DO NOT GO INTO THE LIGHT.

24 Jun

There was a very large, very loud insect flying around my desk, banging into the windows, the walls, trying desperately to be free from the confines of the library. Adding to its confusion and distress, I’d wager, were the huge windows made of clean, clear, shiny glass and the plants we’ve lined up on their sills. One fluorescent light glaring alone in an otherwise darkened room perhaps seemed to it, this frantic creature that terrified me, to be the sun. The sun is good and warm. The sun means outside, means freedom and fresh air, reunion with other big, buzzing, man-eating creatures.

So this poor, misled, disoriented bug flew straight for the false sun with all its might and strength and belief that what it was seeing was good and real- and was immediately zapped silent, sent off to that big scary bug heaven in the sky. I breathed a sigh of relief, but was soon after pricked with a needle of sadness, bitten by empathy. The thing wanted to be free. It wanted to live. Maybe it also wanted to eat me, but that desire was out of its control. In an effort and attempt to live, it went after what it learned meant life, only to be tricked and meet its demise.

The moral of this bug’s life, as I see it, is to give up, to accept the darkness, to embrace the fact that you are trapped, for to attempt to escape could mean your horrible, burning death at the hands of a false sun, because you chose to believe in the lie that is hope.

Or, I don’t know, maybe a bug flew into a light and I need to stop trying so hard to find meaning in the mundane in a desperate attempt to have something to write about so I can finally update this blog.

My Funny Valentine.

21 Feb

Last Valentine’s Day, I got dressed up (all black everything in honor of the day of love), beat my face, and took myself out to eat at a fancy restaurant I rarely get a chance to go to.

I was the only chocolate chip in the vanilla ice cream and the only solo person, so people stared. Just openly, chin-resting-on-their-palm stared.

A waitress, I don’t recall if she was mine or not, came over and gushed about how beautiful she thought I was, and didn’t want to embarrass me, but wanted to know if I’d be interested in modeling for her mom’s Mary Kay demos. She gave me her mother’s card. I never called.

One of the staring men, when his wife went to the rest room, asked why I was alone and said that he felt like he ought to buy me a rose. Did I want a rose? No, thanks. I did not.

This year, I again made my reservation for one and had a lovely and somewhat uneventful dinner. A rowdy table of four convinced one of the waiters to sing A Capella. Singing in front of an audience is, to me, the most terrifying thing a person can do, so in an act of solidarity, I kept my nose in the same book that I brought last year and hadn’t finished. Let’s explore diabetes with owls by David Sedaris, if you were wondering.

One of the rowdy table dwellers came over to mine. “Honey,” he said. “Honey, he’s gonna sing. Five minutes, okay?” and motioned to my book. I smiled – it was probably more of a grimace – and closed it.

The man asked the waiter what he wanted to sing. The waiter didn’t know; he was so nervous. Rowdy Roddy Piper, now back at his table, shouts over to me and says “Honey! Pick a song! What do you want him to sing?” I shook my head and put my hand up. “Oh. You don’t want to pick a song?” He put his hand on his chest, mildly shocked by my refusal. I tried smiling again and softly said “Too much pressure.” The waiter looked at me and nodded. “Yeah! Too much pressure!” I hoped this would be the end of it and that I could get back to my book and fazzoletti d’aragosta. Of course it was not.

When someone unexpectedly bursts into song and you’re made to watch them, what is the proper etiquette? Are you, as my own audience did last year, expected to put your chin in your hand and stare at the impromptu performer? Turn in your chair, fold your hands, and slowly nod along to the music, an example of both your inherit rhythm and approval or support of the vocalist? Broadly smile, showing all your teeth, and loudly whoop at random intervals?

The few diners that remained did these things. They also recorded the performance with their smart phones. I slunk down in my seat and cast my eyes to the floor because I was in the shot. Of course I was.

I turned awkwardly in my chair, folded my hands, nodded my head, smiled broadly, pretended to make eye contact with the waiter by staring at a point directly above his head, and put my chin in my hands. I did it all except for the whooping. The restaurant had real linen napkins and tablecloths. What am I, an animal?

The waiter sang “I won’t give up” by Jason Mraz adequately enough. But he sang all of it. Including a reprise. My face and neck was starting to hurt from all the forced nodding and smiling. I hadn’t thought about that song in years. I’d be a happy person to never hear it again.

It eventually ended, as most things do. I was able to order the restaurant’s perfect pistachio cake and savor it while the rowdy table drunkenly name dropped and one-upped each other. “Well, I’m in Manhattan all year round and just can’t get away!” “Really? Because we have a working farm with cows and chickens and everything and we manage to get away pretty often.” “Huh. Anyway, I didn’t see you at Wealthy Locally-Famous’ annual ball. You don’t go anymore? Absolutely everyone goes.” “Oh, well, I guess it’s just not really our thing. Speaking of balls, my husband has the smoothest, biggest pair of testes I’ve ever seen. Harvey, stand up and show them your balls.”


Earlier in the week, my thoughts weren’t on Valentine’s Day at all. Instead, they were consumed by the Squatty Potty.

I was looking into buying one as I’ve had. . . issues. There may also be a connection between straining and uterine health? Some women have claimed that the squatting position helped relieve fibroid symptoms over time, which is questionable to me, but hey. I can use all the help I can get.

I’d been trying to talk my dad, a colon cancer survivor, into getting a Squatty Potty. He was aware of their existence but was totally not convinced of their necessity or effectiveness. “Go and get yourself a stool from the Family Dollar. If you want something that’s better quality, Christmas Tree Shop is having a sale.”

I argued for the “ergonomic design” of the Squatty as opposed to some regular old stool that didn’t have a sticker of a smiling, squatting, barefoot white woman slapped on the front. “Hmmph. Well, they sell them at Bed Bath Beyond. Get one of those coupons before you go.” “And you’ll get one too, right Dad?” “Hmmph. We’ll see.”

I was at work when my father and I had this conversation. A student was bemoaning the fact that she didn’t have her Squatty Potty with her as she lives in on-campus housing and didn’t want to seem “weird” to her roommates. You know, for having a piece of furniture specifically designed to help her shit. When she sang the praises of the Potty, I called him right away.

Later, I went out to my car on my dinner break and noticed something in the driver’s sea. It was square and wrapped in a Bed Bath Beyond bag. A pink envelope sat on top, my name written in red ink, the ‘i’ dotted with a heart.

It was a Squatty Potty. It was from my dad. He signed the card as if it was from both him and my mother, but this had him written all over it.

Someday, I’ll fondly tell this story to my rescue cats and dogs, about the day on which I got a stool to help me effectively move mine as a surprise early Valentine’s Day gift from my father.

I took a picture of the card my dad sweetly included because it wasn’t just hearts and flowers and good wishes. Nope, that would be too boring and mainstream for my father.

valentines day 2015

 

In case you’re having trouble reading it, here’s what he wrote:

We love you!
God loves you!
Now go with the flow🙂
Mommy and Daddy

And there you have it.

I can’t and I won’t complain. It was a kind and thoughtful gesture (By the way, it works like a charm.)  It is also an improvement over the Valentine’s Day he and my mother sent flowers to me at work and signed the card with the initials ‘JR’. For more than an hour, at work, I thought I had a secret admirer or that a guy I’d briefly dated with those initials was trying to reach out to me. Just to be clear, my father’s initials are RS; my mother’s are MJS. You should now be able to solve their terrible puzzle, and probably well before I did.

This, again, had my dad written all over it though he’d dragged my mother into it too. He did not see what the big deal was. “I didn’t want to embarrass you, sending flowers from your mom and me to you at work. We know how you get: ‘Ew, my parents are so embarrassing!’ So we mixed up our initials. Thought you’d figure it out.”

Oh, dad. I love you too.

You Want a Social Life, With Friends. (And an apology.)

29 Nov

Hi. Hello. I am here, and I am going to write something.

Before I do, I thought it right for me to apologize for an issue that has been needling me for quite some time now. No, I’m not going to apologize for my six month absence. I might kind of try to explain it though, so hold your horses.

My apology has to do with some things that I’ve written in past posts about fat bodies. In one post, about that terrible wedding I was in, I implied that the kind of awful bride was unattractive because she is fat. I later went on to snidely describe her second husband as “probably weighing 600 lbs”., which again, was my attempt at negating the fact that she found love and marriage for a second time. “Yeah, another person wanted to marry her, but just look at him.” I was saying that without saying it. Probably because I was/am a coward.

In another post, the name and content of which I can’t recall and am both too jittery and lazy to search for, I claimed that proof of my self-love was the fact that I don’t weigh 300 lbs.

I am sorry for writing those things. They are examples of the hatred of fat bodies – including my own – that I’ve internalized from a variety  of sources. I am working at ridding myself of that hate. Tumblr has been a priceless resource in my learning that fat bodies have value, are deserving of love, are beautiful, and can tell us nothing about a person’s health, abilities, or self-esteem.

Surprisingly, no one called me out on the things that I wrote. But maybe someone read my hateful words and was hurt. I couldn’t let that possibility stand without acknowledging how sorry I am, how much I am trying and want to change, and that I am asking for forgiveness. Please forgive me.

I’m leaving those posts up as they are (considering I can’t even find one of them, ugh) and hope that my future pieces will demonstrate my growth and sensitivity since writing them.

Thank you for sticking around as I grow.


 

You Want a Social Life, With Friends

You want a social life, with friends.

A passionate love life and as well

To work hard every day. What’s true

Is of these three you may have two

And two can pay you dividends

But never may have three.

 

There isn’t time enough, my friends-

Though dawn begins, yet midnight ends-

To find the time to have love, work, and friends.

Michelangelo had feeling

For Vittoria and the Ceiling

But did he go to parties at day’s end?

Homer nightly went to banquets

Wrote all day but had no lockets

Bright with pictures of his Girl.

 

I know one who loves and parties

And has done so since his thirties

But writes hardly anything at all.

-by Kenneth Koch

 

I never thought I’d be the type of person to have a favorite poem. I just didn’t think poetry was for me, wasn’t sure that I liked it all that much, the work of Langston Hughes and Shel Silverstein being notable exceptions. And then a few years ago I read Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s 2005 memoir Encyclopedia of An Ordinary Life.

In it she mentions that Kenneth Koch’s You Want a Social life, With Friends is her favorite poem and told a funny story about meeting its author. I read it over and over again, and the next time I was at work, I made a too-dark photocopy and hung it on my fridge.

You Want a Social Life, With Friends resonated with me. I was someone who was chronically lonely, felt confused and like a failure when it came to her career. I was absolutely convinced that “everybody else” had managed to master having fulfilling work, romantic love, and meaningful friendships. I did take solace in Koch’s assertion that “What’s true is of these three you may have two and two can pay you dividends but never may have three.” So, all I had to do – like the Disney villain I am deep in my cold, dark heart – was sit back and wait for my friends and acquaintances to suffer some loss, of a lover, of a job, of friends, because no one can have it all; look, I have proof!

I didn’t really want anyone I knew and liked to lose anything. But I desperately wanted all three for myself, and the poem was a reminder that life is full of sacrifice and compromise and comes without guarantee. Of anything. I remember feeling a chill of foreboding each time I read it after first finding it. I’d find some way to have all three, dammit! I’d beat the odds!

Now, here I am, 35 years old, feeling as lonely as ever; feeling as unfulfilled at work as I hoped to never be.

Part of me believes that there is still hope. That if I can maybe put myself on a writing schedule, something will come of my questionable talent. My current job may even allow me to pursue a second bachelor’s degree in professional writing for cheap or free. The work piece could potentially, someday come together. Maybe.

As far as love and friends? My hope meter is running on empty. Over the summer I did things that made me think “This. This is the moment when the pendulum swung to the other side with such force that I don’t think I’ll be able to move it back.” I let people borrow money, I stopped wearing contacts, and I went on a solo vacation. These events signaled to me that I was barreling towards spinsterhood at a frightening speed.

The money thing was a mistake. I should have known better. I’ve watched enough “Judge Judy” to know that owed money will destroy relationships despite one’s best efforts. Not only have I stopped asking for the money, I’ve stopped communicating with the people who benefited from my foolishness. I don’t think that they’ve noticed. And to be fair, I was – I am – seething under the surface, trying to hide my resentment, my disappointment, how used I feel. I didn’t tell them about my feelings. I didn’t hound them for the cash.

“It’s not fair,” I thought. “They have families and lovers and close friendships and now my money.” I was in communication with them until September, when the people in question suddenly stopped their correspondence. I hoped that I’d hear from them on or around my birthday; they owed me at least that much. I heard nothing. The idea of initiating contact with them makes my heart pound, my gut churn, my hands tremble. The realization that I lent the money with so many invisible strings attached makes me feel ashamed.

How is this a sign of my spinsterhood? I’m like the rich old aunt that never married, who eats store-brand canned soup and has to make it home in time to watch “Jeopardy!”. No one comes around until holiday time, because they know Auntie gives the best gifts, the poor sucker. “I mean, she’s got nobody, hardly any expenses. What does she need all that money for anyway? I’ll send her a card.” The card never comes. I open another can of chicken and rice and set up the TV tray in the living room. Alex Trebek always was a handsome man.

So that’s two friends I’ll never hear from again, or am doomed to have awkward, sporadic contact with when they feel like paying Auntie a pity visit.

The contacts thing and the vacation thing happened simultaneously. I planned a last minute, somewhat haphazardly planned vacation to St. Lucia. I’d never been out of the country alone before and I knew that if I waited until someone could go with me, I’d never travel. I spent five lonely days at a luxury spa. The island was beautiful, the weather lovely, the people damn nice. My tour guide hit on me; it was really uncomfortable, especially considering he did it after telling me that Tyler Perry movies send necessary messages of ‘warning’ to those wacky black women that want to be independent and self-sufficient and in charge.

I met two nice English ladies old enough to be my mother, one also named Ambrosia. We chatted a bit and shared one night of cocktails and a meal together, then spent the rest of the time awkwardly waving to each other across the resort. I was seated at the communal table for other solo travelers on some other night and had an Asian-fusion four course meal with a lady elementary school principal from Canada. It was both better and worse than it sounds.

There was a young, fat, attractive American girl I hoped to befriend. She was alone, was wearing a fatkini, kept her nose in a book. The fact that she made bold fashion choices and liked to read had me sold. She never noticed my smiles, which in all the sunlight and happiness surrounding me may have made it look like I had a bad case of indigestion. I was too chicken to go over and say hello.

On my second day there, I realized that I’d left my contact lens case somewhere in America. I’d recently purchased new, large, bold frames, but have always felt ugly in glasses. I can’t see without either contacts or glasses, so I had no choice. I had to feel ugly for four days in paradise.

I never bothered to renew my lens prescription. I’ve been wearing my trendy glasses full-time since August. On one had, with my nose ring and natural hair, I’m at times convinced that I look okay. Like maybe I know people that live in Brooklyn or smoke weed out of decorative glass pipes or am vegan.

But then other times I’ll catch my reflection in some shiny surface when I’m off guard or try to take a selfie and the person I see looking back at me is a sexless nerd, who read in her hotel room in a foreign, tropical country; who got suckered into lending substantial amounts of money in the hopes that somebody would love her best; who sat and watched other people dance on the last night of her vacation, wearing her ill-fitting glasses while a stray cat took pity on her and kept her company.

I don’t really like that person so much.

She reeks of desperation. Her bug-eyed stare screams “I want a social life, with friends! A passionate love life, and to work hard every day!” I wonder which one of us screams the loudest.

The Ambrosia Project.

7 May
Image

I blame you. Source

Hey.

So, I’m back.

I’m not going to talk about where I’ve been. Mostly because it involves TMI about my uterus and the fact that I write an awful lot of fan fiction.

What I do want to talk about is the fact that last night, the season two finale of “The Mindy Project” aired. It was wonderful. I laughed. Out loud. I also cried. Quite a bit. There was screaming. The good kind. I love the show and wish very much that my life mimicked it somehow.

I mean, I wish that about a lot of media. I’m an intelligent only child; like, 75% of my life has been spent daydreaming and inserting myself into television, film, and book plots. And half the time, I’m not even the star. I’m the wacky, foul-mouthed side-kick with a heart of gold. That’s usually because in these dreams of mine I’m too busy with a successful pop/soul/R&B career to commit to being the star and head writer of a hit sitcom.

It has recently dawned on me that in my elaborate fantasies, I am Justin Timberlake. Well, I have Justin Timberlake’s career. Unlike him, I’ve embraced my curls and I can’t see myself settling for Jessica Biel.

Anyway, with all the daydreaming and fantasizing that I do, you’d think that I’d realize that sitcoms and movies and novels are just that: someone else’s daydreams and fantasies brought to life. In other words, these aren’t stories to measure one’s life against. They aren’t even real.

So why do I feel so horrible to have made it to almost 35 years of age without ever having been told “I love you” in a romantic context?

If all that stuff is fake; if it’s just a bunch of made up stories, it shouldn’t really bother me so much that I haven’t had that particular experience. I mean, I love the “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” franchise. I don’t curl up in my recliner and weep inconsolably after the midnight viewings because a gang of dwarfs still hasn’t shown up unannounced at my door to recruit me to be their robber so they can take back their mountain kingdom from an evil dragon. That’s just as made up as a sitcom about a chubby, almost 35 year-old, dark-skinned, Indian-American OBGYN living and searching for love in NYC.

The answer is obvious; one is based on some version of a totally plausible reality, and the other is the stuff of legend and religious allegory and maybe a metaphor for World War II (I don’t know; I haven’t read the books yet, okay?).

No one is expecting me to go off on an adventure with Gandalf and Thorin Oakenshield (He’s been mentioned twice on a single black woman’s blog. That’s got to be a record or something. And that was probably racist? Eh.). But people do wonder why I don’t date. And by people I mean me. I’m even wondering if I could at this point. It’s been almost fifteen years since I’ve been in what I thought was any sort of committed relationship or had sex. At this point, I’d be less surprised if Bilbo Baggins invited me over for Elevenses than if I was involved in a sexual relationship with a man.

And that’s not normal.

I don’t know what to do to change this. I’m in therapy. I’ve been in and out (but mostly in) therapy for the last fifteen years. I’ve gone on dates with two men, the last time around the summer of 2011? 2012? And they were both terrible. Pretty sure they felt the same way about me, but we all thought “Well, he/she went to college, and is a sentient being, and I don’t know. This is what people do, right?” That’s it.

There’s nothing normal about any of that.

From what I’ve gleaned from my mass consumption of media involving interpersonal relationships, one either dates around unsuccessfully until finding the one that was always there all along or finds the one at just the right moment or some shit; or is tragically knocked up or widowed and walls their heart off to protect against any future heartbreak, but they’ve got the tragic story or the dumb kid, so there’s that. Or there are the lucky ones, who find someone and it works out and they go along on the suggested path of mortgages and wedding registries and baby showers and date nights and blah blah blah.

There are no stories about weird freaks who got maybe a little bit raped in college and then got fat and then woke up and realized they were 34 and infertile and crying hysterically because Mindy Kaling and Chris Messina just have so much chemistry and overhear some girl – hardly even 21, for fuck’s sake – refer to 35 as being “kinda way up there” and said that a different 35 year-old woman needed to “hurry up and get on the boy thing” while you think to yourself “I wouldn’t even know how and every time I’ve tried the guys have literally run away in the other direction” and you wonder what the hell is wrong with you if every form of media featuring people your age shows them either married with kids or in some weird friend-group-living situation or dating all the time and you don’t have anything, nothing and you can’t even have a one-night-stand because you don’t know how and even if you did what about AIDS and sexual assault and your gross body?

But you’ll always have your – hopefully quirky? – knack for stream-of-consciousness run on sentences on your semi-abandoned blog, right?

I don’t even know what the hell I’m trying to say anymore. It’s almost 5:00am. I’m almost 35. There is something terribly, terribly wrong with me. Please don’t tell me that there isn’t. The number one wrong thing is that I am not Mindy Kaling, for starters.

I mean, look, I’m at the point where I’m thisclose to consulting an astrologist? Astrologer? I don’t fucking know. And this sort of wacky, desperate bullshit would make for wonderful prime-time sitcom television, but the depression and self-loathing and blackness and fatness and fact that men find me absolutely disgusting makes it super hard to pitch my “story”.

Shit, I don’t even want to watch it and I’m the showrunner.

 

In which I have a meltdown in the middle of a Red Robin.

19 Dec

YummmaaarRRGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!!! Source

If only I had just eaten the well-done burger.

Let me say this now: whichever one of you finds my body – oh, who am I kidding? When the neighbors complain about the smell and a rep from the condo board (yeah, I finally moved in to my grandpa’s old place, whoopee) has a maintenance man break down my door and finds me a.) naked and dead on the stairs, having fallen to my death because I put off getting a runner; b.) naked and dead in one of the upstairs bathrooms, having slipped to death on one of the many loose tiles that I can’t yet afford to replace; or c.) fully clothed and dead, having finally followed through on something in my miserable life, ending it all by my own hopefully exquisitely manicured hand, please see to it that my tombstone reads as follows:

Ambrosia Prudence Jones

19somethin’somethin’-20somethin’somethin’

“If only I had. . . “

Bury me in something chic, black, and tastefully (think Beyonce tasteful, not Jackie O tasteful) sequined. DO NOT let my mother make any decisions about my hair or makeup. Find a Fabulous Gay to do that. I want flowers, flowers, and more flowers, and completely inappropriate music at my funeral. The women in attendance should be wearing hats and heels, a la American Horror Story: Coven.  Send them away if they aren’t.

Enough about my funeral plans. And look, I get that it’s. . . macabre that I have a rough sketch of funeral plans at my age, but in the four months since we last met, dear reader, life has handed me no bright moment that has led me to plan, even prematurely, anything other than my eventual demise. It is the only thing I can count on happening. There are, as always, no men in my life, and I sadly have yet to discover or develop a taste for women. Though if I did, I’m sure I’d find that things would be just as dismal on the dating front.

Remember that whole thing about my probably not being able to have kids? Um, yeah, so I couldn’t get pregnant if I had sex with Shawty Lo. Or Kevin Federline, who may be more immediately familiar to white some readers. I am at the moment infertile, though I’m not supposed to use the term infertile. I was told in my sort of support group thing that I sometimes attend that we’re not to ever say we’re infertile until the doctors have taken away our uteri. We’re “reproductively  challenged” or some such nonsense. I have a giant fibroid inside my uterus AND a super fun thing called PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). Not only can I not find a human male to have sex with me that isn’t homeless and/or over the age of 50, if I did and wanted to have a baby, chances are I wouldn’t ovulate. If I somehow did ovulate, there is no where for the baby egg thingamajig (yay, science) to go because my whole mother oven is blocked. Surgery is extremely risky, with hysterectomy being an unfortunate possible side effect. If the surgery was successful, the surgeons have no way of guaranteeing that I’d be left with enough healthy uterine tissue to successfully carry a pregnancy to term, in the event I were to ever meet a man and then, of course, ovulate. It’s a supremely jacked up Circle of Life. Despair and hope indeed.

For a number of weeks now, I’ve been getting shot up with a drug I won’t name in an effort to maintain one last sliver of privacy since I thought it was a FANTASTIC idea to post selfies (like three; I’m in my thirties and not that particular brand of ridiculous or beautiful) under this nom de plume on fucking tumblr in the hopes that someone, anyone (hopefully with a nice face and penis) would tell me I was beautiful and not a monstrosity of epic proportions. The drug is supposed to make me temporarily menopausal which is in turn supposed to shrink the fibroids and Jesus Christ I bet you’re all wondering what the hell my uterus has to do with Red Robin. I’m getting there, I swear, I’m getting there. This is what happens when I don’t write for four months. Sorry.

I’m not so sure about the menopausal part, considering the fact that I’ve been. . . um. . . bleeding (sorry, I know, so sorry) for almost two months, and the shrinking isn’t happening at a rate that my doctor is pleased with. What I’m certain of is the drug is causing me to feel sadder and angrier and far more emotionally raw than usual AND NOW WE’RE FINALLY GETTING TO THE TITLE OF THE POST I ALWAYS GET THERE WE MIGHT HAVE A LAYOVER IN DALLAS BUT WE ALWAYS GET TO OUR DESTINATION. And I’d like to think it’s because of my general unhappiness compounded by the goddamn holidays and the cold and the knowledge that I may never be able to have children and the ongoing pain and discomfort and blood and mood swings and loneliness and the unshakable feeling that I don’t really matter to anyone at the medical practice because I’m not there for IVF or egg extractions and the feeling that I don’t really matter to anyone at all anywhere and the worry that men can smell my defect on me and that’s why they stay away, between the no babies and the sociopath ex, I am Damaged Goods and now I may have lost my new friends all because of a burger.

We waited 29 minutes for someone to take our order. We watched the people next to us get served their meal, eat their meal, and get their check before one of my friends got up to find out what the heck was going on. They, the people at the next table, even asked us if anyone had come to take our drink order, and they were literally a middle school couple. They could not have been older than 14 years old and they knew things were bad. The hostess was kind enough to take our drink order and serve  us before a shiftless manchild came to take our food order. Here’s where things went downhill: I ordered guacamole bacon burger cooked “a little bit pink”, following Red Robin’s ordering instructions. I got an impeccably dressed hockey puck. I took two bites and decided I couldn’t enjoy the gristly meat husk masquerading as hamburger and waited 10 minutes or so for The Dude to wander back to our section so I could reluctantly send back my meal. He never came, but the on top of it and super apologetic hostess did.

At some point between my waiting to receive the meal I’d ordered in the first place and my eventual meltdown, The Dude appeared and attempted to give us our check. We all sort of looked at him as if he were insane; was he even remotely aware of our kind of shitty experience? Did he think that maybe we wanted that big ass ice cream pie crime against humanity that they serve, because um, yeah, we did? We  kindly mentioned that we wanted to order dessert; “Uhhh, I’m pretty sure we’re like, closed though” he replied. I think it was here that I lost it, but didn’t realize that I’d lost it. Everything happened so fast, like when a perfectly gently boiling pot all of sudden loses its ever loving shit and starts to barf all over the stove. That’s how it was with me. I didn’t even have a chance to turn down the flame or grab a lid or scream at my mom to do something while I played “Candy Crush Saga” in the bathroom.

If the kitchen was closed, what about my burger? I didn’t say this; I didn’t say anything. I just stared at him, at the neon “YUMMM” on the wall, at nothing in particular. My friends went from fierce warriors against dining injustice to sniveling diners worried about being nice to terrible service people. “Oh, you’re closed? Oh my god. We’re so sorry. Never mind. No dessert for us. Just the check.”

“No, wait. Why don’t you check to make sure that the kitchen is in fact closed. You know, since I’m waiting for my dinner and all.” I tried to say it kindly, but I was hungry and tired and annoyed and I hate people speaking and apologizing for me, and that’s what my friends were doing. Simultaneously, my friends said the following: “Oh my god, I feel so bad!” “Now I feel like such an asshole!” and that’s when I saw red. You feel like an asshole because they fucked up my food, made us wait more than 30 minutes before they even took our order, and I’d, no, we’d like to simply order dessert???? Moments later, the hostess came over to assure me that my burger was on its way out and began to loudly apologize. And wouldn’t stop apologizing. She offered dessert. Free dessert. All the dessert. To get her manager. To do my taxes. Find me a husband. Help me unpack. All the while, my friends are turning her down; her efforts are unnecessary because they’re fine. The restaurant is closed or going to close or something. Even though we’re surrounded by full tables. I am fucking fuming. It’s no longer about burgers. It’s about principle and fairness and me having a voice and getting what the hell I asked for for once.

So I snapped.

I took off my glasses (bad sign) and I stopped smiling and doing that stupid “no, it’s not you, it’s me, and it’s fine” bullshit that women feel they’re supposed to do when trying to get a service that they are paying for and it’s going wrong and I said in a voice that scared myself “What I want is the meal I ordered the way I ordered it. It’s not your fault. You’re the hostess. Thank you for trying. It should be the waiter doing all of this. But now my friends care more about the fact that you might be closed than your trying to make this right, so please, just get me my food so I can eat it and they can stop feeling like assholes.”

My friends got mad at me, but said they weren’t. I was mad at them and said I was. One of them wouldn’t speak to or look at me for the rest of the night and while the other made a big show of hugging it out with me afterwards, she stormed off to her car. So, I guess that’s done. A perfectly nice evening was fucked up because I couldn’t just shut up and eat burned meat. But I feel like my entire life is nothing but shutting up and eating burnt meat I didn’t order, a terrible analogy, I know.

Was I out of line? I don’t think so? I don’t even know. Am I just one big hormonal mess, incapable of any healthy, normal human relationships, destined to live and die bitter and alone? I think that’s pretty fucking clear. I wanted it to also be clear that in the four months since I last checked in with ya’ll, the only growth that’s occurred has been in my uterus. 

Triage.

12 Aug

My needs have not been met.

I feel like a jerk for dwelling so much on the fact that a big part of the life that I dreamed about may not come true, which is weird, since I haven’t even had two weeks to process it. I suppose I feel this way because I’ve been under the impression that I’m to just suck it up and move on when it comes to the little tragedies and heartaches I’ve faced.

It has started to dawn on me that I’ve been trying to function for years and basically failing and beating myself up about it. I just couldn’t understand why I couldn’t simply be normal and thin and do laundry and put on makeup and make my bed and pack a lunch and be on time and take showers and not scream at my parents and stop fantasizing about killing myself until I finally realized that I’ve been wandering around throughout life for the last decade plus three years with a gaping, festering wound that hasn’t been properly dealt with while adding other wounds around it that don’t fully heal and it truly is a wonder that I’m anywhere at all.

I’ve tried to make people understand the screaming void I feel inside, going without any sort of physical intimacy or love for more than a decade. And it isn’t just about the lack of sex. I see single people who’ve gone without sex for a very long time but have children, and perhaps I’m making a huge and incorrect assumption, but I don’t believe that they suffer in the same way because they can hold their child and kiss their child and feel that incomparable parent/child love and know that they are needed and wanted. I imagine that this is not the case for everyone, but it is still something that I do not and possibly will never have.

To never have been held out of romantic love, to go without feeling someone’s lips against mine, a hand in my own; to not feel the pleasure that another’s body can bring mine and to not know if my body can do the same, to continue to go on without these common human experiences year after year after year and to be expected to feel okay and to function normally? I’m starting to figure that that may have been an expectation too great for me to meet.

Perhaps it would be different if we were talking about three years instead of thirteen. Maybe if there had been a kind and gentle lover or two for me to look back on and fondly remember instead of one man-child whose pleasure was derived from the pain he caused me.

How do I make anyone understand what it does to my feelings of self-worth to admit that the only man to see my naked body mocked it? The only words he uttered were meant to criticize and deliver his displeasure? “Find your beauty from within!” everyone screams! “No one is going to love you if you don’t love yourself!” “There is more to life than sex and relationships! By the way, did I tell you all about the fabulous sex I’m having in my feminist, kink-positive, poly-amorous relationship?”

I would just like someone, for once in all this time, to acknowledge my wounds. I don’t want to be handed anymore band-aids or children’s Tylenol in the form of “Well, let’s redo your Match.com profile!” or “What you need to do is organize your closets.” I need wound care. I need stitches and sutures and cauterization. I need major treatment.

I don’t want to hear that no one knew what was going on; that they couldn’t have helped me because I didn’t say anything. The Ambrosia most people knew died 13 years ago and a zombie has been walking around in her place. I don’t know if there’s anything that can bring her back. She’s probably a long lost cause. But I’m here. Try with me.

When I was around, I don’t know, 22, 23 years old, and the wounds were far more fresh, before the gangrene had started to set in, I went to a counselor on my college campus. A black woman. She’d understand me. She’d see the blood, the tears in my flesh, how the wound wasn’t clotting even after two or three years. I don’t know how far how I got with my story. I was telling her about Christmas, about the gifts he’d demanded, and how I’d nervously driven all over the state to make sure I found each thing on the list, worried about what psychological trauma he’d inflict on me if I failed. I might have even told her about my visit to the emergency room in the middle of the night that he wouldn’t take me to. “If you’re gonna go, you’re going alone” he’d growled. She’d rolled her eyes and thrown her hands up in the air. “He was a 19 year-old boy” she interrupted. “That’s how 19 year-old boys are. I mean, really, what did you expect?” That I years later dated and was rejected by her son only added insult to injury.

Though I don’t want the focus to be all on him, I do want it to be understood how hard it is to feel normal and unbroken when the last relationship you’ve had and the only physical intimacy you’ve known is with someone who was so cruel to you, no matter their age. I can’t believe it took me this long to figure out that this has been the black cloud I’ve been under for so long. And every time someone said that boyfriends and sex were overrated and that I didn’t want one anyway and did I really want children and that I had to focus on loving myself and that I wasn’t trying hard enough to meet people and maybe it was because I went natural or put on weight or didn’t smile enough or lived in the wrong city, they dug their dirty finger deep into my wound when they should have wrapped their arms around me and said “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. It’s not your fault. You need to heal. You need to rest. ”

In the meantime, does it mean that while I heal, I must still go without physical, emotional, and sexual intimacy? Do I have to continue to starve? When you starve a thing it dies and I’m afraid that my ability to give and express love and intimacy is in fact dying.

In the meantime, while I heal, can I be brought back to life?

The all black everything of my dreams.

11 Aug

I know, dagnabbit, I missed two more days on this 31-day journey. Friday was an awful day. Just. . . terrible. I’m pretty sure my therapist was trying to dump me during my session with him that afternoon, shortly after I told him I learned that I probably can’t have children. So that was fun.

I was going to write about that, but my last post was pretty damn bleak. I was inspired to write about something lighthearted after re-reading a book I absolutely adore on Saturday. I decided to gush all about it in the hopes of convincing those of my followers that aren’t spam bots to read it and then I decided I would create the cast of my dreams in the event that I someday stumble upon a few million dollars and immense power and influence in Hollywood so that I can then have it made into the movie it absolutely needs to be.

The book in question is “32 Candles” by Ernessa T. Carter. I stumbled across it the year I turned 32 and was struck by the book’s hot pink cover and silhouette of a woman with an afro. I’m a bit of a book snob and had given up on finding anything classified as “urban” or “African-American” fiction or super popular “chick lit” (outside of the Bridget Jones series) that I’d actually enjoy, but I gave it a shot. And OH MY GOD am I frickin’ so glad I did. I stayed up all night and devoured it in one sitting. I wept and laughed and swooned and blushed and shouted and just had my edges snatched and got my ENTIRE life. I found the author on that social networking site when I was still on it and Ms. Ernessa was kind and gracious and funny and we liked the same things and she answered my questions and holy shit, that just made everything better.

“32 Candles” tells the story of Davie Jones who we meet as a little girl in Glass, Mississippi. She lives with her alcoholic, abusive, neglectful, but beautiful mother Cora, who only came into Davie’s life a year before when Davie’s beloved grandma died. Poor Davie has a horrible childhood and finds her only bit of light and escape in the movies of John Hughes and Molly Ringwald, hence the title of the book. Fast-forward to her time in high school: Davie hasn’t spoken in ten years after an especially viscous beating from her mother and goes unnoticed at school, which is a welcome change from the constant teasing she’d undergone, which included being called “Monkey Night” since kindergarten. Why the strange nickname? Well, both the kids and adults in town have declared Davie to be “ugly as a monkey and black as night”. Ugh. Enter in the Farrell family: rich, light-skinned, and the owners of the Farrell Fine Hair Company which has a factory in Glass. The three Fabulous Farrell children – James, Veronica, and Tammy – attend the local public high school and Davie immediately falls in love with handsome, popular, and surprisingly kind James. Veronica is the ultimate mean girl and after finding out a secret about Davie’s mother, decides to make life a living hell for Davie. Davie runs away from Glass after Veronica pulls a cruel prank on her and reinvents herself in L.A., forgetting all about Cora and the Farrells – until she literally runs into James again shortly before turning 32. AND THEN EVERYTHING IS TERRIBLE AND WONDERFUL AND HORRIBLE AND BEAUTIFUL AND OH MY GOD YOU HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK AND IT NEEDS TO BE A MOVIE.

One of the things that is so amazing about “32 Candles” and Ernessa T. Carter is that she writes a story about black characters and the black characters are diverse. Some of the black people are rich. Some of the black people are poor. Some of the black people are straight. Some of the black people are gay. Some of the black people like movies that don’t have any black people in them. Some of the black people like to travel to California wine country. Some of the black people sold drugs as teenagers. Some of the black people went to Princeton. Some of the black people have two perfectly nice parents. Some of the black people have one terrible parent. This shouldn’t be amazing, and it isn’t, if you are a black person, or have ever known more than one or two black people in your life. But thanks to TV and movies, (Tyler Perry, I’m looking directly at you) you’d think that there is only one kind of black experience in America and only one kind of black entertainment that black people enjoy. Ernessa T. Carter pooped all over that with smart, funny writing and interesting, complex characters that still spoke to things that are specific to the black experience, like natural hair and the never ending issue with complexion, i.e., “dark skin” vs. “light skin”. SHE IS AMAZING.

Alright, alright, so here are the actors that I want to play the most important characters and who I think you should picture when you’re reading the book WHICH YOU SHOULD HURRY UP AND GO READ BUY RIGHT AFTER YOU’VE READ THIS POST:

Naturi Naughton as Davidia “Davie” Jones: Initially I was thinking of Keisha Knight Pulliam, but Davie has to be able to sing. I don’t know if KKP has the ability, but Miss Naturi certainly does. She also proved in 2009’s Notorious that she can act and she’s beautiful and look at her skin and just wow.

Taraji P. Henson as Cora Jones: Cora’s described as not being light enough to be called “yellow” and not dark enough to be thought of as plain, and beautiful, but cruel. I just sat through “I Can Do Bad All By Myself” because I couldn’t find the remote and Taraji’s mean, tragic drunk character in that movie was pretty damn convincing. I know she could do wonders with the better writing and characterization that Ms. Carter’s Cora would offer her.

Aubrey Drake Graham as James Farrell IV: Shut up, I don’t care, I love him. The minute Davie began describing James and how he was like sunshine, I immediately pictured my baby  this guy. He’s got the acting chops, he’s light-skinned, he’s a heart throb, he’s rich, he’s tall, he’s muscular, he’s arrogant, he’s sexy, he’s romantic, he’s insecure, he’s charming, AND ERNESSA TOLD ME THAT SHE COULD TOTALLY SEE DRAKE AS JAMES AND THAT SHE LOVES HIM TOO SO THERE.

Paula Patton as Veronica Farrell: She is a bit older than Aubrey and Naturi, but she is my Veronica. I always felt like Veronica’s behavior and personality made her come across as the older sibling anyway. I can just hear Paula’s raspy voice uttering a chillingly nasty “Hey, Monkey Night”.

Tessa Thompson as Tammy Farrell: Tammy is the far more harmless of the Farrell sisters and I think Tessa Thompson has a natural sweetness in her face that can convey Tammy’s sympathetic role in the story. And she and Aubrey can pass as siblings!

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as Nicky: Super tall? Check. Super muscular? Check. A smart ass? Check. A father figure? Check. Funny, perhaps without meaning to be? Check. Good with the ladies? Check. Rick Fox was a close second, but in the end I had to give it Dwayne.

S. Epatha Merkerson as Mama Jane: Nicky’s aunt and Davie’s savior and surrogate mother, S. Epatha would be perfect as the tough talking trucker with the rough exterior hiding a loving heart.

Okay, so those are the main characters, but I am having way too much fun doing this, especially after such dismal posts and real life stuff. I am in the middle of my re-read and and some secondary characters are getting their time in the spotlight, so perhaps tomorrow’s post will be a continuation of my creating the cast of my dreams. Aren’t they beautiful? I need some more brown and deep-brown actors and actresses, though.

Anyway, GO READ AND BUY THIS BOOK. Please. You will not regret it. More dream casting tomorrow.

Retrospect.

8 Aug

I was struggling with what to write about tonight. I decided to take what was originally an answer to a question I received on Tumblr about what my first “real” relationship was like and repost an edited and expanded version of my answer below:

I’d had lots and lots of boyfriends before I met He Who Shall Not Be Named, but I “lost” my virginity to him. I was away at college and we lived in the same dorm, so that added an additional “grown up” element to the whole mess because no parents were around.

I was 19 when I started dating him and 20 when I lost my virginity. I’d grown up in a very religious household and really wanted to wait until I got married to have sex. He basically threatened and coerced me into having sex with him. There were elements that I realized years later that were kind of rapey. But once he “talked me into it” – by quoting Telly’s lines to me from the movie “Kids” which I realized with a sickening clarity while he laughed as he made me watch it after one of the first few times we had sex – I continued to sleep with him because I thought I loved him and wanted to keep him interested in me.

I was a MESS myself when we were dating: suffering from untreated depression, totally directionless in college, my dad was fighting cancer. I feel like he preyed on my weakness. He’d isolate me from my friends and family and tell me that they didn’t understand me; only he did. He told me things like “Love is an illusion” and other nonsense that basically meant “I am going to cheat on you often and generally treat you very badly.” Other girls would come to his dorm room, where I was practically living, day and night. He even tried, and failed, to set it up to have me and his ex-girlfriend fist fight over him in front of our dorm for the entire student body to witness. He did this by forging letters, arranging secret meetings. He thought he was in a Nazi spy drama.

He’d tell me that I was spoiled and “bougie” and that I needed to “learn my place”. He thought it was funny to hit and pinch and slap me to the point where I was crying from the pain. He hit me twice out of anger, once in the face. He threw me down the porch stairs in front of his house during an argument. When he bit a chunk of my flesh from the back of my hand to keep me quiet during a movie I was having a hard time following, I simply wiped away the blood and obeyed. He wanted me to do “wife” things like cook for him, clean for him, take care of him when he was sick. When I did them, he’d ridicule me and tell me I did it all wrong and that I was worthless. If I did something “right” he was surprised.

I’d pretty much shut out everyone from my life at his recommendation (translation: orders), but when I’d try to talk to him about how deeply depressed I was, he’d laugh and say I was crazy, that I was one of those nuts that wore aluminum foil helmets and heard voices.

Basically, he was cruel, he was a drunk, and he loved the way he was and did not love me. He showed me who he was right from the beginning and I chose to ignore it, thinking things with me would be “different”. I’d change him. He’d love me. We’d live happily ever after. We did not. I did not. He broke up with me over the phone; he’d simply tired of me just shy of a year. I’d served my purpose. He had no use for me anymore.

From what I gather, he’s doing just fine. I haven’t seen or spoken to him in 13 years. He was in the military, I think, and may now be a cop, maybe even for the NYPD. He has a child. If I remember correctly, these were things that he really, really wanted. He got what he wanted.

I wonder if he ever got what he deserved.

I’m full of shit.

7 Aug

The more polite, scholarly way to say that is there is a great disconnect between what I say I want and what I actually want.

I suppose I’ve always been that way. I desperately wanted siblings or for there to at least be children that lived in my neighborhood when I was growing up, but if that happened, then those other kids wouldn’t let me play “Orphanage-World War II Rescue-Glitzy Musical-Dramatic Death Scene-British Street Urchin-Let’s See if We Can Catch a Frog We’re Too Scared to Actually Touch”. So maybe it was better that I spent a lot of my time alone because I got to do whatever I wanted.

Now I’m an adult female type person that says she really, really wants to catch the eye of a man that is a suitable substitute for the rapper Drake. There is a part of me much larger than I’d like to admit that thinks I might actually have a chance at catching the actual Drake’s eye and whatever STI he may or may not be carrying when I attend his concert in October. I’ll be in the seventh row, I have a vagina, big boobs, a butt that is/looks big depending on the outfit I’m wearing, an okay face (if you like Bruno Mars), and Rihanna-ish hair. I seem to meet his general criteria.

But the thing is, if I’m to believe Black urban gossip blogs and Instagram and twitter and tumblr and the amount of times I’ve been pushed out of the way in nightclubs, I don’t actually want Drake or any guy who thinks he’s anything like him. If I’m to pay attention to the discomfort I feel when I watch twerk videos on YouTube or try on bodycon dresses or wear lots of make-up or try to take selfies or pretend I care about designer shoes and handbags, I don’t actually want Drake or any guy who thinks he’s anything like him.

I set an alarm to remind myself to watch the televised announcement of the 12th Doctor on BBC America. I’m upset that I still haven’t been able to get my library card since moving, but relieved that my voter registration was taken care of. My favorite article of clothing in the whole wide world is the cardigan; I was going to wear what I think is a sexy dress to the concert, but I was thinking that maybe I’d wear what I wore to work today because I felt cute and sexy in it: a cropped cardigan, baby-doll top, and skinny jeans. I walked out of a top designer outlet in disgust at the ridiculous prices. I have no business setting my sights on a rapper.

I feel like if I were a better, more exciting, more normal Black woman, I’d be sexy and fashionable and good at taking my own picture and then I’d have a sexy, fashionable boyfriend and have sex and be normal and wouldn’t have to have a blog or care so much about things and I’d finally lose weight and be beautiful again. The end. I feel like my life was very much headed in that direction many years ago. If I’d stayed on that path I’d maybe be a popular Instagram “model” and figure out how to take those pictures where you stand to the side to show off your plump ass and how flat your stomach is and pout your lips just so and get, like, 1,000 ‘likes’. But instead I got fat and depressed and didn’t have a choice but to work on my intellect, but I’m lazy and not good at math or science so I only got so far.

My problem is I still want what 19 year-old beautiful, thin, popular Ambrosia was entitled to in a man. I’m afraid of ending up with what 33 year-old uglyish, fat, lonely Ambrosia deserves, which is apparently nothing, or some tragic Al Roker/Wayne Brady hybrid. I want sex and excitement and danger and also thoughtfulness and stability and a face I think is so handsome and biceps that are strong and a belly that is smooth and cute and a booty and intelligence and so much laughing.

I’m just really terrified of settling for the first nice man that takes me on a date. It’s back to that whole childhood want again; I desperately want to be loved and desired, but if it’s by the wrong guy that would be so terrible. So I set my sights on an unobtainable celebrity and focus myopically only on meeting 6′ tall Black men of a certain complexion with facial features that have to be just so in order to avoid dealing with my overwhelming fear of either ending up alone or with some Nice Guy that I’m not attracted to, don’t love, but that there isn’t anything actually wrong with and TIME IS RUNNING OUT.

I know that this post was all over the place and perhaps poorly written and awfully hard to follow, but I needed to attempt to get these thoughts and feelings out. And now I have. So I am a little less full of shit than I was before.

Short and sweet.

6 Aug

My thoughts after watching 15 minutes of “T.I. and Tiny: The Family Hustle” for the first time:

T.I. and Tiny’s marriage gives me hope that someday, I too will find a handsome, charming, successful man that will love me for my. . .  personality?

 

I know, I know. I’m goin’ ta hell.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 49 other followers