Tuesday, October 13, 2009

heathlike & me

I don’t even like Heath Ledger. But there he is, kneeling over me in bed, his shirt unbuttoned, wondering what to do next. Well, I can’t be sure it’s actually him. He is very Heathlike, that’s for sure. And that is good enough for me.

We are friends. I don’t remember how or when this happened but Heathlike and I are friends. I can feel that warm and relaxed energy dancing between us – the kind old friends have. (See photo above.)

So why are we in bed together if we’re just friends? I don’t know. We want to take a chance, bridge a gap, daringly enter a forbidden terrain. I feel good about it. Life is for merging, I think, as I stare at him longingly. Longingly? I never even had a movie star crush on him! But strangely, when you're suddenly in bed with him, you feel differently.

He, on the other hand, is slightly conflicted. I don’t take this personally. He’s not conflicted about me per se. He likes me. He seems more troubled and scared of himself. Of opening up.

“Kiss me. Kiss me.” I instruct.

He nervously leans over me and obliges. I feel his reticence again. His warm lips tremor on mine.

“Ugh. What’s your problem, Heathlike? We don’t have to do this if you don’t want!”

He then shyly pulls his hard cock out of his pants, as a way to express his true feelings. He is so beautiful, he shimmers. My body desperately wants him. I know at this moment he will enter me, despite all his internal resistance.

And he does.

He enters me once, twice and then a third time. I almost die from pleasure. Pure sexual perfection. Little shafts of light and electricity shoot between the two of us. We are electrifying together, Heathlike and I. This is more than sexual. This is a merging.

Then two of his keepers enter the room to discuss business with him! How could they walk in on us right now? He’s not even fully Heath Ledger. He doesn’t need keepers. Heathlikes don’t need keepers.

Leave us alone! Can’t you see we’re having sex? I’m enjoying myself. Business can wait! Get out! I just coaxed a reasonable facsimile of a conflicted Heath Ledger into having sex with me. Can’t you just leave us alone?

I think these things but don’t say it aloud. Or do I? I try. The words live somewhere between my mind and my mouth, hurting to get out.

I wonder why Heathlike isn’t angry. He just seems like he’s trying to appease everyone. Its not the most redeeming quality but I give him some allowance. He’s just that kind of person. Too nice for his own good.

Suddenly, I’m outside with Heathlike. This pretty woman has joined us. She long brown hair with perfect grey streaks – almost as if she had them done professionally. She is a loyal person to Heathlike. She is in love with him but he doesn't feel the same way about her. She hangs in there though, trying to be his ultimate ally, trying to be indispensable to Heathlike. I don’t like her false goals.

They leave me to go into a university or a grocery store or a university that is half grocery store. I wait outside but know I won’t wait long. My dignity won't allow it. I keep occupied with surfing since a neon-blue ocean suddenly appears before me my feet.

He is still not there when I finish my session so I look for the subway, slightly hurt and angry. I see Heathlike and Grey-Streaked Hair Girl leaving the grocery store/university. He has groceries in his arms (for a meal he plans on making me. Shh...it's a secret.) I hear her talking about me, not nice things. But Heathlike won't tolerate it. He tells her to stop.

Your loyalty is totally with me, you sexually fraught cutie. But you have kept me waiting too long. You should have been more respectful. Feel my departure, Heathlike. Feel my pain!

I say or think these words.

Luckily I see a subway stop and count my lucky blessings. Now it will be easy to get home and screw over Heathlike in a childish act of revenge.

As I walk downstairs, I realize I’m on the wrong side of the track. The train I need is arriving on the other side and I’ll never make it over there in time. I’ll have to wait a long time for another one. Suddenly my revenge sucks.

The subway station is rather handsome with high, old-fashioned ceilings. And there is produce everywhere – scads of fresh produce. Not for people but for restaurants and grocery stores. Still the air is a little cleaner and the subway a little less dismal.

It will be a long wait. No dinner. No sex with Heathlike. Just me and my stupid pride and a bunch of produce that isn’t even for sale to the general public.

Heathlike – if you can hear me, I'm sorry. I would like to taste your dinner. I think we deserve time together - real time. We broke through a wall and now we’re ready to torpedo past those issues of yours, I’m sure of it. Just reach out to me the next time I close my eyes.

I think these thoughts. Or say them. I’m not sure.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Juggling for Nothing – A Social Experiment in Letting the Balls Drop

Are you the workhorse in most of your relationships?
Are you the Sister Save Us All type?
How much of your actions are based of a sense of duty and obligation?
Are you one-sidedly maintaining many of the connections in your life?

It’s a near-constant juggling act for many women. We juggle furiously, yet our audience doesn’t seem to care, or worse, have grown to expect an amazing performance every time. Our souls are being quietly sapped and toxic resentment builds. 

What if you stopped trying so hard to be liked?
What if you stopped being so damned concerned?
What if you simply walked off the stage?

It's not easy to let the balls drop. Then suddenly you’re alone and a sterile quiet settles in. The phone stops ringing and conversations you so dutifully upheld are replaced with blank stares. No wonder why you’ve been so busy juggling. You were the only act in the show!

As a half-assed social experiment, I stopped saying hello first. I stopped making phone calls. I stopped saying, “Oh sorry, excuse me. Pardon me” and all of its endless variations. In short, I stopped trying. Anyone who didn’t reach out or initiate suddenly became under a personal scrutiny.
My brother was the first to go. Since I usually greet him with a polite good morning it felt surprisingly easy to stop. Since then, no words are exchanged between us. Oh well. One less ball to juggle.

My neighbor was an easy second. She doesn’t like me and I don' like her. I used to say hello just to be civil. Now we say nothing and I like it. Another ball dropped, easy.

Romantically, dropping the balls was harder. Maintaining the connections with a few old flames offers up moments of sweetness and romance. But it inevitably exhausts your self-esteem. You know you're doing all of the work. You keep waiting for the day it will be more balanced. That you'll juggle together. But maybe they just don't have the balls.

Perhaps many of us try so hard because we secretly believe we just don’t belong here. We have to cosmically and constantly “earn our keep”. We feel guilty over small infractions and apologize excessively. We couch our words until we have nothing left to say. We spend our time suspended in a state of anxiety, wondering when they'll find out that our very existence is a mistake.

Or maybe we juggle so incessantly because we’re self-centered, giving to others so we can get one day something back. When that day never arrives and no one is there, bitterness and disappointment take over. Someone else dropped the balls and we're pissed that we worked so hard for nothing.

Or maybe we can’t help but juggle for others. Until the day we die. We’re driven to give love and support. And we assume others will do the same for us. We’re earnest but exhausted performers, wondering when the next act will begin so we can take a much-needed break.

Sylvia been clinging to the same man for over 20 years. He’s attached to his bachelor status and told her decades ago that he never plans to settle down. She brings him food, clothing, gifts. She’s moved away from her family so she could be closer to him. Yet he provides her with nothing.

When I ask her why she hangs in there, she says, “I think he’s really misunderstood. He's interesting. I get him.” I want to dump my drink over her seemingly selfless head. Decades have gone by based on this delusion. (Trust me, he’s about as interesting as dried mud.)

See, she’s been juggling for so long, her body seems slightly contorted and she looks old beyond her years. Whenever I see her, I consider her an anti-hero of sorts. She’s everything I don’t want to be. She will juggle for nothing until the bitter end.

If she stopped doing for him, nothing would happen. He would not call, he would not care. He’d only miss the free meals and free sex. She, on the other hand, would be painfully aware of his loss and the loneliness might be too much for her to bear. But isn't it there anyway?

Many years ago, I told my best friend Krissie about a guy I liked and how he began acting strangely. I asked her to interpret something he said. About midway through our analysis, Krissie stopped me. “You know what, Beth? When you’re forced to figure out someone, you’re already off-track. You kinda already have your answer. It shouldn’t b such a mystery.”

Deciphering someone’s actions or words is another form of juggling. Interpreting. Processing. Figuring out. Trying, trying, trying to understand. Relaxing? Rewarding? Is any of it the equivalent of good sex and intimacy? No, its exhausting mind play that you become addicted to and demoralized by.

I don't want to be a circus act performing for a sleeping audience. So I’m letting the balls drop around me, one by one. I'm walking off the stage and out the backdoor and standing alone in the sunlight. Maybe I’ll disappear if I try hard enough…turn into some glorious vapor where the pressure is finally off.

So try. Dare to let the balls drop. If they bounce back, fine. If they bounce away, better yet.