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Category: love

Flirting with Disaster

I recently wrote a piece to be read at a local story telling event. The theme was Flirting with Disaster. I’m not sure that I know another way to flirt.

A few months ago, I told someone that something could be really dangerous and she replied, or really beautiful. Yes. Like this.

Flirting with Disaster

One

The first time I kissed a lover, we didn’t kiss.  I was 13.  She was older than me.  And I was the brave one.  She’s always older than me.  And I’m always the brave one.  We were lying on the bottom bunk, under my sister, facing each other, bodies so close it hurt.  It was this time of year.  I couldn’t kiss her.  So instead, I ran my tongue over the surface of her lips.  When I stopped, she ran hers over mine.  And we danced like this for hours, as if kissing was more dangerous than what we were already doing.

Two

Straight women.

Three

The first time you try to let someone touch the body your father raped.

Four

When I realized that my 4 year-old niece was calling my friend “Auntie” because she read our interactions as partnership, as romantic.  Where children cannot see societal boundaries they fully feel emotions.  We were having an ordinary conversation.  I said, “That’s her husband.”  And with that tiny string of words, I broke my niece’s heart for the first time.  Through sobs she kept yelling, “Auntie Nik, fix it!”  “No, please.”  “Fix it.” Until she needed it so desperately that she slapped me across the face.

My young niece doesn’t yet understand the power in friendship.

Five

When I was 12, or 13, I was a witness of the state, living in a foster home, ordered to testify against my parents.  My social worker asked me to list folks who felt safe, who were my support.  I gave her my girlfriend’s name.  She told me that I shouldn’t tell anyone about that, or I would lose the support I did have.  I found a boyfriend.

Six

I’m raising a child who is now 13.

Seven

Being the executive director of a nonprofit organization.

Eight

Have you ever been kind to someone?

Have you ever been kind to someone who is desperate to be loved?

Nine

When he proposed and I let him put the diamond ring on my finger and practiced signing his last name as if it would become mine.  It didn’t.

Ten

When I couldn’t tell if we were communicating to each other in jewelry, like hankies in our pockets, the things we were too afraid, or unwilling, or desperately trying, to say.

Eleven

Have you ever dated someone with children?

There is no sense in trying not to fall in love.

Twelve

Everyone is desperate to be loved.

Thirteen

Straight women who expect their boyfriend to love them the way you love them.

Especially when you’re just friends.

Fourteen

The first time you let someone enter your mind as you bring yourself to orgasm.

The first time you let someone enter your mind when someone else is bringing you to orgasm.

Fifteen

When she proposed and we put square rings on each other’s round fingers and then fed each other pasta with them the week after I had written a poem describing our kisses as manufactured brownies, the kind you don’t actually want, but eat because they are there.  We hyphenated our last names.

Sixteen

I’m supposed to tell you that threesomes are disaster.  I won’t.

Seventeen

She keeps reaching for my hand. Sometimes,

I let her find it.

Eighteen

Multiple times a day, I walk past a note in my own handwriting, giving me permission, or commanding me, to fall in love again today.

Nineteen

I started 9th grade at a new school.  A girl a year older than me stopped me at the water fountain and asked me if I was bi.  I asked her why she was asking me.  She told me because she was my friend and she’d tell people to stop spreading lies.  I told her to let them talk and walked away.  The next day “Dyke” was etched in my locker.

Twenty

Have you ever loved someone more than they loved themselves?

Have you ever let someone love you more than you love yourself?

Twenty-one

Any time you welcome someone to the body your father raped.  But, of course, it’s not that same body.

Twenty-two

When the world dissolves and suddenly you’re fucking her in the airport bathroom, at the train station, on the piano bench, outside the rock concert, outside the folk concert, against the tree, she’s inside you while you drive, in the bar bathroom, after your mother’s funeral, at the abandoned mini golf course you’re both pretending you’re going to buy and run together, which you’re calling Paradise.  When the police show up at your door to check on your wellness because entirely out of character, you didn’t show up to teach your class.  When the world dissolves and neither of you has ever uttered the phrase “making love” but now you can’t call it anything else.

Twenty-three

Knowing we only get one body.  That all the things we live, stay in our body.

Twenty-four

Reading this out loud to you.

Today I am counting pennies and love

Have you ever not have the resources you needed but trusted that everything would find its way?

Told yourself it would all work out?

That is what my sister has been doing for over a year in planning her wedding.  And then their shared car needed new brakes.  And then they saved again.  And then they needed a new tire.  And so on.  And here we are, a month before their celebration.

I kept telling her it would all find its way and we worked hard to make that reality.  And I trust that it will.  Still, with the wedding a month away and the invites waiting until payday for stamps to be sent out and my sister in tears, I wanted to do more.  She works hard and loves even harder and deserves better than this.  So, I created a GoFundMe campaign and I posted this on FB:

“I am not sure I have ever been so nervous in my life.
But here we are.

My sister and I have both gone without food to feed our children in the last few years and we’d do it again if we had to. Maybe that is why I want this so passionately for her. Maybe that is why I am nervous.

I don’t want to get into why the stigma of sharing exists, not here, only acknowledge that it is real. Tremble in my hands real.

I am here, creating this top secret campaign for Ashley and Drew’s wedding and she sends me this text: “Its so much, my head hurts. i wish mom was here, idk if that would help anything but id feel better… Everything comes down to money and its gross and im scared to ask anyone for anymore help… I just feel exhausted and I cry all the time” and then she was trying to schedule a Biolife appointment, but couldn’t. I once drove her to the emergency room after donating plasma, it makes her so sick.

So often in her life she has been made to feel like she screwed things up and her inability to afford things is her fault. So often in her life she has been told she should be more like me. Especially this time, it just isn’t true. She works hard and she doesn’t have extra money for her wedding because she has spent it in every responsible way. She is one of my best role models of living and loving life. ❤

For me, this is not about the institution of marriage, but the desire to celebrate the beauty of committed love and partnership.

I agree with my sister’s repetition, she is blessed.”

http://www.gofundme.com/f22y4t44

If you have $5 to offer toward a ribbon for her hair or a seat for someone who cannot stand the duration of the 20 minute ceremony, your love of love will be deeply felt and carried forward into the next chapters of all of our lives.  ❤

Please feel free to share.

If there wasn’t cancer, would same-gender marriage be legalized?

Seven days ago, I quit smoking.

Seven days ago, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favor of same-gender marriage.

Seven days ago, my sister shaved my head.

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The first time I started smoking, I was a teenager voluntarily trapped in a psych ward.

The first time I realized same-gender marriage could be possible was the first time I could legally vote.  I didn’t.

The first time I shaved my head, my mother was still dying from cancer.                                                                                                She did.

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Nine days ago, a nurse told me that I have high-grade precancerous cells inside my vaginal canal.

Nine days ago, my ex-girlfriend left me a voicemail that said: “Remember me?” She doesn’t understand that my love for her overlaps together and apart.

Nine days ago, I was growing out my hair.

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First, on the phone with the nurse, I cried about losing my insurance to capitalism.

Then, on the phone with the nurse, I cried about wanting to birth another child.

I still haven’t cried about wanting to keep living.                                                                                                                                                                                                 To keep living.

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Today, I had lunch with a stranger.

Radical Queer Politics and Same Gender Marriage

I just don’t get how one can look at all of these wrinkly, white haired people finally married and kissing publicly and be pissed off.

Whether it’s because one is homophobic or the mission not radical enough.

I am going to go ahead and assume I am not talking to the Westboro fan club.

Yes, there is a lot of work to do. And hopefully we will see our visions realized before we die.

But for one moment, can we stop and acknowledge that we didn’t start this journey and maybe with all of our energy and anger and hope and youth, we cannot fully realize what was lost for it? What was offered to it? What it means in so many different contexts to so many generations of queer people? People who on average experienced discrimination, or fear, like we’ve only heard of.

Working within the system does nothing to dismantle the system. Except for the system’s idea of division? Or the system’s tendency to erase and rewrite history to pretend like there was no struggle, were no people, before the latest mission showed up?

Marriage is a fucked up system, I know. But behind all the rainbow lights and tiered cakes, this is about legal rights and feeling like a human.

And sometimes humans measure their feeling of humanness/self-worth by conditioned standards. Like when you put on make-up today. Like when you shaved. Like when you went to a gendered department for clothing. Like when you said thank you. Like something everyday you breathed air. Because that’s what humans do. Because it is about belonging.

Today I heard a young woman on the radio say that young queers don’t want to belong, that they want to embrace their otherness. I thought, she doesn’t understand two things. 1. The feeling of the history of the word queer. 2. Young queer people often have some safe community these days.

I agree that queer activism is not radical enough.  I agree that marriage equality is not enough. In fact, with black kids being shot by police officers, I really don’t give a fuck about same gender marriage right now. Still, I acknowledge its worth to so many and to all of the visions I have for equality.

And I don’t need to boo someone else’s pride parade to create my own.

Today, I brought a mango.

Yesterday I bit into a peach that tasted like nothing.

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But the spirals of fall colors on her skin were stunning, especially in the deep parts of winter.

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I do not eat for the taste of nothing.

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So, I took a few more bites, tasting with intention.  Nothing.  Another, nothing.

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I am terrified of what it means to chew on the taste of nothing while I am falling in love.

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I don’t know if it was the peach or my taste buds, but I threw out the peach and kept the taste buds.

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It is not my work to make the peach taste good to me.  I want to overwhelm my taste buds.

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And I think of these things:

1. The time a pre-lover woman left a peach, a gift of nourishment and implications, in my backpack.  I did not discover the gift until it had already begun rotting.  It smeared its rotten, sticky parts on my poetry.  Remain(s).

2. In an elementary talent show, we danced to Peaches by The Presidents of The United States of America.  I gave my mother the task of buying us peaches to bite into during the show.  She accidentally bought nectaries.  The body of the audience responded to our sour reactions, upon biting, with laughter.  Here, I wonder what we went without for those sour peaches that we bit and then threw away.  Food as prop.  Here I know that we never had peaches at home.  Was my mother as embarrassed at her unknowing as I was?   The taste of sour is not nothing.

3. What does it mean to eat fruit out of season?

4. What does it mean to eat fruit that could never grow where you are growing?

Today, I brought a mango.

A different game of writing prompts: Invisible Pain

The scars. I lay here in bed, at once trying not to see and trying to make out every detail.

Wondering what other people can see.  Wondering what they think.

It has been over a decade since any have been added.

Who was that young girl?

And why did she first decide to cut into her skin?

They all said: She does it for attention.

In high school anything anyone does is for attention.

Now, aged, aging, sight changes and blurs without these lenses:

The other night, a former lover became upset with me for suggesting that maybe she was dependent on the pain medication she has been taking for months now. I was not speaking to her pain—I could hear its presence in her voice through the phone and over one-thousand miles. I was responding to a conversation in which she confided in me that she was afraid to have the pain relieved. She had lived with it so long, taken the meds so long, that her identity became one with it.

Who would she be without pain?

Though I tried to explain that I believed she was still in pain, tried to explain that pain and dependence could coexist, she became desperate to illustrate her pain to me. To prove it. She wished pain were visible, she wished there were colors that corresponded to the number and face charts the doctors used.

What color is beyond 10?

I felt: Yes, I wish pain were visible. I wish you could have seen the collage that comes after 10 each time you dismissed my emotions and demanded that I stop crying. Every time you left me alone in the depths of it, like the pain was my choice and you were opting out.

I thought: Cutting is this desire to be understood in action. Proactive. An attempt to prove pain. Redirecting the wound to what can be touched, to what can heal.

They all said: She does it for attention.

I say: Attend. Tend    her wound.

Tender.

Who would any of us be without pain?

————————————————————

Prompt: Write an American Sentence.  Choose another group member’s American sentence.  Use this sentence to begin your piece.  Leave it through the revision process.  And then delete it.

The beautiful sentence I chose: “In the dim dusk I could still see it there, the emblem of my mistake.”

Wednesday Writing Prompts: Not the brink, but the nexus of insanity

No one wants to go insane. In heavy moments we joke that we are going crazy. In desperate times we worry that we have become mad. We label other people loony, crazy, mad, insane. But for ourselves we note when we are on our way there, at the brink of it. It is a journey, a process. We find ourselves going: insane, crazy, mad. But how do we get there?

And why do we fear it?

Will you come with me now?

I am reaching for your hand.

10 Ways to Insanity:
(Not the brink of it, but the nexus)

1. Fall in love.
2. Go to a place where your strongly held belief, your reality, is a minority belief. Or a sin. Use your voice here. Speak your truth.
3. Be born with a vagina.
4. Make a decision based solely on feeling. List all of the rational reasons not to, and list the consequences, if you cannot help yourself. Do it anyway.
5. Take on the responsibility of the survival of another human being. Give birth. Adopt. Serve in a war.
6. After completing step #5, decide that it is also your responsibility to ensure that that person thrives. Is happy.
7. Choose a theme of our culture: Capitalism, Patriarchy, Christianity, Monogamous Marriage, Misogyny, Homophobia, Racism, Colonialism… Now, decide not to participate. Live your life in this way.
8. Choose a theme of our culture that negates who you are: Capitalism, Patriarchy, Christianity, Monogamous Marriage, Misogyny, Homophobia, Racism, Colonialism… Understand that even though this ideology is aimed to keep you down, you also participate.
9. Hold yourself accountable to what is right, even when it doesn’t serve you. Even when it hurts the people you love.
10. Let go while you are still in love.

At the brink we are at the edge of our truth and theirs.
Who are they?

Here at the nexus, the core, we hold our own truth.

We are no longer going, at risk of. We have arrived.

Prompt:
Prompt: Explain how to get from where you are to:

1. Nonsmoker
2. Employed
3. Partnered
4. Outside your house
5. Good job/wealthy
6. Mars
7. Your conception
8. Loving yourself
9. Ability to say no
10. Highly educated
1. Jupiter’s outer most moon
2. The edge of a fairy’s wing
3. Not the brink, but the nexus of insanity
4. Well-being
5. A field of exquisite 4-leaf clovers with only one three-leafed one
6. The appreciation of elevator music
7. A new understanding and state of acceptance about the consequence of beheading
8. A grave of a stranger who shares your name
9. A back of the bus on the last day of school
10. The place where a mermaid’s dagger is kept
11. You choose