Manifest Feminist

The day at the airport was a milestone in my life. There was the great pain of seeing you torn away from Mama & me, and also the great satisfaction of knowing you were embarking on something grand, something you had worked so hard for and deserved.

The next morning – this morning – was very difficult for me, because your absence was so absolute, and this so keenly felt. It was a very weepy morning (I’m sure there will be more such times). But my tears are more of joy than sorrow. Yes, sorrow, because you are gone, and I can measure the depth of my love for you by the size of the hole in my heart. I couldn’t really do that before today. But also joy. Because you have undertaken something difficult – and the most rewarding activities in life are often the most difficult. Also because I find myself pinching myself and saying to myself, “***** really loves me!” There is so little genuine love in this world, and the family in America is in such pitiful condition, that one almost expects to be disappointed – taken for granted – by one’s children. But, no!

As it turns out, we have an extraordinary family. Amid the quotidian routine, there are moments, epiphanies – such as yesterday – when it is unmistakable that this family of ours is really a living out of love, such as, if I may be forgiven the pride, one seldom sees – anywhere.

But love is hard-won, and when, as a Father one sees that the love given, however imperfectly (and I’m sorry for the extreme and unfair things I said to you when we were having our difficulties long ago), has been more than fully reciprocated, one feels that life is complete. One could die instantly, and not feel cheated. Of course, if you hadn’t left, I wouldn’t have felt these things so sharply. That’s the paradox.

And, of course, the nature of love is to give itself away, to pass itself along. Nothing – not education, not career – is more important for you than that you plant and nourish the gift of love in the would of your marriage and family. Yes, it’s hard at times, but it’s worth every effort. If the day hasn’t already come, one day it should hit you like a ton of bricks (or spark plugs) that “[my husband] really loves me,” and should you die instantly, you would not feel cheated.

It’s horrible to have you gone, but I know it’s necessary. We are marking the days’ till your return.

Hi. My dad is dying.

He sent the above letter to my oldest sister back in 1994, and as I’ve been trying chew on the weird emotions that the death of a parent can elicit, reading this letter really helped me cement exactly how I feel about all of this: what an asshole.

My father ran a conservative Catholic magazine out of our house, and his philosophies including propagating ideas such as gay conversion therapy, that masturbation is a sin, abortion is wrong, and he also made us go to Latin mass. So I guess it’s not shocking that I turned out the way I did: militant radical and the exact opposite of all that bullshit. Upon pondering the death of my father, I realize that I’m so far removed from my relationship with him that I almost forgot how I became the person I am today, which, by the way, is a person I really enjoy being. It’s so natural and easy for me to be myself these days – I had forgotten the insanity and pain that forged me.

Reading that letter was a stark reminder of exactly the crazy bullshit that made me into the crazy person I am today. I mean, like, god damn, there is a lot of psycho bullshit to unpack in that letter, particularly the fact that this is a weirdly creepy love letter to his daughter? Like, yuck, that made me pretty fucking uncomfortable. I mean, I guess it’s supposed to be sweet, but, oof, the purity ball overtones of the whole thing made my skin crawl.

What I do like about this letter is the sheer force of emotion and conviction that inspired it. While I disagree with the convictions (for example that a marriage is more important than a career or education), I’m trying to find a reason to be generous in my heart with a man who at this very moment somewhere across town is dying. The overwhelming emotion that he expresses has a remarkable depth – a depth that I don’t see many people, particularly men, express. The fact that he cried because his daughter left for a year – well, for a while now I’ve had a fetish for seeing my male sexual partners crying, so, yeah, this one struck a chord with me.

But there is something so fundamentally unsettling about this letter. This letter is, if anything, unbelievably manipulative and a way to exert control over a woman while she’s half a world away. The disarming emotion, the vulnerability play a very interesting role in pushing the propaganda of the family unit as the only method to achieve love in life. The fact that he capitalized “Father” when referring to himself even though he’s a Catholic and “Father” can only refer to god belies the god complex that seems to underpin the entire mentality that he propagates in the letter: this man was controlling as fuck, and he called it love.

What struck me in this letter is that it seemed to echo ideas that run parallel with philosophies such as manifest destiny and white supremacy. The letter was intended to reinforce the structure that upholds these philosophies, because without that structure and without the obedience of the people who comprise those structures, those philosophies have nothing to stand on. In such, this letter is a fascinating glimpse behind the curtain, a way to unravel how these philosophies build, grow stronger and self perpetuate. The coercion of obedience from the arbitrarily selected second class citizens is crucial to their functionality, and this is their methodology and language laid bare.

Because even though I don’t agree with the family first philosophy that clearly treats women as second class citizens, it’s the language of love that makes it confusing. As though to disagree with these ideas is to be against the very idea of love. Which is not what I think at all. If anything, this is a very myopic vision of love, one that fails to acknowledge that love exists in myriad forms, beyond the family, in different states. Love is not an object to be given – it is a living creature, a vibrant idea, something that is in constant flux, just as we, as people, are in constant flux.

But I’m not interested in sitting here and rebutting this letter, combing through, point counterpoint. No, I’m not here to argue. To argue would be to give his ideas validity. No. I’m here to learn. I want to learn how to work the tools that these conservative, cis, white, heteronormative have used against us all this time. How does this knife cut, and where do I make my cuts.

Because in my father’s death, all of this dies with him. And, me? I’m still here. I am the progeny of this, and I am the future. So how do I take the ideas of the new world and propagate them? What are the intimate ways in which I communicate and reinforce the new world order among my peers?

Love is intoxicating.

In all honesty, reading this letter over and over again is giving me hella anxiety. Probably because it’s a trap that almost killed me, and it’s a trap that killed people I love, so standing on the edge peering in is like looking at a future that I was supposed to have but never wanted. I also know that I am the same as my father, and all the evil and manipulation and control and baiting in that letter – yeah, I do the exact same evil shit. It’s hard for me to write about that letter because I find myself oscillating between wanting to write a thoughtful analysis of intimate, interpersonal mind control tactics and also exploding with emotion about who those things did or didn’t work on me. And at the same time, I’m so repulsed by that letter, but as I write, and I can hear my father’s voice, his thought process, his cadence as I type out these words – I am repulsed by myself. I try to be better, but I fail frequently.

Or do I want to write about: what is the nature of love. And after having forged a different path, is there love on the dark side of the moon? Certainly the exploration I did on the sex blog encompassed that idea: finding love in dark places. I did find it. You can read all about it.

I don’t know. Like I said, my dad is dying, and this is just a tornado of emotions, which isn’t making for a very cohesive blog post, but…fuck. What else am I supposed to do. I am my father’s daughter. Brace yourself, blog readers, for a lot of daddy issues-related posts and perhaps some undercurrents of incest. Because, well, isn’t that what you’re here for.

My Demon Is Dying

“It’s only a matter of days.”

Okay. Okay.

I think I’ve been waiting for this to happen for ten years, so now that it’s finally happening I feel like I’ve been hit with a shock wave of reality. It was easy to pretend that this had already happened, that the goodbyes had been said, that when it actually happened it would feel like nothing because he had died a thousand times in my mind already. But now that it’s actually happening – well, I was never going to be totally prepared for the reality of this situation.

Every emotion. Every possible fucking emotion. Which frustrates me because I’d like to think that I’m emotionally stable enough to pick an array of emotions to feel about this and just stay within that limited but manicured set of emotions until those emotions dissipate. But I don’t know how I feel, and I don’t know how I want to feel. Part of me is preparing a paroxysm to parade around, some gushing of tears, the histrionics, wailing and gnashing of teeth, but, honestly, I’m too exhausted for that. Another part of me is filled with wrath, wants to jump up on table tops and shout with joy and spew bitter invectives and churn out harsh truths in a shocking fashion – but I also don’t want to give this that much energy. I want to be polished in whatever shape my sadness takes. Or, I mean, I don’t know if it will be sadness per se. I don’t know if I will cry. Am I supposed to cry? I know that crying is expected and natural, but I don’t know if there are tears in me for this. Am I just going to be…stoic? Unmoved? Indifferent? Is that who I am in the face of the death of my demon?

I would like to feel some sort of release, but I know that’s too much to ask. If anything, all I feel is frustrated. This is so fucking inconvenient. I feel like it’s a last ditch effort to drain me, to cajole me, to make me feel like a little kid all over again. It’s his last ditch attempt at hurting me, and I do not want to be hurt by this all over again. I definitely don’t want to relive all the hurt that he inflicted on me over my entire fucking life time. I will not give that to him. Nor will I dance on his grave – this is my quiet victory, one that I hold close to my heart. I will weather this like a woman, brave and strong. I am not going to sit there and watch him die – I do not want to be filled with bitterness and wrath all over again. That is just another way that he would win.

I want to let this go. I want this to be over with. I want the sadness to come and go. I want the tears to fall down my face or never show up at all. I want the condolences and looks of pity to pass and dissipate. I want to be months away from this already, just as it took me years to get away from him. I want this to be over with. I want him to be over with. I have always wanted him to be over with, and now that the end is near – I want this end to wash over me, and I want my new beginning. Right now.

 

Dating in the Drowning Pool Part II

I roll up to the bar with my new python clutch because, y’know, fuck it, gotta look swagged out at Radio on a Thursday night, right? He notices as I set on the bar and immediately comments, “Oh, you bought yourself a new bag?” Yes. Yes, I did. I also cashed out on a ton of make up and am wearing a lot of it on my face right now because I want to look beautiful even under these red 15 watt light bulbs.

But I know what he means. I know what the implication is here. The implication is that I’m selfish. Blowing money on designer goods isn’t exactly PC here in the Bay Area, but that’s fine, I’m not a PC person.

I also know what the extrapolation of that implication is: selfish women are only out for themselves. Sure, I get it, someone somewhere got burned by some girl who scammed him for a Louis purse, blah, blah, blah, I don’t care. I rue the implication because I see this judgment being levied against so many women I know: if you take care of yourself, try to look good, and exude confidence, you must be some kind of slut who’s out to run men for their money.

WRONG

Yo, it’s almost 2019 and I’m kinda getting sick of people’s very limited, preconceived notions about the concept of love. It’s almost as though people think that we have a limited amount of love that we can dole out in the world, and if you spend all that love on yourself then there must not be any left to give to anyone else, such as a potential boyfriend. Yuck. That’s so small minded.

From personal experience, let me tell you: the more love I have for myself, the more love I have to give to other people. It’s a self reinforcing philosophy, almost as though the more that I practice love inwardly the better I am at showing it outwardly. Crazy, right? The fact that I treat myself with kindness and respect means that I know how to treat other people with (or without) kindness and respect. And the more you practice, the better you are.

I mean, I get why this guy is so miffed by my new purse. That’s a pretty absurd amount of self love. But I don’t believe that there is an upper limit to love, and that’s something that I enjoy exploring with myself. Although, perhaps the real confusion comes from him wondering: how come I have so much love for myself and none for him? That’s easy – he hasn’t earned it.

That’s another piece to the puzzle – how do we earn other people’s love? Love, as a concept in our society, is kinda tacky and commercialized, so there hasn’t been a lot of cultural instruction on how exactly we earn love, receive love, and return love. I find it to be pretty sad because after all these years on Earth, I’ve found that loving people and being loved in return, while laborious and often times quite painful, is my favorite thing to do.

Anyways, so what does it take. I’ve found that there’s a certain amount of time and intimacy that are needed for me to love a person. It tends to be a lot of time and a lot of intimacy (which, honestly, always makes me squeamish, so that’s a hard one to tackle). Also, in terms of romantic love, I’d say that the lower limit for number of orgasms I have to have would probably be 10 (which, in all honesty, could be spread over anywhere from as little as three to as many as twenty sexual encounters).

So, I look at this guy, and I ask myself, is he going to earn my love? Nah. I’m not going to spend any more time with him, and I doubt I’ll ever be emotionally intimate with him, let alone have a satisfying sexual experience with him, so…whatever. I mean, I don’t think I’m every going to earn his love, but I’m also not going to try, so no broken hearts over here. Although, maybe if he spent more time practicing his own brand of self love, we would have gotten a little bit further in this rigmarole because fluency in the language of love – well, as I’m sure you already know, I’m a polyglot.

What Kind Of Secrets Are Buried In An Open Book?

He tells me we’re demons, and I believe him because I know I’m no angel. But as he takes my hand and drags me down, I start to wonder: just because I’m no angel doesn’t make me a demon. It just makes me human. But what is a human on a path like this, down the dirt road of demons. Just another lost soul at the mercy of the devil.

I bump up and swig back because fuck it, I’m here and there’s nothing better to do. This neverworld nepenthe is hitting me straight in the heart, and, as usual, my mouth opens up and the words flow out. I don’t need drugs to talk too much, but when I do drugs I talk even more. It feels almost other worldly as I start saying the stupid things that I always say. Well, it’s not that my stories are dumb but I know they’re a ruse. After years of talking too much, I have learned that not everything I say is true. There just isn’t that much truth in the world. And even though I believe the things I say to be true, it can’t be proven. I talk too much because it’s a good place to hide. The false show of vulnerability. The stories spill out of my mouth – but they’re the same sharply manicured stories that I tell time and time again. The ones that make me look good. The ones that make me look fun. Or crazy. Or interesting. Or fuckable. Or wild. Stories that are true in a sense but that only offer a simulacrum of vulnerability. I am not the person that these stories might make you think I am. Or, rather, I am more than the person in the stories I tell about myself. I know this. The stories that I tell are generally shocking and a bit grotesque, which is meant to make them seem deep and personal. But they’re not. The truly deep and personal stories – you won’t find them regurgitated on one of my blogs or trotted out at party time to make me seem cool. I keep those stories locked up in the back in my mind. You know, the stories that I would actually have to tell if I wanted someone to know who I am and why I am. I don’t tell those stories. Instead, I tell stories that sound good when on a journey of mutual intimacy. They’re good stories. Funny stories. Weird stories. Stories that are meant to make the other person feel like: oh, wow, she’s really opening up and talking about some personal shit. It’s probably safe for me to do the same. It’s not. It’s not safe. Then again, people don’t call me and ask me to come over to fuck because they want to feel safe. Quite the opposite. Which is how I justify the ruse to myself all over again.

Sex & Drugs

I’m high. Do I like myself? Do I like what I’m saying? Do I look okay? Am I being totally ridiculous right now? Am I a total asshole right now? Oh, yeah. This is why I don’t do drugs – the compounded anxiety is almost unbearable as I glide through moments that are lubricated with a sort of stardust and high pitched gleefulness. Sure, I’m high because I wanted to see if it would be more fun to fuck on drugs, but, honestly, after years of fucking and drinking and doing drugs, sex is only marginally better when on drugs. I don’t know. Have I loosened up? Am I being freaky? Am I feeling this too much? The weird thing about sex on drugs is it always makes me ask for waaaay too much kinky shit, and after years of experience, let me tell you, there are not very many people who respond enthusiastically to “Fuck me in the ass and choke me til I pass out.” And the people who do respond enthusiastically probably aren’t the type of people that I actually want in my life. Which is probably why I don’t do drugs and fuck – I don’t need any deeper access to that twisted sex and death fantasy that has defined me for my entire life. I have my inhibitions for a reason – to protect other people.

Donna

I met Donna when I was 18 and we were working together at Mars on Telegraph. I had just escape the confines of high school and my parents’ house, and I thought she was so cool. Like, ineffably cool. She was going to SF State studying film, and she lived close by me in West Oakland. She was three years older than me, so she could buy alcohol, and I remember thinking: she has so many friends. I wanted to be one of her friends.

We bonded over all the things we had in common: a mutual love for alcohol, a penchant for West Oakland warehouse parties, boy craziness and that unique mixture of punk rock and rap music that weird girls like us listened to in 2006. We would drive around West Oakland in her red pick up truck and listen to her original tape cassette of Mac Dre’s Too Hard For The Fucking Radio while talking about art films and feminism. She loaned me her Tom Robbins books and turned me on to astrology. She was so emotional, more emotional than any woman I had ever met in my life before. In fact, she was so emotional that in some ways it liberated me from my own prison of feeling out of touch with my own emotions. She wasn’t afraid to cry. She wasn’t afraid to yell. She wasn’t afraid to be mean to the customers who came into Mars and harassed us for being women. Like I said: so cool.

We started going to parties together. Her and me and a few other friends. She seemed to know everybody, which to me, at 18, was so impressive. She knew where to get coke, and she’d always buy me booze. She knew where the cool parties were and drove us all there. She liked going to the Lanesplitter’s in Temescal, and she’d buy a half pint of Ancient Age and dump it into our cokes so we could ripped before biking back to West Oakland. We had a penchant for drinking firecrackers, or Sparks (when it was basically proto-Four Loko) with a gin shooter. We spent all of summer 2006 hanging out at Dead Rat Beach (back when it was, um, a full blown meth lab). That Halloween, we got all dressed up to go to the party at Lobot but got so drunk outside that we never went in. (Even though apparently everyone was drinking mushroom tea. Whatever. I had more fun with Donna outside.)

Donna was the first friend I had who looked out for me when I was on my own. She was the first friend I looked up to. The summer of 2006 was wild, and eventually I quit Mars to go do better things. We were never as close after that as we were when we worked together. I have too many memories from those days to even write down here, mostly because I’m trying to finish writing this blog post without bursting into tears.

Even though we didn’t hang out as frequently as the years went on, we remained friends. I’d always see her at the random art parties I went to, at bars around town. She still played in bands and invited me to hang out with her. Sometimes we’d go to parties together, just like we had done all those  years ago.

Two years ago, after I had gotten out of the hospital, she texted me to wish me well. I told her we would hang out when I was feeling better. She told me that she had just started culinary school and would love to see me.

But I didn’t get to see her. She died in the Ghost Ship fire. Which was, as we all know, it’s own special hell of emotions. There’s no point in reliving any of that, but there is a point in remembering Donna and the impact that she had on my life.

Ugh. I don’t know. I hate all the sadness inside me right now. Because that’s not Donna, and that’s not the memory that I have of her. That’s not who she was to me, but I guess on the two year anniversary of her death I can’t help but pay homage to that sadness. Maybe tomorrow or maybe some other day I’ll be in a better place to tell you about all the crazy shit we did all those years ago. She was so cool, and I don’t want the world to forget that about her. I definitely won’t.

 

 

Dating In The Drowning Pool

So, I got negged last night.

I realized this morning upon further consideration that, yes, it has been a while since I’ve dived this deep into the dating pool, which is why I totally forgot about that irritating male habit of negging women. *sigh* I mean, I thought that I had found a cushier side of the dating pool. In the past, I wasn’t really into screening my dates for things like jobs – I would go out with anyone who had a dick and a bad attitude. But now that I’ve gotten older, I try to avoid the slew of fuck boys that had served me so well in the past. Now I’m aiming for the type of men that my friends tell me I should date, namely men who are older than me and have jobs and cars and a place to live. I’m not opposed to trying new things, so I’ve been pretty committed to pursuing the type of men that my friends think are worth my time. It’s not that I don’t trust my own judgment, it’s more that the definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I’m only going to get better results if I try something new. Right?

Wrong. Apparently, it’s possible for me to get worse results from a seemingly more reputable slice of the male population. Eh, I already knew this, but I was feeling optimistic, as usual. Which is why I got a drink with this “man” last night. He’s older, he has a nice car, he has a good job and money. I’m supposed to want that, right? (I mean, yeah, I do want that, but I want that for myself by myself and not because some man gave it to me. I know, I know, I’m “wanting” these things incorrectly. Or something.) So I entertained him for a bit. Mistake.

He was critical of the fact I wear a crucifix. There are a lot of reasons why I wear my crucifix, the first and foremost being that Catholicism is part of my identity. For a man to criticize the fact that I identify with a core element of my upbringing (while not adhering to its dogmatic tenets) and am not ashamed to show it to the world was, like, woah, wow, um, major red flag. Am I not allowed to have a controversial opinion? Am I not allowed to be honest with myself and those around me about how I was raised and the impact that has on me today? Let a bitch live, maybe? On the other hand, I also still admire the aesthetics of the Catholic Church, something which was iterated quite cohesively in this year’s Met exhibition, but, hey, that’s only a major New York museum, who am I to say that they’re right or wrong. Anyways, what I got from that first criticism is that he wasn’t interested in me, myself or how I identify. Cool.

Look, I’m not here to defend the Catholic Church. It’s basically just an international pedophilia ring, and it’s also one of the prime proponents of Western misogyny, so, no, not my favorite thing. But after having escaped that mind fuck cult, I’d definitely appreciate it if the atheists weren’t total assholes about my residual commitment to the dilution of Catholic iconography. Ugh.

But enough about the Catholic Church because it sucks and I’m not letting it hijack this blog post. Back to the date. Basically, anyone who knows me knows that I dress pretty flamboyantly in nice designer shit, so the fact that this guy honed in on my necklace as a topic of conversation rather than complimenting any of the other very nice things I had on was just like, yo, come on dude. Honey, not vinegar. I read The Game and I know how this works, which is why I don’t entertain anyone who negs me. Genuine compliments or gtfo. Because as I sat there engaging in that tedium, I realized, “Damn, I don’t give a fuck about his opinion.” Which is what negging does for me: makes me realize, no, I don’t care about this man or what he thinks or what he has to say, so, see ya. It would be one thing if a friend whom I loved and had known for years had something critical to say about what I was wearing – I would listen to them because we have built a rapport of trust and mutual admiration over the years, and part of that trust includes respecting their opinions. But some random man in the bar? No. No respect for you.

Whatever happened to manners. Or is this some weird residual call out culture bullshit. Or is this just men trying to be edgy and have opinions so that they appear smart and other worldly. Cuz it ain’t working. Although, no, it is working in making me realize: this is fucking annoying, I can’t believe this person makes more money than me, I think I need to try harder at work so I can have at least as much if not more social clout and real capital as this guy so I can go around being nice and generous with people. Y’know, for the culture.

Until then, I’m not sure if I’ll keep taking my friends’ advice on how to date in 2018. I mean, whatever, I start my pussy eating lessons next week so, who knows, maybe this is just a swan song.