Posts Tagged ‘adult’

Catcalling season is here. As it has been for 30 years, if I had a dollar for every man who’s already said something sordid and gross to me, I could get 10 people dinner at Peter Luger’s today. 30 years.  Since I was 11. Guess how young I looked at 11? I would be a multimillionaire with all those dollars.

Two days ago, some guy talked about my bottom for an entire city block. “C’mon, girl, gimme dat azz!” He was serious. I almost felt sorry for him.  And he was about the 7th or 8th rude man that day.

Perhaps you think that at my age, I’d feel complimented by men loudly talking about my body as I go along, minding my own business. “Listen, old broad, you should feel flattered”, right? Imagine your wallets, fellas, in clear view to passers-by; your money exposed, no matter how modest you were being with it. Every few yards, some woman loudly remarks about your money, how she’d like to get with your money, and “Ooh, baby, you know you wanna give me that money!” Would you consider her for your next date? No? But why not? She’s only complimenting you on your money!

Is there no other way for these dudes to feel manly other than trying to assert some masculine privilege on strangers? Do they somehow really believe they can roll up and get sexual favours from women? Not. Happening. Idiot!

I won’t look back on it at 82, thinking, “Damn, I was something in my day.”


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I’ve long believed it’s wrong for me to ask for much.

Figure it out yourself! You’re supposed to be “smart”, you damn fool!

People have their own problems! They don’t want to deal with you!

Asking somebody for anything makes them think you’re weak!

Makes no sense, right? However I came to accept these beliefs is beside the point. I’m struggling with knowing how to ask about what I need help with, especially as my search for work is reaching a crisis point. Now comes the lesson.

This is what I assume happens: “Oh, Lord, here she comes.”

See that? It’s what I tell myself that creates my problems, an arse-backward, totally ineffective way of trying to control outcomes and protect myself that doesn’t work. It’s a dystopian fantasy, a lack of faith and a sad revelation of what I think about myself, that I’m not worth the effort! When people ask me for help, I do what I can, and I never judge the request. Yet I have no right to ask anything? Ever? Really? How insane! In digging inward and asking why my seeking help is wrong, there’s no coherent response, just strong, inchoate feelings of stark terror of rejection and abandonment for  “neediness”.

How free would I be of the fear of asking for help or that I’m “bothering someone” if I stopped assuming the worst, had faith in my ability to handle any outcome and believed in my worthiness?

I suspect I’m not alone in this.

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This weekend, I’ve been unwell with a bad cold, stuffed-up and achy. I get so few colds, the ones that show up are humdingers.

I’ve had time to think. Usually, that’s dangerous, as I overthink instead of take action, fearing the hammer of the nebulous “they”, and… well, never mind that story again. Today, the past is just a fairy tale.

Believing I’ll “do everything wrong” and be punished or shamed is the bad habit of thinking I’m struggling with. When I smoked, it took a long time to quit because it was a security blanket for my nerves. Forced to lie around this weekend, I asked myself, What am I still getting out of being anxious? “Security”?

I’m no longer 7. I’m not “getting in trouble”. Whatever I do is OK, barring hurting others. No one has it as together as I think. No one thinks I’m selfish or a show-off except me – and it’s my choice to believe such.  How childish and self-centered are these beliefs?  Haven’t I been laughed at before, publicly, anyway? Physically punished for making “mistakes”? Don’t many people dislike me? Yet here I am, safe in this moment.  Isn’t life short enough without living it in fear of being shamed?

My inner 7-year old, loathe to be humiliated, thinks I should be quiet, obedient.  Shut up! We have to be good so we won’t get hurt!

Better to be “bad” – hurt, even – but live freely as an adult than to live as a frightened child.

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“I’m gonna hang out tonight and listen to my old CDs.”

“You’ve heard all those already. Make a new song.”


“Why not? You’re humming and scribbling all the time.”

“Who do I look like?”

“Makeup, fancy clothes and knowing how to look into a camera doesn’t mean they’re so much better.”

“Oh, Chantal.”

“Anybody can be trained for that! I read how the Motown owner made every artist there take charm lessons. You already have good manners, know how talk to people. And you know how to sing, Zoe. Why don’t you sing?”

“There’s a billion pretty people out there singing. Nobody needs to hear me. They’ve got vocoders. You don’t even have to know how to sing.”

“I don’t think looks honestly count for so much. But I won’t push. I’m just your sister. What’s wrong that you want to listen to your old stuff?”


“Yeah, there is. You do that whenever you’re upset.”

Zoe looked down at her foot, reached for the end of her French braid and twirled the hair tightly around her right index finger, but remained silent. Chantal sighed deeply, as if on Zoe’s behalf.

“You didn’t get the promotion.”

Zoe rapidly shook her head “No”.

“I’ll have to find another job. That’s the signal. I don’t know what I’ll do now.”

“Assistant manager at a department store? There’s your joy? I doubt it highly. It would break my heart if you got to the end and asked yourself,  ‘Why didn’t I sing?'”

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Leigh tried and failed to not be shocked. Colin’s neighbourhood was awful, in a years-of-poverty-and-neglect way.

“Why…?” she asked as they walked on the glass strewn pavement toward his apartment after this, their 4th date.

“Scared you’ll get mugged?”

“Frankly, yes!”

“I always said that when I ever made it, I’d never forget where I came from.”

“Living outside a ghetto would make you forget?”

“Are you judging these people for their poverty?”

Leigh wondered if she was. But there was something ugly emerging that she couldn’t quite put her finger on, though, and she was determined to find that nub.

“If folks here had your means, very few would live here. You know that, right?”

“People are people, Leigh.” A strange look took over his handsome face. “I’m one of the people. I’m an example.”

These people? They?

“Colin, tell me about one of your neighbours.”

“Well, I…”

“Where do you buy groceries?”

“Trader Joe’s!”

“Do you volunteer in the area?” Colin looked abashed.

“You don’t date the women here, do you?” Leigh continued. ” I’m sure there’s lots of pretty and sweet girls around.”

“No, but… I mean…”

“We had dinner at Grenoble, not…” she read a sign down the street. “…Lou’s Chicken Hutch.”

“It’s not good for you.”

They stopped. Leigh looked Colin in the eye.

“You are a poser of the worst kind. And your neighbours hate you.”

He took out his mobile and dialed.

“Yes, hello, I need a taxi. Do you, uh,  come to Harville?”

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Sophie stood alone in front of the supermarket entrance and recognized her small, droopy reflection in the large plate window. The blue of the “Grade A Jumbo Eggs: $2.10/dozen” sign made it easier to see herself. She hadn’t been to the store alone ever.

It had taken her almost an hour and a half to walk the half mile there. She’d hugged herself for most of the way, but Charles had told her the only way out was through. It had been so easy to stay in the flat she grew up in. Her parents left it to her with quite a bit of money. There’d been no reason since high school (a torture she barely graduated from) to leave it.

And then came Charles, the building’s handyman. A water leak from the floor above necessitated an entire living room wall be replaced, and he learned that the quiet little girl he’d known had become a nice young lady who’d trapped herself. His own fear had been planes. He knew that all anxieties come the same place and decided to help her, if she was willing. At 24, the part of Sophie that longed for connection to the world overcame her fear.

Each day, she took a small, new step. Going into the hallway. Down to the mail box. Saying “Good morning” to the doorman. Standing outside. He walked with her to the corner and back. Small steps, and now, here she was, needing bread…

Today, the supermarket. Tomorrow, the world.

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“There are some dangling modifiers here and…  Theresa, you have to learn how to take critiques without sobbing.”

“I can’t help it.”

“You must learn to help it.”

“So easy for a man to say.”

“Which brings up my major problem with this story. Rory doesn’t show any feelings, despite murdering the entire royal family. There’s no explanation of his state. No male seems to do anything for any motivation, which isn’t true to life, while Valerie is shown quite realistically to be motivated not only by her understandable hatred of the family, but also for the money she’s getting for masterminding the deed. You show how torn she is and her sense of morality, but Rory doesn’t warrant the same understanding? Misandry from start to finish. This is D-level work. ”

Mr. Parker impassively watched Theresa cry, her crystalline tears spontaneously bursting from the ducts like an anime character. There was at least one Theresa every semester.

“You can’t say things like that!”

“I can, and I did. And I’ll tell you my motivation. It’s not enough to have a flair for the dramatic. Good writing helps everyone grow in empathy for our shared condition.  No empathy for all? Then you have no business writing.”

It hurt to realize that he was right.  Theresa’s ego had been satisfied only when she equated all men with her father. But now did she want to assuage her bitter ego or be a good writer?

“I’m trying to help.”

“I suppose so.”

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