Sunday, May 15, 2011

change of address card

so the last indignity blogger's unleashed on me is that when it brought back the posts it ate, it conveniently squelched the post in which i announced that i'm over this place. so i took my writings to wordpress:

this is - for realsies this time - the last post here. join me at the new digs, won't ya?

Friday, May 13, 2011


after the blogger outages, i have decided that i am done with this platform. i'm leaving this one up, mind you, but i'm heading over to wordpress. behold, my new home:

the new place has all the content of this one, except it will also feature the two posts blogger decided to eat between tuesday and now, and new stuff going forward.

join me at the new home, won't you?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

[drops mic]

today at 11:01AM eastern daylight time, i walked out of my last exam, put in my headphones, and cranked one of my very favorite crazy-aggro middle-school jams. i walked down the hall, out the door of the school, and as i crossed the street to head to the train, i may very well have said out loud, peace, bitches. and by may very well i mean that's exactly what i did.

it. is. over.

today marks the last day i will ever sit for an exam, have to contend with school procedures, or otherwise live as a student. my formal education ended today. the last time i ended a chapter of my academic career was a mere 385 days ago. then, i was elated, yet filled with a sense of sadness. when i left LSU, there was something there to miss. i missed - and still do, by the way - the school, the people, the attitude. i miss louisiana, even when its elected officials do boneheaded and wildly reactionary things on a near-hourly basis. LSU was amazing, indescribable and criminally underrated as a legal educational experience.

but this? hmm. i will benefit from having this name on my resume for the rest of my life. i spent 70 large on a year of education, and the benefits will filter through my career. i can always say that i'm a [fancy school which shall not be named]-educated lawyer, and people will say, wow, how impressive! that's an amazing school. but when they say that, they will be wrong. it's a great name. but it's not, by ANY definition, an amazing school. that would imply that it's a place where learning and collaboration are encouraged and valued. and folks, that is not the case.

what my fancy LL.M. institution encourages is paranoia, competition and grandstanding. everyone is selling something, all the time. even things that are supposedly good - charity work, fundraisers, etc. - are done not from a place of genuine selflessness, but from a place of look how awesome this is gonna be on my resume! i'll bet i can get a seat on the pro bono committee at [fancy law firm i'm clerking for] once they hire me. everything is tinged with an overabundance of caution. they're nice, but not friendly. they're pleasant enough, but not open or warm. their smiles don't reach their eyes; their eyes are too busy watching you to make sure you're not gunning to knock them off their perch.

i ran across some great friends at this school. i will miss seeing them every day as we all go back to our lives, scattering across the country (or in my case, staying here). it wasn't a total loss. i laughed a lot. but i am not, and will never be, nostalgic for this. there is no bitter spiked through this sweet. i got what i needed from these people. i am now shut of officious administrative policies, unnecessary restrictions, socioeconomic elitism and religious health insurance. (hmm, how novel - to follow MY conscience in my own healthcare decisions, not someone else's.) i got what i sought. now it's time to end this association and move on with my life.

peace, bitches. i'm out.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

throwback: the wall

[let's go back to the very, very beginning. there's been some significant alteration in circumstance since this one was written. first, the old; then, the new.]

february 11, 2010: the wall
maybe it's the weather. maybe it's the season. but i'm starting to notice a certain... ambivalence, maybe, in my dealings with the other boy. we're both physically and emotionally close to each other, just as we have been the whole time. but it's starting to dawn on me that we're as involved with each other as we'll ever be. i think this realization has led to my disengaging a little.

he's been a constant joy and a thorn in my side for the entire run of this relationship. i love what we are to each other. but i hate, hate, hate the fact that there's this ever-so-thin wall between us, one that's entirely of his building. he's made the choice that this will only go so far. i've gone, over the course of things, from KNOWING he'd see the light, to HOPING he'd see the light, to realizing that he never will. and what is "the light?" well, basically, it's the fact that there's not another woman on the face of the planet who will ever care for him the way i have, do, and probably always will. i can't stand the fact that a) this is true, b) he can't or won't see it, and c) even if he knows it, and even if some part of him wants it, he can't or won't go there.

i love this boy. it's a deep and complex situation. but the foundations we've built this relationship on are so messed up that there's no possibility of things ever being white-picket-fence-ish between us. i guess it's asking too much to turn a lover into a partner, even if that lover was - and still is - your best friend. it's also asking too much of someone with so much iron will to remain aloof to break the wall down and let someone in. i wish so much that he'd drop the defenses. i just don't see it happening. i want him so much. i care about him so much. but, without malice, he's really doing a number on me. he cares about me as much as he can, and i know that. it's up to me to decide whether that's enough.

[so yeah, in the words of a fellow writer, your guy has become your man. as it happens, he took the plunge. we had a state of the union talk the other night, which is a big feat for him. i asked him what made him say lo those many months ago that he thought we had a future. his answer was more cryptic than what i expected: i don't know what i meant, specifically. i just know that i finally reached a point where the sense that it would go well between us was stronger than the fear, the risk, that it would go poorly. well, how has it gone? it was definitely the right decision.

there's no question that our origins are complex. the story of how we eventually fell in love ain't the kind of story you can tell grandkids. our time horizon is all jacked up. but none of the details matter. it's all window dressing. he eventually threw a line down and hoisted me over his wall. he realized that i was right, that there isn't another woman on earth who will love him the way i do. we went emotionally all the way in that talk the other night, and i told him in no uncertain terms where i see this going. he's on board, too. it's hard not to rush, to get to the shining future in the distance. but one thing all of this living i've done in the last few years has taught me is that the destination is not always the most important part. the journey matters, too.

turns out, to quote the man himself, you got what you wanted. yes, babe, i did. how 'bout that.]

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

glad to have a friend like you

[soundtrack. i am deeply sorry in advance for the visual here. it was the best the internets could do for me. go get the original free to be... you and me for the good stuff.]

i've been thinking a lot about compatibility. it's a very fungible concept, as you can be compatible with someone emotionally, but not practically (see also my ex - great guy, but being funny and sweet isn't enough to form a life). there's the kind of compatibility that makes you friends, the kind that makes you lovers, and the kind that makes you a "soul mate," inasmuch as i believe in that concept. it's hard to describe what makes you compatible with someone, but just like justice stewart said about obscenity in jacobellis v. ohio, you know it when you see it. (yeah, i know i just quoted a supreme court case in a blog post. i'm a lawyer. what do you want from me?)

being a blogger has added a whole new dimension to this idea, too. i started writing here in january 2010, really on a whim. i don't exactly know which layer of the cocktail of emotions that was swirling through my system drove me to reach out to the internet to find an audience. but i did it, and my lord, i couldn't be more glad that i did. turns out that there are tons of people all over the country who are kindred spirits in one way or another. there have been reconnections to old friends. i've made new friends based on political agreements or similar tastes in music. i've found people whose life stories have closely (if not damn near identically) tracked mine. i've met and commiserated with the divorcing and divorced.

in other words, it's made me feel less alone in this journey to know that there are others out there. this is the good side of blogging/social media and all this connectedness we have in the twenty-first century. and when you're young-ish, contemplating a drastic life change and sure that you're the only person suffering like this, the real-life world can be a lonely damn place. but lo and behold, y'all are out there to be supportive, warm and friendly, in ways that in many cases people in my flesh-and-blood life could not or would not be.

and now that i've turned the corner into the new life, you've been there to root for me and the man. i love that more than i can say. as the back-to-school chapter ends, and i go back to my adult life already in progress, i'm thrilled to see what happens. and a large part of that happiness and confidence going forward happened because i've had some great support from some people who really, truly get it. i am not alone. i never was. i've had kindred spirits out there to rely on for advice and laughs, and all it took is finding some compatible people.

i'm a lucky woman to have friends like y'all. :)

Monday, May 9, 2011

far and wide

i had a brief text conversation with a good buddy of mine the other night, one of my very favorite people. we were chatting back and forth, and he said, [the place he lives, where i used to live too] is more challenging without you. boy, oh boy, do i know that feeling.

see, when you're moderately itinerant, as i've been in my post-teenage life, you pick up friends wherever you go. college friends? they're all over the country. law-school friends? they're somewhere i'm not. everywhere i've lived, i've gained myself amazing friends. and though quite a few of them are here, quite a few more are not. and that's not even including all of you fine folks out here in blog-land, scattered far and wide across the country.

i used to have a recurring dream when i was younger. it took place at my old high school, under the giant oak trees dripping with spanish moss. we were having a barbecue, and it was a perfect reunion of all my friends from every stage of life. i used to wake up from that dream vaguely depressed, because i know it's just not possible. but what if, for just one day, i could have everyone i love in one place? maybe the beach, maybe the mountains. food, drinks, nice weather? man.

life is challenging without friends. i have a nice clutch of them around, and that helps. but sometimes, the person you want more than anyone else is thousands of miles and a time zone or two away. that sucks. but that's life in the twenty-first century, i guess. i just wish i could have a drink with my nearest and dearest more than once a year. or longer. sigh...

Sunday, May 8, 2011


so what do you do when the whole world is celebrating, and all you can do is look through the window from the outside?

i didn't do a mothers day post last year, largely because i spent that day packing and giddily contemplating my escape from the old life. but now, this year? i definitely woke up feeling out of sorts for (at least at that moment) no reason. i was just a bit prickly, but i chalked that up to the fact that i truly hate life for about the first ten to fifteen minutes of every day. i don't do mornings. but then, quite out of nowhere, the man and i had a full-on feelings-hurt yelling argument about something thoroughly stupid. it was resolved. but i was then, and still am, rankled about it. i said, i feel like i did something without meaning to. don't worry about it. but it sticks with me when i cause harm for reasons unrelated to the incident in question. and the reason why i'm upset today?

women getting roses. friends cradling babies. heartfelt testaments to love and devotion from goofball football players on twitter. pink bats during the damn nationals game, for god's sake. and me? well. i have a grandmother to call in a minute, and a stepmom who loves me to death. it's not like i'm lacking for love and affection. but it's just not the same, and even though this is the fourth mothers day without her, it's no better. in fact, it's worse. i know what i don't have, and it stings. badly.

so i really do hope that everyone out there celebrating has a fabulous mothers day. sincerely. but as for me, i just kinda wish the whole thing would go away. it's just another reminder of what happened. there's nowhere to send flowers today, no brunch reservations to make. the only bouquet i could give would be scattered in the waters of the gulf of mexico.

happy mothers day.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

glad you see it my way.

the women in my family could teach a master class on the black art of manipulation. some of us (me included, i hope) understand that skill, along with the dark power it gives us, and act accordingly. we respect the dangerous nature we have. others, on the other hand, have honed that blade to a deadly razor sharpness, swinging it wildly to ward off danger and mold the world around them into the shape they most desire. and as much as i believe in the equality of the genders, i find a special difference between men and women when it comes to twisting people. i've known some bad men in my life. these guys have been evil, criminally and morally. they've done some low-down, snake-like things. i've met men who can persuade people very well. but the very best manipulators i've ever known in my life have been women. these women weave tapestries to get what they need, what they want.

in to kill a mockingbird, scout says, again, as i had often met it in my own church, i was confronted with the impurity of women doctrine that seemed to preoccupy all clergymen. it's a common theme in many religions: women as temptresses, sirens, seductive and dangerous. hell, it's why a lot of backward tribal cultures force women into body-covering draperies. they don't think their men are tough enough to resist the inherent power of a woman to draw a man into the ways of sin. it's completely, twistedly paradoxical: women are so powerful that they have to be subjugated for the good of the culture.

but there's a tiny grain of truth to the idea that many women have special skill in convincing people - regardless of gender - to come around to their way of thinking. and i've never seen a better set of connivers than the ones with whom i share a bloodline. to watch the poison cast between these women, given with the sweetest of smiles, is a sickeningly fascinating sight to behold. it's glorious in its horror. you admire the skill as you loathe the result. and it's my goal to walk the razor edge between using the good aspects of our family business to my advantage and eschewing the dark, twisted side of that talent.

i could wreak so much havoc with this. it's a damn good thing that i don't want to.

Friday, May 6, 2011

battle of the bulge

kim pointed out to me that is, in fact, international no-diet day. i happen to adore this idea. basically, the goal of the day is to stop freaking the hell out about how your body doesn't resemble [insert impossibly skinny/buxom/etc. starlet here]'s body, relax and have a freaking cookie if you want to. and i fully support that. i am someone who once allowed my weight to get radically out of control for all the wrong reasons, then managed to get myself to a happy place that is far from kate moss territory (is that a dated reference?). but i like how i look. i'm curvy. i can walk from capitol hill to far-northwest DC without praying for death. i'm pretty healthy.

but by this culture's standards of beauty? this size-6 skirt wearer is still looked at as fat. and that, my dear friends, is about the stupidest fucking thing on the planet. that thought bears repeating, in bold, because it's so true: the fact that someone with my body type is considered "fat" is totally fucking stupid. really. what's wrong with us? stars' lives are too important to us. if someone paid you hundreds of thousands of dollars to work out all day long, you'd be impossibly skinny, too. you'd also be miserable as hell.

but that's not even the real point. not even close. the point is that our national obsession with body image is another symptom of what i like to call "mind your own damn business" disease. we care just way too damn much as a society about what other people are doing. we are a nation of nosy, bossy busybodies who can't resist passing judgment on others as if the way we individually live is so all-fired sainted that we have that kind of moral authority. here's a news flash: no we don't. no one person has the right to make another person feel small, stupid or unworthy over the superficial. the fact that we've made it a national civic religion is the height of disgusting.

the side effects of this affliction are absurd at best and unspeakably harmful at worst. there are practical deficiencies. for example, i went to buy t-shirts at a nationally renowned upscale casual clothing chain associated with preppy people. i bought smalls, as that has been my shirt size of late. strikes me as weird; not to overshare, but i wear a 34D brassiere. small is not something that seems to go along with that. but when i put the first shirt on the next day, it hung off me like it belonged to the man. turns out that this chain has created new sizes. they now run from extra-large at the top... to DOUBLE-EXTRA-SMALL at the bottom. this new "xx-small" size is the rough equivalent of the same chain's small from three years ago. vanity writ large. not to mention extreme inconvenience. all in service of being as "small" as you can be.

and that's anodyne as hell compared to the side effects to people's emotional health. eating disorders. public ridicule. scorn and derision. big people being shown on the news from the neck down like they're cattle being led to slaughter. (this is something that never used to bug me, but on further reflection, horrifies me as insanely cruel and juvenile.) plastic surgeries that are closer to ritualized mutilation of people's bodies, all in the service of being "perfect." it infects ALL of us, no matter what we actually look like. so many beautiful, smart and amazing women look in the mirror and see things that make them sad, depressed, and worse, all because some preening OTHER in the world says, nope, you're just not good enough.

well, no more. it's hard enough as it is to be a woman in the world these days, as TKOG reminded us today. we need to stop letting venal, small, mean people make us feel bad for NO REASON. love your body. do what you need to do to be healthy, but do NOT make yourself a slave to vanity standards that have no bearing in reality. you're beautiful. ALL OF YOU. trust that, and follow what you want for yourself to live YOUR best life.

and if you want that damn cookie? eat it, relish it and love it. 100% guilt-free. you're so worth it.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

taking my talents to...

gaah. sorry. i swore i wouldn't make the lebron joke, but i did. yes, kids, as i mentioned yesterday, your humble blog proprietor is on a business trip to south beach. i'm tax-credit-geek-ing it up at the fanciest hotel i've ever set foot inside of in my life, and at the end of day two, with tomorrow morning left to go, i have a few little observations about the town, the hotel, and life in general. (gee, i know it's just shocking that something like this would trigger musings in me, eh?)

first of all, south beach is... well. the beach is beautiful. the water is crystal-clear and this really amazing blue color. this time of year, even though it's the atlantic, the water's not even ice-freaking-cold like it is up in virginia and points north. after yesterday's session, i spent some time wandering on the sand. i must've looked hilarious: dress skirt, blouse and bare feet. the sun soothed my nerves and did me good. but the town? oh boy. basically, all of south beach that's not fancy hotels or snotty clubs is tacky shopping. it's a slew of beat-up art deco buildings that have been tricked out to sell ed hardy and affliction. in fact, the miami beach city buses are all, without exception, covered in ads for affliction t-shirts. south beach: where even the buses wear affliction. that says it all. the whole town's covered in a light layer of sleaze. ick. i was glad to get back to our family condo 25 miles north.

the hotel is beautiful. but i would never, ever, no matter how rich i ever get, stay here. why? two reasons. first off, the staff has all been instructed to address guests in that weird overbearing pseudo-formal friendliness. i don't expect working adults to treat me like they're my hired help and i'm lady of the freaking manor. just be the valet guy/dude who brings pastries/concierge lady. we're all grown here, and i don't need (or, honestly, want) you to suck up to me. but the other guests clearly do, and corporate expects it of them. it's uncomfortable. additionally, the hotel has its own "security staff," designed to keep the icky people out. this in and of itself wouldn't be an issue... except that they station their people BLOCKS off the premises, and they have these bruiser dudes just harass people off the property. off-putting in the highest. i'm sure famous and important people stay here all the time. great. but if i ever get to the point in my life where my wealth and/or status lead me to think i need defending from reality, i give anyone reading this permission to smack me upside the head. it's deplorable.

so what has this experience taught me? first and foremost, i cannot WAIT to start work again! this conference is sponsored by my old/new employers, and even though i don't start for another 18 days, i feel at home again. hell, the managing principal of my old/new office just stopped me in the hall and told me, and i quote, welcome home; we missed you. hell. yes. but i think more importantly, doing these fancy things reminds me that i don't do what i do because i seek material riches. (i mean, don't get me wrong; material riches are nice, and if that happens, so freaking be it.) i'm here because i love my work. i want to be the best damn tax lawyer out there, give my clients and my employer my absolute best, and completely immerse myself in my chosen industry. and i want to do all of this while staying the teacher's kid from the gulf coast.

the louisiana lawyers i met while in school had the right idea about their attitudes towards practice and life. the most important thing in that clique is to do your job well while maintaining your, for lack of a better term, niceness. no one likes a rich jackass, gallivanting around like he owns the world and demanding that everyone kiss his ring. that's what this hotel attracts: over-moneyed and under-classed jerk-offs in tacky t-shirts, acting rude. i prefer to be humble, be modest, be graceful. oh, i will work my tail off, and i will take pride in my accomplishments. but my talents will speak for themselves, and i will not EVER allow the confidence i have to turn me into a monster.

now, if you'll excuse me, there's a cocktail party that requires my presence. time to go get my tax-credit-geek drink on.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

how do you tell someone?

well. that happened.

being still kinda new to this whole divorced-woman thing, i have no idea how to handle certain situations. for example: how do you react when your ex, in the middle of a business conversation, suddenly asks you who your boyfriend is?

uh, whoops. see, turns out, genius mags responded to something related to the tornado on a friend's facebook page with a reference to the man's family. this friend is one of the people i got in the mags-ex mutual-friend draft, but she didn't cut the ex off. (not that i expect her, or anyone else, to; who people are friends with is their business and their business alone.) he read that, and, well, hilarity ensued. oh, and did i mention i was walking down massachusetts avenue at the time, between union station and school, on my way to take an exam at the time?

to call me gobsmacked by this is an understatement. my first response was, do you really want to do this now? i mean, it was 10:00 AM. he was at work. i didn't really want to deal. but yeah, he did. and since i make it a point to be as direct as possible with him these days, i flat-out told him, yeah, [the man] and i are dating. and then i answered his questions as briefly, directly and succinctly as possible. to reference nada surf again, i told him honestly, simply, kindly but firmly. i didn't make a big production, and i avoided a big tear-jerking scene. we finished our business and got off the phone without incident.

at least, until i got to school, when i shut myself in a bathroom stall and cried for a solid 10 minutes.

i'm traveling today, at a three-day conference in glorious south beach. (meditations on that are forthcoming.) i don't really want to relive the emotion. but somehow, telling the ex that i a) have a man and b) he's, well, the man, someone who was a huge part of my life through my entire relationship with the ex, was thoroughly shattering. i mean, why should it? it's not his business. he even said as much as he asked. i guess that was the last step in severing the emotional ties between us, inasmuch as they were there in the first place. but good GOD, how hard. i can't even get into how hard that was. anyone else out there been through this before? what did y'all do? what CAN you do?

i just hope i did that right.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

big man on campus

this isn't a history lesson post because it's not the history of me, per se. it's really a bit of history on the man. (good thing he doesn't read this. he'd get all embarrassed at me telling stories on him like this.) now, my man is quite handsome, brilliant, scathingly hilarious, and in his way a classically-trained southern gentleman under all the profanity. but he's also the master of self-deprecation, so when you compliment him, he gets all squirmy and scoffs it off with an eh, no i'm not.

but while that's all true now, not that i'm biased or anything, it was also kinda true when we were kids together. even as early as eleventh grade, he was a bit of a rock star among my gaggle of girlfriends. i can't think of a single girl we knew back then who didn't at least have a passing crush on him at some point over the years. i can recall one night when we were all at officers' training for our mock legislature program (nerd club! nerd club! the man's roommate would say here). the man was running for youth governor of the whole state, and for the speech he gave at that event, i gave his introduction. the night before the speech, the girls i roomed with and i stayed up late giggling over boys. topic A-number-one? the man. i can't believe you get to introduce him! jealous. seriously. it was like that.

i had the biggest unrequited crush on the planet on him back then. even as i set him up with a friend of mine, telling her how great he was and how much she'd be into him, i secretly wished he'd rebuff her and take up with me instead. but of course, he didn't. we wound our separate roads romantically, taking huge stumbles along the way, and all the while, i would think sometimes, i wonder what would've happened if he'd picked me instead of her? i knew the whole time that there would never be a girl on this earth who would care for him the way i did. 

'course, he didn't know any of this at the time, he says. teenage boys are oblivious! you have to make things clear or they just miss them. i think about our younger years these days sometimes, usually when he's sleeping and i'm not quite there yet. part of me is still that teenage girl, wondering how he passed me up back then. i mean, even though he (unbeknownst to him, apparently) had his choice of us, and he chose a few of us, there was always me, standing there beside him no matter what. i mean, i know what would've happened if we'd gotten together at seventeen. we'd have broken up and probably never spoken again. the way things went is so, so much better.

sometimes at night, i look at him there, arms wrapped around me, and i think about how i'm the luckiest girl in school to have landed the big man on campus. i know it's silly, and it's a spectacularly juvenile way to feel, but it's also such a thrill. all i ever wanted when i was fifteen was to be on his arm. lo and behold, here we are. wish fulfillment never felt so good.

Monday, May 2, 2011


ok, so remember how i said the other day that i wouldn't tell my 9/11 story? well, i feel the need to do it in light of last night's news, because it has a lot to do with my opinion of last night.

i waited tables in newport news, virginia then, as well as going to school. i got home monday night, showered and laid down in time for letterman. but i fell asleep with the TV on, and weirdly, i awoke to the dulcet tones of bryant gumbel on the CBS early show. he was interviewing a guy named stewart, who was a waiter at a cafe by the world trade center. stewart had a comically excessive lisp, and he was dramatically recounting the story of the idiot who crashed into the tower with his plane. i got out of bed, got some cereal and sat down in the living room with my roommate. we switched to ABC, which had brought out peter jennings. we ate breakfast and marveled at how stupid you'd have to be to crash into the biggest damn thing in the country. hell, couldn't you see it coming?

then, as they focused on the tower, a second plane entered the shot. peter jennings said, oh, my good god. the second plane hit. my roommate dropped her spoon into the bowl. clank. there was a moment of dead silence all around us. things got very real very fast. she dashed to the phone to call her husband, on duty on his ship. they were, as she spoke to him, sending the fleet out to sea. they were fine, but he'd be on the ship for the foreseeable future. as we talked, the crazy stories started flying about attacks everywhere. i called the man, who was still just my best friend at the time, who was living up here in DC and on his way to class when it happened. as we talked, the plane hit the pentagon.

the roommate and i did what any twenty-year-old would do in that situation: we panicked. we threw changes of clothes into the trunk of my car, called our parents to check in (i called my daddy out of his eighth-grade class to tell him, and ended up being the one to inform his middle school that the shit was going down) and sped across the commonwealth of virginia to my erstwhile tiny mountain college town. we knew no one was bombing that place. we were safe there. we got there before my boyfriend got back from class, so we went up to his room to drop our stuff. his buddy came into the room, stricken. did you hear about [our friend]? oh, god. we had a friend, two years ahead of us, who worked at cantor fitzgerald. no one had heard from him. that's all the guy said; he turned and left the room.

we went to dinner that night with a collection of people, including someone's dad. that man was already, less than 12 hours after the initial impact, screaming about turning the middle east into a glass parking lot. i could not listen to it; we left. on the car radio, someone at the college radio station found a recording of marvin gaye's rendition of the national anthem. we got my roommate settled with another friend with a spare bed, then the boyfriend and i went to bed.

that's when i cried.

so when president obama took that lectern (and i'll share my observations about the media treatment another time; that was fun for me too) and told me that the mastermind who made all that horror happen, murdering so many people and triggering all manner of repercussions for the living left behind, the reaction was immediate: yes. absolutely yes. i had the bloodthirsty instinctual moment of that's right, you fucking bastard; you'll never hurt us again. i had the moment of grief blended with relief for my dead friend and his family. there was so much else.

this is not the definitive answer to the war on those who hate modernity, egalitarianism and freedom, because let's be honest, that's what this is. but my god, what a milestone, and it feels damn good. the triggermen of this mission, those insanely brave servicemen who stared the bastard down as he cowered behind his teenage wife and pulled the trigger to end his life, are owed our undying thanks, as are all those who have served and will serve to defend us. the people who planned this maneuver to go down as they did are amazing.

we've earned a victory lap as a country. we did the world a service by taking that bastard down. mark the occasion however you feel appropriate: joy, peaceful reflection, meditation, whatever. what an unbelievable milestone. but tomorrow? back to work.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

stuck with you

[soundtrack. warning: unabashed mushy to follow.]

if there ever was a so-called honeymoon period between me and the man, we've flown past it, gone careening through the middle stage and crash-landed hard into stereotypical old-married-couple-style territory. that can be demonstrated in a lot of ways - our propensity for being total homebodies comes to mind, for example. but perhaps the clearest way it shows is that, for the first time in our lives together, we get snippy with each other. yep, we argue now, and not always in the debate way. we bicker over little things from time to time.

the other night, for example, i had to run an errand at my dear ol' nutball daddy's house, so we headed over there after we left the baseball game. it was going to be a quick thing, but daddy had food, served drinks, and we ended up passing a few hours we hadn't planned on at the parents' place. i didn't think anything of it, but he was... grouchy, i guess. so i pressed the point. we had one of those tetchy little back and forths that anyone in a long-term relationship knows well. it didn't last long, and it got resolved, but it was still, like, the fourth one of those in the last few weeks.

so i said, you know, it's funny; we've fought more in the last six months than we had in the previous fifteen years.
what's your point?
don't really have one. just think it's funny.
he smiled, that kinda crooked little smile he has when he's about to be clever, and kissed me on the forehead. well, that's what happens when we're stuck with each other.

stuck with each other. yeah, guess we are. and i couldn't think of anything more fun. i said at one point last night, we are well past the point where we feel the need to out-polite each other. you know, when you're in a new relationship, and you're both so interested in making the other one happy that you do all that, what do you want to do? oh, no, i insist, you pick the movie. no, i don't mind that you just did [little thing that bugs the all-holy hell out of me and would ordinarily make me launch a temper fit of biblical proportions but for the fact that i think you're nice and i like dating you]; it's fine. yeah, we left that territory a long time ago, if we were ever there at all. so now, out come the times when we call each other on our annoyances, stand for our preferences a little harder. and with that comes a little bit of rough water. but the rough stuff always ends with a smile, a joke, a kiss and a mutually acceptable outcome.

yes, it's true, my dear; i'm so happy to be stuck with you. now, and always.

Saturday, April 30, 2011


i'm in one of those emotional places that tends to cause issues. not dangerous ones, just annoying or problematic ones. i have four exams: tuesday, saturday, monday and next thursday. i have a TON of work to do to get ready for them. and do i care?

NOPE. not a damn sight. in the words of one of my fellow LL.M. burnouts, like honey badger, i just don't give a fuck. it was possibly an error in judgment to go back to school after i earned my law license. i could not give a rip about this. here are the things i currently care about, in order:

1) the man
2) my friends far and wide
3) the job (23 days until i'm a wage-earning grownup again! eee!)
4) the conference in miami next week
5) the baseball games i'm attending today, tomorrow and monday
6) the caps series (stupid tampa bay.)
7) my waistline
8) school. kinda.

what the hell? i used to be queen of the school buffs. i wasn't that kid who'd remind the teacher to give out homework, but i'd obsess over everything assigned. even when i developed a procrastination problem in high school, i still turned out good work. but now i'm confronted with a dilemma: i do NOT care about doing the work, but i DO care about the results. it's problematic, to say the least. in fact, i should be working right now. am i? that's a negative. i'm watching the draft and, well, doing this. motivation and i are not friends, and i clearly have issues with priorities.

but the sun is out, the sky is blue, and i have no damn drive whatsoever. this is not a combination for academic success. let's see if i can force myself into doing things right for the rest of the exam period. push, push, push, right?


Friday, April 29, 2011

history lesson #3: the pledge

the week was hard, so very hard. i mean, it's not like everyone doesn't have their own where were you when the towers fell? story. i won't get into mine here. but the week of september 11 was one of those times when every single moment is burned into my memory in a hazy, oversaturated palette. i was in the tiny mountain town of my boyfriend's alma mater the day they fell, back across the commonwealth a day later, and back again that weekend to mourn the fallen.

what a crazy week. the first thing that greeted me when i walked into the fraternity house that friday was the dozen white roses in a crystal vase, ringed with a wide black ribbon, sent from nationals to commemorate our fallen friend. it didn't get much easier. we all drank together like it was the last night of prohibition, but the tone was off. we drank out of confusion, anger, sadness, rage and a desperate need to reset things. after all, it was normal, okay again, if we drank on a friday night. that was what life was before everything went wrong.

i told the story of the football game before. that night, we went back to the house. there was more loud, confused drunkenness downstairs. hell, i blame no one. we were kids, and what the hell did we know about grieving? most of us still had most of our grandparents living. so the boyfriend and i went upstairs to bed, just to steal a moment to ourselves. we were twenty-two (him) and twenty (me). we were seniors. we were going to graduate into a world that just got turned onto its head. every single thing we thought we knew had been tilted in some way or another. the only thing we had to cling to was each other. so we talked about this. we held onto each other, and as we did, he said to me, will you marry me?

really? yes. will you marry me?

we kept it to ourselves that night, calling our families and friends in the morning. we spread the news, one person at a time, all through the day. and it was a nerve tonic for everyone we spoke with. one of our friends threw his arms around me and yelled, thank god! good news! so how could we ever think we were doing anything but the right thing? and that little, tiny voice, back in the dusty corner of my head, whispering are you sure? it was nothing. we made the pledge, and in that moment, the reeling chaos of the world fell away. we were strong, we were certain, and that made it okay.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

god bless alabama

this soundtrack, and this entry, are special to me.

see, i talk a lot about my louisiana connections around here, as well as how much the gulf coast matters to me. i talk also about my city-kid homeland, our nation's capital. i may have even mentioned that, heavens preserve us, i was born in new jersey. but the place that made me, formed me, educated me and gave me so much of the good in my life is the heart of dixie, the yellowhammer state herself: alabama. i am, at my heart, an alabamian. i spent the bulk of my days on this earth, my entire K-12 education and one year of college, 15 years in all, living in mobile, alabama.

mobile was spared yesterday. north alabama? well, this speaks for itself. devastating. horrifying. words can't say. how bad is it? well, last may, i drove back from DC to louisiana to attend the wedding of one of my girls from law school. passing through birmingham, i got caught in a massive gully-washer of a storm. HUGE gusts of wind, torrential downpour, the whole nine. the sky was this weird shade of green, and there was this kind of whooshing noise all around me. i was driving the tank of an SUV i'd rented to move myself up to DC, so i stayed on the highway. but when the clouds parted, it was pretty clear there'd been a twister of some kind. that was scary, and it was absolutely NOTHING compared to what happened yesterday. this was horror. entire towns have been wiped off the map. hundreds are dead. thousands are homeless. that monstrous tornado cut across the entire state. that's over 200 miles of biblical destruction.

it hurts my heart to see places i love in peril. and folks, this is as perilous as it gets. people i love are homeless, or facing huge repairs. (the man's family, scattered up there, is all accounted for, thank god.) so if you get around to it, here are some ways you can help my homeland out.

there's always the red cross. they're awesome.

team rubicon is a phenomenal organization: they're veterans who come in and help with medical care in times of disaster. kinda like modern-day MASH units, but for civilians.

this blogger has a good aggregation of other links, too, some specific to alabama and others with national reach.

and if you're in DC, there's a fundraiser at gin and tonic in glover park saturday night at 9:00 PM.

my heart aches for the heart of dixie. alabama gets a bad rap in this culture, but it was a damn nice place to be a kid. ('BOTB, gillian, andy and erin in particular know what i mean.) i love that place more than i can describe. it's where i met my love, where i learned to climb trees and turn coquina shells into butterfly pictures. i sat under dogwoods, sunned on white-sand beaches, and yes, loved the fragrance of the magnolia tree drifting on the breeze through my bedroom window. it gave me everything. i'm going to give it something back. will y'all give too?

this child of alabama thanks you.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

inner city blues (make me wanna holler)

yeah, it makes me wanna holler
throw up both my hands...
panic is spreading
god knows where we're heading

the high priest of socially conscious soul, marvin gaye, wrote those words. he hasn't been with us on earth for 27 years now, but i think if he were, he'd invoke these lines again today. good, sweet lord, the damn birthers won. the president of the united states of america gave in to the pressure of a motley troupe of psychopaths and demonstrated - AGAIN - that he was born here. now, keep in mind, the only reason this is an issue in the first place is that there is a dangerously insane swath of our population, which now has power because a) there's an internet and b) there's entirely too much time to fill on television networks, that just can't accept the fact that a black man with a weird-sounding name got elected president. that's the truth. this is xenophobia, racism, and unbridled paranoia, and that's all.

what president obama should have said, from the very beginning, and every other time, is this: you only ask because i have a foreign-sounding name. if i were named barry o'reilly, you wouldn't care. (oh, and by the way? if this were about 110 years ago, a man named barry o'reilly would be way too irish to be president. hell, jack freaking kennedy was almost too catholic to be president.) that was, and still is, the only answer that applied. you don't legitimize crazy by taking it seriously. you treat it as it should be treated. you IGNORE it.

it's not like this is going to calm them down. hell, andrew breitbart said on twitter that (and this is a direct quote) film-flam [sic] the mystery man president has earned skepticism over his bio. i wanna see the college courses and professors he sought out. (ew. i feel dirty linking to that talentless, raging hack.) see? it's on to the next thing. nothing the white house does to attempt to pacify the fear-drunk rattled nutballs will ever be enough. this is why the man says that the internet is destroying society: it gives these people a forum, an echo chamber really, where they can talk to each other, and seeing their insanity in print makes them think it's real.

you might think that i'm being intemperate, that it's too partisan of me to be this mad, or something. um, no. this isn't about politics or ideology. this is about the fact that today, delusion triumphed - trumped, if you'll excuse the pun - over reality. and this happens WAY, WAY too often in 2011. when i was a young adolescent, a baby adult if you will, i used to say all the time, i can't wait for the grown-ups to start acting like grown-ups. you think when you're young that the adults are serious, sober-minded people who think logically and follow the rules. well, if there was ever a time in which that was true, that time is as dead as marvin gaye himself is.

sane people SHOULD be angry about this, regardless of ideological difference with the president. this is a full-on assault on so many things that make america amazing. are we really going to be bullied, cowed into abeyance, by a bunch of mindless twits who can't stand the idea that a non-white person holds the highest office in the land? that is so powerfully un-american that it makes me shake with righteous indignation. they're always on about wanting to take "their" country back. these people aren't motivated by american patriotism. the trash they spew sounds more like iran, to be honest with you. america is a country for everyone and anyone. we do not distrust people because their names sound funny. we are better than this.

so congratulations to the carnival-barker birthers and their ragged parade of stupid, venal bigotry. congratulations for dragging us further and further away from our best and brightest ideals. this is the united states of america, damn it all, and we are BETTER than this. we are better than these tiny-brained wastes of DNA. the sooner we remember that, the sooner we can heal this insidious infection that's eroding our core. the sane, the rational, the reality-based part of america, the part of our populace that refuses to succumb to this beck-fueled mind rot? WE'RE the ones who need to take the country back. not just OUR country. THE country. e pluribus unum, remember? out of many, one. those small, petty fools want to splinter, to divide, and to subjugate anything they think is "other." that's not our way here in america. WE. ARE. BETTER. THAN. THIS.

makes me wanna holler indeed.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

just like heaven

the man and i, being engaged intellectual types, tend to get into fights about the issues of the day. this can be a lot of fun. hell, i am a lawyer; i love to spar, and especially with him. he's a formidable opponent, too. the one time i competed against him in mock-trial in high school, he took me to the woodshed. it was a bloodbath. but i'm better now than i was then, and we lock horns every once in awhile. these are intellectual standoffs for the ages. once, his roommate sent the following text to him, overhearing us as we debated late into the night: dude, there are MUCH better things to do with your girlfriend than that.

but because we are who we are, sometimes things get heated. and we had a battle last night that careened far from the dispassionately academic and deep into the personally-held belief arena. i did my best not to, but i lashed out a bit. he cut me; i cut back. we tussled back and forth for hours. finally, though, i could not disguise the fact that, frankly, he was hurting me. much to my tough-girl chagrin, a tear slid down my cheek. god, how frustrating - no better way to totally undercut your argument than to start crying in the middle of it. i looked down into my lap to try to get it together.

it startled me when i felt the touch of his finger on my cheek, brushing away each tear that fell. i didn't see him there. he held out his arms to me, pulled me close. you ok? i laid my head against him, and we unwound the hurt feelings together. i'm sorry i said that to you, love. i didn't mean it. i'm sorry, too. i didn't mean to make you so upset. he talked into my hair, the way he does when he has something emotional to say. you know how much i deeply respect your opinion, right? i love to argue with you. you're so smart. he kissed me. you know i love you.

this, what i have with him, is my own personal heaven on earth. to be able to have something so authentically fulfilling, on so many levels, brings me to my knees with the sheer power of how great it is. i actually find myself at a loss for words. well, except for a few: i don't know what i did to deserve him, but i'll gladly do it again and again.

Monday, April 25, 2011

own it

[disclaimer: in the immortal words of ice-T, people have to learn how to tell stories without implicating those who may not want their stories told. to the best of my ability, i do this here.]

this whole divorced-woman thing is really an onion. every day, there's a new layer to the process. i'm starting to feel like a cliche here with all this SELF-DISCOVERY. not that i'm not grateful to be a better person, to have a chance to spend the rest of my life in a much better frame of mind and all that. i'm just a little bit over feeling like a damn self-help book.

but then i think about how few people really do understand the concept of living authentically. that in and of itself sounds so silly, but let me tell you how vital it really is. not being true to what you want and doing your level best to get it is... well, it's corrosive. it eats you alive from the inside out. and people just settle for hiding themselves behind images of what they think people expect them to be, all the time. i woke up and said no more, and it's a new dawn, a new day, and a new life for me since i made that call. it's bliss, frankly.

so why do that to yourself? why be secretive, or worse, duplicitous? why tell the world you're something, when you know full well you're something else entirely? it makes me sad. why would you tell people who love you grand, sweeping falsehoods that are easily uncovered? especially when the circumstance about which you're lying could have actually happened but for the fact that you didn't want it to? to call that dissembling insults the word. not only is it a lie, though, it dishonors the love we have for you. do you think we're going to care, whatever the truth may be?

life is too damned short to live a lie. it really, really is. so be what you are, especially when you know the risk of that is low. wrap your arms around everything and own it, up, down, left and right. i can tell you from experience that living free of faking it is the only way to do it. if you actually want to live, that is. existing is an option too, i guess. but really, i've done that too. this is so, so much better...

Sunday, April 24, 2011


it's easter. you may find yourself saying, but mags, you're a militant atheist. why do you care? fair question. i mean, it's not like easter is christmas, which has some dimensions that anyone can enjoy in 2011. outside of the birth of jesus christ, there's the whole civic-secular winter party of family and friends, layered in tinsel and circled in twinkling lights, to enjoy. but easter? yeah, that's pretty much the death, ascension and resurrection of the saviour christ. not a lot there for me.

but then again, maybe there is. i don't have to believe that the stand is unvarnished truth to appreciate the symbolism, the imagery, etc. i can even look at the allegory in that book and take something from it. same here. in fact, the entirety of holy week has a lot to show me in the way of symbolism. let's start at the beginning. on palm sunday, jesus arrives in jerusalem after kicking around the holy land being pretty much righteous, spreading love and healing people. it's a grand, sweeping celebration. i swept into my marriage, my "adult" life in a heady cloud of self-righteous parading of my supposed maturity. (although in my case, it's a hundred times more cyclical than the gospels - i do this up and down thing a lot.)

but things take a turn throughout holy week, don't they? bread is broken, wine is sipped, and in the garden of gethsemane, judas stabs jesus in the back. and we're off to the races: the trial, the conviction, the washing of hands. the crucifixion, the most agonizing of deaths imaginable to modern man. i mean, hell, have you ever read what happens in a crucifixion? i did, and i do NOT recommend following suit. after all, that's the root of the word excruciating. friday, they place the stone in front of the tomb and lament the loss of the man they called jesus. heartbreak, sorrow, and the knowledge of a precious few what really happened. 'course, in my symbol-easter story, i am my own judas, because i made all the choices that led to the supposed death of me.

that brings us to easter sunday. roll the stone away, and lo and behold, the man ain't there no more. he is risen, and thus salvation comes. i mean, at salvation, this is when i lose connection to the gospel. but really, the story of salvation through the suffering is a story of rebirth, isn't it? rebirth is everywhere. tonight they debut season two of treme, the masterwork of life in new orleans post-katrina. (the man is, as we speak, watching season one; i am hiding behind headphones and a computer screen because i can't bear the weight emotionally of seeing it again.) flowers are blooming, the dread chill is slaking off in favor of renewing warmth. everything that seemed dead a few short weeks ago now seems alive.

and likewise, though i am my own betrayer, i am my own redemption. i find a certain form of familiarity in the story of rebirth. i took charge, took the reins of my own life and came back renewed. now, i am no one's saviour. i'm barely my own saviour. don't get this comparison confused with some kind of god complex. (i love myself, but come on.) but what is a divorce? it's a form of death. and what is the aftermath? it's a rebirth. you come out on the other side, one way or another. i ascend, not to redeem anyone else, but to redeem myself.

still i rise. still, i rise.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

history lesson #2: letters to the editor

in a strange sort of way, being younger than everyone else in my grade shielded me from taunts and bullying. i'm not sure if it was pity, protectionism, or the fact that i didn't pick up on a lot of it, but my K-12 education was blissfully devoid of angst. i was happy. thrilled beyond belief. when i got to college, i was barely seventeen and totally unprepared for the idea that anyone would ever really think i was worthy of ridicule.

and then i found myself at a school where… well, to call the student body conservative is an insult to the term conservative. these kids and i did NOT see eye to eye on anything, except our deep, abiding love of alcohol, that is. but i was undeterred. every school needs a liberal op-ed columnist, right? well, i'll handle that. no biggie. i called my column blows against the empire, just like the true believer would. there's no fervor like that of a pure-hearted teenager, and i wrote beautiful tirades against the conventional wisdom of the school.

by the time spring semester rolled around, my reputation was known far and wide across the tiny mountain school. so when not one, but two, smarmy little right-wing jerks, thinking themselves the second coming of p.j. o'rourke or something, decided to unleash in the papers, i took my righteous fury and wrote letters. it was march, and i was heated. one of them made a "joke" about the openly gay student body president; i took him to task for it. the other said something jerky about women and subservience. he also felt my pen's wrath.

so when the april fool's day issue of the paper came out, there was a fake letter, with a bastardization of my name, chocked with all those trite "silly libs" jokes that fox news has since made household standards. if i saw that now, i'd probably roll my eyes and laugh. but at seventeen? i lost it. i was already on emotional tenterhooks in that place as it was. i was not academically successful relative to my peers, and i was about 70% of the way through my first real nervous breakdown (events alluded to here). so this was the final straw. i fled to the stairwell of the boyfriend's dorm and cried my eyes out.

from there, it was all downhill. some prick started prank-calling me in my dorm room, for god's sake. one night in early april, when the prankster called again, i screamed something incoherent into the phone and took off walking. i stalked, barefoot, up a hill, across the entire campus, to the decades-old ruins of the original building. we'd had orientation up there, and that's where i met the boy who would become the ex. somewhere along the way, the boyfriend caught up to me, shepherding me on my march. we laid down on the grass, covered in dew, and i turned to him and said:

i am not coming back here next year.

i finished the semester, transferred back home and moved on with my life. that ridicule wasn't what pushed me into my semester of darkness. honestly, i was already there. i was in way over my head. but it was, in a weird way, the final slap of self-preservation that sent me towards bigger and better things. somewhere deep down inside me, i knew i wasn't cut out for that place. no amount of sass and charm could change the fact that i had chosen just flat-out wrong.

so even though it hurt to be bullied like that, it ended up being a great gift. not in that cheesy christina aguilera "my enemies made me a fighter!" way, mind you. they weren't really enemies; i did not become a fighter. i already was a fighter. no, what i saw, for the first of many times in the intervening years, is that some battles are won only by living to fight another day. i learned to survive through retreat, and a stupid april fool's joke taught me that.

Friday, April 22, 2011

epistle #2: ophelia

[another letter i'll never send...]

dear ophelia:

it's not like i didn't try. i did, more than you could ever have known. i mean, i felt like i owed it to you not to give up. loyalty was something you prized above all else, and i understand that better than most. but at some point, it's just not worth it. there came a point when you were just not there anymore. and it's not like i begrudge you the stressors in your life. again, no one else understands what it's like to watch your mother slip away from you, while you stand powerless to do anything, like i do. but instead of accepting my hand, you slapped it away.

'course, the distance started long before this, i guess. you never really forgave me for getting out, for having the courage you never could have. you stuck it out, and on some levels it was easy for you. we suffered the same slings and arrows there, you and i. and at first, we managed it the same way - as destructively as possible. but i woke up. i smacked myself into a form of reality and got over the troubles. you, on the other hand, got addicted to the darkness. patton oswalt said, there's a chilly thrill in moving with the herd while quietly being tuned in to something dark, complicated and unknown. we both fell for the seduction of depression as glamour. but the difference between us is, i realized that it was a glamour, in the old witchcraft sense of the word. y'know, a swindle, a lie, a joke. there's nothing sexy or special about being miserable.

but i could even deal with that. i could understand that. it was the paranoid delusion that pushed me over the edge. you just flat-out lost touch with reality. every small slight became a gigantic cosmic sign that THEY were out to get you, eh? you just could not see what you'd become. i remember the last time i saw you, how happy i was and how… miserable, i guess, you were. it was so hard to watch. i tried to stay with you, be your friend. hell, you stood up for me when i married the ex. the three of us were so melded together. but you sliced us off like a moldy patch when you felt "betrayed" by us.

and what was our crime? to indicate to you that you lived in a world that did not exist. i think my final sin against you was to root for a different baseball team. it's like that old twilight zone where the embittered old movie star, once a young ingenue but now well past her prime, was so trapped in her reverie that she actually willed her delusion to exist. she literally ascended into the supposed heaven of her former glory, abandoning those "killjoys" who kept trying to tether her to the painful ways of the real world. if it were possible, you would do that in a heartbeat, i know.

but you've done the next best thing, haven't you? you just cast people aside, into perdition, when they violate your unspoken code. and if that's the way you want it, that's the way you'll get it. you kinda hurt me. but really, the reason i'm sad to see you fade into the mists of my past is that it didn't have to happen this way. you didn't have to wade into that water, letting the weight of your finery drag you into the depths. but you were too far gone, too deep into your own vision. so here i sit, waving my hands, watching you drown.

i tried to help. but i can't work miracles. goodbye, ophelia.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

opposites attract

i am serious. i mean, i have a silly streak a mile wide. this isn't a deeply-guarded secret, especially to those who know me in the flesh. but i am, fundamentally, a rather serious person. i hear this a lot from certain people in my life, one in particular. you're very serious. you are a serious woman. you take things very seriously. ad infinitum, ad astram, forever and ever amen. he, on the other hand, is a comic of the highest caliber, able to take anything and craft a joke around it. if you ever need the perfect quote for a given situation, provided you don't mind the source being late-1980s through late-1990s popular culture, he's your man.

i plan. i keep a calendar in digital form and one in analog form. i like to know what's going to happen in the future, especially now that the future is all sparkly and full of promise, butterflies and cotton candy. i don't really do surprises, at least not on a grand scale. i was once given a surprise party, and while i could - and did - appreciate the sentiment, my first thought was, i'd have dressed better if i knew you were all going to be here. i like preparation, being ready for anything. you think i'm high-strung and neurotic, i say to him. not neurotic. just a little straitlaced. he continued, you think i'm cavalier to the point of being ridiculous. you're not ridiculous, love. but he is cavalier. he likes spur of the moment things. he gets a wild hair to go do something, just for the hell of it. there's a thrill in that, to be sure; i just can't do it every day.

for two people who should ostensibly know each other inside and out, we come up with these diametric oppositions sometimes. part of it is the fact that i have changed DRAMATICALLY over the past few years. i've gone from the nutty baby sister role to the calm, serious lawyer in the family dynamic that is my circle. and it's not like we're that different. we're liberals. we're atheists. we're SEC and saints fans. we have the same weird, twisted senses of humor, and we both get annoyed with the same dumb things. (and that's just the pack of similarities i can discuss in public; propriety, and the desire not to give you all sugar overload with the sweet stuff, limit the rest to my private mind.)

but i see threads in his tapestry that would never be a part of mine. he loves the fact that i'm willing to be the life of the party. i love the fact that he never, ever lets things get too far under his skin. he loves how i'm ready to handle any situation that comes along. i love how he can always help me see things through the right lens, and that it might not be that bad after all. so maybe it's not an opposition. maybe it's a complement to each other. apart, we're both pretty interesting people. together? we are unstoppable. the strengths in him balance the weaknesses in me, and vice versa.

now if i could just get him to commit to a vacation this summer... :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

shine on you crazy diamond

[buckle up. we're going fictional today.]

the way home never changes: on the train, thirty minutes. off the train, through the park, across the street and through the parking lot. seven minutes' walk, eight if you have to wait through the light. but on nights like this, when you're suddenly confronted with the destruction of the dreams of your past, it takes on a sinister cast. odd what triggers the bad humors, but such is life, you guess.

on the train at night, they're all paired up. friends leaving happy hour. couples, warm and happy in each other's arms. they're happy, redolent in the glow of comfort and joy. and it's not even that you don't have someone. you do. but you have a boyfriend, a term that rings with the casual immaturity of the looseness of the arrangement. a boyfriend is a recreation. hell, most men seem to love being someone's boyfriend. they love to fuck; they hate the work that goes with it. and what's the supposed work, that onerous test that prompts them to say man, women don't want you to have ANY fun without them? being there. just being around, being present. yeah. such a task.

the darkness feeds the annoyance, nurturing it, talking sweet to it. you can grow strong, turn into the seething storm of anger i always knew you could be. when he kisses her on the platform right in front of you, you have to swallow hard to choke back the sudden spike of rage and hurt. you're part of a pair, in a way, but not the way it used to be. in a way, that makes it worse. better partner; looser bond. it's a double cheat, like living down south was. you got all the problems of a small town and all the problems of a big city, with the charm of neither. same deal: you could call him, but you don't really have the right to do it.

so you get mad. you get mad at him for not being there. you get mad at yourself for getting mad at him. the spiral tightens and you seethe. a clutch of words from an old joni mitchell song, you love your lovin', but not like you love your freedom, drift through your head, and as your darkness attributes those lines to your man, you clench your fists. as he sits blissfully in his living room, watching baseball and laughing with his friends, you walk through the park in the dark alone and blame him for... what, exactly? you don't even know.

this inhuman place makes human monsters. great line from a great book. that creepy hotel and its ghosts dug into jack torrance's brain and warped him, twisted him, made him the specter that ruined him and nearly ruined his family. one of your favorite books, that one (we won't talk about the scenery-chewing monstrosity that is the jack nicholson movie of the same name). and somewhere in your heart, you feel a cold, creeping kinship with the tortured dry-drunk writer and his struggles.

yes, you've been known in your time to become a sort of monster yourself. but the inhuman place that makes you that way? it's nothing external. there's no gothic hotel, just the corners of your less than benevolent mind. there's no red death to hold sway over all. you don't wield a roque mallet against others; you wield your own thoughts against yourself. you are your mother's daughter, aren't you? the glittering brilliance of your good humor disguises dark, swirling currents, like sunshine sparkling on the surface of a roaring, rushing river. you injure when you plunge this low. unmask. unmask.

this too shall pass, you think, as you silently curse the man who loves you for failing to read your mind, to shine into you and save you from yourself. i just can't win. you and jack, siblings in arms, a couple of broken talents flailing to hang on to some scrap of reality when the ghosts close in. it's not murder - REDRUM - it's suicide. you could never do to others what the monster bids you to do to yourself. that's what makes you a socially acceptable monster. but you open the front door, move to your room, shower, change and lay down in your bed alone. the dam holds, and you sleep. tonight, anyway.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


it's 3 AM, i'm awake and my heart's still dreamin'...

when you're an inveterate insomniac like i am, you're given to rumination while the rest of the world slumbers peacefully away. i think the fact that i spend so much time awake and contemplating my navel explains how i came to be a writer, and also how i developed my style. i write to y'all as if we're sitting at the coffee shop together, talking about things. i also write in my analog journal as if it's a friend. you won't believe what i've done now, journal. it's only crazy if you expect an answer. a lot of y'all are bloggers/writers/etc. yourselves. you understand this disease better than most, i think.

sometimes this is work
and don't you know sometimes this is play
sometimes you're listening to me
sometimes, you don't hear a damn word that i say

writing, for yourself or for others, is a different enterprise than talking to people in real life. that's why i often resort to writing out big important statements i have to make in my life and submitting them to their intended audience in writing. when i left the ex, i did so in a carefully crafted seven-page handwritten letter, one that took me three drafts and several hours to compose. but i made my case one hundred times more clearly than i could've if i'd had to contend with nerves, speaking to him in the face. some call it cowardice; i call it clarity. when you take a step that momentous, precision and accuracy are the most important possible things.

sometimes, writing something down is the only way to make damn sure someone gets the message. i can talk to someone about some subjects until i'm blue in the face, and the words just become a wall of noise that washes over him. he gets the idea, but he tunes me out. not out of malice; he just doesn't believe in words past a certain point. he's a man of action. i have grown to appreciate that about him, and to learn to look for what he's telling me in other ways. but asking me to stop using so many words would be tantamount to asking me to stop using so much oxygen.

but i'll keep chasing my dreams
and only you can make them real
i pour my heart out every night
but do you know the way that i feel?

so i write to him. sometimes i write to him directly; other times, i write to him here, knowing he won't really see it. (he only reads when i show him specific things.) in the rarest of times, i commit the words to my analog journal, in the age-old ritual of pen to paper. i feel, big and broad, all the time. writing gets it out, manages the feelings, turns the intangible into the tangible. i make damn sure i'm heard, even if it's just in the security of my notebooks. maybe it's a control thing, but i want it made crystal clear exactly how i feel. lucky for me, i've got the tools to make it happen.

Monday, April 18, 2011

history lesson #1: silent all these years

[i'm starting a new series, to go along with my letter series and the occasional throwback. i'm going to look back at trigger events, watersheds, and examine them for what they were to me. call them history lessons: the events that built me.]

'cause sometimes, i said sometimes, i hear my voice 
and it's been here silent all these years

the further away i get from the wilderness years, the more i marvel at how, frankly, i absolutely sold myself down the river. i really, truly did. i made some decision somewhere down the line that all the things that made me, well, me were no longer important. what was important? what other people wanted, what they needed. it wasn't a pressure thing, to my recollection. i don't remember anyone telling me bad things about the way i was or anything. i just cast in my lot with a lifestyle, an ethos, that had no relation to the way i'd lived for my entire life up to that moment.

years go by; will i still be waiting for somebody else to understand?

and then one day, i woke up and realized how far off the rails everything had spun. i was nearly thirty (though a lot further from it than i am today), and who the hell was i? i mean, really? i did not have an answer to that question that didn't involve my relation to someone else, something else. to think that a strong, brilliant girl had morphed into a young woman who wielded bravado to cover quavering insecurities… well, i could hardly bear it. and i felt alone, alone, alone. how could i have been so goddamned stupid?

i've been here, silent all these years
silent all these years
silent all these years…

i really thought the old me, the confident me, the self-assured me, was dead and buried forever. i thought i had no options other than to lose myself in the new identity i'd crafted, the epitome of the gilded cage.

and then came the hurricane.

gustav took a lot from a ton of people. but it gave me something. there's no grand irony in the storm itself (y'know, how the root word of katrina is cleansing or something like that). but what there was for me was the realization that many, many things were broken. it was time to start fixing things. and in the reclamation process, as i pulled tree limbs off the caved-in remnants of my free-girl heart, i saw that the shreds of that dream were far from dead. the pieces of my old spirit glinted out at me from the wreckage of the dream like long-lost friends. hey! it's you! man, have we missed you. just because i packed them in a box, high on a shelf in the back, so that i could… do whatever it is i did in my early and mid-twenties, did not mean they were dead. they were in there.

i was in there, silent all those years.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

organic patriotism

[jessica, this one's for you.]

so apparently there's a soccer team in portland, oregon. i guess that makes sense. portland's a fun, chill, liberal town with athletic types in it, from what i've seen of it. now, i really could not give a damn about soccer. as much as i love sports of all kinds, i just can't get down with it. it bores the hell out of me. run, run, run, run, kick, run, fall down for some reason, run, maybe score, run, and then out of nowhere, there are between two and five mystery minutes added to each half for no apparent reason. it makes no damn sense.

but leaving that aside, the timbers did something cool to open their home season, something i'd never seen before. instead of trucking out some d-list celebrity, tweenage pageant queen or american idol castoff to butcher - er, honor america with the national anthem, they had the crowd sing it. 22,000 people in unison, enthusiastically and boisterously belting out our nation's theme song? man. i had chills watching it. usually, it's just a perfunctory thing when they sing the anthem in public, often augmented with totally unnecessary jingoistic macho. you don't really feel connected to it. but this? good grief. i loved every second of it. made me especially proud to be an american.

so you can imagine my SHOCK when veteran sportswriter bob ryan chose not to embrace this display when it came up on around the horn on friday. in fact, he lost his freaking mind. it's a joke. it's a civic joke. the people of portland PLANNED this. it wasn't patriotic. every other panelist loved it. even crazy woody paige said it was patriotic. tony reali, the host, is visibly shocked in the video when ryan snapped. basically, bob ryan accused the entire city of portland of mocking the national anthem, and by extension patriotism. look. crotchety old dudes will be crotchety old dudes. this is understood. but to accuse an entire city, especially one known for its pervasive liberalism, of being anti-patriotic, mocking america, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary? unacceptable. watch the video and see for yourself.

i can think of only one other instance in my life when the anthem hit me like this one did. y'all of course remember september 11, and undoubtedly remember the dull, numb shock that we were all wrapped in for days thereafter. i was twenty years old, a senior in undergrad. through the fog of the general tragedy, though, came the sharp, acute pain of losing a friend, a guy two years older than us who worked at cantor fitzgerald. everything shut down that weekend, including college and pro sports. however, our tiny little mountain school decided to go ahead with that saturday's game. normally, next to no one ever went to games; division III football is nothing to write home about. but the entire school dressed in its finest and filled that stadium that day. we all wore black ribbons in honor of our dead friend. i will never forget how, in the words of bruce springsteen, the sky was still that same unbelievable blue that it always is in the mountains of virginia in september. usually, at these games, the anthem was a canned marching band, fwonking away the notes of the song. meh. but that day, all 2,000 people in that crowd, arms wrapped around each other, tears streaking down our faces, belted every note as if it was the last thing we'd ever do. the roar that went up from that crowd echoed off of the blue ridge and reverberated through every inch of that town.

so to say that a crowd's boisterous enthusiasm is a civic joke rubs me 100% the wrong way. to read anything other than love and joy into that demonstration is to hold a view of the world that's dangerously cynical. or more insidiously, it's to assume that liberals can't be patriotic. ever. and that is WELL beyond the pale. bob ryan? you're a jerk. look at that video one last time and tell me that's not love. that crowd is the living embodiment of patriotism, organically grown.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

21st century (digital boy)

[today's soundtrack - one of my all-time favorite songs.]

i can't really describe my reaction when i read this article. i started off chuckling, built up to laughter, and by the end of the article i was rolling around on the bed in hysterics. not because it's all that funny, really; it was the laughter of oh, my god, you just wrote my entire life in the space of a two-page online article. to say that i identify with the writer is to say that the grass is a little green or that donald trump's hair is a trifle artificial-looking.

see, here's a typical meal with the man and our friends. we go to the restaurant and order. we sit down. one of the boys pulls out his phone. within SECONDS, all the others follow suit. silence descends over the table, occasionally punctuated with a snicker, or maybe some comment (inevitably tech-related) spawned by something someone read that triggers a snarky conversation filled with acronyms. sometimes, i say, well, i'm gonna pull out my phone, too, just so i don't feel left out. that kind of subtlety, however, rarely gets the point across. there have been at least three meals in the last two weeks during which i haven't uttered a single word, because the conversation is so densely, impenetrably tech-related that i can't understand it, much less contribute (when there's talking at all, that is). i live my own personal south by southwest (and i love the phrase the annual campfire of the digitally interested more than words can express) every single day, except that i didn't choose it.

i take the man to functions with my law-school friends on a fairly regular basis. inevitably, we talk shop when we're together. we can't help it. law school is immersive, and now that we're all lawyers (some practicing, some still studying like me), it's only gonna get worse from here. but i am always cognizant of his inability to participate in these talks, and i do everything i can to steer the conversation back to something he can share with us. plus, let's be honest; law is more accessible to an intelligent person than tech is. it would be nice to get the same consideration from the tech boys every once in awhile.

but no, there's a defiance at work in their circle that's at equal turns shocking and disappointing. the counterpoint to the new york times piece, cited in the article, is a strident fuck off to those who go out with our friends to be with our friends. to the other tech kids, that whole the times they are a-changing trope sounds edgy and daring, i'm sure. it's another instance of that obnoxious thread that runs through tech culture: we are the only ones who control the paradigm of the new culture, and because of that, we will say what the new world will be. the rest of you? your ways are quaint, and we will crush you. this isn't progress; it's outright hostility to the rest of us. and i, for one, won't stand for it.

this is nothing more than, as the new york times article concluded, mutually assured distraction. and it's not being a luddite to expect your friends to be present with you when you go out with them. technology is righteously amazing. but as i mentioned a few weeks ago, without people, there is no technology. when you use this stuff to both assert your superiority and affect a form of digital isolation, you subvert the original purpose of all of this: to bring people together. it ends up creating a race of twenty-first century digital boys, who don't know how to live, but they've got a lot of toys. see how far that gets you in the flesh-and-blood world. you might be surprised.

hey. did you hear me? oh, guess not. you were playing angry birds again.

Friday, April 15, 2011

sorry seems to be the hardest word


ok, kobe. we get it. you really, really, REALLY don't want anyone to think you're a bad guy. but would it have killed you to just say, you know? i screwed up. i should never have said that, no matter how angry i was, and i'm sorry. now, there are two issues in "other-F-word-gate," as i've chosen to call it. the first is the word choice, which is the stuff of about nine million books. i'd like to see this word eradicated from the planet, but for once in my life, i am not going to address this one. another rant for another time. the other issue, the one that intrigues me more, is this: why in the name of all things sacred, can't the big tough man just say sorry?

i am a highly prideful woman. i love to be right; i hate to be told i'm wrong. i don't like to back down when challenged. but when i screw up, i own it. it's just in my nature. but more and more, there's this macho streak running down the back of the culture, in which high-profile folks just don't feel the need to ever straight-up apologize. i mean, jimmy swaggart was a sleazy cretinous bastard, and he got busted big-time on the whole sex-with-hookers thing. but when he did get busted, he went on TV, wept like a two-year-old and declared, i have sinned against you, my lord! you'd never catch a politician, celebrity, etc. EVER doing that sort of thing anymore. it's sad, so sad.

straight talk is something that american society just does not seem to practice anymore. you see it everywhere, from the budget foolishness, to the debacle that is "reality" television, to the conversation i saw on the train yesterday in which one girl hugged her friend goodbye as the friend got off the train, then turned to the other girl they had been with as the doors closed and said, good god, she's the biggest skank bitch on the planet. seriously. wouldn't this planet, this country and this life be one THOUSAND times better if we all remembered the prompt our parents gave us when we were little and screwed up? what do you say? (grumbled, arms folded, petulantly) i'm sorry.

but that's just too much to ask. it's a sad, sad situation, and it's getting more and more absurd. so we'll keep down this path of people doing biblically stupid and awful things, then turning around and telling us how much they regret that their actions have been misunderstood. don't condescend to me, don't blame the listener for your idiocy. american culture is chocked to the gills with this weird sort of hubris, and at the end of the day, sorry really does seem to be the hardest word.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

deeper meaning

because i am southern, every so often i will engage in chitchat with strangers when the situation arises. people from other places just don't do this. some of my fellow southerners take this too far - i have a friend who is SHOCKED, just SHOCKED, that no one wants to have a conversation with him as he commutes into the city at 8:00 in the morning. i had to explain to him that, since you're not allowed to drink coffee on the metro, no one is in the mood to be friendly on the morning commute. this was unsettling and sad to him. say what you will about the south; we are some friendly freaking people, whether you're into that sort of thing or not.

but ANYWAY, today on the way into school, the train driver stopped particularly sharply at the station where i get out. he jostled me into the pole, which bugged me, but no biggie; he nearly sent the old man standing next to me flying across the car. well, that's one way to do it, he said sarcastically. i laughed and said, seriously. he smiled at me. i like your necklace. what is it? oh, it's a fleur-de-lis. what does it represent? i wear it to represent louisiana. no deeper meaning? he replied.

i was a little surprised by that question. my initial answer was no, as we parted ways and headed off to wherever our days took us. symbols are powerful things for humans, i suppose. the cross gives comfort and assurance to christians, i'm told. we wear the logos of our favorite sports teams to the ball park to show support and bond with our fellow fans (even when unfathomably stupid sports columnists tell us that doing so justifies us getting beaten nearly to death). we use symbols in so many ways, to mean so many things. it's our nature; we, as the ex liked to say, enjoy putting things in little boxes.

and lord knows the fleur-de-lis has a lot of meaning in my life. hell, not only do i wear one around my neck almost all the time, i have one tattooed on my body. i care enough about the pelican state to carry its quintessential symbol on my skin for the rest of my time on earth. so what's deeper than that? i mean, to say that it represents louisiana for me is obviously a surface description. it's more than that: it's the saints, new orleans, LSU, the cajun two-step, crawfish boils and drive-through daiquiris, the way the sun sparkles over the pontchartrain spillway, the amazing people i love so much... the list goes on and on.

so, nice old man on the metro, i guess there is some deeper meaning in my fleur-de-lis. and on a gorgeous day here in the district, your question has made me seriously nostalgic for a land and its people eleven hundred miles away...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

ice cream

your love is better than ice cream
better than anything else that i've tried...

yesterday was ben and jerry's free cone day. i was insanely hungry when i left class, so i waited in the surprisingly fast and efficient line (given that it ran half the length of union station, i didn't have the highest of hopes), got my chocolate therapy scoop in a sugar cone (y'all, chocolate ice cream, chocolate cookies and chocolate PUDDING - gaaaah, how amazing), and wandered about the plaza eating and dodging the tourists who were foolhardy enough to try to sightsee at 5:45 in the evening on a tuesday. a nice little moment.

but i was cranky and prickly yesterday. everything set my teeth on edge. the semester is winding down and i am radically overwhelmed with what i have to do. my right leg has hurt for about a week now. i am still stuffy and coughing with the dregs of flu-pocalypse 2011. you ever see those cartoons where the character's walking around with the rain cloud over his head? that was totally me, to the point where the man came upstairs as i was gathering things to go back home (read: stomping around and swearing petulantly under my breath) and said flat-out, what's wrong, babe? he never straight-up asks like that, and i'm usually better at playing nice around others.

so he took me home, and he stayed with me last night. the petulance did not wane, as i was faced with internet failures, jackhammering at 8:45 in the freaking morning, and nearly incessant annoyances. by the time we all went to lunch, i was silent and stewing. i ignored everyone, watching no reservations on mute instead of talking to people. but then, as i got my ride to the train, the man said something really small and goofy. which metro stop do you want to go to? i mean, if you want your coffee, i'll take you to [this one], but if not, i'll take you to [this other one, closer into the city]. 

i hadn't mentioned coffee. hell, i hadn't mentioned anything. but he remembered that i like to start my days at school with a grande mocha from starbucks, and was willing to tailor the plan to make me happy. talk about a mood elevator. i might be up to my eyeballs in schoolwork, meaning that i'll be watching game 1 of the caps-rangers series from the comfort (?) of the law-school library, but i really can't in good faith be cranky anymore. it's those silly little gestures, those tiny, thoughtful things he does, that go so far to make me happy. he's a simple man. he shows his love in those sweet, simple little ways.

and that's better than ice cream. even when the ice cream's free.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

federal plantation

[correction, 4/13: i said "montana" below when talking about states with lower populations than DC; i meant "wyoming." fixed now. thanks, jackass anonymous guy, for rudely pointing out my mistake.]

the mayor of DC went to jail last night. it seems like this last insult to the 600,000-plus people who live inside the borders of the district was the last straw. see, everyone's happy that the federal government didn't shut down this weekend. (the tea party nutballs notwithstanding, that is, but i don't consider them serious people.) but what boils my blood is that for some reason, the republicans in the house insisted on DC being forced to spend ITS OWN MONEY not according to the will of its citizens, but according to what john boehner thinks the people of DC should do.

folks, it is 2011. in 1789, when the founders wrote the constitution, the district of columbia barely existed. when they gave DC its special legal status, no one lived there. but lo and behold, things have changed. it is now time, more than ever, for DC to have home rule. real, honest home rule. that means congressional representation, control over its own budget and freedom from ideologically-based meddling from activist republicans who view this largely african-american city as their personal playground. and yes, it's republicans who are the most guilty here. it's been going on for years. DC approved medical marijuana; tom delay held back approval of the DC budget until they promised not to do it. nowadays, republicans strong-arm the city because they don't like DC's attitude on needle exchanges, school vouchers or reproductive rights.

this is not okay. DC has more people in it than wyoming, and no offense to any wyomingians (is that what you're called?) out there, but DC is WAY more vital to the national economy. there is no excuse for congressional republicans with a stark and clearly-defined social agenda to be able to strong-arm a group of people who do not share that agenda into being their puppets. it's ideological blackmail. and it's 100% unacceptable. i thought this was the party of states' rights, self-determination, small-government? yeah, not when it comes to DC. in fact, one of their own even said so the other day. they really view the lives and rights of 600,000 people as subordinate to their ability to play banana-republic-style dictator with the district.

the district of columbia is, for all intents and purposes, a plantation. the people who live here are subject to the whims and caprice of the house of representatives, who are essentially the masters. the DC government can try to govern according to the will of its people, a right that every other person in this country takes for granted, but it's all for naught. had the government shut down, DC would have shut down too, even though the budget here was passed a year ago. there is no acceptable justification for this. it needs to change. NOW.

Monday, April 11, 2011

dodged bullet

[in which i get a little bit PSA-ish. you can mentally tack on the "the more you know" thing on the end of today's post.]

i alluded to the spectacular drunk-fest that was my friday night. i don't care that i'm almost 30 years old; i like to throw down from time to time. in the words of the man, i'm not the type of person who's gonna have a beer every night, but once in awhile, i just want to get totally hammered. nothing wrong with that, i think. so we do just that from time to time. by the time i hit the cab after the party, it was abundantly clear that the little backstop moment i have was blatantly and fully ignored. i was... yeah.

so i went upstairs, got undressed and laid down in bed with the man. that's about the last thing i remember until i woke up saturday morning praying for death. i knew going into the party how friday night was going to end. (we're all adults here. i don't have to say it.) but when i was recovered enough on saturday evening, we were talking about the show that i had become. so imagine my surprise when he said to me, yeah, there was a point last night when i wondered, "is this still okay?" but then you answered me, and i decided it was. but still, i worried. you WERE okay with that, right?

something about that struck me. it struck me two ways. first, i have an incredibly respectful and conscientious boyfriend, since even after all this time, he still considered my wishes and needs in the face of previous conversations in which he's been granted blanket consent. but second, and way more important, i realized precisely how dangerous it can be to be a party girl. my history is that of a serial monogamist. i was never a hook-up kind of person; all through undergrad, i went home drunk with the same boy. not only that, the boy in question was a staunch defender of my honor. once that relationship became a marriage, obviously that deleted certain concerns.

but when i became unmarried again, i never had that period of sowing wild oats that many of us have in our twenties. i started down that road, but it was a cursory effort at best. i didn't want to date around; i wanted to date the man. so i was never going home with someone unfamiliar to me, someone new. the man taking me to bed knows me, respects me, cares about me. there will not be a situation where things go dark. but last night in particular jangled my nerves as to how fortunate, in a backwards sort of way, my relationship history has made me. i have never, in my entire sexual life, been in danger of date rape. that's a remarkable thing to say as a woman in 2011. and having been that drunk the other night, and in the hands of a man in a sexual situation, without a single negative repercussion even in the realm of possibility? good lord, i am lucky.

so for those of you out there who operate outside the bonds of monogamy, please, please promise me you'll be careful in your dealings. and i'd once again like to say to the universe: thank you for delivering the man to me, and for making him so safe, so generous of spirit, and so thoughtful of my safety. talk about dodging the bullet...