jolie laide

jolie laide

I started this when I lived in Brooklyn and struggled for grace in a city that grants moments of beauty and ugliness breathtakingly close to one another. Now I live in a place where things are a different kind of ugly and the beauty is pedestrian. I struggle with that.

1.13.2007

More from my old writing pad:

Seven. Age seven, to answer the question. Of when was it clear you were not like other girls. That you played with firetrucks, Erector sets, made model airplanes, skateboarded, dug holes, fought when cornered, fought when not cornered.

I was eschewing pink, girly, weak, vulnerable as much as I could, as fast as I could. My father said he knew by the time I was seven that I was a failure, unworthy of investment. Let us do a neat dip step, let us not speak of causality.

It is brought to my attention, again, how mannish I can be. Again. Forward, aggressive. My shoulders are broad, my stomach is hard. I am loud, charmless. How protective I am of my vulnerabilities, my softness, my gender.

The man on the subway platform knew what I try to hide. Knew when he said something vulgar to me, then yelled it again, and yet again, leaving me a wobbly-legged fawn blinking dumbly and humiliated.

1 Comments:

Blogger cherrydragonut said...

I’m sorry you were humiliated. If it’s any consolation I really love your poetry. The wide-eyed deer thing can be tender and vulnerable when it feels safe and doesn’t take on that predator-prey kind of a thing.

I always feared that if I beat my boyfriends at chess (or my bosses, or some of my elders for that matter), or if exhibited a certain level of confidence or humanness, if I outsmarted them in anyway or loved women for that matter (my mother) that I would fall out of rank, (and daddy would leave) and that my boyfriend would no longer feel he could care for me, protect me, love me, dominate (teach, lead) me, yeah not just boyfriends, but I think many a family member, and colleague too, kinda like that movie, “A Star is Born.” Maybe my daddy wouldn’t need to be my daddy if I was able to stand on my own two feet and be a grown up. Of course none of this is true but that's how I felt at times. And maybe I project my father, who I adore and love desperately onto my relationships. Yeah, I love him desparately. Maybe I infantiled myself in places to keep him around. It’s all madness of course, but these are the template circuits. They’re buried deep but can still be activated unless I make a conscious effort and even then, they light up like a pinball machine.

People would actually knock me down when I felt steady or accomplished, or busy, even when I was a teenager, a kid, “get off your high horse” or “what are you, too good for us?” or “You studied enough, let’s have some fun.” Of “Relax, lower your voice, calm down.” Or (lol)"Shut up." That was a biggy. You know they wouldn’t let up until I was miserable, broken, flawed, angry, arguing, crying. I guess they felt I had no right to be confident, given who I was because they didn’t want me to be who I was, they wanted me to be someone else. They would come back at me as if my very existence was threatening who they were, and their beliefs about themselves in the world. And I wasn’t attacking them either. I was being myself and they were uncomfortable, so much so, that at times I had to stop being who I was just to keep the peace. Now how fucked up was that? And I still find myself doing this. I’m still cleaning up the wreckage of my life because of this/my crazy thinking. They competed with my interests or put down my studies, my differences, my volunteering when I really wanted them to root for me, to cheer me on, to love me. But for many who measured my success in terms of dollars and comforts, my interests, my life, my art, my feelings were ignored, invalidated. It didn’t meet with their criteria for permanence, or success or safety. I wanted to talk about videos or a pondering and they would change the subject, talk about my finances, or the condition of my apartment, or my commitments, or something they deemed problematic and more important as if I didn’t have the right to be feeling, creating,engaging the way I was.

There are plenty of girl cops as you and I both know, tough girls who have no scruples about putting a pistol to someone’s nose, and these felines have just as much a right to their goddesshood as the girlie girls do, as the housewives do. They’re women as much as roses, queen annie’s lace (which are related to carrots by the way) and daffodils are flowers. I mean like why would a daisy want to become a pansy any more than cherries would want to be more like peaches? Curly hair, straight hair, wavy hair, it’s all the same. What happens to a little girl when she feels that red or blue or yellow isn’t as good as pink. And you know what? Gender stereotypes are probably even harder on the boys. There’s nothing more damaging to a young male than being called a sissy girl. It can damage his self-esteem, his orientation, his authority as an adult.

And you know what? Many women still feel apologetic for not being married, or publicly committed to a person, even if this is not the right thing given the opportunities that have presented themselves. You are a great writer, my pen pal friend. You talk with responsibility. I’m glad that you’re there. You know what I hate? (God I'm whispering to you as if it were a real sleep over just like when I was in the sixth grade). I hate distortion. I hate when people assume stuff about others and about me and then gossip about it so that they’re opinions, and their rumors metastasize. I hate that. I hate when people use their distortions and gossip to become closer to others. They’ll introduce you to someone and then add a tidbit about you as if they know you well enough, as i they have you all figured out like some storyboard they can sync their teeth into. Or someone will leave the room and they’ll take it upon themselves to “fill you in” on some private stuff about the person, stuff that may not even be true, or may be out of context. It’s even worse than being singled out in front of a bunch of people, say at a dinner party and being asked what you do (for a living). I just don’t know how to even answer people like that.

I really appreciate your last few posts. Earth Celebrations is mad. And thanks for the Moth plug. All I could say is, ttractor, don’t follow the pain.

12:11 AM  

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