I feel like I’m in the middle of a bad joke. I’m 39 today. I’m going to graduate at the end of the year if all goes exactly precisely right and I’m in the middle of being laid off.
Yeah, okay, so maybe it is only funny to me. Which is to say it probably isn’t funny at all, it just is horrible and I can’t stop thinking about it, and obsessing makes me love it. Obsession makes the heart grow fonder.
While obsessing the other day I was listening to a podcast, and a door opened up inside of me and I fell into the place that I’d not considered in a really long time. Okay maybe I’d never considered it ever. I fell into this door, this hole, this side street of distracting obsession about an almost completely offhand comment.
Sara Benincasa was talking in a podcast about liking a girl at her local coffee shop. Totally boring conversation fodder, but then she started talking about how the girl wasn’t just cute or pretty, but she was also interesting and cool and she had to be careful because she was thinking about the girl in a way that was less about how she liked the girl erotically, and more how she liked the girl in a distant conceptual way. I think she said, “Is this girl someone I want to fuck, or someone I want to be?” If that isn’t what she said, that is what I took from what they were discussing.
The conversation continued, and there was more going on in the podcast, but honestly the rest of it went through my ears and left no impression in my brain at all. None. Sarah Benincasa is charming, she does some good writing, and her comedy is very emotionally revealing, but the way she said that sentence, she made it sound like it was part of a therapy conversation. To me it was shockingly therapeutic.
I know that right now, because I have a lot of shit going on in my life, it is easier for me to obsess about things that really have nothing to do with the picture of my day to day. This podcast sentence is big in my brain. It has nothing really to do with my day to day. But still I’m not sure it doesn’t deserve some obsessing. I’ve never considered this idea.
The woman I want to be vs. the woman I want to fuck.
I’ve never even remotely considered the idea of separating them, like ever. I look back at my sexual history with women and I look at those women and they are all the delicate, beautiful, smart, punky, tiny little girls that I wanted to be when I was young. They were fine boned, they were petite, they were everything I was not. Being with them let me be more masculine, more protective, more tall and strong. I wasn’t honestly me with them, and my desire was confused as well.
But knowing that, what the fuck do I do with that knowledge? Be aware? Be hyper-aware? Be obsessive aware?
I don’t know. I really don’t.
I do know that this October will mark another year since I’ve been intimate, sexually active, or whatever euphemism I’m supposed to use. Another year of being too afraid to trust someone enough to show them my body, or kiss or cuddle or anything. As I obsess over what kind of girls I used to be with and what that means to me as a girl now, I can’t help but think about some of the girls that I wanted to be – not always the girls I fucked, just girls I wanted to be, some were friends, some lovers. I keep thinking about all these girls that were part of my life, and that I watched and kept finding myself lacking in comparison. As my mind wanders through my history and I think about this awareness I think about how my fears, my inability to trust people today, does that come from the girls I used to be with and want to be with, want to be? Is it new? Am I pieces of what I used to be, or am I tearing up all the pieces of those girls so that I can pretend that I have no female past and I can be a lumpy eunuch forever?
I think about that song from The Nails, 88 Lines about 44 Women, after listening to it, do you know more about the women? Do you know more about the singer? Does it stack up to make sense – to the listener or just to the person that wrote out all the lines? I think about some of the girls that I would write lines about, girls that changed my life, and I’m not sure writing about them would say more about me, or writing about them would say more about them.
There was Sarah and Jondelle. They were so tall, I just remember legs and legs and legs for days. When I think about what I wanted as a girl, it was legs. My boobs when they eventually came always seemed so pointless when compared to their long gorgeous legs.
There was Jeanne – all boob and fro. I broke laws for her, with her, near her. I’m still not sure if it was just good to be near her, or break laws with her.
There was Natasha. She was smart. Fuck was she smart, and again she had legs. I remember acres of pale porcelain skin with no leg hair. Pretty skin, smart brain, and legs for days – perfection.
There was Sara – no H – that was important and she made sure she said it every time she introduced herself. No H. No onions in her salad. No expressionists in her apartment. Rules. Sara was all about rules.
There was Cheyenne. She gave me my first trashy romance novel. She slept in a closet. She and I had lots in common, and nothing in common. I loved that she had plans and ideas and followed through. Plus her name was Cheyenne, she was special. Turned out she would hurt me too, but that is also kind of special.
Mindy. Her name was not short for anything. She didn’t wear stripper heels. She was five foot tall and was once mistaken for my daughter. Mindy was painfully beautiful, so beautiful a man once loitered by our table for a half hour attempting to get her number even though I was sitting right there and she’d made it clear she was with me. She loved being beautiful, but hated how stupid people assumed she was when they saw her.
There were girls that were part of my brownies troop that have all blurred together. I can’t remember names, but I can remember that one girl had straight straight straight blonde hair, one had freckles everywhere. I remember one girl had brothers, and didn’t take shit from any of them, I remember another girl had a brother that loved Kiss and a dad that loved the Beatles – I just remember how cool that seemed.
See – I’ve fallen into this obsessive place where I think about what I am, who I am, what that means, and none of it makes any more sense now than it did when I heard the sentence that broke open the door that started me obsessing. I think about The Nails song again, and I think maybe the point might be is that when you start to write down things about the people in your past, you just keep thinking about more and more people in your past. There are just more girls, more things I’ve learned, more faces, more memories, more things I’ve learned. I don’t know that any of it comes to any kind of conclusion.
As I start to get to the point where I need to stop typing, where I need to close the door on this whole I’m getting older, I’m thinking about girls, my life is in the middle of being a joke, I wonder what it is that I’m supposed to learn from the sentence that I heard.
I’ve met some amazing women? – possibly, but that seems a little small for all the obsessing.
Bitches be crazy? – too dismissive.
Be thankful for all the women you’ve met? – maybe.
Think things through? – fuck that noise.
I am a girl and I kind of want to be me. – this seems the most positive, and a good place to end on a birthday.
On another note, if I am in the middle of a joke, what is the punchline going to be? That I get to be 40 next year?