The Little Engine That Could

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Big Girl on Big Families

My whole family, at least my mom's side, right now is sitting at a dinner table in North Carolina celebrating her twin sisters' birthdays.

And I am writing from my computer in Astoria, not there with them.

I hate that.

I could have gone, but three days from now I will be getting on a plane and headed to CA for a wedding of one of my dearest grammar school friends. And seeing most of the family I don't get to see so often. But this weekend I have been depressed and sad, because I want to be there, to kiss those kids faces, talk with the adults and have a happy memory that will last forever.

But too, this is a pipe dream-- see in theory, it is a great idea, the whole family laughing around the dinner table, sharing stories, being together. What really happens is this one gets mad at that one, somone yells at me, I start to cry, and then lock myself in the bathroom, at which time my mother storms in and tells me to suck it up. Well, not quite, but that's what happened when Gramma died. Nothing like breaking down at Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner restaurant over a comment Keith (my brother) made to me about his use of salt. To this day, I swear, I was just looking at the salt going "Should I put salt on my dinner too, it is an old people's restaurant, so it's probably bland." To which my brother, as menacing as can be says "You gota problem with me?" Then, cue the tears.

So yes, it is better that I am here, in my apartment, helping and avoiding Kimi as much as she needs me to do either. I now know that I will not be going back to school for a PHD, wow, the stress she is under has had me break out like a fourteen year old.

But then again, what is family when they are scattered across the country? I consider mom and pop and any relation of blood family, but I consider my closest friends family too-- Anne, Kimi, Dan, Michelle, Christine, Gayle, Desha, Wendy, Kris, Sandhya, et all-- people who are in and out of my life but stay unwavering in their love for me. People I can be filthy with, I can cry with, laugh with, create worlds with. People I actually want over at my house for dinner, or who will, in a moment of sadness, take care of me and let me cry. My family, mom specifically is a big believer in "No one cries alone" unless she is the one that made me cry. Most of my friends have the ability to touch and move me in ways I have never felt before (no, not in that way, you filthy bastard) that have me know that I am completely and totally taken care of.

Family as I move into my thirties has taken on choice of people I want in my life. No longer am I a believer that I need to be well liked, nor that I have to be friends with everyone in the room. No longer to I have to slap on the happy face and do things out of obligation. I can just be.

But then, back to the family around the dinner table. I miss them, I miss the Christmas mornings at gramma's house, eating olives off my fingers (only the black ones, because in my younger days, the green ones were yucky), sitting downstairs opening presents, playing trivial pursuit, laughing and talking, and being together. I miss Church on Sunday mornings with my whole family, and then off to Hoff's Hut for french toast and cocoa. I miss playing marco polo for hours in the pool with my cousins. I miss making up games, pre-survivor survivor, and using what was left in the garage to make up worlds. I miss all that-- the fun, the games, the innocence, the joy. Before I knew who did what to who, before divorces and re-habs, before jail time, before totalled cars, totalled houses, new babies, before we all grew up and left home.

I want those blue skied days of wonder and never ending explorations of what we can create with just our imaginations. And playing together because we love each other, and because we are family. Falling asleep in the sun, watching tv-- four across-- in my parents waterbed. I want to play crazy 8's in my dry-ish bathing suit at the dinner table, I want to eat popcorn with five hands going in and out of the bowl. I want my family back the way it was, when we all lived a couple miles from one another, and I am missed at the dinner table.

I know I am missed at the dinner table. I just had to call to remind them I am not there.

Friday, November 04, 2005

I have to remember how I feel right now.

I never think of myself as huge, and then, I see a picture of me. Taken just moments before, and go, who's that? That is me, this large thing I have become.

Does it make me ugly-- no. Does it make me uncomfortable? Yes. Because regardless of my size, I will always be a big girl, a girl with big dreams, big ideas, big laughs, big cries. Big is just an adjective to describe everything I am, larger than life, whole, grounded, huge, powerful, monstrous, giant, glamorous, glamazon, Amazon, strong, bold, audacious, bodacious.....

We went to lunch for the mouse's birthday, and she said something snappish to me. I really don't care if she doesn't like me, but she is my boss. Maybe she should stop competing with me, and just manage me, and we could get along great. Ever think of that, squeak squeak?

But this isn't about her, in fact she is a waste of space on here. No offense, squeak squeak, but this is about big girls.

So there I am larger than life in a picture with my boss and her boss and the other girls I work with, and I am huge. Huge huge huge. And I can feel it because I haven't worked out in a week or two, and I have been sleeping so much, and I just feel blah. And then proceeded to belong to the clean plate club, and then buy a pair of cockroach killers at the NJ strip mall we were at. And wonder when we are having cake for her birthday. I have no shame.

And I realize that I want to be healthy. I want to look in the mirror and like what I see, or be on the way to liking it. And I am tired of just being tired. Bit by bit it drags me down. Small deaths. A la petite morte-- which is little deaths and orgasms in French. Hmm, more on sex later.

I want an old fashioned merry go round-- the one from the seventies that was metal and rusty and if you stayed in the middle and looked up, your stomach turned flip flops, but your eyes could focus on the one spot in the sky while the world around you spun out of control.

So, to the gym. Walk, breathe the air (without the filter of smoke). Play again. Play play play. Spin out of control as the whole world stays in one place.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

What to say?

Taking classes is awesome and hard.

That sounds so dumb, but here goes.....

I am in a class, a year long class. It's based around the cycles of life (read: slightly wiccan) and this month we are in contact with the destroyer. The destroyer being an image we hold in ourselves, and that we do things to destroy ourselves. In circle on our big Saturday we wrote down how we destroy ourselves. Mine are apparent, but going around the room and having other women have the same things that I use to hurt myself was interesting. A bit of "Oh honey, you shouldn't feel that." Crap.

Feel anyway you need to feel.

So, destroyer comes out, and if we don't let her out how she wants, then she takes away from us what she needs.

I go on date number two (which shouldn't have happened at all) with the Elvis Republican. #1: He calls as I am getting there (Sunday brunch date) saying he just got up. Now I want ham and eggs, and I want it in the next hour, but I wait for him. #2: Should have cancelled and said thanks but no thanks right then, but....Read the NY Times, have various non-hip hipsters look at me as I drink my coffee. After I order, he shows up and all I do is say HI.

Elvis Republican: Don't be mad at me.
ME: You are an hour and a half late.
ER: You could have cancelled.
ME: Stop being like eyeore.
ER: How's that?
ME: I am not going to feel sorry for you, I am over it. I ordered you ham and eggs.

As we eat, and drink coffee, talk about various topics (work, family, etc) he begins to spout politics, again. I am so bored bored bored, and am thinking-- that is a face I never want to kiss. Ever.

After a twenty minute tirade, I shut him up.

ME: No more politics. We land on the opposite side of the fence.
ER: But isn't that good?
ME: Not if you ever want to have sex with me.
ER: Oh.
ME: And by the way, who shows up in a Mets jersey for a date? I don't care if it is Sunday, take a goddamned shower, and brush your teeth, You smell like you are rotting from the inside out. Your crew cut is stupid, and you are right, I was reaching to the bottom of the barrel when I agreed to go out with you. Now tip our waiter 10 bucks, because I have taken up his table for too long, and the subway is that way.

Okay, I really didn't say that. The destroyer wanted to say that. What I said was...

ME: no more politics. You are just trying to push my buttons.
ER: In more ways than one.
ME: Eww, gross, no.
ER: What?
ME: I just threw up a little bit in my mouth. I have to go. Thanks for breakfast.
ER: Wait, umm, you wanna go see a movie?
ME: No.
ER: Umm, so that's it? You use me for ham and eggs?
ME: Yeah.

I felt gross, put on my jacket and gave the waiter a ten and thanked him, walked to my car and came home.

That jerk had me waste good makeup.

Where does the class and this date fit it-- well, she wanted to stomp all over him, scream "YOU'RE WRONG, STUPID AND DUMB.". I never understand the political conversations that go "I am right, you are stupid". I respect various opinions, I respect different lifestyles. Hey, if you are into role playing, all the more interesting, if you think horses are aliens, right on, if you go to Church every Sunday, good for you, if you think Bush is a good thing, fine. Just don't come from "I'm right, you are stupid" or "my way is the only way." I might be misinformed, I might not have a stance on issues, but I am interested an fascinated by life, all forms.

The dialogue is more important than the stance.

Oh to find someone to have a conversation with. Who might be a little dark, who might be a little off beat. Who opens my mind, and leads me to water, not forcing me to drink.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Old Phone Numbers

I wanted to talk to you, just like we used to do.
You sitting in your room hiding from the noise and the dogs. Listening to the house that you bought and built be torn apart around you by life moving on.

I wanted to talk to you, just like we used to do.
Me in my room, whispering into the phone, so as to not disturb the various roommates, speaking up when you told me too. Trying not be scared that this was it, that this was all there is, that life somehow, somewhere was around the corner in this big far away city.

I wanted to talk to you, and I called your number. The number you were at for my whole life. The number I cannot erase from my memory, no matter how many times I try. No food, no drug, no wine, no smoke can block out your number in my head. It is and always will be your number. The number that is you, that means that I can reach you any time day and night.

And I got you. I heard your "ahHello" and you knew it was me.
And I didn't speak, because how could I have a phone line to heaven?

You told me that it is beautiful there, and that I need to speak up because God can't hear me all the time, and that you sit every day in the window of your house, just like it was before it got changed, with the shade half down, the sun coming in, having your sanka with one pink sugar. And you have so many friends there, you have so many lives that you had forgotten about. You are excited to see me, but if won't be for a while, so stop trying to hurry it up because we have forever together.

and I said "I love you Gramma. I miss you. I love hearing your voice."

And then you were the silent one.
A man on the other end said "I think you have the wrong number".

It's your number. it will always be your number. And like you said when I was five, and mom was being mean to me, and daddy wasn't home all the time, you told me, you told me if I remembered your number and I needed to call I could call anytime I wanted to. ANYTIME. Well, I am calling now, and you are not there, not there at all and I need you and I need you, and mom isn't being mean but she's getting older, and daddy's not always there and I am getting older too and I am scared. I'm scared this is all there is, and my life isn't just around the corner, it's here now. And that I didn't do a very good job with it.

And all I need you to do is pick up the phone. Just pick it up from heaven. And we can talk someone. We don't even have to talk much about anything. I can read you the tv guide like I once did. I can tell you what's on. You can tell me stories of when I was little. When you were little. Of anyone, anything. It doesn't matter.

Just pick up the phone. just to hear your voice without the tinniness it has in my head. Just to hear it as it should be, in my ear, for me to close my eyes to and fall asleep.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Big Girl on Dating

It's past the millennium, and I didn't become the youngest woman president of the United States. It may have had something to do with smoking pot in college, I think I lost my focus there. And so then I move to NYC, to meet the man of my dreams-- however working in theater, I am more likely to meet the Will to my Grace, or the woman of my dreams, neither of which provide me with the kind of satisfaction I am looking for. Bars, ehhh, community clubs and networking event-- for type A's that are still trying to get their resumes to look well rounded. Classes-- yes, I met a lot of men in them, however, nothing sticks. Online dating.... hmmmm.

I tried online dating a couple years ago, met a funny guy and then talked to him over the phone. It was a nice click. Then on our first and only date, he picks me up in his car, which has a baby seat in the back. No problem. When we are at drinks he tells me he is still married, and his wife is cheating on him so this, for him is payback. Now I am intrigued. But not going to sleep with him. Here's a guy that for all intents and purposes, is a total slob, and unkempt, he is dowdy and has small hands (small hands on a man creep me out, their fingers take on the look of fat little sausages, and they are meaty like a homemade hamburger patty) and HE is MARRIED. I am thinking there is something wrong with me. I end the date, and never speak to him again. And swear off online dating.

Flash forward to two months ago. Online again. In the interim, I have dated three different men at work and in classes. Although none of them did it for me, they were nice, and I learned a few things. I go out on a date with a man who is interesting, but different. Total spark, however, he is a trekkie. A big time trekkie. And to top it off, he cross dresses to express himself. As if being a trekkie wasn't expressive enough. Without that information, I could have been in a longer term serious relationship. However, I had just recently dated a girl, and wanted no part of the alternative lifestyle. The cross dressing trekkie becomes my friend, and again, I think to myself, it must be me. I am doing something wrong. Regardless of how much I like this guy, there is no way I can ever introduce him to my parents-- "Hi mom meet X. No his eyeshadow isn't garish." Here's the worst part, his shoe size is much smaller than mine. And therefore, he has better shoes. That bitch.

So I try again. The next one I meet twitches and shakes over coffee. Well, maybe it is the coffee. And when he speaks to me, it's like he's not really in the conversation at all. "Yeah, I worked for X, yeah yeah, great job." a little while later... "Yeah, I worked for X, yeah yeah, great job." Umm, yeah, you told me about it already. "Oh really, huh, hahahaha, yeah, well I worked for X" Get the picture?

After talking about it with my roommate, I discover that I am really at ease in new social situations. Maybe he wasn't. Okay, so we talk on the phone a week later. "Yeah, I worked for X, yeah yeah, great job." Next.

I then go to a site that caters to women who are luscious and big, and men who are looking to date them. Some of the profile names include "BigDick4BBW" (no his name is not Richard) "Luv4AMPLE" "LuvFatChicks" etc, etc. Yes, I am a BBW, a plus size, zaftig, large, heavy, curvy, and a big girl, however, being someone's fetish is not my style. We'll get into fetishes later. I read some of the profiles-- I'm into fishing and Harley shows, I want a super sized woman to smother me, I want to be dominated (hmm, check him off as interesting), I am an ultra conservative, Rush is my God (and not the band). And still I think there must be something wrong with me.

I am not going to cater to the lowest common denominator, I am not going to be that girl who is just in it for fun. I want a partner, somewhere he is out there. I want partnership, where I can say anything to him, create our world together, where there is no fishing and Harley shows, where muscles are used for work, not display, where I can be comfortable introducing him to my folks, where I can be loved and give love freely... I want the whole package. I want smart, smart ass, funny, witty and wry. I want to be held before I sleep, and holding nothing back. I want creative inventive dates, I want to be wooed. I want future plans made beyond tomorrow, I want a life where we only struggle because we want something more, and there is work to be done before we can get there.

So, I'll keep sifting through the crap, and find a gem. He's gotta be right in front of me somewhere, I just know it. And if I have to take a ride on the back of a motorcycle to find him, I will.

But I swear, I am not going fishing. At least not this week.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Something has shifted recently. I had my apartment cleaned thoroughly this weekend, and I feel like all my clutter is just falling away. Even life clutter. Old friends to say goodbye to, new friends to say hello to, re-adjusting, re-organizing, letting life happen without force or manipulation.

The cleaners were awesome. They got behind the fridge and the stove and did the windows, all the while I hung up clothes, and threw out old shoes, and turned my little bit of bedroom into a haven. A heaven, a heaven on earth.

It is such a nice respite to be in that space, between waking and dreaming, where everything is clean and beautiful. Remember the movie (or book) Where Dreams May Come-- after he dies and he creates his own heaven, he has the opportunity to create heaven however he wants it to look. That's how I feel like in my room, I get to create it however I want it to look.

I recently started up a new relationship. I am not quite sure where it is going, and that's the cool thing, we get to make it up as we go along. I have never been in a situation ever where I have complete open communication with another human being. To top is off, he is a good man, a gentleman while being a bit of a rough as well. Very respectful, and yet not so much. He says he's an enigma, I think that's just because he wants to be.

Anyhow, this new addition into my life had me start looking at places I never want to look at. And being a big girl, I decided to get grown up. Clean my house, pay my bills, and plan for the future. What is it that I want in the future? What is it that I want to possess in the future, as a having, that is created and fun.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Big Girl writes a not really kind of true story

He sits on the plastic chair that came with the house. Just inside the garage so the sun won’t burn his paper like skin. The glass in hand, cool, sweating. Ice clinking together as he sips slowly from the jelly jar that holds the unsweetened, fake lemonade his doctor says will help him with his daily intake of water.
‘I don’t need any water.”
“Doug, you do. You need water. Drink it however you can.”
“Ahhh, the taste is horrible. When I was a boy the water was cool refreshing. It tasted like the earth. Even when I did the scouts with my sons, it tastes fresh, like life. Now, it’s just, well, it’s just chemicals. You can’t even get good water up here, and I live on the damn river. I’m not going to drink it, it makes me feel dead.”
“Just do it. Your body needs it.”

The lady who drops off his weekly groceries dropped off a package of this chemical stuff.
“Now, it doesn’t taste that good, but, well, it takes away the mineral taste of the tap water.”
“Fine, now let’s see, I got your list, and a treat. Fresh raspberries. They had them at the roadside. I thought you’d like a fresh fruit this week.”
“What do I need that for? Canned is fine. Anyways it will just go bad.”
“Doug, try to be nice. After all it is your birthday… Do you hear from your kids?”
“Not yet.”

It had been early in the day. Early except for the time change that his kids had. He knew by seven he’d hear from them, or maybe not. He couldn’t tell. As long as they called before seven, he could have a beer or two. That’d have plenty of water in it—at least it made him pee enough. Maybe he wouldn’t hear from them. The two most useless were coming up with their assorted broods, the first time for either in quite a while. Maybe they’d wait to wish his birthday in person.

In the chair, he sipped his yellow tasting water. And waited. The memories dancing in his mind, the trips in the car, the driving lessons, the nights too blurry to remember except the next day with hurt feelings and “I’m outta here’s”. He wasn’t sure what to expect. He wanted to see his kids, his kids kids he never saw grow into adults, and then his great grandchildren. He had no idea what they looked like. Maybe a little like him, maybe not. For all he knew, his Navy man grandson could have married an Oriental girl like he had wanted to. Smooth skin, porcelain features, quiet voice, doing anything for him, making him feel like a king. Not like the first woman he married.

Waiting, his drink sweating, every movement on the quiet street perking him up, straightening his posture, only to pass by with no relatives. The man across the street came over to ask how things were; he just waited until they got there.

What had happened?

She was in her twenties, not quite beautiful, not quite handsome, but striking, and spoke her mind. She loved to laugh, she loved to drink, and with him she had a ball. Her older sister had gotten married a year before and it was his turn, her father disapproving of the Greek her sister had married, and so she picked him. A good man, a strong man. Out of the Army, back in California after the war. She had great stories of the fishery she had spent time at, dating many men, loving many men. She truly was a catch, light and free. Not as pretty as her sisters, never going to be, but sure enough of herself to want him. They met, they married, he happy and shy, and couldn’t believe her luck, she happy, satisfied and ready to start a family with this new stranger.
It came down to money. Always about money. He would get angry, and when he got angry he drank. A few beers with the guys after work, a few more at home, some for the yard work, painting the house, in the California sun, and while pregnant with her second he hit her. She didn’t know she was expecting, as she was still nursing the first. She left him to ask for her mother’s help, her mother who was sick, but not too much yet. “Louise, you have to make this work. There’s no going back. Who would take you now?” She couldn’t blame her mother, she had two boys under 10 and was done raising kids. “Just work it out. God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.”

Things got better, the second came, sicker than the first, and then the twins. She was done, her body hurt, he was a company man, scouts on the weekends, camping on the holidays, with her family, with his friends. Lots of gatherings to go to, lots of people to be around. Life happens. The boys worked hard with their father, painting the house, causing a ruckus in the yard, on the street. The first one, the student, he was his boy. That second one was a hellion, getting into everything, taking apart their brand new phone to see how the bell worked. The twins were hers, no one else’s. Like two little shadows. Late nights spent silent on the edges of the queen mattress they shared, her worrying about money, him worrying that he couldn’t love her enough. Blacking out at night to rise the next day and drive thirty miles off to work in shirtsleeves, over plans for new airplanes, new plants, the new American life he was promised.

Where did it go?

A car passed by. This time he noticed too late. He couldn’t make out if it was tan or gray, just a flash by. No one should be driving that fast on this street. Someone could get hurt.

But that car had somewhere to go.

He was where he had to go. Right there, in his chair, the plastic sticking to the back of his white legs. How is it that he had lost so much color over the years, his legs pale and just a shadow of the power they once had? These legs, carried him through the war, through various hikes with the scouts, to work every day and home, and now, they were all but useless, two spindles that held up a shell. No longer could he walk tall and proud, no longer was he the king. His knees twice the size that they were just last year, before the fall, before the hospital.

When were they getting there?

He drank some of the water, the glass faltering in his hand, his memories coming back. He pushed them down, he wouldn’t remember, he would only live in now. Now, he was an old man, with an old house, a few pictures of the families that he never really knew, a couple of postcards from trips he once took. A chair he sat in, and the chair he hated. The old man’s chair, the one that helps you get up and down. It was a nice gesture, but completely lost on him, as he was just as capable as the next to get up and down from a chair. And too soft to boot, he didn’t need to feel comfortable, he needed to feel alive, to feel the air moving around him and he powered up the side of a hill with the boys in tow, to take the fifteen powerful strides across his office, to push the Cadillac’s accelerator through a turn, to feel something like he once felt.

Waiting, he watched the cardinal’s rebuild their summer home in the eaves of his neighbor’s house. He would have to get the ladder down again and knock it out. His neighbor, something to be looked at. In another time, she would have been a loose woman, four kids, four different fathers, barely a high school education. He thought she had had a hard life, at least that’s what she told him. She took care of him too, she picked up his mail from time to time, and she watched Jeopardy with him, telling him how smart he was. She made him feel like a man again. She did understand. She even let him eat Chinese food from Fung’s Garden, even though it shot his blood pressure up. He knew it wasn’t just the food, it was her. Tanned, blonde, strong, and she loved him. So what if she didn’t love him like that, he was old, he could do what he wanted. One night they shared a couple of glasses together, and he felt alive again. If he was younger, he would marry her and take care of her. Now all he had was to give her what she asked for in the hopes that she too would love him enough, love him long enough to have him feel alive again.

He looked for the ladder from his chair. Up in the rafters, how did it get up there? He remembers the night after he knocked down the nest in the spring, he wanted to do something nice for her, something that would have her know she needed him, too. Her cousin’s car in the driveway, and not yet three weeks out of the hospital, he dragged the ladder across the gravel and set it against the house. On the third step, he steadied himself, and brought his cane up to the nest. He heard the laughter from inside. The high pitched giggle, the mumbled voices. Through the window he could see his neighbor and her cousin, kissing. He knocked down the nest. Dragged the ladder back, and left it in the front yard. Later, she came over, she knew he knew but they didn’t talk of it. This was no cousin, but he was an old man, he would play as one. He would get sick and she would be right there for him. She helped him into bed, and kissed his forehead. That was enough for him. Nothing else mattered.

Life had passed by. Like that car with somewhere else to go, life had happened and he hadn’t even seen what color it was.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Big Girl on Temp Jobs

Recently I have gone back to work. It is exciting as the first day of school-- are they going to like me, are they going to become my friends, will they think I'm funny, competent and nice? Are they going to be nice, competent and funny? WIll they be kind? How much are they going to pay me?

I started this position on my birthday. Yes, my birthday-- the day I usually lay around the house in maribou slippers and a black silk robe eating nothing but all things chocolate. This year, I had spent a little over eight months like that, having been out of work for way too long. So instead, I poured into some pantyhose, slapped on my happy face, and tore over to New Jersey to start working.

New Jersey? New Jersey, you say? Yes, the big NJ, the Garden State, the most beautiful place in the world. Here's what I like about working in New Jersey....

1) Everything is cheaper
2) I get to take a boat to work every morning, and take one home every night
3) The view is of Manhattan-- the skyline is amazing. And I do not have to be in Manhattan to enjoy it. No sucking on bus fumes, no running around at the crazy people. I get to watch it all from here-- with Vinnie, and Toni and Gina and Danielle.
4) Everything is a little bit slower, except driving. That's faster, but, somehow it works.
5) Big hair, big shoes, big men. No cardboard cutouts, no clothes hangers, very few metrosexuals. Real people, with real jobs who are nice and friendly and hold the elevator for you. And call you sweetheart. And mean it.

Here's what I don't like about working in New Jersey
1) .....
2) I heard that the winters aren't great.
3) No payless shoes around the corner.

Other than that I am at a loss.

The job itself is interesting, if a bit on the easy side, with a lot of man power work behind it. But it will be fine. It will give me ample opportunity to write to my little darlings (that is you, mon ami), and take a gander at the beautiful skyline. Every day. From my cubicle.

Oh, did I say I had a cubicle, because I have a cubicle. An actual cubicle. I will be able to put my stuff up, and lock my drawers, and have a space that is mine all mine. Yes, yes I will.

I love looking at the men on the ferry with me. Big hunky men, who have hunky jobs, that smile at me. I am relatively interesting, bombshell-esque, and am a new face, so really I am fresh meat. I like that. Apparently NJ likes a little meat on their bones.

Hmmm. Maybe a move is in order.....

Friday, June 10, 2005

Millsie Posted by Hello

Big Girl on Goodbyes

Recently I have had to say goodbye to two great friends.

Saying goodbye is never easy. Well, saying it is-- goodbye. But the memory is still there. And really putting them to bed is a whole different story.

Someone once told me that being with someone, even for a short time, and having nothing between you and them is a gift. It is pure. Both of these men were taken quickly and had short lives. Both of them I loved, albeit in different ways. Both of them I had nothing inbetween.

Eric. Eric and I met in a class. Eric was the first man I ever asked out. Let me take that back. Eric was a guy when I met him. He was laid off from his job, struggling to be an actor, full of laughter and frolic. We actively ignored each other in a class, until the final day when I said "You would be stupid not to ask me out." he did, although he waited two weeks, calling and saying "So, am I stupid?". Yeah, for sure a guy.

We went out for a minute and a half. That's as long as it took me to realize that Eric was going to be a great friend. Not in that "oh, not dating material" because he was; cute, funny, smart as hell, full of laughter, great friends with both men and women. But he was more of the kind of guy I wanted to learn from, not be with. From him, I began to understand men. Really, men are simple, at least simpler than I had previously experienced. They want for very little; to be useful, to be loved, to be praised and worshipped at times, and to be providers. I was not in the space to actually have this in my life, so friends we were.

Eric pursued his dream, and moved to LA to become an actor. We had many conversations about him moving-- what would it take, how he would do it, where he should live. How he could market himself out there. Having been an agent and manager, I set him up with an agent friend out there, who sent him up with someone else, and I believe that is how he got work. He would call or email me to let me know how he was doing.

I went out to LA to visit family and friends in 2003, but didn't call to tell him I'd be there. He tracked me down, and we spent the most glorious day at Disneyland together. We tried on hats and made funny faces into Desha's camera, we sang the Muppet's theme song over and over, and had drinks with Diane and the crew from Disney. When we said goodbye, I let him know how much he meant to me, that he was the first guy I had ever asked out, and that I was very proud of him for following his dream. He said "I'm a man, not a guy.". I told him that when I asked him out he was a guy, but now he was a man for sure. We kissed goodbye, and he tooled off in his little car.

I said then, not knowing how true it was, that that was the last time I would see him. Now, I see him in dreams, in memories and in pictures, but interacting with him now is a little more difficult.

And then there is Mills.


David Mills and I met through friends of friends, lots of drama at a time when we could have all done with a little less. Mills and I would spend out wee hours of the morning on the phone talking about pop culture, screenplays and life in general. Our first real conversation was when he called at 1am, coming home from a gentleman caller's house, and telling me he had broken his promise not to sleep with anyone until the third date. I just listened. He said:

"You're not going to shame me"
Why should I? Do you want to be shamed?
"No, it's just... well, call Kim, and you get no judgment."

And that's how it was.

Mills and I also spent some time out in LA together, just an afternoon I had off of work, and he was out visiting friends. I took him to the San Fernando Mission, where we sat on the great lawn and smoked cigarettes, where I told him the story of my gramma and grampa's wedding at that very church. We went to the Madonna room, where there are several Madonna's of varying sizes and colors-- which was hysterical because Mills, well, being gay, loved Madge. Anyhow, as we were trying to pick out the Madonna that best represented ourselves, the lights went off, the music shut down, and we booked out of there. Both of us thought it was because we were being sacrilegious, however, it was just a room on a motion sensor with a timer.

"I for sure thought there was a bolt of lightning with my name on it"
Me too, sister.

We drove back to LA, blaring Eva Cassidy on the rental car's stereo, feeling the music. We spoke about her untimely death, and said words to each other. That we should know, ever in case of anything.

"I love you. I want you to know that."
Me too sister.

Mills and I drifted, no real reason, just drifted. We got back together at a friends wedding, and had a great time, just doing what we did well, taking orders, giving orders, and making things happen. Mills and I met up on the dance floor for some "Holiday" and boogied until our feet hurt and all the cheap champagne had sweated through our designer clothes.

In hearing of his passing, I was speechless. In a daze. No more Mills? No more Mills. No more 2 am phone calls about Britney, no more faithful MTV watching, no more fabulous facial products to scour. No more crashing in the West Village when I have had too much to drink, no more laughing about anything. Gone.

But he's still here. They are both still here. I have two angels looking over my shoulder, one guiding me into great relationships with former guys who are now men, making me laugh, letting me be vulnerable and another who I can hear reaching for the high notes as Eva soars into a gospel number-- and then points out the best styling lotion for my over frizzy hair-- on sale, in stock, with a coupon. In pictures, in memories, in goodbyes.

In goodbyes for now.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Big Girl on Community

Why is it that as women we tear each other down?

I am looking at a post I was working on, one about my former boss, and in reading it I saw that all it was about was tearing her down, making her less of a human to account for my in-humane-ness. Can I fogive a former boss for wearing purple blush-- yes. Can I let go that I was let go for no real reason-- sure. But what are reasons anyways-- they are just little excuses to tell ourselves why we can or can't.

But back to women on women (no not like that). Recently I helped some friends move, and I spent the whole time judging and criticizing my friend for not having her stuff perfectly set to be moved. That she was unorganized, and a mess, controlling and overly concerned with the hand mirrors getting put in the right room. Who cares? Actually, she got ready to move in less than three weeks, while working a full time job and cleaning out another's apartment (David, we miss you). Six years of stuff accumulated, seven different roomates which on first glance of move out, looked liked they moved, however left remants of their lives behind -- cleaners, food in the fridge, books or electronics that never quite worked, etc.

This is my friend I love. She would do anything to make sure I was doing okay.

I give up. Why do we have to tear each other down?

Just recently, Mama Sugs moved in. It is like being in a womens studies, queer studies, African studies class all the time. It is the best part of education, where I am developing ideas, learning and growing. She points out injustices I have never noticed, never seen, nor never done anything about. And what keeps coming up is why do we tear each other down?

So I ask, instead of tear down, why not celebrate?

My mother, on the eve of me going to college warned me about women that wore scented oils and didn't shave, and listened to Melissa Ethridge (before she was out). She said "Please don't be like them." So I stayed away from womens studies, I stayed away from any woman who was too manly, too alternative and instead surrounded myself with men and women who were anything but that. I felt like an outsider, always wanting to express something bigger than where we were going to eat, or who was dating who. I wanted to get at the life stuff, the what am I here for stuff. The stuff that may make a difference. I spent the first weekend of Melissa E.s album release listening to it, connecting to it, feeling like "Yeah, that's right!". I was concerned it was making me gay. I was concerned for the stolen kiss I shared with my down the street neighbor years before, for my lesbian drama teacher, for all the women I had met who had treated me in kindness and respected my opinions-- who I found out later were part of a community that I did not belong to.

This community, my mother was so scared about, is just women. Women who love women, who are trailblazers, who are out there just for being themselves. Women accepting women, just as they are.

But broaden it out, what if, just for a moment, women took the day off from gossiping about one another. They spoke only about positive aspects of each other. We celebrated our differences, that I wear my hair long, and you short, that I am large and curvy and wear red lipstick and you are small and wear no makeup and eat food only from plants. What if we took on that we celebrate each other, for the ability to give birth, for our size, for our ability to communicate, for our hearts and tears and our profound love for one another. It is not about, as my mother thought, being with women who sleep with other women. That hasn't made me gay, and I am sure it never will. But what if it was about creating women as powerful loving beings, no matter what our skin color is, no matter what our tags inside our clothes say, no matter how long we spent in school or how much money we make.

What if, for just a day, we could get past all that other stuff, and stopped tearing down. Once I heard that if you are not expanding you are contracting. So let's expand our hearts, and accept women just as is, no matter who they love. No matter what they wear. Even if it is purple blush.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Big Girl finds NOW

"i don't want to be the person who blindly shoots an arrow into the side of a barn, and paints a bullseye around wherever it lands."

I realize, after sorting through countless amounts of text, drawings, black ink on white paper, verse and prose, that this is my life. It is a road map of who I have become. Wow. This sucks.

I have a trunk at the foot of my bed that has about 25 journals in it. From highschool up till now. And in 2 of them, every page including the last page is filled. I had so much to say, the margins are filled, the pictures are drawn, and those journals are loved, they are creations of joy and celebration. Two.

So out of 14 years of journalling, I have a half a year of pure joy. Because I have been living as if tommorrow is a better choice than today. As if I will take what I can get is better than asking for what I want.

I once watched a man jump off the bridge-- not like an extreme sportist, but a guy at the end of his rope that bit the bullet and jumped. He lived in "Now". And I get that I don't want to do that. He chose NOW, and although sad (he ended up fine, in Bellvue, a couple broken bones and some therapy for a couple years) he couldn't wait one more second for life to end. Conversely, why not NOW to live my life. Why not say the "I love you" today, rather than waiting until the right time? Why not NOW? Why not.

Reasons are useless. Especially the useless reasons. Those are the ones that are bad bad bad. Those are the ones that say it is a better idea to buy a new journal and start over than to finish the one you have because it is not pretty enough, or it's a little messy or it's not right, or that poem is too sappy and it sucks, or your mom really isn't that horrible of a person, or your mom really is that horrible of a person and you are just being nice, or you sound like a fraud and snotty or you are not even dating the guy that you started the journal for, or you are dating the new guy and can't have the two of them sharing a space in the same bound book, or you forgot where you put that one. The reasons that say it is better to constantly start over than finish something as it meant to be done.

Okay, Big Girl-- it's time. Time like NOW to just make your life be it, be the thing you have wanted it to be. It's time to be the one. The ONE.

It sounds so 'and the force be with you' right?
Or is that 'peace be with you, and also with you'?
I get Catholic and Star Wars references screwed up-- sorry.

So what's the gap? Where can I put more cheese into my holey swiss cheese life? Where can I finish what I have started?

What I am taking on:

1)Being cause in my own life. I get what I want when I want it. I ask for what I want, what I need. I am all there is. Career, job, finances, fun, play, travel, relationships, writing, love, friendship, home, family, health, well being, fitness, spirituality, all of it. I say it, I create it, and it is so.

2)Take on my at stakes. Stop painting the bulleye around the arrow wherever it lands. Swing out, shoot for the target and then if, just if, it doesn't hit, own up to it. And when it hits, experience the victory. Do not, repeat, do not create spin-- false victories. Do acknowledge at least five victories a day. Create a victory journal-- and it doesn't have to be new. It can be in addition to one you already have, and it will house all the victories. Along with the relationships of past, bitchy conversations with people who are no longer around, and poems that really do suck.

3) No more gossip. If you can't have a conversation that empowers others, then it is a conversation not worth having. Other people don't walk around half dead, you just walk around killing them off.

4) No more deciding for other people what is to be shared or not. Walk around and share like your "Do I sound like an idiot?" filter is on backorder. Share even when your "they think I'm weird" filter sets off bells. Talk to people that are in your "no way, get out of my face" radar, and listen. Everyone has something to say, make sure they are heard, and you are heard.

5) Let yourself be squishy. Even if you just try it on for five minutes at a time, just be squishy. Let people love you regardless. No matter how much you want to puke. Just be loved.

6) Today is all I have.

7) No promises to look good. That means, no promises to make yourself look good when you have no intention of following through.

8) Be the person/coach/friend/girlfriend/partner you know yourself to be. Borrow someone else's eyes and look at yourself to remind yourself who you are. Bodacious, generous, loving (squishy), powerful, and the ONE. Posted by Hello

Sunday, April 03, 2005

At the bar. Big Girl, Big City. Posted by Hello

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Big Girl finds Home

How Long 'till I go Home

During the dog days of summer, I wonder why I left the cool ocean breezes of San Diego, the pink into purple and then misty gray violet sunsets. I wonder aloud how anyone could have survived without air conditioning, in a tenement building during the turn of the century (when, as the news reports, it was the hottest). And often I pose this question to no one inparticular, How long 'til I get to go home?

I grew up feeling like I would never ever leave the Golden state of California, the ocean, mountains and desert all within an hour's drive (depending on traffic). That I would meet and marry my high school sweetheart, have three kids by 27 and own not only a house but a minivan/station wagon//SUV gas sucker. I would spend evenings carting around children to various play rehearsals, dance recitals, soccer and football practices. I would stand in the bleachers and yell when my kid hit the ball, knowing full well that he is just as scared of a 40 MPH ball being hurled at him as I am. I would celebrate accomplishments by driving to 31 Flavors and getting double scoops, just as my parents had done with me. Evenings would be spent barbeque-ing hot dogs and hamburgers as the kids swam in the pool, soon to be wrapped in towels fresh from the dryer.

Instead, my high school sweetheart never materialized, nor did the college sweetheart, not the 20-something man-boy. So I moved to follow my passion. I think. At the time it seemed logical, move to be closer to my parents (who, incidentally were forced from their bliss into CT, deperately searching for some kind of Mexican food to remind them of home), to become something in the theater, to be closer to NYC. The capital of it all. The cartoonish fantasy of having a job that made a difference, and being someone that people back home would be jealous of, was just that, a fantasy.

But I stayed.

I moved into the City, with the help of two friends, and became a New Yorker. Becoming a New Yorker is instantanious. It happens when you move in, and recieve your first piece of mail, with your name on it. It proves to someone that you live in this great Metropolis, that you are part of the living breathing machine of NYC. You now become the tour guide for wayward tourists, the flop pad for friends from back home, a reference guide for all things designer, coutre, or city-like. People, not from here, are in awe of you, your job is that much more exciting, your life is that much more fabulous, and you actually become even more glamourous than you thought possible. And you become settled.

After a while, peole get to know your face, and eventually your name. They recognize you on the street, and may mumble a "Hi" if provoked. You move into your apartment after three years of living out of boxes, actually paint the walls, and your furniture is bought, not dragged in off the street. You make friends, and they become your family-- you do weddings, birthdays and parties, and you get to intimately know the local car service drivers. You know the "best" take out places, the "only" 24-7 deli, and the great place to get coffee and Hummentasha (and actually know what that is) on a Sunday morning. You wear shoes that are comfortable to walk and stand in, and sometimes, with the right amount of cash, you can actually wear those "nice shoes" out to a bar, because you have enough to take a cab home. And you start feeling as glamourous and carefree that everyone back home thinks you are.

Every once in a while, the weather shifts into overdrive-- the blistery cold of the winter, the melting humidity of the summer, and you are holed up in your apartment, away from the elements, watching MTV or TLC or BBC and you think, what am I doing here?. All the bad stuff comes out, the garbage smells, you have no equity because you can barely afford rent, much less an apartment for sale, the guy downstairs is playing his cello again at 4:30am, the early morning subway crush with the guy that's going to play the saxaphone loud and out of tune, and the fact that you are alone, with no one to spend the time with because he's holed up at his apartment somewhere else.

So I wonder still, how long til I get to go home?

And the weather clears up, and the sun comes out, and the humidity dips or the snow melts. I walk outside to get a breath of fresh air, and say hi to my neighbors on the stoop, to Jack and Sammy at the Deli, and to the nice woman who sells me my paper every day, who yells "Hello Friend" (which are the only two words she knows in English) from her third floor walk up. And I discover something. The fantasy of California is just that, good memories with a big "what if". This is home, my home. With all the good, and all the bad. Being here makes me stronger, feel more alive, as I brave the elements and the City itself, constantly battling against something to get to where I need to be.


Never thought I'd say it, but I am home.

For now.

The misadventures of Big Girl at the End of the 80's

When I was sixteen ( I know, it sounds like a song), I had this friend named Hobbes. Well her name wasn't actually Hobbes, it was Christina, and actually she is still my friend, she has a little baby boy whom she loves loves loves, and lives in Southern California, not far from where we grew up.

Anyhow, this is about being sixteen, not about now. Hobbes was always a little more adventuresome than I was, she had crazy friends, not really crazy, just people on the periphery of life. Like almost groupies to bands struggling for record deals, guys that did tattoos out of their garages, girls that moved out of their parent's homes in the middle of the night, you know, almost like carnival folk. And then there was me. An overweight, 30-ish looking highschool student destined for college, listening to broadway cast recordings, perfectly fine parents, relatively stable homelife, never drinking or drug doing. And Hobbes and I were friends. I think because we were thrown together at some point by an old classmate of mine, and her step cousin, and well, see were just perfect for each other. She was the quiet girl who did wild things, and I was the loud mouth who did quiet things.

Let me set the scene, and the era. It is 1989, it is winter in LA. It is about 65, perfect blue skies when we begin our drive. Hobbes is wearing acid wash cutoff shorts and a black t-shirt of the band we are going to see, her hair is puffed up as much as fine Danish hair can be, the white blond complementing her frosted pink lipstick and purple eyeliner. I am sure there were black rubber bracelets all up her arm, and some kind of silver jewelry hanging out of her ears. I, however, am wearing the coolest shirt I could find, a big multicolored camp shirt with a blue tank top underneath and a pair of fuschia stirrup pants with my favorite black boots. My hair was big, as big as it has ever been, aqua net for days, to add to the frosted pink lipstick, hot pink eyeshadow and blue mascara. We had listened to the top forty countdown on Pirate radio, mixed in with some Motley Crue and some Van Halen (the Sammy Hagar years) and we were ready to go. And we thought we looked awesome, and we were ready to descend onto LA. Like virgins to the slaughter.

She was friends with the struggling LA band at the time, and she wanted to go up to see a show of theirs in Hollywood. Our plan was to go up to Melrose (because she said that was the coolest area in town) and do some window shopping, and then head over to see if we could get into their "all ages" show at the Troubador-- and still make it home before my 11:30 curfew. Now, my curfew wasn't really so, because my parents would pass out on the couch pretty much by 10pm every night of the week, but I didn't ever want to disappoint, especially since they knew we were headed up to LA for the evening, this may actually be the night that they would stay up and sober, and I would get busted trying to get in the door at 2am.

We get to Melrose somewhere around 7:30, including traffic and getting lost, and a burrito from Del Taco-- and we park. We walk into a shop-- looking back on it, it was the most exciting shop I had ever been in.

The shop. Ah, the shop. The women behind the counter had piercings not only in their ears, but in their noses and ON THEIR FACES. As Hobbes pawed the clothes and tried on shoes, I realized I was out of my element. I mean this shop was SEX. Pure unadulterated SEX, sexy sexy sex in the biggest way, and I was 3 months out of teaching Sunday school to Kindergarteners. This was evil, and I shouldn't be there at all. And I wasn't cool at all, I looked like a boozy 30 year old out for a night out. I was sixteen, for chrissakes, never even been kissed!

Hobbes tried on three pairs of black boots, all way too expensive, as I looked at the hosiery. I couldn't image what anyone would need with crotch-lessunderwear, fishnets with seams, edible panties, or thigh high white stockings with bows. I knew that I was definitely going to have to go to Church after this visit, because my mind was opening bit by bit, and it wasn't pretty.

This was the point that I realized I wasn't going to fit in everywhere, no matter how hard I tried. This just wasn't me. I was a good girl, a good student, junior class president, in all the school plays, volunteering my time at the Red Cross, and going to Church on Sundays. I was waiting for my first boyfriend to kiss me opened mouthed without asking. I was not ready for this reality where sex was something to be prepared for, dressed up for, and there was no way I could afford to have sex if I had to buy any of this stuff to make it happen.

That night was uneventful. I think we walked up and down the Strip after not being able to get into the all ages club. We looked at tatoos, we split a budweiser that one of the guys in the band snuck out for us, smoking cigarettes at the stage door, waiting for Spaz of Jazz or whatever his name was to come out. We made it home in time, Hobbes slept over, and in the morning my mom made French Toast with blueberry syrup. And I forgot all about the shop.

Years later, I bought my first pair of fishnets. Okay, so I didn't go into a store and buy them, and I had just turned 30, but nonetheless, I pranced around my apartment in the sexiest sexy thing I could dig up to go with the fishnets. I realized then that I didn't miss out on much in high school, that as much as I wanted to, fitting in will never be my style. However, fishnets are now part of who I am. Not bad for a Big Girl.

Big Girl in Falls in Love

FreeFalling by Tom Petty

I was in love with a boy. Not just any boy, but that boy, perfect teeth, sandy brown hair. He played football, her knew about politics, he had an opinion and shared it appropriately in class, not too much to be labeled a jerk, but just enough so we all knew he was smart and could hold his own.

And he may have loved me. In that 15-16 year old way, where everything is going to get better once you have your license, once you have your own car, and once you too can go out and get an after school job that will allow you to go to the mall and buy music without Christmas money, without washing cars on the weekend and without your parents saying no.

Most people didn’t like him. He could be arrogant, he could be a loud mouth, he wasn’t the best on the team, and he had a beautiful girlfriend who had moved that summer. So in the confines of high school, his ratings had climbed as high as they could be, and now he was on the downswing.

In our junior year, the administration tried out a policy of allowing walkmans in class during reading or study periods. It only lasted about 3 months, just into the New Year, and all the kids who begged their parents for walkmans for Christmas then had to hide them for before and after school use only.

Those three months were delicious.

One rainy-ish November, after establishing our hand off period between History and Math, he gave me the walkman.

“I cued it up to a great song, I hope you like it.”

In the first 10 seconds of the guitar, I knew. “She’s a good girl, she loves her momma, loves Jesus, and America too...” He was telling me that I was his girl. And this cued up tape spoke to me. With its ache, with its tinny vocals, with the whine that only Mr. Petty can master. It said ‘I love you, Kim Simpson, and I want you to be my girlfriend.'.

“And I’m Free. I’m Freefallin…”

Things never work out quite like they are supposed to. He went back to see the beautiful girlfriend that Christmas, and on his return, I waited for his proclamation of his undying affection for me. It took me another year to see that I wasn’t going to get it, that I was just a girl that he could share his music, homework and hopes for the future with. We met up again after college, and then again at the 10 year, politely asking about each other and what we were up to in our lives.

However, those chords at the start of that song always bring me back to acid washed jeans that are a little too tight, blue mascara, and a hall pass to heaven. With my not-really, kind-of boyfriend. Jeff Klaus.