Quantum of Solace

Thene mentioned this before:

The Governor paused and looked reflectively over at Bond. “You’re not married, but I think it’s the same with all relationships between a man and a woman.  They can survive anything so long as some kind of basic humanity exists between the two people.  When all kindness has gone, when one person obviously and sincerely doesn’t care if the other is alive or dead, then it’s just no good. That particular insult to the ego – worse, to the instinct of self-preservation – can never be forgiven.  I’ve seen flagrant infidelities patched up, I’ve seen crimes and even murder forgiven by the other party, let alone bankruptcy and every other form of social crime.  Incurable disease, blindness, disaster – all these can be overcome. But never the death of common humanity in one of the partners. I’ve thought about this and I’ve invented a rather high-sounding title for this basic factor in human relations. I have called it the Quantum of Solace.”

Bond said: “That’s a splendid name for it. It’s certainly impressive enough.  And of course I see what you mean. I should say you’re absolutely right.  Quantum of Solace – the amount of comfort.  Yes, I suppose you could say that all love and friendship is based in the end on that.  Human beings are very insecure. When the other person not only makes you feel insecure but actually seems to want to destroy you, it’s obviously at an end. The Quantum of Solace stands at zero. You’ve got to get away to save yourself.”
It’s become a sort of shorthand, a touchstone, a reminder.
It’s not just a reminder that humanity is a goal, not a guaranteed state of being, it’s also that everyone’s line in the sand is different.
What X defines as being adequate humanity might not make the cut for Y and yet it might be the height of coddling for Z.
The smallest possible unit; the baseline below which if you fall, everything shatters.
I was talking to my cousin the other day, exploring the idea of being in a relationship and when it’s worth it. I finally summed it up for myself thusly:
Assuming that your own baseline while single is either at zero or plus one, adding another person should always raise it to at minimum plus two or three for the relationship to be worth staying in.
I’m not currently looking for a relationship because I’m currently at zero with the needle wavering between plus and negative one.  I’d only want to look when I’m at a solid plus one heading towards a plus two. There has to be something in the tank before you go diving because there’s always going to be something out there that’s going to drain you before buoying you and the latter isn’t guaranteed.
I admit, there’s also a wee bit of man-hating going on right now, so that cynicism isn’t something I want to bring to a new relationship either.  Also, let’s be frank here – no one really heads into a relationship with someone who is knowingly a zero or a negative. It’s not fair to anyone and it’s mostly a waste of time and effort. It could be a learning experience, but seriously, how many of those does any one person need?
No matter what that person brings to the table, no matter what requirements you or they have, no matter any of the standard quantifiable stuff – the real question is “am I happier with this person than I am single”?
If you cannot answer that with a solid “yes”, then it’s time to get the hell out of the relationship.
Something else that took getting out of a relationship to figure out: if you can’t see yourself marrying the person in question, then you need to grow a spine and some guts and break it off.
I didn’t understand that at first and I don’t think my ex really did either.
It’s another line in the sand that I looked at and didn’t see for what it was. He might have known, but either I didn’t understand what he was trying to say, or he didn’t know how to distill his feelings into something that I could comprehend.
It went both ways, which was the funny part. He kept dragging his feet on talking to my parents about getting married and threw a hissy fit in the ring store when I dragged him there and  I told him verbally I didn’t see being able to marry him towards the end. We hurt each other with our reticence, but we were both unwilling to really step back and say “yep, not working” and abort.
If you can’t imagine marrying someone, then something’s wrong there. If there just isn’t that urge to “put a ring on it”, then the emotion just isn’t there. And when the emotion isn’t there, then clearly the two of you together isn’t anywhere near a sufficient positive balance.
That simple. It’s not even math.
Are you really happier with him? Or is it just fear and habit?

The sins of our fathers

More on babies and love and marriage and general shit.

Yeah, I’ve been thinking about this a lot, but in my self defense it’s only been, oh, about four or five months since I really resigned myself to the end of a ten year relationship. If I go by what I’ve heard before, which is a month for every year, I figure I still have more than half a year to go.

Seriously though, this came up the other day when we were at lunch. I was talking with my aunt and my cousins and of course, significant others came up again. And of course, there was that song. And then there was that lovely, depressing, uplifting, heart-shattering book by Barbara Bretton…

I heard from someone once that we are our forefathers, that we reincarnate endlessly as our own descendants so long as we fail to learn our lessons, that we can never get away from the cycle until the day we achieve enlightenment.

Wow. Okay. That brings the whole “sins of our fathers” concept to a whole new level of crazy.

I don’t know if I believe it or not. Color me agnostic.

What I do know is the trope of families reenacting the same dramas over and over again, of families beloved by tragedy, of families who can’t seem to get on HEA train, so on and so forth.

My family, both sides, fall into that trope.

My mother’s side is exhibit A of “what not to do” in terms of marriage. My grandfather abandoned my grandmother early on, after getting five children on her, and proceeded to spend the rest of his life with various “secretaries” and mistresses and “housekeepers”. My eldest aunt married someone who gives her stomach ulcers and they seem to lead mostly parallel lives. My mother seemed to have an okay marriage, up until the point where my father really went off the deep end with his midlife crisis, and it’s now kinda at the point where much as I love my father, I think it might almost be best if they divorced. My third aunt married a man who pursued her relentlessly, thinking that he would be good to her, and he was frolicking with another woman while she was bedridden with their children. Then she had a sequence of boyfriends, none of whom worked out, and now she’s with a man who doesn’t really make her truly happy. I don’t know much about my little aunt’s love life, but she and her husband mostly seem happy with each other. Then again, they both work more than sixty hours a week, so god knows when they would have time to get on each other’s nerves. Then there’s my uncle. His wife left him for another man, came back because she (no joke) had lupus and was on the verge of dying, and he succumbed to the blandishments of another woman while she was gone/recuperating, and now the two of them seem perpetually caught in some twisted kind of limbo where he apparently still hangs out with his mistress and yet is still married to his wife and lives in the same house as hwe.

My father’s side…

Welp, there’s my fourth uncle, who probably drove his wife to religion (devout, devout Buddhist) because, dude, that man can be a pill (said by his own brother). Loud, abrasive, judgmental, impatient — yeah, it runs in the blood. Good man, despite all that, but just not the easiest person to be married to.

There’s my aunt, the eldest in their family, with five boys trailing after her, who caught her husband cheating with a woman in their bed.  She’s who I think of when I think that it does a woman no good to be all blade and no sheath. A lovely woman, generous to a fault, and active in the community, but… I suppose her husband tired of her being a fishwife, deserving of it or not.

If my father’s recollections of his parents’ relationship can be believed, his mother was an endless nag and his father long-suffering and their fights legion and legendary. If he can believed, his father went to his grave complaining about what his wife had kept him from achieving.

Then there’s all of their friends and relatives. I don’t think I know of a single happy marriage in any of my grandmother’s circle of friends and I can’t think of any happy marriages in my parents’ generation either.

Then there’s my generation, with my cousin and his wife who is at best indifferent towards his family and my other cousin whose wife loathes his family and then there’s me. We don’t seem to be doing so hot either. Before you ask, there’s a lot of drama going on with the daughter in laws. It’s not so simple as saying “fuck it” and leaving it alone except for holidays.

So let’s not talk metaphysics and quackery. Let’s talk about environment and learned behavior. Let’s talk about role models and expectations and failed expectations. Let’s talk about the society they grew up in and the world we grew up in and whether or not we take on their broken dreams through osmosis.

In a way, it’s not about just me. Of course I want a happy ending for myself. Despite my airy words and casual gestures, of course I want it all.

But it isn’t just for me.

I want something better, something more lovely for my children if I have any. I want them to be happy, to be secure in a world where they know that their parents love each other and them and would do anything within their means to cradle their family in safety and love for as long as they reasonably can.

I’m not talking helicopter parenting. I mean that bone-deep assurance of being loved, of knowing that you are loved for you, that there is someone waiting to catch you if you should fall. I mean the knowledge that there is possibility of a HEA out there for you, that it can be done, that not every marriage and relationship has to end in bitter acrimony.

Sure, I know there’s the lottery winners, but in the same way that people often don’t believe that what tragedies that touch other people will descend upon them, it’s hard to believe in fairy tales when everyone you know intimately says otherwise.

It’s not so much a happy ending for me. I think I could live without the traditional happy ending. I could probably get over it and deal, eventually. I just don’t want this for anyone after us. If our family doesn’t know how to be happy, if our family can’t figure it out, isn’t it in a way better to just cut everything short?

I just don’t know.

 

 

I will be… Beloved

Yep, the capitalization is intentional.

I heard a song today, a song that made tears sting my eyes. In sorrow, perhaps. In rage, maybe.

白狐 White Fox

我是一隻愛了千年的狐  -  I am a fox that has been in love for a thousand years

千年愛戀 千年孤獨 –  A thousand years of love / a thousand years of loneliness

長夜裡你可知我的紅妝為誰補  -  in the long nights, do you know for whom I apply rouge

紅塵中你可知我的秀髮為誰梳  -  in this world, do you know for whom I comb my hair

我是一隻守侯千年的狐  -  I am a fox that has waited for a thousand years

千年守侯 千年無助  -  a thousand years of waiting / a thousand years of helplessness

情到深處看我用美麗為你起舞  -  let me use my beauty to dance for you (in my love)

愛到痛時聽我用歌聲為你傾訴  -  when love is painful, let me use my song to speak for you

寒窗苦讀 你我海誓山盟銘心刻骨  -  (when you were) studying by a cold window, we vowed forever to each other
金榜花燭 卻是天涯漫漫陌路殊途  - (when you) succeeded at the exams and married, we were lost to each other

能不能讓我為愛哭一哭  –  may I cry for (our) love?
我還是千百年前愛你的白狐  -  I am still the fox that fell in love with you a thousand years ago
多少春去春來 朝朝暮暮  -  how many years have passed, how many days and nights
生生世世都是你的狐  -  I will be your fox for all of my lifetimes

來生來世還做你的狐 — (repeat of the above and then…) next reincarnation I will still be your fox

Additional clarification:

The lyrics said that she has 守侯 waited for a thousand years. But, really, that phrase is more than that. 守 can mean to guard and 侯 means to wait (often with anticipation), so it carries connotations of safe-guarding and expectations. It’s not just waiting, essentially. It’s not sitting around doing your own thing, with a book or your own life, it’s waiting with anticipation for something eagerly awaited, something precious that she is keeping safe.

寒窗苦讀: to study by a cold window – usually used as a metaphor for how difficult it used to be to be able to pass the Imperial Exams. Usually used in conjunction with ten years, as in cold window ten years, as a shorthand.

It seems that he saved her a thousand years ago, when she was a fox, and now that she was able to take on human form, she came to him while he was still in his poor, struggling days, and they vowed their love to each other. The usual is that for most scholars back in the day is that they had to spend a lot of time studying and was thus often starving/broke because they didn’t have the spare time to work. That’s part of the whole “cold window, bitter study, ten years” thing.

Then, he made it, passed the imperial exams, and then got married. Back then, it was not uncommon if you were first or second in the exams, that the emperor would give you a princess or a noble to marry, or often if you had a sponsor, the sponsor would give you their daughter in marriage. It’s implied that he married someone else because of that sort of thing and so she made like the little mermaid and turned to foam or something.

Just …no. No. No no no no no no no no.

Thene and I were talking kink the other day and she mentioned that some people have a kink for pining. I came back with the retort that I got over that kink by the time I graduated from college.

I really want to take that fox by the shoulders and shake her. A thousand years and you haven’t learned better? Get your heart broken, be betrayed, and you haven’t learned enough to say “fuck it” for next lifetime?

This is what’s considered romantic, which is the frightening thing. Talk about socialization and brainwashing.

No.

If I had a thousand years, I’d do something with myself. If nothing else, I’d teach myself to be self-sufficient. I’m a fox who has managed to break the laws of the universe enough to be near immortal and take human shape – dude, I have much better things to do than pining over some wretch who doesn’t appreciate me properly.

You get one chance. You betray me and we’re done. What’s this bullshit about doing it all over again? No. Just no.

Jesus.

I need some “fuck you and the horse you rode in on” songs to get that out of my head. So much nope.

On the other hand, I totally want to fanfic this now. Of course, she’s going to dump his sorry ass once he betrays her and find some other hot fox to run off into fairyland with.

Soft. Softer. Softer still.

What’s in a name?

My cousin said the other day that she liked 君 (jun), word for ruler or lord or gentleman, the word that our names share, because it was more 霸氣,  more domineering, more confident, more more, all those things that a girl might want in her life in this world.

I love that word too, but I don’t know that I want to keep it.

What I thought, but didn’t ask was: what has being hard brought me anyways?

A reputation for being a force of nature. Broken expectations that shattered my love. Ruined health from all the anger and despair I choked down with the notion of being strong. A bitter spirit and a cynical mind. Being thought to be impervious and thus fair game. Simultaneously the person who surprises people with my love of long hair and longer skirts and the person once compared to a declawed kitten.

The thing is, it’s not enough to be hard. It’s not enough to be domineering, arrogant, and unrelenting. Not unless you’re prepared to go all the way, dive off the edge of the world, and declare yourself to be an island unto yourself.

Logic. Reason. Sobriety. All tools that I used to keep myself safe when in actuality I was drowning in denial.

According to the Chinese stars, I carry three tigers, a torch, and three knives; the horoscope for my faults say that I “possess a significant capability for damage”.  Essentially, I’m a walking arsenal, a one-person army. My brother laughed and said that my new nickname should be Godzilla.

The thing is, like I said, it’s one thing to be Alexander the Great or Genghis Khan, but it’s another to be Cleombrotus or Napoleon. Or worse, someone who isn’t even noted in the annals. Either you go all the way, or history will sing of someone else.

All of the fortune-tellers that I’ve met have looked at my stars and shook their heads. One of them, more recently, said that my independence and stubbornness was … all right in this day and age. His tone said it all, that it was good that I was born in these times because if I were born in an earlier age, I would have been sent home to my parents in disgrace as a wife discarded for lack of virtue.

I know it.

I look in the mirror and I see a hard woman. An unhappy woman. The lines between my brows. The grooves that bracket my mouth. The downward tilt of my lips in rest. The awkward way a smile sits on my face when it’s not buoyed by genuine mirth.

Ignorance is bliss. I’ve always thought thus, but in the past I would push past it with the thought that if I could not be soft and content in my ignorance, I could persevere, could push past with sheer will and surmount everything that stood in the way of my happiness.

But no.

In my stupidity and youth I made a fatal mistake.

I thought I could be a sword, lethal to obstacles and a sharp tool to gain me what I wanted, what I needed. But I wasn’t. I was a dull chef’s knife, one prone to slipping and cutting into the hand wielding it, inefficient and cursed.

No. I don’t want to be one of those women who use their femininity as a weapon. I don’t want to be demure and resigned either.

However, there has to be a happy medium, one in which I can set aside my constant need for revolution and be content with defending what I want and need.

I don’t want to be a broadsword, nor a needle, but perhaps I can be a soft sword. I’ve always been fond of that (mythical?) weapon and I should have taken a hint from that. Soft enough to be used as a belt when at rest, resilient enough to be wielded as a whip, but capable of driving into stone when infused with will.

The key right now is deciding what I want, what battles I will fight, and what lines are drawn. If nothing else, at least I have the enviable chance of being able to figure that out right now.

There is a poem that goes “ten years I have honed my sword/ never has it been tried/ now I show it to you/ and ask what injustice is there”.

What sword have I honed and what injustice is there?

Take a deep breath and…

When you have to start a conversation with “don’t freak out, but…”, it tends to mean that said conversation doesn’t really tend to happen.

How do you tell someone that you’re thinking about suicide? That dying seems like a winning proposition, that everything just seems unbearably hard, that the burden of dealing with this shell, this drama, this day, you, just makes you want to curl up and stop breathing?

I’ve thought about suicide for decades.

I remember learning about God at Harvest, the Catholic school I went to briefly when I was in second grade, and coming home to pray at night to be taken away. If I should die before I wake… oh how I wanted to die before I woke again. Still do, if you want to know.

I remember praying to the buddhas and the ancestors when I was in fourth grade, that my life should be taken and tacked onto my mother’s so I could just go. Softly, gently, full of relief into that welcoming dark.

I remember pressing the sharp edges of my wood carving tools into my skin when I was twelve, resulting in my mother screaming at me about how terrible it was of me to threaten her that way. How sinful it would be, to desecrate the skin and flesh given to me by my parents. No, no mention of how I felt, whether I needed help, if I had trouble, if there was anything anyone could do to ease the pain.

In the end, that’s the problem, isn’t it?

Almost everyone takes it personally when someone commits suicide or talks about it.

Suddenly it’s no longer about my pain, my life, my choices, but the pain of other people, whether or not I’ll ruin the lives of other people, about how this one gigantic choice isn’t actually mine to make at all.

So I don’t talk about it. I talk around it. I mention it and then I shy away from saying the truth as soon as I see that first instinctive recoil, the defensiveness roaring forth until it’s not about me anymore but about them.

The truth?

If someone offered me a completely painless and surefire way to die right now, I’d take it.

If someone said they could erase me completely from this world, no memories, no pain for anyone, and that it would be quick, I’d go for it, even if there was pain involved.

Don’t ask me questions like whether or not there’s anyone worth staying alive for.

The brutal truth is that no, there really isn’t. Think about it; don’t take it personally and think about it.

I’m in this life 24/7, which means an almost constant battering from my various health problems, depression, and other people’s applied drama.

Isn’t it better to take a step back, realize that no one really wants to be responsible for someone’s happiness around the clock, that no one cares enough to shelter my ridiculously fragile mind from the world, including myself, and accept that it is what it is?

Sure, with sufficient money and enough insulation from the world, I might be content, but is it really worth that effort for anyone? Is it even possible?

I don’t actually think so. So why not die if given the chance?

People like to say that “it gets better”. The thing about that is, no one actually wants to put a timeline on that shit.

It’s been twenty or so years, give or take a couple, and I still don’t believe that whatever pleasure I’ve gotten outweighs the misery. Odd how no one else really agrees that two decades is enough time to say that I’ve given it a good faith effort.

Wouldn’t it be better, to die and allow my organs to be harvested so that someone who actually wants to live, can? Too bad that isn’t an option or I’d hop right on that. Just imagine, my one death might mean that many other people could live. Where’s the bad in that?

One of the only things stopping me at this point is that I’d feel sorry who had to find me and it seems a waste when my organs probably could go toward some good use. On the other hand, considering the poor sod who had to find Kayleigh’s mom’s exploded remains, not killing myself doesn’t really mean anything in the grand scheme of saving anyone horror.

I’m honestly at the point of laughing whenever someone goes “what would you do if you only had six months to live?” because I would cheer, take out all of my savings, and just go to town.

I don’t want to hear “it gets better” because you can’t guarantee that. You really can’t.

I don’t need to hear “what can I do; I’d love to help” because there’s nothing you can do and it’s pointless to pretend otherwise.

What would be helpful is if this post helped even one person realize that sometimes talking about suicide isn’t about a call for help; it’s not an accusation; it’s just a fact.

Hi. My name is Katje and I want to die and no you can’t help and I don’t want help.

Hero

This has been running through my mind for the last few days.

Ladies and gentlemen, listen up please, I don’t want to be your hero.
No, I am not open. Parts of me are broken.
Do yourself a favor; save yourself. Don’t pick me, find someone else.
Why’d you want to bother? Find yourself another.

- Darren Hayes – Hero

I’ll leave it open to question as to whether I’m thinking about myself or another because honestly I have no clue. I don’t like to think of myself as broken, but I’m starting to believe that it may be so.

Something else that’s been spiraling in my mind: if this is what we owe each other, just let us wipe the slate clean because I don’t want to see you again next lifetime. If this is what you call love, if this is what you call devotion, if this is what I have to expect from such declarations, then I want no part of it. Just leave me alone. The darkness is safer than you ever were.

I wavered about it, but I decided I’m going to do this, this one time, and then I’m going to be done. I’m going to write it and forget about it until maybe one day I have cause to remember it. Remind myself to never give out more than you’re willing to lose forever.

I’ve always tried to adhere to the ideal of “love like you’ve never been hurt and will never be hurt” because life is honestly too short to punish myself and other people for the sins of others.

The fact that I’ve been reconsidering that stance lately breaks my heart more than anything else I’ve ever encountered, but I cannot budge from the ledge I find myself on.

I’ve been called stupid by all of my female relatives and most of the men too and what burns is that I’m agreeing to it. What I did, that is not something I would ever condone someone else doing. If someone on Quora asked me about it, I’d be all “get the fuck off that crazy train before it crashes and burns in loony town”.

Ex boyfriend owes me nearly 2k. This is all stuff like his portion of the utilities, his take-out food that accidentally got charged to my card, various other sundries, and almost $300 of it was when he charged his meds to my card (without asking beforehand, by the way). He’s really dragging his feet on figuring out his finances and returning it, despite knowing that right now I have absolutely zero income. I’m currently living on my parents’ dime and sufferance and I have absolutely no spare cash in the bank. If I want to grab a snack or a book, I have no wherewithal to do it with. It’s not only stressful, it’s also humiliating.

I have no cushion because of a variety of reasons, not least of which is because we only just paid back the last of the credit card debt amassed under my name to the tune of nearly $16k due to a blend of our poor spending habits, my retail therapy, and two semesters of his college tuition. It’s also because my ex was sending me some money each month to help cover my expenses because just my income wasn’t cutting it and he quit doing that about the time he realized I was serious about moving to Taiwan because of my health issues. So there were about two to three months near the end where I was coming up short and had to dip into what little reserves I had.

I can’t begin to describe the icy feeling in my chest when I think about what that means in terms of how much he cares and how he cares.

To be clear, ex was helping with the bills because, as he put it, “you paid for my living expenses and bills for months while I didn’t have a proper job and was a regular raider in WoW; it’s my turn to pick up the slack”. So in case that needed more clarification, technically, he owed me, by his own admission.

Thene pointed out that the promise was made when we were assuming “in terms of an ongoing sharing of support” and that “originally he was doing it so you could build a writing career that would later contribute to household support” and that ” now your writing is not going to ever contribute to his household in the future, it doesn’t make sense”.

I find that hysterically funny in the “oh god, do you ever know someone?” sort of way.

For one thing, it was never verbalized like that for me. It was always phrased to me as “you took care of me once, let me do that for you in return”.

For another thing, if all this sort of thing got wiped clean at breakup, then divorce lawyers would all be out of a job.

For yet another thing, it’s not in me to withhold a promise or support or affection just because our relationship changed. The more fool I, I believed him when he said we were best friends, that he still loved me, that he still cared about me.

Well, so much for that.

I could have been fine if he was going to go with the non-amicable breakup. Just let me know that you don’t want to be friends, that you don’t care anymore, that you really couldn’t care less if I were plummeting to the depths of Hell in a handbasket. I’m a big girl; I could have dealt. What I cannot deal with is the lies. Ye gods, the lies. Stop lying to me and stop lying to yourself.

Let me just be very clear: I would never treat a friend this way and if this is how you treat your friends, then I don’t want to be your friend.

I would never have left a friend in the lurch the way he did. If I had promised to help support someone, in return for their previous support no less, I would have kept on with it. I know this because back when another friend needed a place to crash for a few months, I just sucked it up and dealt with it because I had promised. That was even without owing that friend anything except my word and back when it was a significant hardship to do so. Nice to know that ten years of supposed love isn’t worth jack in the end.

I would never, ever, ever keep money that I owed a friend from them, especially when I knew that they needed it. The fact that he apparently absolutely doesn’t care that I’m in this sort of a bind says volumes about how much he values the friendship. Lovely to know that he gives no shits about how humiliating it would be to have to ask my parents for money for personal stuff.

So he can talk for hours at me about his new girlfriend, ask my advice about dating the new squeeze, but then play least in sight when I poke him about my money? Not really giving me any warm and fuzzy feelings here.

I don’t want to give him the power, but it’s a struggle because now I have this cynicism about love and friendship and promises that I never used to have. To be fair, it’s not just him, but a confluence of other factors and other people. But ultimately, he held most of my trust, if nothing else, because I believed that ten years of loving and fucking someone had to have some bearing, but no.

It’s fine. I’ll be fine. Like I said, I’m going to write it down and then I’m going to move past it. There was this, this marker, and then nothing more. Past the broken promises. Past the graves of wishes past. Past the dreams of yesteryear.

Next time going in, I’m going to be a little more careful. Never bet more than you’re willing to lose. I bet too heavily and I lost in more ways than just this, but if this was the price of admission, then consider the tuition paid.

If this emotion is what I owed you, then consider us even. You’ve broken my heart enough for a lifetime. If you owe me now in tears, then consider us square. I do not want to be entangled with you any more. Not this lifetime and certainly not the next.

As for the money, I need it and I want it, but honestly, if that’s the price of seeing someone clearly, then I suppose it is what it is.

Oh Quora…

So many feelz today. I haven’t left the house almost at all and I’m exhausted with the feelz.

To start off with, the questions I’m being asked on Quora seem to be getting exponentially serious business. I’m not quite sure I’m equipped to be the one to give answers and it’s frightening to think of what I might or might not be affecting.

It all started with:

My girlfriend said I cheated on her for talking with my best friend (I’m a girl) and I told her I’m not cheating on her and she doesn’t believe me how do I make her believe me?we were only talking about my new game i got.

So, of course, I go:

Anon, if your girlfriend doesn’t believe you when you say you weren’t cheating — this might not be a winning relationship for either of you.

If you genuinely weren’t cheating on her, then the fact that your girlfriend isn’t okay with you having friends with mutual interests is a big red warning flag. You never want to be in a relationship that starts cutting you off from other social contact. That way lies abuse and co-dependency and crazy and other bad things.

If your girlfriend isn’t capable of trusting you, then honestly, this isn’t a good relationship for her to be in either. If she has trust and possessiveness issues, I’m going to venture that there’s not going to be a relationship she’s going to be happy in, but at least you don’t need to be involved in her misery.

I’m sorry if this wasn’t the response you were looking for, but I’d really suggest taking a good hard look at your relationship and deciding if it’s really something fixable rather than trying to patch it up.

Having been on the receiving end of a lot of unwarranted and hysterical jealousy, I can tell you that it’s a battle no one wins.

Next day, literally, I get this from the same person:

My girlfriend stabbed me with a fork because she thought I was cheating on her (I’m a girl) the reason she thought I was cheating is because my friend hugged me so she thought I was cheating on her was she in the right or was she in the wrong?

Me: 0___o oh my fucking god. Honestly, this should have been my cue that I was out of my depth, but seriously, I’ve never been the sharpest knife in the drawer.

I answer:

1. Even if you did cheat on her, stabbing you with a fork was completely wrong. Now, if you’d given her a STI, then maybe it could have been justified, but still wrong.

2. You’re allowed to have friends. You’re allowed to have relationships outside of your relationship with her. You’re allowed to have, in fact, intimate, relationships that involve non-sexual hugging and kissing outside of your romantic relationship. This is not cheating. She’s in the wrong to be controlling about such a thing.

Also? It would probably be in your best interests to break up with this woman and stay far, far away from her.

I haven’t really started thinking hard about this yet, you know? Because this is all like, it feels like crazy drama, the sort that is super loud but doesn’t come to anything. I guess this is where I totally was using my own life as a benchmark without really thinking about the number of women who get killed by spurned lovers every day.

Then, she responds with:

i read your commet how can i stay far away from her and break up if i really do love her and i dont want to leave her.

My response:

If you don’t want to, I guess you can’t. It’s just my non-professional opinion that you will probably have an easier and better life if you don’t need to live in fear of a crazy girlfriend stabbing you with something worse than a fork just because you had a friend. I’m not saying “if you don’t want to, you can’t” glibly – I’m saying that the only way you will really be able to let her and the relationship go is to realize that this is probably not the best/safest thing for you and that you will have a better life without her. Your heart might break and it might really suck for a really long time, but there are other women out there who are sane and who will not stick pointy things in you.

Still not really thinking about this as a big deal, you know? Because to be honest, I didn’t really expect her to take my advice. And yeah, part of me was like “oh, a fork? Not that bad then…” without really considering maybe it would have been a knife if that had been closer to hand rather than someone being all tsundere.

Anon: Yeah your right i guess you have a point it better to be with someone who wont stab me with a fork.

Me: *headdesk* I mean. This needed to be said? And she guessed I had a point? I mean, should this not be self-evident and something all parents or caretakers teach their children? “Thou shalt not be in a relationship with someone who stabs you with things when they’re angry.”

But I go:

It really is better. Trust me. The next thing might not be a fork.

Later on, when I get back from swimming, anon:

Hey um i dont think breaking up with her was a good idea she is pretty pissed she just attcaked me like if i tried to kill her and then after she was done she threatend to kill herself

Me: 0___o
Okay. This really freaked me out. Again, I genuinely wasn’t expecting her to take my advice. And I felt like this was my bad, where my complete non-experience with dealing with this sort of thing completely comes through. I should have told her to break up with her in a public venue where the girlfriend couldn’t be violent without other people there and I probably should have warned her to be careful of extreme violence when breaking up. But no, I didn’t, because, again, NOT TRAINED. OMG.

Me:

I know it doesn’t feel that way, but you are NOT responsible for what she does to herself. Let me repeat that. You are NOT responsible for what she does. And can I reiterate that continuing to date someone who “attacked you like if you tried to kill her” is …probably not safe? And can you even really “love” her if she’s doing all this? Can you truly feel safe and secure around her? And if you can’t, what kind of relationship is that for you and her?

If you fear for your safety, I would suggest talking to the police or someone in authority. Try not to engage with her in private and don’t let her into your home while you’re there alone.

So I was imagining that she had her own place or she was still living with her parents because honestly she didn’t sound all that old and the talk about games threw me. But then this came in and really freaked me out:

i see but like when she asleep do i sneek away from her to go to my parents house because know i really dont feel safe.

Oh my fucking god. She lives with this person? And she’s still in the same house as this person? What the ever loving hell?

I promptly whip back with:

If you don’t feel safe, GET THE FUCK OUT OF THERE. Do not sleep in the same house, do not live in the same room with this person. Get the hell out since you have a place to go. Just leave. Now.

Really, I’m really seriously not trained for this and I’m deathly afraid that something I say will end up having devastating consequences.

So that wasn’t great. I’m just hoping for a good response from anon at some point to say that she’s safe.

Then, Ilona Andrews has a post in which someone goes:

I am writing my book, (epic fant. not urban) and I have come to a pivotal part where the prince marries his princess. It is vital, because her murder will be the threshold event which propels my prince to action.

Problem: I can’t seem to write the chapters I need about their marriage and sudden love (arranged marr.). I am finding the subject of love pedantic and cliche, no matter what I try to write. Has this happened to you? How do I find inspiration to write parts I’m not really interested in, so I can get to the adventure parts I really want? Thanks for your time!

Complete tangent: And this is why Ilona Andrews is a complete class act and why I love her so much as a person. This was the update, after she gave an awesome post on writing for this dude: When I post writing advice, it’s not an invitation to criticize the story. The story is being written. It’s very fragile at this point and this is the stage where the writer needs encouragement and perhaps guidance. Comments are now locked. B., so sorry about that. My fault entirely.

Yeah, I saw this because my gut reaction was to rush over to the site and be like, way to fridge the girlfriend and go with cheap motivation. Well, maybe not in those particular terms. But something like that. I didn’t even think about how it might feel to someone to have someone be all “I hate your premise because it’s sexist and misogynistic and lame and cheap and lazy.” Well, again, not quite like that, but that’s the gist.

The thing is it’s something I’m growing to hate. You see it all the time, all over the place. Want to be a dick and motivate the hero? Kill the girlfriend!

Part of it is that it offends me on a visceral level. Women aren’t just plot devices. Enough women are killed every year due to completely crazy reasons (see exhibit above) that I just don’t want to see it anymore. Sure, fiction mirroring life and all, but since it’s fiction, surely you can find some less lazy way to do this. What does it say about the prince as a person that whatever he wants to do, he will not do until his wife is murdered?

And this whole “love is cliched” thing. I feel like I kind of want to beat up Tolstoy for his “all happy families are alike” because I feel like that’s at the root of this sort of “love is cliched and boring” thing.

How can love be boring?

Hatred is boring. Hatred is easy. Someone is different than you, better than you, has something you want — boom, easy hatred. Hatred is hardcore easy mode. Yes, I just strung those together. Bite me. Or not, really. I might bite off a piece in retaliation with the mood I’m in.

Love is hard and icky and complicated. Especially if you’re talking about two people from two different countries with theoretically different political backgrounds and with possibly different motivations for wanting the marriage…

Love is stomach flu, no sex for two plus months after giving birth, pregnancy hormones and pre-eclampsia, dealing with someone else’s sleeping habits, eating habits, in-laws, and all the rest. What exactly is boring about this?

Think about how easily most people hate and how high the divorce rate is and the fact that a person can easily go through life without meeting that one person that they would be willing to lay down their life for (which is essentially what this prince is probably going to have to do if it’s going to be epic fantasy involving revenge) and tell me that describing how two people finding their ways to each other and within each other to love each other so deeply is “cliched”, “easy” or “boring”.

Seriously. God.

Part of my ire today is possibly because I read this on Quora:

I have a problem with push-over guys who are too nice. I try and help train my pushover guy friends to be a partner and not a puppy dog in their relationships with girl friends (notice: girl friends, not girlfriends). “If she’s not putting out for you, then don’t move her furniture.”

Translation: if she’s not your girlfriend yet, then don’t give her all the boyfriendly services of letting her cry on your shoulder, taking care of her car repairs, or helping her move apartments. If she doesn’t think you’re the epitome of physical male perfection, why should she date you when she already gets all your services for free?

Just, what the fuck, dude? So, if I’m single, I should just suck it up and hire movers if I need to move? Really? Or I should just suck it up further if I’m broke and do it all myself? Should I be praying for four or five loving brothers next lifetime if I come back as a female again?

I’m so sick and tired of this whole “I will do x and y and z for someone I’m fucking but not someone I’m just friends with”. As far as I’m concerned, if I’m fucking you, then the only thing that I’m doing for you that I will not do for a friend is — fucking. That’s it.

So does this mean I should stop wining and dining my friends? Or I should clearly not be there as support because that’s now “relationship” territory. Or maybe I should turn off my cell phone to all of my “friends” when it hits 9pm because only the person I’m fucking gets to be able to reach me after bedtime. Clearly my friends don’t deserve it because we’re not giving each mutual orgasms.

Just friends?

Can we remember that we go through life with the help of one significant other and (hopefully) a multitude of friends and family?

To me, nothing is sexier than a man who is confident enough in himself that he’s giving, loving and compassionate – all without asking for more than the same in return. 

It’s insane to expect that one person can do it all for you. At some point, (the question involving the guy who wants to run away from his wife and newborn twins spring to mind), you’re going to want your tribe around you; you’re going to need more than just two people to get over what this world throws at you. It’s in fact insanely stressful to expect to do it all just as a couple. Never before in human history have we ever hewn so closely to this insanity and it’s to the detriment of everyone’s happiness. Don’t be part of the problem.

Also? If I don’t feel a spark for you, you withholding help from me is hardly going to make me like you more. Jesus. I’m hardly going to prostitute myself for fucking moving services or for a shoulder to cry on. I have real friends for that. Jesus H. Christ.

Today might just not be a good Quora day for me. I saw someone refer to their uterus as their “lady berry”. Now I totally need to just work that in somewhere because wtf?

Weird social anxiety ahoy

I loathe being that crazy person who is making everyone else uncomfortable, that person giving you this niggling thought that the nut is about to go off the deep end and oh my god please make the fallout easily contained and cleanable if it’s not avoidable.

But I did. I so did. I so totally was that person.

And I’m laughing now, half in self-disgust, half this almost hysterical hilarity about the depths of my insanity, but part of me is cringing in fear-anticipation about the next time.

The terrifying thing is that I knew I was being crazy, I told myself I was being crazy, but fuck if I could make myself stop being crazy.

What happened?

I went downstairs to go swimming. You know. Like I do. Nothing special, nothing to trigger crazy, right?

Nope. Sorry.

There was this guy, presumably the lifeguard, except he was dressed in a loose orange shirt and red board pants. Makes one wonder about how effective he was going to be if anyone actually needed rescuing. Clothing drag, anyone? IDEK!

I wasn’t expecting anyone there, so I kind of froze. And I had a little bit of a tummy today for some reason, this little roll of pudge hanging over my bikini bottoms, so I wasn’t feeling great.  I don’t usually have a little roll. I just have thick waist. So this was making me kinda squerky already.

And I just wasn’t feeling great in general because we’d gone to the cell service provider today and I’d felt like such a foreigner, which I totally am, but I felt so inept and so very bumbling and I was just reminded viscerally of how awkward it was when I first came to Taiwan as a child after pretty much growing up in the States. So I was already pre-disposed towards feeling awkward and seeing this fully dressed dude just wandering around the place when I was expecting it to myself just kind of fire-bombed my composure. By fire-bombed, I mean if I was slightly crazier, I would have just turned around and gone straight upstairs.

I hurried into the water and started doing laps, hoping he would go away. Laps. Lots of laps. Then I tired, but he was still sitting there, kinda sorta not really staring in my general direction and I was just caught in this paralysis of “I do not fucking want to get out of the water while he’s there”.

Which is insane! You don’t need to tell me it was insane. I fucking walked completely nude out of the ocean in Spain. This shouldn’t have been an issue. But it was!

So I went and stood at the far end of the pool from him, doing some arm exercises and just hoping, praying, wishing he would just fucking leave.

No luck. Well, of course, no shit, duh, no luck because he was supposed to be the lifeguard.

He moved around a bit, clearly bored out of his mind, and he went into the spa section for a moment and I thought he was going to the bathroom and so I quick-walked toward the other end of the pool to the exit, thinking I could get out of the pool before he came back.

Then he came back out and I oh-so-awkward-nonchalantly stopped in the middle of the pool and went back to arm exercises. I wanted to sob-laugh at the insane parody of that childhood game where you tried to run up to tag It while It had their back turned and froze when they turned around. But you know, I couldn’t, because part of me was oh-so-very aware of the complete crazy I was indulging in.

I felt terrible because I really wanted to get the fuck out of the water and stop being that crazy chick(en) just sitting in the water, but I swear, I simply couldn’t make myself do it.

Or maybe I really could have. Physics says that was the case, in fact. I just really, truly, deeply didn’t want to. By really truly deeply very, I mean that it was only about 1:30 or 2pm when I went downstairs and I was almost ready to commit to staying in the water until his shift went off at presumably 5. Like I said, insane.

So he finally went back into the spa section to sit in front of the fan (dude was really clearly not wanting to be there and hated his job AFAICS), so I lunged for the end, whipped up the steps, and wrapped my towel around myself before beating it out of there. Rolling my eyes at myself the entire fucking time, of course.

God. The insanity. I’m not even sure what the hell was going on in my brain. And all I can think of is that if I have such issues being under scrutiny, then maybe I’m really not cut out for stuff like conference interpretation. Which, yay, since that was what I was thinking about taking classes for, so much for that idea.

Just. Some days I hate myself. Today is one of those days where I both hate and despise myself.

 

Shall we dance?

I twirl around the room, my skirts flaring around my ankles, arms held as if I held a lover, my lover, within my hands. I close my eyes and melt into the music, spinning, stepping in time to the beat of my heart. If I blur my mind, I can almost see him, almost feel the soft tickle of his hair against my left hand, the heat of his fingers and the thrum of his pulse in my right.

I turn faster, ignoring the ache in my arms, my legs, my feet, the pain far less than the open wound in my chest. The world spins, the fragments of my dreams slide along the floor, carried along by the breeze of my skirts. Weariness flows through my veins and I slow, knowing that what I’m doing is unsustainable. Untenable. Like so many other things I’ve forced in the past. Stop. Now. Pivot. Shift. Then once more, again, but slower.

I open my eyes, my fantasy shattering back into empty space. The thing to do, the only thing I can do, is to open myself again. Open myself to the music, to the possibilities that simply are, to a strange world that became stranger overnight. What else is there? What else can there be?

Lifting my chin, I let a small smile curve my lips, my hands turning and cupping the air, sketching out an invitation, waving to the dark. Come. Come here. Closer. Closer still.
The rhythm changes, shifting up tempo, a trickle of sweat sliding between my breasts as I stare into the space before me and issue it an unmistakable invitation.

Come to me. Take me. Lead me on an adventure. Find me. Fight for me. Love me.

The music slows, soothing my heart and bruised feet. I raise my hands again into the classic dance position, this time for her. She smiles at me, full of fey glee, tawny eyes daring me to take the lead. Her fingers entwine with mine, so tightly I can’t tell where I begin and where she ends. I grin back, answering her taunt.

Perhaps. Perhaps I will, tomorrow.

I’m not a catch, love and neither are you

The above brought to you, courtesy of E.

Okay. This pissed me off. It pissed me off a lot.

Let’s go with hypotheticals here, shall we?

Let’s say we’re looking for a reasonably attractive, reasonably fit, reasonably employed, reasonably decent man – what about this hypothetical man puts him out of our reach?

As I ended up shouting at E, stop listening to the fucking patriarchy.

She blinked at me and asked what the patriarchy had anything to do with it.

Oh girlfriend, what don’t they have to do with it?

Let’s set me aside for the moment because I’m standing in a weird place right now, but E is reasonably pretty, has tits and ass men would fall all over, has a job and is able to pay her share of the bills, can carry on an intelligent conversation on topics ranging from politics to biology to pop culture, has a compelling wit, has a decent sense of humor, and is capable of adulting in things like cooking, baking, canning, quilting, and knows how to do chores around the house.

What the hell is wrong with this world that a woman like her thinks that she’s not a good catch?

As for myself, I’m reasonably attractive (babies don’t cry at my face although the amount of double takes I get in Taiwan is truly non-plussing), reasonably fit (I might not be able to run a mile, but I can and did hike all the way up to the Sun Gate at Machu Picchu), I have fairly nice tits and ass as vouched for by Thene and her husband (hrm, that sounds kinda wrong. Oh well!), can speak two languages fluently, can speak a Chinese dialect enough to get by, can carry on intelligent conversations about most things not involving mathematical equations or quantum physics, and I know how to cook/bake/drive/change my own damn flat tire and certain other adulting things. I also have fairly good spelling and grammar skills and I’m not afraid to use them.

For those snickering, I’ll have you know that being able to spell and punctuate correctly on the internet is akin to not walking out of the house with your skirt hiked in your panties in real life.

I also throw a mean dinner party and I hands down win at tea parties.

What exactly is there about me that makes me a bad catch? Well, okay, the health issues and the lack of a paying job are kinda big deals, but seriously, I can charm and wit for my supper, can’t I? No, don’t answer that. It’s fine. Leave me out of this.

Look, as I said to E, if she were holding out for a billionaire with the looks of fill in the blank movie star, the body of a sex god, the endowment of a porn star, the brains of Stephen Hawking or fill in the blank favorite brainiac (I really like Neil deDrasse Tyson), and the ability to fuck a woman blind — sure, that’s the point where as a good friend I would have to step in and be all “oh honey”… but that’s not where we’re at.

And no, I’m not just bitter. I might be bitter, but I has logic as well, fellow internetters.

This has everything to do with the patriarchy.

We’re talking about a society that supports the myth of scarcity for women. Only so many good men to go around. Only so many good jobs for women. Only so many positions open on the Supreme Court bench for humans with a uterus and vagina.

A culture that doesn’t believe women can or should have it all. Academia that punishes women for getting married, corporations that penalizes women for having children, governments that believe women shouldn’t have control over their own damn fertility and whether they get saddled with an eighteen plus year responsibility, and a media that believes that we should be whores in the bedroom, leashed tigers in the boardroom, aces in the kitchen, handsy with a powertool, and still manage to be up for mother of the year awards after all that.

Yeah.

And oh yeah, I’m getting personal now.

A culture that is totally okay with men whose only contribution on T-day is yelling out game scores. One that looks askance at stay at home fathers and is perfectly okay with men who put the brunt of baby-raising on their wives. One that chuckles and says, “oh boys will be boys” about husbands who don’t do jack around the house except take out the trash and grudgingly at that. One that doesn’t see anything wrong with the idea of a pig-sty bachelor pad but would get all pearl-clutchy if a group of women were to have the same house with the same amount of disarray. One that slut-shames women who have more than a handful of sexual partners (and even that’s too many) but winks at men and their “prowess”. Yeah, about that prowess. How about instead of marking off the number of hot chicks a man has banged, we start tallying by orgasms given? And yeah, no, faked ones don’t count. One where the woman is expected to be the hostess, to be the one to prepare the hostess gift, to be the one to remember all the cards and phone calls over the holidays. Where the daughter is almost always the one taking care of the elderly parents.

If it is true that there are not enough good men to go around, which, hell, it might very well be true, then how is that not the fault of our society? Numerically, we shouldn’t be facing a shortage of men. If it is true that the good men are picky and look with disdain on normals such as E, then how isn’t it society’s indoctrination that teaches them that just being a decent adult and human being entitles them to much more than the average?

I abso-fucking-lutely refuse to believe that I don’t deserve a man who will put forth as much as I do into a relationship and who is average levels of attractive and fit. Just not gonna believe it because the day I buy into that Koolaid is the day I fucking jump off a bridge with both wrists slit up the street.

I’m not buying it, okay? Hands down, not buying it. And neither should you.