I hate commuting
that’s why i live near my workplace
where i can just walk by the lake
or sometimes in the basement
where cars are parked –
the shortest path.
but when I do,
it takes me back
to the night i met you.
the night i remember
i just wanted to drink wine
so i passed by the familiar bar
in the basement.
i sat at one corner of the bar-
the bartender facing me
a stranger behind me
no one in my left side
and there you are in my right-
you’re murmuring something to me
while i was deep in my thoughts
i told you i was writing a poem about dying
but i doubt that you heard it
because you kept talking to me
and never stopped staring at me
until you asked me if i want
to go upstairs
i remember your blue eyes
begging me or have i mistaken
begging for seducing?
i did not answer.
but i found my dress on the floor
of an unfamiliar bedroom instead.
i forgot if it’s the red one, the orange one
or my favorite one.
i can’t keep track of which dress i wore
on those countless sleepless nights,
or did i even wear any?
because i can feel the white duvet
on my bare skin while thinking about
my unfinished poem
or did i even finish it?
if not, i want to write a poem about dying.
if it would mean i am still living.
or should i take the longest path?
or should i start riding the train?
– Paula Bianca via Berlin ArtParasites
The good of boy myth and the nice gal are a kind of social conformity myth. They create a real paradox when put together with the “rugged individual” part of the Success Myth. How can I be a rugged individual, be my own man and conform at the same time? Conforming means “Don’t make a wave”, “Don’t rock the boat”. Be a nice gal or a good ol’ boy. This means that we have to pretend a lot.
“We are taught to be nice and polite. We are taught that these behaviors (most often lies) are better than telling the truth. Our churches, schools, and politics are rampant with teaching dishonesty (saying things we don’t mean and pretending to feel ways we don’t feel). We smile when we feel sad; laugh nervously when dealing with grief; laugh at jokes we don’t think are funny; tell people things to be polite that we surely don’t mean.”
– John Bradshaw On: The Family
“Every morning I sit at the kitchen table over a tall glass of water swallowing pills. (So my hands won’t shake.) (So my heart won’t race.) (So my face won’t thaw.) (So my blood won’t mold.) (So the voices won’t scream.) (So I don’t reach for knives.) (So I keep out of the oven.) (So I eat every morsel.) (So the wine goes bitter.) (So I remember the laundry.) (So I remember to call.) (So I remember the name of each pill.) (So I remember the name of each sickness.) (So I keep my hands inside my hands.) (So the city won’t rattle.) (So I don’t weep on the bus.) (So I don’t wander the guardrail.) (So the flashbacks go quiet.) (So the insomnia sleeps.) (So I don’t jump at car horns.) (So I don’t jump at cat-calls.) (So I don’t jump a bridge.) (So I don’t twitch.) (So I don’t riot.) (So I don’t slit a strange man’s throat.)”
As a girl you see the world as a giant candy store filled with sweet candy and such. But one day you look around and you see a prison and you’re on death row. You wanna run or scream or cry but something’s locking you up. Are the other folks cows chewing cud until the hour comes when their heads roll? Or are they just keeping quiet like you, planning their escape.
I woke up.
I made myself breakfast in bed. I added salt and pepper to my eggs and used my toast for a cheese and bacon sandwich. I squeezed a grapefruit into a juice glass. I scraped the ashes from the frying pan and rinsed the butter off the counter. I washed the dishes and folded the towels.
The morning after I killed myself, I fell in love. Not with the boy down the street or the middle school principal. Not with the everyday jogger or the grocer who always left the avocados out of the bag. I fell in love with my mother and the way she sat on the floor of my room holding each rock from my collection in her palms until they grew dark with sweat. I fell in love with my father down at the river as he placed my note into a bottle and sent it into the current. With my brother who once believed in unicorns but who now sat in his desk at school trying desperately to believe I still existed.
The morning after I killed myself, I walked the dog. I watched the way her tail twitched when a bird flew by or how her pace quickened at the sight of a cat. I saw the empty space in her eyes when she reached a stick and turned around to greet me so we could play catch but saw nothing but sky in my place. I stood by as strangers stroked her muzzle and she wilted beneath their touch like she did once for mine.
The morning after I killed myself, I went back to the neighbors’ yard where I left my footprints in concrete as a two-year-old and examined how they were already fading. I picked a few daylilies and pulled a few weeds and watched the elderly woman through her window as she read the paper with the news of my death. I saw her husband spit tobacco into the kitchen sink and bring her her daily medication.
The morning after I killed myself, I watched the sun come up. Each orange tree opened like a hand and the kid down the street pointed out a single red cloud to his mother.
The morning after I killed myself, I went back to that body in the morgue and tried to talk some sense into her. I told her about the avocados and the stepping stones, the river, and her parents. I told her about the sunsets and the dog and the beach.
The morning after I killed myself, I tried to unkill myself, but couldn’t finish what I started.
I realized something the other day while I was looking at my growing collection of succulents; I’m enjoying being on my own.
I know I told you already that I am a loner and prefer solitude than being in a crowd but there is some difference; before, I crave to be among people I have nothing to do with. I love to meet new acquaintances – preferably in far away places so I can run away if it becomes too much and strangers become too close – I love talking to random people, exchanging ideas and watching them doing their things as long as they don’t follow me home and insist to be my friends. Before, I resented being isolated. I was constantly homesick. I wanted to experience again the life I had before; the fun, the chase, the adventures, the thrill of discovering new people, new places and new things. I hated being settled, peaceful, grounded and (more or less) secure. To me it was boring, unimaginative, dead.
I still enjoy meeting people and going places and discovering new things but it is not a must anymore. At the end of the day, I am happy to be home. In fact, lately, while exploring new frontiers, at the back of my mind, I can’t wait to go home. I can’t wait till I am again inside my four walls where I can be alone and peaceful and safe. Safe from expectations, safe from demands, away from the prying eyes and prejudiced judgmental people. I can be whoever I want to be no one will force me.
Before, I charge my battery somewhere, the more peculiar, weird, bizarre, the better. These days home is where I recuperate and I get my fix from peace and quiet and safety my place offers. I don’t want complicated situations anymore. No more dramas, no more unnecessary commitments, no more pretending, no more catering to what society expects.
Today I realized another thing: I don’t have the urge anymore to control things.
Before, I want everything the way it supposed to be, in my head. I got into a panic when things are not in their proper place and things don’t happen the way I expect and my weight is not 46 kilos. The moment the scale shows one or two gram more I will get so nervous I will go into crash diet and see to it that my weight is back on track within three weeks.
Now, I am 10 kilos heavier and have love handles all over the place but I can stand it. I don’t get agitated anymore when there is a glass on the kitchen counter or a cup somewhere in the living room and there are clothes that have to be ironed in bed. Mind you the glasses and cups and clothes will not be there for long, but they can stay there for a few hours till I find the time and urge to remove them. I can go out now without straightening everything till my house is picture perfect. In short, I’m learning to let go.
I’m learning to let go of my paranoia as well. I can stand open windows now, doors too. Dark days don’t make me think of everything evil and I can take a bath now when I’m home alone and even dare to go into my dressing without locking anything that could be locked. The knife I still keep but I forget it’s there sometimes. I take it as a positive sign and continuing improvement of my mental health.
I don’t know if I’m really getting better or would really get better or I just resigned to my situation. Could be also that I’m just getting old and tired and lost my appetite for anything that rock my already shaky constitution and learning the value of restful and quiet uncomplicated existence.
Yesterday after not speaking to me since she got married, that was three years ago, my daughter called me to say that she’s pregnant. I’m not surprised. I know from my son that she and her husband were trying to conceive. I’m happy for her.
She told me that I was the first to know. I’m not surprised with that too. It reminds me of three weeks ago when I was talking to my son after his musical/theater performance and he said that while he was presenting and singing up there he was worried if I was going to like the show or not. He thought I would find it banal. He was happy when I said that what he/they did was memorable. He hopes for the same effect when he finished writing his first book he said.
I know that my relationship with my children is far from ideal and we hardly see each other, but it is touching to know that they still value my opinion the most. Out of thousand of people watching my son’s performance, what he was worried about was what I was thinking. My daughter could let her father or anybody know first but she have chosen to call me instead. That means a lot to me.
In the past, they accused me of being hard to please and economical when it comes to giving compliments, but in my defense, I only give credit where credit is due. I don’t want to give or encourage false hopes when in reality there is none.
I know I will never be the mother they prefer to have and I doubt if I’m going to be the best grandmother but this is me. My grandchildren will know me like my children have known me_ honest straight-forward maybe harsh but fair. I hope they will appreciate the person that I really am because I am not planning to change myself for the sake of acceptance.
Let’s wait and see…
“YOUR ABUSIVE PARTNER DOESN’T HAVE A PROBLEM WITH HIS ANGER; HE HAS A PROBLEM WITH YOUR ANGER.
One of the basic human rights he takes away from you is the right to be angry with him. No matter how badly he treats you, he believes that your voice shouldn’t rise and your blood shouldn’t boil. The privilege of rage is reserved for him alone. When your anger does jump out of you—as will happen to any abused woman from time to time—he is likely to try to jam it back down your throat as quickly as he can. Then he uses your anger against you to prove what an irrational person you are. Abuse can make you feel straitjacketed. You may develop physical or emotional reactions to swallowing your anger, such as depression, nightmares, emotional numbing, or eating and sleeping problems, which your partner may use as an excuse to belittle you further or make you feel crazy.”
― Lundy Bancroft, Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men
This quote reminds me of my ex-husband who doesn’t only believe and did everything that has been said above he also thinks that being his wife means I have no right at all. He is the exact opposite of the saying what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. He alone has the right to say and does everything his heart’s desire.
He spent a lot of times on the front of the computer tracking women, chatting them, meeting them and went on vacation with them but I was not allowed even to touch the computer. He changed its password every other day and forbidden my children to even breath a single letter of that bloody password to me. How’s that for unfair?
He disappeared for days not telling where he was and if I dare to ask him he will tell me it wasn’t my business. He drinks as if there is no tomorrow, violent beyond belief, rude, distant and utterly, utterly abusive not only physically but mentally as well. And the way he demanded sex from me was out of this world. As if I was created solely for that purpose. As a result, I cultivated an abnormal aversion to it and avoided being intimate with him at all cost and believe me it cost a lot.
Yet for him, I was the bad one. He often accused me of not behaving like a wife and not doing my duty. That I’m good for nothing and has nothing to offer to a man that I’m lucky he keeps me because no man will ever want a short fat and ugly someone like me. I will not survive out there he said. Without him, I will not make it.
It took me thirteen years to learn to give him a taste of his own medicine and to find out that eat your heart out is a wonderful motivation to survive. And another seven years to actually find the courage to walk out and leave him for good.
That was fifteen years ago.
Still, the nightmares continue. The damage that he caused I (and my children) will carry for the rest of our lives. The consequences of his cruel and senseless thoughtless actions will resonate through the years and will affect generations to come. The pattern is set.
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”
― Hunter S. Thompson
“May you Fall in love with October
and all the beauty it brings,
May your life be as colorful as
the turning of the leaves,
On each blessed autumn day”
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