Archive | Sabboytical

Change the Record, Change Your Life

I woke wanting to listen to Aretha. No big surprise there, though I haven’t been listening to my queen lately; it’s still too painful. What I really wanted to hear was new music by her, but this is no small feat when you’ve been obsessed with a now-deceased singer since you were a child.

It was a desire sparked by seeing Malcolm X at BAM last Saturday. It’d been so swampy that weekend, and R and I had been casting about for something to do that would diffuse the intense awkwardness of feeling like strangers after having been lovers for years and then not speaking for years after that. So it wasn’t just the prospect of seeing the Spike Lee biopic on a big screen that had dragged us three neighborhoods from our own as temperatures climbed into the 100s. We’d had to balance the prospect of sitting in pools of our drying sweat against the promise of a hefty distraction, and the latter had won.

The joint was packed, and not just because of that AC. Everyone in attendance was agog over the choreography and catharsis and craftsmanship and charisma and certitude. This was a 3.5-hour film, yet there was none of that BS chatter and smartphone-checking you find these days at a public screening. In the last 10 minutes, the late, great Ossie Davis delivered his eulogy for Malcolm, and all around me people sat silent except for the occasional nose-honking.

Over the credits sailed an Aretha recording I’d never heard before: “Someday We’ll All Be Free.”

Until the last credit R and I sat still. At the beginning of the film he’d reached for my hand and I’d been stiff, like a child afraid to disappoint a needy elder. Always sensitive to rejection, he’d dropped it after a bit and I’d forced myself not to soothe his ruffled feathers by reaching back. I’d promised myself I wouldn’t initiate any physical contact I didn’t desire. He’d done that enough for us both. Continue Reading →

Dowager Shock

I think to myself sometimes—maybe you do too— why all the selfies?

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.

Not Even Serpico

I am making macaroni and cheese and drinking red wine and trying not to cry. The macaroni and cheese is more likely to be a successful venture. I wish I were watching a 70s crime movie with the Legend. I wish I were sharing my fattening carbs with him. I wish he loved me enough to be here. I wish I wish I wish I wish. Most of all I wish I still had the faith to believe my wishes came true. I cried all last night—cold sad loveless endless November Venus Retrograde nights have that effect on a girl—and when I woke I still couldn’t stop. From Boston Rachel said: All you have to do in the next hour is wash your face and get a coffee. The fresh air and sun on your face will make you feel better—not a lot, but a little. As always, my dear friend was right. I wish that hadn’t been the highlight of this sadsack of a day.

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy