Empty Nostalgia

I miss missing him. Which is so stupid. I guess there’s no more low level serotonin boost from thinking about him or missing him. It used to make my day. Used to make me spin. Used to be the thing that I wanted to do most: think about him. And it’s strange, because now when I think about him – I just feel deflated. Sad, really, because that once great source of joy and love is now…nothing. I want to feel something. I want to want him, to crave, to miss, to be willing to blow up everything in my life just to be close to him. But now? Nah. Which makes me mad, because weren’t we supposed to be in love forever? But, honestly, I’m not even mad enough to do something about it. Actually, I’m not even mad. But I want to be mad. Because being mad is more fun than being indifferent. Sure, I still think about him from time to time – of course I do, because I’m writing about him. But I think about him less and less. I’m not sure what else it is that I think about these days – the chaos and the catastrophe of being close to him consumed me. Almost destroyed me. Being that close to destruction was thrilling. Now – I am whole without him, and it is also kinda boring. I have healed from the old wounds, and in its place, I have health. I’m not sure if I want health. I don’t want him, that’s for sure. I want some new kind of disease to make me sick and hurting. I want to obsess, because without obsession I am simply bored.

I’ve Lost My Edge

I was standing in line at the vintage clothing store, wearing my practical 2″ heels and holding my black leather Gucci purse, dressed in an outfit that I deemed ‘toned down,’ when I came face to face with the cashier. There she was, in her dark lipstick, with the thick black eyeliner, tattoo necklace, and thin, blonde hair twisted up into Chun Li buns. In those platform boots and that mesh top. Her coworker, who registered as neither male or female, looked equally posh in a green jumpsuit and with naturally curly hair. As I clutched onto the white Comme des Garcons jacket I had lucked upon, I realized, wow, these are not my people. I used to feel like the employees of vintage clothing stores everywhere were my people, mostly because I, too, had, at one point, worked at a vintage clothing store. As I stood there, eager to brandish my credit card, I knew: no, I no longer play the part. I look stuffy with my practical make up on and in my teal Escada pants. I used to be able to go up to anyone working at the vintage clothing store and ask with a defined air of cool, “What’s going on tonight?” Nothing’s going on tonight – not for me. I’m going straight back to my apartment, flipping on the TV, and parking my ass on the couch for like six hours. I guess there’s something dignified about growing out of going to warehouse parties every weekend for years on end, but seeing as I haven’t grown into anything more scintillating yet also more age appropriate, it just kinda feels like defeat for now. I don’t know who the coolest bands are, I don’t know where the coolest underground clubs are, and I don’t dress like the coolest chick in here anymore. I used to. Sure, there’s something to be said for the pandemic stripping away my profound sense of coolness, but it was already waning before all that happened. God, look at me now. I work a regular job, I pay my bills, and after a recent speeding ticket, I drive like a Berkeley resident. How fucking boring. I’ve lost my edge, and as I wait for the young, white couple ahead of me to pick up their money from selling their clothes, I wonder: do I even want it back? I sigh, knowing damn well that I traded in ‘my edge’ for my own apartment, a car, and a slew of nice purses languishing in the back of my closet at home. No, I don’t want it back. I’d rather be boring and rot atop a pile of designer clothing alone than have to perform youth all over again. After all this time, I can pass for someone with a Bachelor’s degree in liberal arts. Fuck, I probably look like I voted for Joe Biden! Oh…fuck, I did. Damn it. I’ve definitely lost my edge. All I really have left is shop lifting cheap make up from Target – it’s the last death rattle of a disenfranchised teenage girl who used to toot up on blow and fuck random guys in the bathrooms at parties. This is so upsetting. I should probably just get black out drunk about it and forget all about it.

Welcome to Womanhood

I’m getting my first Botox shots next week, which is basically a feminist tradition for white women who don’t have children. I’m very excited. I’ve decided not to age gracefully because fuck it, I’m an American, if I want to dip my face into chemicals and fossilize it for a century or so, I’m going to do it. I’m past my teenage anti-consumerist misgivings and have fully succumbed to the materialism of America. I’m here, it’s who I am, it’s my culture, and I’m embracing it. And by “my culture” what I mean is: having left the toxic wasteland of diet culture, I’m ready for a new toxic wasteland that defines and punishes femininity: anti-aging dysmorphia. (Actually, I’m still hanging out in the toxic wasteland of diet culture, I guess I’ve just wandered into overlapping territory.) Part of me wishes I were strong enough to go all crunchy hippie with the skin on my face for the rest of my life, but I’m not a person who has moral convictions or shit like that. Mostly, I’m just cheap, so that’s my north star for making decisions about my own consumerism.

That being said, I’ve also noticed that my jaw is too big for my face. I’m a bruxer, so I’m not sure if this is a recent development, or if all the time I’ve spent fretting over my face in the mirror has caused me to hone in on other issues I hadn’t noticed before. This, of course, has inspired to me lose my shit over the possibility of getting plastic surgery to shave my jaw down – although, as a married woman, I realize that maybe the time for this has passed. That being said, it occurred to me that trans women get their jaws shaved down all the time! My jaw makes me feel like less of a woman, therefore should I be justified in getting my jaw shaved down? Of course, I realize that there’s a difference between gender dysmorphia and not liking one’s own face, but, honestly, I’m not exactly sure how to articulate where that line is. I’m happy for all the women, cis and trans, who are getting plastic surgery (happier for the trans women, though). However, yes, I am quite jealous of everyone who’s getting plastic surgery. I’m not quite sure what to do with this jealousy – should I rage against it and rail against unattainable beauty standards? Or should I succumb to the circus and get knifed the fuck up? I’ll probably do neither because, at the end of the day, I am too lazy to rage and too cheap to get knifed up.

Although, it’s worth mentioning that as a married woman I am now entertaining the idea of procreation. (Seriously entertaining it, not just threatening it.) The idea of blowing out my belly, tits and pussy sounds terrible, so I’ve let my husband know that I expect $10k of plastic surgery at the very least. Honestly, probably more like $20k. But one step at a time.

I love being a woman, but, my god, I also fucking hate it.

Man vs Nature

When I was in high school, we went on a field trip to the DeYoung museum in San Francisco. It’s not my favorite museum, mostly because of this one room in the back of the building, past the African mask collection and in between the antique Chinese jade and the Quaker chairs: the man versus nature paintings. They’re all very anodyne paintings on small canvases, perhaps 12″ x 24″, of sunsets and trees and waterfalls, done by white men two centuries ago. That room always offended me. Mostly because that type of art was unrelatable – my teacher told me that these paintings were all about man’s struggle to overcome the chaos and also beauty of nature. I was living in the 21st century – man versus nature was a moot point. Hadn’t we won? We had cars and planes and air conditioning and pesticides and plastics.

I still don’t care for those paintings, but within my short lifetime I’ve come to regard the struggle of man versus nature in a different light. I thought we had won, but now, here we are, in the midst of global warming and at the tail end of a pandemic. I find it so disappointing that people think that Covid 19 was made in a lab. Actually, I find it to be arrogant. We thought we had won the war against nature, but little did we know that mother nature was making a come back. As intelligent as humans are, we are no match for mother nature. While I am confident that humans are capable of designing diseases and viruses, no one does it quite like mother nature. That bitch does everything! She turned specs of carbon into the teeming life we see on earth today. She made mushrooms and orca whales and slugs and puppies and humans. Of course she can throw a pesky little virus at us, and of course that virus can rapidly evolve over the course of years. The scientists in Wuhan might be working with malicious intent, but no one is as malicious, creative and clever as mother nature.

I used to think that man was going to win this thing, but the more I think of it now, the more I realize that our time on this planet is a mere blip compared to millennia of life that have existed on this planet. I don’t know why I thought that we would conquer and outlast mother nature. While global warming is a concerning issue for the here and now, I’ve been considering it from the macrocosmic level, and I’ve decided: life finds a way. The climate is changing on this planet, and that is going to lead to what we perceive to be catastrophe: crop failure, flooding, unmanageable temperature fluctuations. Human beings will face displacement, famine, and natural disasters unlike what we have seen before. But we will survive. That’s what we do. Sure, it’s going to suck. A lot of us are going to die. Climate change will be accompanied with political turmoil, strife, and war. I’m honestly not looking forward to it. But in the grand scheme of things – life finds a way. Maybe not my life, and maybe not the life of the people I love. But life in general goes on. Fuck it, humans might lose their dominance on this planet. We might eventually go extinct. But in our place: something new. I’m sure that something new will be terrifying. But my life expectancy is 79 years, so I’m like half way done with being here. I won’t be around for the worst of it. Even if I were, I probably wouldn’t survive it.

I stand in awe of mother nature. I know other people believe in god and try to assign meaning to life on earth, but I’m just blown away by the fact that the chaos of the universe has resulted in me, sitting here, on my computer, typing away, sitting on my velvet couch, about to grab my Louis Vuitton purse, and go out the door and sell some booze. All of this might fade away – perhaps there will be an earthquake, or a bombing, or I will wake up one day and decide to drink myself into despair and death. Life is fragile, so I’m just trying to have a good time while I’m here. Nature is going to win, but nature was always going to win, because why was man at war with nature in the first place? If anything, we are a part of nature, and we will go the way of nature: ephemeral, and billowing through the chaos of life on earth.

Reopened

I watch the news every day, and every day I hope for more bad news. I miss the bad news. I had gotten used to it – accustomed to whatever neurochemical reaction set off in my brain every time I was reminded that the world might fall to fascism or disease. It was like my morning coffee – it got me going. It got me up. It got me ready to sit in the house all day and ignore all my phone calls and text messages.

But now. Now, there is no bad news. Or, there’s not enough. It’s always far away and unfamiliar. That impending sense of doom has faded away, and now I’m left here, by myself, with my regular job and my regular life, navigating my way through the crisis of not being in crisis.

I hate it. All of a sudden, I have lost my sense of purpose. Now that I’m no longer merely surviving the terrors of modern living, I am being forced to face what it was I would truly do with my time and who I would truly be if things weren’t so bad. Things aren’t so bad, and I am fucking bored. That’s who I am: a bored, privileged woman in a condo, on the Internet. All those “if onlys” – if only things were different, I would be better, if things were better, I’d do this – have melted away, and I am not better, and I’m not doing all the things I said I would do.

Burn it down. I would like to burn it down, because if I am staring lovingly into the hell fire of the world around me, then I’m not standing here, gazing at myself in the mirror, and wondering why the fuck I am filled with lies and disappointment. I crave crisis, because with crisis there is the possibility that I will be a hero. Without crisis, I am just here, and that means that there’s nothing very remarkable or interesting about me, is there?

Know Thyself

I’ve been reevaluating my relationship with alcohol because, well, I’m 33, and I’ve changed a lot in the recent years, but somehow my attitude towards alcohol has not changed. I’m beginning to think that I’ve missed the mark on that one. It’s not that anything bad has happened – in fact, if anything, because nothing bad has happened with my alcohol consumption, this is the perfect time to reevaluate it. Is it actually working for me? I know why I drink – as dumb as it sounds, it makes me feel cool. It makes me feel exciting. Edgy. Like a rebel. And the more that my life becomes staid and “middle class” (all things being relative), the more that I cling to drinking in order to feel the wildness inside me. But, then again, I’ve come to resent the fact that I need alcohol in order to be cool. Why can’t I be cool just on my own, without alcohol? Granted, there is the profound possibility that I’m totally uncool – but maybe I should put down the bottle and accept that, too. So I’m thinking about how much I adore alcohol, and drinking, and being drunk, and with the glimmer of the thought that *maybe* we need some space, I’ve already hyperaccelerated myself into a rather uncomfortable grieving process because, well, how am I supposed to grieve without alcohol?! Whatever. I guess I’ll just resign myself to being boring and normal because there is something so uncomfortably cliche about perpetuating the self inflicted problems of alcohol. The question is: who am I when I’m not drinking? Although, if I’m being honest with myself about my relationship with alcohol, the real question is: who am I when I’m not drinking and I’m not surrounding myself with people who also have drinking problems? I’m afraid that if I’m sober, in a room full of sober people, I won’t qualify as the most interesting or exciting person in the room. Not that I ever qualified as the most interesting or exciting person in the room, but when I was drinking, I at least felt like the most interesting and exciting person in the room.

I use alcohol to control my emotions. It’s a controlled burn – I can control when I get out of control, when I get loose. Without alcohol, I don’t know when I will feel good – it’s random. With alcohol, I know it happens with that first sip. I am afraid that without alcohol, I will get out of control. I am afraid that I won’t recognize the person I will become, and with that – even more chaos. Maybe not drinking is the reckless option. I am comfortable with the many moods of me when I’m drinking, but who knows what kind of new depths of depression I will achieve, or what kind of ennui I will sink into, or what kind of pursuits I will entangle myself in while in the pursuit of some other dopamine rush. What will the pursuit of a new type of pleasure do to a person like me, and am I too old to be doing things like that?

All I want is to feel better than other people, and I’m not quite sure if alcohol helps or hurts that pursuit. Will report back in 3-5 years as to whether or not I have glided my way into an even more stultifying level of mediocrity or if I have found a way bolster my delusions of superiority and grandeur.

True Love

“Is it true love?”

Of course my mother would ask me a question like that. And of course, I wouldn’t hesitate to respond, “Yes. Of course it’s true love.”

Because it is. I resent the implication that at some point I have given love that was false. Fake love. No, I don’t do that. All the love I give is true. It’s real. I mean it when I love someone. Even if love fades, or it explodes, or it gets lost in the mix of things – that kind of thing happens. And it’s ok. Just because love doesn’t endure through all of time and space doesn’t mean that it’s fake or even less valuable. It just means that it had a short, perhaps tragic, life span.

But I know that’s not what my mother means. What my mother means is: are you going to put effort into making sure that this love doesn’t die at the first wayward glance? Which: none of her business! My heart is full of fleas and fluff, and if it turns out that I’m emotionally incapable of maintaining a relationship til the day I die – well, I think she should be more concerned about how that reflects poorly on her. If I continue to waffle in and out of my relationships, that’s my decision.

That being said, yes, of course I’m going to put effort into making this shit work. You know why? Because I said I was going to. And, sure, all that mumbo jumbo about uniting souls to eternity was kinda scary (and honestly surprising – I did not know that marriage was *that* serious, but it was kinda too late to be like, “Huh, what? I’m promising to do what now?!” as I was standing on the altar in that super tight white dress and those pink high heels with all my friends sitting there watching me), but this is an ego thing for me. Maybe getting married was impulsive, but, guys, I have an ego that I need to maintain here. And, speaking of ego, I need to go double check those vows because I’m pretty sure I didn’t commit to not fucking around in front of God, although, I don’t believe in God, but, y’know, just in case.

So, from here to eternity, baby! In the most casual, low effort way possible.

Where Do All The Karens Go?

I assume that after having their racist freak outs, the Karens just go back to wherever the fuck they came from, which is probably somewhere white, suburban and prosperous. They go back to their nice white lives, in their nice white homes, with their nice white families – all of which was not and never will be enough for them, because if it were enough for them, then they wouldn’t need to have racist freak outs. What’s so terrible about being middle class and well off in America? I don’t understand what kind of hell that is, because I don’t understand why having a nice life inspires so much racism. It doesn’t seem like hell from the outside, but I hope it is, because if that’s where the Karens return to – well, I just want some sort of reassurance that they’re suffering. I would prefer to see them dragged to the town square, drawn and quartered, or whatever other sort of medieval justice we can imagine to rain down upon them – because that would be satisfying. It would be nice to know that the Karens are in pain in a public way. Even though I know that the spectacle of one white woman’s suffering wouldn’t counteract centuries of racism – I just want to the thrill and the immediate gratification of justice as entertainment. I want to feast on the schadenfreude of one Karen’s suffering. I want to be filled with it, bursting with it, drowning in it. I want to digest it for days and shit it out, until I am empty again, and then we must feed the beast again. I want to dance in the destruction of their marriages, their reputations, their relationships, their jobs, their homes. I am a glutton in the halls of cancel culture, and all I desire is more and more and more and more.

But perhaps there is a hell I do not know, and that is where all the Karens go. Perhaps hell is not the fire and brimstone that I crave, but the stasis of mediocrity and the middle class. There must be something so punishing about the white, middle class American woman – it has to be terrible, otherwise it wouldn’t produce such terrible people. It is a terror I do not know and cannot understand, but perhaps sending the Karens back into the hole that they crawled out of is the best punishment we can give them. It certainly isn’t satisfying, but, then again, perhaps it’s a satisfaction that I have yet to grasp.

I am filled with hate, yet again, and this burning circus of Karens is a glee filled revelation.

Happy Mental Health Awareness Month

People are chirping about mental health on the Internet, so as someone with ‘mental health issues,’ I thought I’d throw my opinion into the mud wrestling ring. Basically, all I have to say about mental health issues is: my mental health problems (and a lot of the mental health problems of those close to me) stem from to primary sources – systemic trauma and interpersonal abuse. The systemic trauma is a big one – that’s the stress caused by generational poverty, institutionalized racism and sexism, an unnavigable financial system, lack of affordable housing, stagnant wages, lack of medical care and lack of job opportunities. It’s remarkable what a stable housing environment, a good job that pays fair wages, and equitable access to social resources will do to relieve mental health problems. Living in poverty literally takes more brain power than being middle class! But, of course, as we all know, mental health problems impact middle class (and even upper class) people, which is why we have things like school shootings, incels and white supremacists. These people aren’t faced with traditional systemic trauma, so what’s their deal? Interpersonal abuse is also a huge factor in mental health problems – rape, domestic violence, bullying, etc… Abuse is pervasive throughout humanity. But I guess part of me is just disappointed that the systemic trauma is so frequently ignored in favor of focusing on interpersonal abuse. To me, those two things are interdependent – often times, economic factors contribute to being unable to escape interpersonal abuse. It’s clear that this newfound focus on mental issues is intended to appeal to white, middle class people because it ignores the basic economic issues that contribute to mental illness. Part of me wonders – if we focused on repairing the systemic traumas, how much mental illness would remain? Because these two factors are causes of mental illness, and that mental illness is reactive mental illness. But what about actually zeroing in on inherent mental illness? Reactive mental illness can often times be treated before the scars on the personality become permanent, but inherent mental illness is permanent.

I guess I just don’t find anything relatable about Prince Harry and Lady Gaga talking about their mental health problems. The fact of the matter is: if a community doesn’t have resources for its people, then it doesn’t have resources to solve systemic trauma, and therefore it doesn’t have resources to help with mental health problems. As someone with mental health problems, suicide awareness doesn’t do anything for me. The idea of random strangers ‘being there for me’ isn’t a deterrent for anyone who’s truly suicidal. I guess what I’m trying to say is: friendships are the most important deterrents from suicidal and depressive behavior. True friendships with vulnerability and depth. But that’s not something that you can train a society to offer – you kinda just have to do it on a person by person basis and hope that it spreads from there. Abuse will always be a part of human relationships, but I’d rather see infographics on ‘how to be a better best friend’ than another meme about gaslighting.

Back in the Tinder Box

I redownloaded Tinder out of sheer boredom/terror, you know, just to see what the fuck was out there. Let me tell you what is out there: the Great Pacific garbage patch. I’m shocked by the number middling attractive men who only know how to say ‘Hi’ or ‘hand waving emoji’ as an intro on a dating app. God, I’ve been off that thing for so long that I forgot that most people don’t know how to initiate a conversation with a stranger. I don’t really know how to respond to messages like ‘How’s your day going beautiful.’ Do I just say, ‘It’s good,’ and then move on. Or am I just completely out of touch with modern dating rituals? Granted, I put zero effort into starting conversations on this app because despite looking at it every day, I do think it’s beneath me. I’m just there to browse the merchandise. Granted, I thought I was walking into a Whole Foods of men, but turns out it’s the Grocery Outlet in Richmond, which is dirty and kinda scary. (Although, I’ll be honest, I’d shop at the Grocery Outlet in Richmond over Whole Foods every day of the week, but just humor me for this analogy.) Actually, no, don’t humor me for this analogy – the Grocery Outlet in Richmond is far superior to Whole Foods whether you’re buying food or using it as a comparison for men. Whole Foods is anodyne in its demand for ‘self care’ culture conformity and they mistreat their workers. Grocery Outlet, however, has great deals, and the last time I was there the cashier looked like a West Coast Meg Thee Stallion. Maybe I just miss being around people who can spit game, because this dating app bullshit is just so disappointing. At least I know when I go to Grocery Outlet that there’s a 50% chance that the things I buy will be terrible! However, when I got to Whole Foods, I know that there’s a 100% chance that I’ll be ripped off and contributing to class exploitation.

Anyway, all of this is just to say: I’d rather muse on the sociopolitical implications of one’s choice of grocery store than think for one second about my both boring and horrible experience of having been back on Tinder for three days. Somebody save me and tell me when the bars open again.