relationshipping

The flip-side

Truth or tactA heartbroken me walks home from a party.
It’s a long walk.  But when your heart is alternately in your throat and drag-flopping on the pavement with every step, an hour is a fast pass.

I’m still in love with my ex.  We got married a few weeks ago so I could stay in the country and tonight we’re finally going out for the first time as friends, to celebrate the marriage.  The other day she saw me getting sentimental about marriage and set me straight with, “You know this is just a visa marriage, right?”  I kept staring at the screen then, nodding, “yeah.”

Ouch.

But I’m excited; we haven’t gone out together in this new city yet and I’ve been looking forward to getting ready with her.  It’s a good way to break friendship ground.

Then she asks if it’d be cool if we meet up at the party instead because this guy that she’s been non-stop texting just asked her to dinner.  Goddammit she’s into him.  It’s been like two days since they’ve started talking but I can tell she likes him, probably more than she even knows or is willing to admit.

“If that’s what you want to do…”
“Are you sure?”
Of course I’m not sure but I’m not supposed to have to tell her that.  She’s supposed to know that we had plans to go to this thing together.

“Just…go.”

Before she’s even out the door, the tears fall fast, heavy and loud.
I try to will her to come back but with every stupid second that hollows me out I have to face that she’s gone.

***

I scan the room for her, as her friends have been asking where she is.
She’s never been one to be on time exactly but if she says she’s going to be there, she will.  Finally she comes up to me, bright smile and looking as fucking beautiful as ever.  Damn her.
…and him.  Great.  Of course he’s here.  I hate him on sight.

I get interviewed by the promoters of the club, my trusty friend helping to translate every so often.  I’m proud of myself for answering most of the questions in my non-native tongue first time out.  I scan the room in-between chatting it up with random folks here and there.  I can’t help but wonder where she is, I want to tell her about my interview.

I see her.
On. His. Lap.
Making out.

***

I’m tired of attempting to answer where the hell she disappeared to.  I have no idea but saying that is an embarrassing admittance that— that I don’t know where she is, like I used to.  She isn’t holding herself accountable to me.  I hate this realization.

I’m spent.  I’ve drunk but I’m not drunk.  I’m hurt.  I cry.  I had such expectations of this night; one of celebrating a new chapter for us, married best friends who love the hell out of each other.  This was supposed to be the most fun night yet.  We used to have such a blast going out, getting drunk, talking and laughing…god we used to laugh hard together.

Memories start to flood and the tears flood even harder to keep up with the flashback onslaught: falling in love, moving in together, knowing this is the person I want to spend the rest of my life with, trave— and I have to sit because feeling the heart break can’t be done standing solo.  I sit on a curb in the early fucking morning.  I sob.

Of course I don’t hear his footsteps.  I don’t hear or notice anything until I feel the back of my head jammed forward onto some guy’s dick.  He forces my mouth open and rams it in.  If I had a gag reflex it’d be in full revolt but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to vomit.  Except I can’t because the shock, my empty emotional self, this whole fucking night has left me void.

I don’t care anymore.
I didn’t think it could get worse.
It got worse.

***

Eventually I tell her about the assault.
She’s shocked and feels absolutely terrible.  She cries for me and keeps apologizing as she feels indirectly responsible.  She asks if I need to talk to anyone, that I should talk to someone; of course she’s available but she understands if I just want to get as far away from her as possible after the hurt she’s caused.

“I’m more hurt by you and your actions than having to suck some guy off.”
“Oh.”

Yeah.

Living with the ex?
Sure, that can be a rough ride but getting over her is plenty hard enough.

Advertisements
Standard
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.

Standard
random love

Inpatient

Inpatientwas a blur and a huge cliché but with one unforgettable connection.

I don’t know how I got to thinking about this woman today.
But here we are…

Even the most severely medicated patient feels her cold wall of silence, one that staunchly taunts the staff: just try to get me to give anything up. Because no.
And fuck you.

But I meet her gaze one day and it hits me- she is trying so hard to keep it together, which makes me instantly care about her. She’s not okay but she is fighting so hard to convince herself otherwise. Call it survivor’s instinct but we identify something in each other, which leads to our first conversation on some bench-table thing outside. It feels so nice, being outside; the natural light a warm and welcome relief from many a fluorescent bulb.

She is tough.
And not just because she’s a damn tough gang member who has been living The Bluest Eye. But because she is committed to dealing with her demons, regardless of how she is perceived by her biological family (completely untrustworthy), her gang family (traitor), the father of her child (unworthy). Her life doesn’t allow for a mental health check-out without some severe consequences. So she has to make this count.

As she tells me her story, my heart sheds shocked tears.
She was Pecola.

Later that night, as I sit in my room and process, reprocess what she shared, I cry for her. Hard.

Two days later, when someone open-shuts the door to her group therapy session I happen to catch a quick earful. I hear her crying for herself. I think it’s the first time she has let herself cry in a long time. Possibly ever.

It was both of our first times in this kind of place.
I never did go back.
I never saw her again but to this day, ten years later, my heart crosses its fingers for her.

Standard
random love

This is personal.

This is personalI might be one of the unhealthiest healthy people in the world.
God, what a fucking grandiose statement, right?
Who is this bitch?

Nobody, sometimes.
A damn good friend/lover/partner sometimes.

I don’t remember every minute of my small self being locked in a dark closet for hours on end, day after day, weeks in a row. But I can connect the cause and effect dots between the entrapment three-year-old me suffered and the fucked up neural pathways that scarred my brain as a result. For instance, security is incredibly important to me. Because that means options. I could give a shit about my old ass having a comfortable cushion in the sun as I get closer to inevitable death but I care immensely about always having an out. I need to know I can run if I want to. Historically, I don’t run away but when I feel I don’t have that choice, I alternately freak out and go fetal.

I don’t think that’s so healthy.

Want to know what’s even more fucked up? A pattern emerged; a deranged acceptance of being held hostage (physically, mentally, sexually, hooray) became my familiar. I had no out again (age 8) and again (age 12) and again (age 15, 18, 19)— what, was I asking for it? If asking for it means being shocked into submission and unable to make out the words NO, STOP, I’m going to tell my parents on you, I’m going to call the cops, or just screaming my fucking head off, then yeah, I sure as hell asked for it.

In an attempt to get healthy, I’ve parked my disgruntled-at-best ass in front of many a therapist. I’ve sat silent while a certified woman sat even silenter; this was beyond a Mexican standoff and I totally lost when, five minutes before end time I said, “So this is your way of helping me?” I’ve entertained the crap out of another as she made me so fucking mad with each passing minute because she sure as hell wasn’t asking difficult questions, or entertaining me for that matter. I got really hopeful when I clicked with this really awesome dude but then I ran out of money. So it goes, therapist musical chairs, a routine occurrence among the obstacle course of getting help.

Currently, I just do the best I can.

Sometimes that means really awesome: maintaining healthy, meaningful relationships, moving across the globe and successfully assimilating to a new culture and language.

Sometimes it’s disturbing: the tears freefall while I rapidly figure out how quickly I can get on a plane. Out. Of. Here. Fuck my job, lease, funds. I just want to disappear.

Usually my best is good enough. Because I’m still here. Sometimes my mind still reels me back to that dark place and I want to give up because I can’t see two inches in front of my face and I still don’t have all the tools or coordination to unlock the fucking door.

But these days I smartly use my voice (I don’t even have to scream) and it reaches those who love me. We make sure I get out of that dark place.

Standard
random love

Happy freedom day, America

gay freedom

from Tokyo.

Funnily and unexpectedly enough, this holiday has struck a deep chord within me.  Perhaps it took moving to a foreign country, one in which I’m a citizen, to make me think damn hard and comparatively about American things like:

change, weed, immigration, conflict, acceptance, hate, cops, motherfucking Hollywood, documentaries, fast food, abuse, Vegas, the fucking judicial system, abortion, beer, AA, puppies, capitalism, goddamn public transportation,
Planned Parenthood, traffic, swimming pools, guns, NYC, libraries,
the homeless, privilege,  infomercials, love, Prince, reality TV, the death penalty,
fucking musicals, Apple, vegans, fly fishing,  NAACP, the public, goddamn Texas, telemarketing, Sesame Street, equality, drag queens, fucking healthcare.

I could go on.  And on.

But really, it’s just this:
Love you, America.

Oh fuck, have I just become patriotic?
I’m aight with that.

Love y’all, Happy 4th, Peace.

Standard