Rye Meetings

Monologue

I’m aware of two fronts I portray to people, at least in-person.

One is a guarded detached statue. I think that’s how I viewed my dad for most of my childhood. The other is a bombastically naive waif, which is how I saw my mother. I generally am guarded and polite around strangers — my father. When I get comfortable, I find I am my mother. Not as crazed as she was, but still emulating her chaos even if in short bursts. And it’s when I’m channeling my mother my missteps always sting worst.

Today a customer or a friend of mine came in. (I would consider her my friend, and I think she would consider me one as well.) She frequents my store almost weekly. She had a baby late last year. She also has a son that’s about five years old or so. She came in tonight with her husband, her baby, and her son.

I remember the first time she came in. I was the one to greet her and her husband and bring them into the fold of our store culture. She was one of those people I immediately got along with and understood. And she’s been coming back ever since.

Both her children have the near-same racial mix that my siblings and I do. Growing up, I never saw a lot of kids that looked like me beyond my siblings. I saw kids that looked like fragments of me. She knows this. I think that also contributes to our mutual camaraderie.

I got off work serendipitously as her small clan arrived.

As soon as I saw her, I hugged her. I asked her how she was.

Last time we spoke, she was emotional, waiting for her period. She told me she wasn’t doing well. I asked why.

“I’m pregnant,” she said.

“Oh, wow... Well, at least you’ll have three beautiful children.”

Her face darkened, “... Tell that to him. There won’t be a third one.”

My gut interpretation was that her partner would not believe their third child would be beautiful. Not that she was going to get an abortion.

So, I trodded off to inform him he was wrong, playfully.

“What do you mean this next one won’t be adorable?”

He simply raised his eyebrows.

My co-worker, who was listening, stepped in to comfort her. It didn’t dawn on me until after they left that she was deciding to have an abortion.

That’s not something I’ve ever been told implicitly or explicitly by a friend.

I think about abortions concerning myself a lot. I never really think about abortions concerning others much. I have thought about it. But at the end of the day, I am not going to tell someone else what to do with their body. I’ve thought a lot about my body. I’ve done a lot to my body, good and bad. And I still think about everything, if this entry tells you anything.

I want kids. I do think about that quite a bit. I want something to take care of that I can let go out into the world and be their own person. Quite selfishly, too, I want to do a better job raising my kids than my parents did of my siblings and me.

I know if I were to get pregnant now, I would need to get an abortion.

And I’d hate myself for it. But my partner told me from the beginning he’d resent me if I ever got pregnant and decided to keep it. And he’s told me that he knows an abortion would be hard on me. This is true. So there are two things I’m never telling him regardless if they happen or not.

Right now, I am without a car and a bachelor’s degree. Both of those together make my life unideal if I were to be homeless suddenly. I’d hate myself more if I were pregnant without a place to call my own and jobless.

I do have people that would help me were this the case. But I never want to be reliant on another person again. I’d much rather die poor on my own circumstances than be rich under someone else’s. And I never like to assume people will do anything for me, even if it’s socially expected for me to assume this in certain situations with certain people. My parents have at least taught me that much.

I might not want kids in the future. So all of this thinking may be for nothing. But hearing my friend quietly admit that she was going to the doctor in the coming weeks, that pulled me into this.

I don’t really have anyone to run to to talk about this with candidly.

So here we are.

#Monologue #Personal

There are some people I meet who I am hopelessly fascinated by. We have this undeniable rapport that can't be replicated.

I often feel incredibly alone. That's a feeling I've had to swallow since youth. Ignored during recess. Blocked from sitting down at lunch. I'm confident the biggest culprit for my alienation was my blatant curiosity. And that really hasn't died down. I've just figured out how to channel it in a way that doesn't cripple me socially.

So when I find a person who doesn't make me feel alone, I can't help but smile. Not necessarily out of love, but more so relief. Relief that I am not unwanted by everyone.

Most people can make me not feel alone if there is work put into our relationship. But the people who make me feel real companionship from the start — those are rare people.

Who knows if they feel the same way about me — which is scary — but these people usually respond to me with likewise enthusiasm. So I don't think I'm wrong to think our rapport is mutual only if somewhat mutual.

I can't help but get a little down when I notice they've moved on or realized time has made us move on. With a silent sigh and a nod, I'm back to a world of relationships where I am never confident about my status with anyone.

My co-workers are the closest people I have as friends in my life. And a few of them I do consider my good friends. But I find when I say or do something a tad off, I see a micro-expression of disdain, confusion. Our relationship is in total jeopardy for that millisecond. And then they return to normal. I can only imagine they have an invisible tally of all the ways they've found me strange. I know I have that for myself.

As much as I enjoy these people, I doubt that enthusiasm would be there if I left to another state or country. But then again, isn't that most people? Maybe I'm romanticizing a bit. Regardless, our relationship is conditional at the end of the day.

I think that's the big reason why I write. To be immersed in worlds and relationships of my own creation. Because in those worlds, I don't have to fit in. I'm not part of that world like I am in this one. I can set the standards, the conditions for what's normal and odd there. In this world, I can control what I find normal and odd, but that will never 100% match with what larger society finds normal and odd.

That way, if I'm alone, truly alone, it's at least in the own glass bricks of my building.

#Monologue #Friendship

I notice myself at times talking down to my cats like my parents did to me and sometimes still do. I woke up to my kitten knocking over my glass of water on my nightstand. My immediate response was something along the lines of, “Why did you have to do that?!”

You would think being scarred that way would bar me from ever talking like that to anyone. But no, it doesn’t work that way. Maybe for some people, it does. But shitty parenting behaviors seem to cycle themselves. I’ve seen it with my friends with co-workers. If that’s all you’ve ever known, you can’t help but apply that yourself to situations. Fortunately, I had teachers and counselors present to recognize that the way I was often talked to is not a way you should speak to children.

While that guidance doesn’t stop me from treating someone that way, it leaves me more sensitive to wording and tone — which is a start.

My cats aren’t human babies, so it’s not like they can understand what I say. Regardless, they are my babies to me all the same. And if/when I ever do decide to have children, I can’t talk to them like that. I refuse to raise them like that.

I still love my parents. Even though my childhood was rough around the edges — it could’ve been much, much worse.

But it’s my parents’ tone of voice that is the predominant negative voice that echoes within my head. No matter how good I feel, that voice is often in partnership with my own negative personal voice, heckling my every action and thought.

I want that voice to end with me. My kids, human or not, shouldn’t ever have that linger in their minds. The only tone they should ever feel from me is loving support and firm discipline.

Even with the right precautions, they may inherit the gamut of mental illnesses that run in my blood. But I can at least control that one voice.

So that’s what I will do.

#Monologue #Personal #Parenting

I spent a good portion of today going through my things and discarding what didn’t spark joy, or KonMari-ing. I was working on the papers section of that method. I dug up all the papers I carried with me and found acceptance letters from a few colleges along with orientation materials for one. I came across orientation materials for one college and acceptance papers from two others.

I had no use for any of the material, so I discarded it. It sparked disappointment, regret — not joy as Marie Kondo reams into the brains of all who read her work. I kept one acceptance letter, though. The acceptance letter addressed specific parts of my application. That made me feel pretty cool. It still makes me feel cool. Even though there was no guarantee I’d go to their small college, they felt like they could write me a personalized something. Truthfully, I’m a sucker for shit like that.

I don’t have the money to go to school, and won’t for a while. I’d give up a lot to be in a classroom right now with others roughly my age having my brain go a million miles a minute with questions, but I’m working on getting a car. This is not what I thought I’d be doing at this age when I was a wide-eyed high school freshman, but it’s better than what my life would’ve been if I had stayed.

I used to boil over with the opportunity to rant about what my father did to me. Whenever anyone asked me why I wasn’t in school, I’d tell them it was a long story. And before they’d even expressed further interest, I was off telling them the whole ordeal.

I’m not mad at him anymore. I can’t be mad anymore. I am so far removed from the time everything regarding my undergraduate education went down the drain — it isn’t productive to linger on it.

But I do believe, he fucked me over in a way a parent is not supposed to fuck over their child. And I won’t forgive that. I love him regardless because he is my father. That is something that will stain the record of our relationship, even if my stance mellows. Not a grudge so much so as a footnote.

I’ve got a little over three more years to go until I hit that glorious age of independence in the eyes of the FAFSA. I’ll be a dinosaur on campus. But that won’t matter because I’ll be sure of myself. 18-year-old me, as excited as she may have been to learn, would not be sure of herself at all on campus.

So I guess that’s something to credit him for in the end.

#Personal #Monologue #College

Monologue: Best Friends

I feel like Michael G. Scott whenever a friend explicitly acknowledges our friendship. Like I want to fucking bolt the hell out of there like I'm not the father on Maury or something. I like the initial warm feeling of acceptance, I enjoy that. But I hate the feeling that they may have latched onto a part of me that's not really me and continue to expect me to behave a certain way when there’s no guarantee.

It’s not like we're in a romantic or sexual relationship, and we’re not necessarily having a kid. But someone confessing that they are my friend gives me a feeling that I have an obligation. An obligation to take care of something that I didn't have to before. And a very small, but very, very loud part of me doesn't like that.

I never thought I'd understand this feeling of not wanting to define a relationship because I can be incredibly sensitive at times. But I do understand and it makes me sad because I know I shouldn't be this afraid to commit to a friendship or really most friendships for that matter.

I’m pretty sure I alienate myself more than I'd like to admit. I’ve made amends with the fact that I'll never really have a best friend. I will always be marching to the beat of my own drum, or rather my own playlist in reality. Part of me is capable of friendship — I have friends — but taking that a step further is with a declaration of a “good” or “best” is anxiety-inducing.

#Personal #Monologue #Friendship