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You Don't Have to Like Me

June 21, 2007 | Category: In My Life

This entry was written in the midst of some kind of haze. It is definitely one of those self-flagellating, TMI, bad-language and all sorts of other edgy you-may-not-want-to know posts.

It freaks me out that I wrote it. But I decided not to take it down. So....

Enter at your own risk.

Especially if you know me in real life.

I wrote what was essentially my first blog entry when I was 13 years old. It was a letter I attatched to some of my bad poetry, that I then had the gall to Xerox and send out as Christmas gifts.

Basically, it said 'Here is my (bad) poetry. I write it a lot. I hope you like it. I hope you like me.'

Even then, I was bundling my creativity with my insecurity.

I still think about those haiku's and wince. What I did to the English language? Should be frigging illegal.

Less than 2 years later, my junior year of high school, I was yanked out of the protected enclave of my private prep (my graduating class? About 35 people) and into the 'Lord of the Flies' coke-snorting backseat sexfest and hair-band madness that was the overfunded undersupervised population of the public school (graduating class? Over 500).

The real story of why it happened is lost in time. I certainly wasn't in on it, because if I'd had a vote....

All I remember is that somewhere in the midst of the transition, I got so overloaded that I broke into a million pieces.

My state of being freaked out my already freaked-out parents. They had their own implosive shit and mine, well, who knows why mine tipped the scale.

I got sent to the quakiest pseudo-therapist you've ever met. He, in turn, had me checked into a psych unit. He thought I might be a harm to myself because I was pretty damn depressed.

I told him a vacation on the beach surrounded by civilized people - or, even better, no people at all - would fix what was hurting in me.

Yeah, but psych ward? Good second choice.

The whole thing was fucking insane. On many, many levels.

Except for these two other teenagers, Paige and Rhonda, who shared my room. They were beautiful women with stories so real, so burn-your-guts hard, that my heart broke for them.

The hospital locked the three of us up with detoxing adults who vomited on our floors, with mentally ill 72-hour-hold patients who would shuffle into our room and pee in our sink.

Paige and Rhonda and I were pretty sure we were on the crazy (and not in a good way) damn side of the rainbow.

One day, Paige looked at me hard and announced 'There's nothing really broken in you.'

Some strange woman was brushing my hair with her fingers and humming to herself. 'Yeah,' I told Paige. 'I've just about figured that out, thanks.'

God, she could make me laugh.

I was in the wrong place but what the hell. Life leads you to the wrong places sometimes, for no good reason. You put your own value on the experience and write your own story why.

Suddenly, I was back home. A pretty little girl home in her adorable cedar-sided house in affluent Connecticut. Feeling like I'd just escaped from a John Irving novel. And about to be thrust back into the tidepool that had spun me into frantic in the first place.

And how could any of that matter when I thought about all the privileges I had?

One night, I met up with Rhonda and Paige. We shook free from our parents (shocking, when you think where we'd just been) and they painted a gallon of makeup on me and took me to a dance club. The bouncer knew one of them and let us in.

And we danced.

For hours, we shook and twirled.

Then some guy, a friend of someone who knew Paige or Rhonda, started flirting with me. I flirted back. He weaved his dark fingers between my pale ones and it was like a shot of tequila all at once.

I started worrying what I looked like. He was tall. I started worrying that my hair wasn't right. I wanted him to kiss me. Was my lip gloss all right? I wanted him to like me. He barely knew my name. The music was deep house, the beat hard between my shoulders. His hand in the curve of my back.

Then Paige bumped us, and he stood back. Hands up. Surrender.

She and he locked eyes and there was a whole argument there I couldn't read. He shuffled off to get me a soda. 'Plain!' Paige ordered him, pulling me to where Rhonda was.

I obediently followed her. Wanting the guy to come back. Where was he?

'What's WRONG with you?' Paige demanded, making fun of my cow eyes and my nervous little disco moves.

'Do you think he likes me?' I yelled back.

'Who cares?' Rhonda laughed.

'I do!'

They looked me up and down and shook their heads at my stupidity. 'You'll dance better if you don't!' Paige told me.

And she was right.

Cathy told me the same thing recently. That in the past year, I've been dancing some sorry-assed disco moves on this blog.

And Cathy was right.

When I put my name out there, I wanted you to like me. Bundling my insecurity and my creativity again.

I was conscious of being so self-conscious, but I din't know how to stop.

My 16-year-old self never got her groove back.

The guy never returned. He's still out there somewhere, buying me a soda.

Sure he is. At least, in my imagination.

I've tried knocking the wiggle back into my words.

I've tried walking away.

I've even tried writing with a glass of wine in me. It doesn't help. But I discovered some nice Ports along the way.

Damn, you're tall. And cute. Please, God, hold my hand.

My skin is older now, and still too thin.

Help me not to care if you like me. But like me.

I want to dance wildly again. I want my lips and ass to pout and move with the beat. I want to trust my crazy girlfriends and myself. Rip what is real of me away from what is afraid.

I don't know how.

Stupid damn blogs, what do they matter?

Except for those of us who've discovered them the way painters discover brushes. The way gardeners discover seed catalogues.

We're artists, too. And screw the marketers, the entrepreneurs, the trolls, and the reporters who would say different.

Our words add to the human experience.

Don't they?

I'm still 13 inside, and writing bad pentameter. I'm still 16, and afraid teh real me won't be good enough for the guy with the dark eyes. I'm the one who's been locking my words away, 'cuz I'm still that stupid kid.


I'm not.

It just feels that way.


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Nice job!

Now - do it again.

And again. And still again.

We'll still be standing here - or else we'll start feeling the rhythm ourselves, will start grooving to your beat.

Either way, it's all good...

Posted by: Betsy on June 22, 2007 05:33 PM

We all want to be liked, don't let anyone fool you! That's nothing to be ashamed of - and the thing is, whether you wanted us to like you or we just decided to like you, we really do *like* you!

Posted by: Monica C. on June 21, 2007 06:10 PM

Beautifully written, as always. Your honesty keeps me coming back to read your blog, and you absolutely add to the human experience. You say what needs to be said, what no other author or reporter or publisher is saying...keep saying it loud!!

Posted by: Casey on June 21, 2007 03:50 PM

I Love You. You rock and so does this post. I don't care what any F.I.N.E. critic may think about it, and neither should you. I think you are on your way to getting your groove back. You don't need no stinking passwords. You go girl.

Posted by: Cathy on June 21, 2007 03:34 PM

keep writing - if nothing else it feeds your soul and quenches your creative thirst.

Posted by: cursingmama on June 21, 2007 12:33 PM