Lifestyles Versus Phases

I was kicking it with my legacy best friend the other night. We’ve been friends for almost ten years now, and if you’re wondering what we were like when we were 21, I’ll let you know that it was exactly as debaucherous and chaotic as you’d think it would be for two hot, young Bay Area girls. However, we’re getting older now, and as we sat in the back of Ruby Room one thing became blatantly obvious: we’re changing.

I was already drunk at 10pm, sipping on expensive whiskey that my sugar daddy had bought for me, and she was calmly sipping her beer as her boyfriend stayed locked to her side. She told me about the new job she was getting – it sounded not too fun, but it’s the right thing for the new career path (which is in no way party related). As I sat there, listening, it occurred to me: we started out in the same place ten years ago, but now we’re going to separate places.

Of course I’m happy for my friend and her new boyfriend who she’ll probably marry and have kids with in five years, and I’m happy that she’s pursuing a career. Of course, I’m also pretty angry for no particular reason, but mostly it’s because…I think we’re growing apart.

Sure, I look at her big, shiny, new life decisions, and part of me is like, “Why the fuck would she do that?” But then I remember: we’re separate people, and the things that will make her happy aren’t the things that would make me happy. I guess I’m just not used to the fact that she’s changed, and we don’t agree on everything all the time anymore.

I’m also insecure about the fact that she’s making all this adult decisions while I’m still festering in the same old lifestyle I’ve been living since I was 16. I realize that I’m still doing the same things I did at 16 that I do at 31. So, this definitely isn’t a phase for me. I’ll always love liquor, and dive bars, and nasty sex, and slutty outfits, and rap music. I’m in this until the day I die, and even as I pull back a little bit, I’ll still always be here. Watching someone who was my companion in chaos check out of the scene is heart breaking because does that mean that I’m too old to be here? That this is just kid shit? Is this arrested development? Or can I point my finger at her and say that she wasn’t really committed to the chaos, she was just a tourist of sorts. There was to be a way that I can process this without being mean about it to her or to myself. But right now I only feel one way about it: scared of change.

Or maybe I’m afraid that it means that I might be losing her. Maybe it has nothing to do with passing judgment on my weekend hobbies and has everything to do with the fact that if she’s living that life and I’m living this one, maybe our friendship doesn’t make as much sense as it used to. Or, maybe the change will be so severe that I’ll get lost in the shuffle. Maybe she’ll abandon me for her boyfriend and her career and her future kids. And I’ll be stuck here, in the back of Ruby Room, drinking whiskey forever.

What if I was the phase? Just another person that was cool to kick it with before life got serious. Easy to discard as soon as it was time to get to work and live a real life.

Nah, fuck that. I’m not disposable, and neither is she. After all those years, we’re allowed to change, we’re allowed to grow apart, we’re allowed to come back together. We’re allowed to be happy in different ways and in different places. But friendship, especially our friendship, is stronger than that.

Come what may, I’ll always be your friend.

Trends in Codependency

I woke up from a dead sleep, and there he was, looming over me with a toothbrush in my mouth and working up a lather.

“What are you doing!” I cried in muffled bemusement as the TV blared in the background.

“You forgot to brush your teeth before bed,” he informed me as I stared at him wide eyed and unable to talk. “We have to make sure we clean your molars and get your tongue, too.” He was sitting on the bed, brushing my teeth for me at what must have been some ungodly hour of the night. I lay there, motionless, unsure what to do other than sit there and let him tenderly and lovingly brush my teeth for me.

As I let him work over my teeth as I lay in bed in the middle of the night, it occurred to me that this was a new level of dom-sub codependency that Internet hadn’t really prepared me for. Slapping my ass? Yes. Pulling my hair? Check. Choking me? Ok. But brushing my teeth? Well, okay, I wasn’t expecting this, but I’ll take it.

“Okay, go spit,” he said after a good three minutes of scrubbing. I jumped out of bed, spat in the sink, and jumped back in bed.

“Thank you, Daddy,” I said and kissed him on the mouth. I wondered what other elements of my hygiene routine I could coerce him into doing for me. What’s next – is he going to shave my legs for me? Pluck my eyebrows? I wonder if I can get him to put on my eyeliner for me because that’s pretty hard to do.

I looked at him, still feeling a bit puzzled, as he put the toothbrush back and got back into bed with me. He grabbed me and pulled me in, and we drifted back into sleep.

The next day I immediately told all my friends that daddy brushed my teeth for me. I think that they were all pretty jealous because we all tend to go for codependent, d/s relationships, but I think I win a gold star for “newest trend in codependency.” Unfortunately, I’m going to have to top that next week if I want to hold onto this winning streak, but I have faith that the weirdness will reach new albeit comforting levels. Stay tuned.

Kicking

I jump out of bed, throw my coat on over my skivvies and shove my feet into my shoes. I run down the four flights of stairs to the liquor store around the corner. It’s 9 am, and the clerk looks at me with the same indifference with which he handles every transaction. I ask him for a pint of the second cheapest vodka he has, and he rings me up, judgment free. We’re close enough to the Tenderloin for him to have seen it all by now, and I don’t waste time pondering what that means as I bustle my way back up the four flights of stairs.

He’s still sitting on the bathroom floor, which is covered in yellow puke. I crouch down next to him as he’s weaving back and forth, moaning in pain.

“Come on, baby, come on,” I mumble as I pour vodka down his throat to ease the DTs and try to lug him back into bed. It’s a Sisyphean task. He feels like a ton of bricks in my feeble hands, and eventually he perks up, slaps himself in the face five times, and tumbles back into bed. The sheets are stained with the same yellow puke that is now smeared on the bathroom floor, the sink, the toilet. We had jerked up in an instant twenty minutes ago as he lay on his back and suddenly spewed vomit in the bed. It was harrowing, really, in its own way, an almost Jimi Hendrix moment that made me feel grateful for my own sobriety, in that moment and beyond.

He had been kicking for a week and a half. Vomiting all the time, shaking constantly. I wonder how we got here, but I know exactly how we got here. Or, I know why I’m here. I try not to think about it as we lie there, naked, pressed together as close as we can be until we can escape this moment.

I don’t know how I’m going to go to work later. How I’m going to get through the rest of the day. Not because I’m exhausted, which I am, but because there’s a certain moral onus that is nipping at my heels. How am I going to sell the poison that is killing my baby in my arms at this very moment? How can I do this to anyone else?

I tell myself that it takes a lot to get to this place. A lot of alcohol. Tons and tons of alcohol. I’d be remiss if I acted like I didn’t want to sell that much alcohol because that’s what I do for a living and I love making money. But I don’t think about that as I kiss him on the lips and shut my eyes and try not to drift back into sleep. He kisses me back, and we both wait for the pain to go away.

Getting Ghosted

I got ghosted! Which, I know, it’s pretty ironic since I was on a mega-ghost trip in 2018, and now it’s come back to bite me in the ass. I’ll admit – I do not like it. In fact, I’ll admit that I woke up in a bit of a rage today because, ugh, who ghosts me? Me?! So I did the adult thing, and I texted the obligatory “u ok” text after ten days of radio silence because I’m a lady, and I’ll do the proper thing, i.e. turning a ghost into a proper break up via text message. I got the typical “I’m busy” text response eight hours later, which basically translates into “I didn’t want to make time for you” which in my heart means “you’re not that important to me” which is a huge jab at my ego. I tried my very hardest to be kind and vulnerable and sexy and available and interesting and all those things thatĀ Cosmo tells me I should be in order to win the love and affection of a man.

I took the “I’m busy” text in stride and said “I had fun w u” and kept it moving. Polite, right? No big scenes, no, “Why didn’t you text me back!” Didn’t key his car or leak his dick pics on line or smear him on the feminist corner of the Internet. Just calm, cool, collected, and then I shot him the “peace out” emoji because I’m classy like that. I’ve never broken up with someone for ghosting me – usually I’ll accept a mutual ghost and call it a day. But sometimes you just know that you’re going to see the other person around, and also I work in bars, and I kinda do this thing where I claim every bar in the East Bay and part of San Jose as my territory, so keeping things neutral and open seemed like the best idea for the situation. Again: maturity. From me. Shocking.

Now I know that the problem with getting ghosted is that you don’t get any feedback on why the relationship has ended. After four months, you’d think that I’d be interested to know why I got ghosted, but…I am not interested. The last time I saw him before he ghosted me, he told me that he loved me and that he was in love with me, which I took as a total victory. But the next week it was total silence, and: I don’t care. Sometimes you bring your A game, and your A game isn’t appreciated. I didn’t bring my A game, but my B game definitely wasn’t appreciated. Ehhh, I mean, sure, it’s convenient for me to feel callous and cynical about someone who just ghosted me because me ego’s hurt, but I got a lot going on right now. Sure, there’s a part of me that wants to totally trash his dick game on the Internet just for my own amusement, but…I already didn’t give him shine on my sex blog, so that’s probably rude enough as it is.

Anyways, the reason I don’t care is the same as the reason I got ghosted in the first place: Gangsta Boo is back, monopolizing my attention, and I’m pretty content with this new normal of chaos. Not sure how long any of this is going to last, but I’m riding this crazy train until we all go up in flames. And be “we all” I mean, yes, all of us. You’re included in that, too. Of course, *somebody* tried to jump off right at the last second, but guess what, asshole! Too late. I feel mildly bad that he had to find out I was fucking someone else just because he read my blog but c’est la vie. I was completely transparent about the fact that Gangsta Boo was back in town, and *somebody* didn’t try to lock it down, so. Here we are.

I am still incredibly angry that I got ghosted, but I’ll find a way to work out that anger. Eventually.

Is He Hot Enough For Me?

We’re sitting at the bar, and we’re having a drink, and I can tell in my periphery that people I know professionally are buzzing around us like flies. He’s leaning into me, not in the way that two friends get a drink at the bar, but in the way that we are going to fuck later tonight.

I pull back just a little bit, because I’m an asshole like that, and it occurs to me as though acquaintance rifle around in the background that maybe I don’t want to lean in closer or let him kiss me. They might see.

I immediately feel guilty for thinking like this. Perhaps it’s reflexive – I spent so many years fretting over the fact that I might not be hot enough, or cool enough, or good enough, or popular enough for whichever boy it was that had my fancy at the moment. But now, at 31, dressed to the nines and knowing everyone in this bar, I’ve come to realize: there really isn’t anyone I can think of that I am not hot enough, cool enough, good enough or popular enough to fuck. In fact, I might be too hot, or too cool, or too good, or too popular to fuck some these guys I drag around from bar to bar. Which is presenting a problem in my dating lief because now that the tables have turned: is he good enough for me?

What if these people I know in a cursory social manner see me with him, and he isn’t hot enough for me. I try not to clench my teeth as I think about some other, mystery man who is super hot and would make an excellent trophy boyfriend for me here at the bar. Would I look better with someone else? Maybe I should just take him home and fuck him in peace without the rest of the world watching me. Is the world watching me? Probably not, but just in case the world still pays attention to who I fuck, I’d like to put on a good show. In fact, I’d like to put on the best show I am capable of. And I don’t know if the people at the bar playing a porno in their head starring me and him. But I would like them to.

I make him pay for my drinks, and I meander out into the street alone. I’m not quite sure who the world wants to see me fuck, and while I know I should be more concerned about figuring out who it is that I want to fuck, I’ll admit that the world’s opinion of who I fuck matters very much to me. I need to fuck the hottest person in the room. Or I’m not fucking anyone at all.

Let the Rest of the World Rot

I text because my friends say he would be good for me, and I love my friends, so I heed their advice. Even though I don’t know why I’m supposed to aspire to the social monolith of wanting to get married and have kids and have a good job. I thought that I had nestled myself into the alternative youth culture of what used to be a pretty grimy downtown Oakland bar scene so that I could avoid the platitudes of white hetero normalcy. But perhaps there’s a universal truth the the marriage and the kids and the job. They are themes that are pervasive throughout humanity, but I’d like to think that they’re not an absolute, and if I decide to shirk my responsibility to perform as a human being – everything will be okay, regardless.

I’d rather sink into the ocean and be a starfish than wake up another day and have to do something I don’t really believe in. Sure, this whole “buying whatever I want” thing has been pretty trill, but I am always paying a higher price than I would really like to. Instead, I’d rather look at the window and drift into the starscape or sit naked with you than dress up in all these pretty things that I’ve been accumulating for the past several years. Naked with you is so much better than dressed up in the commonplace trappings of our capitalist society. But I haven’t found a great way to escape, so I’ll sit here and wait for everything to rot so I can slink away into some shiny cave with you.

He texts me back, and I peer into a future that is more of the same, except according to someone it would be better with him. I don’t know if I have the energy to be like this for the rest of my life, unless, of course, my life is short, then I think I could do this for another five years with someone who doesn’t really want to love me and doesn’t really want to touch me. I have done enough of that for a lifetime, but for some reason we are all very complacent in this long standing, mutual distance we have cultivated amongst ourselves.

I think I would like to be close to one person forever than wade through this swamp of lonely people for another day. I would like to be truly close to just one other person, in poverty and precarity forever, than to be the most beautiful girl all alone in this world. I don’t think that ascribing marriage and kids and a career to my life goals is going to impact which way the pendulum swings on this binary of fates, but freedom doesn’t seem to come with the financial burdens of the modern world.

This is okay. This is manageable. I think I can swim against this tide for a little bit longer before I drown in agony or bliss, but so long as I drown eventually, I think I’ll be okay. Swimming in an ocean of people who don’t love me has become exhausting. I surrenderĀ  to the decay of myself in the midst of all this misery so long as I am guaranteed one last chance to know what love is, on the precipice of death, with you, in the middle of the ocean.

Disposable People

“We do not throw him away.”

I am looking at a person who looks like so many people I have known in my life: discarded by the rest of us for an acute failure to conform to the standards of existence that have been arbitrarily ascribed to us via capitalism. I have tasted the madness in the world, and so has he, but for some reason I get to parade around, declaring that I am better, because the wounds that I wear are more palatable for the rest of the world to look at. Him? He is decaying.

It’s easy to throw people away. Fuck, I throw people away all the time, in grandiose, public displays of humiliation. Over and over again. The feeling of superiority is fun, and the thought of hanging onto people who will eventually hurt and disappoint me seems like a waste of time. I only want to invest in people whose friendships benefit me, and when that benefit is lost, so is our friendship.

Perhaps that isn’t a great way to live. I admit that I have been starkly afraid of watching people die slowly over time, and it’s easier to walk away at the first sign of trouble than to use all my strength to drag all of us out of hell. So I throw people away and tell the world that it is “the moral high ground,” even though the only reason I can call it that is because I never stick around to see what happens after a person is thrown away.

“Everyone else has thrown him away, but we do not throw him away.”

Having recently gone through the emotional roller coaster of outing and suing a predator in the #metoo movement, it was easy to point at the defenders of my abuser and call them stupid and cruel for sticking by a man who hurt me. There is something grotesque about the public display of defending a fallen man, but white men are generally not discarded by society, and that is not what I am talking about here. I am talking about those private moments, behind closed doors, when you do not have to defend your love to anyone: do you discard him, or do you keep him?

I discarded him because I thought that he was using me as a crutch when he could still secretly run. That I had to shoulder all the weight of a burden he could full well carry on his own, and now that I am gone, the supports have given way, and he is crawling on the ground. Which is why I have to ask: why do we like to watch certain people crawl on the ground?

No, that’s a lie. I never look back. I never look back at the people I used to love and watch them crawl on the ground. I pretend that they are flying just beyond my peripheral vision, and I am crawling in my own way.

But that’s not true, either. Even when everyone else told me to throw him away, I kept him. There were lots of good reasons to throw him away, but I didn’t because I loved him, and I’d like to think that my love isn’t that cheap. Even when it made sense to throw him away, even when it hurt to keep him – I couldn’t do it. My friends told me I would have been better off without him, that I should have gotten rid of him years ago. I guess that’s just relationships nowadays – we demand perfection, but never give it. We insist on moral purity even in the midst of our own sinfulness.

It’s easy to throw people away, because to keep them is to risk looking like a fool. Getting played. It’s easier to throw someone away and watch them crumble just to save face than to muscle through the madness with no end in sight.

But I have been disposable, too, and I have been thrown away, and I should know better than to abandon someone whom I claim to love, because I know the pain of being deserted in the dark with no one left to find me. Loneliness is a calamity, and it is slowly killing all of us.

So I turn to him, and I tell him, “You are safe here with me. I will protect you.” I will protect him from his demons, even though he is his demons and his demons are him. There’s no separating one from the other, but I close my eyes and kiss him anyways. I will sit here in the darkness and the screaming silence for as long as it takes, and when he doesn’t need me anymore, he can throw me away.