Q is for Quirky

Q

quirk·y
ˈkwərkē/
adjective
1. characterized by peculiar or unexpected traits.

My friend had a girlfriend. She started bringing her along to events and I learned something really unpleasant. My friend was a total asshole. She had chosen the girl based on a set of criteria she had for dating.

  • Higher level education; multiple degrees preferred
  • Beauty and skinniness
  • Family connections

I didn’t know this about her before, she was not a super close friend, but someone I hung out with occasionally and definitely didn’t date, therefore I wasn’t privy to the criteria needed to romantically associate with her. I found this out because I asked, after seeing her treat said girlfriend with an obnoxious, heavy-handed misogyny, which I didn’t realize could come from a woman, but have learned is pretty common sinse. She commented on her weight, figure and pedigree routinely, in front of people…it was upsetting. Despite the honking chip I carried about privilege, I started to realize that anyone can be reduced to the sum of their parts and not seen as the whole human they are, and I couldn’t play witness.

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I started to speaking to the new girlfriend and found out she and I were much better matched, not romantically but as people. I told my “friend” that I had a criteria for friendships and she did not meet them, I chose the girlfriend instead. Thankfully she left my idiot “friend”,  as she deserved.

She was quirky and a dork, but so was I.

Have I mentioned my unhealthy love of all things NPR? If not, well, now you know. I know more NPR and WNYC names than I do popular Buscelebrities. She knew more than me. We traded stories, and unfinished craft obsessions. We wandered around Ikea for hours and bought nothing. We smoked American Spirits and drove for hours to nowhere often and to derelict buildings on occasion to sift through lives long past with cameras in hand. I do not how many hours have been spent over coffee at diners playing Scrabble.  She wore highly starched skirts, button up shirts and penny loafers and I was in loose jeans, hoodies and Vans yet we somehow found out we were a perfect match.

STP60255_zps95e4da36She and I talked for hours and never ran out of words, stories or adventures. We found something within each other, someone to be naked in front of. There are not that many people you can truly be exposed to in the course of one life; someone for which it does not matter what you disclose, whatever peccadillo, shame or heartbreak, will never judge you harshly or with malice. We each had plenty of these hidden recesses, things too dark and painful to let the world see. We hid behind different masks, came from very different places and on paper had little to nothing in common, yet we found kindred spirits in each other. You never know where you might find them or what circumstance will be an opportunity.

Over the years we have changed, each of us has moved, broken and been put together again. We have been apart and found each other. I think that any life that has held a lot of trauma lends itself to many forms of rebuilding, it’s a necessary part of growth.

We have only fought in the sense that we have both been afraid of that closeness and run at times, but neither of us could ever close the door.  I hope neither of us ever does, I need her to fill my hand of true friends at the end of this life, so I know I lead it well.

 

“The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for.”

― Bob Marley

M is for Match

M

match
maCH/
noun
1.a contest in which people or teams compete against each other in a particular sport.
2. a person or thing able to contend with another as an equal in quality or strength.

verb
1. correspond or cause to correspond in some essential respect; make or be harmonious.
2. be equal to (something) in quality or strength.

I have mentioned that I am somewhat terrible at choosing long-term romantic partners, but since I have studiously avoided mentioning in-depth how terrible, ‘M” seems a good place to try.  You may have surmised that I am bi-sexual, this has never been a real issue to me, since there has never been anyone to come-out to or care. I am sexually almost 50/50 on the scale, and we are all on the scale somewhere. Yet when it comes to long-term relationships, I almost always choose women.

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If you’ve been following along, you might have gotten that my childhood consisted of extensive physical and sexual abuse and you may be saying “Well of course you might choose women, they are less threatening, and there is that whole theory about abuse being correlated to later sexual identity” . Which could possibly be a factor had my abuse come from only men, but that was never the case, and neither gender is “safe”.

Another thing, I choose really nice guys, men that want a wife, kids and to take care of me (for the most part, with the rare notable exceptions). I choose women that are combative, socially insecure, anxiety ridden and somewhat to very abusive in either a physical and/or emotional sense. While most of my friendships with both women and men can be marked by their very lack of drama or arguments over the years, my romantic partnerships are rocky shores with dozens of lost ships that never made it to land.

I dated Nikki during this weird period of time when I was trying to get back on track. Still partied, but on less manic, more socially acceptable shipwrecklevel. Moved into her apartment in Bloomfield, which was oddly, owned by a cop and surrounded by other cops and their families, but that doesn’t really have anything to do with anything, I just think it’s interesting. Back to Nikki, in the simplest form, she was a bully. Arrogant and pushy. She kept people around that she felt appreciated her greatness, whether that was her artistic prowess, musical acumen or general awesomeness. At the heart of any such person there is nothing but insecurity, and I am the worst person to combine with such a core.

I am very supportive to my partner, (I am also a natural enabler) unfortunately I expect them to support me the same way. This doesn’t happen with bullies and narcissists, the ladies I love to love.

I had a conversation with a very good friend, in which we discussed our deep-seated desire to have the chutzpah to get on stage and do a stand-micup comedy gig, just once. I told Nikki I wanted to try an open mike with my friend and her response?

*Snort, laughter* “WHY would you DO that??? You’re not even funny!”

~she was totally serious and let me just say, no such condescending derision ever crossed my lips about her “art”…… despite popular opinion. She threw things, physically boxed me in, wanted to ban friends that she didn’t approve of or was sure I was sleeping with (ha! totally picked the wrong people). She was excellent at putting me down, at constantly belittling and questioning of my capabilities to be independent or simply park the car on my own, it didn’t matter, I was probably incompetent.  She had to stop drinking socially for a while because even her friends started commenting on how vicious she was. I let her tear me down, one little chip at a time.

Eventually I would get upset and feel trapped, she would rage around and curse and kick shit, I shut down and then I  would get bored/angry/resentful/passive aggressive enough to stray.  I am in no way saying this an acceptable way to deal with an asshole partner and my personal attention span of a toddler, but that is the way I dealt with these situations, I found a new shiny toy. Doesn’t matter which angry lesbian I shacked up with, you can just replace the name and press rewind, I have a pattern. I was breaking patterns elsewhere in my life, but just couldn’t let go of this one.

Trust-Infidelity

Just to be fair, let me say that Nikki gave good face, she was the first GF I brought to meet the Maine crew, and hang out with The Boy, and they liked her a lot. She had her moments personally, but like many other patterns, I will also admit I envied her family and it’s closeness, so I’m sure that was a factor too. Broken people with good families? I’m not sure how to diagnosis that one or me.

If given my druthers, I would be on the Dan Savage train of “monogamish*” , meaning I am mostly monogamous but have very bad boundaries. I am not jealous and do not overly care if there is an honest exchange and a sex life outside of the primary relationship. I grew up with sex and prostitution as my everyday as a child and the one upside I can give you is that I can separate and do enjoy the separation without shame. Shame has always seemed wasteful.

I just wanted to “match” with someone, that meant it when they said they loved THIS woman, not just the woman who supported them emotionally, fucked them well and made a kick as quiche..the whole woman, all the weird, non-binary, slutty, funny, obsessive parts.

Of course, maybe I should’ve learned to stop shacking up with assholes by this point in my life. Looking back, I regret many of the women I chose to spend too many years with and many of my own actions. They were the actions of a coward and a weak woman and I expect better of myself.

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*In the July 20, 2011 column (Savage Love), Savage coined the term “monogamish.” The term describes couples who are mostly monogamous and who are perceived to be monogamous but who aren’t 100% monogamous. Such couples have an expressed understanding that allows for some amount of sexual contact outside the relationship.

 

Stars

I am trying to create the habit of writing, Mostly this intention has been more of a “fail” than “pass” kind of thing, but here’s a tiny thing:

Stars

Stars

 

The girl was lying there on the fiberglass surface of a middling sized speed boat tied up to dock for the night. She had raided their galley kitchen, finding canned fruit, crackers, and tiny sausages in tins. She felt quite satisfied with the small feast and decided to lie with her full belly on the boat and watch the stars. Sometimes she brought her little brother, but he usually fell asleep and he was heavy, she hadn’t wanted to haul him back tonight. Tonight her ribs were already turning colors from the kicks aimed her way and the cigarette burns on her legs felt only a small relief from the smooth curve of the polished boats’ surface. The girl was sore and perhaps still bleeding, she thought she would go into the salty water soon, the sting and succor would help wash the rest away.  The girl looked at the stars and from her vantage point they took up almost everything that was or could possibly be. The oceans steady ebb took up the rest. Between the stars and the gentle lap of waves she was lost, a tiny speck in the infinite nights sight; she found comfort there. Skinny and brown skinned, the girl was small in form, she felt her own size with every breath, willing her tiny frame to grow and grow until she filled all of space in between the stars.  She would go soon, after her wish was made. She didn’t pick a single star, the girl felt her wish was too large for one tiny star to be held accountable for, that was just asking too much.

‘ I wish I may, I wish I might, wish upon this star tonight” She whispered the prayer into the cooling moist air, willing it to find its way into the stars,  to tether this wish to the skys’ shining denizens. The girl closed her eyes, breathing the rhythm of the ocean touching the sky. The girl made her wish.