Morning is Broken

{I was searching for the sketch I did of the nightmare I recalled in my last post when I came across some assignments I saved from college. This one was supposed to be recounting part of a normal day in the minutiaist style of James Joyce’s  Ulysses. It gave me the most powerful flashback to the morning I recounted that I thought I’d share it here.}

The mirror bids me good morning as usual. Nightshirt off. Panties on. Good morning to the closet of a bedroom and ugly white walls covered in black and white photos of other people kissing. Good morning to the spots on my face, too small breasts, too wide hips. And now a head of hair that’s about eight colors because I can’t leave it alone. Idiot.

     …ugly. Say it, say you’re not good enough. 

     I’m not good enough. 

     That’s right. You’re lucky, aren’t you? So lucky I keep you. 

Stop it. Stop.

A shake of the head. Hands ball into fists far too late to act as any real defense.

     Don’t think of him. 

A sigh. Stomach flat. Edge of a hip. Okay. Better. A turn. Cellulite.

…not good enough….not good enough….not good-STOP! 

Debating breakfast. I run hands over the straight lines of my collarbones, down arms, almost skinny enough. Grip breasts. Fuck it. Shower.

After the shower, it’s quiet. Anna is asleep still. Elyssa gone. Dance probably. Theatre major. Daisy… probably upstairs in her boyfriend’s bed.

Lonely. Still and lonely.

There’s a tiny patch of sunlight that hits the corner of the living room. It glints off the edge of a bit of fingernail clipping, caught in the buzzcut carpet. Silver polish. Not mine. Should vacuum. Swear I’m the only one that cleans. But that’s all right.

I don’t mind. Keeps my mind busy.

     You’re everyone’s mum then. 

     Not really. 

     You are. But it’s endearing. 

THERE’S a happy thought. Daniel. Lips. Hair. Eyes. Voice. Accent. Hair on his chest. Man. Man. Love. Eyes. So new.

     They’re hazel. That’s what you were wondering. I saw it. 

Movie theater. Valentines Day. Walking home. Hollywood after dark. Down those streets a thousand times but not with him. Hands, laced in the dark. Lips. Chest. The curl of brown hair, chest, stomach, lower. God, how I love…

   …the way “Robo-Cop” sounds with an English accent. 

I sit in the patch of sun. Wedge in next to the sliding glass door, press my back against the wall, heartened by the feeling of my vertebrae pricking my skin from the inside against the plaster and at the same time hating that the feeling cheers me up slightly. I brush my hair, eyes closed. Copper tipped bristles scrape my scalp. The sun’s glowing warmth hits a shoulder and a hip first. Spreads from the points. It’s the wrong angle to be hot, just the sensation of being touched by light. A hum starts in my throat.

No one’s around to hear. Lonely and still. Quiet, so quiet. It’s not that bad.

Two sips of whisky in the flash but I’m not gonna drink it

Swear I’ll make it last til we’re

Drinking out of the same glass again

The rythm of my brushing keeps time to Passenger tunes.

Ahhh Passenger. 

Daniel, Daniel. Where’s my phone? Eyes open. Done with the brush. I stretch in the sun. Curl my toes like tender leaves of grass in a breeze.

My legs are skinny at least, thought they look sickly and pale in the direct sunlight. I can see every tiny blue vein through the vellum I’m made of. Blue. Wormlike. No one will love you. My skin is so easily broken. I’m made of tissue paper.

I’m still in my towel. And I’m sure I should getting off to somewhere. Class perhaps.

Who am I kidding, of course class. I’ve missed far too many days already.

Dress. Leggings. Shoes. Eyeliner. Halfassed and smudged. Powder. Nothing else. I might have a date tonight and that calls for the full nine. Though I get the impression that this one wouldn’t mind if I skipped the makeup. Simplify simplify. Maybe that’s why I l-ike being around him.

Though the sand may be washed by the sea.

The old may be lost in the new

Four will not wait for three

I like my voice at least. Soft, husky, good ear for pitch.

Class. Too hot. Took the stairs and am out of breath. Sitting against the wall, my own misshapen citadel, I fan myself  with the yellow legal pad I keep with me for my lists. And the letters.

Daniel: I miss you. Is that selfish? Very well then, it’s selfish. You’ll never read this. 

     You’ll never know…

     I love him, I love him. It’s pointless. He’ll just go back to England. But I love him. 

Check the ipod, finally. I have to wait. Can’t just check it constantly. Have to have some boundaries. Inbox. Empty. Refreshrefreshrefresh. One message. Not him. Leave it. Glance up. Professor’s chatting. Down again, reach for the watch I left on the bathroom countrer. Stupid. I crane at the clock and feel hideously rude. Two minutes left.

Refreshrefreshrefresh.

Nothing.

     Three never waited for two. 

     Though you will not wait for me

Scratching a heart on the corner of one yellow sheet in pencil. Graphite smudged on my fingertips. Scratching it out again.

     I’ll wait for you. 

Stomach growls. I pretend it’s upset. It is, but for the lack of foord, rather than what sort. Tap my foot, tap the tip of my pencil against the desk. Tap the toes inside my shoe. The usual anxiety building. I should focus on something else.

     I can’t take this deep slow panic. 

     Teach me, teach me not to dream

     Dream deeply

Tap in time to the shift in soundtrack.

Professor. Erin. I call her Erin. Even when I’m not in class. Hands me something. Journal. Never know if I’m doing these right. Wish I could compare with other people. But I don’t talk to them.

What? My hair. I touch it.

It doesn’t look bad.

A grin.

Thanks. Thankyouthankyouthankyou.

I cling to the wall. I needed that. Shouldn’t have dyed it. Shouldn’t mess with it. Why do I bother trying to be pretty? Why. But she was kind.

She’s always kind. I wonder if she knows.

Orientation. 3? 4 years? English advising. Saw the tattoo on her wrist. Her smile the first that didn’t make me want to hide under a table. Or run. No more school. Please no more people.

I sat to her right. Or left? So long ago. Only her face left, her wrist. It’s the little things that stick. Most important.

Maybe I won’t be weird here. Maybe… 

She’s my favorite. Role model. Something. Has been since day one. Never told. How would I even go about doing that? So infinitely awkward. I don’t keep my mouth shut enough as is. Maybe at graduation.

You kept me here. 

     I just wanted to be like you. 

Erin, green gem of the silver sea, or at least hope for a place where I’d be comfortable in my skin.

One minute to class time. Attendance poll. The routine.

Blergh

I like class. What I don’t like is leaving my closet of a room. The bathtub, no water, knees to chest, huddled. It’ll be okay. It’s okay. I’m okay. Class is great. Rooms are too big. The walk there too open. Too many people. Like cattle lowing and ambling from one pen to another.

Let the day begin.

Refresh the inbox one last time. One message. Him. Wrong him.

Subject: YOU

Body: need to get back to me. You don’t get to do this. YOU are MINE. Call me. NOW.

-M

And this routine’s back.

 No one else will want you, say it, say it. 

Don’t think of him. Don’t. Don’t. Ipod away. Hiding. Routine. Fear. Loathing. Also routine.

Face in hands. Phone lights up.

New message from: Daniel

Temptation. Class has technically started. But I need this. I need this.

I can resist anything but temptation. Just a peek.

Morning angel. Walk with me tonight? It might rain : ) xx

Worth it. I do love walking in the rain. So does he. And his umbrella’s a perfect fit for two.

Nobody else will want you, say it, say it SAY IT you are MINE….

Morning angel…

I’m nobody who are you? Are you nobody too? Well there’s a pair of us, don’t tell…

Phone away. NOW the day can start.

Why my dignity & I will be alone this weekend.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I don’t understand dating, men, modern “romance” (if that’s even a thing and not just some oxymoron that’s been flying under the radar this whole time).

Since it’s Valentines Weekend (and I had to resist the urge to put a gif of a cats horking up a hairball after that bit because I’m a petulant child) of course I’ve had about 4 separate conversations today about what I’m doing and what/who my friends are doing. One of my friends went to see Deadpool last night by herself and came away with some dude’s number. They’re going for drinks tomorrow.

So he’s either a unicorn or an ax murderer because NO ONE actually meets someone they’re going to date by chance out and about anymore. As such, I reminded her to bring mace, or a paring knife. She reminded me she has a concealed carry and I told her to have fun.

IS THIS WHAT LOVE HAS BECOME?

If you couldn’t tell, I’m single this V-day, which if you’ve read the story of how I accidentally told someone I love them last year may be a surprise, but that is long since over as far as I can tell. Long story short he started taking advantage of my feelings for him and kept “rescheduling” dates (including my birthday dinner)  until:

FullSizeRender (1)

He made a few paltry excuses. I didn’t back down. My dignity and I will be dogsitting for my parents this Vday.

Shocking.

I have run the dating gamut. I’ve done the high school sweethearts thing. All sorts of online dating. Classmates from college. I dated a frat boy when I was in sorority. Even dated a totally drop dead gorgeous English kid for a couple years when he was here for auditions. More recently my married friends have started trying to set me up with their husbands’ buddies. It’s all terrible. ALL of it!

It’s awkward. Dating is bad enough; I don’t know who pays, or what to do with my hands. But it’s got to the point where just meeting guys I might POSSIBLY be interested in is just as awkward as a first date. How wide should I be smiling? Should I be telling him I’m interested? When is it appropriate to offer my number? Should I ask for his? Is slipping someone a card still acceptable? When did that stop being acceptable. Am I the only one with cards in 2016? If I can easily find you on Facebook, can I add you and continue things from there? If you’re interested in me, should you have found ME on Facebook by now?

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD someone tell me who makes the first move? What even IS the first move? Because last weekend I deliberately sat down directly beside my (insert cat horking noise here) Crush and initiated an adult conversation and somehow no one I’ve talked to thinks that counts for anything.

Apparently getting to know someone counts for zilch, but freaking swipe right on a dating “app” and IT’S ON.

Side note: I just had to look up which direction meant “I’d tap that” on Tinder.

I’m THAT lost.

In my defense I was brought up on fairy tales and Judy Blume. There used to be a code for these things. I make eyes at you across the room and blush when you say two words to me. You scale the palace walls, slay the dragon, and then give me your Letterman’s jacket.

Man code for “I like you” is much less easily deciphered these days.

Is it “can I have your number” or “do you wanna do something sometime?” Is it looking flustered when I compliment you or is it when you reveal you’d been watching me dance with other people?

Can I show interest by choosing to sit next to you when we don’t know each other well and there are other places to sit? Are you showing interest by asking me to dance more than once when there are other, better, dancers around that you haven’t yet touched?

A friend of mine was asked to a movie by a paramour with a group of couples but he made it sound deliberately casual. But they’ve held hands. Where is the line?

I can think of dozens of examples. All of my friends have stories like this.

To pipe up for gender equality, I don’t think it’s entirely one sided. I think men and women are equally lost or this wouldn’t be the issue it is. I’m sure being a man these days is horrific as well. Deciding whether holding the door will be seen as chivalry or a personal affront on ones independence and security as a woman would absolutely RUIN me in social settings.

But something needs to be done. It is hard enough for me to put myself out there without trying to decode interactions with the opposite sex.

We need a new code. Update the etiquette? Is there a new Emily Post out there?

Get on that, will you?

In the mean time I’ll just continue the awkward internet stalking and such.

But armed with wine.

And Happy V Day to all my fellow socially awkward penguins out there.

MBTI: the new dating profile!

I have this friend. He’s a new friend. He’s a guy friend.

If we get really specific he’s a friend of a friend I’ve danced with a few times.

He messages me every day trying to get to know me and his game is obvious, even for your favorite Queen of Insecurities here. He flat asked me out once but I legitimately was out of town that day (unlike this other time, with this German kid, sorry, story for another day).

Sadly, I have no interest at all. I would like to keep him neatly packed into the friend zone, but he messages me every day without fail and apparently everything he hears just makes him more persistent. He follows me on every form of social media and whenever I post something new, I get a message.

“Hi Tais. I noticed your post on IG where you posted a Bastille lyric under a photo of your cat. What kinds of music do you listen to?” (He hasn’t actually sent me this exact message, yet, but I have definitely posted my cat on Instagram with a loosely related Bastille lyric for the caption. I AM that girl).

I answer him, and try to be brief as possible to help him get the hint, but I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO.

I don’t want to ignore him, that’s rude and also just REALLY obvious. And rude.

I also don’t think continuing to answer his questions is doing us any good either.

So because I’m a fail, this will probably continue on for a while yet, but the point of all this is not how hard I fail in the old romance department.

The point is, the other day one of his questions was, out of nowhere: Tais, what’s your MBTI personality type?

In the words of Dave Barry I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP.

I copy and pasted it from Facebook (minus my name) to make sure it was identical, punctuation and all!

Is that a weird question for anyone else?

I studied Psychology for a while so to me, it seems hyper-clinical and invasive and just a weird thing to ask of someone you weren’t actively head-shrinking.

For those of you unaware: the MBTI stands for “Myers Briggs Type Indicator” and its a questionnaire that categorizes your personality into one of 16 types based on how you use your perception and judgement. You can read more on it here and take a free version of the MBTI here. Its fun.

Sorta.

If no one is demanding that you share your type with them.

The two times I’ve taken the MBTI, I never shared my results with anyone other than my best friend and that was because she knew me so well she could guess or probably answered everything on my behalf with the same results.

Sharing a personality indicator to someone who is mostly a stranger? Horrifying. Not doable.

Where is the line of appropriate when it comes to trying to date someone?

I used to get snippy when people asked my race at bars.

It’s apparently an acceptable pick up line. “What are you?”

I’d get confused, they’d explain “well clearly you’re mixed but what are you?”

I’m sorry mofo, last time I checked I’m a human being and don’t really see any reason to give you a freaking lecture on my genealogy. Especially since you’re too drunk to appreciate it.

So my usual takeaway from that line is “Does my face look THAT weird?” Which I’ve yet to ask anyone. But I may some day. Would THAT be inappropriate?

I’ve had guys tell me I have a dimple in my cheek and it’s a good place for a dimple. Which isn’t offensive or intrusive, but is still pretty weird.

The list of weird approaches to hitting on girls goes on and on and I just do not understand the process behind most of them.

Maybe I just don’t understand men.

I mean CLEARLY I don’t understand men, but basic social convention was something I thought I had a handle on.

Psychological profiling as courtship, though?

Not the way to go in my book.

That Other Story

You know, the one from last time I said was a long story? About how I accidentally told my current flame I love them?

It’s really not that long; just embarrassing, really.

This guy and I were dating casually for a year or so. He cancelled our plans on my birthday, I got mad, he realized I was way too serious, he called things off.

He came back some months later. Started talking again. Apologized. He’s back in my life.

Kind of.

During a text message conversation (which I could probably pull up, screen cap, and post here except I really just can’t be bothered right now) he said “you love me.”

I’m an idiot.

Flash back to when he dumped me in Jan 2015. I wrote him a letter. Which I then sent to his apartment, assuming he probably wouldn’t get it because I HAD TO TEACH HIM HOW THE GODDAMN POST WORKS (he’s foreign, it’s not his fault, it was cute, moving on). In that letter was the following bit:

I sincerely doubt I’ll get to tell you in person now, I just wanted to write to say I love you. You ARE an adventure. You DID change my life. And I hate that I misread things and spoiled something that used to be so easy.
I’m not going to ask you to come back to me a third time, but know that if you decide to, my door is open. At least to talk. 

I would like to take this moment to reiterate that I am an idiot.

Now flash forward to me telling you he never got the stupid letter.

But when he said “you love me” I assumed he knew and read the letter, so I responded with “yes, but I don’t see how that matters” to try and play it cool, to which he responded “yes it does” but didn’t really catch what I meant. I didn’t catch that he wasn’t aware of the subtext and we went about our business until the next time he innocuously and colloquially said “you love me.”

Witness the horror that ensued.

Him: you love me

Me: Yes, and?

Him: Just saying

Me: Shouldn’t have told you. It’s clearly gone straight to your head.

Him: No. I know its the hair

Me: See. That is exactly what I mean.

Him: No I mean I know its not me its the hair.

Me(not having caught on yet): No I mean that’s exactly what I mean by it doesn’t matter. You don’t take it seriously.

Him: You don’t actually love me (mouse emoji)

Me (still not getting it): don’t be shitty.

Him: I’m not.  There was a question in there, I didn’t know.

The most obtuse freaking idiot ever (Me): You didn’t know what?

Him: That you thought of me that way.

 

BOOM.

 

And that children, is why you should always have face to face conversations where you can read the context of the situation.

Also: never write sappy love letters they have never done anything but leave material evidence.

I’m sure someone, somewhere out in West Hollywood, whips my letter out at parties for a good laugh whenever they so please.

Good lord.