I’m back, bitches. I have been working my lil’ ass off to finally finish the third (and hopefully maybe possibly final) draft of my poetry chapbook, Former Lolita, Still. No, it has not been published, but I have italicized it because it exists in the world as a completed, artistic accomplishment whether or not the rest of the world has recognized it as such yet. Also, my hope is that the previous sentence will serve as a reminder to every artist working in the dark that your work matters and is important and exists, even if the only eyes that have seen it are yours.
If you are familiar with the literary masterpiece, Lolita, written by the literary genius, Vladimir Nabokov, it will come as no shock that the poems in my chapbook narrate my experiences as a woman with an affinity for significantly older men and how my life was subsequently defined by those experiences i.e. how I learned to define my life in accordance to my experiences with men.
If you are not familiar with the literary masterpiece, Lolita, or any other works by the literary genius, Vladimir Nabokov, I encourage you to become familiar.
If you don’t give a shit about literature and just prefer to continue reading my blog sans making yourself familiar with some (beautiful) high-brow bullshit written by some (brilliant) Russian dude, well, I admire your commitment to bucking up against the esoteric, elitist world of academia that tells us art is only art whence hailed as such by a bunch of elitist pricks. In which case, don’t you dare even think about picking up some book you don’t give a shit about. You do you. We need your kind to remind the rest of us how full of shit we are.
My point is that I wrote an entire book of poetry on the topic of sleeping with old dudes.
If you know me, this will come as no surprise.
If you don’t know me, well, surprise, I love sleeping with old dudes.
Although, now that the book is finished, I realize it has nothing to do with sleeping with old dudes.
My little book is just a small part of a much, much larger conversation, one about how we (especially women but also humans in general) often find ourselves stuck inside cycles that have been created for us by a world that doesn’t listen to what we have to say- and this happens whether we’re sleeping with old dudes or young dudes or fat dudes or lady dudes or lady ladies.
These cycles are only cursorily related to who is sleeping next to us and have everything to do with how afraid we are supposed to be if waking up alone.
I have been waking up alone for almost a year now, and I gotta tell ya, it was terrifying at first. I couldn’t sleep unless I was wine drunk into oblivion and I couldn’t eat for fear that no one would love me if I was fat (don’t bother unpacking that one for me- I am well aware of my issues) and I couldn’t stop crying and I couldn’t stop feeling afraid of loneliness and I couldn’t stop thinking that fucking other humans would re-assure me I was pretty enough for the world but I kept moving anyway.
I had no idea what I was doing, but I knew I was walking through fire and the only way to keep myself from burning alive was to put one fucking foot in front of the other.
And eventually I started sleeping and I slept alone and I am still alone and I am still afraid but the weight of the world now feels heavy with blessings instead of with the fear they may never come.
You see, there is some kind of collective fucking stuckness I see myself and my friends struggling to escape. Everywhere I look, women are telling the same story about their attempts and failures to find a way out from under all the expectations we are supposed to live up to and give a shit about- all while living in a world that continues to tell us there isn’t one.
I think it’s really easy to look around at all your girlfriends and feel like everyone has their shit figured out, because we’re all supposed to pretend like we have our shit figured out, but none of us really have our shit figured out so why do we keep pretending?
I think it’s largely because we’re not talking about it enough.
I used to think our stories were separated by the fact that my friends had their shit together and just eight days ago I tried making chili in the crock-pot with dried beans out of the bag without boiling them first and had to throw it all away when I realized that’s not how beans work, and six days ago I found myself sitting on my kitchen floor, sobbing so loud my neighbors wouldn’t be able to tell whether I was crying or having really great sex or both, and five days ago I told my therapist how alone I feel without having a man or something to fill the void like alcohol did and three days ago I went on a first date, whilst sober, for the first time in my adult life and on the way home I started crying so hard I pulled over in a Safeway parking lot and called my friend and told her the void inside of me is that I don’t have anyone to love and one day ago I realized while writing this rambling blog post via talk to text at 1 AM naked in my bed alone how terribly sad it is that I fill all of the parts of myself with love for men who aren’t willing or able to do the same.
I’ve never given myself the opportunity to fill that space with love for myself.
And I know this is all so very cliché but I don’t give a shit. I think that is what makes it so powerful, actually. This experience is so common it’s almost annoying to hear, which is exactly why we need to keep talking about it.
Shared experiences are shared for a reason. They are a construct of our culture rather than our individual motivations.
This is a big fuck you to the notion that our shared experiences are too common, too confessional, exaggerated, dramatic, that it’s easy to leave bad things, that we should do anything at all instead of could do any number of things for any number of reasons, that things will get better, that we’re not really alone and blah blah blah…
Those sentiments imply that we should talk less or more, that we are failures if we struggle cutting clean ties, that there is a right way to be living, that things will always get better when really sometimes they just get worse, and mostly, that being alone is a very, very bad thing.
Here’s the fucking thing, you guys.
I am tired of hating myself.
I am tired of incessantly questioning every move I make.
I am confessional and dramatic. Sometimes I get scared and say nothing. Sometimes I revisit old cycles. Sometimes I live the wrong way. Sometimes things get worse. Sometimes being alone is the only space I want to be in and I’m not ready to move from that space.
I’ve got my head in the clouds and my head up my ass and my head between my fucking knees crying on the kitchen floor and I am not sorry.
I am angry and tired and maybe even a little petulant and I want to stay right here until I’m ready.
I am learning how to move through this world and my hands are starting to feel big enough to hold the good parts of it and I guess my point is that you better watch the fuck out because Hannah Gadsby is right-
“There is nothing stronger than a broken woman who has rebuilt herself.”
I don’t even remember why I hated this photo anymore. My boobs look great.