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Posts Tagged ‘free writing’

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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“What are you smiling about?!”

What am I smiling about, Dom? No matter what’s happened, no matter the outbursts you’ve subjected me to in court, I’m fine. I’m achieving my goal in the next few minutes in this aerie that’s my lawyer’s office: Liberation.

You’ve said a lot of shit about me to the media. Why anyone was willing to believe such a classic case of projection, I don’t know, but never mind. I’ve gotten a clean bill of health and soon, I’ll never have to see you again.  Ever.

What a shame you convinced yourself – and me – that you were the marrying kind or that libel would get rid of your guilt about cheating (and cheating and cheating and cheating). Tatum’s said I’ve been too merciful, that I should sue. No,  the world sees you for what you are, and that’s enough. An inadvertent public service, really. Oh, here comes Tatum with the papers! I’m giddy! I’ve got my own pen, thank you!

I’m with someone else – not in the business, bless. Hardly anyone has friends out here, but Marc’s my friend. He’s read a book or two. He’s been by my side the entire time. He treats me with real loving care. He’s an actual adult. I’ve heard he’s been compared to “a young David Gilmore” too, which I didn’t notice before, but, woohoo!

And look at you, Dom. An immature, creepy sex addict. ‘Get my revenge’? When you already have to live with yourself? Completely unnecessary.

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“The magic hour.”

That’s what they call it, right? Two times a day when the sun is at just the right angle, and even trash piled in a pothole-filled street can look like treasures. Do our lives have magic hours? Can I look at the moments and, even if those moments were times when I’ve been frightened or sad or anxious or guilty, can I look at those moments and see them as being magic? As being miracles of consciousness? Because they are, whether I recognize them or not.

So much of the time, I’ve gone through life in a daze, partially from beating myself up over things that aren’t even going to matter ten minutes hence, much less six months or twenty years from now, and rob myself of the joy of existing in this moment. When I’m not careful, I allow my thoughts to fill my heart with regrets over what I’ve said or done (and some of those things should definitely have been said and done) instead of realizing that they’re all just lessons. To rub those memories like a worry stone doesn’t allow me to learn anything, and then I make the mistake again. It’s all of a piece, if I forget the truth of things.

This moment is, as are all our moments, awesome. As in “to be filled with awe and wonder” and not restricted to when you’ll look your hottest in photos taken outside. Even the mistakes are awesome. Maybe especially the mistakes.

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Green shoots! I didn’t expect to see those for a few more weeks. This is the first winter ever that I became thoroughly sick and tired of it, it was so damp and cold. It’s too bad, really, because for hurf-durf-burf years, I have reveled in winter, including the sloppy, slushy New York City ones. After all, Mother Nature was just doing her thing. But this year, around about 26 February, I thought, F this. Seriously. Just F Winter! even though I knew Spring was on its way and I reckoned that, for all intents and purposes, I was relatively assured of sticking around long enough to see it arrive.

I wondered at first if things felt out of whack because of the job-or-lack-thereof. Impending mid-life crisis? Existential angst? Then I realized: Every year, there’s a hint around the end of February that hits me by the nose, just for a second and then it’s gone, and then I feel better. That didn’t happen this year. I suppose I somehow need that little reminder of what’s to come to stave off the Seasonal Affective Disorder.

I walked outside this morning and there near the entrance of my building, the shoots from the daffodils and tulips were poking out of the soil in the planters that are so carefully tended by resident volunteers. All my anomie fell away. For all my feelings of coziness during winter, my adoration for autumn and my excitement for summer, there has always been  something about spring.

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A whiff of lilacs takes me back to a corner of a thumbprint-sized, somewhat dangerous patch of lawn,  “dangerous” due to pricklies, burrs and brambles that seemingly popped up in different spots every year. In that corner was an enormous lilac bush wedged between the tumble-down garage and Mr. Schmidt’s white picket fence. Mr Schmidt had lived next door for years before we moved in, and he’d enhanced his lawns, front and back, to perfect carpets of country club green. Our “lawns” embarrassed 6-year-old me deeply, covered as they were with weeds, crabgrass and brown patches, but there was no money to fix the damage we’d inherited, and no amount of pleading to the landlord got him to fix it, either. How two such disparate incomes lived next door to each other is an inequity I’ve never understood, to be honest.

For all that, we had the lilac bush and Mr Schmidt did not. Underneath the bush was a small patch of ground where I’d take cover with a book during springs and summers. When red-tinged envelopes arrived in the post that meant the gas or electricity was about to be shut off, again,  I’d just go lay there, taking in the scent of blooming flowers and dreaming of my own vast estate and acres of gardens, with not a bramble, a cockle-bur or a bill to be seen.

Am I wrong today for looking out my window across the road to the park and wishing it were all mine?

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There is absolutely nothing wrong with you. You’re worth something.

It seems easier to go along with thinking you’re terrible, right? When other people say you’re awful? But it’s just as easy to believe in yourself. Everything is equally easy, but it’s thinking that makes it so difficult. It hurts only because you agree with what they say about you. Bullies instinctively know this and they use it against you.

All they do is use you to get a cheap ego high by hit-and-running you. Do you understand how? Do you understand that what they do has nothing to do with you? What will make you stop being complicit to this? You can’t change other people.

But the rest, after they’ve gone, the rest you’re doing to yourself. So why would you complete the circuit by bullying yourself? If you don’t stand up for yourself to your inner bully, then what? Ask yourself why you do this. I’ll bet deep down, there is no satisfactory answer. You decided to believe it one day because someone bigger and stronger than you said it was so. You’ve been doing it for so long, you don’t know any other way.

Stings, doesn’t it, realizing the waste? I know you’re hurting. It hurts because the part of you that knows your worth is trying to get you to see that believing that you’re awful is a lie.

The pain of your beliefs has to become more unbearable than your fear of letting them go.

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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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