between the bars
In winter my cravings surprise me. Wanting to be fucked by angry muscular men; wanting to eat things that bleed when you poke them with a fork. My skin is bad from lack of sunshine and I have this terrible haircut that makes me feel like a 12 year old boy with a name like Pete or Philip; a tuba-playing, hot-pocket-eating little brother from 80s movie hell. But people still stare straight into my eyes as I pass them on the street, and I feel their thoughts penetrating my eeyore-colored hoodie and my noise cancelling headphones.
I think about what it means to be beautiful. It’s a problematic pattern of thought, and I have tried to unlearn it (for all intents and purposes, at least), but there is a template in my mind of what a beautiful woman is, and I wonder how many assets of that perfect form can be neglected to shambles, or altered, or damaged, before that woman ceases to be beautiful in any way recognized by society. I am flawed to start with, and I keep adding purposeful sabotage, but my value has yet to decline. I look forward being old and ruined and witchy, enjoying the memory of my youth and beauty. It will be worth more as a memory.
It’s winter and I drink constantly in an evenly-paced trickle throughout the day, as if from an IV. I pose naked for art students with my back decorated with self-inflicted scratch marks. I dislike the art students as a whole, though some of them are nice, I guess. I always feel like they’re going to say snide remarks about me to each other later. They are the demographic that generally ignores me on the street, rather than staring. And I am naked in front of them for hours, several days a week.
One night I end up having a drink with, and then having sex with, one of the squarer-seeming art dudes. I don’t like it and I don’t like him. But we meet on three separate occasions to fuck, and I always want to cry afterwards for inexplicable reasons. He says things like “why do you wear such uncomfortable shoes?” when I’m wearing flat mary janes. He rents a room in a Victorian mansion, and his room is pristine and adorable, with some kind of pointillist collage on the wall made out of differently sized buttons. He is five years younger than me and flippantly handsome. He always wears a catholic medallion, but I never bother to notice which saint is supposed to be protecting him while he cums on my face.
He makes repetitive statements about how much I love his cock. It is a struggle to keep from blurting out, mid-gag, that his cock is not special; that I’m just kind of a slut. He says most girls don’t like sucking him off because it’s just too big. If I liked him as a person, this might be an okay thing to say, but I feel a growing, disproportionate hatred towards him that doesn’t even translate to a good hatefuck. He refuses to hit me when I ask. Like all young men, he doesn’t seem to have any fantasies that he is able to verbalize. I self-immolate on his cock (or his ego, which is glistening and wholesome and not yet bruised by the world, so basically useless to me). Then I go home and drink some more.
I am as bad as all of them, I think. Complicit. Terrible. I’ll stop when I fall in love, which seems like the most terrifying prospect, considering the aftermath of the last time I was in love. It was worth it but it wrecked me in permanent ways and I have a sneaking suspicion that I love that person still.
I also sleep with a married man who works for the government. We have the kind of banter-y camaraderie that exists in sitcoms about polar opposite types of people. The dynamic should be poisonous in real life, but in this case it isn’t, even though we once had an argument about rape jokes that resulted in me crying, and him saying “You could really use a class in rhetoric”.
He is my friend. He is my enemy, and probably yours. When he calls me his mistress it makes my eyes dilate and my pussy wet. He encourages me to do slutty things with other men in between our visits. He sends me surprise gifts of slutty lingerie and sex toys. He sent me the too-small Klimt Dress on my birthday. He takes me to the same strip club on numerous occasions, where I once ended up discussing Seasonal Affective Disorder with one of the strippers for a really long time, and she asked me where I bought my stockings.
This man’s wife is regularly away for long intervals, and I visit him.
Other people’s homes make mine seem both pathetically sparse and hoarder-ish at the same time.
I wander around the house wearing my leopard coat inside-out, feeling the fur against my skin. I am otherwise naked except for socks and a pendant on a chain: two clamshells plated in silver, hinged together to form a locket, full of pills. The man has stocked his refrigerator with diet coke and those weird “girly” vodka drinks that frat boys force each other to drink as a humiliating hazing ritual. He has supplied various weird foods that adhere to my dietary eccentricities, and I think about how nice he is, kind of… He’s told me that he is a better man because of me. That he is more respectful of women now, and more hesitant to make racist jokes. I am a regular ambassador of social justice, I think.
While he’s at work, he has left me alone in his large house full of wedding pictures and loaded weapons. There is a bear skin rug that he shot himself. Last night, he fucked me on it while I wore an electric dog collar. He zapped me harder every time I whimpered. Eventually I began to cry, and I told him to keep going, but he stopped and removed the collar and held me until I cried myself to sleep. I woke up alone on the fur rug, like a baby bear curled against its mother. Now I have strange little burn marks on my neck. I want to do it again.
In winter my cravings surprise me. Empty and full feel almost the same, and they both hurt. It gets dark early and I get drunk early. I take a painkiller from inside my necklace and I look at the photo albums. It is like putting a blanket over a birdcage. The whole time period will be easy to forget later, in the spring, when my hair is longer and life happens in the daylight.
bitter is okay
the more i ignore you, the closer you get.
if someone were to plant my heart, i’m convinced that it would grow to look like this
it’s a terrible picture but still
it’s like flowering snakes
I look tired. I am tired. Gaining greater control over myself necessitates this growing bitterness. I walk around with my (still super adorbz) little version of regulation bitchface, and the sweetness only switches on when i know there’s something to be gained.
There are so many different innocences. I am in the habit of losing one of mine every year, sometimes up to 4 or six. Each a strain of innocence I never knew I possessed until it’s on its way out of my system.
In order to remain in touch with these various lost articles, I go back through my archives here (and elsewhere on the net, if we’re talking Ancient History) and I try to remember what made me need to say “I love you” so often to the whole entire internet, or at least whoever might be looking (studies show: a smallish crowd with a sizeable concentration of boner). I identified as a creep apologist and emotionally slutty.
Shortly before we broke up, a year and a half ago, an ex boyfriend said “It makes me think less of you, the things you let people get away with.” We had an intense fight about, of all things, the messages I received here on tumblr. The way I responded to them; that I didn’t see them as harassment.
I guess when you experience sexual trauma and torture when you are less than ten years old, and accrue in the following years a sort of miasma of creepy sadness from everything you see and touch, eagerly, or warily, or sometimes both simultaneously, the internet stuff just doesn’t feel like much by comparison. There have been a few off-puttingly notable exceptions, but never enough to make me feel huge outpourings of hatred to the closeted creepers I used to think of as “my people.” Now, I admit I’m just kind of over it. Like maybe you should find some other place to send your dark secrets. There’s no home for them here anymore, as I’m trying to weave something out of my own sadness before it strangles me.
But I still understand you, I think. I am understanding of you. More than I feel I should be, as a person who’s grown into more of a(n aspiring) critical-thinking feminist than I ever expected to.
I still think of the closeted creepers as “my people.” But, as with my actual, blood-connected family, I no longer feel obligated by this connection to be nice, unless I’m really feelin’ it.
I digress. Well, maybe this whole thing is me digressing, as usual. But anyway.
Sometimes I wonder what, or how much, if anything, it would take to make my light go out altogether. I’m bitter, but still bright. I am told often that I am so radiant and delicate (not that I am on many people’s radar – most don’t notice me at all. But the people who do notice? they occupy a certain consistent demographic). My sadness is beautiful, apparently. It hangs around me like a fucking $300 perfume. It’s something that people want to sample like a drug; the potential for destruction lends a razor edge to a woozy pleasure. I am finally learning to use all this for my own gain instead of having it sapped from me, and I’m feeling terribly guilty about that. I’m worrying that the light inside me might go dead, if I get too savvy or too selfish…
The words “feminine” and “evil” have been used in the same sentence, directed at me by more men than I can actually remember. i’m finally starting to appreciate it.
There are some major threads missing from all this, but i’m tired.