"sisters are doing it for themselves..."--Eurythmics & Aretha Franklin
"sisters are doing it for themselves..."--Eurythmics & Aretha Franklin
"that's when I saw a light/a glowing paradise/thought i'd stay awhile..."--Alicia Keys
Before I fell in love with television and movies, I wrote mainly short stories and what remains my quietly adored love: poetry. It's been awhile since this and even longer since this, but lately it hasn't stopped.
Tonight I felt another one coming on. Enter at your own risk:
I made you
the first time you leaned down to kiss me, I was sitting and I could feel you getting and my heart was so
from the pain of the recent past
I had been broken and humiliated by a dream I got too close to,
a reality I'd imagined but could not handle; I was alone, without a vision for my heart, no hope for the future, sliced open like an oozing wound, ripe for infection.
And there you were,
clean and sterile,
it seemed. I never dreamed it would get so
And your bed was too, some transitional, temporary feeling of a temporary situation in your temporary place. It was
underneath my jeans, my legs. And your body was too-
a rock in the middle of my ocean, suddenly something to hold on to. It was in that kiss
just a kiss
clean and good and something new
amidst the old chaos I'd gotten used to.
The insight was impeccable and suddenly I could see,
accept what I had once rejected, and I knew--
we were missing pieces,
no chance. It was
to leave, but I did, and it was
to forget how good we felt as I went through the days before I saw you again.
And as I peeled back the layers and shattered the glass inside, I saw my reflection in the pieces and it made it
to pretend. I went for honest, for open, for broke,
planning not to fall but it was too
I gave in and gave all--
the good and the bad--
too soon, too much, too often. My heart got so tender but your heart got
And it got
to talk. Then it got
to touch, then it got
to even be. I tried, but I tried too
I still think of you.
Still spiritually connected to the idea of you, the pregnant promise of us as I got kissed by unintended and touched by unexpected, caressed by coincidental
Undone by Unplanned--
before it got
Even as it floats farther from the shore, too far to grasp
I still toss the vacant possibility over in
my head and it's just so
You made it too
and I made it too
And both of us were wrong.
"i'll be the last to help you understand/are you strong enough to be my man?" --Sheryl Crow
"when i think about you i touch myself..."--The Divinyls
"convince me to please you/make me think that i need this too..."--Sara Bareilles
"I'm good. Just working and trying to get a ring on this finger."
I clicked out of Facebook. Really? I hadn't spoken to this dear college friend in years, and of all of the updates in the world this beautiful, elegant, supremely well-educated cosmopolitan young woman could write me, it was that she was actively working towards a diamond. In the moment, reading that was like opening a two-tablet pack of depression and dumping it into my morning coffee.
What was this "trying" of which she spoke? The concept felt familiar (we are twenty-first century American women, after all), yet somehow just as foreign. Was I missing something?
Getting married is something I see in my future--but not as a goal, per se. I don't and have never aspired to marriage, certainly not in the same way I press towards professional success. But the more I thought about my old friend's comment, the more I wondered if there was something wrong with her...or if there was something wrong with me? With she and probably legions of other girls "trying", what does it mean not to? I thought of a Gandhi quote I love that reads, "satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment--full effort is full victory." I apply this to my career all the time. But what about the flip side, one's personal life? What if there is no effort?
If I'm not trying to get married, then what exactly am I trying to do?
I really enjoy being single, perhaps to an unnatural extent. I was born into a very nuclear home where my parents modeled a fun, supportive, healthy marriage during my formative years, and consequently I do find some things attractive about the notion. But, perhaps as a result of being an only child, I also love freedom and crave solitude. I like being able to disappear and not having to report my comings and goings to anybody. I'm independent and self-reliant, a hardened shell I'm not in a rush to shed.
As more of my friends marry (even and especially some of the most unusual suspects), I find myself approaching the conversation around romantic relationships from an increasingly defensive posture, having to champion my personal choices not to explore certain relationships or make certain concessions, without really wanting to. Because I'm not the girl who's anti-marriage; in fact, my closest friends' wedding days have been some of the happiest days of my life. But I don’t date often because it's genuinely not that high up on my present priority list. Perhaps it should be, but until I'm comfortable in my career skin--which speaks to my purpose and my calling--I personally find it extraordinarily difficult to focus on such matters. Friends who used to support my position have married and not only expect me to as well but in some cases desperately desire that I "find" a husband. Women who used to hang tough in the resolve to get where we were going in life have abandoned the fight, gotten married and pregnant and settled into a comfortable plateau that's markedly far away from the goals they set out to achieve.
I don't begrudge them this remarkable joy, but I find that they often begrudge mine.I don't poo-poo the notion that someone could come in and snap me out of my one-track mind without cheating me out of my dreams, and I would welcome the person who is so spectacular and amazing that I could safely place him above my primary concerns. He just hasn't met me yet. But don't tell girls who have already taken the plunge that. There's a pervasive belief that a 30 year-old unattached woman is simply subversive--overly picky and making bad life decisions that will stick with her for years. Friendships change with age already, but as any unattached woman knows, when you're single amongst a bunch of marrieds, there is an inherent vilification that occurs. You become less of who you are and more "that girl": the rebel, the interloper, and finally, the threat.
This us-versus-them female culture is something new to me. No one mentions this phenomenon when you're younger because everyone assumes you'll be married by 29. And when you're not, weird things start to happen. Older relatives who never hopped in your business before open conversations with marriage questions. Parents, specifically, approach the dating topic with a tone usually reserved for telling you something is wrong with a grandparent. My father, who is the most nonchalant of men, actually asked me recently to tell him about some "prospects". As though I was purchasing real estate or waiting to hear back about a job.
And your friends. They inquire about anyone you're seeing with a faux-indifference so insincere that you can almost smell the hope on their breath. If you are seeing someone, there are a million questions about him, most of which are so intrusive and personal that you have zero answers. If you're not seeing someone, they say something patronizing like "it's so about to happen!" or tell you you're pretty. Um, duh.
So it's when I consider this vastly uncomfortable position that I find the empathy for my old friend's concentrated efforts to cop her fourth-finger-left-hand's sparkly lifetime ensemble. Perhaps it isn't about the promise of a wedding or the security or even the procreation.
I realized she probably just wants her friends back.
"he is my lover/my baby's father/my lifetime partner/and my friend...."--Tamia
"Today, I marry my best friend." Most women cream over this statement--evidence by its gross overuse in the romantic comedy genre--but I'm calling crap.
When I make the leap into marriage, I want to partner with a man with whom I am deeply in love, one who trusts me, respects me, admires me, rides for me, and loves me wholly and only. Someone who has my back and my front. Someone who won't break my heart. Someone who will be a great father. What don't I need him to be? A best friend. That's because the vast majority of my best friends have vaginas, which are, shall we say, less than arousing to me. Most of my best friends have been and are women, save a couple special guys--one of which is actually a San Francisco-based homosexual. Needless to say, we're not getting married.
Maybe I'm crazy, but I'm not waiting for the guy who would be the most fun to rock out a road trip with or who's down to hit the Forever 21 clearance rack. I'm actually much more interested in whether he can hold me down and lay the pipe.
Now, don't get me wrong: While I admit I find something mildly nauseating about the whole "I fell in love with my best friend" jig, I'm not down on it. Some people are in, in fact, literally in love with their very best friend--sometimes even fall for someone who was their best friend first--and more power to them. In the words of the timeless Bernie Mac: "That's a beautiful thing". My concern is that we--and by "we" I mean "women"--have culturally added this 'best friend' qualification to the already lengthy list of things men need to be, have, and do in order to snatch "Mr. Right" status. In addition to the spiritual, financial, and physical needs women should anticipate, some of us now spend time waiting and looking for a man to fill our trough of emotional needs while sinking our own ships with the weight of unachievable expectation.
I, for one, am not looking or waiting for a best friend. I have plenty of those. My interests are the guy who can fill the shoes and play the role of a man, not the girlfriend I cry to about my period. Slapping a "best friend" moniker on a relationship as deep a marital one is actually a bit dangerous. It demeans and trivializes a bond that transcends friendship. Having children, building a home, paying bills, sharing families, and going through all types of trials and tribulations with someone for decades at a time does, in fact, call for friendship. But a dial-down is necessary. The stress that the "best friend" narrative creates is an albatross to the woman making a decision on a partner, not to mention the burden it creates in the actual partner. The glue of a marriage is commitment, and while assigning an after-school special spirit to the union might sound cute, the reality is that the nucleus of a marital relationship isn't BFF status: It's Love.
"let's go half on a baby..."-R.Kelly
Jennifer Westfeldt, writer and producer of one 2001's Kissing Jessica Stein (a hilarious and poignant semi-romcom...you'd have to see it yourself to discover why I'd never call it a full-fledged romantic comedy), is at it again. She's written and directed Friends with Kids, which looks pretty darn funny. It certainly has a great cast. I look forward to it, anyhow. Check out the trailer after the jump.
"who are you when i'm not looking..."-blake shelton
I decided to plug this blog's RSS into Wordle in order to discover my most commonly used words since I began the blog. "Love" ranked higher than "orgasm". Good thing I'm not a betting woman.