Circle up, les babes, for this week’s Obseshes. This is a lot about “me” so I’ll do you next time.
What does it mean if I packed everything I own in a moving van and drove it through the summer twilight to a mall parking lot and then a pack of junkies came by and set everything on fire while I was somewhere else hanging out, and then I called my mom and she was just like, “Don’t you have insurance?” I think this has to do with when I was lying quietly on the floor yesterday and breathed out, “I need a breakthrough,” like some creepy phantasm Oprah or some shit. THAT or the string cheese I ate at one million o’clock in the morning, while I was wondering what a lawyer really does all day.
I used to think that girls’ psychodramas and interspazzes were one of the few socially acceptable (“acceptable” being all twisted and fucked up like a yogurt pretzel) ways to express and experiment with our microcosms of power, and that they should be honored and patted lightly like you would a questionable stranger-cat. Right now, though, what I’m obseshily seeing girls doing—picture me leaning up against a brick wall, looking over the top of some Ray-Bans, all smooth—is passing off a lot of personal garbage as “feelings” and “needs.” Like, “This wildly selfish behavior I am demonstrating is justifiable and cool because it is real for me.” Like, shut the fuck up! There are limits to how much of yourself you can put first and how much of the unwantable external world you can reject. I like that this strata of girl world acts as a corrective to an overextended, overcompensating way of being, but maybe a moratorium on me-first-iness, at least until it’s nicer out and we naturally like each other again and are like, “Let’s go to Six Flags!” without diagramming what we are willing to give and take from each other?
Let’s review: stiffly robot walking around your room because standing still would fill your body with cold, wet steel while your face has folded in on itself like a rag because you are hysterically sobbing is an important feelings-experience; blowing your bangs around in mild irritation is not, individually, an important feelings-experience.
This week one of my nighttime-TV, soap-opera ladies said, “They’re always wondering if men and women can really be friends, but the real question is, can women?” CAN WOMEN?
Who is allowed to be your friend? Is it enough to have known someone for 100 years? Is it enough to have known someone for 100 years and still feel a sparking wet-grass sensation of yessss when you’re around them, if they probably don’t feel that way about you? How long should you try to stay friends with someone who rejects your friend-advances, or who sees you, but asks you literally nothing about yourself? Five years? Forever? Is there an equation? Is being lifetime-committed to a friend ever going to work out for me? What about when the act of trying and trying and trying starts to char your heart? Email me.
Is what I’m calling the various and constant shamings of Taylor Swift, most recently w/r/t the dumb-but-who-cares thing she said/repeated about how “there is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women” (that is the kind of actually quite sexist thing that women say when they are feeling betrayed or just assy and maybe don’t understand why) and other incidences of her being a super famous, super young person who should be regularly embarrassing herself in minor ways.
Here is an epiphany I had about romance this week: I asked my current person if he would shave his beard, not because it wasn’t cute, but just because. Really, just because. To ask. And obvi he was all, “That’s cold and critical,” and I kind of agreed but also felt like asking him to shave his beard was maybe the opposite of cold and critical because rather than a literalism or actual request, what I wanted by asking was not so much the result, or an opportunity to be bossy, but to have the space to ask at all. I mean, an important aspect of sex and intimacy is not the act(s) of p in v or whatever, but the cloud of energy and tacit agreements that come ahead of it and after it. This can also be characterized by what I always think of as “melting” into someone, or what regular people call being yourself with someone else, where, regardless, you can sort of try out ideas, demands, wishes, versions on each other. Like, the way that you talk to someone after having sex with them is not a narrative, but a circling of experience. So, taken literally, asking someone to change something about themselves is cold, critical, stupid, mean, but taken correctly, is just nice. Or, as per an email, “I consider the stuff around sex to still be kind of ‘sex’ and you don't.”
Here is an epigraph: “How do you self-soothe?” she asked. I thought about how my favorite Tumblr, the one with pictures of ice cream treats and clever lace dresses and leather loafers and sun on eyelashes, hadn’t been updated in days. I started crying…
My feelings are SOMETIMES (see above: only sometimes! Mostly you have to be tough as nails, bitcheroonie!) a crystal unicorn locked in a curio cabinet that gets dusted monthly. I mean, in one most-of-the-time sense, I’m high-functioning; in another sense, in the sense we will now discuss, I’m made of glass. (SOMETIMES!) It’s fine. When I am mad at my friends (I am currently sooooo mad at some of my friends!), I sometimes feel the tension as thin, splintering glass pushing flush into the lines on my palm. My dog died six years ago, and I still have a Treaty On Not Thinking About Her, Ever in place with myself. There are bigger and more practical injustices in my and any life that we are constantly writing and revising and sealing other treaties on, just pressing wax into paper like glass into skin. So knowing that, and knowing my various hyperactive instincts toward creating “good” and “work” and “experience” and “insight” I made about a trillion rules on how to live and operate and, among them, of course, is a luxury cruise liner of therapy and therapeutic practice. “There has to be a way to be good, and also be good,” I thought.
But now that I am objectively AND subjectively happier and more productive than I ever have been, I realize that the majority of it is attributable to action, liiiiike, to do with sleep and a still new, wary respect for the turbo-powers of champagne and Mini Eggs and acknowledging my feelings without inviting them for an extended afternoon hang. So I am wondering if therapy is as useful as I decided it was when I was constantly crouching in some deep trench or another? And then one of my therapists fired me, after saying I was “very intelligent” (ooh la la!), but there was nothing else she could do for me (shade?!). And another one I think I just like and regard too much to do anything but nod at. And then I wonder if cordoning off emotional tragedies into a weekly hour (an hour! What happens in an hour?) is, for me, never going to be enough and then, like champagne, always kind of too much, even in sips? This is ongoing, but, for now: getting better, even a relatively small amount, even in these hopscotched micro ways that could very well swing back around and knock me over, feels better.
Previously - Feminist Fatigue
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