What do you do when you're a writer, (or maybe I should just say, someone who writes, because I've never really considered myself to be a writer, a poet maybe, but a writer no. I've never had any training and I don't think I'm a good writer, a kind, empathic person who sees and describes things that might interest other people but a good writer, I don't think so. I want to be one, I read voraciously, and obviously I write here in my journal, but my grammar and punctuation frankly sucks and I write like a child -- too many superlatives and simple adjectives, and as you can see I choose words like suck, and I ramble, like my poor unharnessed mind,) and you are moved by deep private things that people have shared with you that are not meant for sharing with others? How do you process this when you keep a journal like we do here? I was reading this book today and I came across a sentence, "Fuck her once and she'll write about you forever." I think that applies in my case. Not literally necessarily, but if you share an intimacy with me, it's hard to dismiss it, to file it away somewhere private and not need to write it down and share it with my journaling comrades. Nevertheless I do do it, I do manage to keep things private, I just talk around them.
All right, so in the spirit of talking around things and protecting the privacy of others I'll just say that yesterday I listened as women I care about talked about hurtful things the men in their lives have recently done to them and I felt honored to be with them, moved by their stories, and angry for them. I felt sad for the girl I was when I loved my ex so deeply and was so horribly betrayed, and for so long, by him. Not that I didn't hurt him just as deeply, or that the women who shared their stories with me hadn't done hurtful things as well, but there seems to be a greater kindness among the women I know when it comes to dealing hurtful emotional blows to the men in their lives, women are less likely to let you know it's over by setting you up to walk in on them with someone else, they'll talk it out first, give you second chances nine and ten times before they finally throw in the worn out dirty towel.
I'm still civil to my ex, and after everything he put me through, (or I put me through since it was ultimately my choice to make a life with him and put up with all of his crap), I wouldn't laugh at his funeral. I think that in itself says more than enough about the emotional fortitude and commitment of women to the men they love. Seriously though, and to the eternal consternation of both my partner Scott, (who I am so lucky to have), and my mother, (also lucky to have), I think I will always love him, how can you not love someone you've lived with for so many years and had a child with?
A moment of silence here while I thank the Goddesses of technology for inventing the portable laptop computer and the wireless connection. You'll never know when you're reading this what part of it I wrote while sitting on the toilet. Or maybe you will since I just alerted you, heh. Is it any wonder the producers at HGTV decided not to link my journal to their site when crediting me for the two shows they shot here? They said it was due to a conflict of interest that came up when I mentioned I was interning for Kitty Bartholomew who's show they had carried for years and then canceled but I'm thinking it could just as easily be for comments like the one I just wrote.
Beau found a little, plush, handsome man doll at a Rite Aid in the desert that says things you'd love to hear men say when you push on his belly. I bought it for my friend Atra cause I thought she'd get a kick out of it. He offers to share the remote control with you, tells you that he'd rather just stay home and cuddle than go out with the guys, gives you lots of compliments and is willing to ask for directions when he's lost. The female dolly says, "It's okay honey, I'll take the trash out," and "I just love it when you burp and fart."
My cat Spooky is walking circles around me while I write. Up across my lap and onto my typing hands and the computer keys, then I push her gently off to the right, where she quickly does a tight lap around the back of the computer and winds up back on my left heading for my typing hands again. After about ten laps I finally got upset and loudly said, "Come on honey!" to which she gently licked my hand, gave up the attention chase, and settled next to my thigh. Cats are the best creatures on this big blue earth, or well, at least one of the best.
Anyway, one of my friends is hurting in a way that I know all too well. All I can say is that her man was a real shit to her, so I've been gathering some break up survival books for her. There are the usual Hazelden 12 step love addiction books and of course Women Who Love Too Much, and another one that would relate too specifically to her situation for me to share here, but one of the books that I've been enjoying is called Hell Hath No Fury -- Women's Letters From the End of the Affair, edited by Anna Holmes, and it's just so much fun to read that I thought I'd share one of the letters here.
If you didn't have a goatee and a thumb ring, I might have paid attention when you told me you were born in a heroin clinic and had been arrested for dealing drugs in your 20's.
If you didn't laugh at everything I said and told me I was beautiful and sexy, I might have paid attention when you said you were a born-again Christian.
If you weren't both handy around the house and carried a well-worn copy of Anna Karenina, I might have paid attention to the fact that you smoked two-packs a day and drank two bottles of wine by yourself every night.
If you didn't invite me to go to Italy with you, I might have paid attention when you told me about the ex-girlfriend who took a baseball bat to all your stuff after you went out with another woman.
If you didn't have such a great body, I might have paid attention that you didn't have a job.
If I wasn't blinded by my own hormones and romantic hopes, I might have paid attention that being a good fuck doesn't change the fact that you're a total loser.</i>
There are so many good letters in this book. I'm thinking of adapting one or several into monologues. I have so got to get off my ass and get back to making my own living, my own way in the world again by doing my right work, my life's work. I can only fantasize about selling things on eBay for so long without doing it before the tidal wave of bills and bill collectors catch up with me. Today a credit card company called to tell me I'm three months behind in minimum payments and I'm already planning on taking a payment by my "loan company" to keep my diamonds from being sold. And yet I keep buying my Mother's and Grandmother's dresses and refuse to look for ordinary bill paying work. Don't worry, life will force me to find a solution soon enough.
Journaling takes up a lot of my time, well, that and eating baklava. I have to write, to document my life, it's like a fire in me that only the act of writing, and then hopefully sharing here, will put out. Thoughts will come to me and I feel this desperate hurried need to get them down on paper before they disappear. I've heard other writers say that if a thought or an idea is good enough it will return or hang around long enough for you to get it down on paper, but I disagree. Some thoughts are fleeting and ephemeral, like my dreams, and disappear like whisps.
As I reach for my newly needed reading glasses I am feeling this wave of resentment at the process of aging that I am inevitably caught up in. I used to think this was something apart from me, something far off and belonging to my parents, their friends, and older people who I felt pity for, but now that I'm caught up in it's inevitable tide, I know that we all join the ranks of the aging. Now, like the old man in the play (later turned into a film with Meg Ryan and Alec Baldwin) Prelude to a Kiss, I want to tell all of my younger readers to be sure to floss.
I remember looking at my friend's parents and my ex-mother-in-law and having the distinct lack of understanding or perspective that it takes to think ,"Oh what are they complaining about? They've lived their lives. They're fifty for Fuck's sake. What more do they want?" I remember when I was barely eighteen and going to UCLA, there was this man in the theatre department who had just turned thirty and from my very junior position on top of what I though was a high mountain of compassion I thought, "Oh good for him poor thing." A short while later when I was "dating" a member of the band Oingo Boingo, who was a whopping forty to my eighteen, I thought I was doing this old guy a huge favor. Now that my own boyfriend is fifty-one, (horrors, how is this possible)? and I'm heading in the same direction, I'm floundering about in shock at how fast it all goes by, how quickly time has caught up with me. I'm digging in my heels and getting pulled along like a very stubborn cartoon mule.
Does that mean younger people are looking at me the same way? Probably. But just this side of forty I keep telling myself that Oprah said, "Fifty is the new thirty." I so hope she's right, that we are living longer and healthier lives, and that this isn't just some bullshit affirmative excuse for fending off the inevitable march towards dementia, incontinence, sexual dysfunction, (Remember guys have Viagra, even Hef has given up his brief, limp, stab at monogamy in a big blonde way, and really what have they done for us gals lately in this department? Astroglide and Creme de la Femme can only go so far), and death.
Spooky has now reversed the process and is walking circles around my computer and me again but this time she is going from right to left, however having been thwarted again in her efforts at attention seeking she has finally settled below me on the bed and to my right. As if she can read my thoughts, and truthfully I believe all cats can if they want to, she just tossed me a semi-angry disappointed look and has decided to take a grooming break.
My Mother, jealous that we were planning on taking a cross country trip without her, upon learning that Irma had decided to sell her car here rather than have us tow it to Boston for her, took advantage of this temporary lull in planning, and made one of her unilateral, money-backed decisions and booked a two week trip for us. My wealthy mother who has always said she was poor, too poor to properly manage her buildings and charge reasonable, fair rents based on square footage, or avoid shopping at Saks, Neiman's, and just this week spent $800.00 at William Sonoma, (a store my dad would have been a one fifth owner of, as well as The Pottery Barn and IL Fornaio, had he been willing to take a reasonable risk years ago,) on ugly place settings that don't match her decor has decided that we are going to "stay at the Waldorf." Not that it's that great of a hotel any more, but it isn't cheap.
I can't pay my bills. She sucks money out of my dwindling trust to pay for things that she encouraged me to buy saying, "It won't be long now before you have nothing left, you'd better get rid of those cats now before you'll be forced to. At the rate you're going I'll have to rent your house and I suppose you'll jut have to go live in the woods in a tent or something," but we can go on a first class trip to New York, Washington, DC and Philadelphia because she simply wants to. I'm filled with anxiety and mixed emotions. I've been begging her to help me get a loan to buy a little used trailer so Beau and I can go camping and travel around the country together before he gets too sick of me to want to do this kind of thing. I really don't have much time left before his hormones take hold of him and hanging out with his mother won't exactly rate high on his list of teenaged priorities. Then there's Burning Man and the fortune in rent that we pay to have an air conditioned motor home to live in for the week that we're out there. The cost of one year's rental is the equivalent of a down payment on a trailer.
Beyond all of that, and despite the fact that I do love her and enjoy spending limited amounts of time with her, attending to my mother's incessant demands and pushing her around in a wheelchair while trying to manage my oversensitive, willful son is really hard to do and just kind of, well, takes the fun out of traveling. I'm never sure if the trade off of being able to go somewhere I can't afford to go to, is worth the bother of having to manage the both of them. The New York part of the trip, or at least the hotel, has been paid for and is nonrefundable, I may still have some wiggle room on the miserable bus tour end of things. But you should try saying no to my mother about anything, she's like a giant power mad child who won't hesitate to use it when she doesn't get her way. Blah.
Yesterday, in group therapy, my wonderful friend and therapist wanted us to close our eyes and think of a time when we felt strong, centered and connected. Then we were to raise our hands when we had a memory. I couldn't, for the life of me, come up with one. My mind was just too foggy. Time ticked away in this excruciatingly slow way and I was starting to get really embarrassed when finally I got an image of a time when I was making love with Scott and I was able to use that.
I'm going to put last night's dreams behind the cut rather than leave them here, italicized, like I normally do because I think this is really pushing people's Friend's List boundaries.
I remember being in a car and my ex, Robby, is somewhere behind the car talking to a girlfriend on his cell phone. I know he's doing this and it hurts so badly, but I put up with it in order to keep the peace and him. When I can't stand it any longer I go over to him and start interfering with his call. I say things like, "Hey baby I love your thighs," just loud enough for this evil, manstealing bitch to hear.
I try to grab the phone from his hands. I ask him who he's talking to. I remind him that it's ridiculously late and that two-thirty in the morning is way outside of the bounds of normal or fair for a married man to be talking to a giggling, gossipy girl on the phone.
When I've been spurned and hurt enough by Robby who refuses to surrender the call and turn his attention back towards me I go mad with the realization that I have lost him. I get drunk and crazy and try to find my way back to my hotel room, ending up in another room that looks exactly the same as ours. I draw a bath for myself and settle into the hot water, sobbing.
I'm wondering how deep this pain will go and how long it will last. I don't understand why I am with this hurtful, horrible man -- why I still love him so much when I am really in love with someone else.
Suddenly some people and a porter come in to the room and I realize that I am taking a bath in the wrong room and will be discovered. A little girl skips into the bathroom and finds me. Her parents, particularly her father, freak out and call the management, the police, and the local psychiatric hospital, all of whom consider my behavior some kind of serious crime and come to take me away.
Nurses come and I fight them but they give me shots and handcuff me. I try desperately to explain to the little girl's mother that I never meant to harm her, that I have been hurt badly by a man I loved and this is the reason for my temporary insanity.
The little girl has an older brother and we are in love. He takes up my case for me but no one will listen to him either. He is in high school and there is a movement building against me, as if my having simply been in this bathroom means I am some kind of pedophiliac. This young man and some of his friends -- geeks and nerds all -- band together to mount a defense for me. They plan to make little buttons with miniature plastic chickens inside them to sell to kids at school to raise money. With this money they attempt to hire a lawyer. When she realizes how little money they have and how hopeless the case is, she walks away in her short, tight, business skirt and heels, with her briefcase banging smartly against her hip. I run after her and persuade her to come back and join our team.
The little girl who happened upon me in the bathroom is trying to explain what happened to her hard, determined father, but he will not be moved. She offers him her most prized possession, her teddy bear, in exchange for his understanding and forgiveness. He tells her that he is proud of her, that it's a good thing that she is finally willing to give up her bear. He tricks her by taking it without intending to honor their agreement.
Later she is alone in the bathroom and has her bear back. She is shearing off all of his fur except for the fur on his head that she is shaping to look more like my hair. She is trying to make the bear look more human, like a woman, like me, hoping this sacrifice will get her father's attention and understanding.
I have died and am now a ghost but I still love this young man and he still loves me. He is continuing to champion my case, defending my honor even after death. I can fly and make myself visible when I want to. I watch my young lover, his friends and the tough lawyer gal work out the details of my case. They are in the wood paneled entryway of an old, stately, mansion. I fly around their heads but am mainly interested in getting my friend to break away from the group so we can be alone together. For some reason the lawyer woman doesn't like this, she senses my presence and tries to grab for me. I try so hard to fly above her reach but it takes more energy than I have and I am afraid she will be able to pull me down and capture me.
Now Curly Girl is doing laps around me and when I tire of lifting her up and setting her aside she kneads my stomach or swats at my typing fingers. All right, that's more than enough writing for one day, obviously my cats could do with a bit of loving, as if cuddling them all night weren't enough, greedy, little feline beasties.
Big hugs for anyone who made it through all of this.
Your friend Jacqui