This list is mostly for my own self reference, so I can come back and remind myself and hold myself accountable. I find I do...
At Leakycon we don’t say “I love you” we say “WE’RE WIZARDS WE’LL PARTY FOREVER TURN AROUND BRIGHT EYES HARRY I’M COMING HOME I...
you see the light I carry around,
that glows from inside my chest,
but haven’t yet noticed
it only emanates from deep cracks,
valleys and splinters and bullet holes.
i don’t know if you want to love
a girl who’s had more time,
who has acquired more scars,
who will never be whole enough
for someone like you.
i don’t want to scare you,
but one day soon you’ll notice
a crack or two, a shadow.
i hope you are brave enough
to avoid the temptation to caulk them,
to remember that they let the light through,
to remind me that i’m more than
the voids that litter my skin.
i hope that the light
will be bright enough
for you to want to stay.
I was at the main stage concert last night at Vidcon, dancing along with my friends, enjoying the end of a lovely convention.
And then Timothy DeLaGhetto performed his parody of Call Me Maybe. The lyrics of the song detail stalking a woman, taking pictures of her ass without her consent, sending her pictures of his genitalia without her consent, and at the very least implies sexually assaulting her. DeLaGhetto literally sang the lines “But now you’re looking all scared / That makes me more horny” and then a couple of lines later says “Where you think you’re going BITCH?” In the music video for the song, the girl is tied to a chair while he sings “Now here’s my penis / so kiss it maybe.” I won’t include a link to the video here, as its triggering and grossly offensive, but it won’t be hard to find, if you need to see it for yourself.
I’m terrible at estimating the number of people in a crowd, but let’s just estimate that there were 2,000 people watching yesterday, not even including those who were watching it over a livestream or who will see it later on YouTube. When taking into account that probably about two-thirds of the audience was women, and one in four women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetimes, there could have been about 300 people in the room who got the same sinking feeling in their gut during his performance. Being triggered about past trauma is a serious issue, and when making the decision to perform this song, DeLaGhetto didn’t take into account that he was singing to those who have endured the harassment and assault he is mocking.
My friend has been engaging with DeLaGhetto on Twitter, and after being called out for the song’s performance and its rape implications, he has been extremely unapologetic, telling us that we “don’t reallyyyy listen.”
The thing is, we encounter toxic waste like this all the time. We hear boys talking about raping people when we log into Xbox Live; we see women sexually assaulted in movies and television to further the plot; we are catcalled on the street and told that we cannot take a compliment. There are very few safe spaces left. However, I very much believe that Vidcon strives to be one of them, and can make this a reality.
DeLaGhetto said that he performed at last year’s VidCon, and hopes to be invited back in 2014 as well. I urge whoever makes these decisions at the convention to not invite him back, and to more carefully screen their performers. I also encountered a group of performers (Awkward Kids) who performed on the festival stage and used the word “gaytard,” slut shamed in their set, said the phrase “you’re pregnant, deal with it”, and actively mocked diabetes. People have the right to write songs about whatever they want, but Vidcon should not give these people attention, and become a positive place where people can feel safe.
(I’m tagging some the urls of some women who were running the lovely Women on Youtube panel as well, in hopes that someone who has more exposure in the community could get this seen more widely, and possibly prompt some change.)
the tiny sliver of hope i hold
will be what kills me,
but it is also the only thing
that is keeping me upright.
I have no right to feel your absence this deeply,
to expect your words at a certain time every day,
to expect them to brighten me.
I never had any claim to you.
I just hoped I did.
I shouldn’t have let my heart speak.
My heart has never said anything
that I didn’t regret eventually.
I miss talking in a way that’s not
feet on broken glass.
We were waiting in line to go on a water slide when he first told me he wanted to marry me. We’d been in the water for hours, wrinkly like we’d been together for sixty-five years. His eyes were wide as my bikini clung to my skin, like he hadn’t seen me in much less before, when he said those words: “I’m going to marry you someday.”
I wanted to run away so fast that the lifeguard blew his whistle. We were only seventeen. That’s not the kind of thing you can say to a girl who loves you. That’s not the kind of thing that can be put back.
I smiled, but I’m not sure it made its way to my eyes. I didn’t want to go on the slide anymore. My stomach was already flopping around in my abdomen.
As you can see, for my post today, I wrote a little play. I didn’t know how else to post it except in screenshots. If you’re interested, the read more link below will whisk you away to the rest of it. (It’s really short, promise.)
A cross hangs on the wall, right between the line of blow-up Letter People and a bulletin board full of finger paintings. A man hangs there, blood blowing from his hands, caked into his hair. I’m surprised the same people who banned books in the library asked for this to be hung here. It could be traumatizing for a kindergartner, but we’ve all grown up around bodies like these, and no one bothers to look for too long. It watches us as we play, as we learn to share and count to one hundred. It follows us as we age, as we learn algebra, physics, The Great Gatsby, until we are old enough to hang one for ourselves, until we are the ones showing corpses to kindergartners and saying they are beautiful.
You always loved the stars.
The night we fell in love,
You wooed my by naming those pinpricks in the sky,
Pointing out pictures of warriors and animals and lovers.
Your eyes were so excited and you looked so happy,
I pretended I could see them too.
I had a mental breakdown while working retail today. My insides crashed like timpani drums, my fingernails dug into the counter. I couldn’t count change to save my life. But outside, I was smiling, telling people, “I’m good; how are you?” My smile barely faltered. Maybe that’s strength, or maybe it’s cowardly to exude that much insincerity. I’m not sure.
I want to know what would have happened if I’d told one of them how I was really feeling. I want to know what I would do, if confronted with the same situation. I like to think I would help in some way, but honestly, I’d probably just say I was sorry and leave them to drown.
My face hurts from smiling.
You tell me that you’ve never been in love, not really, and I feel an overwhelming sadness for you that makes me want to take you into my arms and kiss you until you can’t breathe, to bring you to an Italian restaurant and refuse to let you pay the check, to write you poems and songs and letters. I want to make you fall in love with me, just so you could feel the warmth it brings. But that’s not fair to you. I’m not one you would want to love.
I think how easy it must be, to have never been in love, to not have little snippets of yourself scattered all over, and to not have little ghosts of others inside you. And it must be beautiful, to be waiting patiently to finally be swept off your feet, to fall in love correctly, in perfect form.
But I couldn’t give up the feeling of intertwined hands, the blues and browns and greens of their eyes. They are a part of me now, as I am a part of them, and I know what it’s like to be in love.
Before I can stop myself, I lean forward and kiss you.
It takes about three and a half hours to get to Chicago by car, if traffic is good and you can manage to avoid too many stops. I had planned on us getting there around 6:30 after adding in some cushion, and had even made a dinner reservation.
However, I soon realized: Dee was a stopper, and I wasn’t very good at saying no to her.
In the first hundred miles, we’d somehow managed to stop four times. At a Lion’s Den Adult Superstore, not because she was in the market for anything they sold, but to laugh at the terrible porno titles and the silicone dicks, and ending up feeling a bit morose for the rag tag men we met there. At two gas stations to use the rest room and buy soft drinks, where we also ended up picking up gummy worms and novelty lighters and four packs of playing cards. And at a mom and pop style diner, simply because they had a billboard on the side of the highway saying that they had the World’s Greatest Coconut Cream Pie, and she insisted we needed to try it. (Although I doubt it was the World’s Greatest, I’ll admit, it was pretty good.)
Needless to say, we weren’t making very good time.
Dee sat beside me in the passenger seat, her knees up against her chest, hands fiddling with the radio. She had to keep doing this pretty consistently, as we kept losing the signals as we moved forward, and she was fairly picky. At the moment, she seemed to have found a station that played entirely 80’s hair metal. She turned and stuck out her tongue at me and screwed up her eyes, then danced around in her seat, somehow making it look natural, her long curly hair whipping around her face as though caught in the wind. I laughed good-naturedly, bobbing my head as best I could while driving.
It was all a bit awkward, because I didn’t even know Dee that well. I had a crush on her, but in the way that you like people you barely know, in an afar, a-little-creepy sort of way. They do cute things, they have nice faces, but you don’t know enough about them to be sure whether you’d have real feelings or compatibility.
We’d been in a few classes together, and had finally gotten partnered up for a project, which had allowed me to get her number, which had allowed me to begin texting her. We’d just been texting about little things, and somehow I let slip that I’d never had Chicago-style pizza. Before I knew it, I’d somehow agreed to a road trip to procure some the next day. I was having a nice time, but if we didn’t hurry, we’d miss our reservation at the pizza place, which was the whole reason we were going, and who knew if we’d be able to get another one.
“A scenic overlook!” Dee yelled in excitement, pointing out the window at a sign that said that one was coming up in two miles.
“Dee…,” I said, trying to keep annoyance out of my tone, but she must have heard it, because she wilted, just a bit. I felt bad. I was all for adventures, I really was, but it was almost seven already.
“I know, I know. Just one more. Promise,” she said, giving me that pouty lip that girls always do. “I love the crap out of these things.”
I knew I should have kept going, but I found myself saying, “Okay, we’ll pull off quick.”
She grinned at me, extending a hand to squeeze my shoulder. It was a bit of an odd gesture, and I wasn’t sure what she meant by it, but it made me grin back with a sincerity I wasn’t expecting. I saw the light that I’d brought to her eyes, and though it was stupid, I realized that I would do pretty much anything I could to put it there.
We got off at the exit, stretching as we got out of the car, even though really, it hadn’t been too long since we’d gotten out. She started walking in the direction of the scene we were supposed to be overlooking, and when I didn’t follow her for a second, she reached out like she was going to grab my hand, but then balked, like she realized that this wasn’t acceptable, that the intimacy wasn’t there. There was a pause, and in it, I wished she had just grabbed it. “Come on,” she said, grabbing my shirt sleeve, and pulled me on.
The view wasn’t much to look at, which I’d been expecting. We were just in Illinois, after all. There were some trees and a lake, and it was nice, but it would never find a picture on a postcard or anything. I glanced over at Dee, expecting to see indifference, but found only awe. “It’s beautiful,” she said, her jaw a little slack.
I wasn’t sure what she saw, but it was obviously different from what I did. I tried inching closer to her, to see if the angle changed anything, but it was the same. “Why do you like these things so much, Dee?”
She looked at me, seeming to ponder this. “They’re a break in the monotony, I guess. From the pavement and the yellow lines and all the stupid drivers. They’re a chance to breathe? To step out.” She paused. “The stops are the most interesting part of the journey, anyway. They’re what you tell everyone about. They’re what make stories.”
I instantly regretted being annoyed with her about stopping, if it meant so much to her, and I realized she was right about our little detours. The important part of today had been laughing over coconut cream pie, holding up ridiculously sized phalluses, competing over who could eat the most gummy worms in two minutes. I hadn’t tried the pizza yet, but I knew it wouldn’t compare, wasn’t what I would remember.
We stood for a few minutes, and I stared at the view, really looked at it. I saw the way the leaves on the trees were budding, the light that reflected off the lake, the ducks swimming around in its water. I like to think that, after I stared at it for a few minutes, I saw a fragment of what she was seeing, a sliver of the beauty. I looked over at her, seeing the tranquility of her face, the way that the setting sun added pink smudges to her dark eyes. “Thank you for making me stop,” I said to her, meaning it sincerely.
And before I knew it, her hand was slipping into mine.