Sunday, May 8, 2011


Whenever I try to write out my feelings, they escape me. The harder I try to find them, the more they hide. So I try to force it, force them all out, JUST DO IT! like every fucking asshole I try to share my problems with tells me. And then, I hate it. I hate what I wrote, no matter how sincere it may have been when I wrote it. It's stupid, it's vapid, it's meaningless. It just mocks me, like a child whose parents insist that he didn't steal your apple, and you can see him standing behind them, eating your apple in tiny bites, with relish.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

"Estoy enamorado..."

"Como estas?" I asked him when no one was around.

"Bien. Estoy enamorado," he said with a smile.

"Really?" I didn't look at him and shuffled my papers. "Ella tiene mucha suerte."

"Ella no sabe."

"Oh, es secreto?" I giggled nervously.

"Si, es secreto."

More people entered and he left for lunch.


"How are you?" I asked him when no one was around.

"I'm fine. I'm in love," he said with a smile.

"Really?" I didn't look at him and shuffled my papers. "She's very lucky."

"She doesn't know."

"Oh, it's a secret?" I giggled nervously.

"Yes, a secret."

More people entered and he left for lunch.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

My Grandmother's Mirror

I posted this on a message board for the show Hoarders in response to the question "why can't the older kids clean up the cat shit?" but I really wanted to share it here too.

The house I grew up in was unpleasant in many ways, and from an early age, we kids learned not to rock the boat, or to do anything that might rock the boat. Survival behavior, I guess. My mother was married to an emotionally abusive man who wore her down during their thirty-year marriage, and when my disabled brother died at 15, my mom pretty much threw in the towel on caring for us, for the house, and for herself. She had never been a great housekeeper to begin with, but by then she'd given up the ghost. I was the youngest and 13 at this time, so old enough to fend for myself, but in no state to care for a house with four adults who didn't clean up themselves. My mom had never cleaned up stains on the carpet or couch, so I honestly believed that stains were just part of owning things, and had no idea that other people made efforts to make sure no permanent stains ended up on their things.

Fast forward a bit to my senior year in high school, when we got a dog. The dog, unfortunately, had a habit of marking its territory by pushing its rear end up against a wall and defacating. At one point, the dog did this against my grandmother's gorgeous antique cherrywood full-length mirror (part of an eight-piece set). No one cleaned it up--somehow, inexplicably, cleaning up the dog shit entered "rock the boat" territory, and while I hated looking at it, I was too scared to actually do anything about it. Doing something about it--cleaning it, in other words--would just have opened some kind of can of worms. I just passed it in the hallway on the way to my room and pretended not to see it, and tried not to think too much about it (in addition to other things).

Fast forward again to Christmas break during my first year of college. I'd been home about a week. I headed upstairs to my bedroom and caught sight of the dog shit on my grandmother's mirror. At that moment, having been out of the house for three months solid, something snapped. I was filled with rage that my grandmother left us something so beautiful and we'd actually let dog shit sit on it--at that point, for more than a year. My grandmother would have been so angry! I ran downstairs and grabbed some Windex and a roll of paper towels. Back upstairs, I scrubbed, cried, and scrubbed some more. At that point, the dog shit was stubborn, so I sprayed Windex and let it sit for a little bit. Then I went downstairs on a cleaning rampage. I grabbed old newspapers, used cups, random household detrius and throw it in the trash can with flourish (think of Darcy throwing glass stuff into the dumpster). My mother asked, "What are you doing?" I said, "I'm cleaning up, that's what." She asked, "Why?" And I said, "I don't know how anyone with any self-respect can live in a house like this."

When I said that, she didn't respond (I never really said anything like that to her before, and she had learned not to rock boats too). Later, when driving me back to school, she asked, "What did you mean when you said that?" I told her that people who respect themselves respect their homes--this was something I learned in the college dorm, of all places--and didn't let dog shit, used tissues, old microwave-meal containers, etc. get all over their living space. None of this seemed to surprise her. She shrugged and said, "I don't really think of it as my house anymore, or home. It's just a place I sleep."

Monday, December 21, 2009

Four Poster

Went into an employee apartment recently. Really I went into a bunch, but this one sticks out, because it was by far the most beautifully decorated apartment of all the employee units and one of the nicest apartments I've ever seen (and I've seen a lot). This guy, a maintenance tech, had carpeted the whole thing (most are hardwood floors), painted, had really really nice furniture including a dining room cabinet filled with glassware, and a Christmas tree. I was amazed. Most of the techs are married with small children, and their apartments bear obvious feminine touches, but this one just looked so well appointed and tasteful. I never would have guessed it of this tech!

There were pictures on the walls--pictures of his children, a little boy and girl. And there was a second bedroom, which is really the reason for this post, because it was like a little girl's dream come true. The first thing you saw was a huge four-poster bed of wrought iron with a chiffon canopy tied all around it, with a pretty white bedspread, plus a little pink Barbie vanity table that told you exactly whose room it was. There was other furniture too, of course, but the bed and the little vanity are what I remember. Suddenly, I wasn't seeing him as a tech. I was seeing him as a daddy, a daddy who cares about his little girl very much, enough to give her a room like that when she comes to visit him. And I miss that. I miss being a little girl, but more, I'm heartbroken, because I never got to be a little girl whose daddy could do things like that for her, with a daddy who wanted to give his daughter beautiful things, and be a little spoiled, and feel like I was the most special girl in the world. And...angry? Sad? Resentful of my siblings? That might be silly, because I don't know if my dad would have been that way even if I was an only child.

I look back to my childhood, and I'm torn, because I think my dad felt like he showed us his love in the best way he knew how. But it wasn't enough. It's unfair to him, that his best wasn't good enough, but was it his best? Was he the best father he knew how to be? He'd say yes, I'm sure of it. His children wouldn't agree, but then, perhaps we aren't the best judges of that. He didn't have the money. He didn't have the personality. He wasn't affectionate, not really. He wasn't vulnerable. Those were all the things I needed in a daddy, not the anger, not the tearing down, not the teaching lessons. As a little girl I didn't need to fear him. I didn't need his sarcasm, or his "jokes" about me or my sister.

And then...there's my other sister. If my father was a daddy to any of his girls, it would have been to my oldest sister, who was born when there was still a little money and a little patience. But she hurt him, somehow, unintentionally and irrevocably, and his heart was too sore and too fragile and too delicate to open it up to either of his other girls. Maybe that's why now my middle sister and I resent her so much. Of the little he had to give, he gave the most to her, and she still holds that position of power and privilege in our family, the smart one and organized and popular and the one who has the most of what the world can offer. He gave to her, and had nothing left to give to us, and yet, we're supposed to feel sorry for her somehow, that he was cruel to her, even though he was cruel to us too. She was the angel, the light, and when she hurt him, as little girls can do to their father, he couldn't pull it together enough to try again.

All of this over a four-poster bed.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Twitter Poem

I wear my sorrows like a badge of honor

holding me up, validating me

when the going gets rough...

Using them as a shield, as a weapon, as a cannon against others,

as if they make me better

or wiser,

or livelier--

When all they do

is give me a reason

to pretend

that I am somehow better than other people.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Driving home

“The truth,” he said in that phony innocent voice. “That’s all.”

“I’m telling you the truth,” I said. But it was that forced voice I always use when I’m telling the truth that makes people think I’m lying.

“Okay,” he said, then shifted gears and floored the gas pedal. The car zoomed to the bumper ahead of us, then he twisted the steering wheel and we flew across two lanes of traffic. “Tom, what are you doing? Stop it!” I started screaming. “You lying, two-faced bitch,” he said. “Tom, STOP IT! Slow down!” I was crying.

I don’t remember much after that. Just that he’d read my e-mail, sensing another opportunity to test me with unfounded jealousy, to see how far he could push me and still have me forgive him. He sent me repeated clues throughout the day, thinking he was so clever, so I knew something was coming, but was so powerless to stop it. We didn’t crash the car, but the rest of the evening consisted of him calling me names, saying I was two-faced for e-mailing another guy in another country. He was allowed to date a woman in the building because I’d made it clear that I wasn’t going to stick around; but I flirt over e-mail with someone an ocean away, and he gets the right to terrify me. It continued, as always, until I let him fuck me up the ass later that night in a gesture of forgiveness, that the next day would be the same as the day before—him with power over me calling it love, and me with nowhere to go.

Still, today, this is why the truth sends a poisoned arrow into my heart every time I hear it, over and over, never getting better.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Sorrow Tale

This is a stream of consciousness story I wrote one night all at once, with no editing and almost no backspacing. That explains some of the out-of-place bits. There are some things I like about it and some things I don't, but wanted to share it with strangers.

Once upon a time there was a beautiful girl who lived with her wicked father and
three sisters. One sister loved cats and always had the kindest cats in the
neighborhood follow her. Another sister liked teddy bears and had an enormous
storage building filled with plus toys. The third sister liked unicorns, and
even though everyone knew unicorns weren't real, she still had a unicorn that she
secretly kept at a farm in a place far away.

The girl's name was Kinselle, but she changed it all the time so no one really
knew if that was her name or not. Another day she was Mariah and another day she
was Dominique and another day she was Rosaline. This girl could not speak. A
spell had been cast upon her so that when she spoke, other people could not
really understand what she was saying. So Kinselle (that's what she called
herself for that day) spoke less and less, so that after a while she hardly spoke
at all. Kinselle learned to listen instead, and didn't like to hear most of the
things she heard.

She heard one sister say that she was going to fly away and never come back. She
heard another sister say she was afraid of flying. The third sister told her in
secret that she was going to get on her unicorn one day and gallop away, over the
sea, over the land and into the place where unicorns were real.

"Unicorn, unicorn, take me away!" said Kinselle, "teach me to fly like my other
sister!" This was not a unicorn that flew, though sometimes Kinselle looked
quickly in the bright sunlight and swore that it had wings. The unicorn did not
answer her. It only spoke to the third sister and shared secrets of its homeland
beyond the sea.

Another day Josephine (for that's what she called herself that day) burned her
finger on a frying pan. "Kitten, kitten, take it away!" she called to a black
cat that had followed her sister home. The cat looked at her, blinked, and
licked its paw. The cats only spoke to the sister they followed, sharing their
secrets of stretching and softness.

Gallantine (as she called herself another day) liked to touch the teddy bears
that her sister kept locked away. The teddy bears were soft and their eyes wide,
but she saw nothing in their big black marble eyes except her reflection.

Whatever comfort they shared, they only shared with the sister that kept them.
Sometimes Contessa thought she had fairies following her--but if it was true,
they never spoke to her and shared their secrets. Sometimes Elizabeth thought
she heard flowers calling her--but she could never understand them. Sometimes
Carolina thought the sidewalk was moving for her--but when she followed it, she
only got lost.

Isabelle (she sometimes called herself) did not like having people touch her, not
even her sisters. sometimes in her sleep she felt the fingers tracing on her,
waking up to find no one there. When she tried to tell her sisters, they did not
understand. "It was a dream, Helena," they would say with the name she asked
them to use that day. "There was no one there, of course it was a dream." And
Abigail knew it wasn't a dream. It was more than a dream, less than real,
something like a memory that never happened. But when she tried to tell them
this, they only heard a terrible screeching noise like a thousand rusty hinges
opening a thousand doors at once, and they could not understand what she was
trying to say.

So Montania was alone, with no magic friends to tell her their secrets and no
memory of what her real name was. It was like being a boat on the sea, and
seeing dozens of other boats and trying to paddle towards them, but they each
moved away whenever she got closer.

Marguerite liked to dance, but people never thought she could and never watched
when she was dancing. Delilah liked to sing too, but her singing was the song of
the bullfrogs in the pond and no one listened. Leonora played many instruments,
but was shut up into her house to stay quiet rather than share this with anyone

One day a cat came to Pauline and asked for her sister. What a joy! But when
Pauline tried to respond, the cat ran away. It only heard a thousand rusty

Each night Sadora prayed for a gift to show itself to her. She had looked
everywhere for one and couldn't find it. She only found curses and fingers
touching her in her sleep.

Dolphine decided to make her own gift and ran away. She jumped on a train and
rode for a day. Then she jumped on a boat and rode for three days. Then she
jumped on a coach and rode for so long she didn't know how long it was, until she
arrived at a circus. The circus master put her in a shiny pink dress and taught
her how to dance on top of an elephant. Finally, someone would see her dance!
Dolphine danced and danced with all the heart inside of her. Then she realized
that people weren't coming to see her dance, they were coming to see the
elephants. Dolphine forgot how to dance on top of an elephant. She forgot how
to dance at all.

Mirelle left the circus by jumping off the circus train. She ran all through the
forest until she found a giant bird. She jumped on its back and flew over the
ocean. Finally the bird dropped her into a pond filled with bullfrogs. The
bullfrogs sang so beautifully that people came to see them. But the bullfrogs
didn't want Mirelle coming to sing with them. They only sang bullfrog songs and
did not think Mirelle could sing their songs. Mirelle opened her mouth to show
how she sang bullfrog songs, but all she could sing were the songs of the hissing
wind. Then, Mirelle could not sing any songs anymore--not bullfrogs, not hissing
wind, not ocean tumbling or sawing wood.

Lilian left the bullfrogs by grabbing the tail of a fish that swam away from the
pond. As she swam, the fingers kept touching her but she could not see them and
could not try to catch them because she was holding on to the fish. Three days
later the fish was caught on a hook and brought to the kitchen of the palace.
Lilian found in the kitchen, she could make music on the pots and pans and
entertain the cook. The cook laughed and Lilian was happy. The king did not
like the noise and made Lilian leave the kitchen. No more could Lilian make
music, not with pots or a piano or a guitar or a guilder.

Anna Lisa decided to go home. "I flew," she told the sister who wanted to fly,
"and found nothing but pain." "Really?" the sister answered. "I flew too and
found my joy." "I couldn't stay home," she told the sister who was afraid to
fly. "Really?" the sister responded. "I stayed home and found my peace." "I
went to a place where bullfrogs sing, where pots make music and I danced on
elephants, and I found nothing but sorrow." "Really?" the sister replied. "I
rode across the sea to the place of unicorns, and found my dreams."

Kinselle was tired. She slept, and while she slept she wondered if she would
ever wake up. She had tried to find the things that brought her joy. She tried
to find her gift. She never found anything but the loss of the things she loved.
And through it all, she still had the curse, the curse of a thousand hinges on a
thousand doors whenever she tried to speak.