“Some of us are born rebellious…I remember passing shop windows with my mother and asking why people didn’t just kick them in. She explained that there were unspoken rules of social behavior, and that’s the way we coexist as people. I felt instantly confined by the notion that we are born into a world where everything was mapped out by those before us. I struggled to suppress destructive impulses and worked instead on creative ones. Still, the small rule-hating self within me did not die.”—Patti Smith, Just Kids
Blessedness is within us all It lies upon the long scaffold Patrols the vaporous hall In our pursuits, though still, we venture forth Hoping to grasp a handful of cloud and return Unscathed, cloud in hand. We encounter Space, fist, violin, or this — an immaculate face Of a boy, somewhat wild, smiling in the sun. He raises his hand, as if in carefree salute Shading eyes that contain the thread of God. Soon they will gather power, disenchantment They will reflect enlightenment, agony They will reveal the process of love They will, in an hour alone, shed tears. His mouth a circlet, a baptismal font Opening wide as the lips of a damsel Sounding the dizzying extremes. The relativity of vein, the hip of unrest For the sake of wing there is shoulder. For symmetry there is blade. He kneels, humiliates, he pierces her side. Offering spleen to the wolves of the forest. He races across the tiles, the human board. Virility, coquetry all a game — well played. Immersed in luminous disgrace, he lifts As a slave, a nymph, a fabulous hood As a rose, a thief of life, he will parade Nude crowned with leaves, immortal. He will sing of the body, his truth He will increase the shining neck Pluck airs toward our delight Of the waning The blossoming The violent charade But who will sing of him? Who will sing of his blessedness? The blameless eye, the radiant grin For he, his own messenger, is gone He has leapt through the orphic glass To wander eternally In search of perfection His blue ankles tattooed with stars.
All these new posts with lots of notes talking about everyone on this site constantly being offended have been bugging me. I feel like they’re this subtle effort to undermine Tumblr’s online feminist/social justice community, which is a damn shame because I think it is one of the greatest things this website has done. There are a huge number of teenage girls (and other people too, but mostly them) who have discovered feminism or learned how to be receptive to at least some of its ideas because of this website. That is so important. And to be honest, I think sometimes being offended by everything is that first step in viewing the world in a new, more enlightened way. I wish people would not trivialize that with all these stupid jokes. (…occasionally they’re funny. Usually not though).
Okay in the 70s and 80s it was cool not to wear bras all the time. Like if Diane Keaton or Meg Ryan is wearing a tank top or tshirt sometimes they just let ‘em go. Even if you can see their nipples. I feel like somewhere along the way this became unacceptable. I know in high school people would talk about the girls that didn’t wear bras and how weird it was. Thank god I’m not in high school anymore because fuck that. Bras for people with C-cups and smaller (like my lovely B’s) is just a stupid social construct….bullshit!!!
I apologize I am slightly drunk. This does not make any of this untrue. Also i am reading Just Kids and I feel like Patti Smith would be disappointed if she knew how often I wear a fucking bra. I feel like I’m betraying something. I hate how fucking put together girls are encouraged to be all the time. It’s dumb as nuts
Fuck that, it’s not a dichotomy. Let’s not act like mascara glues girls eyes so shut that they can’t read a word of Dickens or solve a trig problem. Let’s talk about how no boy has ever been asked if he’d rather get his Bachelor’s or get married; no boy has ever been told that he’s too handsome to run for office. So, why cover up my tits so you can take me seriously?
I am so good at turning my brain off, shutting it down like a computer, pulling out the power cord, erasing all the coding and going to sleep.
I always hate admitting this, but I used to have a therapist when I was younger. When I was going through all of that capital-s Shit. I was bogged down and stuff. And she was always remarkably impressed with my skills at repression, specifically when it comes to embarrassing childhood memories. I cannot remember a single one, I swear. And it’s not like they come up when I’m in certain situations. They traumatized me so much because I was so sensitive that they’re just wiped.
Anyway sometimes repression is good. It makes the bad things hurt less because you compartmentalize them and then one day you open the drawer you hid them in and they’ve disappeared. But I do the same thing with the good stuff, is the problem. I repress any feelings I could have that could matter. I don’t know why I’m so afraid when everyone else is so open. It’s almost stupid.
“Ralph Waldo Emerson once asked what we would do if the stars only came out once every thousand years. No one would sleep that night, of course. The world would create new religions overnight. We would be ecstatic, delirious, made rapturous by the glory of God. Instead, the stars come out every night and we watch television.”—Paul Hawkens
I call mine the cold. I know there are lots of names people have; that’s mine. I think it’s fair and appropriate because the feeling starts in your upper chest cavity and spreads down to your pelvis like icy frost and does not even flow through your veins because it has discovered the previously unknown hollowness. So it spreads itself and sits. And sometimes I will physically shiver, and I become worried because I have no little earmuffs and scarves and sheep-skin boots for my liver and lungs and heart, and could I get frostbite from the inside out?
But even more than a sensation the cold is a feeling, and sometimes I like it, I like it when I can read an existentially wrought novel or watch a horrifically depressing movie and I can cry it out, when the frost experiences a state change into the easy liquid that comes out of my eyes.
Usually I cannot cry out the cold though, and I hate this. When I cannot cry out the cold I either sleep it out or vomit it out and both are unfulfilling and do not really get the job done the way it should be done and I’m either vomiting or clutching my stomach in pain either way, because it won’t get out and it’s here. It’s a level of awareness about the world and my place in it that I would normally value but for some reason (okay, I know the reason - we all know the reason) it hurts.
“She saw the parts of me I didn’t know were naked. Souls are not supposed to make sense; it’s the simple pleasures that complicate things for the complicated. All I know is that when I’m with her the moments turn to hard candy; sucking takes too long, but fuck, am I afraid to chew.”—untitled manuscript ~ cbm
The girls are never supposed to end up together. I watched that movie with Ellen Page and Alia Shawkat, the roller-skating movie, the one where Ellen and Alia are best friends, each other’s only comforts in their podunk town. They need each other, and they hug, and they dance, and they tell each other I Love You, and Ellen meets a skinny boy who plays in a band. It doesn’t even work out with the boy, but that’s almost tangential. The girl was never a real option.
I think that’s why it’s really difficult for girls. For me. We follow narratives and our fingertips trace the contours of the stories we love and we long to escape within the confines of our own lives. Meet your boyfriend in the pouring rain and yank down his mask and kiss him upside down. Run with your boyfriend to the front of the ferry and throw your arms out to the side and scream, “I’m king of the world!” If you are a girl in love with a boy, your possibilities are infinite.
If there is a special girl in your life, you love her as a friend. You love her as a friend, but she becomes less important to you as you grow, and you leave her behind for a boy. She might even stand next to you when you marry the boy, and she might catch the bouquet of flowers that you throw to her. You’re giving her permission to move on, move away from you. It’s a ceremony of separation.
But if you should fall in love with a girl - and loving and falling in love are two very distinct things - the first kiss is the end. You’ve all seen the movie. Or the television show. Or the after-school special, or you’ve read the book that was banned from your school’s library for containing Sexual Content. The point of your story is not to fall in love. The point of your story is to struggle. Your story begins with a lie and climaxes in a truth and ends with a kiss. In the movie of your life, forty-five minutes are devoted to you figuring out how to say that you want to kiss girls, and another half-hour is devoted to people’s objections, and maybe the last fifteen minutes is you kissing the girl. Maybe you don’t even get to kiss the girl. Maybe she tells you that she’s flattered, but she doesn’t bat for your team.
The critics swoon; it’s realistic, they say, so realistic, to depict the struggle of the modern teen, the heartbreak of irresolvable incompatibility. Isn’t that always what celebrities cite in their divorces? “Irreconciliable differences.”
And so you’re lying on the floor of your bathroom, your knees curled to your chest, or you’re on your sofa with a pint of ice cream, or you’re in bed watching your favourite sad movie on Netflix, and the collective weight of all that you consume settles on your shoulders, leans in, and whispers, “You were never meant to fall in love.”
You were never meant to fall in love. Your story ends in tears or it ends in death. Jack Twist was bludgeoned to death with a tire iron and Ennis Del Mar was left alone in his closet to dance with an empty shirt. Alby Grant found Dale Tomasson swinging by a noose in the apartment that had been their safehouse, their respite, and he sank to his knees and cradled Dale’s bare feet and he cried. The Motion Picture Association of America axed Lana Tisdel and Brandon Teena’s sex scenes, but they didn’t have a problem with the extended shot of Lana cradling Brandon’s corpse in her fragile arms and falling asleep next to his body.
Love and intimacy are ours only in death, or so it would seem.
I don’t want to die. Isn’t that a very human experience? Not wanting to die? When does anyone who looks like me get to grow old and raise grandchildren and hold her wife’s hand as the skin wrinkles, turns translucent?
Sometimes my father asks me if I’ll ever date a man. Sometimes he doesn’t ask. “You are attracted to men, and you dream about falling in love with men,” he says, as if he can will his imaginary daughter into existence merely by speaking about her. Or maybe he is just looking out for my safety.
He’s seen the movies, too.
He loves me.
He doesn’t want me to die.
Even fucking Skins, which was one of the few to write a good lesbian couple (Naomi and Emily) and not fuck it up decided to do a pointless reunion mini-series and kill off Naomi. Fuck that. Fuck all this.
I would start at the beginning, But here’s the thing about sex— That doesn’t really exist because there is no pure beginning. No moment you can point to and say “It started there.” People may Disagree with me.
They may say sex starts with a kiss, or when you start taking your bra and underwear and shirt and skirt off and his shirt and his jeans and his boxers and both of your socks. But I disagree, and maybe that’s just me. I don’t think you can ‘begin’ sex Because I believe as living, breathing humans We were born into it. Born breathing sex Swallowing sex, shitting sex, scratching behind The backs of our knees sex.
And anyone that tells me otherwise, well, Maybe you’re not as perverted as me. But you also don’t see as well as me, Feel as well as me… We were all created by sex and so we all are sex.
So don’t tell me that I have something to give or take
Or start Or finish Or especially that I have something
When I was a girl, they fed me flowers and soup kitchens. Now that I’m a woman, they feed me gardens and cafeterias, asking me to be a part of this clinical trial, only 30 days, then it imprisons you for life. No thanks, I say I don’t want your flowers, or your kitchens, not from you. If I picked them myself, they’d be roses, not daisies. If I picked them for myself, it’d be different. But when you hand-feed me these bindings, I say, “I’m allergic to this.”
"Trout Heart" was the big, brutal, breakup song of my last huge breakup, and I was the breaker-upper. It was the most painful thing I’ve ever gone through. I was on tour, and I was going through Neil’s part of the world and my whole touring crew went to visit him, because we had collaborated on the Who Killed Amanda Palmer book, but it was before we had a budding romance.
Neil took me and some of my touring crew up to this trout farm to get fish for dinner—it was a 15-mile drive from his house in the middle of fucking nowhere in snow-covered Wisconsin. I was in the throes, like the deep painful throes of this breakup. We went to the trout farm and watched these fish get clubbed and gutted. That would have been fine. I mean, I’ve seen it before, and I actually think it’s wise to watch where your food is coming from, so you can digest it to see the karma of it.
There was this moment. I was standing there with Neil and Zoë Keating, my touring cellist, and the guy who was gutting the fish turned around with a beating heart in his hand and said, “Oh, yeah. This sometimes happens. Sometimes you take the heart out and it just keeps going.” And I just lost it. Tears just started streaming down my face, and Zoë and I were just standing there looking. And the guy let the heart beat in his hand for, maybe five or 10 seconds, and then tossed it onto the big, metal counter and walked out of the room, and it kept going for, like, a minute-and-a-half. It wouldn’t stop pulsing. We just kept looking at each other, saying, “We can’t believe this is happening. How is this happening? It’s not attached to a fish. It’s just beating. It’s just got a life of its own.” And in that moment, my deep, dark emotional self, and my really hyper-intellectual songwriter were doing psychic fucking battle with each other, because my intellectual self was like, “Oh, this is really fantastic imagery for a song…” and meanwhile, I was dying inside. Neil was watching this whole thing go down too, and the three of us joked in the car home that we all had the same song idea.
A lot of my female friends here don’t masturbate and didn’t know that it was a thing girls do? (re: a conversation a few nights ago)
It makes me laugh like I’ve been talking about masturbation since I was about 15 and doing it for longer…thank god for my sexually open/expressive/feminist/fabulous high school friends…it never felt like a weird thing to talk about (it also doesn’t feel like a weird thing to post on a blog about either)
So I volunteered at the local boys and girls club here yesterday and as I was talking to them about their arts and crafts projects they started rattling off how many teeth they’d lost—one boy had lost eight, and the girl he was talking to had lost ten or so and they were discussing this at great length and it kind of spawned this weird moment for me…like I had completely forgotten that I used to keep track of how many teeth I’d lost, or what it felt like waiting for my teeth to get loose and stuff. I hadn’t thought about anything involving that in so long. It was just weird. I mean obviously I’m not longer a kid but it’s slightly horrible to me that I can’t even remember what I thought about, sometimes. It’s like I’ve officially reached the point where I’m closer to the parent end of the spectrum rather than the child one—in perspective, if not in years (If I’m ever a parent it won’t be for a looooong-ass time). So depressing.
Keep the faith, Meghan. Just showing that you want a creative process means you always have the potential to grasp it. You’re born with an innate poetic backbone, and just because it hasn’t been stirring lately doesn’t mean it’s not holding you up.
The street signs are wrong. The road maps are wrong. My feet are wrong. I just want to get home. I think I’m lost. I feel small.
I know…I’m too old to cry.
But I was looking through old shoeboxes, photos and cards, an excavation, if you will—I was digging through bones.
And I realized that everything was perfect, unreal, before, and now…
Where are we now? We are old. We are strangers.
And I wish we could rinse our hair of boys and futures, and drink Izze on the curb in the springtime, add too much cocoa to the brownie mix, hug each other, too sweaty, after meets, and lie on the golf courses of the local country club, staring up at the stars, feeling things…
We’ve forgotten. (What it was like to be one part of a whole. How to laugh, how to be stupid. The way back.)
I’m pretty sure dining hall food is poisoning my creative process. Either that or I’ve forgotten what a creative process is, besides the one that involves guzzling frappucinos and trying to write shitty-ass papers in the middle of the night.
I don’t know. I don’t really have an excuse, but I’ve been having trouble talking since I’ve been here. It’s not other people. It’s like, me. I feel like half of my conversations are just me humoring other people’s interests because I’ve gotten too lazy to talk about the things I actually like to talk about. Or I just dismiss everything with little phrases and nothing gets said. I just miss talking…I miss writing…I miss going to the movie theater and holding hands and having pretentious cigarette conversations afterwards…I miss feeling like I had creative direction. I miss reading. I miss feeling like my poems were important with a capital I rather than just self-indulgent crap nobody else needed to hear, like descriptions of my dreams. And I was obviously wrong in thinking they were important but I miss thinking that.
I was thinking about Genie today; I do this sometimes. My annoying theater professor was talking about The Miracle Worker and language and what exists without it and it makes me feel funny. I think about Genie a lot, I don’t know if you know that. What it must be like to be inside her head…I always complain that there are some thoughts and feelings I cannot get out or interpret but imagine not being able to form or release anything, like you’re so trapped in the maze you believe you are the maze after a while.
I don’t like to think about it. I haven’t been thinking though, so maybe I should anyway.
“The stereotype of the ugly, unfuckable feminist exists for a reason – because it’s still the last, best line of defence against any woman who is a little too loud, a little too political. Just tell her that if she goes on as she is, nobody will love her. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’ve always believed that part of the point of feminist politics – part of the point of any sort of radical politics – is that some principles are more important than being universally adored, particularly by the sort of men who would prefer women to smile quietly and grow our hair out.”—Laurie Perry, If you’re a feminist you’ll be called a man-hater. You don’t need rebranding
I am breathing on the train and I close my eyes, surrounded by people who do not love me it is consuming, this kind of freedom, how I can create my own universe for myself because no one cares or knows or cares to know
I have a special way of crying to keep it from becoming corny or pathetic or fucked like sexually like sideways I cry like an octopus and so I’m underwater and my tears don’t drip or stick and dry they go every which way and I don’t even know they’re exiting my eyes
octopuses (octopi?) don’t know where their tears ends and their piss begins now that’s a way to live
none of that bullshit
well also there are no bulls in the ocean
but if there were bulls with little fins and gills they wouldn’t give a shit about mental illness, or about love, or about me on a train thinking about my genetics and strangers and how much I always want a little too much of a bit of something, how little satisfaction I receive from the suggested doses
and I can place my blame if I wish
as usual this poem could end with me cursing my father
or it could end with me lying in bed in a tank top with my nipples cold and outlined in the weird humiliation of Tuesday afternoon unshowered acid reflux people
“You have my permission not to love me;
I am a cathedral of deadbolts
and I’d rather burn myself down
than change the locks.”—Rachel McKibbens, “Letter From My Brain To My Heart” (saw her live once; she was incredible. disarming, ya know?)
There aren’t enough drugs in the world for this feeling, this itch in my throat. It makes me cough and choke up air as if there is more than nothing lurking there.
I can’t skip rocks, pebbles, stones, whatever. There are so many stupid little things like that that I can’t do. I feel like my life exists in some sort of shapeless shallowness, an outline of personhood sometimes because of them, like I’m always avoiding simple things too thoroughly. It’s like my leg has been secretly amputated, or like I cannot handle a certain rise in blood pressure. Like I am hedged in, always handicapped and slowed in some way by these pointless arrays of details.
I worry at how much I am like her, conciliatory and unprincipled while still being reckless and vain. I am worried about how well my childhood also taught me to walk a line, and unlike her, I haven’t repressed my childhood body, but my childhood mind, because it saw upsetting things, experienced things it shouldn’t have. Sometimes I think all I am is a well-illustrated, muscled DNA strand of repression. And so I recoil from everything, because that’s what I was taught firsthand, don’t touch the hot stove, and don’t look too deeply into the eyes of your father no matter how close his face is to yours.
Sometime before this weekend I’m going to go looking around in the woods nearby. By myself, because unless I’m in a particular mood or with particular people I hate wandering around in natural-type places with others. It kind of negates the whole point I think, which is quiet. I need my trees and my dusty dirt and rocks and thoughts. It keeps me sane. I never realized how much time I actually spent outside when I was in high school just doing nothing, not attempting to get from one place to another. I never do that here. I’m never outside just to be outside. I think it’s a difficult thing to fully experience on campus anyway when everything has this tendency to feel so artificial and controlled. I like that sometimes, but I kind of need some unrestrained nature/alone time from now on.
“I’m still auditioning for my family’s love. You know, I still hold out this kind of thing where they’ll be nicer if I play along. …Guys, it’s tough. Most of us…you wrestle with your family your whole life. People who don’t, I think that’s like the most blessed resource in the world. Because the rest of us are caught in a dynamic that doesn’t always leave much room for you to be compassionate to yourself.”—Junot Diaz in conversation with the New Yorker’s Hilton Als at The Strand, New York, (4/12/13)