lunes, abril 18, 2011

One eensy-weensy-teeny little thing results in a burnt forehead

After, oh, about 9 or so years, my Ex, who always did have a way of finding me when I had already put him out of my mind, friended me on Facebook.  It took me about two weeks to decide if I'd accept this particular friend, more so because I've come to know my weaknesses.  I figured since he now lives 1000 or so miles away, I could accept safely.  But my burnt forehead may prove otherwise.

That was about 2 years ago, and now we've spoken on the phone a couple of times, for two hours or so each time.  We have always had a lot to talk about.  We talk over each other.  Being friends was never the problem.  We excel at it.  But, ever since then, I've been having dreams in which Ex is the star.  Only a couple, but they were quite vivid, the most vivid I have had in a long time. 

1.  Battle of the Scandinavian-design furniture.

In this dream, Ex and I are living together in the apartment I currently own.  The place is decorated in much the same way it is in real life, with most of my dad's old furniture and art on the walls.  The piece of furniture in question is this wall unit that currently lives in my mother and stepfather's apartment in Virginia, which I have coveted since I was a little girl.  It is sleek and simple, mahogany wood, clean lines, quintessential Scandinavian design.  A testament to my stepfather's impeccable taste in furniture.  Anyway, I had fought long and hard to wrestle that wall unit away from them, and I used it to proudly display my stereo (record-player included, thank you very much), my pride and joy record collection (The Who to Ravi Shankar to Fleetwood Mac to Gladys Knight to Louis Armstrong), various tchotchkes and family pictures, and my beautiful orchid plant.

Ex and I used to live with this dude, AH, and he starred in the dream as co-conspirator.  He did not live with us in the dream, but thanks to Ex and him being friends well beyond our living together and subsequent falling-out (my and AH's), he often sat on my beautiful, beige, very expensive couch smoking cigarettes in his cocky, self-centered way.

In pre-bedbug NYC, one could often find nice furniture and accessories on the curbs.  So one day, Ex and AH find this ugly-yet-utilitarian desk/bookcase hybrid monster from IKEA near our apartment and bring it inside.  They can't figure out where to put it, so they get rid of my precious wall-unit and Ex plops his computer on this new monster and sets to work writing a song.  Brilliant, to be sure, but I come home and freak out, and like a television sitcom, the dream closes with a close-up shot of me, my mouth hanging open in anger and disgust.  And the worst part, the IKEA monster had a big gash in its side.  Ex made me feel like the bad guy for wanting my wall-unit back, that I was too wrapped up in possessions. 

Conclusion:  God saved both of our lives by breaking us apart, for if we had stayed together, we would have eaten each other's souls. 

Why?  Fundamental differences in the way we live.  He doesn't care about things being pretty.  He cares more about whether they are useful to him or not.  I, on the other hand, care very much about things being pretty.  If I made a list of how my days are spent, you would see that a lot of my time is spent either in the shower washing my hair and body with all manner of flowery/sugary/fruity shampoos and gels or in the mirror, blow-drying and straightening my hair into graceful submission, every bang laying just so, or in front of the mirror applying and re-applying makeup.  True, some days, I don't care how I look, but most days, I "girl out", as another boyfriend put it.  This need for things to be pretty reaches out its tentacles to most aspects of my life.  I carry pretty purses.  I love pretty furniture.  I like it when it's really useful, but prettiness trumps all.

I very much resented Ex's friendships with people I couldn't stand.  First there was AH, which I've already covered.  Then there was Anna, this Polish emo/manic depressive chick who used to live with us.  AH and I couldn't really stand her much if at all, and it didn't help that her and Ex would take long walks together and that one day, I came home to find her little mary jane shoes placed ever so neatly on the floor beside my bed.  I don't remember having asked questions about that, but I remember fuming for days.  And then there was that little hipster girl who lived in SoHo who I loathed, but to whose apartment I was often dragged in the name of pot delivery.  All Ex's other friends, I quite liked.

So yeah, extremely different lives to say the least.

2.  My credit card, myself.

Last night's dream involved me living in a strange house in a suburb of some city, snow covering the ground.  Ex was visiting or something to that effect.  I remember waking up in the morning to find my credit card stolen and him sleeping with another woman in this, my house. 

The credit card represented me, and not because he stole me.  I lost myself completely in that whole mess.  The other woman may or may not have represented another woman, but if anything, it represented the fact that I ended up not trusting him much and if something was amiss, it was almost always his fault.

Which brings me to the burnt forehead.  Since I have been speaking to Ex, I have 4 new burns.  The first two are on my wrists from when I was making grilled cheese sandwiches and not paying attention to my arms.  The other two are on my forehead and neck, respectively, and came from mishaps with the straight-iron.  Now, I have been straight-ironing my hair since December 2003.  One would think I know what I'm doing.  Thankfully, the burn on my forehead can be concealed by my bangs, and the one on my neck is way in the back under my hair.  But the ones on my wrists make it look like I have been trying to kill myself.

This could be me going through an accident-prone time.  It happens.  This could also be me having things on my mind, things that I had put away a long time ago, and therefore just not paying attention.  I'm not sure.  But my hairdresser thinks it's the latter.  As much as I emphasize knowing thyself, often other folks know me better than I know myself.  So he may be right after all.  Queer guys are usually quite insightful.

(Now we'll see if Ex really does read my blog.)

lunes, abril 11, 2011

"Why you're not married" - I call bullshit

TV writer Tracy McMillan is a master.

Surely she wrote "Why You're Not Married" to get a rise out of people, and she certainly has, me included. The backlash is all over the web. I will also bet that her article was her way of cleansing herself by admitting she has three failed marriages under her belt. My guess, however, is that she would rather project her own failures onto her readers than take responsibility for the fact that she has very bad judgement. It's easier that way. Following are her points and my reactions:

1. You're a bitch - I'm not gonna lie. I am, sometimes. So is everyone. Bitch is a very subjective term, because if I don't give you what you want, you think I'm a bitch, right? Well, vice-versa. Yeah, I do get angry. NYC is a really good place to foster anger.  As long as you're not shooting up post offices and have some positive outlet for your anger, like a spinning class, and you own up to that anger, you're good.

Over this past summer, a friend told me that another friend of ours (how very high school - sheesh) said I was a negative person. You all know where I was emotionally at that time, if you read my blog. I also very much cared about what people thought of me. So much so, that I went out of my way not to be all sad and emo in front of my friends, when really I was and had every right to be. Friend told me a couple of other things and soon it all came to a head and I freaked out on her. I said something along the lines of "I feel like I've just had my right arm cut off, so if anyone deserves to be upset, it's me!!" She was speechless for a minute, very uncommon for her, and that behavior was very uncommon for me. Needless to say, but I'm saying it anyway, it isn't anymore. Lessons learned: 1. Your friends are your friends, until proven otherwise. So if you are feeling like shit, they should understand. I'm all for decorum, but there's no reason to hide your true feelings in front of your peoples. If they whine because you're no longer Miss Suzy Sunshine, cut em off. 2. Stop caring what people think of you. It's not important, because their opinions come and go. Your opinion of yourself will follow you everywhere. 3. You don't have to keep quiet.

McMillan says " think you're super smart, or....setting boundaries," as if those were bad things. There's nothing wrong with either. I am super smart, and I am setting boundaries. And my life is better for it.

It's true that female anger terrifies some men. And it is our problem, but getting rid of that anger has nothing to do with catching a man. Fix yourself and the rest will fall into place. Let us please get rid of this notion that we need to change how we naturally are just to snag and/or keep a man.

2. You're shallow McMillan's got a point here. She doesn't mean "shallow" in that you like to shop or have an LV suitcase you refer to as "Louis". She is talking about a list that women are often encouraged to make of the traits they want in their ideal man. Now, I love to make lists, and I made one of these about 7 or 8 years ago. I stuck it in a bible I have at home and prayed and hoped for the best. Not. Working. Ladies, take that list out of your bibles, journals, safe-keeping boxes hidden in the back of your closet, rip it up and burn that shit. You shouldn't be eyeballing every man you meet to see if he meets height, weight and eye color requirements. Talk to him. If he asks you out, go, and if it turns out badly, at least you know what NOT to want. I always wanted a basketball player with a pretty smile who looked just a little mean (translation: good in bed), and a great ass that had to be bigger than mine cause when we did it I didn't wanna be embarrassed, and he had to be super masculine. So what happened? I ended up dating a tall, skinny chef, and yes, his butt was smaller than mine yet he never complained, and our relationship was one of the best I've ever had. Which brings me to my next point: when you are freaking out over what you look like to your man nekkid, stop. Know this: he already won the lottery. He gets to do it to you. Now proceed.

3. You're a slut Oh Lord, here we go with the whole "men can have sex whenever they want, but women don't get to" shit. I just never though it would be a woman dishing it. The excuse here is a chemical: Oxytocin. McMillan says that past a certain age, it's the Oxytocin that gets women attached to men, even if they're just casually fucking. So it's not mens' faults. It's a chemical. Huh? This is what I know: If you start a casual relationship with someone, then he leads you on and treats you like his girl, gets you all excited and naming your babies, you are going to get attached. This is only natural. If you get screwed (and not in a good way), it's HIS fault. Not yours, and certainly not the Oxytocin.

Fact is, the older I get, the less likely I am to get attached to a casual hook-up. I used to do that when I was in my early twenties, and it worked out once, for a while. But that was only one out of, um, a lot. 
Regarding the stoppage of casual relationships, very simple: If you're having a dating dry spell, like yours truly, where are you supposed to get it? Nature calls in several different ways, and hell, sometimes I need to answer the phone.

4. You're a liar - McMillan's got another good point here. If you are not comfortable in a casual relationship, don't be in it. Let it be known that you want what you want. It's not a sin to assert yourself.

5. You're selfish - I don't see what the harm is in thinking about your career, your thighs, or your naso-labial folds. There is, however, a lot wrong in thinking a guy can solve your problems. If you think a man will fix you, stay single and learn to be with yourself. Men, like your friends' opinions of you, will come and go. You'll be with you forever.

The trick here is being open to the fact that one day, as McMillan says, it won't be all about you anymore. You will have to take care of your man, your kids, etc. You will have to love somebody other than yourself. Before you go looking for a mate, you best be sure you have something to bring to the table. Be sure you have a lot of love, respect and patience to give. You're gonna need it.

6. You're not good enough - Of course I don't think that, and neither does McMillan. When you start doubting yourself, go look in the mirror, declare your greatness, smile and wink, smack your own ass, whatever you have to do. But never doubt yourself.

McMillan is absolutely right on this one: "women who don't know their own worth make terrible wives." Out of all my guy-friends, I have only one who already figured this out. I bet you anything he'll be married soon, and he will have his family. Why? He's smart and has character and he knows that women who know and respect themselves are wifey material.  He can tell if a woman has this trait really quickly.

Remember what I said about not worrying what you look like nekkid because your man already won the lottery? Go forth in the world thinking that, and make sure you have love, honesty, generosity and respect to back that up.

As for Ms. Tracy McMillan, if I need advice on writing a TV show or maybe a question on parenting (she has a 13 year old son), I'll call her. For advice on love, I'll look elsewhere, thank you very much. My biggest issue with her is that she's trying to say that she is some sort of expert on snagging a husband. And maybe she is, but certainly not on keeping one, because she didn't know herself enough to realize what was good for her. Because she can get them to the altar yet not keep them by her side, she is an expert in nothing but desperation.  She'd do well to follow her own advice and know her worth. She covers for her lack of sense of self very well by telling others that they have fundamental problems.

I can agree with her that marriage won't fix you. I also agree that marriage is not all about getting something.  It's about giving too. I can't stress enough what McMillan said about that certain point when life ceases to be all about you. Leave yourself open for that and for many things. Life has tons of options. Although there is such a thing as fate, for the most part, life does not lead you, you lead it.