relationshipping, the sex

Living with the ex

isn’t easy.

I’m out, having drinks with friends and it’s getting late.  My phone buzzes, the ex asks if it’s cool for her date to crash on the couch as she’s missed the last train.  The ex goes on to say that her date has to catch the first train (5AM hour).  Sure, I reply.  I feel for anyone who’s missed the last train (side note: it’s annoying that the trains and subways don’t run 24/7), plus the girl will be gone before I need to get ready for my day.

I approach my apartment around 2AM, anticipating the ex and date’s presence but no one’s home.  It’s a bit of a mess so I ask for an ETA and if she wants me to tidy up.  I clean up the living room, ready pillows and a blanket then crash.

Holy fuck they’re loud and so fucking drunk.  I roll over, squint at my phone…4:07.  Goddammit.  Why are they even here for less than an hour?  I try to go back to sleep but I’m annoyed so sleep is a hard sell.  Just. Sleep.  Fucking sleep.

The date’s pretty loud; my ex hushes her a few times, as successfully as a wasted person can.  Then they start making out.  There’s something so fucking distinct about make out sounds and apparently I can’t filter that shit out.  And I’m currently pissed.  WHY didn’t they stay out?  What’s 45 more minutes of hanging making out before her first train?  They can make out someplace— oh shit, please don’t have them do the sex.  I’m tired, currently cranky and simply don’t have it in me to listen to my ex doing it.

So.

Enter music library.
Select all songs, random play.
Turn the volume UP.

I hear an, “Oh shit.”
Then silence save for some CHVRCHES song.

Phew.

I’ve already witnessed one ex make the new GF orgasm, an ex-roommate fucking potential BF; I sure as hell don’t need a repeat.
The shit sparks some emotional reactions and once twice is enough.

I’m able to sleep for about two hours before I beat my alarm to a wake up.  I’m hopeful that the place will be cleared.  And by ‘cleared’, if I mean that a half-naked ex and date are strewn on the couch, then total success has happened.  They’re so passed out from many hours of drinking— god, I can smell the sweet-stale sweat reek of last night/this morning’s booze wafting off of them…hey, hooray for not worrying about tip-toeing as I get ready.  This small detail relieves me and my irritation level immediately drops; after all, I’m sincerely happy that my ex had, clearly, a successful first date with this girl.

Living with the ex: it’s not intolerable but it’s not ideal and sometimes just plain hard.

Then there’s me, my actions, the hurt they cause said ex.
But that warrants its own post.

 

 

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relationshipping

My kind of romantic

goes like this:

They don’t exchange wedding rings; they’re pretty damn poor.

There’s a wedding, a celebration with some family and great friends, the best music, tons of laughter and dancing and drinks and recreational drugs (it’s the 70’s and they’re very un-square).  It’s a fun time for all, through and through.  The honeymoon is a road trip via Harley Davidson.

She works.  So. Damn. Hard.
She is the superstrong magnet that draws everyone— especially troubled ones— and they feel safe unloading their woes; she’s their best ally.  Everyone who has at least one significant chat with her experience her wisdom and biting Southern wit, a memorable combination.  Chats are significant, not only because of content but in that moment, you believe that nothing is more important to her than spending that time with you.

He’s the life of the party.  He never holds back.  Ever.
With him, it’s a love-hate relationship.  His friends are the most loyal bunch and the hatred he inspires is equally longstanding.  Let’s just say that his fierce op-ed piece about a certain university’s racist subterfuge sure as hell has consequences along the lines of: anyone bearing his last name can forget about an acceptance letter.  He will always call you out on bullshit, which is mostly awesome but sometimes it’s exhausting but when it reaches that point, he’s the first to ask who’s got the joint: relaxed and cutting humor enters and stays for the night.  It’s a good time.

Over the years there are children, taking care of sick parents, looking after criminal and addicted siblings, building an incredibly successful business and meaningful births and deaths many times over.  They take many trips around their native United States and abroad, some are more challenging than others (Mexico with children, say) but all are memorable and what else matters as we age and reflect?

Twenty-five years of marriage pass.  They’re in France, enjoying Paris as only such devoted francophiles can.  They have incredible gastronomic adventures, study history, look at art and shop.  One night, they meet up after solo shopping and he’s sporting his big purchase, a classic Hermès leather bomber jacket— super cool and ruggedly handsome.  They exchange stories, laugh, drink.

Before the night ends, he produces a single jewelry box: Cartier.
She opens it: her wedding ring.

Absolutely perfect.
So romantic.

 

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relationshipping

Heady beginnings

are a weakness.

Loaded pauses, hypnotizing and consuming conversations— but about what, I don’t remember because what I’m left with is how I feel, which is simply great.

The newborn teenager that is potential love is a beautiful beast.  Its insistent and unignorable presence is such a flood of feel-good that all energies revolve around It.

I agree to help him out with an art project.  I’d said five? words over the course of a year to him before that night.  Project tasking goes well; the chat that follows, even better.  There’s something that we see and feel in the other; a significant something where four hours pass like twenty minutes.  Then the almost-nauseating nerves(!) that strike before I call him, just because I want to hear his voice.  I’m nervous because there’s no practical reason to call, nowhere to go after, “Hey…”

But he makes it so easy.
“Hey…I can hear the smile in his voice, which makes me smile.  I was wondering when you’d call…”

And the only awkwardness is the bit I created in my head.

When I next talk to him it’s in person and before I know it, we’re on the floor of a gallery, fucking.

It’s amazing the number of firsts that so quickly and effortlessly happen with this new, fascinating stranger.   Before two weeks pass, I realize how many ‘I would nevers’ have occurred.  It’s exciting and it’s so damn fun.

The ordinary becomes extraordinary and the hitherto unfamiliar, forever memorable.

A different beginning, another time: I’m so caught up in thoroughly romantic feelings that when I open a ring box, expecting jewelry and see instead, a single perfect-in-its-imperfection delicate coil shell, my heart immediately goes, “Aww…”  Then when I unwrap an even more delicate coil of paper with four simple words and a question mark, of course I whisper, “Yes.”

I’m young, naïve, and utterly in love.

Recently, a friend observes that I write a lot about endings.
Yes, I do.
I learn the most from endings as they’re so varied and often a mindfuck— but wow, do I learn my limits.
But I get his point.
Why not include the priceless, unique and intoxicating pure awesomeness that starts every good love story?
Without that heady start, we just don’t fall so hard.

And falling is…everything.

 

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relationshipping

I lose

my best friend every time a major relationship ends.

They’re kind-of annoying as shit to deal with— as am I— because we’re simultaneously trying to sort our own shit with our heads pretty far up our individual asses.
And those lingering details…

Who gets which car?
Joint purchases?
Debt?
Ha.

The shit overwhelms at moments and I deal by listening to band du jour on repeat and smoking dope until the banking day is over.  I procrastinate until I can’t, otherwise I’ll bust a vein in my pretty face from a massive panic attack threatening coronary.  I breathe, get my coffee and pull up the calculator.  Let’s go.  Okay, not so bad.  These digits aren’t too bad.  Oh fuck.  There’s another set of cards.  And loans.  And car payments.  And insurance.  And just…more shit.  Life costs.  Ten years of shared life is damn expensive.  Oh crap this is going to take— just add.  Keep adding.  Finally.  Moment of grand total truth.

So I suck at math.
I don’t really know what a budget is.
Whenever I’m at break up point, I have left the finances in the hands of the other so I have NO IDEA what debt situation awaits me.
My saving grace is I hate being ingratiated because that makes me breathe not so well, my brain gets spinny-cloudy and I’m incredibly impatient about getting my freedom back.

My real saving grace?
We didn’t buy a house together.
In America, getting divorced is so much easier than unjoining a house purchase.
We did one undeniably smart thing— yea!

You’d think I’d learn from the first time around.

I repeat my mantra, not only to myself but to him:
No cohabitating, no joining finances.
No cohabitating, no joining finances.

No cohabitating, no joining finances.

I maintain this.
For three months.

Then he falls on hard times and it’s easier to stay in the same house but more than anything, I can’t see past love, laughter, commitment, and an ever tightening vision of a permanent future.

I tell myself:
Even if it all goes to shit, I’ve done this before.  If I can untangle 10 years, I can work through however this may end.  But he’s also really kind and I know he won’t lie to me or screw me over financially so…what’s there to fear?

Not shit, really.
The headache and annoyance of separating seems like a disrespectful and shallow thing to consider when there’s true care, consideration and love present.

Years pass.

Then we break up.

When we’re young we hesitate to date our best friends because the potential double loss of best friend and lover is a big risk.
But I tell myself the greater the risk of hurt and loss, the greater the love.
So of course I run that risk.

Then I realize there’s even more to lose: we had become each other’s family.

The ending is damn hard.  And lonely.
But always worth the risk.

 

 

 

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relationshipping

The joke

My eyeballs need cocaine

is on me.
Again.

So there’s nothing like time and distance to get over someone.
I excise the other from my life to move on.
It really helps.

I think I’ve got recovering from heartbreak down— yea!
I create emotional distance through physical distance.
I make sure our worlds don’t collide and my brain-heart is trained: the second I sniff voluntary distance (from me or the other), emotional detachment follows.

As usual, when I’m pretty confident that I can get through one emotional puzzle, the universe throws a giant hamster ball in my path.
I get a conundrum wrapped in the guise of a three-part love present.

1) I fall for someone.
2) I fall hard.
3) It’s. Long. Distance.

Of course it is.
Motherfucker.

I have trained my instincts so well that this situation is a mindfuck.
What— get close to someone when they’re countless miles and time zones away?
Are we really establishing a foundation over text?!
This sounds stupid and I shake my head at myself.

Except for the damn love, people.

And we meet so seldom that every time feels like the first time.
What am I doing?

Usually I fall in love and into a relationship like the oldest lesbian U-Haul joke we all know.
I need to learn how to pace myself in a relationship but I don’t know if this— the complete opposite— is the answer.
But it sure as hell is a lesson in a different kind of patience.

I tell myself to stay in the moment and relax when we meet even though my brain knows the moment has a very short lifespan.  There are so many thoughts, stories, feelings of the mundane and extraordinary I want to share but when I’m confronted with T minus 150 minutes and counting— I am rendered mute because my heart beats in time to the tick-tick-tock of the countdown clock.  And what are words when I can actually touch this person?  Because we’ve been wording 6,000 times over for the past too many days.

I give in to the clock; I acknowledge but don’t begrudge its presence.
I experience the moment since this moment is what I have.

I am grateful.
And excited.

And terrified.

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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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relationshipping

Denial vengeance

Inpatientis a thing and it is NOT fun.

We go to the show and my <10-day ex tells me, “The singer’s totally checking you out.”
“Really?!!”

That’s awesome for my self-esteem.  I look over to their merch stand and as I make eye contact with the singer, she walks to the bathroom.  My ex follows her.

They emerge some minutes later and my ex tells me about her conversation with the cute singer:
I told her I liked their set, that we came from Memphis to see them.   She asked who ‘we’ meant, I pointed to you and said, my girlfriend.

Oh.

Except we’re broken up.  And you have a crush.

My ex continues:
Since we’re not going to have sex, I’m going to see *** (her crush).

Slam my heart against the wall a little harder, why don’t you?  Just like that my ex has simultaneously cock-blocked someone I could have some random fun with AND informed me that she’ll be driving two hours to see her crush, leaving me no way to get around this small unknown town for the night.  Awesome.

It’s a damn shitty, gross feeling to know that as I’m sweating stale beer and starving, my ex is out talking to, kissing? fucking?! her crush.  Love has no rules and new love doesn’t suffer fools gladly; it is too young, wild and headstrong to pause for words like consideration and other people’s feelings.

Insomnia hits.  My stomach growls because I want greasy, hot, melty food (preferably of the starchy variety) to sop up my show alcohol, but I can’t NOT think about my ex potentially fucking her new someone and that instantly nauseates me.  I stare blankly at the TV.

3:30, 4, 4:30AM.

Thank god my little compadre pooker is with me; her familiar muzzle and warm little body comforts me.  I hug my little Izzy dog and we try to sleep.

5:30, 6, 6:30AM.

Sleep never comes but my ex comes back to drive us home.

She looks exhausted and I almost offer to drive the first bit so she can crash but I just. don’t. have. it. in. me.

I think a fuck of a lot the whole way home.

We had a remarkable decade

but

I have no regrets of an ending of us.

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relationshipping, the sex

The last time

Inpatientis a mindfuck.

I never know that the last sex will be the last sex.
It’s a hollow shock once realization hits.

***

We break up.
Oh, right, we did buy those tickets for the show next week.
In another state, hotel room for the night.
We decide to go.
Ol’ times sake.

We sit at a famed meat-and-three joint on the road to the show.  We’re quiet, but able to maintain conversation.  Things feel comfortable for the first time in our post-break-up world.  I look out the window, breathing in the cloudless Missouri sky; it’s a beautiful blue and suddenly—

Her: What?  What is it?  Why are you looking like that now?
Me: I’m just processing…you really want to know?
Her: Yeah, you got obviously sad and quiet all of a sudden.
Me: It just hit me that we’ve had our last sex.
Her: Silence.  Whoa this is weird; she’s never at a loss for words.
Me: What’s up?  Are you okay?
Her: I thought we’d have sex tonight, you know, because…it’d be the perfect ending.
Me: Seriously?!  But we’re broken up…and I need to process that and…I just…can’t.

She’s affected, which surprises me.
Slow tears roll down her face, which floors me.

Neither of us eat anything else and as I pay for the check she gets on her phone.
She’s texting her crush, who happens to live not so far from where the show is.

I can count the number of days we’ve been broken up.  She has a new crush.  Why the hell would I think she’d want to have a last sex?

She drives.
I think.

A meaningful last sex sounds sweet but sweet sentimentality like this is not a language I speak.  As she grieves over a last sex that won’t happen, I recall and play our last in my head.  Only because it was fairly recent am I able to remember any of the details: she came, I came and a plastic bottle, one-third full of orange-colored Vitamin Water stands on the edge of the platform bed.  Wow, that was our last time.  That the damn bottle of Vitamin Water is the most detailed part of last sex memory indicates how unremarkable it was.

***

A decade of sex: many firsts, orgasms, toys, locations, positions, the list goes on.
I believe in the decade of messy, innocent, funny, awkward, loving, real moments…not in a perfectly designed last memory as my heart still breaks.

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relationshipping, the sex

A meaningful first

My eyeballs need cocaineis possible.

“Sometimes I’m grateful that the first time I had sex was someone I was in love with but sometimes I think it set me up for years of disappointment,” says my insightful and beautiful soulmate.

I ponder this as first sex is on my mind this week.  With each new person, the sex changes; it’s always a totally different experience and not fairly comparable in the context of relationships.

I don’t have expectations of grandeur when it comes to first sex.  It’s been boring, unexpected, romantic, fun, exciting, drunk, awesome, exhausting, curious, painful, sweet, incredibly nerve-wrecking and possibly…love?  Never the same and always revealing.  What can I say, the nekked is an interesting tell, from grooming habits to…well, the naked truth.

So no grand expectations but in a relationship, evolution is crucial.  How it evolves depends on the other person and navigating that how has been the most fun and fascinating thing.  I learn about myself, my person, limits, curiosities et al.

Toys?  Sure, but not all and which ones really depend on my person.  And not all the time.  Public sex?  Why not?  But just how much of an exhibitionist is (s)he?  These are interesting reveals.  Cabs are fun, galleries and theaters too but as they give way to tiny, red-bulb bathrooms and I’m increasingly missing a warm bed and lazy sheets, a limit is within reach.  Then there’s open relationships.  Some, like S, can do this beautifully whereas I end up confused and emotionally drained; great in theory but a mess in my practice.  Or, You want me to tie you up?  Not a problem until I realize that I’m terrible at knots which is kind-of a problem and when it’s either do my damn knot homework or move on, I walk.  Then there are the myriad variations within the realm of two people simply doing it.

Oh relationships…sometimes the sex is disappointing and the ending even more so but looking back, I don’t remember the mediocre or even bad sex.

I remember the awkward sweetness of youth, fumbling out-of-sync, habits and routines, random on-drugs camping, the laughter, rocky boats, staying silent, the cocoon of stars so close to the equator we are floating in the sky, the most comfortable bed ever because it’s ours.

I remember making up, rainy days, early mornings, late nights, breakfast in bed, different beds in different cities, states, countries and seasons changing.

I remember the love.

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open relationship, relationshipping, trans talk

I’m the Q

You are a slutpuppy“Bless your heart but you are so not a lesbian,” says S.

The fact that we can have this honest conversation is huge.
The fact that S can have her sense of humor about a hurtful point of conflict is even huger.

Until this moment, S would often wonder why I couldn’t stay attracted to her if she’s still the same fabulous person on the inside and I was in a lesbian relationship for a decade.  In her shoes, I’d wonder the same thing but the best truth I’ve got is: the attraction cooled to something tepid within me and tepid is a pretty lame concessionary temperature for a love relationship.

I nod and recollect, ” ***(my long-term ex before S) said the same thing when we were dating.”
S shakes her head and pats my own.  “It’s really LGBT-supportive and I love you for it but you are not gay.”

I concede this point.

Before S, I maintain that I fall in love with the person, not the gender.  Although that statement pretty much announces my bisexuality, by mentioning gender, I qualify being a lesbian and/or having been in a lesbian relationship.  It’s as though I can’t commit to simply being gay, even though I was in a lesbian relationship for a decade.  No wonder my long-term ex wouldn’t call me a ‘real’ lesbian; it took over half the length of that relationship before I’d say was a l-l-lesbian.  
Then we broke up.

As S transitions, I am forced to dissect how true this ‘not the gender’ assertion is.
It’s not so true.

Without a doubt, my relationship history defines me as bisexual.  However, every person I have dated since S and I have open-relationshipped and broken up has been male, which then makes me feel like a bit of a liar if I call myself bi in the present.  But the second I identify as a straight girl, I have a feeling the universe will find a way to have the last laugh.

So.

In my apparent quest to self-identify, I’ll go with queer.
I’m the Q in LGBTQ.

Because one sure thing is that my past, present and future sexual identity and experiences sure as hell (will) fall outside the hetero-defined mainstream.

Thank. God.

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