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On Children

Subtitle: If I had remembered my earplugs, I wouldn’t be thinking about properly cooked children.

In “A Modest Proposal,” Jonathan Swift had lots of keen ideas about lessening the burden of poor children on society:

“I think it is agreed by all parties, that this prodigious number of children in the arms, or on the backs, or at the heels of their mothers, and frequently of their fathers, is in the present deplorable state of the kingdom, a very great additional grievance; and therefore whoever could find out a fair, cheap and easy method of making these children sound and useful members of the common-wealth, would deserve so well of the publick, as to have his statue set up for a preserver of the nation.”

Seriously, if you didn’t have to  this short, satirical treatise, go click on the link.

Click on it.

Go.

You know you want to. Seriously. My subtitle will make more sense.

And if you’re reading this sentence but haven’t read the work, shame on you.

Sub-sub-title: I don’t actually advocate eating children. Or any humans, really. Or living animal flesh in general. But that’s just me…

The original subtitle is a result of a concert I went to with FastCar*: apparently Melanie Martinez’s fan base is a screaming throng of 12-year-old girls. If any aspiring despots out there are reading this, listen to me: Build an army of tween girls, and send them screaming like fangirls up to the enemy’s front line.

*Note: Of course I’ve been sleeping with FastCar, despite my intention a couple weeks back to never speak to him again…but that is a different post entirely, not for today..

When you do. two things will happen: shock and awe, baby, all the way.

  1.  The high pitched shrieking will drop an army to its knees, much like an LRAD, but way more terrifying because
  2. Adolescents are, more or less, hormones with legs. There is no rational part of a 12-year-old, so when a thousand screaming fangirls are coming at you, shrieking to the point of tears with unalloyed joy, you will know true terror.

True terror.

Oh, and if you aren’t familiar with LRADs (Long Range Acoustic Devices), here’s a clip (if you have pets with sensitive ears, I recommend headphones):

x

An LRAD will shock and scatter a crowd, but as the clip shows (way to be the first use of the LRAD in the US by a military/police force, Pittsburgh, by the way…), an army would likely be prepared, as was the case with the police force in the clip (they’re also standing behind the device, which actually makes a difference, from what I understand. That’s where the visual becomes massively important.

I watched two episodes of The Walking Dead on tv several years ago. At the end of two episodes, I had to turn it off because my pulse was 180. That’s the kind of terror a front line of idol-worshipping teens will inspire.

Short story long, I went to see Melanie Martinez and really wished I had remembered my earplugs. Because I am a dorky adult who gives a good goddamn about my hearing, I wear earplugs at concerts. Hell, I wear them in all IMAX theatres (because apparently high video quality requires a re-fucking-diculously  loud soundtrack).

I don’t know that I will ever be selfless enough to raise a child.

Boom. There it is. The point of my post.

I can raise a herd of animals, sure, but I feel like I’d be a shitty parent. Like, if I smoke a bowl, I don’t have to worry about my cats or dogs cracking their heads open. With a kid… eh… that’s sort of something you have to look out for.

And I won’t get into the cold hard facts vis-a-vis what it costs to raise a child (not including college tuition, something like $245,000).

I’ve heard, however, that priorities change when you become a parent. But when does that change happen, exactly?  Does it happen before you bring a new child (birthed or adopted) into your home? The day of arrival? Two weeks after? I expect it’s different for different parents, but a very real fear that I won’t experience the Great Priority Shift leaves me feeling like I shouldn’t pursue adoption any time soon.

On the other hand, a glimpse caught tonight of a gay couple in their mid-teens stands out to me and I wonder whether  I have a certain responsibility to raise a tolerant, educated, and socially responsible human being? I feel like I have an obligation to raise the kind of child that helps a couple of guys to feel safe kissing one another happily in public without fear of verbal or physical repercussions.

Seeing that couple made my heart happy. With each generation, it’s getting better for the LGBTQ+ community. The progress hasn’t been without hurdles and setbacks, of course, but it’s getting better.When I was the age of those boys, I was busy destroying relationship after relationship over a not-so-irrational fear of being seen holding hands and, consequently, getting bashed to a bloody fag stump.Hell, I still worry about that. Even just a couple years ago, I nearly lost my mind when I realized my boss (and good enough friend) was very obviously watching me make out with someone at a bar one night (my boss and I frequented the same neighborhood bar; we weren’t there together). I’m still afraid to live without fear or apology as an adult.

What the hell kind of parent would I be to raise a child when I fear the world?

But here’s the thing: when it comes to protecting a child’s intellectual, social, and emotional development, fear be damned.  Unfailingly, my instinct is to protect. In some cases, it’s meant stepping  into physical altercations. In others, it’s meant speaking to a large group of workers during professional development seminars about how heteronormative bias affects at-risk LGBTQ+ youth.

Incidentally, the latter is much more terrifying because you have all the time in the world to…

  • Prepare? 
  • Write your presentation speech?
  • Dwell on how your coworkers are going to be judging you and/or exercising their apparently constitutional right to heteronormative bias by imagining you getting it on with another dude and by asking ridiculously personal hypersexualized questions they would never ask of anyone in the straight community?

Bingo!

Because, yup, that’s what I do. When I’m not pretending I’m an artist of some form, I’m out defending America’s LGBTQ+ youth, one corporate fucking speaking event at a time. I’m so very, very brave.

Yeah, I think I’ll go ahead hold off on that parenting thing a while longer.

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Goodbye, FastCar

I’m crying right now as I type. I stormed out of FC’s car tonight and don’t plan on speaking to him again. The other night when we were kissing was “fun” he said.

“I thought you were having fun, too,” he said. He doesn’t get that I’m not interested in simply having “fun” with him. I made him my life. And he has decided to create one without me.

Our movie date turned into a disaster, and the movie was crappy, too.

I have nothing left to say to him.
To my family.
To my friends.
To anyone.

I have no hope or faith left.

What the hell am I supposed to do now?

The Night Shift Guy

It’s 3am, one of my favorite times to be alive. I’m always torn by whether being asleep or being awake is the better state of existence: If I sleep, I might miss something; if I stay awake, I might fall asleep the next day driving to the university or while giving a lecture. I choose to be awake now, but I know I’ll regret it somewhere around 11am tomorrow.

At 2am, I ran out of cigarettes and Mellow Mood decaf iced tea. It was not my plan tonight to go to the gas station, mostly because I’ve done it virtually every other night for the past week, and night shift guy would, naturally, be working the night shift.

At some point during the past several months, my mumbled requests for a pack of smokes have become full on conversations with the night shift guy, sometimes carrying on for 10 or 15 minutes outside the store. He must already think I’m insane for being up all night almost every night. And then there’s the babbling. Oh god, the babbling. And the awkward faces I make throughout the course of conversations. And my very real inability to look strangers in the eye when I talk to them.

At 2:30am, however, I found myself at the gas station, as usual. Sure, I could have gone to another gas station equidistant to my home, but the closest one chargers more for cigarettes and gets robbed on a regular basis. Having been robbed in the past, I have no desire to have my sense of peace and security taken from me again, and so I go to Night Shift Guy’s gas station 95% of the time.

As I pulled into the lot tonight, two other cars pulled in behind me, and I felt my body stiffen, wondering if I was about to be robbed. Average looking girls in their mid-20s emerged from the driver’s seat of each vehicle, however, and the sense of panic faded. (And I’m going to apologize here for sounding sexist, as if women are not capable of being scary as hell, but, statistically, a gas station is much more likely to be robbed by a man than a woman – this old article states that robbery is the most gender delineated of crimes, with less than 10% of robberies being committed by women. It’s an outdated article, but supports my claim nicely, and is really worth reading.) By the time I had chosen my Mellow Mood Relaxation Drink du jour, I was the only customer left, and the chit chat between Night Shift Guy and I began. Tonight I learned that he is older than me, which I was not expecting.

And then, while we talked some more outside the store about the show Deadliest Catch and gym memberships (don’t ask me how the random topics we broach come about, because they’re always very random), Night Shift Guy seemed legitimately taken aback when I mentioned an ex boyfriend in the context of one topic or the other.

At first, I assumed it was because I had said boyfriend, but then, perhaps seeing the look of not-quite-embarrassment on my face (I don’t think much about outing myself to strangers, but I had a moment of “oh crap, he’s gonna think I’ve been coming in here to hit on him”), he asked, with the slightest emphasis on ex, “Your ex boyfriend?” I nodded, sorry I had said it, but he smiled, and laughed a little before saying, “Yeah, my ex boyfriend blah blah blah…” He was saying something about the gym his ex had joined.

I don’t really know exactly what he said after “my ex boyfriend,” because my mind was reeling again, overthinking the way my mind is wont to do: oh fuck, are we now establishing that we’re both single and like guys since we’ve gotten our respective ages sorted out? fuck, fuck, fuck.

Because, while I’ve often been curious about him, at the end of the day, I’m not trying to hit on him. He’s a nice, cute guy – don’t mistake me – but I’m really not interested in dating him, primarily because if (when) things went sour, I’d be left a) with no reliable source of Mellow Mood iced tea in the middle of the night and b) paying way too much for cigarettes at a gas station that gets robbed far too frequently. Also, he’s, uh, not a city dweller (firsthand knowledge from a previous conversation). I have a natural romantic aversion toward people born and raised outside of the city limits that actively avoid the city as if traversing a bridge or tunnel was a cardinal sin. It’s not a fair generalization, but that type tends to be small-minded, poorly educated, and socially and politically unconscious. I know, I’m a prejudiced dick when it comes to suburban life, but in this town, the generalization is all too true:  be wary of those ‘burbers who avoid the city. I grew up around that type of attitude, had an entirely shitty time of it in high school, and consequently, I work to steer clear of people who give any inkling of that mindset.

So there I stood, silently scolding myself for about 20 things simultaneously like my aforementioned suburban prejudice, like my assumption that he’s fishing for information and being suspiciously  open about having an ex boyfriend of his own, like my secret bet with myself that the next time Night Shift Guy and I have a conversation he’s going to ask me out. Meanwhile, he was still talking about his ex and the gym to which he belonged. I consider myself lucky that another car pulled up, and another woman squeezed between us in the doorway, giving me leave to say goodnight and disappear.

With a smile, he said, “Hey, you have a safe night, ok?”
I smiled back, trying not to make it seem forced. “Yeah, you do the same.”
And that was it. I gave him a small wave, and we went our separate ways.

I’m going to hope that I’m wrong about this, and that I have entirely misread Night Shift Guy. I can’t imagine I’m his type, anyway. He could be married. I’m still not quite used to having to check for rings, although it does occasionally dawn on me to do so. But surely all this comes from having just reread a favorite old book where one of the main characters has a chance lurid encounter with a beautiful night shift clerk in the back room of a convenience store. Yeah, that must be it.

rationally irrational love.

I’m trying like hell to maintain some semblance of normalcy in my life. I’m trying to get regular exercise, work on home improvements, ignore the incessant barrage of messages from TLTL, and not overthink time spent making out with FastCar on my couch.

Fitness is hard because my entire body aches constantly. I’m reminded of when the GymRat told me I needed to suck it up and push through it; I hate to say it -he was, after all, a massively pompous asshole, but he might have been right. I spent a long time, more than three years, letting the emotional and physical pain suck me down further and further. I think I was waiting for someone to save me, and in a way, my split with FastCar is what has ultimately made the difference. Unfortunately, I can’t save him. I have to carry on without him, though there are glimmers of hope.

Yesterday revealed one of those glimmers: we watched a movie at my place curled up together. The movie was dumb, but we watched it anyway. FastCar put on some music after, and kissed me. And then kissed me more. But we’re still not back together. And he’s still not okay. I’m… sort of okay. As long as I sleep and eat, I think I’ll be alright. Slowly, FastCar and I push through the bullshit surrounding us: him searching for a new job and whatever else is bothering him that he won’t talk about. For my part, I try to be less of a shitty person. It isn’t easy. I drink my friends’ wine, smoke their pot… and offer very little in return by way of friendship.

I am focused on being less insecure. I haven’t quite achieved badass level status yet, but I’ll get there. For now, I work to laugh more and complain less. I work to hold my head high more, slump my shoulders less. I mean, life isn’t bad, you know? I have another commissioned art piece in the works, my house isn’t a complete disaster, and I don’t think about MTIA every waking moment of the day. Mostly I think about FastCar, and how I’m trying to become my own person for his benefit, which is really rather contradictory. Eventually I’ll succeed, and I expect that at that point, I’ll no longer miss being in a relationship with FastCar. That will be, conveniently, when he decides he wants me back, because that’s how it goes. I want to believe we aren’t that doomed.

For now, however, online dating continues to be a fiasco because I am, in all honesty, still absolutely in love with FastCar.

The thing is, I still can’t figure out why. Is being smart and funny and kind and cute as hell enough of a reason to love someone? Really good in bed helps, too, I admit. Good god, I miss the sex… But.. are all those reasons enough? We don’t talk about politics or books (he doesn’t read). I’m not sure what we really even do talk about. Hobbies, I guess. It’s not like there are awkward silences. There has been so much negativity on both our parts in the past year, however, that I’m not always sure I want to say anything at all. My goal is to remind him that when we’re together, we can be happy… just because. And really, can’t love be that simple? Does it have to have a clear rationale?

My unease over this question comes and goes. I’ve decided, though, that yes, it is enough. Love can be simple. I don’t have to love the same things FastCar does in order to love that he does them and love to hear about them. I assure you, I won’t be writing computer code of any kind any time soon, but I’d listen to him talk about it for hours. It isn’t rational. It’s love.

 

 

Manic, sleepless twig goes to dinner

Addendum to title:
Manic, sleepless twig is unable to type a post coherently about a really significant evening.

Okay, I feel like I must be making really poor life choices, as a friend of mine always talks about in Facebook posts from work (in retail).

Over the past three days, I’ve managed to get – and this is being generous – four hours of sleep. It’s probably more like two, and not consistently. On top of that, I keep forgetting to eat, and when I do eat, it’s not much.  I can afford, when it comes to my weight, to not eat for several weeks, but I realize that with regard to my health, I have to be eating more than I have been, and also eating healthy. When 600 of 1500 calories in 2 days comes from coffee, there’s a problem. I’ve compounded that problem by working out each day, burning more calories in a day than I have consumed. And while yes, I really needed to decrease my caloric intake from the unmentionably high number it was, this decrease is far too much to be healthy. I’m not trying to do that. I’m not trying to starve myself. I’m not trying to deny myself sleep. Last weekend, I took multiple sleeping pills… and was up until 4am.

I really need sleep. At this point, I might be considered to be clinically insane due to lack of sleep. I’m not sure how one determines that, but actually, if it’s with a test, I could probably still pass.

Isn’t that what drunks says when they think they should still be driving, though?

Oh my god, I feel like I’m losing my mind in slow motion. I can’t even write this insanity in any order. I just keep jumping around from section to section as I type. Like there are threads of coherence: Syntactically and rhetorically, yeah, I can type. But I can’t focus. I know this sounds insane. Do I hope it sounds insane?

I had hoped that exercise would help me tone things down on a dinner date tonight, but oh god, hell no.

I’m really very sorry. That’s an apology for so many things to so many people that I will not otherwise apologize for or to.

The previous sentence would look and sound awful if rewritten to avoid ending the sentence with a preposition. For fun, I don’t think you should be allowed to end a sentence with the word “preposition.”

Shit Fuck Hell. I’m so wired that I can’t even write this. Please, please, god, let me sleep soon. I really need to be okay, and I’m starting to think that I am not at all okay. I’m so freaking tired.

I really want to be able to communicate how dinner went and why it matters, and I just… can’t. But it mattered. And I was awful, and I’m sad about that. Please, please, god, let me sleep.

I think I’ve been spending too much time in my head (that is to say, editing) with the characters of SIATSIA and bloodflowers.

Fucking empaths. I can’t even work on my own fiction now without getting sucked in.

I really need to calm down.

And I can’t talk to FastCar right now because rational twig knows I will flip the fuck out on him for no entirely irrational reasons, and if there’s ANY hope of us getting back together at some point, I need to not flip out on him.

I’m really sorry.

Tonight mattered to me more than it should have.

I really think I might be insane. At least right now. Maybe not always. Not dangerous. Just insane.

WWRTD?

Rational twig would tell me to go to sleep. Quit fucking around and sleep. Skip the coffee tomorrow, do some yoga, skip workout boosters and cardio, eat something nutritionally and calorically balanced. But right now, fucking SLEEP. Maybe stay away from editing for a few days. Work on the artwork due for a charity auction instead, and make it a very zen piece. Include tans and mauves because… they’re like sunset in the desert, and that’s peaceful.

I remember that there is no extra ‘s’ in desert because everything starves there. There is no dessert in the desert.

Go to sleep, Twig, you’re insomnia drunk.(Woah! I capitalized my name!)

I’m really fucking sorry, and I embarrass myself. I’m never going on a date again. I should never go out in public with anyone again, actually. I hope I feel better once I sleep. I will. I know I will. So I’m going to try to listen to rational Twig because while the mania has been a lot of fun, I know I’m in for one hell of a crash, and it’s already starting to look really ugly. Sort of like my fucking obnoxious personality. Oh my god. I was so stupid at dinner. No one will ever love you again, Twig. You’re a complete idiot.

 

On Being Put Together All Wrong

It’s been what, 10 days?

It’s been a strange 10 days.

I went out with FastCar and smacked him in the ass with a plastic fish. Then I got confused when we said goodbye. I hugged him in his car, and when I leaned in to do so, he kissed me on the cheek. When we pulled away from the hug, I thought he was going to kiss me For Real, so I planted one on his lips. He pecked back. It was incredibly awkward. Then he kissed my forehead. And then, because I thought I had misread things, I scrambled away in a hurry.

Then I went on that date later that night (because I’m being weird and going on multiple dates in a single day) with the couple. There was Nutella involved. I need not say more.

I’ve talked to a few other people on the dating site, some more interesting than others, but honestly, no one has utterly fascinated me. I had dinner plans that got canceled, but have potentially been rescheduled, so we’ll see how that goes. Honestly, I’m not really interested.

And I’m still trying to work through things with FastCar. I’ve flipped out on him twice in the past week since the awkward goodbye… mostly as a result of the awkward goodbye. But, he tells me, that he thinks things are going well, that he needs to figure things out, but I still don’t know what exactly that means. I still need to figure ME out, and why I’m fighting so hard for FastCar in the first place.

Where the hell has badass Twig gone? At some point, I turned 30. And then 30 again. And again. And again. And again. And each time, I lost a little more of myself instead of building on what I had already become in my 20s when I finally shed my shy exterior and learned to tell shitty people to Kindly Get Fucked.

I quit reading. I quit listening to music. I quit working out. I quit writing poetry and fiction. I quit performing. I quit writing music. I quit painting. I quit returning phone calls, emails, text messages. I became consumed by loss and by physical pain. At some point earlier this year, I was taking 15 (prescribed) pills a day. I have spent over a month of the past nine in doctors’ offices, not including therapy sessions.

What have you done to yourself, Twig? What have you let yourself become? Because this THING you’ve become that doesn’t go out, doesn’t throw his hands in the air and dance like a freak at a show isn’t the Twig you worked your ass off in your twenties in NYC to become.

This all occurred to me today during a conversation about a photo shoot I did several years back when I was filming for a tv show aiming for syndication. Yeah. (Maybe the tv show is when it started, when I saw picture after picture of myself, footage of myself looking like a jackass, but it’s been such a slippery slope, it’s hard to tell.) In the shoot, I’m talking to the stranger next to me, and he’s a good looking guy, a friend of the show’s producer, and it turned out he was in some famous band I didn’t know. It sort of made my day to not have a clue who the hell he was, and he seemed pretty pleased not to be shown any kind of deference for being whoever the hell he was.

Now I can barely talk to my own family.

And I certainly don’t tell the shitty people to Kindly Get Fucked.

What have I become so afraid of in myself? Even on this stupid dating site where I’ve got nothing to lose, I’m not myself. At a coffee shop earlier today, a tattoo artist was commenting on my sleeve, saying incredibly nice things; it’s another artist’s rendition of a painting of mine (because REAL Twig is shallow enough to have my own work tattooed on me), and all I could manage to say were horribly self-deprecating things. This absolutely beautiful artist is complimenting MY work, and I became a fucking self-loathing idiot. And I’m doing it now, too.

It has to stop.

I am a badass.
I am not afraid of the world.
I am not afraid to release new music.
I am not afraid of getting back on stage.
I am not afraid of creating and making a goddamn profit from new work.

I am so incredibly lucky, dare I say incredibly effing BLESSED, to have the talent I do, the intelligence I do, the potential I do, and the support of an alarmingly large number of family and friends despite my ongoing efforts to run them off.

Here in my car… everything bleeds. Thank you, Gary Numan.

 

 

seriously, this night…

Could only get a bit more peculiar if one of my dogs stopped snoring, looked up at me, and said, “Me Tie Doughty Walker.”

Those of you who read the first Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz know what the hell I’m talking about.

But right now, it’s that kind of night.

And yeah, I’m going to be the first person to admit that some of those stories still scare the bejeezus out of me.

Especially the pictures.

....especially the pictures...

….especially the pictures…

 

Jesus Christ. Now I have to sleep with the lights on.

This wasn’t even the point of my story.

It was supposed to be about how TLTL is back to being drunk texting me he loves me.

I’m ignoring the texts, naturally, but there is now no way in hell i’m going to let him into my house to help do some work for me. Hell no.

And FastCar said earlier, “I should have come over to your place.” You think?? Let me play you some Jeff Buckley “Lover You Should Have Come Over” for you real quick like, you jackass.

So, yeah, there are two things likely never combined: Alvin Schwartz and Jeff Buckley.

Because this is apparently what happens when I’ve had ONE glass of wine. ONE.

Incidentally, “Lover” and “Lilac Wine” were two of my favorite songs a long time ago, and it’s probably been a decade since I’ve actually listened to the former, but MY GOD, FastCar, I wish you could just listen to this and wake the hell up. Or, frankly, any one of my jackass exes who screwed up. Or I ought to listen to it more. I don’t know.

I can’t focus because I’m still freaked the fuck out by the artwork of Stephen Gammell. Damn you, good sir. Slenderman be damned, your work is scary as shit.

I’m still afraid Harold the scarecrow is going to skin me alive.

And yet that’s somehow still preferable to responding to any of TLTL’s drunk texts.

If he says he loves me one more time, I’m going to scream.

And I still haven’t finished my damned glass of wine.

 

 

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