Leave a comment

Just Curl Up into the Fetal Position and Call it a day

I have spent the last 2 months at least struggling with the rapid fire return of my post traumatic stress disorder. This is a disorder they say is incurable. Information on the alleviation of symptoms are basically limited to self soothing techniques, the most popular train of thought being, if anyone does or says anything to upset you, just curl up into the fetal position. It may also help to hold on to a talisman, so count your prayer beads and murmur to yourself, confirming your name, the date, and the color of your shoes.

“My name is John Smith, the year is 2014 and my shoes are blue. My name is John Smith, the year is 2014 and my shoes are blue. My name is John Smith….”

You may find it comforting to rock back and forth during this process, until the flashback finishes at whatever time it was going to finish anyways if you didn’t bother to horrify the coworkers, friends, family members or passerby who accidentally tipped you off your goddamn rocker. 

I do not find this advice helpful. 

I promised myself I would start writing again, just a little bit each day. This is the first day. :-)

Leave a comment

We can get all our liquor down in Costa Rica

It might have started when I was 6, flying to Disney World, 11, to Las Vegas, or 16 to California, but I sure as hell hope it didn’t start at 20, on my way to Costa Rica. This tendency to entertain the same exact daydream every time I take in the view from a descending plane, “Look how many people I could fall in love with here.” It especially hits me once I’m close enough to see the moving cars, since I’m not cut out to be a housewife, as much as I’ve tried. In the car of life, I am a passenger, casting awkward, sidelong glances of adoration at whichever new boyfriend happens to be showing me around whichever new city. 

Before and after my five year engagement, I tended to fall in love in tight, convenient bursts. Amtrak love, where one of us would inevitably disembark hours before any small thing could possibly go wrong. A paragraph of intimacy in a chapter of scenery, rolling hills punctuated by a gasp of ecstasy before the next stop and the next chapter, completely unrelated to the first, could open. Except it’s always related. It’s the same chapter with different scenery, and that one distinguishing moment I can never write. The guy in the trench coat with green eyes, Irish, I think, who bought me my first whiskey. That song he sang. The Mexican who stole my first stolen kiss in the hallway, or me asking “Please, don’t be honest. We only have an hour, let’s do this right.” I can never write that odd confession, the strangled breath that makes it different. It doesn’t really belong to me. People aren’t robots, though, so it always happens. Maybe I am the robot, pretending not to remember. My chapters go from bad to worse and I never even notice until I start writing again. 

Of course, while taking in the scenery of the moving cars from so far away, I was always at least semi realistic. I took restrictions into account, but even after the exclusion of age brackets, STDs, current incarceration and relationship status, I felt like I had at least 1,000 options. Then I’d subtract the ones who would turn out to have insurmountable problems, the ones who couldn’t handle all of mine (which of course, I hoped to be rid of by this age anyways), the accidents of fate, and I’d leave myself with about 100 potential husbands. 

It was only after I found the one person I didn’t want to take it further with that I realized the extent of my delusion. Love isn’t common, unless you go to all the lengths to make sure that the person in question won’t get close enough to hurt you, and will leave within a couple of hours. I’d always prided myself in being able to find love in the most uncommon nooks and crannies. From the innocent bursts like the lady at the cash register who laughed at my Korean and tried to help me, to the uncanny ability I have to isolate the lone viable prospect in a room full of females and bring him the fuck home before anyone else can. Other people are successful in work and school, I seriously thought, but look at me. I’m good at love. 

Sadder still than that assertion is the fact that I must have felt the need to adapt. To take love wherever I could find it. Why does a chameleon change colors? Predators.

And I’m starting to wonder where the whole plane daydream came from. 

My ex boyfriend and I had several cute stories. One of which was when I was 20, on the way to Costa Rica, and he was cranky. There’s no other word to describe it. When he got cranky, he would say the same silly, aggravating shit over and over, and I would react as maturely as possible, until I took a nosedive on it. 

“Your friend John is an asshole.”

“Well, I’m sorry you feel that way. But you know, he is my friend and you’re going to have to put up with it.”

“Well, he’s a drug addict, too.”

“Yeah, he has his problems, but you know, he’s my friend, and I don’t have that many.”

“He’s a real asshole.”

“Ok, but just keep it to yourself, please.”

“Ok, but I’m just saying, he’s a giant dick.”

This would inevitably escalate until somehow, seemingly out of nowhere, as far as he was concerned, I proclaimed that his mother was a whore. Which of course, she’s not, I was just trying to prove a point. But the look of shock and betrayal on his face was unfounded and the argument lasted forever, with him playing the victim.

“How could you say that? My mom’s so nice to you!”

“Yeah, well…I don’t know. Sorry.”

And a similar argument.

“Your glasses are ugly.”

“Well, that hurts my feelings.”

“Well, I’m not saying you’re ugly, but those glasses are horrible.”

“Ok, but I can’t see without them, and they’re basically a part of my face right now, so please stop.”

“Ok, but they’re hideous. I bet John picked them out.”

“No, he didn’t, actually, my mother helped me pick them.”

“Come on, admit it. He picked them out, and they’re ugly, and you’re just embarrassed.”

“Well, at least I don’t have a big nose.”

“WHAT? Oh my god, how could you say that?”

It was following that particular fight that we were almost kicked off of our short flight to Costa Rica. I had to get up and stand by the bathroom just to get away from him. When it became clear I wasn’t coming back, he casually walked by and passed me a note. “I flushed your credit card in the toilet. Have fun being alone and a woman in Costa Rica!” I almost laughed at that, because there was no way the credit card would fit down an airplane toilet, and he had to know I knew that. But I imagined the scenario and I knew exactly how it would go. He would spy on me from some bush to let me feel the full effect of abandonment, and wait for me to cry, at which point he would come out and give me a hug. Only I would never cry. I would stalk out into the streets and pretend to confidently hail a cab and he would come running out to catch my arm and gruffly apologize. I would gruffly accept, and we would move on. We just so happened to make up before the scene played itself out, but upon recounting this story, I had to close with another I won’t include here. Suffice to say we almost tore each other from limb to limb like a couple of wild animals over a burger king meal in an airport once.

And she laughed until she cried, asking, “How are you not still with this person?”

As the lyric goes, the book of love is filled with things we’re all too young to know. There are dark moments that would take the element of charm away from my entire life story, let alone my one love story. I’m also not willing to disrupt the all important flow of a nicely packaged narrative, although I’m clearly willing to put down my prerogative of humor in order to continue writing.

Suffice to say that I am alone in a foreign country, telling and retelling the same cute stories, and bragging about the only person who remembered to send me my Peeps on Easter. And also to add that I don’t entertain the same fantasies, and that I might never go back home again. That I might just get more and more cats. You can fill in the rest.

The End.

Leave a comment

Wink

The bus stopped in the night, and I craned my neck to study the one illuminated sign. “No…Rae..Bang..” I gasped and turned to my friend to make my most overzealous proclamation of the day, “I can read!”
My shit eating grin landed on our tour guide, who had silently crept up the aisle with the honest intention of doing a head count, and who grinned back uncertainly until I broke down into a series of prolonged guffaws and buried my head in my friend’s lap. We all laughed at the awkwardness, but my friend and I kept it going for a little too long.
“Jesus,” she whispered after he retreated, wiping tears from her cheeks, “You might as well announce that you can use the toilet all by yourself, too.”
“And that’s why you should never sleep with the tour guide. You know, looking back…” I sighed, trying and failing to remember the weekend before, “I probably shouldn’t have done that.”
“Aw, come on. Everybody does it with the tour guide once in awhile.”
“Ugh. Yeah, Exactly!”
In my defense, the weekend before turned out to be a total bust. We arrived at 4AM for the Jindo sea parting festival, fully expecting the less sturdy of our fellow alcoholics to have stumbled off to their prearranged, comfortable hotels for the night. That was fine, but I was uncomfortable with the glaring implication that even the girl who abandoned her tampon on the sidewalk was better prepared and more responsible than we were.
I guess it was after I really sank under the assertion that in addition to being severely under dressed (the sea didn’t part and the dog show and parade was cancelled due to the cold weather) my friend and I were the only assholes who didn’t bring snacks. Fortunately, the golden rule of sharing really sticks in Korea, particularly when people are forced to make friends on a 6 hour bus ride, who they hope to recognize in the shuffle later when it’s time to drunkenly stumble back to the right bus.
At least that’s what I was after when I started making friends. Doubly fortunate, I remain a dedicated taker no matter which country I’m in, so I did not go unfed.
Also, it turns out that the word festival inevitably leads to vendors and vendors lead to beer. PHEW! I was worried there for a minute. So we spent 12 hours to get back and forth to some freezing island with a handful of drunks in the dead of night.
At least I found warmth with my tour guide on the beach for one of the six hours we spent there, while my friend passed out on a park bench. And that is far from the most unsavory part of the debacle.
I won’t repeat his name (in part because, of course, this entire blog is a work of pure fiction), but that was one of the worst parts. When I had my first one night stand, I called my best friend to make the announcement, and she was shocked. “Wait a minute. You mean to tell me you slept with a guy named E.J.?” She’d asked. After that I tried to always gather some background information and confirm facebook friend status before hopping in the sack with random passersby and drifters. Surprisingly, this has the added bonus of a lot more well wishes on holidays and random music videos sent my way. But my tour guide’s name was more ridiculous than all of the ridiculous names I’ve racked up around the world as of yet. Unfortunately, all I can tell you is that my tour guide’s name rhymed. And this time, I don’t mean to tell my best friend a damn thing about it.

Leave a comment

People aren’t Robots

People aren’t robots. I knew my friend had saved me thousands of dollars worth of therapy the second she uttered that one simple phrase. I also realized that I had wasted thousands on a degree in psychology which was clearly lost on me, but hey, pessimism kills. I should have started off with the basic Sesame Street songs about feelings. I could have used a prerequisite. I am an emotional idiot.
But people aren’t robots, and they don’t necessarily cast me out the second my defects start to show. After a crying spell, I generally stop convulsing for long enough to turn to the witness and demand to know if this phenomenon is unheard of. Underneath whatever problem is plaguing me, it is always overshadowed by the deeper sensation that my eyes are leaking and therefore I’m an alien from outer space. This is why it’s nice to have a witness, someone I can turn to time and again to ask, “Oh god, my eyes! Should we call an ambulence? Does this happen to people? Am I a psycho stalker for caring this much? Will they lock me up forever? Don’t tell anyone! I don’t want to get locked up.” At which point I cry harder.
I don’t always own up to the cause of my feelings right away. If it’s life or love that ails me, I start to wonder if I’m suffering from depression. If it’s a self-esteem issue, I become convinced it’s ADD. Once I start to consider the possibility of a diagnosis, I tend to push it one step further, to the level of autism or asperger’s. This is a pretty serious accusation, and I put it on the table with a heavy heart. The second it leaves my mouth, though, is when the melodrama finally strikes me as hilarious. I admit that it’s probably just the old paranoid schizophrenia acting up again and cackle long into the night, until my mascara stained cheeks are sore.
It’s a miracle I have any friends at all.
One of them left. I’ll never see him again. I couldn’t deal with how I felt about him because of the aforementioned issues. I couldn’t fall in love again, either. But, he sang to me.
That is what I had to say today.
And walking is a trigger for crying these days. Is that normal? My mom says I’m going through something.
I’m thinking it’s AIDs.

Leave a comment

Class Pet

The Class Pet

I wanted to steal something more substantial than the standard office supplies I began slipping into my pockets after I was fired and given a month’s notice. Something more invigorating than the 12 cups of espresso I no longer took shame in downing from the office machine between classes, six for me and six for my rebel and crippled friend who could not walk to the coffee machine by herself, information I used in order to steal her affections away from all of the assholes. I thought I just wanted another heartbeat, but she filled that gap. She also covered a large portion of my petty, spiteful endeavors when she agreed to be stolen away. She was a newbie in Korea, and a blank slate coveted by the coworkers looking to fill the void I had left in their lives after they dumped me. But she was having none of it. She genuinely did not care for these people who I was convinced were so much better than me. And when I confided that in passing, she rolled her eyes, “People only think they’re so great because they keep telling everyone that they are.”
It got to the point, towards the end, where I would use my pent up, vengeful energies to give her one good laugh a day. That was the driving thought I used to propel myself to work on time every morning. I would walk over to her desk and whisper something in her ear as she was pushing paperwork. A memory of something my ex friend had said. I whispered once, “Want to know what Olivia said last time I wore this?” “What?” she grinned, preparing herself. “Do you like that skirt you’re wearing?” and she let the grin widen over her face until she had to put her head on her desk, probably picturing Olivia’s cocked head and concerned eyebrows exactly the way they had accompanied the gentle tone of the inquiry. I smirked and walked away, utterly satisfied and ready to slug through my work until night, thinking that was the end of my daily observation. What a relief, to lend a voice to that crack embedded on the porcelain throne we were all shitting into. To admit dissent. Later that day, Olivia was trying to get some office information out of me, and tossed out an empty headed gesture, “I like that skirt!” she remarked. “Oh, thank you,” I measured my voice out carefully, detached it from my vocal chords, and replaced it on my eyes, careening about to reach my friend privately, to make contact with her overhearing ears. Her face was unmoved and downcast, so that only I could see the smile that had suddenly splashed over it. My response to the false compliment was unadulterated joy. It provided a chance to be seen and understood in a context I had been cast out of just days before.
But still, there was some more alien craving lingering relentlessly on the Tupperware cage in it’s ever changing classroom. Something less complex than the affection of another human being who bore witness to my failure, stayed where I was no longer wanted and slept next to me with a happy sigh. Something less alcoholic and more branded by the office politics, a sign of my character and of rebellion in general. I don’t even know if snails have a heart to beat with, so it couldn’t have been that. I know that they possess an oddly placed set of eyes, the look out designated to the highest part of their bodies, acting as a sort of anatomical light house. I could have used a light house in my studio apartment. Sometimes the most unbearable thing is to know that no one is watching.
I could have written a master’s thesis on my forced enchantment with Korea based on all of the false information I read online. I researched it with the fervor of a reclusive Adderall addict from the confines of my mother’s condo. I found myself unable to move from the firmly unfettered and freshly laundered single bed in the sea themed guest room she had created in the middle of a land lock. I resigned myself to the invasive sounds of cows mooing and hillbillies four wheeling since I had lost everything in the move, from the music that used to lull me to the thoughts. It was the one sterile white room of the condo, and it remained unbroken in through an admirable resistance to my stains, nicotine and otherwise. There was a plaster light house that reached my chest and false fishnet clinging to the walls, adorned with Styrofoam starfish and unspoiled by the sea. So unlike the net I found on the beach back home and reused to bring my books to Spain, only to abandon them on the street in my rush to leave.
Although I had just broken off a five year engagement, I didn’t see myself as half a person. I knew something vital was missing, but I fooled myself into thinking it was the exciting life that lapped the shores of land of the morning calm, reaching out lustily for me to delve in. If only I had heard a sea gull, just once after I came home from Spain in tatters, to remind me of the shore’s tendency to recede again. But I was an opportunist, and Korea has become a land of opportunities for all the aging youngsters who left college in tatters, devastated in the financial sense if nothing else, and not quite ready to leave the womb of the dorm.
I couldn’t have foreseen that I would end up plotting to steal the class pet, just months later. I wanted to name him Escargo.

Leave a comment

Lone Stranger Sleeping

Lone Stranger Sleeping

Leave a comment

Sick Stranger Sleeping

Sick Stranger Sleeping

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 54 other followers