Sunday, May 7, 2017

Of a Decade

J.P.J: September 24, 1960 - May 7, 2007

Dear John,

Ten years. A decade. You used to say, "Five years will go by anyway." Let me tell you, ten years will sneak up, lasso you, and have you over a barrel and wondering how you got there before you can say, "What the fuck?" I'm in awe, because I can't think of a better word, that it's been ten years since I last held your hand and kissed your brow.  It seems like yesterday, but it also seems like (another phrase you were given to say) somebody else's home movie.

Where has a decade gone? A decade that I haven't shared with you, not in the conventional sense. I know, people will tell me that you're always there, and you are. But I miss your voice, your laughter, the light in your smile. You could be damned difficult to be around; still, I miss the youness of you.

A decade has taught me that I love where I am now and that pain is a part of loving where I am now. I wouldn't be here, in this life, in this space, if you were. I get a slightly metallic taste in my mouth when I think of things in those terms. I tell myself not to, but, you know... "what if" is a blood-hungry bitch from Hell. Anyway, I'm loved and I'm happy, and if it comes with a smattering of guilt, c'est la vie, huh?

Ten years. A couple of months ago, the last time I had a dream that you came back, I was upset by it. In the dream, I was crying and confused. I was glad to see you again, but my words were, "Why are you here? Why now? You're going to change everything and I really like where I am now!" I don't remember  your response. I do remember waking up and chalking it up to growth that I can acknowledge hard feelings like that. That I can look them in the eye and stay sane. Even so, I kissed Steve and said, "Please don't die. Ever." He didn't question it. He's smart ass enough to know that his answer would suffice, "Not plannin' on it today."

When I look at old pictures, I can't help but wonder what a decade would have done to you. I wonder if you would have made peace with yourself without having gotten sick. I wonder if you would have finally understood your greatness. I wonder if you would have realized that you had nothing to prove to anyone, not even yourself.

You always said you wanted to go out in a blaze of glory, saving someone else's life. Well, that's what you did ten years ago. You threw yourself in front of that screaming engine we call life. For me. You probably didn't know it at the time, that you were doing that. I didn't. But, in looking back, I realize the gift you gave me by ditching the party early. "Here, woman. Stand. On your own. Take a look around and see beauty in all of it. Be resolute. Be honorable. Kick ass and take names. Dig the shit out of the journey. Find amazing love, huge love, love you won't expect and then wade on in and claim it and belong there. Find you. She's waiting to take your hand as soon as I let go. I love you, Trippy Chick, but I've gotta fly." And it was in the void of you not being there any more that I found who I was meant to be. It was who I'd been all along, but... shinier.

A decade. Ten years. I'm pleased they went the way they did - bittersweet pleasure though it is. I still think of you so often, but it's without the sharp biting pain that once had its teeth in all my memories of you. There's a TV show I like to watch, The Walking Dead, and you'd hate it. One of the characters said something that stuck and made sense out of everything. He said, "We go on because they can't."

And so, I have,
With much love,

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Everything Police

They're out there, everywhere you go, watching what you do, listening to what you say. It doesn't matter if it's directed at them or not. They know best and they will tell you where you're going wrong. They are the Everything Police. Beware. They are of the firm belief that most of us don't know our own mind, and they are insidiously separatist fuckers. Rather than rally people to come together or cheer for some wonderful happening, they like to point out why it's all wrong.

They say things like:
"You can't do that, because you didn't grow up where I grew up, so you have no claim to it."
"You look stupid doing that because it's not part of your ethnicity."
"Our group has dibs on that word. We said so, that's why. Don't even think of saying it."
"Don't you dare believe that, because... reasons. Here, we've done all the research for you. Trust us."
"You only think you don't like <insert food here>. You just never had it prepared the right way."

There are many and various such phrases, but perhaps the most vile is, "You shouldn't feel that way." Everything Police love to shame people for feeling what they feel.

I started out calling this faction of people the Yeah, Buts. Because they're also the type who will, if you mention what a lovely, sunny day it is, say, "Yeah, but... allergies." Nothing is ever good enough for them. Nothing is ever just right. However, I noticed that it went beyond "yeah, but" and that it was far more invasive. A lot of them weren't even waiting for the opportunity to throw in a "yeah, but" - they were coming right out, full force, and telling people how to be. Best example of this is an article George Takei shared last week in which a woman asked straight females to stop referring to female friends as girlfriends because it was confusing to lesbians (how ever are they to know who they can and can't hook up with?!). My response to which was, "Oh, give me a fucking break. Truly tired of this kind of separatist bullshit. Nobody owns the rights to words. If I want to call a female my girlfriend rather than just friend, I will. If that makes the Everything Police twitchy, fuck 'em. Let them wonder, they who do not truly know me. I know who the hell I am."

So, I started calling them the Everything Police. Because Ev-pos will just presume you're doing the wrong thing, in the wrong place, at the wrong time. (I say this with all due respect to good men and women in law enforcement. So, don't police me for saying that.)

The Everything Police will create a victim if they need to. The Everything Police have no sense of humor, no tolerance for a learning curve, and don't give a good goddamn about what a jury of your peers thinks. They will make no attempt to understand why you find humor in a given situation. And, because they're so educated and enlightened, they presume everyone should be - ignorance is no excuse for the Everything Police.

Try it, I dare you. Make a joke about your waffle iron having cancer and Everything Police will tell you how horrid you are. They won't stop to understand that you've known way too many people who have had cancer, half of whom died from it, and you need to joke because it takes the terrible scariness and sadness out of it for you. What matters is their own sensibilities, and only their own, because they're always right. I mean, I would say that they easily get their panties in a bunch, but one of them will surely tell me that I just set back women's rights by 100 years.

I'm pretty sure the Everything Police have lightning fast Google implants. They know everything (presumably, that's why they've earned the right to police it). Their pedantic, didactic ways aren't an attempt to educate people, but to correct them (thereby making the Everything Police appear to be a necessity and ensuring job longevity). One of their favorite words is actually. "Look! I found this picture of an adorable bat that has feathers and a nose like an elephant... so cute!" And the Everything Police respond, "Actually, that isn't a bat. It's of the genus avialephus flaposaurus and is most closely related to the red lemur. Little known fact: Rumi wrote a poem about it that Robert E. Lee read to the troupes right before the Battle of Little Bighorn."

So, anyway. Now that you know what to look for, you can either avoid the Everything Police or rally against them (and if you identify as one, stop that shit). As for me, I'm choosing the latter. I'm exhausted from trying to protect everyone's feelings, which pretty much involves biting back and swallowing my own. I don't set out to be unkind or insensitive, and anyone who knows me knows that much. If I speak my mind, share my thoughts, laugh at the inappropriate, cry at the mundane, swear at inanimate objects, and dance like everyone is watching and I'm naked and I just don't give a flying fuck, it's because I'm trying to communicate with you. I'm trying to be heard above the din. I'm trying to be the best, most genuine me I can in a world that wants to heap us together in a box and call it an even dozen. If that's offensive, if that makes me guilty of something, I've got two sets of four words for you.

Look the other way. I'm not hurting anyone.