the backstage epiphany

where reality is so subjective it's entirely optional

Monthly Archives: May 2008

My geeky little broken heart

“I hope you find another way.” – Terence, tattoo artist
Sunday, May 25, 2008

The pattern

Carrie: Could you at least separate the two thoughts: chemical peel, Carrie’s publicist? Why did you do this?
Samantha: It was an impulse purchase.
Carrie: No, gum is an impulse purchase. This is more than gum!

Sex & the City

Yesterday I realized that I have a pattern. When something (significantly) bad happens, I go out and get a tattoo, which is no wonder I got four in 2007 a.k.a the Year From Hell. It’s not exactly an impulse purchase, but apparently I need a catastrophe to make me stop sitting on it and actually get it. So maybe the basis of it is that I use the physical pain to override the emotional pain, and in a strange way, I also use the emotional pain to block out the physical pain.

Do I need to see someone about this? (No niggling from the peanut gallery)

Defining moments

Tracy’s newfound freedom took getting used to. Walking along a street, she was careful not to jostle anyone. In the penitentiary, bumping into another prisoner could be the spark that set off a conflagration. It was the absence of menace that Tracy found most difficult to adjust to. No one was threatening her.

If Tomorrow Comes, Sidney Sheldon –

We all go through phases in our lives where we are almost completely alone. We learn to take care of ourselves, to keep everything to ourselves, and to shut everyone else out. It doesn’t necessarily apply only to being single; it could happen in any circumstance of life — moving to a new country, moving back to a home country, or even starting a new job. We know we have to depend on ourselves more than ever before, and in the end we become so self-possessed that we are in danger of being unable to relate to other people anymore.

But then life takes a turn and suddenly we find ourselves in a situation where it’s not just about us anymore; now there’s someone else, there are other people involved. We know it’s time to remove that armor and learn to let them in, and yet we still subconsciously keep our guard up, terrified that at any given moment we could do or say something that would actually give us reason to duck behind it again. So we take a backseat to everything, knowing we can’t really go back because we’ve gone too far by putting our cards on the table, and yet too ambivalent to move forward. Why do we make it so difficult for ourselves to break out of this prison — a prison of our own making at that — and allow ourselves to go through a phase of which we have long been bereft?

Maybe because when we were taken out of this prison, the overwhelming sense of freedom without bounds made it all too much to handle, so we went back to the one place where we knew was safe, even though we had been alone. Freedom may know no bounds, but not life, and certainly not the more complicated aspects of life. So maybe we need to define them, because until we do, we’re stuck in this limbo, where the lines could become so blurred that we don’t know where they fall, and we don’t know what the rules are and how to act, and we end up losing more than we could ever afford to.

That time of the month

Up until this year I had never in my life — or at least to the best of my memory — experienced PMS. Yes, PMS — every woman’s favorite and most abused excuse for being a bitch one week out of every month. I’m not entirely sure how it suddenly developed; it could be because I had just happened to switch from Ortho Tri-Cyclen to Yasmin in January, or because the Big Move was looming. Then again, that’s about the same time the weight started piling on at a rate too alarming for my liking, so maybe it’s just one of those you-turn-23-and-it-all-goes-downhill myths. Whatever the reason, it’s always around this particular week that everything seems to go wrong, or at least appear not quite right, and that’s when the urge to crawl under the covers and turn off the rest of the world is stronger than usual.

When we feel the need to shut down, we retreat into our own little world and block everything out until we are ready to deal with life again. As someone put it, it’s really so we can have the space that we need, even though to those who don’t know any better we’re just alienating ourselves. But to what end would we be doing that, if all it means is delaying the inevitable, in this case having to come out from under our rock and face a world that did not stop for us just because we chose to run away from it? Granted we may have had our own reasons for doing so, because some things just aren’t worth revisiting, but in a world so uncomfortably tiny and with a grapevine that is far too widely-spread, why do we still feel the need to keep running? And where do we draw the line between shutting down and shutting people out simply because (we don’t want to have anything to do with them)?

I can count on one hand the number of people I make an effort not to shut out. So what, then, is my reason for shutting out everyone else the way I’ve been doing since I arrived home? To say that I had a life not worth reliving before I went to Buffalo would seem histrionic. To say I had terrible friends whom I don’t want to have anything to do with right now would appear ungrateful. To say there are countless aspects — both human and consequential — of that life that I don’t care to reflect upon because to me they no longer exist would just spell B-I-T-C-H.

So maybe all I can say is, “It’s PMS week.”

If it ain’t broke, don’t break it

“Ce n’est pas parce que tu es, je t’aime parce que je fais.” – Renaud S├ęchan

Six years ago, I was in a relationship with someone who had dictatorial skills even Adolf Hitler himself would have envied. He domineered my entire life: how I should dress, who I could hang out with (which naturally consisted of the XX chromosome only), where I could go, and even what I should do. I never saw the inside of a bar or club for two whole years (until I moved to Buffalo and all hell broke loose), I threw out or hid away numerous articles of clothing that he deemed too tight, too short or too low, and I barely hung out with anyone except him. And throughout the two years — when it had become painfully clear after several months into the relationship that I had somehow been yanked out of my body and stuffed most unceremoniously into one he had conjured in his mind — I occasionally had to ask, in the most acerbic tone I could manage, “How did you ever fall in love with me in the first place?”

And his reply, however impertinent it was to the original question, would be, “I thought I could change you, to become a better person, to be the perfect girlfriend. It’s for your own good.”

Skating over the obvious fact that there is no ‘perfect’ anything or anyone, trying to change a person is like trying to rid the world of cockroaches. We scour the surfaces and crevices, pointing out all the areas in which we want them to change, fix, or eliminate altogether, and it becomes a process that never ends, because there will always be something that just isn’t quite the way we want it. This is not to say we ignore the flaws altogether, but surely we have faith in their maturity, in their common sense, and in their own sense of self that they would be able to think for themselves whether or not they should change? Because not to have that faith and confidence in them is tantamount to telling them flat out that they’re just not good enough.

Has it become impossible for people to accept one another for the way they are? Must there always be something that made us fall in love with them in the first place? Granted, we can say we like the way they make us laugh, the way they can pull us out of that emotional hole no matter how deep it is, the way they look at us until we have to turn away, but then there’s so much more to it than that, so much more that we can’t verbalize or put into words at all. So when there’s no laundry list to fall back on, is it really not as simple as, “It’s just you being you”?

Getting the hang of it

Have been home almost a month now, and have yet to get used to several aspects of living in this place:

1. The heat. JesusMaryJoseph, the heat! Will admit that am partly to blame for not being able to get used to it, as am so often bereft of the chance to step out of the house that when am out of the house am positively melting. This weekend is a testament to that.

2. The traffic. Manhattan’s subway system and Buffalo’s lack of traffic have spoiled me, ensuring that I never had to fight the inhuman kind of traffic that trawls the streets here every single day.

3. Even if did have to go through rush hour traffic on the I-90 or I-290, or even Niagara Falls Boulevard, at least the drivers were civilized. Here the drivers turn without signaling, signal too late or too soon, and will damn well mow you down in the process of cutting in front of you.

4. Movies here have subtitles. Had grown so used to watching them without subtitles that was a little thrown to see eight lines of them in everybody else’s first languages appear on the screen during Iron Man. And have just realized how distracting they can be.

5. The signal is on the right, wipers are on the left. For now am only driving with the right hand, for obvious reasons. Having the wipers fly up at every turn only increases the panic that am already feeling while driving.

6. The internet connection speed — or lack thereof. It’s very difficult to catch up on Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy, CSI, Brothers & Sisters, Ugly Betty, Gossip Girl and Women’s Murder Club (not to mention Dirty Sexy Money when it reopens in the fall) when it takes an entire week to download the latest episodes.

7. No matter how much I kid myself, I will always be 300lbs compared to everyone else’s 50lbs.

Side note: Iron Man was pretty good. Robert Downey Jr. was in all sense of the word hot. But oh, his car! As Stanford Blatch would say, “Mary, hail a cab!”