It’s A Beautiful Day

14 May

The last time I had sex with Elijah, he choked me so hard  that I saw stars. I couldn’t tell him to stop and I probably wouldn’t have anyway. We were both drunk and had argued most of the evening. I tried to speak to him during a guitar solo at a bonfire. Big mistake. I was stupidly in love with him and I let him treat me like shit because that’s what he wanted to do. And ever the faithful woman, I wanted my man to do what he wanted.

I woke up in a panic in the middle of the night, though. My throat was tight and incredibly painful. I felt bruised on the inside though there were no marks on me.

The next morning, I sat naked on his couch and smoked a cigarette. I told him that I didn’t think we should see each other anymore. He shrugged and agreed, saying, “My memory of last night is very different from yours.” He didn’t apologize for scaring me or hurting me. It never occurred to him, like so many before and after, that he had anything to be sorry for. He told me that he didn’t love me and I would find someone better than him.

I don’t hate him. He was plainly a monster. I hate myself for allowing him in my life. So even now, he avoids consequences.

I want very little from the men in my life aside from the truth and a little discretion. Which, of course, I never get.

I have dated since Elijah, men that are more or less disappointing in equal measure. Maybe less aggressive in bed, maybe more. Still, though. They are all very busy. They don’t ask me questions about my life. They interpret my kindness as love. It is usually just human decency. It is never love. And who can say when it will be love? It’s hard to have a heart of any kind – broken, open, adventurous – when I don’t even feel like a human. I don’t feel like a real girl. I just feel like someone’s doll, his hands around my neck.

Filthy Cute

25 Apr

My mother was a big fan of MTV when I was a kid (it’s not for nothing that my little sister’s first words were to “Welcome to the Jungle”) and I remember being totally enraptured by Prince’s music videos. Very clearly I recall sitting on the floor in the living room of our 2 bedroom duplex and whispering to my older sister, “I think Prince is probably kinky.” I  didn’t know that word in any context other than Prince.

In college, I used all my tips from a night of bartending to buy a ticket to see him on his Musicology tour. I was recently obsessed with “When U Were Mine” because Crooked Fingers covered it and I have, if nothing else, a perpetually broken heart. He played “Cream” on acoustic guitar, alone on the stage in the round, and in that moment I am pretty sure I became a woman. Menstruation and maidenhead paled in comparison to seeing this tiny man sing.

At my wedding, after we danced to an appropriately lovely love song, we chose “Let’s Go Crazy” to play right after. And we did, for three immeasurable years.

I bonded with my therapist over our shared love of Prince – she had actually seen him in Minneapolis and I felt she had sufficient good taste to guide me through my madness.

I am selfishly sad that he died because I wanted to enjoy more of his music. Like most people, I am greedy even in my grief.

20 Mar

I can’t remember the last time a man wanted to know a goddamn thing about me, aside from what my tits look like.

Will Your Words To Fail

23 Feb

I have squandered so much in my life. The buoyancy of my breasts,  money I have made, several thousand kisses. I have gifted nearly all of my good feelings and starved my own self of good things in the process. Lately I feel radical in the affection I feel for myself, completely wild in my confidence that I am worth something, that I am doing a good goddamn job.

have learned what love is, and what it cannot be. 


3 Feb

This morning something swept through me and I was very briefly very certain that you were thinking of me, and I could feel it.

Then I realized it was just my uterus contracting around the piece of copper I had shoved in there so you wouldn’t get me pregnant.

Sunrise, sunset. 

23 Dec

I was raised to be a hard woman by a hard woman. I do have a tender heart, but I’ve always fancied myself to be a bit of a bad bitch. Lately, though, I have realized this sad truth. I have been selling myself to the lowest bidder my whole life, with a sort of quiet middle class desperation. I’ve been taking and getting what I can, when I can. It makes me feel, summarily, like shit. I’ve gotten little money and less love for all my time and kisses and good humor and hard work. Tonight, I am tired in my head and tired in my heart and I have decided – firmly – on my worth. No one on this Earth is required to meet my price, but my dying ass if I’ll be giving any more discounts.


I Sure Do Hope

7 Dec

That one day I feel as pure and unblemished as I did before I met you.

Seeing the Future

30 Oct

Like most reasonable people, I try to divine my fortune from songs playing on the radio. They are 3 minute omens and I pay attention. Joe Cocker means I need to call my Pa. Justin Timberlake predicts that my heartache will soon lift. Sometimes I think I can conjure particular songs if I am in a particular mood. I’ve been haunted by “Father Figure” lately, but my real good luck song is this one. Even when I was like,12, and heard this song, it reminded me of me. It portends good things and good people coming soon, and they are welcome.

If It Ever Gets Really, Really Bad

25 Oct

I still miss you so much. I am still in love with you. But I have been able to concentrate a little more the last week or so. I am so grateful that you let me go before I gave you too much. I think you know that I would have fallen all over myself to keep up with you, if you let me, and eventually I would have been humiliated, no closer to you than I am today.

I feel less shameful about falling in love with you, because how could I not love someone who chose to be so careful with my heart? How could I not adore such a good man? You are good and you cared about me enough to leave me be. I don’t know if you will get this message in a bottle, oh lord, but I hope that you do.

Haven’t Slept A Wink

14 Oct

That’s not entirely true. I do sleep, but it comes in fits and starts. My hair and sheets are both in knots when my alarm goes off.

In my dreams, I plead my case. I try to prove to you that I am worth loving. I try to convince my mother than I am smart. I persuade the Easter Bunny not to murder me.

My waking hours are the same, I think. I have been trying since I could speak to show that I am good and also good enough.

When I was a little girl, I was never good enough to get out of a beating. I promise you that I tried. I promise you that I was very, very good.

Children carry their anguish and fear with them. At some point (maybe puberty? I don’t know) it turns into something else. And so my chest held a heart full of rage that, most of the time, I could keep at bay. I was furious with myself, with my childhood, with every single thing that moved in this world. I had taken enough and I couldn’t possibly take anymore. My sharp tongue was my only weapon and I was not always gentle. I remember feeling like two women, neither of whom I liked very much. One of me was awful and the other was weak. I didn’t like living in my own skin. It did not feel like home.

I reached a breaking point in my own mind and decided that it was time to set aside childish things. I confronted every ugly thing about myself and my origins. I spent time and money I did not have on help that I could not live without. And ever so slowly, the two flawed and frightened women that were me became one pretty good woman. I’m happy to be this woman almost all of the time. I have a kinder, more tender heart. I am no longer on the run from myself. I don’t see everyone around me as a potential aggressor. I still fight my natural instinct, which is to protect myself at all costs. I allow myself to be hurt if it seems worth the risk. I clear my mind before I lash out.

I have worked very hard to get out from underneath myself. I have made, and continue to make, a great effort to walk out the front door of my childhood. Sometimes I wish that it were easier or that I was just better.

I am immeasurably proud of the woman I have become and I am deeply ashamed that it took this much work to be this ordinary. I will never deny that I am flawed and have always been. I have made mistakes and I have hurt people beloved to me. I cannot flagellate myself every single day for the person I used to be.

I will not allow anyone else to beat me over the head with person I was. I will not take any more beatings for the trespasses of a truly sick and overwhelmed girl. I am better now. I have been punished enough. I promise you.