Home felt like a sickness I had to shake. So much of what was there told me I was worthless, including me.
Should I be thankful my mom made me live in our basement and subjected me to abuse? Did very little to see that I was protected in an environment that was at the very least, a danger? I don't know. I know I am not really angry about it anymore. I consider it the way I consider any of the historical events of the last 100 years. They happened. Some were atrocious. Some were wonderful. But all of the events occurred.
I got out so I could create a new version of myself. A version who would not be so shitty. A version away from everything that supported that shitty belief system. That was 24 years ago and I am just coming to understand that this new version is just about complete. I think. I don't know, actually, I might want to change some things around in a few years.
I was there again just a few weeks ago, home. It was everything that I remembered, but it was more. It was the hot beef sandwich at Johnnie's that brought me a perfect comfort I have not found in any of my new homes. It was the hours of inhaling the filth of cigarette smoke so I could hang out with one of my oldest friends. It was eating cake with the human I first grew with. It was meeting new people with the old accent I love so much.
There is part of me that wishes my parents were alive so that they could see how far I have come. The other part of me is scared that if they were still alive, I might not have come as far. That is how my life used to be. I made choices, very often based on what I thought people would think or say. Very often based on whether or not I thought my Dad would approve.
I read something recently about emotional anchors. These are events which totally destroy who you think you are, events which push you to re-build. I am riding the lip of a wave caused by the plummet of my last emotional anchor, one I refer to as The Epic Tale of Death and Dismemberment. My titles are usually both cliche and overstated. That is how I roll.
Some of the best things in my life right now are a direct result of The Epic Tale of Death and Dismemberment. This is why it makes it easier to look back. It makes it easier to go back. That shit did not kill me. That shit made me.
I know that if I ignored those events or charged them with some type of destructive emotion, I would continue to make bad choices. I would continue to behave in a strictly selfish way, all the while causing pain to those around me and in essence, causing myself a great deal of pain as well.
But my last great anchor keeps me from it. For that, I must be grateful. I have no other choice.
I am sure that at some point down the road another thing will happen. I will bring something upon myself or the universe will conspire to teach me my next great lesson. I am good with that. I know that one way or another, I will use the pain to learn the lesson. I will use deceitful people to trust all humans more. I will take highly emotional and traumatic events and use them to stay calm in any situation. I will take the shit and turn it into veggies. Yeah, the shit I speak of is manure; highly beneficial if you put it in the right places.
To grow is the thing. It is sometimes painful, sometimes embarrassing, sometimes quite invigorating. But it is the growth that I seek. I have sought it out since I first left the home that I felt might kill me young.
It disturbs some of my friends, what I put myself through, but it is necessary. I want to see how far I can go, how big the wave will be that I choose to ride. I do believe that the shit in our lives can be used for exponential growth. It is only a matter of how far you are willing to take it. How much you are willing to do with your pain. How wide you are willing to crack your cold body open to let the light in and warm your blood and bones.
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We walk down the narrow trail under the stars, guided by his headlamp. The stairs are steep and while it is not a long trail, it is a bit tricky to discern between the shadows the light is throwing and the actual depth of the path. We finally get down to the beach and see the fire in the distance. His friends are there, all younger than us by about fifteen years, drinking tequila and stoking the fire. Fall mingles with the wind; there is a hint of a chill, but nothing more. I am happy to be on this adventure.
"This is about accepting who you are based upon....you. This is about asking for what you want, or don't want, based upon....what you want...or...don't want."
We drink some beer then walk out onto the beach. It is low tide so we walk quite a ways out, until our shoes are muddy and we can barely see the fire near the shore line. If we stand in any place too long the mud sucks us down, goo sliding into our toes. The stars are bright and beautiful and we look up at them as he tries to point them out to me. We kiss, hold hands, and snuggle up to each other. He tells me that he loves my writing. He has read all of it, he says, and he is so happy that we can be casual and have sex and not worry about any misunderstandings.
"It sounds a bit ridiculous; asking for things that you don't want, settling for things that you don't want, but we do it, I do it, all the time."
We walk back to the fire holding hands and sit down. There is a young woman there insisting that I blow on her stick, then, insisting that I suck on it. She is clearly tripping on acid and her friends are trying to take care of her. She is young and soft-spoken and a bit of a mess; she reminds me of a much younger me and I am happy for that. As I look at the fire, I think what a perfect and relaxing day it has been. I look at the dude and think he is pretty cool to have read all my writing. I look at the fire, warming my muddy feet, wondering to myself what he will think about my most recent and awesome post about Cake. The girl chatters on about her stick, everyone drinks tequila out of a skull, and the dude gets up to go to the bathroom. Then he falls down. He gets up, then he falls down again. He is stumbling drunk and for some reason, I have not noticed until now. I look around the fire, and no one seems to be too concerned, but I am, because the dude is my ride, and I am not stoked about trying to find the trail in the dark and walking home. I figure I will wait for him to sober up a bit.
"Because it makes the people around me more comfortable. I mean, when the people around me are comfortable, then I am comfortable, right?"
It gets to be late, about two a.m., and I decide to take a pee in the brush. When I come back from behind the tree, I see the dude, making out with tripper girl. Ugh. Fuck. What was shaping up to be at least a year of great casual sex has been violently flushed down the drain. After several minutes of weighing my options, (just leave and walk home, get his keys, take his car and leave his ass there, or make him take me), I decide that he is taking me home. I call him over, tell him I need him to take me home, and he sheepishly, drunkenly agrees. As we start to walk back to the trail he falls. He is still stupid drunk. He tells me that he didn't think that our "relationship" precluded him from hooking up with other chicks. I do my best to explain that this is true, except for when he takes me to a place as a date. I make sure to emphasize that I am stoked for him to have sex with other chicks, just not while I am on a date with him. He seems to get it.
"Even if I have to sacrifice just a little bit of who I truly am, just a little bit of what I value, it is worth it, so they will be more comfortable, so I will be more comfortable, right?"
We search for about a half hour, but cannot find the trail. He is still falling down drunk. I look up at the hill that stands between myself and the car, my feet muddy and wet, my sexual horizon recently stripped of hope, and I decide to bushwhack and drag his drunk ass with me. He follows me pretty well, falling down, sometimes falling on top of me, which for some reason strikes me as hysterical, and finally, after passing many abandoned druggie camp sites, we make it to the railroad tracks. As we walk along them, I ask him why he did it. His answer is simple and profound, "because I am fucked up." Oh yeah. I forgot. We are all fucked up and this is his version of that.
"If there is a moment in your day when you are thinking you might want to amend your habits, hold back expressing your point of view, or otherwise re-consider being all of your true self, remember, you are like cake."
As we arrive at my house, he apologizes. He says he is sorry for having acted the way that he did. I tell him that I appreciate it, that I accept it, and that I see this as a real loss. I tell him that this hurt, and that I liked him, and I had been looking forward to months of casual sex with him. But because he put me at risk, because he was grossly inconsiderate, our time together was over. He reacts to this news with surprise, but within moments settles into it. Then I say good-bye.
"And you don't give a fuck."
The very day that I wrote the post about cake, I had the opportunity to walk my talk. The thing is, I am like cake, but I do give a fuck. I care that I was treated poorly. I am sad that this person did not think enough of me or himself to act in a manner that was respectful, and I am mourning the loss of The Sex That Might Have Been. (TSTMHB). But I am also proud of myself for taking care of myself. I am proud that I did not have to cut him down and be cruel to him to take care of myself. And I am proud that I know that I will not tolerate this type of treatment.
So I guess it is fine to be like cake, but it is also very nice to give a fuck.
It is more human that way.
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Just the other day, I met another one of them. A Person Who Does Not Like Cake (APWDNLC). I guess I really didn't meet her. I have known her for a couple of years. I really like her; in some ways, I depend upon her. And there she was, sitting in front of me, telling me that she does not like cake. She even asked her family to not get her cake or ice cream for her birthday. They were, of course, disappointed.
Even after this brutal blow, cake went on being cake; magnificent, lovely and delightful. As you might have guessed, this is not about cake. Not really. Nothing ever is.
This is about accepting who you are based upon....you. This is about asking for what you want, or don't want, based upon....what you want...or...don't want. It sounds a bit ridiculous; asking for things that you don't want, settling for things that you don't want, but we do it, I do it, all the time. Because it makes the people around me more comfortable. I mean, when the people around me are comfortable, then I am comfortable, right? Even if I have to sacrifice just a little bit of who I truly am, just a little bit of what I value, it is worth it, so they will be more comfortable, so I will be more comfortable, right?
That is how it goes in my mind. I rationalize. I argue against my own best interest, in my head. I have done it since I was young, when I didn't want to make my parents uncomfortable. After that, I didn't want to make my relatives uncomfortable. Then, my friends in junior high. I actually got a Farrah Fawcett haircut so that a bunch of twelve year old girls wouldn't be uncomfortable. (I wish I had known that twelve year old girls are generally uncomfortable, and it has nothing to do with my hair.) I spent hours every morning with a curling iron and Aqua Net. Ugh. Then in high school. Then...yes..even after...in art school...in my marriage...I did a lot of sacrificing for the sake of other people who would eventually disappear from my life...and leave me with....me.
I was forty. My parents died. My marriage ended. I was alone. And what did all that comforting others do for me? I barely knew any of those people any more. It showed me that what I had been doing was bullshit.
Then there is my butt. In the picture, above. It is barely there, but you can kinda see it. What a big deal has been made of my butt. The snide remarks. The fat ass comments. There is very little I can do about that. I was born to parents who were both blessed with booty. I consider myself lucky in that way. Love it or hate it, my butt is my butt, just like cake, (You have never, nor will you ever again, read a sentence that profound in print. I guarantee it.), and it doesn't give a fuck.
Cake doesn't give a fuck if you love it. Cake is still awesome. Cake is still epic. Cake is a gift to the world and all of its inhabitants. And, yes, so are you. If there is a moment in your day when you are thinking you might want to amend your habits, hold back expressing your point of view, or otherwise re-consider being all of your true self, remember, you are like cake.
And you don't give a fuck.
I think everyone should know that they are like cake, so you should probably go ahead and share this. FB like, tweet, email it to a homie.
"The problem with your project is that you have a very sexy body."
This was the text I received from a former lover the other day, who contacted me to let me know that he loves my project, but the flaw is that I am too good looking.
I have to admit, after I read it, I burst out laughing. Not because he doesn't have a point, but because it doesn't matter what I look like, because loving myself hasn't come from a place of perfection. Loving myself has not come from, "Man, my life is perfect. I had the perfect childhood, I am rich, I have amazing friends, my partner is a Nobel prize winner, and my car is really speedy!"
No. It has come from a place that doesn't need that stuff. It has come from a place of imperfection, where I have the ability to love myself ANYWAY. If I have not been clear, for most of my life, I did not feel good about myself. I thought myself to be an angry, ugly person. This was in spite of the fact that I was in good shape, always had gainful employment, and had friends who loved me, truly. I was, and still am, to some extent, a person who puts herself in a place so that she never has to ask for help. Why? Because she does not want to hear the "no," and feel the pain of rejection, which would communicate to her, inevitably, that she is not worthy of such help.
To be clear, you can love your body no matter what it looks like, because your love for your body has nothing to do with that. It has to do with your ability to see that you are worthy of love. You have to cultivate the ability, you must find the courage to see yourself and love yourself, unconditionally.
This is HARD. This is the thing that everybody wants. This is the thing that drives people to buy fast cars, huge houses, designer clothes, and every new tech gadget at the moment it comes out. This desire to be happy with yourself can drive you to take on jobs that will ruin your life, it will drive you to do things that are against your best interest, because you think that, "if only I were there, I would be happy."
"If only I could lose 35 pounds, I will love my body."
I don't love my body because it is sexy. I have a sexy body because I love it.
I have had sex with people of all shapes and sizes; men, women...all in different stages of fitness and health. The sexiest ones are always the confident ones, without exception. The ones who have no shame surrounding their mindset about their bodies are a pleasure to have pleasure with.
It sounds kind of flowery: "oooooh...love your body....ooooh...you are a being of light....oooooh....embrace your beauty..."
Kinda new-age, hippie, free love stuff. But it is not. It is the hardest thing that human beings contend with, love of self. This, this practice that I speak of, it is a door to get there, but it is not for everybody because it is scary. It is hard. It will most likely make you cry at one point or another. Our world, our society, does not want you to love your body.
In many ways, a person who is brave enough to declare that she loves her body is repulsive. We are taught both subliminally and overtly to be ashamed. If you are body-proud, you are in the minority. I have experienced this in the form of bullying and sexual harassment. If you stand out too much, if you are too confident, small shitty people try to knock you back down to their level.
I have said it before and I will say it again. FUCK THOSE PEOPLE.
This is hard work. It is scary. But what you get out of it is more than worth that journey. If you decide not to take it, that is perfectly fine. I completely understand. As long as you know that this is a choice you make. This does not just happen without some hard work along the way.
This happens because you make the effort to learn how to see yourself.
Be a part of A Love Rebellion. Spread love, hope and compassion.
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