alright, so i didn’t actually catch vd in portland [thankfully]– although i DID get somewhat obsessed with their damnly delicious voodoo doughnuts. my friend told me that sometimes people get married there; i wanted to, for a while. then new york made it legal first, and we went to central park and found a perfectly non-crowded 10’x10′ patch of grass where we could profess our undying love, and then got applauded by a nearby family reunion as we sealed our vows with a kiss.
but i digress..
tonight is valentine’s day, and we went downtown to one of our favorite restaurants [nitally’s..delicious thai-mexican fusion orgasms in your mouth!] for a last-minute romantic adventure, because the place we had originally planned on going [alésia–another amazing mouth-orgasm-inducing place] was booked for the night. i was extremely excited to get to wear my little black dress– I NEVER WEAR DRESSES UNLESS IT IS A SPECIAL OCCASION AND THIS ONE ACTUALLY MAKES ME FEEL SEXY AND NOT FAKE OR TRYHARD OR LIKE I CAN’T PULL IT OFF– and i painted my nails, did my hair and makeup..the whole nine yards [okay, i get that that’s probably maybe a football reference, but what the hell is it actually referring to? what does nine yards get you? not a touchdown; not a first down, even..so wtf? oh gad, my brothers would be so disappointed in me for not knowing this already. shit, is it even football?]
guys, i am SO drinking lots o’ wine right now.
digressing again, and i don’t really like that word because it sounds snobby to me. a girl i used to work with who was crazy and kinda smart, so she bragged about being crazy, used to use that word way too much. i am not going to say it again for at least one month [before this, i probably haven’t used it in three years, minimum.]
so we went to a delicious thai-mex fusion heaven, it’s one of our favorite restaurants because it’s local, delicious, VERY chill atmosphere [fun art on the walls, plastic flowers, weird lights hanging, obnoxious signs that you’d find at big lots hanging on the walls, tons of tealight candles that are half burnt out, etc.] and just..perfect. did i mention, the food is AMAZINGAMAZINGAMAZING?!? we love places that are delicious without being too fancy or snooty [i would rather a waiter be genuinely borderline rude than fake nice] and have cheap drink specials [by “we” i mean “me”..although my wife probably enjoys the lower bill when they have drink specials, so..win-win for both of us!]. we had a great dinner and i am about to raid the fridge for our leftover phad thai curry, because it is too good to leave in there for more than a couple of hours [and i am out of wine].
after phad thai curry and a couple of beers at nitally’s, we went to an art gallery that was a couple of blocks away to check out the new stuff and hear our favorite local musician, geri x, perform out back. it has been a while since i’ve been to an art gallery, and i was afraid that i wasn’t “cool” enough or “hip” enough to be in this little scenester corner of the block. little did i know, that half of the people there- if not more!- didn’t even know geri x or her music. it was free entry for ladies, which rocked because we usually go to gay bars where genderdon’tgiveyounodamndiscount!!!, and saw some art by local peoples on the walls, before heading out back to the freezing outdoor area. at first, there were a coupla’ ladies doing some painting on canvas/theirbodies/theground/peopleshair. luckily, there was a bar set up nearby. the live art was cool, but it was super crowded and even my six-foot-two self couldn’t see what was going on ahead.
so we got a few brews and waited for geri x to perform. she is a golden god. i have been listening to her music for the last eight or so years [i remember being in my youngest, most depressed states, listening to geri and feeling understood] and she has only gotten better with time. she is also a total fox, which helps the situation. her voice and image are both hauntingly delicate. her big, dark doe eyes peer out from behind jet-black and stained-green hair, and her porcelain skin is covered with swirling dark ink. she is the moon in a midnight sky, and her voice seems almost eerie at times. she is full of passion, and her lyrics will break your heart and remind you of that ex who fucked you over but whom you loved too much to leave. she’ll stomp her feet and close her eyes and fill the air with a chilling electric buzz. an hour passes by, she finishes her set, ten seconds have passed and you only want more.
the makeshift bar was serving pbr and that giant round bottle of wine that you’re supposed to use for cooking [but let’s be honest, we’ve all pretended to buy it for a recipe, and that “recipe” turned out to be INEEDADAMNDRINKANDIAMBROKE], which i loved. the yuengling ran out early on, which was ok because i had had just enough to not care about pbr’s weak alcohol content [truth be told, i’d rather have a natty. they taste the same, and natty is twice as strong].
after getting a buzz and hearing geri x’s clitrock tunes, we checked out some more of the paintings, then moved on to another gallery a couple doors down. i felt like we were in another city. the first place was tiny and it felt like a secret concert that nobody knew about [props to my wife, for finding out about it in the first place!]. the second place was similar; a small gallery featuring more local artists. it was cool to see familiar names; it made me feel less intimidated and more connected. we ran into my wife’s english professor, who is AWESOME, and we talked a bit about writing and making art. my wife made a comment that i “never read her writing”, which absolutely crushed me, because i read almost everything she ever writes!! i have edited and revised multiple essays, i have complimented her and encouraged her, i have read three or more different drafts of the same piece, in order to be supportive and helpful. there have been one or two pieces that she hasn’t shared with me this semester [by her own choice] and i have no idea why that would overshadow the other pieces i HAVE read this semester; let alone everything from last semester.
ANYWAY. other than that, we talked about the struggles of writing/ making art/ doing what you love. stephanie is a great writer, and her professor has always encouraged her. i would be lying if i said i wasn’t envious that she has an experienced, talented person telling her that she is good at it– my achilles’ heel has always been self-doubt and fear. it has been a long time since i have had someone read something that i wrote- something where i really bared my soul and wrote from the heart- and i am always scared that my writing is boring or cliché, or self-indulgent, and will come across the wrong way. i guess that’s why it upset me that she made the comment about me not reading her stuff; first of all, it was false. secondly, it made me feel like she thinks i’m unsupportive. third, i know what it feels like to not have someone reading your stuff. i admire the fact that she is so willing to share her pieces, and i always jump at the chance to read it. i know how hard it can be to share it- i can never share my stuff- and i want to keep her wanting to share it because once that changes, it’s so hard to go back.
her professor talked about making art because it is simply IN him– it is something he can’t control. i have always felt like that with my writing. whether it’s good or so-so or terrible, i can’t stop doing it. i always carry a book to read and paper to write on, because when i want to write, i write; when i HAVE to write, i have no choice. i have written in my car on my lunch break because i have no choice. i have written on the toilet, in class, in the break area at work. i have written in embarrassed, hidden places, and embarrassed, hidden frames of mind.
i write the way i used to masturbate, when i thought it was wrong. i thought it was a sin; something terrible and self-indulgent that we were never, under any circumstances, supposed to do- let alone talk about. i write only when i’m alone, and i am embarrassed to answer my wife when she asks what i’ve been up to all day: “oh, just cleaning, putting away laundry, playing with the dogs, wrote a little, did some homework.”
why do i have to preface and end that sentence with what i think are “real”, acceptable tasks? why do i have to almost-apologize anytime i’ve done it? why is touching yourself wrong; why is writing the things that can’t just stay in you, that have to come out on the page, wrong? why do i spend 4 hours writing, and thinking about what i’m going to write, and then spend another 3 and 1/2 doing other things to “compensate” for the time i “wasted” with my “dreaming”?
it really is absurd.
i am twenty-seven years old, and i am just now [as in, the last month or so] realizing that not only do i NEED to write, but i need to stop hiding it. i guess it has been a long journey towards writing freely and without guilt, just as it was a long journey to realizing that masturbating is not just common, but acceptable- and beneficial!
i still feel guilty sometimes for masturbating. not a guilt that anybody other than me enforces upon myself, but a guilt that is deeply embedded in me. it is the same guilt that makes me ashamed of the backpacks full of journals i have stashed away. they are stashed not in a secret place that only i know about, but in my wife’s closet–because i trust her [which means more than any other emotion i could feel towards her], and also, sadly, because i have not wanted them close to me. a part of me, for some reason, hates myself and everything written in those journals. a part of me has always blushed to the point of turning purple, anytime someone has asked if i write or have a diary. why am i ashamed of it?
i learned last night, through my wife’s professor, that not many people actually writewritewrite or drawdrawdraw or createcreatecreate. i have always said that i write because i have to–because i DO; i have hated myself sometimes for having this unstoppable tendency to scribble on a page, just as i have hated myself many times for having the unpreventable desire to touch myself and make myself feel good or complete– but i never realized that something may come of it. i have always hoped, yes, of course!- that it COULD happen..just as i have always dreamt that i may one day be the next joan jett or ani difranco. but i have never actually let myself plan for a [realistic or tangible] future of writing. i have never let myself see the benefits of the last fifteen years of journaling and writing stories, poetry, lyrics, et cetera..just as i never realized that masturbation will not only fulfill the immediate need, but also will continue to fulfill the needs of the future, and will be practice. rough drafts.
masturbation is what helped me realize what i wanted sexually; before i met my wife, i masturbated constantly [and still do, depending on our flow]. she taught me that it is something to be proud of, not guilty or ashamed of.
i am realizing that the same may be possible with my writing. i write because i can’t help it, just as i masturbated because i couldn’t control it. but there is a reason i can’t help it. and maybe that is because it will help me really be a WRITER. not a secret writer; not an embarrassed writer; not a “writer”; not someone who journals on the side; but a WRITER. someone who is proud to be a writer; someone who is shamelessly vulnerable. i have always identified as an artist, but have never wanted to tell anyone else, for fear of judgement, for fear of anyone agreeing with me in that i am not good enough.
but writing is what makes me ME, whether i like it or resent it or refuse to deal with it. and i am finally starting to believe that journaling isn’t good enough. writing a lyric or a poem in my journal won’t fulfill me for much longer.
there is a reason that i am terrified to put myself out there, and that reason is because deep down, i know i need t0, i know i want to, and i know that if i don’t, i won’t be happy.