Schmidt: the lovable douche-bag that gets me through hell.

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My introduction to Schmidt was at a time when I was prone to weeping, nay, wailing on park benches at one o’clock in the morning(my friends know this is intended to be humorous,not pitiful.) Since then, I can draw a line straighter than the average 1950s pretentious white patriarch, between a terrible night and a Schmidt-induced chortle (maybe even guffaw.)

I spent most of my days seated on a bed that seemed to suck my ability to get out of it, on one side of a tiny college room that I shared with roommates I didn’t like and a mind I hated. The only reason I spent so much time in that room was because my friend was almost always there and she was almost always watching a comedy series. It was in that state of things generally sucking that I caught a scene in New Girl, a show that would gradually become my go to distraction/band-aid on the days life cut a little deeper than my dysfunctional mind could rationalize.

In this scene, Schmidt, Nick and Winston are equal parts watching Jess cook and staring at her cleavage.

Schmidt: Well, it took a year, she’s finally cooking and cleaning. I knew this would pay off eventually.

Jess: Does everybody like egg pie?

Schmidt: Jess, I believe the word that you’re looking for is free tata.

Jess: Oh Schmidt, stop staring at my frittatas. *laughs*

(Did you guys catch the wordplay? And the sexism, but mostly the wordplay?)

Winston: You gotta do something Nick, my sister is coming, my mother is coming.

Jess: I love being unemployed. I love it!

Nick: Look, if I lost my job a week ago, I’d be deep in a porn-hole by now. The images, the things I would have seen by now…

Schmidt: Jess are you cooking a frittata in a saucepan? What is this? Prison?

Nick and Winston: Jar, that’s the jar for sure.

Schmidt:  Yeah I know, I already got the money.

At this point, Schmidt goes ahead to put money in the douchebag jar that was designed solely to make putting up with him a little more rewarding.

Schmidt is such an annoyance, Nick once told Jess, “you are not emotionally, mentally and spiritually prepared to throw these d-bags a party” when she suggested that they throw Schmidt a surprise party for his twenty-ninth birthday. In Nick’s defence (and for context), Schmidt once went to a party named “bros before hoes on the moon.” The dress code was yacht-flair. Another one of Schmidt’s friends legally changed his name to Doin’it. Schmidt once threw a party to celebrate his healed penis; an announcement of sorts-he was ready to have sex again. And the theme,-wait for it-danger.

That said, watching Schmidt transition from the fat guy that used way too much lube the first time he had sex so he kept sliding off, to a sex-crazed asshole and finally a devoted husband and stay at home dad, was the highlight of my college life I would say.

In my third year when I was just beginning to accept that a career path in Actuarial Science would make me absolutely miserable, it was Schmidt saying something funny that got me off the floor long enough to study for a CAT. This one time when the thought of having two terrifying cats in one week: one in Probability and Statistics and the other one in Actuarial Math, straight up caused an emotional breakdown, the only thing that got me through that afternoon was Schmidt asking Winston:

“If you think those shoes are brown, what colour do you think you are?” Winston is Black and colour-blind. He had been insisting that his green shoes were brown.

My favourite memory of college was my roommate and I binge-watching New Girl, laughing our faces off. Silly things like Schmidt cramping at an anti-gang initiative, or Nick teaching Schmidt to do laundry right before they sat under a fort singing Foreigner’s I Want To Know What Love Is, in an attempt to teach Nick how to love, even though it was supposed to be Boys’ night. They should have been drinking beer (not sangria), having sex with strange women, but instead, they were holding our fractured lives together. Because on nights like those, we could forget that none of us had forgotten the trauma that the prospect of homelessness was. We could pretend that the men in our lives that we loved and gave everything to only ever disappointed and gas-lit us. We could forget that we were so broke it was laughable. I could pretend that going to class everyday didn’t slam my heart against my rib-cage so hard, there are times I had to physically stop to catch my breath.

It was Schmidt’s bachelor party that provided that little moment of solace that eventually built up into the confidence to think, “hey babe, you’re not asking for too much.” Because if Schmidt can get into a fight he didn’t need to prove that he can take care of his fiancé, then you deserve friendships that don’t exacerbate your mental health.  Because I have spent evenings, trying to get an explanation from someone that ignored me for months. I have listened to half-baked explanations and asked, implored even, “why are you pushing me away?”

I have accepted half-assed apologies, only this time with the resolution that comes with the distant crack of a heart that is done trying. I have gone home and watched New Girl for the umpteenth time, trying to blink away tears, at least until everyone is asleep. I have watched Schmidt break up with Cece because he can’t handle that she is a model. I have listened to Cece ask Schmidt, “why are you pushing me away?”  I have thought to myself, Schmidt as he is right now: emotionally stunted, insecure, broken penis and all… he doesn’t deserve Cece.

Other than the one paramount rule: If you’re gonna get your heart broken, you could at least get good dick out of it (I’d missed doing these kinda puns), I’m just too much person to be loved in bare minimums. Schmidt has amused me enough times to know that.

***

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Feature image courtesy of google images.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Women: but my privilege…

I am essentially a womanist, and if we’re being specific, an afro-feminist. My feminism is about and for African and black women. I still do however identify as a feminist which is a lot broader. This is probably because African and black men keep trying it and even though white women (and white feminism) are problematic, It’s sometimes a lot easier to identify and empathize with a white woman over an African or black man. That being said, this post is about women especially how our feminism still cuddles up to oppressive structures like the patriarchy and capitalism.

I think because all women are oppressed under the patriarchy, sometimes we often assume that our problems are the same and that one brand of feminism will solve all of them. But we know that is both false and dangerous. This one feminism-fits all narrative is always geared for white women and it goes without saying that what a white woman in Manhattan needs a different kind of feminism from a Luo woman in Kendu Bay.

This is why intersectionality is a core tenet of the current wave of feminism which is premised on the personal being political. Intersectionality recognizes that personal identity markers like race, class, weight, sex, gender and sexual orientation are politicized, so much so, that they are simultaneously a source of privilege or a justification for your oppression. Intersectional feminism recognizes that even though all women are oppressed, there are degrees to that oppression depending on whether you’re white, rich, straight or cisgender. Intersectional feminism seeks to dismantle oppressive structures that may not be solely about gender but still contribute to the oppression of women because they are not privileged under other identity markers.

The problem therein lies with women who identify as feminists but fail to recognize that they are privileged under certain identity markers and therefore propagate or are complicit in the oppression of women who do not have the same kind of privilege.

Race

I have described white feminism as problematic. This has been true since the nascence of feminism. A lot of women that are regarded as feminist icons centered their feminism around white women and it was performative so as not to lose proximity to powerful white men. These women recognized that their whiteness gave them an advantage and even while fighting for women’s’ rights, they didn’t dare to rock the boat that is white supremacy. For example, Elizabeth Cady Stanton-a vocal proponent for women’s suffrage-was just as vocal in her belief that white women were superior to black men. Once when it seemed like coloured men would be enfranchised (given the right to vote) before white women, she said:

‘‘no; I would not trust him with all my rights; degraded, oppressed himself, he would be more despotic with the governing power than even our Saxon rulers are.’’ 

Barbara Andolsen in her book, “Daughters of Jefferson, Daughters of Bootblacks”: racism and American Feminism, notes:

“… the white women who led this movement came to trade upon their privilege as the daughters (sisters, wives, and mothers) of powerful white men in order to gain for themselves some share of the political power those men possessed. They did not adequately identify ways in which that political power would not be accessible to poor women, immigrant women, and black women.” Yet despite the blatant racism and class bias of the women’s suffrage movement, black women, discouraged and betrayed, continued to work for their right to vote, both as blacks and as women, through their own suffrage organizations.”

But even right now, white feminists still trade on the white privilege and rarely use it to bargain for the betterment of women of colour. It is common knowledge that white women earn more than black women, but very few white feminists have tried to correct this. White feminists will be very vocal about things like women being shamed for not shaving their pubic hair (this is important as body shaming isn’t cool) but won’t say anything when their friends and family call the police on black people simply for existing.

White feminism cares about select parts of the patriarchy and couldn’t care less about white supremacy.

Class

Rich African women are another weak link in feminism. These women are often assumed to be feminists especially if they are in positions of power. This is partly because women have to work harder to climb corporate and political ladders, we just assume those hurdles automatically make them pro-women. More often than not, these women uphold the patriarchy and even though their brand will exploit and masquerade as pro-women, they rarely do anything to mentor or empower women.

But worse than these women (in my opinion at least), are women who have class privilege because of their proximity to men: that is either through marriage or biology. Women like this, for example, have house-helps that are underage and/or overworked and underpaid. Women like this try to cram into their daughters feminist ideologies like independence and sexual accountability but will turn around and blame their domestic workers when they are raped by their husbands and sons. They understand why a male member of parliament threatening to rape a female member of parliament is abhorrent but are oblivious to the house-help that barely gets two hours of sleep every night. They don’t see how wealth sets them apart and have no qualms stripping poorer women of their dignity.

Privileged women are the worst. (Yes, I’m also included here.) You conveniently forget you have access to opportunities most women do not have (due to class)…Drink your cocktails and be quiet by the way.

@mwendesusu(Twitter)

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a class of people (women for the purposes of this post) that Guy Standing refers to as the precariat. These are women that may not necessarily be Melinda gates rich, they may not even have job and financial security, but they are educated and, you know, they aren’t starving. This is essentially the average millennial woman.

We forget that because of our education (and other forms of exposure and privilege) we have access to at the very least, information that a lot of women do not have. We are therefore prone to an elitist version of feminism and refuse other kind of women access this elite feminist club.

For example, we advocate for the sexual liberation of women, but look down upon sex workers and as such are complicit in the dehumanisation of women who just happen to be sex workers. Because of our disdain for their work, we do not think it important to champion for better living and working conditions for these women. It is ironic because we feel superior to these women because we have sex for free and fail to recognise how the patriarchy perceives all women as some version of sex workers. A quick examination of language and societal conceptions, you will realise sex is perceived as something a woman gives to a man and usually after he’s supposedly earned it. Sex for women under the patriarchy was never designed to be on our own terms.

Gender and sexual orientation

It is a consensus that straight women are the weakest link in feminism. Because women are conditioned to aspire to marriage (to men), straight women are a lot more tolerant of misogyny if it means they eventually get proposed to.

Cishet women-straight women whose gender identity matches the sex they were assigned at birth-often refuse to acknowledge the privilege they have. We know transgender women are killed just for being transgender. We know lesbians are denied access to human rights like health. But worse than denying our privilege, we ignore and perpetuate their oppression all together. We refuse to check our language and weaponize our ignorance when we’re called out on it. For example, we misgender trans people or refer to their sexual orientation as a lifestyle but then are offended when we’re labelled transphobic and homophobic and demand that they understand that the continued erasure of their existence isn’t malicious. We need to do better.

Weight

I think all women experience body shaming at some point in their lives. Different cultures have different body types that they consider ideal and I may be wrong, but the average woman has one body type.

But we also live in a world where Eurocentric beauty ideals are shoved in our faces. This means that it’s a lot easier to exist as a skinny woman than as a fat woman. Yes, skinny women in Africa experience disparaging comments about their bodies because the average African woman is well-endowed. But it is also unfair when skinny women center themselves in conversations about fat-women. Not only is it derailing, it is also a false equivalence. Yes, people are mean to you. But there is no system in place that absolutely hates you. Fat women get killed for being fat. Fat women are told they do not deserve to eat; they do not deserve to exist.

At this point, I have to mention mainstream feminists. Mainstream feminists especially in Kenya, are women who are hyper-visible especially because of their connection to media. These women, more often than not, have all forms of privilege except maybe for race. They identify as feminists. The problem is their feminism is shallow and exclusive. Their conversations on feminism are basic and these conversations are only had with women who are just as privileged as them. Their conversations ignore the work that has been done by other feminists and are curated to ensure they don’t lose desirability and proximity to men that they are very much aware accords them privilege. Their feminism is counterproductive and regressive. It’s really unfair that these women get credited for feminist work and are seen as the face of feminism in their respective spaces.

It’s a shame really that we continue to dehumanise other women and femmes because of desirability.  We need to realise that the patriarchy conditions all women to compete against each other for men and so every time your feminism isn’t intersectional, what you’re essentially saying is, “the dehumanisation of other women isn’t a big deal as long as I get to maintain my proximity to men that are also conditioned to dehumanise me.” You do realise that is foolish and you deserve to catch these hands. Well, not my hands because I am tiny and I’m not gonna start fights with people. But you can catch my tongue because I’m a smart mouth like that. Also, I realise that sounded gross and sexual, so I’m done.

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Meh…

Trigger Warning: this post contains content and links to content on sexual violence from sexual harassment to rape, subtle and overt. 

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A while ago, being unable to write the sequel to I’m​ not quite sure, you will ask guys to comment/ send you emails of the first time they wanted to know if he fucks the way he talks. Your friend (God bless her) concerned, texted you:

But what if people email you dick pics?

I was very clear about what I wanted. If someone sends a dick pic, they were going to do it anyway. It was only a matter of time.  

I like that you are so accepting of your situation.

Fast forward to last Friday.

Some guy just randomly sent me a dick pic.

Out of your sack and follicle’s nest
You rise
Up from a shaft that’s rooted in groin
You rise
You are average length, thin and unspent,
Welling and swelling, and terribly bent.
Leaving behind images of hope turned fear
You rise
Thrusting me into an evening of beer
You rise
Sending me pictures and hoping I’ll save,
You are a crooked mast in need of a shave.
You rise
You rise
You rise.

-what would be Maya Angelou’s response to a dick pic-

I’m not even upset because of the dick pic. I’ve just had a really tough week and I don’t need this.

You will be lying.

You will not be accepting of your situation. That picture will trigger the fuck outta you.

It will throw you right back to a different life, a different you, long dead but not buried. A self that only manifests in nightmares and ghost-like caricatures of a four-year old girl watching her sixteen year old neighbour, dick in hand, the ghostly little girl wondering what the hell that was and what purpose it served.

Spoiler alert: Dicks sometimes go inside little girls whose mothers left them in the company of a neighbour to go look for food.

Sitting in the toilet, as your tears increasingly blur your vision, you will think you really are upset about other things and will be merely using that violation to emote.

Really, it could be your parents’ seeming lack of faith in you. Your father’s: blatant, your mother’s: passive aggressive. It could be having this vision that’s taking everything from you and not knowing how to make your support system understand it. It’s how everyone’s concern will increasingly taste like blame and “you’re a slacking disappointment.” It could be how you wince when you catch your reflection because you will begin to see a disappointment as well.

It could be the increasing paranoia and anxiety. How every time your phone will ring, you will be scared the caller is going to remind you of this seeming bad decision. It’s how when grandmother (one of your favourite people on planet earth) will call, the conversation will be terse because you will think she is calling to perpetuate your mother’s brand of passive aggression. She will hang up on you because as hard as you will try, you will not be able to bring your guard down long enough to let words out of your mouth. How afterwards, you will dial her number but will not be able to hit call because your hands will be shaking and your mouth will be quivering and you will be acutely aware that what you will want to ask of her will be foolish and irrational: a maternal figure that is unconditionally on your side; and on occasion, a love that is a little less tough.

You will notice that this random guy has sent a few tongue emojis with his merchandise when you go to block him.

What does that even mean?

Did he think his shit is tasty?

And then it will hit you, he will be implying you suck his dick.

That realization will conjure up an image that will be disorienting as it is going to take a number of therapy sessions to undo. Anyway, right in the middle of Christina Perri’s Jar of Hearts, you will manage to get yourself off the toilet floor and straight to the kitchen to make yourself as strong as ginger tea as you could take because you will desperately need something to burn and hopefully dissolve the choking feeling in your throat.

You’re still apprehensive when a man sends you a text that has an attachment.

What happens when your dick pic is ignored?
Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?

-what Langston Hughes would say about a dick pick-

You can find more of these parodies here.

Also, you can find the journal we published on sexual violence here.

Watch MILCK’s Quiet. It’s sort of an anthem on sexual violence and was performed during the women’s’ march.


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Infantilization of men.

“If you’ve ever tied to put your finger up a straight guy’s ass during sex, you’ll know that they actually understand ongoing consent, withdrawal of consent and sexual boundaries very well. They act confused when it’s our bodies.”

@Neo_url(twitter)

I know guys. That was one hell of a starter.

As you may have gleaned, this post is about the infantilization of men especially in the context of (sexual) violence against women.

A well-meaning man at a forum I attended a few months ago asked/suggested that maybe men should be educated on the specifics of sexual harassment because maybe they don’t mean to harass women, we just might have different definitions.

At face value, this seems like a rather reasonable request. But think about it and you realise it plays right into a culture that excuses men’s horrible behavior by citing a masculine trait that is apparently beyond their control.

Let’s back up.

Right from birth, men are socialized to pen their very survival and some more on the women around them. Women do everything right from cooking to cuddling their egos. As result, we have an entire gender that not only feels entitled to women (our bodies, labour, loyalty, etc) but also simultaneously disregards and blames women should any misfortune befall them. Case in point, the mere existence of the word emasculation. Side bar: have you ever wondered what the female version of this word is? That’s right, there’s no word that describes making something less feminine. This makes sense because throughout history, femininity has been the lowest form of humanity so there would be no need for such a word. But really, the fact that men needed a word to describe the act of being made to feel less masculine implies that from the beginning of time, men have been pointing fingers at everything and everyone else.

“Like a compass needle that always points north, a man’s accusing finger always finds a woman. Always. –A Thousand Splendid Suns-

Khaled Hosseini.

So let’s explore this ridiculous premise; this idea that men might not quite understand when they’ve sexually harassed a woman. Men are functioning, somewhat well-adjusted beings. The average man has a good understanding of social, verbal and non-verbal ques. They know shaking my head means disagreement and an outstretched palm means a handshake. They know to knock on doors before going in and to never look at another man’s penis in the urinal. They know not to comment about another guy’s ass or use sexual innuendo with a random guy. So why would they turn around and claim that putting their hands on your butt, or gawking at your breasts was all in good faith; that it was a complement?

While we’re on “complements”, let’s talk cat-calling. Women have been told countless times to lighten up, to take cat-calls for what men intended them to be: complements. And it’s ironic because men that cat-call you on the street do not expect you to be wooed, so much so, you’d abandon your plans to go have sex with them. They know it’ll make you uncomfortable and scared. They don’t do it because they are complementing you, they do it because they have the power to make you feel unsafe; because they feel entitled to your body and attention; because they never leant to express interest and affection in non-violent ways.

So this idea that men are well meaning, that sexual harassment is nothing more than misunderstanding on the women’s part and child-like ignorance on the men’s part is obviously false and dangerous. It’s just another creation of the patriarchy; a system that never runs out of ways to make sure men come out on top. It basically just says, we’re going to declare this gender superior and socialize it to oppress and deny the agency of all other genders. But should that backfire, should these other genders tire of the aggressions, let’s just market this superior gender as lovable and broken people whose humanity accords them the privilege of error. That way, we still get to burden the oppressed with the responsibility of educating their oppressors. That should keep them so busy, maybe they forget to dismantle the system.

As a principle, I don’t indulge any form of misogyny, I don’t care how innocent or well-meaning the utterance is. I don’t care if I waste an opportunity to recruit an ally. Recruiting allies (especially male ones) isn’t a tenet of my feminist agenda. I wasn’t always like that though. I once wasted my afternoon trying to explain to some people that consent can be withdrawn mid-sex. To date, the thing that stuck with me is how these men kept circling around blue balls. How they expected me to care more about their interrupted pleasure than a woman’s safety. How they were genuinely convinced that not raping a woman made them victims. I still cringe at how, amid my frustration and hurt at the reminder that even men I trusted had probably at some point stripped a woman of her sexual agency, I still was somewhat complicit because I just shut down and let them think I agreed that it would be unfair to the man should the woman withdraw consent.

But that’s just the thing. Men are conditioned to believe they have no control over their sexual urges. And it’s so funny how they never seem to see how the hysexualisation of men is a double-edged sword. Hypersexualisation is why male survivors of sexual trauma rarely open up and when they do, they are ridiculed. Hypersexulaisation of men; the fallacy that men always want sex, is why statutory rape cases are rarely in the favour of underage boys because we view consent as something only women give, ergo rape is something that only happens to women. But I get it, why would you flip that coin if this side means you can blame the length of a woman’s skirt or her drunken state after raping her? I mean it certainly wasn’t your fault that she served so much leg knowing too well you are a slave to your sexual urges. Why would we care if it humanizes men even when they’ve dehumanized women? Why would we care if it accords their careers and reputations consideration over the lives of women?

After all, they’re mere mortals that made mistakes; men that didn’t know any better; broken men that have been through trauma.

And because they’ve been through trauma (unlike the rest of the human population) they get a free pass at turning women into collateral damage while they heal. Hurt people, hurt people. It’s as lazy and as offensive a statement as it is true. If you spend your life running away from your emotions and never doing the work to heal, you (in) advertently leave a trail of broken hearts. Except women are hurting too, but we don’t go around starting wars and plundering society. Male hurt on the other hand is almost always taken out on women and children. Case example, “my father was emotionally distant and as a result, I never learnt how to love so I’m going to go through life sucking the life out of every woman who tries to love me.” Or, “my father was physically abusive so I am.”

But women also grew up with emotionally distant and/or abusive fathers. So what makes men so entitled that they think it’s perfectly okay to only silence women but also demand that we consider their mental and emotional scars that somehow justify their violence? What makes them think it’s okay to demand that women put aside their pain and anger and instead gently explain to them how they are oppressing us. How it is that men can threaten to withdraw their support (essentially the belief in women’s rights) because we hurt their feelings? You guessed right, men believe their pain and anger is more important than ours. That because society never equipped them with the tools to express and deal with their emotions, the rest of us should tiptoe around their feelings. That because they are broken, we should put the quest for our emancipation on pause.

Infantilization of men ensures that masculinity, no matter how toxic in execution, will always trump the humanity of women. It means men continue to feel entitled to women’s emotional and physical labour. So even when we think they are being progressive and admitting to their brokenness and how it’s affecting the women around them, they still expect the women in their lives to heal them: to listen to them and love and put up with them till they are better. Nobody tells men to learn to be there for each other, to actually perform emotional labour for and amongst themselves, that is still left for women. It means they still look up to and blame feminists when the patriarchy screws them. It means men get to create problems for women, avoid accountability and place the responsibility of fixing those problems to women.

But that’s just the patriarchy really; it’s a series of moving goal posts, all to the benefit of men. It’s how men can’t control their sexual urges but are somehow naturally predisposed for leadership because women are too hormonal. It would be appreciated if you could write a script and stick to it. I for one, respect commitment to a fallacy.

Dad, the misnomer

I lie prostrate on my bed, my whole body engrossed in the act of waiting. Idle hands trace patterns on my quilt while listening in to the conversation going on in the living room. My room is dark and quiet. I try to pace my stuttered breathing with the ticking of the hands of the alarm clock on my bedside table. A memory replays in my mind, one of a night after watching a movie I can’t recall very well, where you took my hands in yours and in a voice that would feature as my conscience well into my adulthood, said, ‘Life is a running story, and we all have our parts to play_’

Most nights are like this. I sit, lie or pace and wait for a shriek, a sign, or the sound of something breaking. The silence of a thing that has gone wrong. It’s the part I play in our pretend happy family. My appearance this night starts with a garbled thump against the wall. I jump out of bed, trip on a misplaced item of clothing, and rush to the living room where you have my mother clutching the back of her head, curled into herself, while you falter between helping her and keeping your hands to yourself.

_ some parts we choose, others choose us_’

Given the number of times I’ve experienced this, I should be used to it, shouldn’t I? The shock that always comes first, in the same ways but with different reactions. That sometimes I will rush forward to separate you from her and other times I have to slink back into my room helpless, ones like these where she turns to look at me and with tears in her eyes, pleads, “It’s okay. Everything is fine.”

There is a certain magnitude behind the way she says it that gives me pause. I hate myself every time it happens, but when I look into her eyes, so much like my own and so full of resigned shame, I can’t seem to interfere. Maybe it’s because I know that shame, the weight of it in my bones when I flinch away from strangers and friends alike that come too close, the armour wound around me so tight that it pushes away even those I’d like to be close to. It’s tiring to always be on your toes ready to launch defense, to feel at fault for the most trivial things, but I’ll be damned before I resign to it. God forbid I turn into her.

God forbid I give into the anger, the only resemblance I have towards you, the person I become when I’m backed into a corner. It comes over me quick and hot beneath my skin, boiling in my stomach and tumbles out in raging waves, to hurt worse than I’ve been hurt. Reining it in is becoming easier however, unlike the first time that it happened, when I went too far.

Hitting someone feels like a relief from the anger at first contact, before the shame of the respite and of your action breaks you. To look at them, and the bruise you’ve caused feels like having your insides scraped out with a blunt knife. Looking yourself in the eye is difficult when you don’t want to see the thing looking back, that thing that felt the relief, that is part of you. You want them to hide the bruise like you want to hide from yourself. And it scares me to think that I may one day look at myself deeper than skin level and not recognize myself, but see you instead. God forbid I turn into you.

But the two are parts of a cycle I play. Anger is the flesh that cocoons the heaviness in my bones. I get angry that you hit my mother even when you say you’ll stop tomorrow, that she stays after saying she’ll leave you tomorrow and that I believe in this straw of hope you dangle in my face even when I know better. I am as ashamed to say this is my reality as I am to be silent about it. I feel shame for looking for you in all of the faces of those I love, that I may carry the love between you as a compass for mine despite all my efforts not to.

‘_and we carry both the responsibility and consequence for those parts.’

Tomorrow, you’ll have my mother’s hand in yours on the dining table, smile at her with a mouth full of apologies and promise. She’ll return your smile over her tea cup, squeeze your hand and hand you another chance. You’ll talk with me later, about all things and everything, listen, as we work through music, which you don’t particularly like, but are involved in because it is something I like. It will remind me of the father I knew before the rose-coloured glasses I once wore were torn away from my face and I’ll endure. But as of tonight, I’m tired of playing this part. You’ll have to forgive me for telling this to someone else.


Aboutthispage reads like they write, anything and everything, although the latter happens less frequently. They live for the emotion in words and the different worlds in them. When not, you can find them here: https://aboutthispage.wordpress.com/

Image courtesy of the minds journal. Google.

“I just want to know if he fucks the way he talks.”

Read part 1 here.

Now obviously, I couldn’t get pregnant just by looking at him. For the most part, this is hyperbole, but it still does remain a kind of reality for me. In the innocent, less plagued by darkness parts of mind, I believe this irrational conviction. Sometime last year, I was binge-watching The Daily Show. Trevor Noah was doing a bit about the #metoo movement and I don’t remember what it is he said exactly but there was something about him being funny and not sexist(because comedy can be problematic; sexist) that made my abdomen flutter. I remember looking at him and clutching at my abdomen, thinking, “my ovaries!” For a second, I felt a force deep inside of me, a gentle but profound upturning and readying of my barely existent maternal instincts; a hoarse whisper in my year; a nagging at my skull assuring me of my ability to carry and raise his children. This is kind of what I felt when I saw Paul. Except with Paul the action was in my head, not in my abdomen.

The fidgeting was replaced with intense hunger as soon as I was sure Paul as out of reach. I remember watching his outline recede and disappear around a corner and all I could think about was, “I need to go get French fries.” I don’t like French fries. I only ever eat them when I have no option and I only ever crave them when I can’t get what I really want. This would explain why I hardly touched my plate of French fries. What I did do was stalk Paul on Instagram. So much so, that maybe the universe conspired to have him follow me. My entire life, I’d never followed anyone back so quickly. And then began the extensive period where I liked all his posts and reflected on the captions like some sort of gospel. That guy is deep, I’ll give him that.

***
“I just want to know if he fucks the way he talks.”

I was twenty when my roommate made this declaration. I unlike her, was just happy to listen to Paul talk. Granted, all our conversions took place on Instagram’s comment section. He’d say something, I’d shriek, my roommate would speculate and I’d reply. Four years imagining conversations with him and when it finally happened, I wasn’t even remotely interested in how he fucked. It took me close to another two years to want to know if people fucked the way they talked.

***
Okay guys, I can’t do this. I’m sorry.
When I did the first post, I thought I had a sequel in mind. But then I trusted my brain too much and didn’t note the concept down. I couldn’t remember a thing when I got home. So it’s nearly eight months later and I think I’ve finally accepted that this isn’t happening. As you can see, I tried to write something. But the way it was going, I was going to write about the process of discovering and exploring my sexuality but I’m not ready to do that here. Oh you bet I’ll write about it and other stories but just not right now.

So instead, I want to ask you to please comment or send me an email on what the journey of your sexuality has been like for you. To put it crassly, when is the first time you wanted to know if someone fucked the way they talked?

Don’t hold back, I’m really excited to hear your stories.

My email remains cgor921@gmail.com.

Books as mirrors.

This post was supposed to be a review of the Handmaid’s tale but due to my laziness and Kindle’s unlimited terms of use, I was unable to finish the book.

So now I have nothing written and I’m incessantly mildly emotional. You know if you love me you’d buy me this book. Essentially, that’s been the theme for my last few months. Continuous, mild (not so fun) emotion.

James Baldwin said, “You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world and then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.” This is why I started reading books and it is why I write: to feel less alone; to make somebody else feel less alone. Today though, I’m tired of transcribing my pain.

My life is good. It is. There are bits that suck balls like everyone else’s. Sadly, it’s these bits that make for great posts and relatable books. I just do not feel like extracting those bits today, even if it is for an arguably noble course.

Paradoxically, I never learnt how to write my happiness and I’m not going to start with this post.

So once again, you’re getting a random excerpt I might never complete. But should I work on it and years from now you encounter it in a book or a blog post or whatever, shut your mouth. It is my work after all.

Speaking of people that look for my work, guys use the weirdest search terms for my blog. And it’s wild because you could save yourself the struggle and embarrassment by simply subscribing to my blog. So do that.

Here’s the random excerpt:

Today I went to a fast-food place littered with your presence. I wanted a slushy but they didn’t have the flavour I wanted and I sighed in relief, spared from the agony of having to drink you down. So I ordered chips and chicken which I didn’t want but I couldn’t order a pizza because the last time I ate pizza here, you were sitting so close I thought I’d never lose you. So I shifted in my seat and thought of my friend who’s obsessed with this place. How the first time she dragged me here, we talked and I laughed way too hard trying to upstage the sadness and how vaguely gas-lighted I felt. I think even then, I knew it was the beginning of the end.
And then I spoke to a mutual friend and of course you came up. So I tried my best poker face and asked how you were. He didn’t sound too optimistic. I put my phone in my bag because in that moment it’s all I could do not to call you because I knew even if I did, you wouldn’t pick up. I settled for helpless concern because my chest had had all the clawing at I could handle.
On the bus home, I read the Handmaid’s tale. I guess because it’s set in a dystopian world, I had this surge of emotion: this need to salvage what was once our normal. But I knew I’d keep hurting you and you’d keep hurting me. And so I hoped you were safe, that you weren’t overthinking everything. I guess while I’m writing this I should apologize for enabling that. I hadn’t seen myself in anyone for so long, I gulped you down in whole and chocked us both in the process.
Tell me, how is it possible to love someone so much and still not be able to stop yourself from hurting them? But even more importantly, are you distilling your love? Are you learning to love people without destroying them?

See what I (well, James Baldwin and I) was saying about books? A chapter of The Handmaid’s tale and I’m already regurgitating my guts.

While we’re on the subject of hurt people hurting people, read Juno Diaz’s story here. It’s a beautiful, heartbreaking essay on the legacy of sexual trauma. It bothers me (irrationally so) that I didn’t cry while reading it. I found it somewhat problematic but now isn’t the place nor time to get into the details of that. I think it would be derailing to this important milestone of men opening up on sexual abuse.

Another thing on the list of things that I’m irrationally bothered by is the realization that I didn’t feel very strongly about Chris Brown assaulting Rihanna. Obviously if you’ve been reading my blog you know how I feel about things like that. Also I just remembered I didn’t cry when I read The Book Thief. The long and short of this is I’m panicking about how I emote and so I’m gonna go deal with that.

Well, that was a random, alarming ending.

Later guys.