I barely took a picture of myself until I turned 40. But I spent yesterday with an old lover and it gave me an inkling of an answer: You really can’t go home again. Not because time is hopelessly linear but because if you keep on self-reckoning, eventually you outgrow obfuscation and objectification, diminishment and toxic possession. Shame. You stop saying, “Daddy, please approve of me.” You start saying, “Daddy, you have no invitation nor right to my deference.” Which is to say: you stop taking or talking jive. And maybe that’s why I take these pictures now. To remind myself that, despite the fact that I have aged out of viability in the eyes of patriarchy, despite the fact that I am untethered to a romantic relationship or biological family, despite the fact that I have very little cash nor clear prospects, despite the fact that I carry more weight than ladies are programmed to allow themselves, I am still here. At 48, I am more sure than ever before of who I am, what I can tolerate, how I can serve, and of the space I claim. So today I put on eclipse-season, mercury-retrograde, dowager-chic armor: a boob-revealing mini dress, platforms, 4D hair, lipstick, big glasses, fannypack—essentially I transformed myself into a 6 foot 4 spacecrone. And what I am saying—what I always am saying in Trump’s fucked-up, cockocratic, white-supremacist dystopia—is this: I’m not just a lover. I am a fighter. And I have earned the right to look back at you.
It will surprise no one who reads me that after finishing a film lecture upstate today I couldn’t bring myself to rush back to the city for Pride. Not because I don’t love my LGBTQ+ community but because I am incapable of abandoning a quiet green place for a crowded concrete one–at least before saying hi to every tree and bird in a two-mile radius.
So I sat by a lake and thought about luck once again. How unlucky we are to be living in the last few years of an environment that can functionally feed and hydrate and shelter us–or maybe how lucky we are to still have it today, given our abuse. How unlucky we are to be living under an administration that so brutally upholds capitalismcolonialismcockocracy–or maybe how lucky we’re finally forced to confront our country’s core of capitalismcolonialismcockocracy. How unlucky we are that so many queer community members–especially the gender-nonconforming–face mortal danger but how lucky that so many young people feel free to claim their sexuality given that when my generation was coming up, teachers were fired just for being gay.
And then there’s the personal stuff. How just yesterday I’d run into that stranger called my life for the first time in years only a few days after we’d messaged for the first time in years. And how a friend of K’s–a guy who helped me this dreadful spring for no reason except his general kindness–took suddenly, gravely ill.
The list goes on and on and woven into each item is our connecting karma, the Indra’s Net cradling each of us in its spidery, silvery arms.
I meditated on this for a while, sending everybody, and I do mean everybody, bright white light. Then, no joke, a gull came along and took a white bright dump on my blanket. It was the classic luck, schmuck conclusion, and I had to laugh.
But upon standing I saw a pair of glasses in the grass alongside me. Technically the abandoned lenses must have been there all along but of course I only noticed as I was feeling like I’d figured itall out. I only noticed the second pair–a half pair, really–on the curb as I returned to my car.
It’s like James Brown had hurdled back onto the planet in big preacherly robes hollering DO YOU SEE THE LIGHT? DO YOU SEE THE LIGHT? while Jake and Ellwood did sloppy somersaults and a very young Chaka Khan squirmed in ecstasy. Because, YES I SEE THE LIGHT AND THANKS FOR THE CORRECTIVE LENSES but also maybe I’M STILL NOT SEEING EVERYTHING I SHOULD!?
Gods and goddesses, send as many visions as you can.
As soon I finished my block of intuition readings yesterday, my immune system 100 percent hit the wall. My clients were lovely, but with Mercury in Cancer during Gemini season, people are projecting their big emotions rather rather than filtering them. You can’t walk down the street without tripping over a weepy, explosive confrontation. The effect is toxic.
Word to the wise: All projection but astral projection is ill-advised. Eh, film projection is all right, too.
Being sick this time of year is miserable. It’s also discombobulating, because these should be halcyon days. NYC has so few blocks of decent weather that when they arrive you want to call in happy to every obligation hanging over your head. Instead all I’ve been able to do on this sunny, clear Sunday is writhe on my bed, feverish and clogged up. Oy vey, I moan.
Question: When a writer’s whining in her apartment and no one’s there to hear it, is she really whining? Answer: Oy vey, yes.
And sola dwellers must fend for themselves, no matter how they’re ailing. So this morning I put on a schmata–no point in combing my hair–and hobbled down to Whole Foods for the sort of provisions that might miraculously restore my health, or at least not worsen it. Usually I stave off my Whole Paycheck crabbiness with good deals on free-range chicken (and Fairway). But the number of white guys in baseball caps and expensive footgear who bumped into me because they were fiddling with their phones while wandering up the aisle– not looking up, not soldiering bags, JUST LETTING THE LITTLE WOMEN BY THEIR SIDES DO THE ACTUAL FORAGING–was simply mind-boggling. Okay, the number was three but, oy vey, that’s a lot given that it was only 8 am and it’s 2019. Here they were, taking up space but in no way interacting with it, let alone improving it.
The metaphor loomed.
Here’s the thing. I’ve lived in Williamsburg off and on since the 1990s, and while that may mean “entitled hipster” to you, for long-time residents it means community and hustle. Certainly the one thing it’s never meant in all its generations of immigration and creative gentrification is dumb dickocracy.
So did any of these forever frat boys excuse themselves when they bumped into me? No, they looked up annoyed, as in WHO DIDN’T GET OUT OF MY WAY? Maybe if I’d been feeling stronger I would given them the ole Rosmaniac pushback but today their ugly arrogance just made me sad– as did the plastic-encased cut flowers and the prohibitively expensive organic food and the older woman I spotted in the dairy aisle carefully counting the change in her purse.
Part of me thought, why is she shopping here if she’s so strapped? Then I remembered you could say the same of me and maybe she also needed healthy food without venturing out of the neighborhood. So I tuned into her, and was immediately stuck between her rock and hard place, walls closing in on all sides like I was in the Star Wars garbage compactor.
Oh, don’t mind me. I’m feeling everything and everybody–an occupational hazard when my defenses are down–and the truth is few of us are having a very good time even though it’s the prettiest spring I can remember. Our world isn’t just changing. t’s crashing down, and the saddest part is the rude white dudes unapologetically running everyone down in their lane.
I write all this and then remember the ten episodes of The L Word I watched in the last 24 hours. (What can I say? It’s Sox and the City for this sickie.) Though the series only ended 10 years ago, the queer community has come a long way, baby. I pray someday soon those lane-crashers will be forced to catch up.