But there was shit I needed to say about it cuz the whole way it went down pissed me off... and he said he wasn't going to let me say it cuz it had nothing to do with me. I told him him not seeing how it DID affect me and WHY it pissed me off was going to be a major problem. And it wasn't something I wasn't going to get over, not being able to express why I was upset with him. I told him, honestly, that I had spent far too long in a relationship where I had to grit my teeth and not say what I wanted to to avoid drama, and I refused to live like that. Ever.

In his mind, his incident had nothing to do with me because it was a business deal gone awry. But it had everything to do with me because it showed me how he handled his business. And how he got bailed out affected me. And pissed me the fuck off... and in order for it not to fester he needed to know these things.

I tried it his way a day or two, not discussing it. But I felt those gates clanging shut and my insides raging and I knew that wasn't going to work--I told him if you don't let me talk to you about this it's not going to go well for you. And I could feel the barbs on the tip of my tongue and the steel in my eye and I don't want to be like that. So finally I cornered him in my kitchen and just started talking. And he listened. And that was that... that was all I needed. I needed him to know I can't be made to feel like I'm being shut down. Because I'm an all-or-nothing chick, and I'll just shut down all the way.

The next day I explained to him about the Spaghetti/Waffle thing, and he listened. I told him it's why it might seem I'm coming out of left-field with a conclusion or a declaration about something, but in fact, I'm not. By the time I actually say something about a subject--especially if it's something that gets under my skin for whatever reason--I've been poking around that bowl of spaghetti, following strands, looping over and under in my mind till I've reached the end. And I told him if I stopped to plot out out how I got from "A" to "B" I'd either confuse him or bore him, or he might seize on a point and distract me, so to avoid that I try not to say anything until I've reached a conclusion. But once I have--it needs to be said. It has to come out. I told him I respected and understood his need to box stuff up and put it away, but he had to respect and understand my need to follow the strands.

So we made it through that hurdle. And then a few days later BestGirl got suddenly VERY girly and started having some issues with having to give up her hold on him. At least that's how I feel about it. But I've got nothing to prove and nothing to fight for so I could just hang back and let her feel what she's feeling. I mean, she is entitled. He came after ME and made declarations about what he wanted, so it's not like I'm fighting for his attention. But I kind of felt for him, watching him deal with the emotional BS. So I guess that leads me up to her birthday party at the strip club in which she went back to boymode.

I've no problem with homosexuality, really. A while back on this blog I explored how I felt about that, coming from the spiritual background with Jewish tendencies, my own feelings about God and the laws of living I've personally chosen to follow. My own personal declaration is that I am decidedly hetero, and somehow that has freed me to be able to love my women friends fiercely, and even be jealous, but I'm not gay. And I don't really care what people do in their own personal love lives. I don't. But I have a small issue with bisexual people because I find they tend to be poly-amorous, and I'm an all-or-nothing chick. And it seems to me that for a lot of people choosing this lifestyle, they're kind of playing both ends by the middle... keeping their options open. And it confuse things for the rest of us who aren't.

And for me personally, it can be a little disorienting to deal with BestGirl, cuz there are times she's REALLY in boymode and I can deal with her in that way, but then she switches to clingly girl mode and that's an issue. Cuz like I told BigMan, there can only be one headbitch in a relationship, and that headbitch is me. At the moment, I don't feel the need to pull rank cuz I'm new to the relationship and am willing to give him time to sort it all out. But the time is approaching when this isn't going to work.

So the birthday bash was interesting because during birthday bash BestGirl was in full boymode, but previous to birthday bash she was in girlmode, needing him to follow her around while she shopped and drive her here and there--although she was shopping for boyshoes and clothes. For herself, I mean.

Birthday bash was interesting. I'd been to a strip club before, but one frequented by mostly white patrons, during business hours, and it was a laid back affair with mostly white girls writhing rather boredly along mirrors or poles to classic rock, the men sitting mostly watching and not allowed to touch.

Huh. Not this joint. The first thing that struck me most about this particular place was the amount of girls in it. Young girls, mostly, between the ages of say, 18, to maybe 30. All different shapes and sizes, mostly brownskinned, almost as many Hispanics, very few white girls. No Asians. There was an army of waitress girls in black thongs and white corsets, and then there were the hostess girls and greeters in gold corsets and then there was a whole slew of other girls in various attire that ranged coverage from "some" to "um, what?" On the one hand, it was a pretty interesting experience because not every chick was beautiful, and not every chick was cellulite-free. But the men didn't care cuz there was something for everyone. On the other hand I was amazed that someone could actually walk around that scantily-clad (carrying a large handbag to scoop up cash) and not feel ridiculous.

And most of the girls didn't mind being touched. There was a particular duo or two who were engaging in some rather acrobatic "if-it's-not-real-it's-a-pretty-damn-close-simulation" to oral girl-sex on a stage, a crowd of young man gathered round like they were watching a cock fight, throwing money and patting asses.

Lapdances were plentiful, for both men and women. In fact, there was a pretty large female patronage, though most of them were in boymode. CNC had been invited and was there with me, and it's rare to see her look uncomfortable about anything sexual but she, like me, is not into group sex so she looked pretty uncomfortable. Which was mildly amusing. She left before the BigShow.

I had debated myself about not going, because while I have no problems with BigMan going to a strip club or having a lapdance, I definitely have problems watching. Cuz I'm not a sharer. It's that all-or-nothing thing. I told BigMan I was going to have issues, and I could feel them coming on but luckily there is such a thing as tequila. And the place had 1800 which is so much smoother than the usual Patron, so after about three shots I could tolerate the atmosphere and by four I was comfortably numb. BigMan was actually pretty cool about everything, turning one rather insistent girl in neon yellow away, and mostly acting as host and caretaker to BestGirl.

Who decided to follow her crush, StarStripper on an "E" trip. StarStripper is fascinating. She's the same age as the Diva, a full-time college student by day and a featured performer by night. She's young, not particularly beautiful but has a fabulous, well toned body. She reminds me very much of young Josephine Baker, with all the accompanying craziness and narcissistic tendencies. She's at the top of her world. And BestGirl is madly in love... except StarStripper lives with a rather large female affectionately referred to as "Big Daddy." BigDaddy is the one who acts as bodyguard and cash-scooper when StarStripper performs.

And perform she did; she put on a pretty good BigShow. No doubt, the girl's got skills on a pole, and a some dance moves and a flair for the performance. She likes what she does. She enjoys the male attention but declares that she's gay. Except by the end of the night she told me how she had enjoyed seeing pictures of my Sun and would like to have a man to have babies with one day.

BestGirl didn't do well on the E trip, and by the end of the night was crawling around on the nasty floor, declaring she couldn't get up. StarStripper declared that since it was her birthday (she and BestGirl have birthdays a few days apart) she expected WebShowDude to treat her and her entourage to breakfast. WebShowDude is the guy that BigMan and I take pictures of on Wednesday nights. A likable hustler-turned-webshow-host, he had been invited to the bash and made the mistake of informing everyone he was going to IHOP for breakfast. StarStripper decided he was treating her and her entourage which consisted of Mom (who was decidedly butch), GrandMa (decidedly not butch and a little perplexed but "supportive"), another performer, BigDaddy, myself and BigMan and a slave. Yes, a slave.

I'm not exactly sure what the slave does, exactly, other than sit passively and smile and follow StarStripper and BigDaddy around. I'm not really sure I want to know.

So at 5:30 in the morning I found myself at a jampacked IHOP in Harlem, with WebShowDude claiming he'd left his bankcard at home and had no cash so he wouldn't have to pay, watching StarStripper take pictures of herself with her camera and BestGirl claim she was hungry but couldn't eat because the E wouldn't let her. The slave sat passively, the other performer sat and talked on her phone the whole time (at 5:30 in the morning!), and Grandma wondered why she couldn't do something else with her life. "You're beautiful, baby" she said "you don't need to do this". To which StarStripper replied "but I kept my top on, Granma!" BestGirl ended up paying for every one's breakfast but let StarStripper believe that WebShowDude had done it.

I couldn't wait to get home. My brain hurt. But it sure was entertaining. My conclusion to the evening was that there are an awful lot of damaged girls in the world. An awful lot... and I frequently wonder how much molestation of little girls really leads to bisexuality since at least three women in that group were molested, abused or exposed to that kind of behavior as little girls.

I wish I could have taken pictures but it seems only StarStripper was allowed to have a camera--at least in the club.

And since this got long I have to write about the Mongol Horde in another post...