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.

 

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.

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.

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.

We Ain’t Die…

I’ve been busy. Well, not really. But shit has happened.

At the end of 2016, Urijah and I were moving. We moved. Alabama, which I like very much at he moment, now claims us as official residents. I’ve moved everything over except my business and the homeschool stuff (you have to homeschool ‘through your church’ in Alabama, and that’s not happening).

On the way to Birmingham, Atlanta tried to deny us access. Some moron ran a light and I t-boned him. Totaled my fucking car. The smell of the air bags was potent, and stuck to me, for almost a week. I remember driving and then suddenly my wrist hurt, my ears were ringing, and Urijah was screaming his fucking head off. Absolute chaos. There was a vicious anger/disbelief there as well, one I haven’t felt ever. And when I got out and saw all the shit, OUR shit, sprawled across the ground…

When I saw that two week old car, 400 miles on it, the one I got to peel the plastic off of, mangled and broken…

When I thought about the fact that we hadn’t even gotten out of Atlanta yet (thanks Metropolitan and Ralph David Abernathy)…

I fucking just crumbled.

A lot happened. Naaman came through for us in such a real way, and would again in coming days. I wrote this on Facebook:

Well. We ain’t die.

And I still go get the keys to this big, beautiful house in the morning. I have money to re-buy Urijah some clothes, and Rajesh some clothes, and me some clothes. I can buy ointment for our wounds. I still have my hands to write and my brain to create.

We’re still doing better than ever. Totaled 2 week old car, yeah. But it wasn’t my fault, and the guy explained that to the police.

I have a bit of faith restored in the amount of people who stopped, who jumped out to help push the guy’s car out the road, who grabbed Urijah out the car when they realized I was stuck. With the officer who went and searched through the car and all our things to find Urijah’s tablet when I told him Urijah was autistic and wouldn’t calm down without it.

My heart is beating a bit thicker. 28 and something new happened. There’s always that.

And I still got here. I’m sitting in Alabama right now, waiting for tomorrow, waiting for tomorrow to snatch me or throw me or guide me gently.

By now it’s obvious, you know. We’re still here no matter what happens next. At that point, at least, we ain’t die.

… … …

And now we’re here in Alabama and I’m thinking about life. Had a shit client call with Marge and a shitty client that reinvigorated my passion for becoming a novelist – that’s where I belong. Fuck business. Seriously, I truly hate business.

So I’m moving forward. I’m finding my own clients that don’t suck. I’m going to write my own stories every night, no matter how tired I am. And I’m going to keep Urijah and I happy. Well adjusted. Bathed in solitude but not alone.

We damn sure escaped.

Escape

We’re getting the fuck out of here.

This year has been a huge eye opener. Well, fuck that. My 20’s were basically me spiraling from shit that happened in my teens, and now I’m finally coming to a stop. I feel like I did when I was eight, except with twenty years of experience under my belt to make me a bit smarter.

I feel like I picked up what I lost.

And I can honestly say a couple of things that I’ve been battling with, angry about, ignoring and the lot:

 

I don’t want to get married. Ever.

I don’t want to be stuck.

I’m not happy sitting still.

I like being alone.

I don’t want a traditional life.

 

I’ve been so stuck on trying to make life work for me. Trying to have something normal, something typical. When really, I need to take Urijah and get out of here. We’re different than this. I don’t want to get married and be Betty and Don Draper, as much as I like them sometimes. As much as I adore their relationship, Betty is bored and unsatisfied and Don is between another woman’s legs every ten minutes (and actively more in love with them than he is with Betty). I have been exploring my mind so much since Wolf left and it just feels…seasoned.

First off, a couple of things triggered this. One was Wolf leaving, of course, but it’s a little more than that. The whole last chapter in my relationship with Wolf let me know that I was going after something I can’t handle anymore. Maybe I could’ve when we were first together – but I wanted something different for us back then and he failed me. There was no working it out. I gained my crippling desire to be normal and settle down from the shit Wolf put me through, after all. So this most recent failure stuck out to me in that he failed me at the very crutch I put up to make my wounds from him BETTER.

I don’t want to get married. Even when we were doing better, the thought of it makes my stomach churn. Being stuck.

Then, the car. The fucking car breaking down when I need it so much and can’t get shit done without it. Rajesh misses two whole days of school because I couldn’t fucking drive, and I went out and said fuck it and bought a BRAND NEW ONE. A brand new 2017 Nissan Sentra. And I gave that 2006 Ford Escape back to he detriment of my newly good credit score. And I didn’t die.

Sitting in that black beast, smelling that new car smell, it made me realize that I am not bound to anything. There will always be another direction.

Third, the kids slashing tires in my neighborhood. I look at my neighbors and they’re stuck to deal with bullshit like this. They OWN their homes. They are stuck. I don’t own shit. I can come and go as I please.

And I will.

Lastly…Rajesh saying he wanted to live with Naaman next year. He wants to live with Nate and then, the year after, with his granny. And it’s not like he said I wasn’t doing enough or something. But something about it clicked onto all the other things and I said, “Yeah, that’s a good idea. But you should just stay there. No more back and forth.” Stay with your Dad.

Because it’s me and Urijah. Because we don’t belong to anyone but each other. Because we don’t belong to any state, to any house, to any family. It’s just us. I wipe his ass. I’m the only one who can understand him. I homeschool him. I take him here, there, everywhere. I give him gifts, do his hair, feed him, clothe him. He is my son, my friend, my annoyance, my everything. My mother is in New York, my sister in Alabama, my brothers in Washington. I don’t speak to any of my cousins or aunties or uncles or anything. It’s just me and this little munchkin.

We belong in the wind. I don’t want anymore leases over six months. I don’t want to worry about the friends we’re not making. I want to go and get gone and love and adore and see things. I don’t need to go to night clubs and drink/do drugs. I don’t need to be scared. I want Urijah to find home in every nook and cranny, and I want to do the same.

I don’t give a shit about my fear of the ocean.

I don’t give a shit about my fear of flying.

I don’t give a shit about the danger. We will die in here anyway, swallowed up by these walls and loans and cars and other people. I want to go.

We’re gonna fucking GO.

This year will be spent preparing. Passports. Money saved. Destinations picked. Languages practiced. Weight lost. Outside, outside, outside. Getting better at work so I can do it anywhere, writing and marketing and everything else. Dreaming and putting shit together.

 

Everything had to come to a head for this. I had to lose Wolf. I had to have this year with Rajesh. I had to see how life was becoming one long day, and I had to shake myself awake.

I found a time machine. And it exists in me and Urijah and this big fucking world.

 

Hola. Bonjour. Aloha.

 

We’ll see you soon. 🙂