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.

 

Read This, I Guess – A Letter to my Mother That She Will Never Read

This is something that was written with so much heart, wrapped around so much skill, that I tear up just thinking about it.

I know I’ll think about this often.

I haven’t been in the mood for holidays, or really any celebration, this year. They all seem so empty. Maybe it’s because I’m 29, I’ll be 30, and things still seem the same.

Reading this felt different. The way it unfolded, the story of a mother who is suffering, who is passing down suffering without meaning to, it felt new. It felt old at the same time.

It’s worth it. Read it. It really is worth it.

 

Vibe.

I can get into this peace.

At least for the time being. Today was full of sneaky rain, quiet skies lighting up with thunder, chillhop and lists. Even just sitting outside while Dude Ranch walked around, hiding his shoes in various dirt piles and chipmunk homes, felt like forever. The old lady that I have convinced myself used to live here really put her foot into this garden. It’s a template that I 100% intend to build upon, to make my own.

For a long time, I convinced myself that I didn’t have idols. Because ‘edge’. But one of my idols, that I can admit was an idol now, posted a link to her magazine feature and I felt my heart speed up. As long as she’s posted and invited people into her life (much less so for the past year or two), I’ve been watching and reading and absolutely adoring her. I find myself sifting even more comfortably in this vibe when I see her transforming. She’s become someone new, someone who also sifts and floats, and I know what I want when I look at what she’s achieved.

I like to think I’ll be able to do something similar to what she’s done, maybe not from a big city point of view. I don’t have the travel bug as much as she does (I more so yearn for somewhere to settle down and evolve), but I imagine I can find beauty wherever I go. Building a brand is the hard part for me. The biggest part of my personality that never seems to die out is that part that wants solitude. It wants to hide underneath the covers. It wants to smell flowers in my own backyard, to drink in the vision of my own furniture collection. I’d love to line my walls with my own books, craft a wonderland out of the kid’s rooms, and make any place I live a true escape. I dream about this type of stuff more than I dream about being cool, wanted, desired. I dream about this more than I dream about escaping via other places.

I’m sure there’s beauty out in this world. I know it. But I’d love to be able to make my own spaces beautiful first. To know that I can make this a world worth living in no matter what’s going on beyond those doors.

So I’ll try.

Public.

I haven’t blogged for public consumption in quite some time.

And, even when I did, I didn’t put much effort into promotion. I didn’t really expect strangers to read what I wrote and engage with me. I’ve never felt like much of a public persona, a personality, or even just someone with a valuable opinion. I’m somewhat nihilistic, highly depressive, outrageously reserved and in a sort of solitude that I created for myself.

Want some cheese with that whine type of deal, all the time.

Lately, though, I’ve been wondering if I should build on these things. Watching the world go by is okay. I wonder if it would want to watch me. Us. Dude Ranch and The Boy Chin Wonder and Mashu.

There’s something to give in every situation. I might put myself back in the world again, slowly and surely, and with more thought than before. I might see how this thing goes.

Inhale.

It’s time to get up.

I mean that in a variety of ways. A bonfire of variety.

One way is that, well, I’ve been physically unable to do anything all day. That depression thing. Where you can’t do anything but sit and daydream about characters interacting with people you’ll never meet but would love to. Astrid being able to show her hallucinations to people, to a room full of people, and everyone being amazed. This is what your violent, overly sexual, terribly plagued brain is like? And plugging other people up to it and realizing that no one else has quite the same brain.

 

Is it a parasite? The ocean? Love, hate lust, etc? I’ve gone through this one quite a bit and it’s morphed in just a day. Chaunce hasn’t been in the most recent version of it but Joji and all those others have, regardless of me trying to keep real people out of it. I think it’s time to sit down and start writing and vomit my creativity somewhere.

It’s a start. Shit, it’s a save. I haven’t been up to anything but working lately, but even that is a bit of a save. Even that is more than before – I’ve been overworking but it’s kicking my ass into getting up. I actually made writing playlists today. I actually earned my keep this week.

I need to learn to draw, most definitely. I have a vision but I can’t keep telling myself I need other people to do it. There’s no one else. I’m not getting married. I’ll never be with anyone, not seriously and not long term. And I doubt I have a whole lot of time left.

So I’d like to draw, to learn to code, and to actively write again. I want to go ahead and take the amazing parts of me out of the trashcan and exist again.

So. I go.