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I’m in the middle of packing. I have packed to leave before, but never have I felt the distinct feeling that this house, and especially this room, are no longer mine. They belong to my family, to my childhood, and I love my family, but I really don’t feel like I live here anymore. It’s kind of an odd feeling, going through my childhood things, throwing out some, filing away others, and having the strange experience of visiting something foreign, and revisiting people I once knew- not just friends I used to have who’ve moved or whatever, but myself at various ages. I read the things I wrote and feel strangely disconnected from my past.

My urge is to move forward, and thus to move out. I’m looking forward to going back to college, but most of all, I’m looking forward to a space that is truly MINE, where I don’t feel like the ghosts of my 5 an 15-year-old selves are watching me go through their books, toys, and essays and judging me for what I’ve decided is and isn’t worth keeping. I hear myself as a freshman in high school: How could Mr. Martin give this a B, this is one of the best essays I’ve ever written! And I tell my freshman self that this bullshit doesn’t even deserve a C. I look at my angry, difficult high school past and wonder what I was thinking. I’m only 20, and already I’ve lost my understanding of that age. I suppose that I don’t want to be reminded of it either, because I didn’t like myself at that age and I don’t care for that version of myself now either. I guess, in general, I want to move out so that I can be separate from that period of my life, so that I can really be part of my current period of life. The current period of my life where I get to live with friends my own age, where I get to take care of little band geeks, where I cook and clean for myself, where I play with my bunny, where I can snuggle up with my boyfriend whenever I want.

So I pack up my shoes, my clothes, my dishes, my text books, and I wonder exactly how much of it I’ll need. I don’t really care, though; I just want want to pack up my present and take it away from my past. That’s all I really need.

I’ll be honest- I’m much better with you around. It’s not just that my mood improves, though that’s the understatement of the year. More like my mood blows up into a shimmering explosion of all that is fantastic in the world. Being with you is like watching corgi puppies play with kittens while eating chocolate cake and Tucker’s ice cream while listening to Motown and being told I’ve won the lottery. Yeah, it’s that good. But I digress- that’s not why I’m better with you around, or at least not the sole reason.

You see, I am a much more productive person with you around. Yeah, I go to work and do my best job there… but since I’m not floating through the days knowing that I get to come home to you when I’m done, I’m not as good at being cheerful under stress. And when I’m at home, I look at my disaster of a room and have no inspiration to really deal with it. After all, it may take me forever to find anything I want, but I also don’t do much in my room. I pretty much sleep in here and use my computer, neither of which requires cleanliness. But the place is still a mess and it’s kind of discouraging in a weird way. I suppose my room is making me feel a little inadequate. But I never feel inadequate with you. You make fun of my slob-like ways, and I eventually am inspired to clean and make you happy and impressed with me. It’s hard to feel that way when I hardly see you, you know?

I really shouldn’t complain. I’m going to be seeing you all the time in a month. But it’s difficult while it lasts. I’m glad you exist. And the title of this post? It’s true. I miss you like hell.

I love you.

Have you thought about the nature of romance lately? Not rose petals and candles and all that rom-com shit. Romance, that grand, elusive quality of certain intangible… it’s not easily defined, and when one tries, it slips through one’s metaphorical fingers.

It didn’t occur to me until today, but love in and of itself is not romantic, not even romantic love. When someone clarifies love as “romantic”, they usually mean that as something more than friendship, something different from familial devotion. Maybe there’s no better word for it, but no kind of love is really romantic. Love is mostly pedestrian moments- sure it’s a lot of fun, and maybe sometimes there are romantic moments, but most of loving someone “romantically” is logistics and certain enjoyable activities. It’s nothing like romance.

Romance is the essence of the most dramatic moments of our lives. The best kind of love is not this way- certainly, it makes better movies when love is so dramatic that it seems romantic at every moment, but love is so much better when it’s easy.

True romance requires hardship as well as euphoria, because it can have no mundane moments. While we all have difficulties as well as some really amazing ones, romance is being something of a mess all the time. We know when we see it- just look at a black-and-white photo of a puddle on the sidewalk with a red rose or a teddy bear or a rag doll and tell me that’s not romantic. Sad, yes, but still romantic. Smoking a cigarette at a bus stop alone in the rain is another romantic activity. Passionately kissing your lover on a boat in the moonlight is definitely romantic. Think about how many great things are NOT romantic, though. Puppies? Not romantic. Going swimming with your significant other? Also not romantic. Teasing your boyfriend about his nerd cred? Not romantic.

I haven’t posted in this blog in months because I haven’t been inspired to write. I’ve figured out that it’s because I’m a romantic writer. I can only write anything good when I’ve got an intense feeling of romance. And you know what? I’m totally in love and happy, and I don’t feel that vague feeling of elevation unless something tragic happens, like the death of one of the greatest young singers. Otherwise, I just live my life and don’t sit here reflecting on it through the written word. Maybe one day I’ll find inspiration without the emotion, but if I don’t, I think I’m okay without it.

At worst I feel bad, and then I don’t smile. And then I feel like slinking onto the floor and melting into a puddle of black goo. I don’t know why my goo will be black when I have no black anywhere on my body except my pupils, but it seems the way it should be when a person melts into goo. Like a freaking Miyazaki movie or something. You ain’t been blue no no no no no no no…. you ain’t been blue til you had that mood indigo. Indigo like the sweat on the backs of slaves who grew it. Indigo as the color of the drink in which you attempt to drown yourself. Indigo as in bluer than blue. The blues always makes sadness and loneliness at least sound romantic, and they are in a way, but they also suck, especially when you’re busy trying to hide them from everyone, because no one likes a downer. Especially not a puddle of goo on the floor. People want to mop that shit up, throw it down the drain, make it go away before someone steps on it. Can you imagine how horrible it would be to be a mess? Someone steps on you, which hurts, and then they go “ew” because they find you disgusting. And they don’t even know you, they just find you gross because now you’re all over their shoe, which isn’t even your fault, because THEY should’ve been watching where they were going, and now they’re leaving with a piece of you, tramping it all over the rest of the floor, wiping it off on a mat, stomping on it. And you can never have that piece back. You’ll just have to reform into a walking, talking, functional person without it. You’ve got to get all your little droplets together yourself- you can’t just wait for someone to help you up, people will step all over you and take footprints away and you’ll hardly have anything to work with if you just wait. Quit being lazy and

PULL… YOURSELF… TOGETHER

She was sitting, waiting for him. Again. Wearing combat boots with her miniskirt and long not-quite-white jacket. She bought it to look like Kim Novak, who was one of those sexy, femme fatale-style blonds- not like Grace Kelly’s wholesome statuesque beauty at all. She’d bought the jacket to look like Kim Novak, and maybe it was working, except of course for the combat boots which were a decidedly punk rebellion against her beautiful jacket’s classic vintage look. Somehow it still kind of went. She was also wearing sunglasses and slouching at the edge of a fountain, even though the weather was practicing the art of June gloom- gray and sunless. She looked bored, but she was really holding in irritation: where the hell is he? Why is he so late? When he shows up, I’m going to tear him a new one. She wouldn’t, of course. She knew that. She wasn’t sure that he did, but she hoped he did. She loved him so much she never quite managed to be mad when he showed up. She knew that as soon as he showed up, she’d go from being Miss Bored and Angry to being giddily happy and bounding up to him and serving him with as many kisses as possible, like a damn puppy or something.

This is the scene she wishes were happening. Instead she slouches in her house with a pain in her gut and the taste of minty chocolate Girl Scout cookies on her lips. At least she knows he loves her. That he wants her to call him everyday, that he wishes she would really call when she says she will. She still worries she’s losing him, but not as much as she was. She’s not quite happy about the whole thing, but maybe, just maybe, she’s feeling optimistic 🙂

You know, I hardly ever write in this internet space. Maybe part of it is because hardly anyone reads the posts, but I think most of it is the fact that 99% of the time I don’t have much to say that I haven’t said aloud already.

But tomorrow is June 1. And while it’s not TECHNICALLY the beginning of summer, since that’s on the solstice, and it’s also not halfway through the year because that doesn’t happen until July 1, it still feels like a turning point. It really feels like summer is here. My friends are mostly back from college, we’ve finished up this area at work (so I’m kind of in limbo…), Memorial Day is over, I have actual money… and I may or may not have time. It sounds stupid, but thinking about the direction I thought my life was going at about this time last year, I notice that I was pretty close to totally wrong about everything. My life just seems like a constantly changing project, and while I like a lot of the changes, right now it’s not a good thing. Knowing how differently my reality can be from my plans makes me almost not want to make any. But at the same time, it seems damned difficult to do things without having some idea of where they’re going. It’s like I thought I’d drive to Mexico but then decided when I hit LA that I wanted to drive to Minnesota instead and I loved it; but now, I’m thinking of driving north and thinking, “But I’m probably not even going to end up anywhere near where I thought I would,” and so that’s causing me to not even put the car in gear. Ha, that’s the feeling. I feel like I’m stuck in neutral. I don’t know if it’s worth it to drive anywhere, and I’m not really sure I want to decide. I mean, when you think about the gas money and the possibility of breaking down and all that, maybe it’s not even worth it to drive at all. And maybe the place I’m thinking about going to isn’t as great as I’m hoping it will be. And I’ll drive through the roads, passing by things I could enjoy if I weren’t in a hurry to get where I’m going, but then I get there and it’s… anticlimactic. I try to get myself excited, and I do for a bit, but then I wonder if I’m excited because I’m forcing myself to be excited. Whether I really am excited or whether I’m excited because I feel like I should be excited.

Maybe I’m just full of shit. Maybe THAT’S why I don’t post here more often…

This time baby, I wish I had a tougher skin. Singing to myself, I realize how much damn easier it is to not try. If you don’t try, at least it was your fault it failed. At least this way I don’t put everything I’ve got into it and then watch it collapse when time or circumstances or someone else comes and smashes it all with a hammer. Bulletproof. It doesn’t matter what kind of armor or protection you wear, you go out into the world, you expose yourself. You walk around with a bulletproof vest, and someone slits your throat with a box cutter. You can’t see it all coming, so it’s easier to sit in your house and just wait for other people to invade it- at least that way, it wasn’t your fault. It was their damn fault for invading what you’ve got. You put yourself out there, you hope for the best, you sing as loud as you can, you put the depths of your soul in your voice, and they hate it. They tell you it’s shit, that more is necessary. You already put all of what you have out there- they’ve sucked it out, your blood, your tears. They’re making fucking cocktails out of it and sipping it, and then they say it needs more lime. Well dammit, I don’t have lime. Is it weird that I seem to be both myself and you at the same time? Maybe it’s easier to think about it when I’m not really talking about myself. It’s still easier not to make the cocktails in the first place. They don’t know whether the fruit of yourself is sweet or not until they try it, before that scary moment when they take a sip. And maybe that risk is worth it, if they take a sip and they find it’s delicious. But is being found delicious worth the risk of being found repellent? Hell, not even repellent. There’s not a big chance of that. What if they just find it adequate, but they like someone else’ cocktail better? And it’s not really their problem. They get to just sit around, sipping their cocktails, judging you without having to really know what happens to you. They can say all the horrible things they want about you, know that you’re going to hear them, but not know what it does to you inside, to know that someone else is better than you. They don’t have to see your pain- and really, it couldn’t be any other way. How else could they make an objective judgment? Everyone who submits their cocktail in this contest is a sympathetic character; if they based it on that, even if they decided based on whose story was most sympathetic, they might end up with the worst-tasting drink. So they sit around, sucking down bloody cocktails, laughing about the latest episode of whatever the hell they watch, sucking down the lives of those they judge with every sip.

But that’s really all life is- the vital fluids drain and drain with all your efforts over time, and you die sucked dry. Or maybe your throat gets slit with a box cutter and all your blood and vitality- everything you are- pours out your neck, gushing onto the pavement, splashing horribly in a hot, crimson tide. Bulletproof, huh? Maybe you should’ve spent some more of that blood on some better task. You clearly didn’t use up all of it. What was the point of slacking off, being lazy? Your life swirls into the gutter whether you pour it into song, into your work, or into the street when someone cuts you up. There are better things to do than throw vitriol at people you don’t care about anyway. There are better things to do than worrying about punctuality. There are better things to do than dwell on the things that didn’t work out. You can do so much better than this. You don’t need to lay in a beef stew when you hate beef stew. You can swim to the edge, maybe use a potato as a raft, build a tower of carrots and get out by climbing up. You don’t have to stay where you don’t want to be. And with that, you can rip off the stupid Kevlar and leave it in the stew. Watch it sink, for nostalgia’s sake, then turn around and see what the rest of the kitchen looks like. Maybe you need some limes…

Do you know how to walk in stilettos? I think a lot of people don’t realize that it’s a learned skill. Girls don’t just put on stilettos and know how to walk in them. Someone has to tell you to feel like a string is pulling the top of your head to the sky, and you have to learn to put one foot exactly in front of the other and swing your hips instead of your legs. Once you walk well in stilettos, you can walk gracefully in anything. You can wear sneakers or flip-flips or snow boots and people will still turn and look and think, “wow”. Maybe in the snow boots, they won’t think “elegance” but that’s what a girl in stilettos has.

She walks toward him naked, barefoot, and she still has that high-heeled walk. She wears big, steel-toed, clunky combat boots when she goes out at night and she still has that walk. Maybe she has to think about it a little to always walk perfectly, but she practices whenever she remembers. And walking like that makes her feel radiant, like sex appeal is beaming out of her skin like sunshine in the arctic summer.

It’s too bad everything else isn’t as simple as stilettos. She walks around life, knowing that as long as she keep her composure, keeps her abs tight and her self light while she walks, she won’t fall over, won’t embarrass herself, won’t break an ankle or a heel or a heart. She can’t always remember, though. Sometimes she forgets and the potholes come get her: does he still love me? Am I ever going to know what I’m doing in my life? Why am I afraid of losing 10 lbs? Why do I think about myself so often?

And she breaks down, and she can’t do that beautiful, graceful walk. She slumps and she looks ungainly and awkward. She walks over to find something to distract her, something to sit down with so she doesn’t have to keep walking, doesn’t have to keep embarrassing herself by not looking smooth and unruffled and perfectly composed. She doesn’t like people to see that side, because she’d rather not admit that it’s there.

But he sees it, and he tells her not to worry, to smile for him, please baby, smile for me. Because maybe he’s macho but it’s hard for him too. And she cleans up, and they part ways, and they say they’ll meet up later, but they don’t. That’s all she has of him.

She’s full of doubt. She hears him say “I love you, I miss you” but she’s not sure whether he means the whole her. Maybe he can’t deal with her when she’s awkward and ungainly and so very imperfect. She doesn’t know whether he just loves her when she’s sexy and funny and graceful, or whether he loves her even when she’s not.

And this is exactly the kind of thing she can’t ask him. Because she’s not sure she’d rather have the wrong answer than no answer. So she calls him, and she hears his voice, and she falls again.

Sometimes things just seem so uncertain. You’re on a train, and you watch the other trains go by, and you don’t know where they’ve been or where they’re going, and you also wonder whether you should be on them. You also wonder if you’re on the wrong train, whether the other ones are going somewhere better, whether they came from somewhere better than the place you just visited and whether you should’ve gone where they came from instead. You wonder if you’re really doing enough to make sure your life is going in the right direction. Is it weird that I write so much about doubt? It’s like I only write in the blog at my strongest and my weakest. At my strongest, I believe I want to tell everyone who’s listening that I’m queen of the world and they’d better get used to the most deliciously decadent despot in history. And at my weakest, I just hope someone’s listening. Are you listening to me? I feel weak and lethargic right now. Sure I have a stuffed up head, but I think it’s more that I’m waiting the way Didi and Gogo wait. I’m waiting to get my acceptances and rejections from colleges, I’m waiting to go to college, I’m waiting for February to start on my New Year’s Resolutions. I made them already, but I haven’t started on them. I’m waiting for Godot the way everyone else is, since life is just what we do while we wait to die. You have to do something, and I’m doing it. What the something is, I’m really not sure. I know that the days keep flicking by both slowly in minutes but far too quickly in hours, in pieces of my lifetime. Is it normal to think about mortality as much as I do? I think most people have to be reminded. “His/her suicide/illness/sudden death reminded him/her of his/her own mortality.” I must have read a line like that in a dozen books, heard it in movies, whatever. It’s everywhere. I don’t think most people walk out on the street and think, that car’s accelerator and brake wires might be fucked up and I might not make it across this street alive. And you know something, usually I don’t either. Because I can’t live my life in fear. I managed to be afraid for all of one week this year. I was afraid of men for an entire week. But I realize now: life is full of trade-offs. I trade the extra security of locked doors for the joy of having my family and friends just drop in on me. I trade the fun of being single for knowing that my boyfriend is happy with me. I’ve traded away friendships for the comfort of not being so upset. Maybe some of what I trade is wrong, maybe unwise, maybe it won’t be the best in the long run. At least it’s fun to bargain…

What’ll you be doing on the last day? I don’t know, but I’m sure that getting drunk and/or having sex will be on a lot of people’s lists. Maybe mine too. Probably a lot of the same people will hug and kiss their loved ones, some people will listen to their favorite song for the last time. Do you ever think about the last meal of the guy who’s going to executed? Do you think he can really taste it? Maybe he’s managed to get lobster or something, because it’s his favorite food. Hell, maybe he’s having deep-dish pizza with roasted garlic and sun-dried tomatoes and portobello mushrooms and everything else possible. Throw in some basil and oregano and call it a last meal. All that stuff has a strong taste, but is it stronger than the taste of imminent death? And could you ever ask someone who would really know? “Hi, I’d like to know if it’s possible to enjoy a meal when you know you’re going to die today.” What would they say? Probably fuck off you insolent twerp. Well, maybe not that. But something with a similar message. Or maybe they’d just start sobbing. Maybe you should’ve just kept your curiosity to yourself. Maybe your need for knowledge is not nearly as important as compassion for a condemned prisoner. Of course, if I had my way, this would be an impossible question to answer. There are no prisoners condemned to death in my perfect world. Not even my perfect world- my ever-so-slightly improved world. The death penalty is borne of a revenge instinct, and revenge is essentially a desire to cause another pain. And why should we encourage that? There is enough pain in the world without introducing more. I believe that the goal of all people should be pain reduction. Don’t sit there with a headache when you could just take a pill and make it go away- that’s pain you don’t have to have. Don’t fear becoming a “pill popper” when all you’re taking is ibuprofen- chemical addiction isn’t possible with that stuff, and even if it were, you’d have to take the stuff consistently over a long period time to get an addiction. Once a month with your period cramps ain’t doin shit. You know what else ain’t doin shit? Congress. They fucked up healthcare. It’s really that simple. I was so hopeful (dammit, Obama, look what you did) that something would get done, that something would get somewhere. But you know what we have in Congress? People who’ve forgotten why they’re there in the first place. Yeah, the Republicans are against having it because it would look good for Obama if it worked. Now, one wonders, why would it look good for Obama if it worked? Because it would be good for the country, perhaps? Thank you, GOP. Isn’t that what I want to discourage? The desire to cause more pain. It’s preemptive revenge- it’s a lot like preemptive war, and we see how well that works. When you’re the world’s remaining superpower, there is no good reason for preemptive war. Seriously, what’s going to happen if you wait for them to attack you? Probably nothing, since they know what happened to the LAST guys who tried that. AKA Pearl Harbor. 9/11 doesn’t count because that wasn’t an attack, that was a mass-murder. Only countries can start wars. But we couldn’t treat this like a crime, because then the perpetrators would have a right to trial in the world court, and in addition, there would be absolutely no reason to go to Iraq. Oh wait, there still wasn’t any reason to go to Iraq. Baby, what are we going to do? I’m stuck on you. I think of the guys my age getting shot in Iraq- guys literally my age. 18. 18 is just so damn young, when you think about it. I mean really, I make tons of youthful mistakes just because I’m so inexperienced- and yet I often feel more weathered than other people my age. And then these kids get shot in Iraq. With no experiences. Hell, I bet some of them are even virgins. Can you imagine that? Going to Iraq and getting shot before you’ve even had the chance to hit a homer? But hell, you don’t need to go overseas to get shot. You can just go trick-or-treating in Alameda and be extremely unlucky. You can just walk around East Oakland too late at night. Hell, you can just sit down to your piano lesson when you’re seven years old and never walk out again. You know, when the Supreme Court said the ban on handguns in a public housing project was unconstitutional, I wanted to force Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, Roberts, and Alito LIVE in a housing project for a year. Hell, they wouldn’t have to leave town. I’m sure DC has plenty of nice, dangerous projects to choose from. When are we going to realize that old white men know jack shit about the world? Seriously, we elect these numbskulls and they’re so afraid of inflation that they advocate for a spending freeze in a recession. The problem is that when no one’s spending anything, someone has to, and no one else has the power to make money. Just the government. Just like only the government can run an effective military. That sucks kids who aren’t even old enough to drink into service to get shot.

Maybe that’s enough bullshit about bullshit for now. Happy new year.