Returning tension

09/28/2011

I don’t think that you will call me back (I never do). I often imagine that those I can even be bothered to call will begin to avoid me, even if they called me first. I imagine they will move to another state, all the way across the country, just to get away from the anxiety of picking up the phone.

Sometimes I think it will be me who drops the line. Even if we haven’t spoken for months, years, a whole lifetime–I put it off, returning your call, just so that I can escape the worry. It works at first, but then I begin to feel guilty for not calling. I should, I know I should.

But the open line between us would be so starkly crackling and pensive. What could happen in the space of that phone call? Subtleties, more graceful than those available to a text message. My voice might intone the spark that sets the line to flame. Raze the bridge between your burning ear and mine, break into silence.

Get off the phone, I’ll meet you in the streets.

this this this

09/26/2011

also i’d totally make out with this dude. what.

(thanks for sharing this)

09/25/2011

knitting while watching movies with the subtitles on or reading books is one of my favorite introversions.

recently was watching this and one of the characters said something to the effect that romance was the feeling of immense shared possibility. the time before that first kiss, the space of time before your first child is born, so on. and that when romance dies, it is because you feel you have exhausted all possibilities with that person. an interesting take, and one i can relate to.

me? i am immensely romantic. i am constantly dreaming of new ways, new plots, making new plans and new friends. (tho i have stopped making so much room for new friends lately and have just wanted to deepen my current friendquaintances into real tried’n’true friends)

last night, the party. i dressed in drag (because i can, dammit!) and there were some crushes.

several flirtations that have been so stretched out (but not yet wrung out) bloomed makeouts.

holy bejeezus, dance makeouts in the rain! and that crisp moment of honesty around the fire, too, inhaling the now-familiar scent of someone i’ve been flirting/making out with/riding bikes with occasionally since…it feels like a long time now. the flirtations feel stretched out, but not wrung out.

good things, these. they feel like possibilities.

and other things are starting to swell up (in good ways) with possibility, too. a kindling of a long-term friendship/makeoutship into a more formal BDSM relationship. i’m excited to see what our play will be like, altho uncertain. i am often wary of formality.

i feel full of imminent possibility. especially once this !@$#ing hole in my mouth stops hurting and i can sleep through the night again. but the exercise of taking such intentional care of myself has been utterly worthwhile. and of course: catching up on my dental health. what a weird thing to be pleased about.

collective stuff seemingly maybe-maybe picking up, hopefully. i love that work so much–had started to become dissolutioned but then i noticed myself babbling cheerfully to someone about it at breakfast this morning.

joyful. a good night, a good day. yes. thank you universe, beings.

Recently, Facebook changed its layout to some sort of logistical clusterfuck that I could hardly recognize or navigate. I’ve been thinking about deleting my Facebook profile for a quite a while now. Mostly it seems to serve as a time waster, source of impotent rage about somebody else’s unchecked privilege, and/or an event planner/invite inbox. I am pretty sure that I can find other sources for all of those things.

When I popped into Facebook yesterday afternoon I was practically whacked over the head with two very different cultural phenomenons:

1) A bunch of people were trying to raise awareness about the forthcoming execution of Troy Anthony Davis (update: Troy Anthony Davis was pronounced dead at 11:08 pm EDT. Condolences to all). Debate the efficacy of activism on the internet if you will, but at least people weren’t letting go without a fight, altho I feel like in the future time might be better spent critiquing and acting against the criminal injustice system.

2) What I shall term the 1/2 a step from Blackface meme:

Exzhibit

Uggghh. where do I even start with why I hate this so much?

Have you noticed this phenomenon? I am aware that all sorts of celebrities have had their pictures appropriated as various shades of this meme, but the only ones that have been showing up in the circles of my internet acquaintances are…pictures of men of color with what I can only call hood-lolcat-style English slapped over the front as some kind of joke.

The first time I saw this, I smirked lightly without thinking about it much. The second time, I cringed. The third, the fourth, and the fifth…I started to get annoyed. And then I was angry, the more I thought about it. And maybe more than a little bit nauseous.

The crappy white privilege-laced cultural narrative that I am interpreting from the recent popularity of this meme: ho ho ho black people are so different from “us”, so funny and all the same with their funny wordzzzzz.

Or better said:

In the blackface myth, there is a white fantasy which posits whiteness as the norm. What is absent in the blackface stereotype is as important as what is present: every black face is a statement of social imperfection, inferiority, and mimicry that is placed in isolation with an absent whiteness as its ideal opposite.

Additional reading about blackface, and links to additional pages about similar phenonems in other USian racist portrayals of various groups of people.

But back to Facebook: I think that we need to break up.  Or at the very least, set better boundaries. I am tired of memes and status updates, and a lot more interested in maintaining real world friendships. And of those friendships that are forced to be relegated to the internet by distance, disability, or illness, I think I would prefer more direct communication.

fin

09/21/2011

It feels like there are a lot of things up in the air, globally and locally. I am excited and terrified.

Local (Olympia) account of the Longview protests

Seattle Freeriders

Wall Street Protests

Forthcoming (likely) execution of Troy Anthony Davis

***

Physically, recovery feels slow. The Hole ™ in my mouth still gapes, and I am still not supposed to be eating solid foods. Getting enough calories without eating dairy (ice cream, yoghurt, etc) has been…challenging. Some nights I can’t sleep from the pain, or I have totally bizarro frantic dreams, or wake up at 1am and 5am to take more pain pills. This shit is physically and emotionally draining, in particular because physical activity is part of how I care for my mental “ill-ness”.

All is not lost. This time has been a good time to redress the ways that I take care of myself and establish new routines. I’m even documenting some of my adherence to these new goals in order to keep myself accountable. It’s an interesting process. Makes me feel “old”, but I predict that in the longer run it is going to make me feel better.

Learning new ways of being awesome so I can be awesome, y’know?

Ohh-kay. as you were.

 

just like bees.

09/18/2011

For centuries anarchists have actually sought a more ordered society” -UK Guardian

can i critique this? i bet you can. yeah, it is pretty overtly white supremacist and euro-centric, for sure. aaanyhow.

i am not an academic anything–this is a point of pride and a point of shame.

como la flor

09/15/2011

I fucking love this song and it is VERY VERY CHEESY. fucking deal while I dance around the living room, daaawwwg.

***

In 1985 I am born. In 1986 when I am 9 months old, my abuela dies of cancer that has spread through her whole body. She is not yet 45 years old. My abuelita (her mother) returns to Mexico to tend to the lives of her remaining children, several more of whom she will lose to gunshots and car accidents in coming years.

Abuelita, so in love with her first great-grandchild, sends trinkets from home as demonstration. A wooden serving tray, painstakingly adorned by hand with intricate designs and golden trim. Tiny brightly embroidered delantal in floral Pure’pecha motif. Even at 3 years old I know how precious these artifacts are, and moon over them–I run my finger jealously over the carved edge of the serving tray, catching dust before it can dull the glossy finish.

Our lives are spinning with quick-changes. When my parents fight I pray to my abuela, envisioning her spectral figure as the faerie godmother from Cinderella or God, a small dark figure in a lavender cloak.

The next time I see abuelita is after my parents have separated, she accompanies my grandfather and his new wife, already with another baby on the way. I try to imagine how that must have been for her–accompanying her son-in-law with his new wife to this country, but all I can remember is her joyous face. And her blouse, zebra print inexplicably (but beautifully) adorned with roses, a kind of garishness that somehow also succeeds as lovely. We have the same smile, the one that fills the entire face, a sun, and she is instantly familiar. Did she lift me up? Spin me in the air? Que bonita! ah! que linda chulita! she exclaims. My mother teased/praised me like this even up through my teens, and I find myself saying it to babies, too–lifting my friends’ newborn daughter and in my head abuela whispers joyfully, “que linda! ah, que bonita!” so full of life, child.

After abuelita goes back to Mexico for the last time, my contact with that part of my family fades. My mother tries (and fails) to assimilate me to her European in-laws’ continental ways, but I still love the garishness of bright ethnic costumes, even those not native to my familial origins, and flaunt bright skirts and dance moves anywhere I can. In some decaying basement I find a skirt from the Baltic region my step-family hails from, and I dub it my gypsy skirt in an effort to avoid the filth of my father’s baccalaureate households after my mother tells me that “Mexicans are dirty, RD, it’s just how they are,” and I (still learning logic) internalize her prejudice.

I am surrounded by my mother and stepfather’s cultures. Y’all is the first gender-neutral pronoun I ever use (and my favorite, even now). The other denizens of my household speak, variously: English, Estonian, French, Hungarian, and German. The child’s tongue becomes agile to foreign consonants, customs, cuisines. I love biscuits, palacsinta, schnitzel, makloubeh, pico de gallo, gyoza–a palate with a diversity of sounds and flavors.

uno.  My first crush is a beautiful mestizo girl with big dark eyes and a velvety mustache, shiny black ringlettes frame her perfect face. She tells me that my people are descended from the Aztecs (she is Maya), and that I should honor them. I start reading my family history and prying at my father’s memory, as many histories as I can find (tho they all seem to favor the Spaniards as conquering heroes), trying to uncover the legacy of colonialism in our lives. Abuelita’s origins are shrouded in mystery, he knows that she is native, but not from where. Her husband was named for an Aztec king (much to the local clergy’s dismay!), but his family were Spaniards (possibly more like Southern Italian peasants who passed as Spaniards) who lost their hacienda in the war. Her origins were deemed too unimportant to document, I could never figure out if this was because she was a woman or because she was indigenous. I suspect some mixture of both, particularly from the eye of the likely white and certainly Mormon relative who wrote our family history book.

dos. My maternal grandmother with her endearing sense of Texan multiculturalism (the majority of her grandchildren are mixed of varying shades) sends me a copy of Selena’s crossover album, Dreaming of You, and a t-shirt.  I dance around my room singing in Spanish, dreaming of ____, enveloping her brown skin in a thick fragrant leather jacket like my dad’s, leading her steps with big black boots and my hair slicked back. I want to be like the Mexican James Dean. I want to open doors for her. I want to press my lips to her peach fuzz cheek.

tres. On the rare weekends that he makes the visit, my father and I practice the simplest of Spanish together, culminating in visits to Mexican restaurants, where we consume our favorite dishes (pollo en mole, arroz con pollo, posole) and practice Spanish with the waitstaff, who are kind enough to be patient. como se dice…? muchas gracias. de nada. te llamo, papi. yo soy un poco mal. por favor. es moy humide! no tienes. sabroso. On one occasion, my father fumbles for what feels like half an hour just to remember how to ask for a spoon. As a toddler he translated between abuelita and a neighbor over the backyard fence, as an adult he struggles to remember the words for things as simple as cutlery. Assimilation what?

quatro. The Spanish-English dictionary, prized garage sale addition to my bookshelf, is displaced during one move (in a series of many) and never replaced. My father displaces himself around the same time, disappears for months, weeks, sometimes over a year. Spanish becomes an intermittent concern, then a distant memory.

cinco. The year that I leave my mother’s house my closest friend dies in my absence, and I start dreaming fervently in Spanish. My abuela, long-dead, takes walks with me and __. We go barefoot on the red sand and drink tea. Her laugh is a bright flourish, a trumpet, a joyful noise. His is a tinkle, a sad noise.

ses. When I am 15 we visit Mexico for the first time that I can remember. Mi tio takes my face in his hands, he says, “you look just like her, just like Theresa.”

siete. A boy I will later love like a brother tells me, “I love how you get an accent when you’re drunk!” and I flush rhododendron red, explain about my years of speech therapy, resolve not to get drunk anymore and check my speech more carefully for the impudence of my impediments.


palabras

09/14/2011

we are trading questions around the room. this is the exchange part of the class. i get the same question over and over, “why do you want to learn spanish?”

i fumble over the words, can’t say them all in spanish yet. it’s a long story, and i am trying to be pithy. “to communicate…con mi familia. mi padre familia…en mexico.”

the person i am speaking to is an english speaker. she is learning spanish so that she can move to mexico. for a long time, she says. her brow wrinkles and she starts speaking english. “your family is there…but you’re here?”

yes, no, yes. my family is there, but my family is also here. my family is also over there. and over there. and over there. the people i am descended from, the people i call family. there are several subsets, and they are all mixed.

earlier in the evening we take a test to see what level we are at, if we’re in the right class. i get all of the noun particles right (except the exceptions: el sofa, los problemas), but i can’t conjugate a verb for shit. i’ll get there.

tonight i recite the alphabet anew. shape the puzzle pieces that someday will become words.

Theresa

09/07/2011

Sometimes I wish I could ask so I could hear the story in her own words. I’m learning Spanish again so that I can ask, tho she will never answer (dead for 25 years). I never, ever felt remotely attractive until he said it: you look just like her. Who? Theresa! My mother (the most beautiful woman in the whole world) refused to claim me: Blood is not thicker than water, RD. You look nothing like me. Two separate instances that cling to one another in my mind. Slivers that affected the too-sensitive child, created undue separation at an early age. But they claimed me, stroked my face, pushed my hair back from my cheeks: You look just like her.

I look just like her, but I don’t know if I will ever understand it–what she did, how she did it. How she left, how she survived in this country, how she put her self aside for her husband and children, another blessed martyr (you pick: ironing board or cross). Did she come for love or for survival? (both) Did she stay for love or survival? (both) Maybe if I’m lucky some day I can ask these questions of her mother, if she hasn’t already passed away. They would apply to her life, too. oh the tiered and tired track of colonialism and patriarchy that leaves its lipstick traces on our humble lives!

My tongue has only questions.

09/06/2011

talking with a friend about how we experience our triggers. they say, “it’s like someone is sitting on my chest.”

triggers happen a few ways for me. i either become too entrenched in my body or i dissociate entirely.

dissociation is scary because i’ll “come to” in the middle of something, a sex act, a conversation, a bike ride.

disorienting, suddenly i am floating above my body. my partner(s) in conversation are still talking or gazing at me questioningly, asking if they’re boring me. you’re not! or okay, maybe you are–but the likeliest thing is that i’m just “not all there,” so to speak.

noticed this happening a lot at a party i attended recently. i was in safe(r) (somewhat safer?) space, with friends i’d known for as long as ten years, but i still kept triggering out and coming to in the middle of something. staring off into space, listening to someone talk about their goings-on, etc. it was probably not helpful that it was the bon anniversaire of that craptastic series of events that have shaped far too much of my life for the last year.

(have said this before, but it bears repeating) it feels like i am in the middle of taking myself thru a sort of deep and powerful therapy. i have to both ask the hard questions and come up with the hard answers. i play pattern recognition with blocks of my past, journaling desperately while pushing everyone close to me away with a franticness i don’t quite understand. or i do, but i don’t know how to solve it, yet. i just recede to my safe(r) spaces.

and some of those spaces are dissociative in their own way, make no mistake.