Love, Lust, Loss

Those women

Sometimes I watch them from afar: the women who have done what I did not. Could not.

I study their photos. Usually, black and white portraits; candids. Always without makeup. Always managing to capture a perfectly spellbinding essence. Small elements hover in the background and tease me with hints about their personality and interests. Sometimes I recognize items from when I was there. I cannot help but be curious.   While sifting, there eventually comes a point when I decide to take my own picture in a similar fashion. I primp and stage–find the best setting. But no matter how many angles or expressions I try, none of them satisfy me. So I consider asking my girlfriend to take pictures of me because she has a way of seeing beauty that I do not.

In the process of sifting I wonder why I failed. I know why I failed (because I was never intended not to fail); but why did I have to fail and be forced to walk–or pushed–away?

None of it really matters because, given the chance, I would not go back. I am happy where I am. Still…even in the most inane and irrelevant situations, my insecurities bubble to the surface and lock me into a state where I succumb to feeling less than. Immature and unfounded emotions. Comparisons cloud my mind and I lose perspective and reason:

She can do the crow, but I cannot because my wrists are weak.

Their now-shared porch is covered with potted plants. They surround the wooden swing where he and I sat and smoked cigarettes. Everywhere she is, vegetation thrives. My broccoli is stunted. Miscolored. Inedible. It hardly looks like broccoli at all.

She can run a half-marathon; I can barely run a mile.

He is not allergic to her cat. Maybe it is hypoallergenic.

There are pictures of the two of them walking through the nature park where I used to work. All along, questions were asked that she knew I could answer. “[My wife] reminds me of you.”

Her flightiness trumped my devotion.

Her boobs are smaller than mine.

These moments/facts are (admittedly) only significant in a mental space of darkness, self-loathing, and pity created by the opportunistic Beast thats lays in wait. The Beast whose movements deform perceptions into a false reality. Outside of that space there is no need for me to care.

As long as keep the Beast at bay.
As long as I do not let it in.
As long as it does not accept my invitation.

As long as I remember that to someone else, I am one of those women, too.


Foot in mouth syndrome

Sometimes I forget that she has feelings, that she isn’t calloused over or numb like me. I forget, and I say things because I don’t think anyone is ever listening anyway so what comes out of my mouth doesn’t matter. I shouldn’t have said that I thought it, but I did.

And now she is silent.

Another time, we were on the couch and I asked her what she was thinking. That time, I was silent–each of us on separate ends of the couch. She looked into the distance, past the Dalí print on my wall, and said she was thinking nothing. That was a lie. Any time anyone says they are thinking nothing, it is a lie. All we do is think. Brains processing billions of bits of information. Even when we are unaware of it, we are thinking. She was thinking of leaving.

And then shortly thereafter she did.

Thursday, the 27th

My mother and I have disagreements. She remembers my childhood differently than I do, and so we have disagreements because now I’m an adult and I’m not afraid to not comply–not because I want to be defiant, but because I’m done walking away as though I don’t have a voice.

That’s what happened Thursday.

Some time after, she apologized. “I was basically a single mother back then, and I was doing the best I could. In hindsight, I could have made a better decision for you. I’m sorry.” I told her it was ok. Parenting is hard, which is why I opted out. There, in the laundry room, we folded clothes and talked about self-growth and awareness. During the conversation she made it indirectly clear that I, at 27 years her junior, was far wiser than she. I’m not sure why because I often live by words she has stated, but maybe that newspaper is too close for her to read. The words aren’t clear. I think she needs more friends. Good friends. She needs people who are honest to her about her. And she could stand to be a bit more receptive. Good friends and open ears: those are tools for growth. Like properly applied fertilizer and pruning shears.

Our conversation came to a close as we finished matching the last pairs of socks and I mentioned that being in a relationship has helped me grow. I’m in a same-sex relationship that she has yet to verbally acknowledge, so hoping for an “Oh, really?” at the end of this heartfelt and bonding conversation seemed reasonable. Instead, she ignored my statement and thanked me for folding her clothes. And, no, she didn’t need my help carrying them to her room.

Later that evening I visited my best friend, Angela, and her family. In the voicemail invitation, Angela’s dad boasted about wearing “butt floss” for me, so I couldn’t not go. That would be rude. They were such loving hosts and I clung to her dad because he’s funny and made it his mission to provide extra-ordinary alcoholic beverages  to his guests despite being in constant physical pain from a work-related accident years ago. “We live through the pain, Chee Chee.” Yeah…we do.

I missed Alex(andra) and wished she could be there. Wished we could have the warm, joint Thanksgiving that Angela and Ryan had with both sets of parents laughing and eating together. After a succession of shitheads and assholes,  Angela found someone who pampers her and I was happy for her. But that evening was gravely honest. Angela and I had been drifting apart and I forced myself past the stages of grief and straight into acceptance.

Amongst them, I felt out-of-place, and jealous. I wondered when joint family Thanksgivings became ‘a thing’ after seven months and engagement rings outshone friendship-fertilizer.  Mother, Angela. Break, re-grow. Alex and I won’t be blending Thanksgivings because we are a same-sex, interracial couple and you can be sure that family members on both sides are rolling over in their graves. Those above ground are digging graves just so they can roll over, too.

But with growth comes realization and acceptance. I have another best friend. And Thanksgivings can be joint with just the two of us. And when we are married, matching socks together in the laundry room, I know I can tell her how being in a relationship has helped me grow. I won’t have to hope because I know her response will be, “I know. Me, too.”