Poop Diamond and a Tiny Open P.S.

An old friend of mine said something to me a few months ago that really resonated with me. Hard. She’s good about that sort of thing. She can see truths right through to their heart. I don’t think she would be friends with me if I was constantly delusional about everything, but once in a while she can give me a really good, loving shove that I need.

Sometimes I feel sorry for my friend (in a weird way), because I think 99% of the time she sees the truth of her own life so fricking clearly. Harsh-light-of-day clearly. I’ve never seen her let a bad relationship go on, or carry on lying to herself. She is her own Cassandra. Ok, maybe that’s a bad analogy, because she listens to herself. It’s better to have self-insight, I know, than the alternative.

Anyway, I’ve been wanting to tell you what she said, but I had to shove that piece of coal up my ass for a while and see what came out. I was telling her about an unpleasant run-in I’d had with someone I used to know (I didn’t write about it–too much going on really). I was lamenting that I had let myself get into relationships in my twenties with a lot of people who were not so good for me, which, if I am being honest with myself, was a nice way of saying, “Were huge assholes who didn’t really respect or understand me.” I knew this was a pattern, and I’d had a nagging feeling there was a code I was not quite cracking there.

Some of the people I was attracted to were just not nice–one-sided relationships all the way. They would make me happy for a while. “Wow,” I’d tell myself. “They certainly have an interesting take on the world. Maybe I can learn how to be more assertive (or decisive, or less worried about what other people thought about me, or whatever) from them.” Oh, Narcissus, I could watch you watch yourself for hours! You really are the grooviest. I’d take in what they’d say and feel the little pings of red flags pop up. Then things would not go so well. That strong trait or traits they exhibited that I thought I could learn from would be turned on me once. Ouch. And then several more times. Well, we’re going to have to call it a day, then.

It made me nervous because I had seen my mother run through people like mad over the years–husbands, fiances, friends. Umm…her children. I thought maybe I didn’t really know how to be friends with people. Something was certainly wrong with me. Hadn’t I been told that over and over again growing up? And then again for years by my husband? I was “not funny.” I was “weird.” When I got up the courage to actually show my ex my writing it “did not make sense.” (Okay, that is certainly true sometimes.) Lucky for me I made some friends with people who were nice and not broken. These were also people I decided to pattern my grown-up self on as I moved through my twenties and beyond. And wow, I am still friends with most of them, in a pretty normal, mutually-accepting way.

So to get back to my friend and what she said–I was kind of lamenting the fact that this creep ex-friend had made a little pecking intrusion back into my life via an email, and why was I always so bad at relationships (present company I was moaning to excepted). Then she said it. “You know, SJ, I don’t want to pathologize you, but you really didn’t have the best examples for normal relationships growing up.”

Saying that this was a light bulb moment would be greatly oversimplifying things, but it rung, like a clear little bell, and then kept ringing and resonating. I’ve heard similar from other people, and I’ve told myself that, but that sentence was exactly what I needed to hear from that friend on that day. I kept getting into relationships with people who were like my mother: self-involved, mean, unaccepting. I tried to pull away from her multiple times in my teens and twenties only to have my ex really disapprove of that choice, because he was a mirror of her.

Reader, I married my mother.

For a long time I thought my ex was a sociopath, because of the lack of empathy and some of his interesting life and moral choices, but lately, after following one disjointed thought and coincidence and conversation scrap after another–you know that feeling where you are kind of chaining along to some kind of conclusion? Just me? I hope not. Anyway, I’ve been reading about narcissists and I think I may have a bingo there. Or the closest I’l get to a bingo, anyway. I could tell you dozens of anecdotes and how they relate to each symptom, and at some point I might, for my own entertainment.

Anyway, I tell you this because I like to say when I have realized things, even if I think I might reevaluate things later. But these feels pretty right; it feels like some information I was missing, or at least a label on things. The good news is that on my own over the years I’ve developed coping techniques that are pretty similar to what’s recommended for dealing with a narcissist. Keeping things very brief, like our last exchange before school let out, when he had to scold me one more time and I basically gave him no reaction.

His wife is now opening calling him a lazy asshole in front of the children. Girl, I am breaking the fourth wall, okay? If you can read this a) you are driving too close and b) you should probably read this. All of it. Good fuck’n luck comrade.

I do wonder how Franny’s doing over there for her month! P. sent her a care package and I’ve texted but it is silent. I’m hoping she’s tired and happy.

In Other News

“If you come in to this room without knocking I will make meatballs out of you.”

Kick Me In the Showers

What can you do with this? Sometimes I think I am a cold person for hitting my last straw and walking away from my mother 5 years ago. Then I hear that my mother blew up at my sister over Christmas, drunk, calling her stupid and a loser and a retard.

“Mom went PSYCHO,” Morgan warned me.

“Okay,” I said. It would not be the first time.

“No, REALLY,” she said, and then told me everything. Morgan’s face twisted and she pointed at me as she imitated how angry our mother was as she screamed at my sister and told Morgan she was ruining her life. I kind of felt like I was time traveling back to when I was a kid and she told me how worthless I was and how little she cared about what happened to me. She looked kind of like my mother did when she was very young, and furious.

She was getting to the end of the recitation of the tirade and I burst into tears over my cheese plate.

“Oh–it’s OKAY,” she said. “I’m sorry.”

“Sorry,” I said. “I know this isn’t about me. But it hurts my heart to hear what she said to you.”

Like all family relationships everywhere since the beginning of time, I have a funny relationship with my sister. She is ten years younger than me and I spent a lot of time just…being there for her. She spent a couple of summers in high school practically living in my house. I felt like I hung in there for as long as I could with my mother and then shoved off–they seemed like they were doing okay.

I guessed my sister was coping. She knows, though.

“Mom’s a JERK, you know it,” she said. “It’s okay, because I know all that shit she said is FUCKING BULLSHIT.”

“Yeah,” I said. “You’re older, you know who you are.” I pulled my weepy ass back together again. We talked about all the times all the booze had been poured out, a wine cellar had been given away, vomit out of car windows, only to reappear a couple of days later.

“I used to buy Mom’s story, that she was scared of Dad, that he abused her, that she was helpless. I saw her provoking him, like mad. She would push him until he would pop,” I said.

“Mom likes to fight,” Morgan said.

My sister’s husband came home and helped to kick my drunk and raving mother out of their apartment. I was so so very glad to hear he was there for her like that.

We were sitting in Morgan’s car smoking a cigarette (shh). Louder Than Bombs came on when she turned on the radio. She pointed at the radio.

“You got me Singles when I was twelve and ‘Hand in Glove’ was the first song on it.”

“Well, you were a teenager. ‘Here is your mandatory angst kit.” I thought for a moment, inhale, exhale, I am such a shit smoker now. “You okay?”

“Yes,” she said. “I think I’m relieved somehow.”

“I almost emailed Mom and told her not to come to my house again, but I decided not to make the aggro, for myself. I let it go. I think…I’m pretty happy most of the time,” I said.

I Have 33,996 Spam Comments and Am Waiting for Vodka and Tizer

Dear Goddam Diary,

Yesterday I felt SO funny because I have been wanged by my occasional inner ear vertigo and I got so desperately nauseous I took some Dramamine. You cannot spell Dramamine without DOOM or something, because it knocks me out every time. The struggle to stay awake on the bus and the resulting stoned feeling can only be compared to huffing glue out of empty Mountain Dew soda cans while no one is paying attention in the back of sixth period art, or SO I HEAR.

This made me think of my art class, of course, where I met one of my high school boyfriends in a haze of glue and bad thrift store polyester. The short version is that we had a great summer relationship and saw lots of concerts and ate a lot of fried meat. It is notable that this is the first summer I experienced vertigo, as well, which came after a quick secession of head injuries. Can’t complain, though really, because some people (me) think that uneven pupils are FASHION.

He moved away, and we broke up, and I carried on with my last year of high school, which involved continuing my mission to turn myself into a human pincushion. WHAT? It was the ’90s. In a previous episode I recounted my absolutely ignorant and boneheaded attempt at getting my nipple pierced. After this failed attempt I had my nose pierced by a proper shop in Colorado and knew what to look for after that–or so I thought. 

I decided to go for the ultimate badass hard-to-the-core piercing. YES. I would get a hole popped in my junk drawer. I called up a local shop that was less scary crusty old tattooed dude, and more “hey we’re so hip” and made sure they did it properly with needles. Another bonus: unlike Chicago shops I knew they would not card me. I brought a friend with me for moral support, another lonely young punk who I would drive around with for hours, listening to Damaged and throwing bottles at people out the window.

We showed up at the appointed time and the shop looked clean and the hole-pokers were friendly. My friend sat with me by my head like I was having a baby on a bad TV show.

“Okay,” the dude said. “I have to tell you I’ve had training on this, but have not actually done this piercing.” I shrugged.

“Go for it,” I said.

In the end, it went well and was a really standard and good piercing which healed well. Months later I moved to Seattle, and was happy to have a fresh break. My ex-boyfriend who I had spent the previous summer with was making noises about moving to Seattle and getting back together, which horrified me. We parted on good terms, but I had lived through probably my worst year ever, and I wanted something new. My roommate, who had developed a friendship with him and what looked like a fatal crush on him, invited him to move in with the caveat he would sleep in her room. Fabulous! My ex-boyfriend, who was clingy and whiny on a GOOD day, was going to be underfoot constantly.

After kind of avoiding serious conversation for the first few days he finally cornered me late one night about getting back together. It was already midnight and I was sunburnt and wiped from sightseeing in Seattle in August, the only reasonable month here. What should have been a ten-minute conversation turned into one that lasted HOURS. I watched snails and slugs ooze across the sidewalk and up and down the walls outside our apartment and considered what a terrible metaphor it was for the conversation I was currently mired in. I could not be moved; no, I did not want to try dating again. I smoked constantly, incessantly, a habit I had not yet kicked and one he hated, to keep a barrier between the two of us.

He cried. He was always a crier, which, fine, but it was a little disconcerting sometimes. Once he had shown up at my house, completely unbidden, in full face Eric Draven makeup (I know, WAT). I look back now and realize he was kind of a proto emokid.

Finally, I had squashed any last hope he had about our reunion and rejected any limits he tried to set on my activities, dating or otherwise. He sniffled and said, “Well, can I ask you something at least?”

“What.” I was tired as fuck and thought I could hear the birds waking up.

“I…uh…I heard so much about your new piercing.”

“Yes?” I said, staring at him through a screen of angrily-exhaled smoke.

“Wellll, can I see it at least?”

My only answer was to grind out my last cigarette and bang back into the apartment.

 

IN OTHER MF NEWS

Maybe I’m in your Really Simple Stalkzors, I dunno, but I am also resuming Blogher today at some point. The article is written, I just have to mark it up and publish it. I will link later, since friends who have my back more than I have my own (read: lazy) think I should pimp more.

Also on my list is NEW BANNER YEAH BOOOOY.

At The Library

I left Franny and Strudel alone in the children’s section, reading happily, and walked a few feet over to the CD rack to see if I could find some reasonably non-offensive CDs to be played at bedtime again and AGAIN until they are spun into silvery dust.

There were two little girls sitting at the tables directly adjacent to the children’s CD racks. They were engaged in that eight-year-old girl psychological warfare that adults either miss, or choose not to notice.

“Your teeth are so YELLOW,” one girl hissed to her companion. “You should really brush them more often.”

“I DO brush them,” her friend retorted, in hushed tones.

“I mean, I have never seen such yellow, dirty-looking teeth as yours. Ugh.”

“They ARE NOT!”

This exchange went on for a few minutes until the girl with the teeth lost it and socked her little frenemy.

“OW,” the taunter said, at full volume. “You shouldn’t hit people.”

They remained unsupervised and I paused in my browsing, looking up at the sound of the taunter’s louder voice. She looked up at me, now visible, and the girl with the teeth slowly looked over her shoulder. They both waited to see what this adult would do. I looked at the girl with the teeth.

“I would have hit her, too,” I said, and went back to browsing.

The Cat Came Back, It Wouldn’t Stay Away

Okay, I have lost it again and am opening a can. But this is good, so don’t worry. I didn’t even cry when I wrote this.

The Franny came back today, bursting with news. The unholy wedding of Seattle Federline and That Poor Woman came to pass. Franny said the best part involved some other children (new cousins?) and some bunkbeds, and “Oh, yeah, the wedding, too.” Sometimes her polite diplomacy really reaches toxic levels. She was the head flowergirl, one of five (!!!). I asked if her baby sister was the ring pillow and she said she wasn’t, but the baby was made to wear a tutu.

“How was that?” I said.

“It was dumb, she should have been wearing her normal clothes.”

And she totally remembered to ask about the tattoo! She told Supa and me at lunch today. This was the trigger that made my can open, so to speak.

“What did he say?” I said.

“He said No.”

“No?” I said. “Like, no, under his new tattoo is not my name?”

“Yeah, Mom, he said no.”

Supa’s eyes goggled out of her head.

“Your dad lied,” I said, surprised in spite of myself. She looked at me and kind of blinked.

“I saw it,” said Supa. “I saw it after he had it done.”

“That Poor Woman has seen it, too,” I said. “He had it for the first few months they dated. People know it existed.”

Franny looked from me to Supa and then shrugged. What can you say?

I don’t mean to go after my kid. I don’t know what to say to her at times like this. I told her about the tattoo offhandedly one night, and I told myself that she probably wouldn’t remember, but she did, and she asked him, and he lied about it in front of his new wife, who knows about the tattoo.

So I have decided to stop saying things like this all together. It doesn’t change anything, and it just puts her in the position where her dad lies to her. This has been happening since the divorce, where she comes back and tells me something that he’s told her that’s really untrue. His new wife has said a couple things to me, too, that he told her that have no basis in reality. My reality, anyway. I’m prepared for the possibility the sky is actually orange, I guess.

When they first got together, when he was still telling me he wanted to get back together and have another baby with me, he told me his plan for dating TPW was not to tell her his secrets, meaning about his past. I have often wondered how much she knows, but at the same time I don’t think she cares. So I am laying down the aggro and walking away from it. Franny’s dad will find other things to lie to her about without my involvement, because he’s the type of guy who lies needlessly to people.

I know we all do this with history. Our memories are bad, and get worse with age and children. We want to portray ourselves in the best light. The real story comes from whoever wins the wars, or the one with the loudest voice, right?

I remember early on, when he and I were still speaking. Before he sexually assaulted me. I didn’t tell you about that before. That was the second event in my life that almost killed me. Franny remembers waking up to me crying in my new apartment but she doesn’t know what happened. I wrote a cartoon about it and court in general here.

Now I feel like my silence is totally unbroken: Hey, my husband sexually assaulted me after we were separated. How about degrading someone you can no longer control? It’s the new fucking purse dog, yo. Now you know part of the reason I hate him so much. He went to court and said it was consensual. Of course, what else was he going to say?

Before I filed for divorce he used to call me at my office and tell me how we could knock boots and that my companion and TPW didn’t have to know. We could have another baby, it will be great. I WOULD KNOW. IT WOULD NOT BE GREAT. I’d rather stick my arm in a fucking thresher.

Anyway, I was going to tell you something that happened when he and I were still speaking. The subject of my mom came up, and he turned to me and said, “Your mom says she never disowned you.” My mom disowned me when I was seventeen. She said, “Come into my bedroom, I want to talk to you.” I sat down and she said that she didn’t care what I did anymore. “I disown you,” she said. That was the first thing that almost killed me. I moved out shortly after that. And hey, guess what? I got back on the honor roll before I graduated. Go, Asshole.

It is like scrubbing your insides with sandpaper to hear that people never did things that almost killed you. I know what being torn in two is like. That tore me in two. I thought I was going to die of a broken heart right there.

My mom called me up in February and told me I need therapy, because of some of the stuff I write about people (meaning her; I deleted the post I wrote about our falling out over Christmas).

I need therapy. She should know, she watched me go from loved and secure and well-adjusted to fucked up when she took me back from my grandma’s to live with my new stepfather at six years old. THIS IS MY THERAPY. Damn, what am I supposed to do? I keep running is circles on these things in my head, and in my art, but I am feeling better. Things are getting better. I don’t have anxiety attacks anymore. I haven’t cut myself for eleven years.

I was afraid to write completely openly about these huge specters in my life, my ex-husband and my mother, but I am not afraid anymore. Both things are out of my immediate space now, and I feel better. For a long time I hoped I could get away from things like this, but you never can, really, because they will still be in your own head. So I guess it’s okay that I hear about things from afar.

How do you rebuild your life when you are torn in two? I don’t know. Watch this space, I am still working on it.

I can still see the ghost of the tattoo of his name that’s on my shoulder, under my newer one. I am going to show Franny when she gets home, and that will close the matter on my end. I am trying to tell her you can try to rewrite history, but sometimes the ghosts are still there.

Rated “W” for Wastoid

The House of Representatives is full of insane jackasses.” –Jon Stewart on video game violence.

Man moons on live news; anchorman keeps his shit together. (NSFW)

Colbert on animal marriage: “The gays are on the march.

ASSHAND.

Comcast tech sleeps on customer’s couch.

How to be featured on Youtube. Skip ahead to 00:45, seriously. That’s all you need. You can watch the whole thing, though. I won’t judge you.

Youtube is so swell when you wake up too early. And now I have to pack for our weekend!

Meanwhile, Back at Rancho Braindead

I am a little like, UGH UGH YAARGH today. But I’m not dead. I’ve just hit a rough patch and am having trouble focusing on writing. Or anything. I wish a magazine would come in my mailbox every single day, because I am in the mood to fill my head with trash right now. Or stare. Staring’s good, too.

I have been debating for a few weeks now whether or not to bring this up at all, but my best friend just moved away on Monday. In theory she’s coming back at some point, but I kind of feel like once she escapes the PNW and tastes the freedom of, well, not living in the PNW, that will be it. I wouldn’t blame her.

Lots of my friends have moved away in the past year, because of the no-job grad school diaspora. Before I was always able to say, I am so sad that my firend left, but think goodness I still have these other friends I see a lot. Now I am like, Oh, shit, that was the last one. I forgot to stockpile berries for the coming winter, like a big retardo grasshopper.

I am over here, a little weepy and irrational right now, and I mean, my sister’s still here, and Companion’s here, but I miss those other people terribly. And now I am poouring my heart into my dumb blog without using speel cheek, that’s how low I’ve sunk. Haw.

So you should probably look at this thread, which discusses one-of-a-kind dolls for sale on Ebay and elsewhere. I peed myself a little when I saw these, one of those gape-mouth involuntary pees of abject horror. You will encounter the words “anatomically-correct” and “exsquisite eleven sword.” This discussion board is really cool in general, and usually NSFW, but I think that thread is okay. I think it’s a bunch of talented but dissaffected comic artists.

Joshua (yes, you): I am cogitatin’ on the email you sent. I will reply soon.

Tom Cruise Audiodiary: “Sunday, May the Fifth”

“Euuuhhh, yeah, so things are wonderful with Kate, the woman I inseminated completely on my own in a very, very heterosexual way. Couldn’t be better. Fabulous.

“Well, they’re mostly wonderful. Now that she’s been missing sleep with our little Elrhonda, euuuuh, I mean, Suri, she seems a little, I don’t know, confused sometimes. I take her by the hand so she doesn’t wander off.

“I think…maybe…sometimes I see a flicker in there…there’s something that tells me she can remember her old life. (Note to self, up Kate’s “vitamin” dosage so she will take more naps.) I tell her that her thetans are acting up and then give her a few shocks with the E-Meter, and then she’s okay again.

“Cruise out.”

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This is a cry for help if I ever saw one.

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When Strudel was tiny I didn’t know if I was coming or going, but by god I could tell whether or not my damn flaps were up or down. Poor thing. Lost all sensation above and below the neck.

The Other Side….

Okay, so a few days ago I wrote a satirical piece about the Britney Spears anti-choice sculpture, and ever since then, we at the Offices of I, Asshole have been roaming the highways (and extremely low-ways) of the Internets looking for the Other Side of the Sculpture. I even asked my friend Dunhill, who lives in Brooklyn, to track it down. And now, I believe I have found it. However, this looks like it’s a model or different version, because the hands and ankles aren’t connected. I’m guessing someone snuck a camera phone into the artist’s studio or storage space.

I am being kind to you all and linking to it, rather than just posting it, because of the uproar of having Britney’s tatas up on my front page for so long. So now, the choice is yours. In lieu of the actual picture, I decided to compose a short photo-essay.

A Tribute Inspired by Britney’s Womanliest Moment, Captured Artistically for All Time.

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