station if there’s one already there.
hold of something new.
but it can be sagely advised around anything. Today, though, it does mean
relationships with, after those who I’ve fallen out of touch with for
self-preservation. This is a category entitled: Men I intrigue with but don’t
want a relationship with. (“with whom I
don’t want a relationship,” yeah, I know.)
6 or 7 names. Now, there are only two left outstanding. The rest have fallen by
the wayside as I’ve changed the electrically charged way I interact with them or have
expressly stated I want to change the nature of our lovely, but ambiguous
flirt. It’s exciting to know that with a few taps on my phone, I can spark the
interest of someone. It’s a boost to the ego — and it’s totally unfair to us both. It’s a lie, really.
just not truthful for me, when I know that these are men who I don’t want to
date or pursue a relationship with. For whatever reason.
friends, to either of us, but there’s something nice about that extra “like” on
your status update or the comment posted somewhere down your page, where you
know they’ve had to dig to find it. Yes, most of these “intrigue”
relationships (meaning, flirtatiously undertoned interactions) are acted out virtually,
and that enhances their ease, their prevalence and the reluctance to “break
them off,” since, who are we really hurting? Everyone “pokes” each other,
from what I really want, and using someone else as a tool to bolster my
self-esteem. Neither of which get me to the healthful relationship (with myself
or with someone else) that I’d like.
unavailable, and strangely(?), the last two remaining are in this subset.
not as innocent as a few extra “likes;” these two are possibilities in
relationship-land, except that they’re not. At all.
your flirtation with them, what you’ve done with them,
because these are not Rated G acquaintanceships you have had.
slight tensing of your thighs.
these flirtations/more than flirtations, but I know this bus is not going to
get me where I want to go. These are not available people. And despite the
purring coo my body radiates when I consider them, my brain and heart can’t
really take it.
nice to get the milk for free, but I’m ready to invest in a cow.
with men and relationships, and I asked her honestly if there was the same kind
of Icarus-style pull in her marriage. If there was that same forbidden, lustful
quickening. If there was that, We’re going to blot out the sun with the heat of
That doesn’t mean it’s not worth being sober; it just means, No, there are some
experiences that won’t be replicated in a healthy relationship.
understand her analogy.
which course I’d rather take. I know where this current “intriguey” bus leads –
right back here, again.
this bus drive on without me, and trust that if I do, there will be a different
one coming. (pun intended.)
fingers — Here.
head, breathe and
press them in.
the muscles shift around you,
explore the hidden
keep my eyes open
were using to dye bright streaks of their hair in the 90s. There was one store in the
mall that sold it (Nature Works? – The Nature Company! that’s it.),
and if you said you were going there, you meant that you were going to dye your
hair a brilliant shade of rebellious.
they come until the end of high school. There was too much order to maintain,
and too many rules to follow, for me to diverge any bit off the path I was
expected to walk.
pendulum swung so desperately and frenetically in the direction of “off the path,” that it
swung right around and hit me in the now-pierced face, like a rogue tetherball.
my authentic way, at least.
had killed herself when I was young, as her behavior threatened she’d do, that
I would have probably gone down with that ship. I’d spent so much time and
energy attending to the needs and expectations of someone else, there wasn’t
room to explore or attend to my own.
was my own, that I didn’t have to make
choices anymore based on whether I thought my dad would approve, or disapprove
and retaliate anymore. That this life was my own was such a novel concept, I’d
rejected it for years. That I could choose now to dye my hair, pierce my face,
be alone, reject the world, participate in it, smoke, not smoke, date, not date – is still a
concept I’m adjusting to, but the marination of this understanding and
awakening has been long underway.
just as rogue! That I can choose the kind of toilet paper I want; toothpaste I
like; friends I call. That I can choose how I want to dress in the world; what hobbies to pursue; … job to have … partner to love.
game. Am I happy in my path? Note, Molly: this is your path. There is no mother to care for, no father to
obey. What is it you want in
life? And do you feel free and brave enough to pursue those desires?
you feel free and brave enough to wear clothing without stains? Do you feel
free and brave enough to accept that you want a partner whose clothes are also
good life? A job you respect? A partner
and self-worthy enough to not only admit these “taboo” desires, but also to
express them to the world, through action?
want in on the goods, on the joy, on the self-respect, on the intellectual
stimulation, on the bed-rocking sex, on the critical, yet specious-seeming ease?
that the tetherball has hung limp and impotent, and it’s time to begin playing
again. I no longer am… tethered to ideas of being and living that aren’t my
own. The cord is cut, the apron strings untied. The life, really, is my own.
green or copper, as I wish I’d been able to do a dozen years ago, it means I now know that I could. And that I would be awesome besides.
Goodbye. It includes the refrain, “For tonight let’s be lovers, and tomorrow go
back to being friends.”
isn’t a sustainable meal, is it? It’s never actually intended to be, and so you’ve got to enjoy it while it is there, savor, relish, cherish it, and then you let it
go. Then you move on.
above sentiments where shared by us both. Acknowledging the loveliness, the heights, the
calm, the titillation. And yet, that it was what it was. That it was a moment
in time that we’d both signed up for, participated in, and get to let go, get
to allow its sanctity, without marring it with all those Whatifs that spun in (both) our heads.
is a challenge and a lesson of adulthood. To be disillusioned, to know that
moving isn’t right for either of us, that fantasy can overtake reality and
crumble it. To have had the hard-won experience of knowing that selfishness and
possessiveness can suffocate a beautiful thing, is perhaps not “romance” as we
think of it. But it is, in itself, a mercy.
we can allow it the simplicity and integrity of its joy.
jar, locking it deep inside for fear that the moment would get marred by time
and eventuality. But the problem was that I forgot what that moment smelled like anyway; in my possessiveness and fear of losing it, I forgot what
made that moment so precious to begin with.
autonomy and “string”lessness.
about my conflictedness, and my sadness in letting the moment go. In knowing,
surely and deeply, that I would have to. This knowledge all the more
painful since it was such a thing of beauty, since it was, for me, a lesson in
intimacy, vulnerability, and ease that I haven’t felt with anyone in my past.
for the first time, and having to realize that ice cream is available
elsewhere, all over the place, in fact. That I don’t have to go to this one
place to experience it. That I’d be missing out if I thought this was the only
wellspring of deliciousness.
ice cream is in fact available to me.
(Ice cream! Cupcakes! Sheesh, can you tell I don’t really eat this stuff
and I get to decide to believe—DECIDE TO BELIEVE—that I can have similar dishes elsewhere. Somewhere a little less
we want in the world. That we all are worthy of finding it, searching for, letting
the non-fits go, and working toward creating in ourselves a person deserving of the highest order this life offers.
signed that says that we’ll get that kind of love? Where is the agreement that we
sign as humans that says, Work and open and heal and (for)give, and you shall receive?
Really, honestly, who the fuck says that any of us get any of that?
around my apartment about abundance and light and love and serenity and
security and radiance. I’m the one who’d easily and believingly tell a friend that
things work out. I’m the asshole who believes all this muck.
to be the petulant asshole who says, “Yeah, Says You.” I needed to allow my
disillusionment of that kind, too. I needed to allow that it sucks and hurts,
and is disappointing, and hard fucking work, and that we (I) do this with
absolutely no promises whatsoever of any kind of “reward,” or change.
truly, somewhere (a little out of reach at the moment), I believe that we all
do deserve the precious and gorgeous things in life. I believe that none of us are meant to toil and suffer and be beaten by
life. I truly, somewhere, have a faith that is unalterable. A
place inside me that has never known fear or scarcity or sorrow.
simply needed my mom, former Miss Cynic of the Universe, to tell me, Molly, It’s
going to be alright. There is ice cream
elsewhere. There is love, abundant and resplendent. Not that it isn’t without
its own challenges and lessons and compromises, but there is love, and I am
worthy of it. That I “deserve” it.
and equanimity and allowing what is… in these moments, in this one, I simply needed
the maternal “all knowing” assurance of that which I actually believe.
warm his body felt as I shifted in the night. I want to tell you how natural and
serene it felt to twine my fingers into his and lean my body against him as we
waited for the stoplight to change. I want to tell you it was a good thing his
roommates weren’t home most of the time we were, and about quietly resting my
foot on top of his knee while he told me a story over the sunlit kitchen table.
And this one is still being written, still has a few more “Choose Your Own
Adventure” plot twists available, and the ending of it could be sooner or
farther than we know.
was finally unpacking my suitcase in Oakland that the tears that had surged and
abated in airports across America finally fell. Or the relief I felt stepping
into the open air of the BART platform and looking around at the hodge-podge of
people I’ve grown so familiar with. I’ll try not to tell you about the dull and
persistent ache of withdrawal.
grim reality, and also to familiarity. The return to my own coffee pot and car
and a toothbrush that doesn’t fold in half. There’s a relief and a longing.
Like finishing a delicious meal and finally placing down your fork, overfull,
yet wishing you could savor it all again.
roads, and the spray of the Atlantic, blue today, over the rocks. You remember
playing with his pinkie finger while you waited for your pregnant waitress, looking, still self-consciously, out the window by your table, since it
was only day 2 and you felt new and strange and uncertain.
consciousness, since it will certainly fade, the exact tightness of
his arms around you while you lay naked against him; the exact way his chest hair curled while you fiddled with it musingly; the exact timbre of his echoing laughter under the short
delicately and protectively and surely by him, and that for once, I wasn’t
frightened of it. Well, friends, it was true. And though we’ve taken fantasy
and pulled it into the realm of reality, with all its attendant Yeses and Finallys
and Contentedness, … we also both took the courageous move to explore the exact
shape of reality’s rough edges and Almosts and Not Quites.
with, and should it be another person completely: I am buoyed to know that I
can rest in the arms of a man, with no thought of escape.
a nickname: Ballsy Mollsy.
and ask inappropriate questions. Or, maybe I was with a group of friends, and
wanted to steer the conversation in a more exciting direction, and would pose a candid question to a group that would earn laughs, but few answers. Maybe I would just stumble out to the next bar in search of new conversation without
telling anyone, but that was more stupid than ballsy, fyi.
play my friend was performing in, and I ended up sitting next to the 25 y.o.’s
mother. “How did it even come up?,” he answered via text. When I told him, he
replied, “That’s right, I forgot you talk to strangers.” (Indeed, how we met.)
anyone new if we don’t talk to them? Like the other day, waiting for my
burrito, I ended up waiting on the bench next to this guy I see
around my neighborhood a lot, who I’ve seen working at the café on the corner. We
struck up a conversation, turns out he’s a nice guy, we had a pleasant chat about movies,
and he went off with his burritos for himself and his girlfriend.
than often not about that. I just like to find out about people, not walk around like
the Ants that they talk about in A Waking Life who, unseeing, run into one another and then walk around and continue
on their way, antennae down. I mean, that’s what New York is for. 😉
notoriously gregarious. To the point, growing up where it was embarrassing, and
not a little evidence of her manic tendencies. But, still. We’d be in a store,
she’d exchange more than a cursory Thank You with the cashier or salesperson. We’d be on a
bus, and she’d ask the woman next to her about the museum she’d just
visited, based on that metal entry pin tacked to her lapel.
whomever. There was a base note to her conversation that wasn’t just cordial or conversational. Pre-divorce, this was a little unnerving.
held as an exemplar of growth and self-aware change.
aisle next to a couple. She could overhear them debating which of the cream
cheeses they should get. If the tofu spread really tasted like cream cheese, if
the chive was better than the dill?
asking for her help, they didn’t need her help, and she picked up the chive tofu cream cheese she loves, and
went on her way.
and have business to mind” is a very important boundary to learn. I was amused
at how proud she was of herself, too, like she knew that she was learning
something, that she was changing something.
able to grow where the one with my dad has faltered: she really is trying to
change. And it shows.
and sometimes means taking contrary actions.
too. How she interacted in the world helped to inform how I do. Now, sure, I’m
not Holly Go Lightly everywhere I go. Sometimes I wish I had a burka. But
sometimes, the purchase of a burrito is transformed by the simple act of
connecting with another human being.
week from a friend. In it, she thanks me for what I write here and on my
Facebook; that reading “me” helps to buttress her flagging spirits.
me that my interactions with the world are making a difference; that I’m not
telegraphing into deep space for purely selfish and masturbatory reasons. I
never really know if how I’m choosing to express myself here is “too much” or “too honest,” and
I have to trust that those of you who choose to click on the link to read me
do so because you find something here, even if it be self-congratulations for
not being as bipolar 😉
affects people for the better is one of the greatest gifts of having big balls.