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  • Always Be Cleaning Up

    The Sunday paper can be so devastating.

    Headlines:

    FATHER IS ARRESTED IN BEHEADING OF GIRL, 16, WHO WANTED TO SEE HER BOYFRIEND

    SHE TAPED HER BOSS’S LEWD CALL. GUESS WHO WAS FIRED AND SENT TO JAIL?

    Why do men hate us so much?

    Why are they so afraid?

    *

    I am mildly hungover but full of ambition.
    It’s not yet 1pm and there’s so much promise.

    Beth texts: “Sigh. Yet another woman making a man’s life easier.”

    Me: ::a series of clapping emojis::

    “Always be cleaning up,” she replies.


    I’m listening to the new Juliana Hatfield.
    She sings, “it’s so weird”
    and I think,
    Precisely.

    *

    Larry’s in Miami for another day. On the phone this morning, I alternate between the worst and somewhat decent versions of myself.

    Oddly, he’s open to both,

    open to it all.

    Maybe it only feels odd because no one gave me that before.

    Or at least I didn’t give me that before.

    They — or me? Probably me —only fixated on the bad,
    but how was I supposed to grow from that?

    IS THAT EVEN TRUE?

    It’s impossible to know.

    Like Peggy Olson, or maybe that character Stephanie, said on Mad Men,
    We can’t see ourselves.

    But I’m trying, I really am.

    Last night I couldn’t get the door to lock on the gender-neutral bathroom at Cole’s.
    It felt like a trick.
    The last time I was in there I was not alone, and the memory hit me right as someone tried to push in.
    I pushed back,
    click.

    It’s not that it’s a bad memory, it’s just a memory.

    The next time I had to pee I went in the women’s
    where the stalls made it feel safer.
    Of course this is only my experience
    but I just want a private stall most of the time.

    I don’t write on bathroom walls but
    I enjoy taking photos of others’ work.

    Once, recently, in another bathroom
    I turned to flush and saw Larry’s name on the wall.
    When I got back to our seats at the bar, he’s nonchalant as usual
    “Oh yeah, it’s there.”

    *

    I’ve finished what I want of the paper.
    I can’t read the word “Trump” anymore today.

    It really kills this Sunday ambition.

    Instead, I should focus on the opinion piece I read by Viet Thanh Nguyen;
    the one by Jill Filipovic too.

    HONEST WOMEN REPLACE ‘SELF-MADE’ MEN

    *

    I can’t decide if I like this Juliana Hatfield altogether or not,
    but I definitely like her lyrics on “All Right, Yeah” —
    it goes a little like this

    “Spray perfume on my sternum

    It mixes with my sweat

    All right, yeah

    All right, yeah

    Minimum, medium, maximum cool”

    If anything is clear amidst all my ambiguity
    it’s that I’m drawn to other women’s words.

    Within,

    Power.

    Maybe that’s why the weak men are so terrified of us.

    They should be.

    The good ones can follow Larry’s lead, or at least they can try.
    I’d call his composure to my most reactive states
    MAXIMUM COOL

    Even if he would clearly, distinctly dislike this album (although I have no idea) (I don’t even know my own feelings on the matter)
    Even if he loves some club in Miami
    I would most certainly loathe.
    Guess what? It’s fine!
    We don’t have to like the same things all the time.


    *

    Jill F. writes, of Nancy and Ayanna and Ilhan and Alexandria
    and I want to cry from the hope of it all.

    It gives me the stomach to read the other stories
    knowing they — we — are moving
    “toward the good.”

    Remember:

    “Women shouldn’t adapt to the existing lie; men in the political realm should be more honest.”

    It can be hard to be fully honest in any realm,
    I’ve realized.
    Confessing to my bullshit and my real shit on the phone this morning,
    I feel uneasy,
    like I’m back in that damn bathroom from last night
    unsure if at any moment, some person is going to barge in
    and catch me in the act.

    The point is, though, it’s worth it — and better than adapting
    to the lie —
    the lie being that you were ever unworthy
    or inadequate.

    That’s why we scribble our truths on bathroom walls
    (or in my case take photos of others’ truths to build on my own)
    cause even when you & me & we don’t feel even remotely

    Minimum

    Medium

    Maximum

    COOL

    We are.

    Time to go scrape the snow off my car

    and take this ambition out in the afternoon.