Vapor

This one time, I was in love.

But he drank until his mind turned into a vapor and his thoughts stained everything, vicious and putrid, until he was wondering one thing after the next out loud and inside and all I had to talk to were the memories of his feelings soaked into the walls.

 

But he smiled so big his face hardly held his lips, his teeth, his laugh. He sang songs to me, sometimes with those very vapors and sometimes drenched in THC and secrets and all the world constantly watching him, to him. He lived in his head and every now and then he placated me with a word or a sound or a caricature of affection that was so diluted I had to wonder if he learned it from a show.

 

But he kept wandering in his mind and with his feet and with his attitude and with his intentions and nothing was ever the same as it was the day before. And I always felt like I was standing on the edge of a cliff that would smash me into thin ice if I fell. And I always felt like some type of backup or a default just in case he never found anyone else to deal with all that vapor, just in case he was as odd as he thought.

 

This one time, I was in love and it felt like slipping constantly behind mirror after mirror after mirror and hearing him talk and laugh and scream to himself but losing sight of him more and more. By the end I was the only one left and I was the only one I could see and I still can’t really see around myself. Not really.

 

But I don’t leak vapor and I don’t find myself sinking into the floor and sometimes I’m okay with being the only one I can love as much as I love my sons. Sometimes I look down and I’m okay with my feet being bolted to the ground, with my heart staying intact in one place and not knowing how to dislodge it, how to give it, how to share it.

 

This one time, I was in love and I decided it was okay to let that die and let me live.

Atlanta pt. 0

So. We’re moving back to Atlanta.

 

I gave it some deep thought. I want the people who make my life miserable, consistently, to stay out of my life. But I can do that with less isolation.

 

It’s too early. My farmhouse in the woods on top of a mountain will be waiting for me someday. For now, I’ll exist. And I’ll find new people to talk to that don’t make my stomach churn. I’ll reconnect with friends I adored and permanently get rid of anyone else.

 

I’ve learned to keep people I once blocked on my block list. To not give boring men an audience. I may have lost some of my greater social skills but I’ve gained the motivation to write again, the ability to see where my problems are, and clarity. I gained a bit of peace here.

 

Alabama has done well for me. And now we make the plans to go back to the hell that is Atlanta. But maybe this time it won’t be a hell.

 

Maybe this time I will pay more attention to being well than I do to fitting into some puzzle I can’t figure out.

 

 

Small

I have a very small audience. Super small. Miniscule, even.

Part of me wants to grow this audience to benefit my future writing career. A bigger part of me, though, wants to just write what I feel and ignore the growth potential. This is a huge part of my life that seems to cover every area.

Wanting to just keep everything to myself.

I have a very small group of friends/people that I talk to, and that group gets smaller every day.

Part of me wants to grow it, to branch out, to talk to people. But a bigger part of me wants to stick to myself and these two Booger Butts and call it a day. I’ve been dealing with my want for social broadening lately and decided, eh, let’s try it? What a mistake.

… … …

This will jump around a bit but I’m only ever talking to myself, so who cares?

I had a daydream that I saved Urijah from someone trying to kill him and ended up in jail. In solitary confinement. Stuck to myself all day and night and only ever having communication when it comes to getting my food, if even then. And for some reason this was such a great daydream. I felt a calm about it. Sitting in some dirty room with nothing and no one until I just petered out of existence. With nothing but my brain and maybe, if I was lucky at all, paper and pen. Even if I wasn’t that lucky, the thought of being alone forever seemed grand.

The fact that this excites me is a problem, I think, but I wonder if I’m fighting the wrong way. Maybe I should just embrace that. Not let myself get pulled back in by artificial nice guys and lesbians who are already in love with someone else. Maybe I should keep moving forward and stop looking back, and maybe forward leads me and the young sir somewhere lonesome. Somewhere that is just us, except when it’s just us and The Boy Chin Wonder.

… … …

I won’t delete my social accounts again, even though I wanted to. I came close today. But I’ll try my best to stay off of them and in my own world. I’ll fight for my family, for us. I’m so sick of everyone – liberals and conservatives and everyone else. Adults and teens and anti-this and religion and just everything that exists outside of my home. I am sick of arguing and hearing arguments.

To be perfectly honest, I’d rather get a shotgun and a secluded house and argue with gunshots at this point. I’m tired of no one getting ANYTHING. And I think I’ll live in the philosophy that you don’t have to get anything. I can definitely GIVE you these hands/these bullets/this pain, though.

We can share.

Before I die I will figure out how to distance myself and still survive. I can’t imagine keeping in touch with people anymore. I’m done with it.

 

Let us depart.

 

Entitled to It

Is it my duty in life to feel something?

… … …

Nowadays, I’m often surprised when I get more than a little excited. It’s jarring. It feels like I’ve grown immune to these types of feelings, to truly experiencing anything other than survival emotions and extremes. You’re depressed. You’re euphoric. You’re engulfed in love.

You’re dying.

It was getting to the point where any feeling other than complete and utter panic was nonexistent. So it is really surprising when something like an episode of a show I like, a conversation, a thought, a game, a smile, when those things make me FEEL. They make me feel small snatches of something and I’m thrown off balance. Really, anything other than one terrible extreme after the other feels alien.

But I don’t mind being able to enjoy amazing stories again (hello Game of Thrones, Hi Man Seeking Woman, what’s good West World, nice hat you got there Stranger Things). I don’t mind reading great stories and loving characters (you’re awesome Saga, great reading The Good House, let’s chat again Youth in Revolt). Even rereading things I read while I was deep underwater is a treat.

There is so much that you lose in depression. In giving in to what other people think is right for everyone. I found myself in this big house in Alabama, in these rooms that I’m decorating slowly and awkwardly. I find myself in the clippings from extra books I have, from the second copies I purchased by accident. I live in dark, brooding paintings of squid or men with tentacles for faces.

These little things, they make up for so much lost time. Rajesh talks and I can truly laugh. I can stand with him in the kitchen and tell him stories about my childhood, show him a tour of bookshelves and explain why I like these books, encourage him to collect things. Urijah jumps in the bed with me in the morning and I tell him about the day we’ll have while we stare at the windows, at the ceiling, at the walls. We laugh and cuddle and then I carry him to the bathroom for his morning pee, and I open the door to his playroom so he can start his own adventures.

I can live like this. And I honestly didn’t expect this to turn out this way. I expected this war with my own self to be the great war of my life, the war I would agony over into old age. Maybe the war I would lose way before then.

I like these little feelings, these variations of feelings. This life.

 

Warp

Every now and then I get sucked down a false nostalgia hole. I start wishing for things I never really got to experience, a childhood I wasn’t afforded, a passion I never lived.

It’s hard to get out of my head when I get like this.

 

So. Silence for now.

Experience

The experience of life is not all about other humans.

They’re a big part of it. Most of your daydreams, and my daydreams, are going to be full of conversations. Sitting quietly with another human, all those long talks and robust hang out sessions catching up. There’s going to be a lot of discussion, a lot of just being, and a lot of failure and success in companionship.

But the other part of life is solitude. A garden early in the morning or too late at night, the sun fading away or brimming and spreading. It’s going to be about the violence in your head, the dreams of nothing but air and madness, the voices if you have them.

It’s going to be about the colors. The sounds of an animal panting to keep up with you (hopefully a pet). The thoughts that ruin your day or make your night.

Life is about those moments when there’s nothing around but you and the air you breathe. The plants that watch you. The chaos on the horizon.

I don’t think about life with others as much as I think about life away. Burrowed in a home that is too disconnected to be feasibly safe. Too on the outskirts to be classified as part of this human thing we do.

I’ve lived the part of my life where companionship ruled. I’m ready to see the rest.

Someone

Remember when I was really, really into things that people hated? Types of people who were thrown away, types of subjects that were avoided, just the bottom of the barrel. I still am, to a certain degree, and I definitely still support the unsupported. But there was a point in time where I really stood behind those ideals.

When I had my mohawk with the tiny sides:

 

 

Or when I was really into showing my boobs, or just some skin in general, even if I didn’t think my body was the best body around.

 

Dark-skinned woman with no shirt, blue jeans, and arms crossed in front of legs.

 

Just a lot of rebellion a lot of the time. It was comfortable. I remember being obsessed with not having to apologize for being me, and being loud about it, and being loud about it for other people. Feeling like I was the savior of all the other weird boys and girls of the planet. Feeling like the worst mom on Earth, feeling like I didn’t fit into any corner or space, and absolutely rotting from the inside out.

All those things at once.

I’m not all that different now, just…evolved. I made it to where I figured I wanted to be – by myself. Just with the young sirs. Away from Atlanta. Away from disgusting older men, away from a childhood plagued with loss and change, away from teenage years full of sexual abuse, confused promiscuity, and aching loneliness. I made it around all of that, made it through a car wreck, made it to this house and these words. And I did it with a small amount of help, with a huge amount of determination, and a never ending sense of unease.

I’m not the girl with the hawk anymore, but I am. I’m not sporting a huge fro, but I could. I’m not standing around in my underwear, tits out, licking girl’s faces after they take my pictures, but I might. There’s a lot left in me and a lot of time (or maybe not – I wouldn’t know). I see these photos and I feel like the same person in them, just less sad. Less afraid. Less hopeless. Less crushed. Further away from my father’s death. Miles away from the place I hated, the people I hated. I see these pictures and I can finally soak them in, and feel great about them, without the guilt. Without the stories of the scents of those people in that apartment. I see these pics and I’m in awe of MYSELF.

There’s a lot of baggage in my memories but I’m truly learning to strip them and just see me in them. See Urijah, see Rajesh, see Mashu. I’ve learned to blur and spot those ugly things out of my mind and just leave us. Just leave midnight trips to CVS in Buckhead, of me looking at the sky. Just see me sitting outside at the bus stop, outside the Darlington at 10pm, going to work at Loveshack. See me watching busses go by, feeling sick of the city but so in love with the way the night looked. The way it smelled. The way the people jerked about.

I can look back and just see myself crying in front of that interior design store, the one on the bottom level of that skyscraper, where I stood waiting for my connecting bus (5) to work. See myself staring into that futuristic model kitchen they had there, tears of absolute want staining me. I remember feeling like, yeah, will I ever have something nice like this? Or will it always be starter stoves and roaches? Will it always be another suitcase in another hall?

Shit, do you know I didn’t listen to ONE showtune during those years? Or sing one? From 2007 to 2013 probably, I wasn’t even the same Shaquana that loved Evita, Guys and Dolls, West Side Story, Little Shop of Horrors, Chicago. I wasn’t even the same fucking person. I’d completely abandoned myself in hopes of survival and all I had left of me was a love for the weird and downtrodden. I’d adopted sexual deviants as my family and I sold toys to them and laughed with them and screamed at them and protected them.

 

And now, here I am. That model kitchen doesn’t seem like a far fetched idea – it almost seems silly, honestly. I miss that night sky but I’m happy to have the showtunes. I miss the freedom to walk to the CVS at night but I don’t miss the pain that soaked every step.

I don’t miss those days at that apartment that I took those pictures in, the one that was before Buckhead even. I hardly think about that unless I’m daydreaming about loving someone else in the apartment instead. What MISERY that was.

But I like being able to look at all these pictures, all these versions of Trey, all these Shaquanas, and only see myself for once.

 

I remember these things as they were, but I enjoy them as they should’ve been. And I’ll take more pictures, and more pictures, and they’ll be RIGHT THE FIRST TIME.

 

 

Ah-ga-ssi

It’s 5:20AM and I didn’t sleep.

 

Yesterday was an off and on day. In the world outside, there were fires. There was chaos somewhere, as there always is. There were dreams being smashed and lives being ruined. Somewhere, maybe someone was happy.

Inside my house, in the very new Alabama environment, it smells. It smells like there’s maybe something wrong with the pipes in here. Sewer gas, maybe. I only smell it very late or very early, and usually only after it’s rained or the washing machine has run. But I couldn’t sleep. In fact, it’s not just the smell keeping me up. I’ve been transforming back into something I recognize from childhood, mixed in with something I recognize from my teenage years. I keep making all these lists. All these plans. I keep thinking about who I am and how I look, but in a more introspective way. Current events make me feel heavy and broken – dating is not important to me in the least, and all I can do is think about the three of us in this house.

I’ve been watching the things I like and working at the same time.

I’ve been going after leads and thinking about who I am. Who Dude Ranch is. Who The Boy Chin Wonder is. And what we will become in our current climate.

And I’ve been slowly delving back into the things I used to love, that I loved for so long.

That means, of course, Asian Horror Films have been high on my list of ‘get back into me, doll’. And I made the excellent choice to watch The Handmaiden (Ah-ga-ssi) at around 2am. Park Chan-Wook is one of my top five directors. Shit, one of my top five human beings. I salivated when I heard this movie was coming out last year, but life took over and I swiftly forgot.

This movie was a number of…great things. It engulfed me in a way that only movies on my ‘best of’ lists can accomplish. And this movie might not have aimed to change anyone, to convince anyone of anything, but I find myself changed by it. The style and delivery of it. The story, simple but still complex enough to throw you around a bit. The accurate portrayal of how men can become demons even when they fancy themselves just normal human beings.

Just normal human beings trying to get money.

Just normal human beings working out their sexual frustrations.

Just normal monsters.

The delicacy of each women, and the sudden aggression. These characters were fleshed out so damn well.

Eh. Watch it. Love it. Experience the magic that is Park Chan-Wook’s movies, his style, his way of helping you become the story.

Feel like you’re alive again.

 

 

The Boy Chin Wonder

A bit jumbled, a bit thick…
… … …
Rajesh and I just had the longest, most serious conversation we’ve ever had. We talked about his art. We talked about death. We talked about what happens if I die, what happens to Urijah, what I would want for a funeral, what I want for his future.
 
We talked about understanding rejection and not being one of those crazed assholes that kills women/others when they’re rejected/fired/hurt. We talked about how ups and downs are what makes life LIFE. I gave him scenarios where he was being rejected and asked him what he would do. For every one he just said, ‘walk away or leave them alone’.
We talked about the 11 months I was pregnant with him, how I planned him with his Dad, how I cried because I wanted to see him so bad. We talked about how I watched Baby Shows day in and out, how excited I was. Singing and listening to his heartbeat and just really READY to see him.
 
We talked about how my Dad died and what type of person he was. He was horrified – he said it sounded like a painful and sad way to die. I agreed. I showed him pictures of my Dad, read the part of his obituary that I wrote. I showed him every photo I have of my Dad and all the stories about him. I told him stories about his grandmother, his great grandmother, his aunt and uncles.
 
We talked about Urijah. What Rajesh thought about Autism. What he thought about home-schooling. He admitted that the kids in his school treated the special ed children differently, harshly, and he was glad Urijah was home-schooled. I explained Urijah’s evaluations, what Urijah could and couldn’t do. We discussed the 4 year old autistic boy whose mother died and then he was found dead from starvation, having wrapped himself around his mother’s body and stayed there until he died, too. He said, as he’s said before, that the best feeling in the world is seeing Urijah happy. He said he would take care of him if anything ever happened to me, no matter what anyone else did or thought.
 
We talked about my car accident. How Tairina was 10 when my dad died, and that really scared him because he was 10, too. He told me his fears about the kind of jobs his dad worked (warehouse). He said my car accident scared him, and I gave him every single detail. The crumpled car and the oil in the road, the dust from the airbags. The anger. The shrieking and the police and everything. We talked about how I wanted to be cremated if anything happened to me, and he couldn’t stop laughing when I told him to take my ashes and throw them in the trash in front of the crematory. I told him it doesn’t matter when I’m dead – don’t be sad, just remember laughing with me.
 
He said, very finally, that he would take care of the house he knew I would have left him ‘by then’ (as in very far off) and he would live in it with Urijah. We made up a story about a key I would leave for him via a lawyer, and a treasure hunt for him and Urijah in the woods, only to find a box full of peanuts. I promised I would leave him all my unpublished stories when I go.
 
We both agreed that you can’t live your whole life afraid of dying.
 
I told him about all the pain he’ll feel. That, no matter what, someone would think he was terrible. One day, someone he loved wouldn’t love him back. And vice versa. Someday, something he wanted with all his being wouldn’t happen, and he had to find a way to keep going anyway. He agreed, and he agreed that without all those emotions you’re pretty much dead.
 
We talked about our appearance. I told him I don’t really worry about my appearance unless I’m dating someone, and not even really then. I try, but I just don’t care how I look. I just don’t. And he said he feels the same – that he feels like he’s fine and it doesn’t really bother him if other people don’t. I told him about how awkward I have been in the past, how unwanted I’ve felt, and how I still managed to be awesome. He agreed.
 
We talked about what Rajesh thought about school, about bullies, about expectations. We talked about girls, about boys, about his freedom to like either (when you get older and discover who you are, don’t let anyone make you feel bad for being you). We agreed that you have to give people space if they don’t like you.
 
We talked about my being weird. About his being weird as well, about people reacting negatively to it. My wishing I was home-schooled (and him chiming in to say he wishes he could be home-schooled as well). We talked about feeling like outcasts. About not feeling bad about that – about actually feeling pretty cool. He said he thinks he’s awesome, and he thinks I’m the coolest, funniest person on the planet – and he’s proud to be like me.
 
Shit, we even talked about my relationship with his Dad. We talked about it in comparison to the relationship with my Mom and Dad, how they treated each other. We talked about why his Dad and I broke up. We talked about the year I was homeless, when I had to let him stay with his Dad. I explained why I didn’t take him back, how it was just me and he would’ve been lonely. How he had a huge family with his Dad. And I almost cried when he really nodded, really said, ‘Yeah, I think you made the right decision but I bet it really hurt. But you did the right thing and I was never mad at you.’ Oh man, I really just wanted to cry because I have felt nothing but guilt for that for so long and to hear my own son say that is just magic.
 
We talked about my writing. About the difference between self publishing and traditional publishing. I explained what I do for my day job and how it will prepare me to market my own books (we both agreed I should self publish). I pitched my novel to him and he listened, chiming in with ideas and questions, and he said it was a ‘strong idea, I am really excited about that’ and then he made a story for me to critique.
 
We sat for hours and just talked and understood each other. I gave him a new sketchbook to write/draw his new story in and my fancy art set I’ve never used. It was hard to say goodnight, and he kept lingering and adding more to the conversation.
 
Rajesh is 10. He is as smart and thoughtful as I was at 10. He is as withdrawn and eager for space as I was and am. Except he accepts himself for it. Though, I didn’t lose that until I was 11 or 12. I want to protect this part of him with my entire being.
 
We went on and on and on.
 
Best moment of my life. Hands down.

Feed Your Head

So.

Once upon a younger Trey (back when Dude Ranch was just a tiny, big eyed baby), I stood up at a black ass block party to perform karaoke for the first and last time. Ever. I stood there, in front of a slew of black neighbors that I didn’t know (mostly young) and picked a song I knew by heart.

White Rabbit. By Jefferson Airplane.

This decision would hit me as a terrible one almost immediately after I started singing because:

  1. It is a hard song to fucking sing.
  2. I was in front of a crowd of people who had no idea who the fuck Jefferson Airplane was.

I powered through. To this day, I have no idea how I did it. It’s one of those moments that you get stuck in and can’t really stop, so you just go and go and go. I sang it terribly. As soon as it was over I heard a loud ‘THE FUCK WAS THAT WHITE SHIT’ and then just complete silence. I slunk back to where the young sir was and stored it in my ‘you are weird as hell but that’s okay’ painful memory bank.

I’d still get up and sing this song, that’s how good this song is. Grace Slick singing it makes me feel like I’ve just drowned in a pool of super strong coffee. Black with very little sugar, very little cream. She sings this shit like her soul is crawling out of her mouth.

Have I ever mentioned how much I absolutely, positively, ADORE and LOVE Grace Slick? I do. Whenever I wear straight hair it is usually in her signature style.

 

But yeah, listen to her singing this, vocals only, and tell me you don’t end up pregnant within the hour.