random love

Ha.

You know that feeling when you see someone you think you know but it’s totally not them?

Here’s my version:
“You’re almost at 6th?  Ten minutes?  Alright.”

A familiar black Honda Accord pulls to a stop in front of me, Rasta cap and dreads behind the wheel.  I open the door and slide into the passenger seat, cheerfully “Hey ma— oh SHITshitshitshit…you’re not him.”

My eyes are supersaucers and my shocked mouth can’t connect word-thoughts with my frozen brain.

I’ve just walked into a stranger’s car.
Off the street.

fuckfuckfuckfuck.

While I’m mentally oh-shitting myself, Rastaman with the most dazzling smile and reassuring voice says to me, to the beat of the happy-peace-chill music in the background, “Wachu want, baby?  Relaaax…I got wachu want.”  And it really doesn’t sound as skeezy as that reads.

Reality snap: I inhale the tell-tale, weedy-incense drug scent that permeates the car and what are the odds?!

Do I go for it?  He’s not a narc, right?  I mean, he’s in the exact same make and model as my regular dude and the fucking dreads and hat, for chrissakes.  These eerie similarities make me think paranoid thoughts like:
This is a set-up.
Why on earth would I be set-up?
I don’t buy serious quantity.
I don’t sell the shit.
Is this really just a fucking weird coincidence?
I just smoke a lot of dope.
I’m wholesome, c’mon.

While I’m exercising neuroticism, Rastaman asks me what I was going to buy.  And he proceeds to show me the most green shit I’ve seen in a while.  Nice.  Hmm…time to negotiate while I wonder about the moral code of switching dealers.  I always need a back-up and his shit is better than my regular dude’s— for the same price.  Speaking of, where the fuck is my regular guy?!  He’s super late at this point.  This is a no-brainer.

The deal is done.
He gives me his card— 007.

I exit the car and my heart starts to beatbeatpound.  I hope really hard that no one stops me.  I want my trusting instincts to prove me right.  I’m anxious, walking quickly but not too suspiciously quickly, fighting the urge to look behind me.  Surely no one’s behind me.  As I reach my block, I finally breath sweet relief and smile huge.

Because I just ditched Bugs Bunny for James Bond.

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random love

Would I be a better person

if I had an imaginary child?

I never wanted children.
Except for a 45-day window with a boyfriend, before said boyfriend revealed he was transgender.

At age eight I remember announcing at the dinner table, “I don’t want kids and I don’t want to get married.”
No reaction from parents (duh); shit, I wouldn’t even be able to conceive for a few more years anyway.

Fast forward decades…I wander around my neighborhood on this flawlessly beautiful spring day.  I see single-digit school children in matching yellow caps (it’s a Japan thing) clambering over each other and playground slides, swingy things, geometric metal structures and hear their high-pitch screams.  Those screams make me smile as they are pure and unabashed joy.

Their happy human noises make me feel free, which is so counter to how I have often thought of life with children.

And I wonder: if I live my life wanting to lead by example whilst considering this person I have extreme influence over, how different would my choices be?  Or: could I cut through the bullshit 100 times faster because indecision is indulgent and/or a waste of time?  I reckon I’d make helluva better use of my time because— confession— there is nothing more indulgent than an alarm-less nothing-planned day for me.  I feel the indulgence because before the day is up, it never fails that my brain goes, “whywhywhy didn’t I X-Y-Z when I had so many hours?!”

Damn it.

Why?
Because peace tags along with a quiet, lazy day.
And American television is so supremely awesome right now.
That’s right, I’m witnessing cultural history.  (Ahem… The Voice and Game of Thrones).

I digress.
Kids.

This isn’t a bio-rhythmic pounding of my ovaries thing.
It’s a reaction to a tough week, one where I confront the limits of compromise without compromising myself.  It’s a combination of being a more chilled-out person (one who realizes the thought of having children will not impregnate me) and actively wanting to find a new way to pull my head out of my very emo ass.  There are always life goals and obstacles running concurrently and interference with each other but the overarching objective has and always will be evolution of the self without the self-absorption.  Children help that endeavor as with them comes unavoidable stretches of capacity of the physiological, mental and emotional variety.

Constant growth.
It’s important.
It’s my hope.

 

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random love

It’s not fair

This is personalthat it costs this much for me to exist.

No, it’s not.

She means it’s not fair to me and our joint finances.
I mean it’s not fucking fair that the world we live in is such a place that her transition and maintenance costs what it does.

I feel ranty.

Here we go:
The crossroads of cancer, mental illness, ERs, ambulances, lab fees, hormones, disability, coverage, prescription medicine and freedom of choice have left me incredibly pessimistic about health and care and democracy.
In America.

Terminal illness with ‘awesome’ insurance means the drugs that could prolong death for a few weeks still cost $500/pill.  The system is one where disability can go through…just doesn’t mean it will happen before the applicant dies.
Go bureaucracy.

S’s monthly hormones become an increasingly uphill battle; because it’s not difficult enough living in a world with zero laws protecting transsexuals, let alone rights.
LGB……………………T

Emergency medicine is a scary Medusa-head all its own.  It really sucks to have a monetized statement that makes one feel like they’ll be paying for their life for the rest of their life.
Existing=living above one’s means?!

And that’s not even mentioning health maintenance.

Motherfuck y’all, I don’t believe in American health insurance.
I have zero trust in medicine, which is really sad as I believe in science and technology but those pharmaceutical companies feel so damn dirty.
I believe in x-rays and sonograms and the more dimensions of the latter, the better.
I believe in keeping stress at bay and vitamin-B shots.
I believe in hydration and safer sex.
I believe in exercise and education.

I don’t even believe in lab results.
They test my urine and say it can only be classified as NON-HUMAN because there aren’t enough proteins.  They ask/accuse me if I substituted my urine.  Jesus fucking the Virgin Mary because it hurts so good, NO.  I did not trap my dog’s urine.

And no, life isn’t fair.
If life were fair, there wouldn’t be blind people, said one of the most smart(ass) men I’ve ever met.

But isn’t that why this democracy thing exists?
To help balance the naturally occurring challenges that happen to every single one of us?

I feel so 1984 pre-bubble bursting optimistic but we’re only as strong as the weakest among us, right?
And so many are in a weakened position.

Fuck the marginalization.
Fuck fucking each other over.

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random love

I love

Jealousymy bitches.
My right-hands.

ARGH.
I can’t fit it all in one post.
There’s too much- chats, saving my ass, working, sharing, bitching, whiskeying.
Too much fun, crying, laughter.
Too much love.

So.

It’s cold in February.
Tokyo’s chocolate heart explosions have come and gone (by the way the focus here is chocolate from the females on Valentine’s and the guys reciprocate on White Day, next month.  This country loves hetero-consumerism).
Which reminds me of my favorite V-Day tradition…

My bitches and I wear unglamorous but soft, flannel-y, fleece-y things and cheers to brown drinks on the rocks.
The oven is preheating and we do this:

Um…I’m in love with an alcoholic.
You used a condom right?

Did you use a condom?!

The one who can cook (motto: no babies, only beards) puts cookie dough on baking sheets as my young, pre-professional right-hand and I peruse the containers of magical toppings that will turn simple, golden sugar cookies into delightfully inappropriate treats to be shared with our work family in a number of hours.

We have red, pink, purple gel and cream icings.
Multi-colored sprinkles, red and pink glittery sugar dust.
Cookie dough goes in the oven.

I’m excited and feel the whiskey gently warming my cheeks…cozy times.

I blurt:
I think I’m pregnant.

These two are my damn truth serum, as my worry thought just spills out of me.

Really?
When are you supposed to bleed?
Not soon enough.  Fuck.
Plan B time.
Sigh.  I know.
Want me to go buy it for you now?
Damn they’re so sweet and waste no time taking care of fucking business.
Basically, they ROCK.
Nah…I’ll get it tonight and take it.

Ding!

As the cookies cool, we test out different icing tips and ready all the little containers.
And the fun begins.

V-A-G
CUNT- yes.
I think my penis looks weird.
I can’t fit the balls on this thing.
Uh…this tip is messed up.  I think I broke it.
It’s too big!
God, this gel icing is gross.  EW.
Chlamydia or gonorrhea?
You can fit that shit on there?
So…the nips are melding into each other.
Just sprinkle a shit-ton of glitter on it.
How do you spell—
Boobs.
Just boobs.

We turn into Valentine’s elves, gleefully creating dirty sweets that taste like total crap but will get eaten nonetheless because: the love, people.
Who doesn’t want to eat some sweet cunt on this lovers day?

More than a few 2.14s have passed since we’ve baked cookies and goofily giggled like pubescent tweens.

We’ve gone from living in the same house and/or across the street to different states and continents; we see each other a fuck of a lot less but they’re still my truth serum.

We witness big and little changes of the work, heartbreak, marriage, graduation variety.
We take pregnancy tests together, 7,000 miles apart.
We grow some and stay the same.
When I’m broken, they help.

And even though we 10,000 word-text each other and have marathon video chats, sometimes I just want a fucking whiskey with my bitches.
At a table.
In person.

Love y’all.

P.S. Also, shout out to my bitches in SF/Oakland, DC, Spain, Bahamas, Colorado, SoCal, Cambridge/NYC, Montreal, Memphis and Tokyo…thank you.

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about Japan, random love, relationshipping

It’s time

My eyeballs need cocaineto visit my grandparents’ grave.  I want to scrub-brush the tombstone, take some pretty flowers, burn some incense, put my hands together and pray.

Their grave is on a mountainside and the view is stunning; however, the sheer size of this cemetery is intimidating.  I’ll need a map and it’ll take me twenty times as long to find their grave as it will to sit, pray, think, love.

Some of my earliest memories are at my grandparents’ home in rural Japan.

A single-digit me hangs out in the piney front yard with huge moss-covered boulder-stones, awesome bonsai, random fruit trees, flowers sprouting jolts of color and a little stream running sweet, cold water.

My morning routine: cut through the superskinny passageway connecting our house to my grandmother’s sister’s home and walk around the foresty hill behind the house.  I collect various beetles as I get mercilessly bitten by mosquitoes but no matter because I’m off and running to the local candy shop and grocery where the shopkeepers think me a lovable but strange novelty, being reared in the States.  I say neighborhood hellos and discover chocolate-covered strawberry bon-bons(!!!) from a vending machine next to the neighborhood shrine; cicadas rhythmically scream-buzz in the humid afternoons, rows and rows of them encircle the tall shrine tree trunks.  Finding those bon-bons was a fucking awesome day.

My aunt wakes around noon and I watch her hour-long makeup routine in awe; her lipstick palette alone fascinates me for many minutes.  She was a model in Tokyo when she was young; many decades later, she’s no doubt the hippest woman in this quiet town.  She loves to tango and has many male admirers; my uncle’s joy over this is easily measured in the cans of beer that stack up, the brick thrown in her face was a little more direct.  Sometimes it takes her too many hours to finish her makeup so an impatient me plays in a field, looks for four-leaf clovers and makes necklaces out of weedy flowers.  Sometimes I ride the bus to explore neighboring towns but mostly I walk around, suck nectar from honeysuckles, balance on raised concrete borders of rice paddies and stare at tadpoles and frogs.

As the sky starts to turn pink-orange, I buy beer and cigarettes from adjacent vending machines for my uncle and cousin, respectively.  They drink and smoke while I light fireworks at night, sometimes with my next-door second cousins, sometimes not.

The family was tight.

So tight that when my older cousin gets too involved with the Yakuza, he lives with us in the states until- years later- he can resume life in Japan.

So tight that when his younger brother gets into rougher and rougher shenanigans at school, it’s his turn to live with us.

So fucking tight that this cousin uses an eight-year-old me for firsthand sex ed.

He doesn’t have to ask me to keep our secret.

I look up to him; I block it out of my mind.
It didn’t happen.

Nothing.

Happened.

As long as he lives with us, I don’t say anything.

Even when he ‘asks’ me to watch porn with him.
And taunts me (some days I’m really dumb and not cute, other days I’m a brilliant beauty; this confuses me).
And breaks my collarbone.

I don’t hate him.
I don’t know that I will ever hate him.

Even as he continues to mess with a ten, eleven, twelve-year-old me.
Even after a fifteen-year-old me feels immense relief that he has a girlfriend.
Only to find a box of Polaroids that he’s taken of me while I was asleep.

At seventeen I can’t deny what happened anymore; memory flashes disrupt my suburban teenage-hood.
At nineteen I tell my parents.

I still don’t hate him.
Even after my dad confronts him and he calls me a crazy bitch.
And a liar.

My grandparents are dead; it’s no longer their home.
And I’m no longer welcome there.

The greatest irony?
As I’m on this island, many years later and planning to visit my grandparents grave, I miss that family.
I didn’t quite realize the ultimatum: saving myself means goodbye to them forever.

Usually thinking about them doesn’t bum me out but apparently on a night like this, as I reflect, it makes me tremendously sad.

We don’t get many givens in this life.
Family is one of them.

Sometimes.

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random love, the sex

Let’s talk about sex

InpatientBut where to start?

How about one of my firsts.
I was 19 years old.

Me: Wait, what’s his name?
BFF: ***.  He’s really cool and he wants to meet you since he’s ***’s (her boyfriend’s) best friend and you’re my best friend and you happen to be in New York.
Me: Sure, why not.  I’ll see when I’m off this week.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

I know this guy likes to party, way more and harder than I do so my judgy mind expects a strung-out skeletal raver-kid who could be beautiful or with fucked up speedy teeth and bad skin who can’t stop scratching himself.

He’s actually much more wholesome-looking than I expect and quite polite but that could just be an effect of his charming English accent.  The strangest thing is how safe I feel around him and maybe it’s nothing more than my internal radar believing that if I don’t acquiesce, he won’t sex.  Either way, I trust him enough to easily “sure,” when he asks if I want to party.

His friends live in a way too fucking cool for school apartment in a doorman building and they’re already SMAAaa-shed.  Actually, considering that they haven’t left their place for almost three days, they are in that dreamy-haze state that saw wasted over 36 hours ago.  We’re just in time for nitrous rounds!  But I stick to my familiar weed and alcohol as he snorts, smokes and rapid-inhales a motley assortment until he’s blue in the face.  He stays blue-violet long enough that not only am I worried (of course I’m worried) but his friend who showed up god-knows-when is worried, until said friend takes a hit of something and disappears into his own high world.

Time suddenly morph-warp speeds as happens when drugs happen and as we’re sitting in a diner eating many plates of pierogies, I need to decide if I want to have sex with him because his friend is asking him if he needs a place to crash.  He still feels safe to me and as tends to happen when shared experiences take place, I feel close to him.  So why not?  Yeah, come back to my crappy dorm room.

He uses a condom.
I intake sharply as he decidedly fucks me.
He cums.
All in all, he’s pretty sweet and gentle.
I reach for a cigarette and quickly become lost in thought as I inhale delicious nicotine.
He joins me for a smoke- “Oh, right!”- because that’s what you do after a fuck?
He crashes, thank god.
I go to the bathroom and look at myself in the mirror.

So that was that.

He didn’t say degrading things that make me feel inadequate and dirty.
I didn’t fix my eyes on a single, burning bulb, willing it to render me blind to erase what was happening.
I had no problem looking at him the next day, directly in the eyes to say, “I’ve got to go to work so you’ve got to go.”

It was devoid of any meaning.
That it was a meaningless act made it absolutely meaningful; a first of many in the realm of sex.

My first one-night stand was the first time I had sex.

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random love, relationshipping

Let’s jump ponds

Sex changesIt’s time for an adventure.

But why does anyone do an international move?
To find themselves
or to run away.

Before I started dating S, I knew I’d move from the American South but that was to be a decidedly domestic decision between my beloved NYC and possibly Philadelphia.

Then when S and I got serious, so did the international-ness of next destination- Spain or Japan.

Why Japan?

I used to give what I thought was a well thought-out answer:
I wanted to get in touch with my cultural roots.
I wanted to be in a big city again.
I wanted to be in a more creative city.

As the move-out date approaches after S comes out as trans, I begin to doubt.
I ask S on occasion, “We’re not pulling a geographic with this move, are we?”

She’s not.
She’s fulfilling her original goal of living abroad.
She’s had enough of America and her mostly very conservative and narrow-minded hometown.

But me?

I think if I name the thing I don’t want to be guilty of, it will keep it at bay. Except every time I want reassurance that I’m not running away, something in my gut sends an, uh-oh alert to my brain. As in, I’m definitely running away. Because these days more than simply wanting an adventure, I want to be in a new place. I want to consider my transsexual relationship away from the trappings of a small and (too) familiar town where everyone who finds out about S’s transsexuality has a pointed opinion they are not shy about sharing; usually it’s ultimately supportive (after many questions) but sometimes it’s downright mean.

A year and some months pass and I think about living in Japan.
I haven’t run away yet as I haven’t escaped the confrontations that come with a rigorous raking over of me and S’s future.
Case in point: we are no longer coupled and despite moments of wanting to jet on the immediate, I stay put. I work out the highs and lows of living in a far-off unfamiliar that still doesn’t feel like home. I’m also at peace knowing that I may not ever feel completely at home here; Tokyo was never intended as a final destination.

As for finding myself, that’s certainly happened and continues to, thank goodness. This life is an often funny and delightful little mindfuck in that just when I’ve figured something out, made the hard choice and breathed a sigh of, “Okay…that bit is finished,” I am shocked at what comes next.

So the next side of my never-ending relationship Rubik’s cube?
I’m just beginning to unpuzzle this one but it revolves around a specific notion of control as a new adventure begins…

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