I’ve written poems for him. He’s innovative, incredibly creative, unique, marvelous to speak to and easy to learn from. A friend of mine asked me the other day “if I even knew what I’d look for in a man if I were looking?” I suppose he meant to inquire about what the most attractive attributes the man I’d love and marry and potentially cook butterbuns in the oven for would have. I realized I hadn’t put too much thought into “Superman,” and who can ever be exactly correct in saying, but after a bit of thought some of those qualities and traits might be:
- Ambitious/Driven/Goal Oriented
- Open Minded
As far as physical attributes he’d be handsome, a cul-de-sac type of smile that turns you around in a complete circle, pretty teeth, polished and well-put together look. He’d be well-dressed, confident, successful, and know how to take care of his family. What do you all look for in a significant lover?
I suppose the man I am in love with is also either the creator of these Lace Up Skate Boots (which I loOove more than any) or he is a fictional character that just doesn’t exist. I can’t tell which.
Have you ever played This or That? OK. The game’s intention is to get to know the other person and to arouse conversation about certain subjects that wouldn’t normally be discussed. It’s great to use with potential love interests, long-time boyfriends (if the relationship feels stagnant) or interestingly quirky friends. Here’s an example:
- Honey or Sugar?
- Salad or Fruit?
- Love or Money?
- Passion or Compassion?
- Blazing Hot or Snow Storm?
- Butterflies or Ladybugs?
There’s no “right,” or “wrong,” necessarily. There’s just the asking, and in that asking you find out if you would have chosen the same or not, and you ask why. The point is you build comfort, you talk, and eventually, you get to the raunchier or more seriously morbid questions. You get a view of someone’s thinking in ridiculously hypothetical situations, similar to the game “Would You Rather?” The Twisted Sick and Wrong Version. Only they’re in short comparisons or weird juxtapositions:
- Top or bottom?
- Fast or slow?
- Mentally or emotionally?
- Terminally ill or paralyzed?
How much of getting to know someone is “opposites attract” until opposites don’t attract at all? Until, you’re just two people physically attracted to each other that don’t have much else in common—really? When is it best to let go?
My mom used to say “You stay until the bad start to outweigh the good.” She also used to say “You ain’t had enough yet, ’cause when you’ve had enough, it’ll be enough.”
I’ve had relationships like this, sometimes even friendships, where I find myself offering all the “let’s hang out,” “why don’t we go and talk,” “how about we get together and…” I’ve been the initiator, the person that sustains the bond, and the digger in finding more commonalities or differences we can laugh at. I am tired… of friends… and people like this. Of people who not only don’t make valiant attempts at “getting to know” or “maintaining a friendship” but of one-sided companionships and “orange-squeezing”courtships altogether. I usually quit them soon enough.
When you fight, argue, “debate” if you will, what comes out of it is emotions. I’ve found that there are some people I can hold my ground with, and then there are others that because I am seemingly suspended in air—I’m unable to articulate myself the same. Because the conversations are held (to me) on a higher echelon, I can get my point across very little, if at all. Not because I am afraid to lose them, because a loss is sometimes inevitable, but because I am trying to learn from them. I am trying to study what makes them, because I am quiet—I am recording. Sometimes to prevent the same issue, other times to do what most have the hardest time doing, really listening, present in that moment.
Never in my life have I ever been told at the beginning of a conversation what the outcome will be, and then still gone through with the conversation. It was sort of like being told “if you eat this monstrous bag of gummy bears you will have a tummy ache, a toothache, and gain 10 lbs.” only to then, be forced to eat it, all. Because I’m doing a “happiness project”, and for my own self-improvement and overall well-being, I decided to let this fly. I came to find out that what my intuition felt about the conversation and the reality of the situation was one in the same.
Recently at a gas station I had a misunderstanding get to a point of screaming, only to realize, when a person is proving a point by using an example, it’s generally an example they’ve learned from and there is something you’ve said or done, that causes them to feel like they need to give exactly that example.
This is in the same way I wouldn’t offer a student in my workshop, (or the virtual writing center, or the tutor center I work in) help with commas and punctuation, if I didn’t feel they needed that. I would also humbly preface that I struggle with run-on sentences, overly flowery language, and creative licensing—just for comfort.
We are all not perfect in this big bowl of melting. We all have our flaws, but like I was once (and there are many variations of this) told:
“When you pick people to be around you, you have to pick the people whose flaws you like the best.“
When did I let go? From the second I didn’t feel like I had any choice anymore if I’d held on.
There are very few (twice in my life thus far) times I can say a man has talked himself into my panties.
3 occasions come to mind (one of which has never happened):
- He said “I love you,” which I now know usually isn’t true.
- He projected false hopes (talked about how our future would look like when in actuality we had no future beyond the night)
- He impressed upon me–intellectually– which is for me the most sought after, albeit most rare.
Kudos to him for not projecting false hopes. But for also not doing anything else impressive << :-/ (Yes that is a sideways, awkward face) AND especially rah rah for him making it DAMN clear that he wouldn’t be “loving” me anytime soon if at all, lucky me.
Last night, after a great dinner of (whatever else do I ever eat except seafood) shrimp yumminess, ceviche and a peach banana margarita, [red] he gave a few sweeping generalizations that talked himself COMPLETELY out of my panties—those panties I so readily wanted him to have. What? I do what I want, do judge. Lol.
On the car ride home he said something that tickled in the wrong place, possibly because I heard it before from a really bad person, but also because it sounds jaded and simple-minded, but specifically because I don’t believe people can fully control their emotions unless they’re medicated. He said something (and if I’m not quoting it exactly forgive me—it’s still boiling) along the lines of this:
Women, even if you tell them you don’t want a relationship—tell them you aren’t ready for that, but you have a great time with them, you’d do a lot with them and for them, [women] still think you’re going to change your mind about a relationship with them when you start sleeping with them. You start sleeping with them and they think you’ll start believing in the “relationship” you already told her at the beginning you DIDN’T want. They say something like “I know you said you weren’t ready but you’ve been sleeping with me and being with me and…” They fall in love with you anyway and get heartbroken when you aren’t in love with them back. THEY DON’T LISTEN.
Wow. Talk about take the HINT. Thing is, sex is important, important as hell in the development and chemistry of a friendship, but intuition is better, especially in the beginning. My [red] velvet cupcake has clearly stated he doesn’t now, and possibly might not want a relationship, and I’m a serial monogamer.
Sure wish I’d known this sooner, but at least I know now. I could fight it back with: but he’s doing everything in line with wanting a relationship, or maybe this is just a defense mechanism so he doesn’t get hurt…. but no matter how I spin it, he has told me what he doesn’t want, and it is now up to me to listen, or to my detriment, not.
After a few ridiculously fun outings, a trip out of town, and the last few conversations feeling similar to pulling baby molars—I get it.
The cutesey intimate touching dwindling away already, cue the kisses he no longer leaves me with, and in the booth at dinner he sat so far away from me, that you could have easily put another person in between us and we all would have hardly touched shoulders. There was very little flirting, but the unnerving underlying “I definitely wanna fuck” was there, perhaps too strong to be in my imagination, and obviously too uncomfortable to take myself any further now fully understanding that we are two very DIFFERENT—very REAL people needing and wanting different things.
Let me make myself clear-er-er. NOTHING WRONG WITH SEX. Wanting it, Needing it. Something wrong with two people not being up front with their sentiments. I lay it out there:”Not ready to ‘marry the fuck outta anybody’ but sorta ready to practice seriously getting to know someone enough to warrant something exclusive. Basically I’m eventually hoping for the man that changes the game and turns my scrabble pieces pink.“
So I thank him, for talking himself OUT of my panties last night and all ever nights because I’m human and want a healthy-happy ever-last–ish? (at least) friendship that blossoms into a relationship, not a f*ck buddy (been there) not a friends with benefits (fell in love with him, that didn’t work) but an actual relationship a man is willing to stand in line for–in the cold even if he is perhaps the only one in line and the door is just closed because I’m scared. Scared to give my body and emotions repeatedly and openly (as one does in a relationship) and scared, scared to “over-like” so soon without reciprocation, scared—that sex would give me a heavier “clingy” than I need without any real commitment…
Scared that sex isn’t now nor was it ever what I wanted without commitment anyway.
So scared that once again, I fell asleep, and when he attempted to hold me—I forced myself to sleep harder so as not to deal with reality. To not respond to his foreplay attempts to tamper with my bra-less breasts, to feel his eyelashes on my cheek as he kisses on my neck wishing for sex as, I, wished his impermanence away.
I want someone that doesn’t over-assume in sweeping generalizations that I’m “just like every other girl” that will “hear what she wants to hear instead of what I’ve said” or the girl that cries over the boy that didn’t want her even though that boy never said he ever would or did.
I hear you loud and
[red] clear, rather.
I want someone long-term that will “know” I want that, not fear it and put up a wall of “not-readies,” “emotionally unavailables” because of his ex, or “I bet you’re gonna love me too-soons…”
Ha ha ha. Betcha I’m not.
I forced myself to sleep. And later, when he woke to leave, I lay still– WIDE AWAKE — listening to him gather keys, pants, phone, and somewhat huffily not bother with a kiss goodbye, and let himself out. I don’t expect to hear from him again.
~Maggie Nelson, Bluets
I once slept with a man who was falling out of love with me at the time, or had already fallen.
It must have been the most painful encounter I’ve ever had. Maybe, at least close. I believe in the mental, physical, emotional elements all melting in sync and when someone isn’t there, well, they just aren’t there. I will tell you, it was sunshiny when I went into that pretty hotel lounge to have him for drinks (pun intended) and it was a slow cyclical dripping of rain when I ran out and away from him the next morning.
Fucking leaves everything as it is. Fucking may in no way interfere with the actual use of language. For it cannot give it any foundation either. It leaves everything as it is. —Maggie Nelson, Bluets
The next time we spoke was on Valentines Day not very much long after when I was with my new boyfriend at the time in San Francisco. I pretended to be overly happy for my ex love when he advised me that he was getting married, to someone else. When I hung up the phone, I cried in the bathroom so hard I shook the bathroom stall. I walked out of the bathroom like it never happened.
A warm afternoon in early spring, New York City. We went to the Chelsea Hotel to fuck. Afterward, from the window of our room, I watched a blue tarp on a roof across the way flap in the wind. You slept, so it was my secret. It was a smear of the quotidian, a bright blue flake amidst all the dank providence. It was the only time I came. It was essentially our lives. It was shaking. —Maggie Nelson, Bluets
Last night I met Maggie Nelson, author of “Bluets,” and more recently “The Art of Cruelty.” Maggie read from her latest TAOC at the Redcat Theatre at CalArts’ Downtown Center for Innovative Visual, Performing, and Media Arts. It was beautiful. A stunning and intellectually provocative showcase indeed.
I’ve loved Maggie since she wrote “Bluets” and have also read “Something Bright, Then Holes.” With much thanks to Douglas Kearney (my workshop leader) for prescribing her to me after the aforementioned engagement gone awry. It blends the nonfiction/poetry lines, as does Wayne Koestenbaum in his new book “Humiliation.” Wayne was there too reading from his masterpiece, as was Jack Halberstam encouraging us all too fail big. How big and lightbulby I felt after digesting the reading of their work. The Q & A was heavily laden with words and references I need to look up and remember, lol.
So after the show I stood the painfully stalkish wait for Maggie to sign her book for me (The Art of Cruelty), and I even had the old one on me (Bluets) and I asked her to sign that one too. There aren’t many people I can say “SAVED MY LIFE,” (because that’s so huge) but her book did. I attached a picture because it’s such a big deal to me, and this is all about me y’know. After a 7 year breakup which I’ve coined “all my good twenties goooooone,” her book put things in perspective and since it is written in a way that interjects her retrospective voice with her story in numbered elements of prose poetry; I couldn’t help but tell her (that it gave me hope and that I may have contemplated a slow medicinal overdose if not for it, actually, really, I sorta did anyway, or did less because of needing to finish her book), she gave me her email address and said we should talk later. I love it when writers have big hearts. I was in near-tears (paused behind fear of course) because it takes a lot to go up to someone and thank them for the impact they’ve had on your life—through their writing, especially in such a personal way. I’m thrilled to be starting her book of criticism and will devour it soon enough.
And so, what is it with empty sex? The kind of loving that leaves less to be desired, but more and more until you can’t fill enough of yourself up? The kind you write books about. The way Maggie speaks about the man she fucked for six hours straight (please read page 46, I can’t keep quoting) only to find him with another—only to find she would have to give up such a love. I guess for me, to find that what matters most isn’t the physical act, but the time and efforts around it, the expectations that surround it, the things you give up for it. The balancing act of, and with a person. Are they not only willing to show you, but rather go out on the limb, of a shaky tree, in a snowstorm, after unfortunately having forgotten a jacket and put their hand out, for you?
One of my best friends (who doubles as a comedian at times) likes to debate with me about emotions and sex. He said to me the other day something along the nerve of “sex is like getting something new from the store, as great as it is when you bring it home—a week goes by and you cannot remember it, not hardly, unless it reinvents itself, unless it is particularly sentimental for some reason or another (love-ish?) or it glitters in gold or shimmers (new partner).” Sometimes we can be satisfied and still need more; we can be happy, but still want happier; we can be fucking but still want love. I want a man that loves subtlety all the way through me; a man that kisses me so intensely that to hold back would be an orgasm in itself.
We woke up overlooking the water, french doors overlooking the bike path, his left arm crossed over my neckline and collarbone like it’d been there forever. It was such perfect poetry I thought I’d never move. But I did. I ran straight to the Keurig machine. Starbucks was needed, and I would have preferred Coffee Bean, but that would have taken too long.
Well, everyone, my vacation was superbly startling, and unreal. You know when you have unexpected moments and your heart pivots on its axis and all I could think about the whole time was… Jim Daniels.
Yes. I have fallen in love with CNF and Poetry. I recently made the switch from my major being Poetry to CNF (Creative Nonfiction). Poetry has always been my first love, but when I started putting words to the memoir I’ve been writing for eleven years, something creatively nonfictiony took over. Poetry is my minor now. I am riding the wavey-rainbow to the pot of gold, or at least to a few golden tickets. Jim Daniels is a mentor at my school and the residency schedule came out on the same night of my vacation. I checked it on my droid phone. There was no way I was concentrating on anything else.
He knew. I even heard him say something to the extent of “You are so, not, here, right, now, are you?” in front of my sugar rimmed margarita, I was just checked out, altogether. I felt bad.
Whyever the love of my life has to be writing and learning, I do not know… but it is. And it, means everything to me. My career-crush on Jim Daniels resulted in a dream after his lecture (on the residency schedule) was placed conveniently at the same time as my current mentor Christine Hale—both conveniently at 9am ON RED’S BIRTHDAY, December 15th. (Is this crazy?) I then dreamed about floating over Jim and Christine’s lectures as a ghost in two places at once—screaming because I couldn’t understand what they were both saying ‘cause they were both talking at the same time. My yell interrupted both classes and I was asked to leave. An impossible nightmare, I know. Yes, I laughed too. It’s the type of feeling that makes me never want to graduate, never stop reading, never stop educating myself. The poor guy.
Since my switch over to creative nonfiction I’ve subjected myself to possibly not being able to have Jim as a mentor, and this pains me, to the bottom of my bones. But again, my memoir’s revisions and workshops are what is most important at this time so it involved an executive decision on my part, CNF it was.
I question my ability to give enough of myself to anyone. But is my “I’m too busy” a scapegoat for not wanting to get hurt? Possibly. Is my “I’m too busy with memoir, mentor, studying” a diversion for falling for this one might cause me to have to trust, which is the number one rule I’ve seemingly already broken, somewhat. How many times do I have to fail to get it right? Rejection letters for submissions, break-ups, set-backs bigger than my panic attacks?
“Cheer up beautiful girl, you will love again and it will be magnificent”
My Daddy says things like this to me all of the time. My Mama says things like “Erase, replace.”
Everyone knows you can’t plan love, you can’t plan life, you can’t plan. But I plan. I plan to take 3.5 showers a day, I plan my reading schedule, my Masters lecture, responsibilities, my shopping list. When I go somewhere, I’ve usually checked the ratings, the weather, the menu and the reviews. If I haven’t, I either trust the person I’m going with, or I’m having a particularly “off” day. That’s just a “light example” of the type of over-the-top I am.
Jess McCann author of “ You Lost Him At Hello” says it’s not a game, it’s a strategy. She also says:
You need a strategy to get anywhere in life. If you wanted to start a business you would need a business strategy. If you wanted to lose weight, you would have a diet strategy. If you wanted to get your finances in order, buy a new house, land a new job, you would need a strategy!
I believe in a blueprint. I believe in growth and gradual increases. I believe that there is some type of (at least) semi-strict form that one must stick to, or else, there is not going to be any progression. No progression = boredom. Boredom eventually = unhappiness. Unhappiness + Stagnancy + Complacency= Resentment.
Resentment for anything is the worst feeling I’ve ever had. Worst feeling you’ve probably ever had, that you didn’t know you were having. This is what happens without conversation and a plan, people get let down.
Daniel G. Amen, M.D says in his book “The Brain in Love,” that “no forethought equals no foreplay. Understand how the brain works and influences our behavior—and intimate relationships.” Sometimes, the worry is worth it, sometimes the anticipation is worth it. Sometimes when you have such high hopes for career, for love, for life in general, the apprehension helps you along. Other times you freeze up.
I am in the middle of a hot pan, frozen scared. Everything on the verge of anything. Over and over and over. In the middle of a vacation, I’m stuck on impossible, planning the lectures I want at residency. In the middle of a vacation I am stuck for words, somehow I have “Talkers Block,” which far surpasses Writers Block—and my disbelief in it enough to ward it off. Which makes me [seem] less witty, carefree, and sexy. And more gigglish, nervous, and scared. I probably should have woke up surrounding him in French kisses to match the French doors, but all I could think about was if maybe Jim might read a bit of my work and give me a few words of feedback, and anyway if the guy is right, he’ll understand.
I thought about Jess McCann again who also says midway through her book: “This is real life and not a chick flick. In real life you have to be smart and savvy to get what you want.”
P.S. walking along the beach, [redacted] held my hand.
All of a sudden, I’m clingy. I caught myself. Usually intimacy creates it, this time—I blame the butterflies.
I like to call it smothersome. And boy have I had some of this medicine before. I don’t mean the gentlemenly “You look beautiful tonight,” I mean the “I’m going to attempt to kiss you four times in five minutes, come back to check on you, peek-a-boo around the corner-honey is that you, hi, I’m still here… just looking at you, watching you go about your business, studying your eyebrows and then guess what I’m going to do, honey-honey! honey! I’m going to kiss you. Yes, again. Mmmmuah” Seriously, I want to give up on people. [Shake-my-head.]
So what happened you ask? O, besides subtleties? O besides someone that knows how to play the push me once on the swing and let me flap my legs for a bit on my own, then come back and push me slightly—then run when I say “again!” He slips off, then pops up behind me when I’m least expecting it-game. See, it’s the same but quite different. Did I know about it until it hit me? Maybe once or twice before, but it’s very very different. Butterflies are more like dragonflies when you’re an adult. Like the bigger the elephant the harder it falls, maybe?
Case in point: The other day I was conveniently gossiping about the new cutie patoot. The conversation was getting so interesting, but I had somewhere to go, and I’d already started out too late. I decided it’d be a bright idea to bring my bestie (on the phone) into the shower with me via the cordless phone. I sat the cordless phone alongside the tub and decided to shower with her on speakerphone blasting and bursting with laughter— it went something like:
“Grrrrrrrrl, I know, I know! I know right?! Right!” I continued on explaining to her that I know it’s early, we just met, I know like only a few weeks but I feel (giggles) clingy. Like. I’m human. My emotions are carbonated lava and he likes to kiss five different places on my forehead and then doze off across the bed and pretend I’m not there.
Subtlety, S-O-L-D. Like rose gold. Like a garage sale, everything must go.
I’m smack dab in the middle of confession 101 when my son runs full speed into the bathroom and vehemently bangs and shakes the shower sliding door. I freak the hell out, slip the soap, slop the towel and the cordless phone slides jollily down into the shower water as I fancy a jump-hop-scream AaAAah of terror I’d be electrocuted back into my good sense anyway. I did all of this magicianship stark naked, mind you.
Today I spent $20 replacing the cordless phone battery after having dried it out inside of a plastic bag with a hair dryer like my good ole google-friends told me to.
And yes, and yet, I’m still fighting this, example #2: The other night, I swore North, South, East, West, and upside down that I didn’t like holding hands. It’s funny as soon as you draw a line how much you yearn to blur it. Now all I want is for him to grab for my hand. I want him to take off work and play in the sandbox, pink sand of course. I want him to hold my hand and hold it while he tells me the biggest storybook story with the most enormous imagination. Queue artful silence I like.
And yet, I would very much like him to keep holding my hand. And I guess that makes me clingy. Or irksome. Or what I’d coin as smothersome from some folks in my past in which I shall not name. Ah, the other foot is so hard to wear. I suppose I’d rather be slightly ornamental—sniffing him in like the tip of a permanent marker. Because what does it say about someone who doesn’t have an ounce of overdose in their blood? Someone without that race in their genetic make-up? That she sticks to no one? Or that she sticks to everyone? Or that she’s unemployable? I sorta dig long-term. Sigh SMH again.
He got really quiet the other night, and I pouted, well, because, well, you see actually … I just wanted his undivided attention.
How absolutely OUT of character of me.
I guess it’s just the butterflies, they’re eating me alive.
What about it?
I wonder of it.
There is something that happens when you look over at a person and it stops your thoughts. I know—it’s happening right now. The way you lose your momentum mid-sentence, the way you squirm—the way you sit still. The way you have to admit, to someone, out loud, that you:
“Can’t remember where you were going with whatever you were saying,” or thinking, or doing. Poetic right?
It’s what I like to call fail-safe. But it’s actually the opposite.
It is when you are lying on your stomach , reading, writing, thinking, yes, lying down next to someone and they softly place their hand on the top of your thigh and dozens of sparks begin blinking inside your bloodstream and all you can think of is if there was ever anything better. It gives you the illusion that all in the world’s alright and cannot fail. That all is safe and well.
Makes it easier to dream big enough to fail in the morning—I’ll tell ya.
Then there’s this armor. I’m guilty—I wear it—that I don’t need sentiments. That I don’t need little love notes, white chocolate-covered flowers, concern and compliments. Fine, I’ll do without, at least as long as I can. But when it’s right, like not—left, like ball bouncing from court to court, tickles when I’m smiling—right… the one thing I can’t seem to fall asleep without is, the cuddling.
To be forced to sleep without cuddling, is the cruelest most unusually awfully-painful and saddening punishment no one deserves! I mean drink the last of the soymilk without saying anything, but do not refuse to snuggle with me before we fall asleep!
Yes, I want him to hold me like we are teleporting into another dimension, and if we don’t hold tight enough one of us might get left-locked into another year. Yes, I want him fiddling up my back, hands upside my thigh. I want him to hold me, at the very least, until I fall asleep. And if it gets too hot, I understand. But if it does not, I want him to understand that I look forward to it like Lucky Charms and Tetris.
I want to open my slow eyes to his hands dancing along my pantiline, his breathing medium hovering my neckline, his body heat ingeniously saving me from needing the extra space heater.
So, how does it feel guys, do you like to snuggle?