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.

 

Trust

I don’t trust the world. Not to love me. Not to entertain me. Not to keep giving me chances.

Not for anything.

… … …

 

Three of my windows are broken. They have simple cracks, but deep enough to shatter the whole things if pushed. They sit out there, reminding me of the fragility of this world I am building, and I worry about them. Cracks. That cracking sound.

I’ll call maintenance tomorrow and try to explain how it happened, but I honestly don’t know. Tai pointed them out and I looked and said, ‘oh’. I really don’t pay attention to much lately, honestly. If it’s not something Urijah is learning (or not learning), one of our moods, our hair, our stories, or Rajesh’s texts, I’m blank on it.

But I’m back in the mood to watch and write things. To vibe. The daydreaming has been kept at a minimum, and it’s mostly lesbian stuff – I’ve managed to keep all the white celebrities out of them (very disappointed in le whites lately and, honestly, I think I want to stay that way). I had another heartbreak from ANOTHER racist gamer, who I thought was amazing and grand and beautiful right up until, and it really just…it kicked me in the stomach.

It led me to watch some Black girl gamers today and they were so fucking REFRESHING. All the ‘BIIITCH’ and ‘YEAH GuRL’ and all the sarcastic responses. All the mixture of accents and levels of hoodness – from trill to blerd and everything in-between. I loved it. So I’m going to make that a practice from now on. I notice that a lot of black girls don’t show themselves but that’s okay – I like the screen being fully dedicated to the game.

 

I’m procrastinating. I have a PowerPoint to complete and I hate doing that shit, but not as much as I hate Marge’s work. I’ll do it, and keep at it, and go from there. And I understand, today of all days, that I’m amazing and I’ll get this (and so much more) done. That I’m worth the suspense, the wait, the love I’m giving myself. That I’m worth this funky ass hawk that dropped a white woman’s jaw at the Piggly Wiggly today.

That I’m worthy of Urijah and Rajesh, of Chris sometimes, of a future that isn’t linear and isn’t regular and isn’t really all that planned out. That the Earth could crumble around us and I’d make something beautiful happen, somehow. Some way.

And even if I wasn’t, I understand that nothing fucking matters anyway.

 

I’m procrastinating.

 

Deep sigh.

Boxes.

I shaved my head again. Well, the sides. Cut this hair, this hair that is longer than it’s been in years, and shaved in down to the lowest point possible without being scalp. Just the sides.

I didn’t leave my tiny sides this time. And now I have this odd samurai puff on top of my head.

… … …

 

I’ve been writing a lot lately. Just not in stories or any sort of fiction, really. No, I’ve been writing for work and in journals and on here. I’ve been writing about me and my life and my thoughts, writing email campaigns, writing press releases. I’ve been writing any and everything.

I’ve been researching as well. Reading about the past and present and future and never. All from my l-shaped desk. Or my bed. All from my back ‘porch’. All around this house, in this house, over this main floor. I’ve been existing a bit more.

In that existence, I realized I wanted to shave my sides again. And I realized I am pretty good by my dolo. And I realized I want to approach Urijah’s education a bit more…realistically. A curriculum. The one I want costs around $600, but it’s an investment I will make to ensure he learns both what I want him to and what he needs to.

I have narrowed my vision to the people in this house, these two intricate humans: Urijah and Mashu. Dude Ranch and Trey.

I have narrowed my goals to writing and business. Writing and skills. Writing and learning. Writing and writing.

I’ve become a person on the outside of the box. The beautiful outside of the box. The details are swarming me and I’m ready for it.

So here I am, outside this box, in this box, with this little boy, with our futures, becoming something new. With the sides shaved off my head. With the scale finding less and less of me.

 

I’ve been writing a lot lately, you know.

Oi.

Tornado warnings and wine. I’m for it.

Right now, I’m a bit buzzed whilst watching David Mitchell’s Soapbox (the youtube series) and finishing off a bottle of wine. I started this bottle earlier today and knew I’d be done before bedtime. Any time I indulge and decide to drink wine, I finish within the day. So this isn’t terrible, it isn’t new, and it isn’t worrisome. I’m not exactly sad about anything, so it’s even less so.

I do feel like watching Submarine. I’ve been using The Mitchell and Webb Look, and That Mitchell and Webb Situation, to lull me into a pleased and hilarious sleep for the last week or so, so I’m good on that. But Submarine-type dark humor is what I’m into at the moment, and so I’ll probably watch it tonight.

I’m in a inbetween mood. Not happy. Not sad. Not up. Not down. But very amused and very in the mood to succeed at something. I figure I’ll write a bit in Astrid, The Devil or The Circuit before the night is over, as well as get these two blogs for one of my clients done. Shit, I might do even more than that, who knows. I might actually get business done – CAN YOU IMAGINE THAT?

Submarine is not on Netflix anymore. So I’ve opted for The Fundamentals of Caring. I’ll probably end the night with a bit of K-drama if I can.

The Fundamentals of Caring is interesting because, when I first started watching it, I was on a business trip. It was the absolutely worst time to watch it. And yet, it was the funniest thing I had seen in quite a while. Too heart-warming for a business trip where I was having God and Jesus and religion thrown in my face a lot, but not exactly hating it. It was a woman thing – lots of older black women there who may have been more religious than me, but were absolutely more experienced in life and into trying to get me up to speed.

I don’t experience women being more experienced in life than me a lot. Not at all. The stories they told around the campfire were enthralling and full of terrible experiences. It was amazing.

Note: Slim Jims are actually awful, no matter what any character in any movie tries to convince you. Absolute yuck. And ill-humored people aren’t actually interesting, they’re just ill-humored.

 

Today was not anything special. It’s nice, though. The panic of a tornado, the thrill of being slightly drunk. The normality of today.

 

We’re functioning.

Stranger Woman

This month has been ambiguous.

It’s been terrible to me financially and romantically. It’s been amazing to me emotionally and mentally. It’s been record breaking in terms of happiness to finance ratios go. This month, I watched two amazing shows that put me back in the mood to write:

Man Seeking Woman

Stranger Things

I don’t think I’ve EVER seen anything as awesome, in totally different ways, as these two shows. I’m enamored. I’m drooling. I’m fucking waiting and wishing for more and I’m so happy to live in an era where these things exist. This type of abnormality and obsurdity (Man Seeking Woman) and this type of just grade A story-telling and acting (Stranger Things). Those babies are fucking AMAZING in that show. The adults are amazing. Every single aspect of Stranger Things had me screaming.

It had me peaking around the corner (seriously) to check to see if anything without a face was lurking, trying to get my Dude Ranch.

It had me missing The Boy Chin Wonder so badly. Man, I want nothing more for my children than for them to be complete and utter dorks. Nothing more. I imagine The Boy will ease into this if allowed – I need a car bad. I want to pick him up on weekends and support this outcome. The Young Sir will ease into it well enough if I can figure out a way to communicate better with him. And then get him on that damn toilet once and for all. And find a place for us to plant ourselves so he can find friends who are like him and rule the world.

Writing is getting easier and easier. I feared I’d drop back off the face of the planet because of the Ael fiasco – nothing like your sudden motivation for diving back into the writing world using you to take his virginity, hating it, and then stuttering his way to the blocked section of your life. Nothing like wasting a bunch of time and sending him a bunch of stories and trying to find permanence in temporary situations. Nothing like planning for your business and home decor only to never talk to him again.

Nothing like finding a cool place and not being able to go back to it because now you might run into his ass.

But somehow, SOME FUCKING HOW, this was a blessing. It was something I needed. And now I’m binge watching beautiful shows, lonely but so content, broke but somehow rich with emotions and feelings and just wanting to do these things. The Young Sir actually sat with me for a second, sleepily watching these awesome kids doing things kids could only do pre-90’s.

Who knows where we go from here. The Young Sir and The Boy Chin Wonder (sometimes) and Mashu. But I love this little family. I love my little complicated life. I love being stuck in this house, being stuck in my head, being challenged from afar.

This is where I’m supposed to be.

Lives.

I’ve been so many different people.

Just like everything else, that’s been crossing my mind a lot lately. I’ve been so many different types of person, lived so many lives, experienced so many different emotions. I’m 29 but I’d been about twelve different people by the time I turned 21.

A whore.

A saint.

A liar.

A thief.

A lover.

A lesbian.

A bi-sexual.

Adored. Hated. Molested. Raped. Beaten. Cared for. A mother.

I’ve been all types of Shaquana, all versions of Trey. So many best friends and boyfriends and girlfriends and duties and jobs and everything. It’s wonderful when I really just sit and think about it without crying about it. It’s a lot, so much, but it’s perfect.

I sit now and wonder what I am at this second. You never know until it’s over. You never understand your place in the world (at least I don’t) until you fit in a different way. When I look in the mirror now, I’m happier than I ever was – even at a weight bigger than ever, even with no relationship (and a bunch of failures under my belt), I feel immense happiness. I see myself filled with life and love and honesty. And I find myself dangerously attractive, which is a giant change.

But what life is this, now? And where will it lead me?

I wonder and I smile.

Trouble

Sometimes I realize I’m not worth the trouble. A lot of my interactions, especially with men and potential friends, boils down to that. It’s not worth the headache for one reason or another, cool ass personality or not.

I’m getting that.

I hear over and over and over how great of a personality I have. How I’m ‘cool as hell’. How I’m interesting, how someone has had a better conversation with me than they have with anyone else, ever. I hear that so much I should get it tattooed in my ear.

You’re amazing, Trey.

You’re so funny.

You’re quick, you’re smart, you like the coolest stuff.

And then they follow it with all their buts and uh’s and um’s and I blank out a bit.

… … …

 

I’m not so bothered about being trouble anymore. Not in a real sense. It might jerk a tear of two and then I just kinda sit with my back against the wall and laugh. I’m too much or too little or too big or too small or have too many kids or not enough manners or this or that or the third.

I can’t make you cum or I can but that’s all.

I make you feel awkward or I make you feel nervous.

I’m ‘ambiguous’ or ‘intense’.

I get a lot. But I give a lot, and I’m kind of tired of regretting that giving. I’m starting to think I like giving a lot. And being a lot.

I’m starting to think I run people off for a reason.

 

And it’s okay, I think. Being trouble. Having those long gaps of time when I am no one and nothing and if a Trey falls in isolation, does anyone hear it? And if Urijah closes his door again, am I alone in the house?

And if Rajesh loses his phone again, am I not his mother?

And if everyone forgot I was here would anything be any different?

… … …

I’ve been going through water bottles. They’re everywhere. I drink them like I’m a worried alcoholic and they’re whiskey, and they’re scotch, and they’re buzzing in me. I’ve never had so much water in my life. I think about breast cancer and cervical cancer and liver failure and I sit with my back against some wall. There’s a lot of thought involved in this.

But I really like mirrors again, all of a sudden. And cameras. I like smiling really big and picking Urijah up and showing him that he can smile, too. I like listening to lofi hip hop and complaining about my life to myself. I like seeing that door as a wall, these windows as walls, this isolation as an opening.

I am okay with being trouble.

Maybe I am not enough. And it will always be just that way. But it’s really okay.

I’ll live until I don’t.

29.

Then again, maybe I won’t. 

… … …

 

I already know I won’t sleep tonight.

Urijah is up and bouncing and fully energized from a deep sleep I woke him up from. Talking to Blu, I struggled a bit. He is in an odd place in his life, and me in mine, where it’s hard to talk about things we care about. It’s hard to form words around what we are and who we are and where we belong in each other’s lives. He struggles to latch on to the humor I used to have. I do the same.

In that struggle, I woke Urijah.

I’ve been sitting her the past…hour? Maybe two? Reading this comic book Bham Ael lent me. That’s the blog nickname I’m giving my current maybe-eventually-who-knows-what. Ael. I like that so that’s it now.

It has all these interesting, vivid, violent, grotesque, over-the-top horror comics from the 50’s. An introduction by R.L Stine. Pretty much everything I need in a book. I have a ten hour loop of a fire burning in a Christmas-decorated fireplace, the sounds lulling me into a brief calm. I’m sitting in my birthday gift from Tai, a beautiful round couch that has wheels and is huge and just swallows me up. All I need is tea but, eh, maybe later.

I already know I won’t sleep tonight.

… … …

There is nothing significant about 29. Nothing to cheer about or get weepy about. I look forward to 30. I like aging, believe it or not. I probably won’t once I hit those long years that bring more ends than promises, but for now I like it. I imagine myself gray and it’s interesting. In a way, I’ve been growing back into the personality of my youth. I’m the life of the party but also the cave hermit. I’m pulling out of my mind a bit and giving Astrid a rest when it comes to bland celebrity stories. She’s been wrapped up in a scenario with Chaunce and Paloma, which I prefer.

I’ve stopped talking to Alyssa. Again. I’m sure this time she’s over it and strolling along to the beat of her life. I have no idea how to keep up and that’s not getting any better, no matter how much I want to. I sit in a spot in the sun and look up and it’s a spot in the moon. No time to call, to text, to talk. I thought it was still January until I remembered my birthday.

Today. 29. I’m rambling a bit.

That’s okay. It used to be okay, so it’s okay.

… … …

There’s a lot I can say about how I want this year to go. And I will. I don’t want to stop saying things just because they might not happen. Don’t want to stop dreaming just because it’s all in my head. Don’t want to NOT date just because dating always fails for me. I want to live as freely, as unbound, as possible. I want to enjoy every inch of my life, happy or sad or failing myself miserably, and I’ll do that by making those promises.

This year, I want:

  • To write a comic.
  • To finish Astrid, The Devil and maybe The Circuit.
  • To get Dude Ranch on the damn toilet.
  • To read and read and read.
  • To do VERY well in my business.
  • To transform my business into a creative agency.
  • To rely solely on myself.
  • To love someone vividly.
  • To be loved vividly.
  • To lose the weight that makes me avoid mirrors.
  • To learn to cook better.
  • To collect: socks, graphic novels, figurines, notebooks, headphones, corsets, lingerie, art
  • To continue to support The Boy Chin Wonder in his art.
  • To create magic with my hair again.
  • To get a sleeve to cover the abomination – either a cluster of deep black flowers or bands all the way up.
  • To breathe.
  • To study.
  • To write in general.
  • To relax.
  • To build my personal brand again (and not delete it).
  • To grow in Birmingham and separate myself from Atlanta.
  • To better understand friendship.
  • To drink good ass coffee.
  • To be fucking amazing. Like I am. Like I have been. Like I will be.

 

These fireplace noises are awesome.

I worry about the thing with Ael. Because I’m very good at getting bored and burying myself alive. The smallest thing makes me panic – I don’t know what I want, and that should be okay, but I feel like it leaves a large target on my chest. I don’t want to want everything but I fucking hate wanting nothing. It’s confusing.

But I like it enough. I felt myself pulling back today but I caught it and decided, yeah, be quiet today but talk tomorrow. Stop thinking about it. Stop avoiding it. Just let it be.

… … …

I’ve checked out in a big way on world events. I don’t register them lately. It’s really like I’ve found that cave and I’m living in it, away from all the people and places and noises. It feels like I’ve been building a world, a tiny world, inside the bigger one. And it feels like this is the direction I always wanted to take.

I’m 29. The Young Sir is 6. The Boy Chin Wonder is 10. And life is going and going and going.

Wake up. Wake up. It’s me, the moon. 

I already know I won’t sleep tonight.

Have a good night, Shaquana.

Revolt

How things stay the same.

… … …

 

And yet. It feels a bit different. I’m sitting here watching Man Seeking Woman, which is probably one of the best shows I’ve ever watched, and I’m pantless. This house is huge – I ventured downstairs for once to see how it feels on the main level. There’s three stories – basement, main level, and attic. I spend much of my time upstairs with music playing, with my head in the clouds, with my work uncharacteristically piling up. So I’ve decided to pull myself out of that and spend more time with Urijah, and then with myself.

It’s cool so far.

Out of all the things I’m doing which are supposed to be different, a couple are old. Writing, for one. And I’m slightly ashamed to admit that a guy helped me spark back into that current. And that I’m quite smitten. And that I haven’t taken to holding on to baggage yet and am jumping in full fledged. And that I said I wouldn’t do this.

But I say a lot of shit.

 

We went on a date to a Wiccan coffee shop and it’s probably the complete opposite of what I expected to find in Alabama. A nice community. The whole vibe of the place was gorgeous. We were free to walk around and talk and he was so well dressed. We drank the best coffee I’ve ever had. He showed me his paintings and drawings and they were amazing. I don’t think I’ve seen such great art in person before. And it was just a really great time. Better than any date I’ve ever been on.

Well, I do have reservations. I feel a bit…uncomfortable. I’ve spent a lot of time feeling like a terrible catch. Like…I don’t know. And though my confidence has gotten beautiful and I’m super happy alone, I am afraid I will crash and burn through this. Another Wolf, another Nate, another Tim, another failure. Another reason for me to hate myself.

Also. He’s white, though it’s not like he’s the first white guy I’ve ever went on a date with.

It’s a difference, though. A difference that is still kind of the same.

… … …

Alabama has been wonderful so far. It’s been quiet and slow. It’s been a practice in solitude and a mastery of understanding and appreciating myself. We’re happy here. No furniture, no problems. A lot of writing but also a lot of slacking off on my work. But things are turning around.

I like it here. I like feeling like this. We’ll see what happens.

Stories

I’m missing a story. That’s what it is.

No matter what happens, I surround my mind with stories of characters. If I’m lusting after someone, real or imagined, it’s Astrid who gets to meet them. To enjoy them. To hurt from and with them. It’s an Astrid fantasy and I remove myself from the equation completely.

I do this often and have been for a long time.

Astrid has lived a million lives and died a million deaths and loved a million loves. She’s my go-to. Yeah, sometimes it’s Chaunce or a Astrid/Chaunce hybrid. For the most part, though, Astrid gets to be the center of my mind when I wish I was part of things.

I do not have a story. Not really.

Even growing up, the story was never about me to me. I push it on others. It’s a story about my Mom being depressed or my Dad dying. It’s a story about men who didn’t treat me well, about how women were harder to talk to, etc. But it’s very rare that the story is me. I ignore my reflection in real life – that’s not a size thing. I did it when I was 100 lbs smaller. I did it when I was a teen. I ignore my reflection and I pretend I’m someone else.

My personality is pretty cool but I have detached it from me completely. Pretty much everything that is the actual Shaquana Amanda Briggs is rotting somewhere in New York or in my dad’s grave.

It’s interesting to figure that out. Things happen to me but I don’t feel like I have an actual story – just notes. Car Accident. Break ups. Big moves. It’s all just written in the margins and there’s a blank body, a blank page, that I haven’t even tried to fill.

Knowing this made me feel better. I got out of bed today (late as hell but I did). I’m sitting and planning out this year. I know I’ll keep denying myself a story if I don’t unmuddle my mind. I have to understand and appreciate myself and this is the year I’m going to do it. Skill building. Solitude. Writing. Taking photos.

29 is going to be the year I regroup in case I make it to 30, to 31, beyond.

I’m going to use this Bama solitude to get the story back on course.