Phantom Limb- A Last Lament for Lex

The last time I saw you, you were holding a suitcase. We were at the end of our rope. You were headed to San Diego on a holistic vacation, and I was moving out. I don’t think we hugged, and I’m certain we didn’t look each other in the eyes. Even after you got back, we barely exchanged a few texts. I tried calling you. I wanted to say I was sorry for my part. I had to let you know that I still thought you were a crazy bitch, but I still loved you anyway. I never got the chance though, because you died on Monday. Quietly in your sleep, you left us. You were 26- way too young even, for someone as fashionably reckless as you.

Your tragic flaw was that you loved killing with kindness. You were addicted to the bullet wounds. You didn’t believe in treading lightly. You were as bold as the red lips you wore, and as dark as the cat eye you regularly rocked. Your voice was harsh like the vodka you kept hiding, but soft like the curves of your cigarettes. You walked like a legend though it was nothing you could put on your resume. Your talent was not wasted, but maybe distributed incorrectly. I met you my second week in Chicago through the internet. You were looking for a roommate and I was looking for a home. Within each other we found both. You became a good friend, a partner in crime, a sister, and an enemy-sometimes each for long stretches, and sometimes all in the same day. I wished you would get your shit together, you wished I would relax.

In the end, neither of those things happened-least not that you were around long enough to see.

I never thought the only times we spent in your car singing at the top of our lungs would have a finite quantity. The only real emptiness in death is not where we go, but what is left. Our hearts still feel like you’re around and your absence is less like a spare concert ticket and more like a phantom limb. Every step I take I see myself pouring my guts out all over the streets we used to walk, and all anyone else can see they look at me is maybe a young woman who was up late drinking, or couldn’t get to sleep for some hapless circumstance. I think people don’t like seeing death in strangers. It would make us feel connected, and in tern vulnerable.

God forbid we walked around with out hearts out. People find flashing gentles less appalling.

You were never the kind of woman that did that. Every time you tried, it spit out like venom. You came off as aggressive, but you were really just so starved for love. That hunger consumed you, and coddled you in the same way a bottle of liquor holds the alcoholic. There was a huge piece of you that was tart like the spirit, the joy part of the bottle you couldn’t lick clean enough.

You died trying to be the woman of someone else’s dreams. Someone you didn’t know. Someone who didn’t matter. You died trying to live up to this false expectation you invented through some singer you idolized. You didn’t know that you were too good to be the protagonist in a Lana Del Ray song. I’m not sure that could have saved you, but at least it would have made your last years kinder. It would have made the taste this situation left in our mouths less bitter and more sweet.

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A Story of a One Night Stand

I’ll be honest- I’m not sure how many one night stands I’ve had. That doesn’t make me feel anything in terms of my own standards. For sake of defense though, I’ve been single, with the exception of a few bursts of non-commitment, for the better part of 5 years. When I take into consideration that I am at least more openly sexual than the average woman, things like one night stands are going to add up. I don’t regret them in the same way I don’t regret all the pints of ice cream i’ve eaten, or all the hours I’ve spent watching movies. They satisfy a particular need in the moment, and when it’s over it’s over. I hardly think of the lasting impression my vagina has had on the men who’ve been inside it.

That being said, It’s great when I can at least walk away with an orgasm. Last night however, I got that and a little bit more.

Jake and I met at this beer event I was helping my friend at. To be blunt, the primary reasons I volunteer for these these things are to day drink for free, and to bring home a stranger. Last night was no different. While I wasn’t as thirsty as I normally am, I was totally down for going wherever the evening would take me. The evening took me to Jake, who was also volunteering for a friend’s brewery. It took me to his car and a cross-city adventure to find his friends. It took us back to my apartment where we got high with my roommates, and like clockwork, it took us to my bedroom.

The sex was sober, slow, and effortless. I felt like a ship traveling with the oceans current. He kissed me perfectly. He didn’t drop lines, or ask me to do anything outside of what we were instinctively doing. When it was over, he ran his fingers through my hair and held my hand. I fell asleep with my head on his chest, content in feeling small.

Content in feeling small-there it is. I love feeling small in someone’s arms. An embrace is the only thing that can humble and ground me. I like the feeling of safety. I like knowing that someone has the physical capacity to take care of me in the event I need it. What makes me feel like a woman is someone who is more masculine than I am. As unfeminist as it is, I need to be with someone who I can at least physically look up to, someone who possesses at least SOME of the qualities of a “man’s man.”

When I was lying next to Jake I couldn’t help but think that he reminded me of all that. Even on the surface, Jake is a guy who I would hope a future boyfriend to me like- a man that I could curl up next to and be sweet and little.

As he was leaving he wrapped his tall frame around me for a hug. I wasn’t sure if I’d see him again. In fact, I doubted it. That’s how these things are-you get a fun night and a great story. You’re left feeling sleepless but content. Later in the day, I cancelled a second date with a guy that actually made me feel bigger than I am. Starting from zero. I was alone again, but not lonely.

A strong sense of self is adequate company until the next time.

Sunrise

It’s the most peaceful moment when you figure out you’re capable. I’ve gratefully had a few moments like that.  I’m either faced with a tough truth that I can actually swallow, or I actually rub the morning off my eyes hard enough to see what’s actually in front of me. In this particular situation it was the former, though I felt this moment coming internally for quite a long time. My roommate and I were walking up the back stairs to our apartment and I am trying to justify not completely blocking the most recent ex thing on social media.

“He’s with someone else, Jess. You don’t owe him anything.”

At the top of the steps, I stopped for a moment, took a deep breath and looked at the sky. The October air was crisp and the clouds looked like veils, only guarding the moonlight slightly. She was right, but I wasn’t bothered by it. In fact, I wasn’t even bothered by the fact that I was still hurt enough by the whole ordeal to want to omit him from my life completely. Once in our kitchen, I pushed the appropriate buttons and and made peace with his exit sign.

***
I haven’t felt purely my own energy in a really long time. I haven’t felt this sense of duty that wasn’t backed by some unsolicited anxiety. Upon waking up yesterday morning, I moved my toes like they were swimming below my sheets and allowed my arms to stretch as far as I could reach them. My lungs felt clean. I took my time getting out of bed. I allowed myself to feel like what I felt like. I felt the hair on my head and the creases on my hands. I felt the clothes on my skin and my contacts attach to my eyes. I looked at my face in the mirror as I was brushing my teeth, and while I’m not sure I felt love, I felt like I was back into my own body. I’ve been attaching myself to things other than me and it felt good to not to this time.
***
The kitten is peaking over my computer as I write this. The sunlight is seeping through the windows of the living room. I think something is starting though I am not sure what it is. I know this is the best I’ve felt in this city since I got here. I feel it in my bones.

This is Not A Fucking Aspiration

I woke up in the arms of Ginger Chris and as he opened his eyes we began speaking of intimacy. By the end of the day he’ll end things because he just wants to fuck around. The whole tryst lasted maybe 26 hours if you include the “breakup” sex, because more often than not, lust negates reason.

If you poke around on the internet long enough you will find things you don’t want to see. In this morning’s round of creeping I found out that my ex has been dating someone, and started the weekend we broke up. I call my friend Ian to tell him this.

“Well darlin,of course there is. He wouldn’t have left you unless there was someone else waiting. But it’s not about you.”

I’ve been dumped A LOT lately. That’s a hard pill to swallow. The times I haven’t, it was because I wasn’t feeling it for whatever reason and I would rather be alone than tied to another human being I’m not going in for. Maybe that makes me different than other people.

I don’t wish I was his new girlfriend. In fact, I am over him as a person but there is still this little bastard of a heartache hanging out and it’s incredibly annoying. I wish I was in the mindset that I could see him on the street and not clam up and run as fast as possible in the opposite direction. I’m not there yet though.
“So how do I stop feeling shitty?” I asked.

“You fill the space and time with YOU.”

There’s the kicker though. If he were to see me and we were too catch up, even if I were to talk about a promotion, or buying a motorcycle, or getting published in the New Yorker, it would wouldn’t constitute as success until I mention someone I’m dating. I’m realizing how messed up that is. The goal is still a relationship. It’s to wake up in someone’s arms and want to talk about intimacy, which is not something I feel like we are fully capable of understanding. The goal overall is still the house in the burbs and a legion of toddlers running at your ankles. That’s not my path, but it’s still a system of rating that as a 20 something year old woman I am still judged against.

Even when my dad talks to me and asks how I’m doing, his primary concern is that I have no one to take care of me.

I do have people taking care of me; just not in the romantic sense. I have my best friend who has literally taken the role of mom since my mom died, helping guide me through the crazy. I have Ian who effortlessly compartmentalizes my crazy and grounds me. I have the team at work empowering me who have more or less become my Chicago family, as well as countless other between the coasts. You know that village that raised me as a kid? A new one is raising me as an adult. Just because I’m lacking a boyfriend doesn’t mean I’m starved for love.

There I was a moment in time where I made the choice between the loving romantic relationship, and learning to find out who I was. I haven’t been in a relationship since, but I know who I am. This is my ship now. I don’t believe I’m unlovable, but even if I am not loved RIGHT NOW, at least I owe myself the decency of being happy.

And I don’t want to talk to anyone who doesn’t think that counts for success more than being in a relationship.

My Best Line About Sex is the One Where I Tell Someone to Go Fuck Themselves

I’m knees up in stirrups getting my yearly paps when my new gyno asks me how many sexual partners I’ve had in the past year. I told her I didn’t know.

“What do you mean you don’t know?!” She says accusingly. “How do you not know?!”

My cells came back normal. All my tests came back for negative. My health insurance refused to cover the cost so I refused to pay the bill on principal. I’m not looking to buy a house anytime soon and I don’t believe in using my credit card. If I wanted someone to judge me with my legs up in the air, I would have kept banging one of my casual flings and I wouldn’t have to pay them to do it.

At bare minimum, my gyno is the last person I need to make me feel like a slut because I don’t count my shenanigans in the same way I don’t count on much of anything.

***

My best friend, Abby is a fantastic writer, the person who I respect more than just about anyone else in this world. She has walked me through every breakup, death, move, change, and firefight. I’m not sure I’ve done the same for her, but I would be happy with even half.

On one of our somewhat long distance morning tea rituals we are talking about my writing, after I let her in on one of my latest nights of fuckery.

“Have you ever thought of writing about it?” She asked me in between sips.

“Yeah. I thought about it. Not sure how down I am.” I replied.”

“I just think you have a lot to say about the topic. You have some really good stories and the way you talk about them is genius. You’re like a more poetic Chelsea Handler except you’re not in it for the laughs.”

***

“When I lost my innocence,” began this hippie looking chick at a loft party talking about the first time she had sex. I couldn’t see how innocence was something two consenting teenagers took away from each other, when to me it was something my mom packed in her small suitcase the first time she walked out. You give sex way more power than it needs when you equate it to something like that.

If innocence is equated to purity, than purity should really come from the heart. Pureness of heart is authenticity in being. Cleanliness of spirit does not equate bedfellows in the slightest. It makes innocence seem cheap then, if it’s equated to something strictly physical.

Because of this, I don’t feel like a slut in the slightest because while I enjoy sex and have in probably a higher volume than most, I still feel more attached to my sweetness than any other facet of my being. My tired heart is still young and innocent. I have far better things to give to the world than a rolling of toes and shortness as of breath.

So readers, whoever you lovely people are- this is my vow of authenticity. You, like me, deserve better than my drunken nights at the bar.  While I can’t promise I won’t talk about sex with the voice of a punchline, I promise it will only be in fragments of a much larger picture. My work is my heart, and as long as you read me, you will always know my heart. As long as you know my heart, you will always know me.

Top 5 People/Things That Really Need to Slow Their Roll This Week

In attempt to break up the monotony of an otherwise serious blog, I’ve decided to to write humor on a weekly basis. Snaps for me! What you are about to read is the first installment of a segment I am calling, “Slow Your Roll.”
Urban Dictionary defines  “slow your roll” as the following:

“Term used to inform a homie that he’s getting outta control and he might want to shut the hell up before he gets beat the hell up.
‘Yo dawg, you better slow your roll fool.'”

Below I’ve included current a list of the Top 5 People/ Things That Really Need to Slow Their Roll

5. The Bro I Saw Wearing Flip Flops and Cargo Shorts, and a T-Shirt in Wicker Park Last Night

On one hand I get you. In the sea of black jackets, scarves, and boots, you stick out like a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day. On the other hand, it’s 40 fucking degrees outside. Are you really just that much of a hot body, or do you have some type of agenda? Did you manage to break the basic/badass bitch dude continuum by being so basic you were almost hipster? Am I requesting you to slow your roll based on how uncomfortably confused I am? Am I thinking way too much? WAS THAT YOUR PURPOSE BRO?!

4. Lena Dunham

It’s really cool that you promote feminism and body acceptance, and yes you are talented, but the mere title of your new book makes me what to go back in time to every time I’ve said “I’m not like other girls” and punch myself in the face. The soft undertones of humble brag underneath 75% of what you say is trite. While you’re opinions are more or less valid, you are hardly the voice of our generation. In fact, if you are I would rather be deaf. Please don’t learn sign language.

That might have been a little too mean. Lena, keep moving, but please just slow your roll.

3. Hockey Fans That Think the Season is Over After Their Team Lost ONE GAME

you-must-be-new-here-willy-wonka

Put on some Celine Dion, grab a Kleenex, and slow your roll.

2. Christmas

Christmas, you are by far the worst holiday. You promote this 1950’s secular version of family that doesn’t exist to 80% of the population, and our country’s capitalism at the exact same time. I feel like if the whole Christ thing happened, and we really are trying to celebrate his birthday, this would be the exact opposite of what he would want. All that said, I saw Christmas decorations in a store amidst my travels this week.

IT ISN’T EVEN COLUMBUS DAY. SLOW YOUR GODDAMN ROLL CHRISTMAS, LITERALLY FOR CHRIST’S SAKE.

1. People Who are Planning on “Fighting” the Supreme Court’s Appeal on the Gay Marriage Ban

Okay, I get that you guys think two people of the same sex bumping uglies is icky, but we’re not in middle school anymore and you all need to get over it.  I mean, it’s cool that you think your bigotry is so crucial to the fabric of American Society, that not only do you want decrease the emotional quality of life for people you don’t even know, but you want to fight for it. Who the hell do you think you are? More importantly, how do you think this is going to benefit anyone or anything other than your own personal false sense of security.

Not only do you assholes need to slow your roll, but you need to come to a complete stop, and either check your privilege, or move at the speed of light into oncoming traffic.

Static Too

It’s weird how you can have a routine and not feel tied to the ground. I wake up at the same time every morning, make a cup of tea, get dressed, put together my lunch and bike to work. After work, on nights when I’m not with friends, I go home, cook a quick dinner and attempt to get some writing done.

My job is challenging in the same way that down-dog is. My social life has been a revolving door so I’ve taken a step back to steady myself. I feel like I am living the reversed version of claustrophobia. What is that? The fear of too much space? The understanding that no matter how much I try to stay within a routine or to make plans, nothing in this world is certain ever. Everything is so open and I am terrified of all this space. I feel like I need something to swaddle me or keep me contained.

At this tap room in lower Wicker Park my cousin and I are talking about family. It’s been a few years since we’ve seen each other and while we hardly kept in touch over the course of my life, I always saw him as a big brother. Our conversation was effortless, and with my mom being his favorite Aunt, it felt good to talk to someone about her passing that felt it in a similar way I did.  When we part ways he gives me the most comforting hug I’ve felt since before I moved to this city. I imagine that’s how hugging my father should feel like, but doesn’t. As I walk back to my apartment, I feel centered. I realize that my internal anchor has nothing to do with location and everything to do with accepting support.

People can love you with all the static in your head, because everyone has that static too.