When I Was Dead

I was dead
and walking
pretending
to be
what I thought
a woman
should be
when she’s with
boys
that think
they are men

I was dead
and walking
and then
you walked by
and I felt
everything
all at once
and
all of a sudden
I was born
a human again
for the first time

When I was dead
they knew
and the boy-men
wanted me
for it

When I was dead
you were too
and we wanted
each other
for it

It took a woman
and her kiss
to bring me
inside
and through
herself
and back out
and around
myself
to see
what was
not lost
only hidden

I was never
who I thought
I was
and you
were never
who you thought
you were
too

They tried
to take that
from me
They tried
to take that
from you too
but

Summer is here
and I am alive

And I die
again
whenever
you kiss me
and bring me
back
to life

***

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Inspired by the poem Instant Rain by Melissa Broder

Featured image via Pixabay

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Two Different Bodies, In Love

When I look at your body I see so much to love and I see much to be jealous of.

In all the places you expand and fill out, I am small, and in all the places where you curve, I am flat. I love the way you look. I love the way you feel even more. I wonder how you must see me and how I must feel to you. My body is not as beautiful, there is much less to explore. I must bore you. I must feel ordinary.

I have always felt lucky to have a girl who looks the way you do. You remind me of an ancient Greek sculpture or one of their Amazonian warriors. You are the kind of femininity that in made for bearing children, building societies, and carrying the burdens of life. You are strong and beautiful.

What could a woman, built like that, see in a little scrawny thing who couldn’t even grow decent hips?

In the dark of night when we lay with our bodies close, we feel how different we are and you tell me you wish you looked like me too. You wish you were smaller. You wish you weren’t such a big thing in this world. I never realized that when you are tall and strong people see you wherever you go and want you to always be tall and strong for them. Small bodies can hide in the places no one looks, the places right out in the open.

In that moment, I see I am lucky. I still wish I looked like you but I wish you could look like me too. Then I could be the one to surround you when you need to hide yourself away. I could make you feel small and protected the way you have for me by default. I could be strong and tall for you. I could keep the world from hurting you.

But I can’t be you and you can’t be me.

Instead, there in the dark, we offer each other bits of ourselves to keep tucked under the skin

And every morning I have another bit of you to keep me big and strong and you leave with another bit of me to help you hide.

***

Written in response to Death to Stock Writing #18: The Bodies We Meet

Growing Up and Kissing Girls

Based on a true story.

***

At the end of my 8th-grade year, a new girl came to our school. By lunchtime, on her first day, we all agreed she was the new “prettiest girl” in school. Over the next few months, she became something of a legend. She was at a level of cool that most of us could never dream of attaining.

I never spoke to her. I knew I wasn’t cool enough to be her friend, but we did travel in the same groups. I liked that, knowing that through friends of friends, we were connected. I did want to talk to her, though, and over those months, I slowly worked up the courage to try. I decided that after school when I saw her walking home, I would strike up a conversation.

I looked for her to cut through the field behind the school. She was there, but she was with a boy, the cutest in the school, and they were kissing. I didn’t understand it then, but I was really hurt by that. No, I was jealous.

But I wasn’t jealous of her, I was jealous of him.

I spent the rest of 8th grade feeling very confused.

***

A lot of us were there, maybe 10 or so. The ratio of girls to boys not quite even but close. There were more of us girls than them, and we sat awkwardly grouped, all on one couch. We were like herd animals, not wanting to be separated, or caught singled out. The wolves were looking to pick one or two of us off.

One boy, the one whose home this was, goes to the back of the house and returns with a few Playboy magazines. This wasn’t the first time I had seen one, but I remember we spent a lot of time on a spread of two girls kissing. They were both nude, but the photos didn’t show them doing anything more than kissing. On the last few pages, a man enters, and things get more interesting.

The boys forgot us and talked only of those two women and their own fantasies of the same scenario.

***

A girl who lives in the same apartment complex as me invites a few of us over while her parents work late. The girl to boy ratio is exact this time, three girls, three boys. We act cool and calm, but mentally we are all weighing the pros and cons of each of the opposite sex. You want to make up your mind who you like better in case any kissing games break out.

A game of spin the bottle is suggested, but I knew this would never work out in my favor. I hated the boys that were there and instead wanted the girl with the red hair and a beautiful name, Alice. I knew that even if the bottle landed on her, they would just make me spin again. The point is for the girls to kiss the boys.

I was frustrated and angry. I didn’t want to kiss the boys, so I made up an excuse and went home. I was once again feeling very confused.

I never did get over that red hair.

***

My friend and I are the last ones in the school’s locker room after gym. She wears a lot of make-up, so she always takes forever to get ready. I am her best friend, so it is my duty to wait however long it takes so she doesn’t have to walk to class alone.

I look at her and pretend I’m not looking at her. She is very pretty. I wish I could be closer to her but getting to wait for her while she does her make-up is the closest I’ll ever get. I remember feeling hopeless.

She sees me watching her put on lip gloss, and she stops, looks away from the mirror…and asks me to kiss her.

I freeze, paranoid that this is all some trick. I imagine that if I agree she will flip out and call me a dyke, or something. She’ll say she knew I was gay all along. She’ll laugh as she tells everyone else in school that I am a gross lesbian.

So, instead of saying yes, like I wanted to, I laugh and say no. She shrugs it off, and we walk to our next class.

I regretted that decision for a long time.

***

I end up dropping out of school, but I have met the girl of my dreams, so nothing else matters. We talk every day, and we go to the movies every weekend. She is beautiful, smart, funny, and I am madly in love.

My work schedule changes to overnight, so I start visiting her at her high school for lunch. We meet outside the cafeteria doors, and we walk to Burger King or Subway. We eat, we talk, and I walk her back.

Once there I offer to walk her to her next class before I leave. I am trying to squeeze as many minutes out of this visit as I can. We walk to the locker room of her school, and she tells me she has gym class.

I say my goodbyes, and I lean in to kiss her. She stops me and reminds me that she has gym class. She cannot kiss me before going into the locker room! She says this as if it were obvious.

She says other girls will definitely have something to say about a lesbian in the locker room. I am hurt, but I do understand.

I never walk her to the locker room again.

***

We have been together for many years now. We are young, and we want to go out but whenever we do the men around us lose their shit.

They stare and make vulgar noises when we kiss. It makes us feel uncomfortable. On the bad nights, the ask if they can kiss us too. I wish I had a dollar for every request for a “three-way kiss.” We could move to a remote island where these creeps couldn’t reach us.

On the really, really bad nights, the guys follow us, or they get too touchy-feely. They say we just haven’t met the right man yet. They don’t think women can have relationships, or even sex, without a male involved.

I remember that Playboy magazine and I think they must have gotten the idea from there. They must all have looked at that same spread. They must all think women only kiss until a man comes along to make it more interesting.

We stop going out so much. We choose to stay home where we can kiss in peace.

***

Things are different now. We aren’t scared, or ashamed, or confused anymore. We no longer feel the pain of loving women who will never love us back. We have each other now.

We have learned that we are entitled to be in love in public without it being about anyone else. We have learned that other people are learning it too. If they don’t, we educate them.

We kiss whenever and wherever we want now, and we don’t entertain anyone else’s thoughts on it.

***

My little sister, 15 years younger than me, texts me to say she had something to tell me. She says she likes a girl at school, and the girl at school likes her back. She tells me that because I am a lesbian she felt it wasn’t important to tell me. I tell her it’s okay and I’m happy for her.

She tells me not to make a big deal out of it.

It had been years since I thought about all those little incidents and my feeling for other girls. When I was her age, when I liked the new girl in school and ended up jealous and confused, things were so different. I barely understood my own feelings at that age, and I couldn’t fathom telling an adult about it, let alone telling the girl I liked that I did!

I don’t make a big deal out of it, but I am proud of my sister’s courage. I am happy that she can kiss the girls, or the boys, she wants right out in the open, without judgment, without fear, and with a lot less confusion.

***

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Featured image via Unsplash

Too Busy Being In Love

Tonight I am spending some much needed quality time with my amazing girlfriend. We are both having a hard week so we’ve pretty much decided that once we are off of work, nothing else matters except for the two of us.

For the past two nights we have come home, taken care of the pets, eaten delicious dinners with bottles of hard apple cider, and cuddled up on the couch to watch TV. That’s it! No stress, no arguing, and no negative feelings allowed! Only love and laughter between us all evening and let me tell you, it has been wonderful!

AND tomorrow we are going out on a date! Dinner (and margaritas) and a movie. I think we’ll see the new Hunger Games. I can’t wait to be out with her. We always have so much fun on our date nights. It’s like we’re teenagers and just meeting all over again. We just talk and get to know each other…..then make out in the back of the theater, teehee!

Ok, ok, I’m sure no one wants to read about how great my relationship is. Every once in awhile I do have do dedicate a post to her though. She’s a big supporter of me and my writing and without her encouragement I wouldn’t be doing this. So yeah, she pretty much the best and I’m pretty much the luckiest lesbian ever.

I have to go now, we are going to start another show and I don’t want to miss another minute of our time together this evening. I hope you all have a good night. I highly recommend spending it with someone you love if you can.

What Inequality Has Meant to Me

Inequality means not bothering to propose to my girlfriend of 12 years because we can’t get “real married” anyway. Inequality means following every political debate hoping to hear a candidate say they support your right to marry the person you love. Inequality means also having to listen to all the politicians who don’t support your right say horrible things about your character. In equality means hearing them compare your love to bestiality and pedophilia.

Inequality means having to pay more for health insurance because you can’t put the person you love on your policy. Inequality means wondering who will get to make your medical decisions if something happened to you. Inequality means wondering what will happen to your home and your belongings should something happen to either of you. Inequality means wondering if you could have children one day and if you both get to be a legal parent. Inequality means you get all the paperwork in place to protect yourselves but in the back of your mind you know a judge could wipe it all away in court if her family decides to sue.

Inequality means having to “come out” over and over again to new friends and coworkers and wondering how they will react. Inequality means having people tell you to your face that they don’t understand your “choices”. Inequality means having people tell you that you DO have the same rights as everyone else because “you can marry a man”. Inequality is having people tell you these things without ever having to worry about the things you have to worry about.

Inequality is being told those things while also being fetishized. Inequality is have men ask you if they “can watch” or “join in”. Inequality is being hesitant to kiss your girlfriend in public because guys are watching. Inequality is being told on a regular basis that you just haven’t “had the right man yet”. Inequality is having to deal with random men hitting on your girlfriend in front of you because they don’t respect your relationship. Inequality is seeing her uncomfortable and feeling helpless and scared when nothing you say makes him stop.

Inequality also mean getting to be apart of the change and seeing new allies come forward everyday. Inequality means celebrating with your friends when the supreme court decides not to hear appeals and suddenly marriage equality is legal in your state. Inequality is tearing up when your family tells you they are happy that you can finally marry the girl of your dreams. Inequality is being grateful that your parents didn’t disown you for loving a woman. Inequality is seeing public opinion change and being happy, but at the same time, being sad it took so long and knowing that there is so much farther left to go.

Prompt via The Daily Post: Did you know today is Blog Action Day? Join bloggers from around the world and write a post about what inequality means to you. Have you ever encountered it in your daily life?

Things You Said to Me

image

“I Love You”

I met my girlfriend during a really bad time in my life. I had just turned 17 and my mom had kicked me out. I had dropped out of school and moved in with one of my aunts and her two teenage daughters. At about that same time I had decided to come out to my family and the older of the two daughters said she knew the perfect girl for me, her best friend.

We met in May, I had just turned 17 and she had not yet turned 16. That summer felt like something out of a movie. We were young but we took things slow, just going to the movies, talking on the phone, hanging out at lunch, that sort of thing. It was wonderful. I pretty much loved her from the very beginning. That August I got up the courage to ask her, over the phone, in the most awkward way possible, if she would be my girlfriend. She laughed at me and said yes and that was the happiest moment of my life, up until then.

I had been with other girls before her, but nothing like a real grown up relationship. In order to protect our pride we both pretended like this was nothing, we didn’t want love and we did nothing that resembled intimacy. Our feelings got away from us though, and shortly after midnight on New Years Day, 2003, she told me that she loved me. That night we held each other and fell asleep in each other’s arms for the first time.

“I Treat You Like This Because You Let Me”

Fast forward a few years, we’re living together and the stress of bills and the pressure of trying to be grown ups was taking its toll. I wasn’t measuring up to her ideas of what a girlfriend should be. In all honesty I was failing miserably. My emotional crap was coming to the surface and she was taking care of me. Her emotional crap was coming to the surface and she was taking it out on me. Our fights would start over the the smallest, pettiest things and last for hours. She would yell and say mean things she didn’t mean and I would cry and ask her to stop, to just comfort me. She always pushed me further away though, and told me to stop being a victim. Everything changed when one night, during one of our frequent late night fights, I was crying in the doorway of our bedroom, asking her why she was so mean to me, why was she treating me like this? She looked me in the eye and told me she treated me that way because I let her. I changed that night and I decided to start fighting fire with fire.

“I Seem Strong on the Outside, But Deep Down I’m Fragile”

After that I got mean. I stopped caring and said all the mean things I thought every time we fought. This wasn’t me though and  I started to feel so much guilt and I hated who I was becoming. I decided I couldn’t live like that anymore and sat her down one evening to tell her this wasn’t working. She cried and we agreed to take a break but the intention was to work on things and rebuild our relationship. And then the worst thing happened…..a friend of mine started making me feel better then she did. Unknowingly, and unintentionally, I started having an emotional affair. She found out about it and we fought like never before. She told me not to come home….

For over a year after that I felt confused about which direction to head, whether I stay with her or go? And during that time I watched her emotional state deteriorate. She had always been so strong but to see her break down and cry in front of me, I knew there was a side of her that was vulnerable and sad. I loved her so much then….I had thought she didn’t love me, that she didn’t care about me at all, but she did, maybe she just never knew how to show it. I realized that the whole time our relationship had been falling apart I had stood up on my high horse and thought myself the innocent one. I wasn’t though, she needed me to help her too, to show her how to be open and vulnerable because without that we couldn’t truly understand and love each other.

We fought a lot then, almost daily, and one night, both of us sitting on the hallway floor, emotionally exhausted, she told me that all that time she had tried to be so strong, but deep down she was fragile. For her to admit that to me, I knew that she not only loved me very deeply, but that I had also hurt her very deeply. I knew then I wanted to be with her. I wanted to work things out and do everything I could to get us back to where we had been before, young and so in love.

“I Thought You Were Perfect”

I had messed up so much, I thought there was no way I could fix things. Hell I had even made some mistakes more than once! I told her she was the one I wanted, I begged her to take me back and she agreed. It was a hard road though, and I fucked up a lot along the way. She didn’t trust me and nothing I did was right. At first I didn’t understand, if she loved me, why couldn’t things go back to the way they were?

One day we were talking about it and she told me the reason. The years before the break up I had always just been her girl and I had always done the right thing. The years when we were apart, I had hurt her so badly that her whole view of me had changed. I was no longer perfect in her eyes. Hearing that from her hurt so badly, even though I deserved it. Someone had loved me and thought I was the most perfect thing, and I had fucked that all up. I was no longer good and all the bad things I had thought about myself were true. I was a bad person……

“Maybe I’m Not The Right Person For You”

I kept trying though. Working everyday to show her that I really did want her and only her. We talked a lot and we realized that we were both to blame for our relationship falling apart. She saw things from my perspective and knew that she had not treated me well. I was still hurt by things she had said to me during those fights and I was afraid of becoming an emotional punching bag again. When we fought I panicked, thinking she would go back to basically hating me again. I was so scared to upset her that she started to think maybe we could never come back from things we had said to each other. Too much damage had been done.

She ask me again and again if maybe was was not the right person for me. Maybe I did need to go find someone else who would love me the way I needed to be loved. I respond every time by telling her that she is the perfect person for me. See I understand that we had been so young and we had been trying to be what we thought a couple should be and neither of us was happy that way. We needed to just be us. We needed patience and communication and above all, acceptance, and those things take work, everyday.

“I Love You”

Things have been getting better and better and we have been closer than ever. I strive everyday to let her know how much I love her and that I am her partner in everything we do. She does her best to show me that she loves me too and she cares about my feelings and respects me. We are getting back on track and figuring out what we want, not what we should want. As corny as it sounds communication really is key. Lots of talking, lots, and lots of talking. It sounds tiring but the reward is being in a relationship with someone who truly is your best friend. At first it was hard but slowly we both, mostly me, learned to let go of our embarrassment and fear and to just tell the other how we really felt and what we really thought. We both also learned how to listen and accept the other persons feelings. We aren’t perfect and we still slip back into bad ha it’s sometimes but we just keep trying and the effort is enough.

“Yes”

Last spring I began planning to propose. It was hard finding a ring and buying it without her knowing. I worked with an artist on Etsy and ended up with a beautiful, custom ring with an 8 ct. raw sapphire, her favorite. I decided to pop the question on the anniversary of the day I asked her to be my girlfriend, August 18th.

We decided to get a hotel room and spend the weekend downtown. We went to dinner that night and I won’t tell the whole story here but she said yes and it was the happiest moment of my life! Almost 12 years after we first met we are finally getting married but honestly, in my heart I know we have already been married for a long time and we have already loved each other “for better or for worse”.

I think maybe now she might see me more the way she saw me before everything got so messed up. Not perfect, I know I will never be perfect like that to her again, but maybe a different kind of perfect, a more real kind of perfect. Before what she saw of me was an illusion but now she sees all of me and loves all of me, flaws and all. And that, I have learned, is what real love is.

 

 

 

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