I won’t murder you in your sleep, but if I’m drunk and you’re awake, and sharp objects still exist, then watch out.
No, I promise, I’m ok. But just fyi, if I ever undergo anything that alters my mental stability, like missing an hour of sleep, you will pay.
Or if I ever suffer any emotional turmoil, like my grandma died a long time ago or they got my name wrong at Starbucks then you better watch the fuck out.
If en-ee-theeng ever happens that makes me feel a little unsteady, like Scandal is a rerun, then be prepared for a long painful talk, because I hate myself. You’re gonna pay, because I hate myself.
Once, when I was a kid who had just learned how to speak, I came across a picture of my older brother as a baby. I thought it was me. He looked exactly the way I did in the pictures I’d seen of myself as a baby – pudgy, hairless, alive.
When my mom corrected me, I was heartbroken. If he started out just like me, that meant I was gonna end up just like him. I didn’t wanna be a boy. I was barely getting used to being a girl, and I loved it – the promise of endless lip colors, voluntarily wearing bottoms that didn’t connect at the crotch and constantly fearing the exposure of my crotch, bows. Why would God be so cruel as to let me like all of these girly things and then take them away from me? “Am I gonna be a boy when I grow up?”
“No.” she replied, and I stopped crying. It was the happiest moment of my life thus far. Today, it remains top ten. At barely speaking age, I already identified with femininity so much that I was not going to let inevitable gender-mutation take it away.
It was wrong that I assumed I would be prohibited from embracing dresses, makeup and bows in my future life as a boy. But it was the super early nineties. I didn’t know about Madonna fans and that black guy from the movie Mannequin yet.
Today, I hope that if my future children were ever in fear of involuntarily becoming the opposite sex, it would be because they know that they could not exist without their current sexual organs, and not because they have a preference on whether or not they would like their outfit bottoms to connect at the crotch.
Blogs about stories from childhood don’t work on followers that knew you as a child and also don’t understand blogs.
I wrote a story about having my heartbroken as a child. It wasn’t about the boy in the story, it was about me being a child. It was about going through dumb shit that human beings go through. It was so much not about him that I didn’t even use a name. It hadn’t occurred to me that this boy even still existed outside of the vacuum that was that blog, until an estranged childhood friend remembered this incident and informed the boy in the story who is now a creepy man. He friend requested me, and I died of embarrassment and disgust for humanity.
I give up on Facebook.
A festival cameo makes you feel good about yourself. It tells you, you had 22 shows to choose from, and you made a good decision. The cameo-less performance is like going to a restaurant with really good food, but all the food is pee’d into your mouth. You will probably mention how much you liked the food, but you’re not going to volunteer a lot of detail or evidence. In fact, if they don’t ask, you’ll probably never mention it.
If jelly was performing on a stage and peanut butter showed up without intro, you’d freak the fuck out. But a duo doesn’t even have to be as powerful as pb&j. It can be weaker like, pb and banana or pb and wheat bread. Wheat bread isn’t even that popular. I mean, everyone knows who he is, but nobody prefers him. And if they do, it’s because they know he’s good for them. Like liking soccer or drinking a fine wine, you do it, because it’s classy, not because it tastes good. If Pinot Grigio appears as somebody’s cameo, then you drink that shit up. And if somebody’s cameo is Slash, you drink, because Slash is the soccer of music that you don’t listen to.
Nobody at a concert wants to be an asshole. You wanna be cool, and you wanna be reassured that you’re cool. Like, by knowing things. Do you know Gwen Stefani? Great, because she’s here. And if you like her, then consider yourself amazing.
What if your life could have cameos? Like, you’re going to eat some Vietnamese food and your grandma just walks out of the back kitchen and sits down and starts eating food with you. And everyone around is like, “Holy shit, is that Grandma? That’s fucking Grandma!!!!!” And they all start recording you guys with their cell phones. She eats an egg roll, tells everyone how great you are, and then retreats into the kitchen amidst wild cheers. On their car rides home, everyone is like, “I can’t believe Grandma showed up.”
I rolled it to a corner of the living room and crawled after it, my eyes shifting side to side, making sure the cousins weren’t on to me. When I felt like nobody was watching, with one seamless pass of my hand, I pocketed it. Then, like the bat mobile never existed, I went on playing with all the other toys on the floor.
When it was time to go, I stood at the door with my hand in my pocket, spinning a tire with my thumb, on the verge of mental break down. If I took the car out then, they would either believe that I had forgotten about it or peg me for a thief. I didn’t want to be excommunicated from the house with the smooth floors and gun metal cars, but I also didn’t want to not have my own shiny black bat mobile.
When I got home, I buried the car in my sock drawer, waiting for the heat to die down. A few weeks passed before I went back to my cousins’ house, and in that time, I cherished the bat car in thrilling secrecy. Every couple of days, I’d remember it was there, pick it up for a few minutes, roll it over my palm, and then shove it to the bottom of the drawer in panic and shame. If having that car was right, why’d it feel so wrong?
One day when cleaning with my mom, the bat mobile rolled out of my drawer to the center of the room. I froze, defeated, waiting to be reprimanded, and to have my stolen goods seized. When she continued folding clothes and talking to me, I was devastated. She was so disappointed that she didn’t even acknowledge it or treat me differently. I couldn’t handle it. I tucked the car into my shorts the second I knew I was going to visit my cousins, and dropped it on their hardwood floor in a pile of Legos. I didn’t even bother to make sure nobody was watching. It didn’t matter anymore.
I went home to a pink plastic jeep and Ken. He needed a shave.
To the girl in my class who said, “I don’t watch TV.”
Some days your sky is full of rain clouds bloated with photos of present-day Macaulay Culkin, showering you with fresh reminders of the savage wrath of time.
Sometimes your shoulders need a rest from bearing the weight of all your stupid anxieties like “what if someone throws a cigarette butt out their window on the freeway and it touches some stray gasoline on my car and it burst into flames?” Hang that shit up in the closet next to, “What did he mean, when he said ‘you know what I mean’?” and let your shoulders breathe. Let them sink deep into the sofa while you watch a cast of characters who match or exceed your dysfunction.
In a crisis, a well written show serves two vital purposes: helping you forget that shit is fucked up or reminding you that other people feel what you’re feeling. In the course of a good series, you can grow and learn. You’ll be thankful that you don’t have cancer, and learn that while it seems glamorous at first, cooking meth is ultimately unforgivable. A show can also help you make better decisions, like deciding to befriend an archer in case the dead become undead, Or deciding that women are just as powerful as men, because Leslie Knope is a goddess. So, live a fruitful life, and we know: literature is good, but don’t be an I don’t watch TV asshole. Because, dude, respectable shows are providing noble services. And on a day when you’re wallowing in the sobering reality that Macaulay Culkin isn’t Kevin McCallister anymore, you might need some servicing.
I tried out after a week’s worth of intense jump, kick and split training. Splits, by the way, are the least valuable and most celebrated special skill in the history of physical activity. Who in history did splits have to blow to get such prestige? I can distinctly remember being a child and watching an older cheerleader cousin, tell a group of family, “hey watch this,” and then proceed to fall into a split. While everyone reveled in the magnificent perpendicularity of her legs to her torso, I gleaned a timeless wisdom, “be always splitting.” And several years later, I made the squad.
After Bring It On, I wanted to be a black cheerleader so bad. I wanted to swim in a room full of awards, and wipe my ass with trophies. I was 13, I didn’t have a lot of convictions. I had, “Is this lip liner dark enough?” and “how do I be cool?” The latter being my motivation for Cheering. It turned out, however, that being on the squad is not how one be’s cool. It’s how one be’s entangled in insecurity and misguided anxiety.
When you cheer for a school where a decent portion of the male population is an early 2000s descendant of the Cholo, you quickly learn that the cheerleading uniform is an invitation to objectification. Not the sweet objectification where a boy thinks you’re cute, so he says hi and then you both cower in an appropriate amount middle school fear. It’s the gross kind where cute doesn’t matter, and you start to wonder what roofies are because you worry that they might be a threat. The first time that I walked through a crowded hallway and felt a transient hand brush over my ass and tug at the hem of my skirt, I was forgiving. Maybe I imagined that. The second time, I was disgusted, but hopeful. Maybe it won’t happen again. Then it happened again, immediately. I was so pissed. The uniform was a joke, and female empowerment was the punch line.
I decided I would rather choose the terms of my own objectification. You know, like own that shit. Except, I only decided on that 12 years after realizing that I was bested by my own angst and Cholos.