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  1. A round for all my girls

    November 29, 2015 by kim

    The first memory I have of my sister is being told to be gentle with Mommy’s tummy or I’d hurt the baby. This seemed both illogical and utterly unfair. I mean, here was my mother, lying on her back on the floor, and she was TRANSFORMED INTO A PIECE OF PLAYGROUND EQUIPMENT! I could slide down her stomach! I could bounce on her boobs! But nooooooo, somehow this mystical, magical “baby” would be harmed. Wherever it was. I didn’t get it, but I knew I was mightily put out.

    I have another image of a moment after my sister came home from the hospital. I sat on the stairs, waiting to be cuddled good-night, and alllllllllll the way across the room my mother sat in her orange rocking chair with The Baby in her lap and my father bent over to smile at them in a rare moment of harmony. While I remained woefully uncuddled. It was at that precise instant I understood what my sister had done. She had taken everything from me. All the love and resources that were not only necessary for my existence by mine by right of conquest had somehow transferred into her possession and I was well and truly fucked. They couldn’t love me if they loved her. What the fuck. I would never be Prom Queen.

    She grew and I was told she loved me. I argued that if she loved me she wouldn’t pull my hair when I tried to hold her. That she wouldn’t keep falling down when she was trying to follow me so I had to slow down and wait. That she wouldn’t INSIST on doing what I did all the damn time. If she loved me she would do what I told her and abdicate. She didn’t.

    And she loved me. What. The. Fuck. She was smart and funny and gorgeous and athletic. She was brilliant. I was the rough draft and she was the final copy. She was good at everything I was good at and better at the shit I couldn’t do. She didn’t need to love me. But oh, she did. She loved my petty, mean, spiteful ways. She loved my threats not to tell secrets and my machinations to get her to take the fall for my crimes. She loved the stupid puns I made her laugh at and the costumes I made her wear. Or, if she didn’t, she loved me through them.

    I eventually realized this may have been her devious counter attack.

    A later clear memory plays itself in my mind like a gif. Her face, wet with tears as she looked up from her ice-cream on the ground and my hand, reaching out, replete with my own Double Chocolate Fudge, giving it to her against my will. Totally against my will. And how somehow the feeling I got was better than the ice-cream tasted.

    There was the time I put a big, scary dude in the club on the floor using only my elbows because he touched her ass. He scared her. How dare he? That was my job! In fact, I stood up to a lot of scary creatures, many of whom wore my father’s face, like the clown in a rodeo, deflecting anger and rage away from her and toward myself because…

    Well, holy fuck. I loved her. I loved her and it was returned and somehow her love not only filled the gaps that were torn open when she arrived, but gave them ornaments and filigree in a way the rest of my world couldn’t. I was incomplete without her.

    She is one of my life’s most important lessons, because my old habits haven’t died. My old fears still have nasty voices and cunning, articulate ways of being heard.

    I work on a show I have come to rely on as a source of emotional support. However, my place has always been the solitary girl. THAT MAKES ME PROM QUEEN, RIGHT? RIGHT????

    When another girl showed up, I was three again. The New Girl was smart and funny and gorgeous and good at everything I was good at and better and the shit I can’t do. But I have a sister who taught me well. “Self,” I told myself, “you are jealous and that is ridiculous. Because it’s preventing you from knowing the person standing in front of you. AND it’s making you miserable. What say we do something about it?”

    I can’t stop the way I feel. I can’t MAKE myself only experience noble and evolved feelings. BUT. I can recognize them and take action to CHOOSE a different response.

    My Prom Queen crown came off. I was the only one who could see it anyway. I risked losing the love and resources I needed to exist, (I didn’t. That’s what fear sounds like), to got talk to this charming, amazing woman. Who now apparently loves me. And that makes me cry with gratitude. Because I love her.

    The Prom Queen sits alone on a cardboard throne. She dances in a spotlight with one person and everyone else in the room gets to party. Or judge her. A FRIEND, on the other hand, tells jokes and secrets. A friend doesn’t wonder if she can trust, she trusts and is trustworthy. She can celebrate another’s successes in addition to her own and then guess what? There’s twice as much to celebrate. She also might even call a different friend and apologize for the time SHE was the New Girl… and, in my case, receive more love in return. We are not the enemy to each other. And the idea that resources are limited to one per customer is consummate horseshit.

    I don’t fight wars in my head with other women any more. I never became Prom Queen and if I was ever the prettiest or most desirable in a room, I didn’t get the memo. It wasn’t what I needed. What I truly want, a deep and loving mutual connection with another human being, is right there when I let it be. (And, I mean, when the other woman is not in her own battle. But even then, I can take my ball and go home. I don’t have to engage. That’s a loving act too.)

    I would like to encourage sisterhood. Be fearless. Make a friend. Be a friend. It’s better than ice-cream and THERE’S ENOUGH TO GO AROUND!

  2. Purgatory Birthday

    June 23, 2015 by kim

    I had a birthday.

    I am sooooo middle aged. Like, there’s very little chance of me living to be twice the age I am now and there’s a GREAT chance I’m close enough to fifty to spit on it from here. So I’m middle aged. Don’t really give a fuck. Have too many other things to deal with. But I’ve had quite a few birthdays.

    My most recent birthday was a few weeks ago. I dunno how many. That would require math. But I turned this age on June 7th. It was my birthday. Didn’t really give a fuck. Had too many other things to deal with.

    My birthday has never been a big deal. When I was a child, my mom did her best. I got to pick the day’s menu (coffeecake for breakfast, still have the recipe, BLT for lunch, now I don’t eat piggies, and mom’s special baked chicken and strawberry pie for dinner – still have the recipes), maybe see the grandparents in the evening, get one usually longed-for gift or, as I aged, an envelope with some money and ta-daaa we love you. But my mother’s best intentions were an uphill battle in our household. (My sister’s birthdays fared even worse in the early years. Once we came home to find the dog in a sugar coma, unable to even get off of the table where he’d climbed to eat Jen’s cake. Another time, a nearby volcano erupted the day before her birthday, royally fucking her party with the down-pouring of ash.) Mom SO wanted us to feel loved and special at least once a year, but the fates conspired against her.

    For my Sweet Sixteen, mom went all out. She bought tickets for me and my two friends to my first big concert (Frankie Goes to Hollywood fuck you I loved them, fuck you), and we were gonna go BY OURSELVES and then have a slumber party. When one of my friends called and tearfully told me she couldn’t be there because she’d been caught taking something that technically she hadn’t paid for, my mom’s heart broke too. She just gave up. We really didn’t do birthdays after that.

    In high school and college, My Day always fell during finals. Nobody wants to come party when death is on the line. Like arguing with a Sicilian. And never fight a land war in Asia. Sorry. I’m sorry. My brain drifts to “Princess Bride” at the least opportune times. Where was I? Oh yes. The long, drawn-out version of meh, birthdays. Meh.

    William Salyers got everyone in the rehearsal hall of Idaho Shakespeare Festival to sing me “Happy Birthday” when I turned nineteen. He got me a flower. I cried. My husband (yes, that’s a big, goddam flash forward, because all the parties I remember until my husband were things I arranged), always does something sweet and wonderful, and often as ill-fated as those from my childhood. Like the Cajun restaurant where we learned some people think “blackened” just means “burned as fuck”. Also, we have a kid who is a lot and sometimes anything extra, even extra that is something we really really really really want to do, is just too much. It’s lovely, I love him, but we let my birthday pass with a nod and a smile and beautiful flowers for the most part.

    So this year I was in Germany for my birthday. I was working at a convention. True, conventions don’t FEEL like work in the conventional sense (HA HA HA HA OH I SLAY ME! Punny. Sorry. No more rhyming now. I mean it.) but they demand one hundred and twenty billion per cent of my focus and energy. I kinda figured this year I would nod and smile at my birthday from the rear-view mirror.

    Except…. people remembered.

    They started reminding me the day before. “Your birthday is tomorrow,” they would say.
    “Yes. Yes, it is,” I would answer.
    “What kind of cake is your favorite?” I was asked.
    “My favorite kind of cake is cake,” I answered. And I honestly wondered why they were bringing it up. And asking me these questions. I really did.

    I dare ANYONE to not cry like a sleepy baby when a room full of “strangers” sings you “Happy Birthday”. It’s not just the song. It’s hundreds of hearts aiming at YOU with love. I did. I cried. I cried when they brought me the best fucking brownies I’ve ever had in my life. I cried when beautiful girl after beautiful girl gave me cards signed by people who wanted to celebrate the fact that I am on this planet. I lost track of the hugs and well-wishes and the people who regretted forgetting to give me either and making up for it later. I estimate the rough number to be around a gazillion.

    My fellow cast mates, boys I adore but would I never, for an INSTANT, think thoughts of me should impose on their daily goings-on, hugged me and laughed and arranged more moments for me to be the recipient of silly, unique and perfect birthday attention.

    It felt like a lifetime of love. Like forty-six years of what my mom wanted to give me so much and couldn’t because we just didn’t live in that kind of home came tumbling out of her long-passed heart and into the bodies of person after person after person. She was everywhere. It was the most exquisite, explosive, breathtaking and beautiful feeling. She defined love for me as a child. She still does. I just never thought I’d get to feel it again once she died. At least, not like that.

    It is an amazing thing to find family where you least expect it. I love you. I will cherish Purgatory Con, 2015, for the rest of my life. Which will probably be a few more years at least.

  3. back on the horse

    May 26, 2015 by kim

    Love hurts. It just does. I’m sorry, but that’s the rancid bag of donkey dicks that is the truth. If it couldn’t hurt me, it wouldn’t be love. Fuck you very much, human experience.

    I had something I thought was going to be awesome. I THOUGHT, and that’s important here, I THOUGHT someone was doing a series and I was going to be a part of it. Why did I think this? Wellllllllll because she was from a group I trusted and I had seen an escrow account and plane tickets and hotel reservations and my manager had emailed with someone who had an email from a network and someone else with an email from the escrow company and a bunch of other people, one of whom I knew already and totally respected, were also thinking we were going to do a series. Oh. AND I HAD A CONTRACT! I had a contract that is the kind that guarantees payment no matter what so I would put that project in first position and turn down any work that might conflict with it. That there, that part, that’s kind of important. We wait on THIS job, because we signed that contract. We don’t get OTHER jobs. Because we have. A contract.

    I’m not going to lead you through the gory details, but it was all fake. A great deal of effort had been put into it looking NOT fake, but it was sooooo fake. Like Rodeo Drive boobs fake. There is a clear legal case for criminal fraud and I could win a lawsuit, but be awarded what? “Here’s a third of her bike and her cat. Good luck.”

    For the last couple of weeks, my brain has been screaming like it was tied to a set of train tracks. Six months of work I turned down for this. Work that is sparse anyway. Work I needed for things like RENT and FOOD and OH HEY HEALTH INSURANCE IS RELIANT ON YOUR CONTINUED EMPLOYMENT AND YOU HAVE A SPECIAL NEEDS CHILD THAT’S GONNA BE FUN TO TRY AND FIND HER FREE THERAPY NOW ISN’T IT? Grand.

    On top of that, my brain still had time to berate me for being an idiot. “Ha! A series. In England. You seriously believed that? You actually thought somebody was gonna pay you to do something like that? You dipshit. Not a bright child at all, you. Idiot. You know I’ve applied for emotional asylum in a different head, right? I can’t face life with you and no substances to buffer the batshit crazy goings-on I have to deal with. Stupid. And you’ve put on weight. A lot. Idiot.”

    So, aside from suddenly facing poverty and homelessness, the latent fat-shaming ableism my mind is capable of has blossomed into a beautiful butterfly.

    But I have tools for that. It may have been really really really really really….. really uncomfortable, but I could plow through it and find the truth. I could find the resentments and pick them apart. I could acknowledge I’m probably not going to lose my home in the next two months and I had a commercial running that will most likely be enough to make sure hospitals have to take my daughter when she tries to sky-dive off the stairs with a blanket as a parachute. I can see how it could have been so much worse, (“We are shooting in my basement. Take this lotion with you.”)

    Yes, it’s sad that I’m not as young as I once was and opportunities are slim. To none. That’s sad. But it’s not like I ever had the golden ticket and then left it in my pants when they went through the laundry. It’s no tougher today than it was before this all happened. My brain calmed down, I regained perspective and I’m moving on. I’ve lost nothing….

    So I thought.

    This morning I got my first audition since this all went down and I put myself back on the market. I immediately began to shake and cry.

    “HA!” yelled my brain that had been not actually placated but was merely nodding while plotting its counterattack. “YOU DO SUCK! PITY PARTY OF ONE! WHAT THE HELL IS YOUR PROBLEM?”

    What the hell is my problem? I went through all the approved tools of My People. I ignored the feelings, I got angry at the feelings, I suppressed the feelings…. then I, (insert eye roll), prayed and meditated, blah blah blah. Finally, bereft, I went to my husband. Nancy Kerrigan-like I entered the kitchen. “I don’t want to act any more! Whyyyyyy? Whyyyyyyy?”

    “Of course you don’t. You got hurt.”
    “You really wanted to play that part. It was a good part. You got your hopes up and the door slammed in your face. And broke your nose.”

    I forget I love acting. In the minutia of the business part, the part where my brain spins plates and thinks this is a “job”, my heart sits quietly and waits to be heard. I once dreamed of painting large masterpieces of emotion with my heart, but at this point in my life, it smiles gently and brings out The Mom crayon. Once in a while I am blessed enough to have the chance to bring out a character that requires multiple colors of maybe Friend, Champion and Zombie-Killer. But I forget how it tickles my soul when I get to act. It’s like breathing for my spirit.

    Do you remember when you finally got the chance to use those crayons that were untouched? The ones with the perfect point that fit so beautifully in your hand. The ones that you grabbed every time and reluctantly had to put back because they weren’t appropriate right then, but they spoke to you saying, “Soon. Soon….” That’s what this project was. That’s what it was for my friend too. We both were angry over the money and lies, but what HURT was that part of our hearts being brought out to play and then told it was all a mistake, back in the box.

    But I HAVE to believe they’re there for a reason. A reason that is good. Even if that reason is just so I know I have them.

    We can’t pick what we love. We just fucking can’t. And sometimes it hurts. But that doesn’t mean it’s wrong to love. Because my heart knows what’s right. So I figure out which part is my brain trying to deceive me into settling into pity or rage, let those thoughts come in and then keep riiiiiiiight on going out the other side, then I comfort the heart and get back on the horse. I spend so much of my time trying to avoid pain, but it’s THROUGH the pain that I get the lesson on the other side. Which seems to always be a better understanding of my heart.

  4. The hoarding heart

    May 21, 2015 by kim

    I just put a shoe the size of my palm in a plastic bag and tied it off.

    It wasn’t a particularly cute shoe. It was a second-hand croc. It wasn’t attached to any particular memories. It didn’t cover a foot on its first trip to the beach or its last trip to see Grandpa, it didn’t come from a fairy or a long-absent friend, it didn’t have a name. It didn’t even have a mate. But it was my daughter’s. And I’ve been keeping it. She’s seven now and we measure her foot in terms of my arm, not my hand. Taby thinks it’s funny to watch me tear up when I see how far past my knuckles her toes land now. “Look, Mommy! They’re not baby feet any more! Does that make you cry?” But this shoe still fit in my hand.

    I hold pieces of her past like I want to hold her.

    I realized this morning two things. First, that I’ve become a bit of a hoarder. Her closet is filled with things I refuse to throw away in case she wants them some day. I weep picturing her tears of loss. What if that cloth belt becomes a snake she battles with her stuffed lion and finally her latent imagination is revealed? What if we someday unearth the Barbie that goes with this dress and Taby is inconsolable thinking of her beloved doll out there somewhere naked and freezing? What if some day I’m not here….?

    I am terrified that no one will love her like I do. She can be violent and abrupt. She can be cruel and dismissive. She can be overbearing and bossy. Of COURSE she can… she’s a person. She can also be sweet and funny. She asks me specifically, “Is this a kindness?” when she helps me in the kitchen? She hugs tightly and laughs loudly. She apologizes without shame and she gives without obligation. Who WOULDN’T love someone like that? But no one will ever love her like I do.

    The second thing I realized today is I believe that’s okay. She will never know how much I love her. Some day, should she have a child, (however the child finds her), she might get a glimpse or a whiff of my love for her. But even then, it will be different because that will be HER child. No one will ever love my daughter like I do because no one. Ever. Will be her mother.

    My earth stopped moving when my mother died. I don’t know how I continued to breathe. It is clear the love she gave me is incomprehensible, yes, but also continues in me. It can’t be stopped by shoes that are finally donated or bodies that are finally worn out. It grows and grows and grows and I can’t control it, no matter how much I may want to clutch it to me and hold it forever. Like my daughter, it is wild and free and no amount of begging or pleading on my part can contain it.

    My daughter will be loved. And she will be happy. She will be her own person and some day she will be that person without me to love her in my own special way, but that love will have gone nowhere. She will make it her own. Others will love her or not, but she will be fine.

    So I shall trust it. And let these bags of clothes go to some other mother’s child so there is room for what may come.

    I love you, Tabitha. And Charlotte.

  5. Teacher’s Daughter

    February 16, 2015 by kim

    Holy shit. I have eleventy billion things to do. I shouldn’t be here. But I just realized something that is flame through my fingertips and I had to. I just had to.

    I posted this on Facebook:

    One of the most wonderful and astonishing things about my child is her complete fearlessness.

    One of the most infuriating and terrifying things about my child… is her complete fearlessness.

    What I got back has sent me into a bit of a spin. The comments range from, “Just like her mama,” to, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” Add to that the recent spate of Twitter comments about how people would like to be more like me and not ever give a fuck or laugh in the face of danger and I gotta come clean: I AM FUCKING TERRIFIED. I am. I’m scared of shit I understand and shit I don’t. I’m scared of the past and I’m scared of the future. I’m scared of not enough and I’m scared of too much. I’m scared of might-be’s and probably-won’t’s. I’m scared of people I know and people I’ve never met. I’m scared of me. Me now, me then, and me tomorrow. I’m fucking scared.

    That’s not what spun me and sent me here. I have that reaction a lot when people remark on my seemingly effortless zero-fucks-given attitude. I’m like, “Ohhhhhh, no. I give way too many fucks if anything. So to refrain takes some serious effort. My nature says a round of fucks for all!” I’m used to reminding people that I’m not some example of fearlessness. Hell, my fears and I are downright incestuous.

    What stunned me was the realization that, at one point, I MUST have been fearless. I had to learn to be afraid.

    My father and I, as my mother grew sicker and sicker, often had conversations in the car in which we both said a lot and neither one of us actually spoke to the other. This particular instance was before I was married, and we were discussing children and how to educate them. My father, having been a teacher for a quarter of a century, had some astute and amazing insights. But I branched off into a more esoterical neighborhood and commented that we all either learn from love or from fear.

    Dad’s scalp slipped backward in a way that always made him look like a wolf, flattening his ears. His lips pulled into a snarl and two fingers arced toward my face. “Fear. Is. The. ONLY. Teacher,” he intoned. I was more frightened of him than our chances of driving off the road as he looked at me. But I couldn’t stop myself. I answered, “I know. I am the product of that thinking.”

    I could stop there. I could point to imperfect parenting as the reason behind my stammering and pill usage. I could blame my timid heart and mouse-like mind on the beast that fathered me. But that would not be the truth.

    The truth hit me. Moments ago. My father scared the shit out of me because he loved me and that was the only way he knew how to teach me. He wanted me to never hurt. Never question my resolve. Never ever ever be scared. So he taught me fear, yes, but he LOVED ME.

    So while today I am still frightened, the love is where I get my courage. And that courage is enough for people to look at my lightening bolt of a daughter and say they know where she gets it from.

    Choosing love as an instructor doesn’t come naturally to me. But it’s working. And it’s spreading. I heartily and hesitantly invite you to give it a shot. As I’ve said before, fear says, “I will make you safe.” Love says, “There is nothing to fear.” And while it is baffling to me how to raise a child without fear as a tool, I am so unbelievably grateful my own father loved me enough so it’s even a possibility.



  6. in all honesty

    December 11, 2014 by kim

    My hand grabbed the ledge just as I heard an ominous crack beneath my left foot. The shelf supporting my weight had been built for shoes and, as Pro My Body as I may be, I harbor no delusions that I weigh as much as even a Doc Martin. I swung my other leg up and managed to hook onto a beam, only marginally damaging my groin in the process, and thought, “This is so gonna suck if I die in my closet. How will I explain it to my husband?”

    Okay, maybe I better back up.

    The astute members of my following may have noticed a… gap in my writing. The astute and long-term followers may also remember some gems I’ve dropped here and there, alluding to my fondness for painkillers and how I probably should lose my privileges. See, here’s the thing about a brain that doesn’t function normally. Some brains think there’s no difference between admitting there’s a problem and ADDRESSING the problem. “Yeah. It’s leaking. We should do something about that.” Then, five hours later, “WHY THE FUCK IS EVERYTHING WET?” seemed like a perfectly rational way to look at life. There’s a Thing. Poof! Thing gone!

    Other avid readers may remember some fun times involving the clusterfuck that was, and I say this with all love and compassion, the final days of my Dad’s life. Again, NORMAL brains would look at something like that and say, “Wow. I grew up with that, that’s a large part of my genetic code, I should really be on the lookout for any similarities with me.” However, a brain like mine says, “Puh-lease. I’ll worry when I find out I’ve been waving guns at police officers while totally stark buck naked nude. Til then, I’m aces!”

    And I really was. I kept my shit together. I didn’t doctor shop. I didn’t get fucked up… often. I didn’t scare my kid or cheat on my husband or lose the dog or anything I could have done. It was going to take me simply AGES to kill myself.

    Just like it did my Dad.

    I was on that ledge because I’d thrown my pills up there at 8:00 AM, knowing I wasn’t allowed another one until 2:00PM when my husband would be gone and I could get the stepladder without having to explain why. Unfortunately, by 11:30, shit was grim. This was five months ago.

    About five months ago, I got sober. Sorry. I’ve been busy not drinking or taking pills. Yes. NORMAL people say, “How much effort can it take to NOT do something? There’s lots of things I don’t do. Possibly among them drinking and taking pills. I still have room to write my goddamn blog.” Yeah. Well. You’re probably not an alcoholic then, are ya, smarty pants? I have it on good authority that some day it will not take every fiber of my being to not do something that’s obviously a really fucking bad idea in the first place. But in the mean time, I’m a little busy, okay?

    And, no. You probably didn’t know. Not all of us need to crash the car into the brick wall to know it’s in the road. I’m praying I’m one who switched paths before the wreckage included extensive body work on the vehicle I call my life.

    I’ll keep you posted. Maybe. Or maybe not. Fuck it, more ice cream.

  7. when my feminism met my fat

    June 20, 2014 by kim

    Oh yeah. This is gonna haunt me. I’ve written some pretty damn dumb blog posts, but this is exposing my nutsack and inviting the toe of your stylish pump to meet it with fervor. I’ve admitted to some disastrous things, (oh, go look them up yourself, I’m not gonna spoon feed you), but this takes the proverbial cake. That I eat too much of. Which is why…

    I just had plastic surgery. Liposuction, to be exact. Yep. Sure as fuck did. And it may be the painkillers talking, but I’m kind of excited to admit this. Like holding my nose and squeezing my eyes closed before the shitstorm. The only thing I feel bad about is that I don’t feel ashamed. I really should, and maybe some of the aforementioned shitstorm will hit home and I’ll finally be able to hang my head in shame for paying money that could have gone to saving the lives of orphans or kittens or veterans or…. okay, maybe I feel a little ashamed. But not a lot.

    Here’s why this admission is gonna fuck me, no dinner, no lube. I am trying to embrace being a feminist and I spent money on a thing that a good feminist probably shouldn’t have. A good feminist loves her body the way it is. A good feminist knows that damaging herself, even under the care of a surgeon, sends the message that what I am isn’t good enough. A good feminist scoffs at the idea of perpetuating an unrealistic image and subscribing to words like “feminine” and “ideal” and “beauty”. A good feminist MIGHT even not give a fuck if she’s getting older and rather sees the signs of aging as marks of distinction and badges of honor.

    I, on the other hand, just had a birthday. Oh fuck you hard and fast, forty-five. I am NOT going gently into that night.

    I didn’t get liposuction because I lost a role to Krista Allen. I mean, I did, but that’s totally apples and oranges. I’m not dumb enough to think, “Well a few inches off the waist and I’ll TOTALLY be next on George Clooney’s list of exes.” There is pretty and there is “Hollywood pretty.” I was not trying to catapult myself out of the “pretty” category and invade the domain currently reigned over by Angelina Jolie. No. Stop. Shut up and PLEASE don’t oh-but-you-are-as-pretty me, I am not going to meet Hugh Hefner and make him start calling me Miss April. That’s “Hollywood pretty.”

    I’m pretty. But when I stopped waving good-bye to my daughter, my upper arm didn’t get the message until I had physically dropped it and squeezed it to my abdomen. I spent probably ten minutes a day poking the pocket of fat just below my navel and trying to guess if my finger went deeper than it had the day before. I was okay with my body, but some extraneous and unnecessary padding made me very sad.

    I did try other methods. For the last three years I’ve been doing obscene things called “Pilates” on a strange device called a “reformer” which probably has a patent held by Torquemada. I went on walks until the dogs feigned paralysis. I scrutinized the ingredient list of every thing going into my grocery cart like I was looking for proof I was owed a castle in Sweden. I occasionally went days drinking only a special elixir that magically tasted exactly the same going down as it did coming back up. I had stringent requirements and a point system to earn a beer or a cupcake. And still my daughter thought it was fun to jiggle my hip and watch the noticeable wave formations travel across my belly.

    Everyone in the world probably thinks I’m insane. The men whose opinions matter to me all tell me I’m gorgeous and my husband proves it with vigor at the drop of my pants. My arms and tummy were honestly JUST FINE. But I went and got them sucked into a jar. (I declined when the nurse asked, “That’s actually a lot, do you want to take a picture of it?”)

    Today I am seeping and wearing the world’s tightest body suit. I don’t hurt at all actually, so I was kinda lying about the painkillers. I took one. Felt fine before, felt fine after, figure they gave me the pansy-ass stuff on purpose and that’s probably for the best. (See previous stupid admissions in much earlier posts.) But I briefly got to look at myself in the mirror when rinsing out the girdle I will be wearing for the next two weeks.

    I still don’t look like I could be called in for any character with “MILF” in the description. I’m still pretty. My arms and my abs are still just fine. But I started to cry. I wanted something stupid and silly and irrational and vain and decadent and vapid and superficial. And I let myself have it. And I was happy because of that.

    Maybe good feminists do what they want with their bodies. Maybe good feminists decide for themselves what would make them feel good. Or maybe I’d rather be happy than any label, even one I aspire to. It’s a thought.

    I’ll keep you posted.

  8. I blame the brothers grimm

    June 12, 2014 by kim

    It’s Summer Break and my husband took the child bowling. This hinged on the agreement that I would write while he was gone. I think he thought giving me time and focus would mean another chapter would finally appear in the book I’m “writing” aka staring at and inventing new swear words to describe the ensuing emotional reaction, (I am SO fuckipated at this very moment, you have no idea. It’s like being mentally constipated and fucked at the same time. Good word. You’re welcome,) so this seems like a nice compromise.

    I heard someone the other day say he was married to, “Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk,” How so? I inquired? Whimsical? A dreamer ? Someone who can climb large objects and slay monsters? “No. He goes out with our final remaining cow and comes home, full of pride and says, ‘Look! Magic beans! It’s all gonna be okay now!’”

    This made me think. A lot of humanity’s flaws can be traced back to some simple things we take for granted in fairy tales. Yes, yes, yes, a lot of female archetypes suck royal ass, but I’m talking about truths that are not gender-specific. Some things that no one ever said to some mythological beings that perhaps should have been spoken a long time ago. Things like: If your son is old enough to go to the market with your last commodity and you expect him to barter, why the fuck don’t you expect him to get a damn job? The boy clearly has some skills, make him stop playing video games and go earn some money!

    I don’t blame Jack, since he’s clearly been profoundly sheltered. I mean, only THREE magic beans? That cow is gonna last somebody a whole winter! He’s not the brightest bulb in the box. Mom, this one rests squarely on your head. Give him specific directions, (“Don’t settle for less than a dozen goddamn magic beans!”), and then raise the bar! Push him! You can’t shield your child from the world and then freak out when he becomes a resident of the world in his head.

    Speaking of shielding your children… Yo, Red Riding Hood’s Mom. What the fuck? You live next to a fucking forrest. A FORREST! I live in one of the biggest metropolises on the planet, a sprawling urban wasteland, yet because of our proximity to a very large park, my kid knows what a goddamn coyote LOOKS LIKE. She knows if one approaches her, she does not say, “Why to my gramma’s house, as a matter of fact,” she waves her arms and yells, “BACK OFF! BACK OFF!” (Which she charmingly practices every time we go for a walk. With her odd speech characteristics, everyone we encounter wonders how such a cute little six-year old became so angry that she’s screaming, “FUCK OFF! FUCK OFF!” on what would otherwise be a lovely afternoon. So there’s another parenting prize I take home.) If you live near a potential threat, it is not helping your kid by pretending it doesn’t exist. She will encounter it at some point. Give her tiny little manageable bites of awareness and teach her the tools and skills for dealing with it. That way she can carry her own fucking axe and granny might get some of those fresh-baked goodies rather than donating her wardrobe to a cross-dressing lupine.

    Also, you know, I’ve heard people never talk any more. I don’t think they ever did. I mean, all the spying in fairy tales? The princesses shoes are warn through every morning! Oh, no! So Mr.Cleverdick says, “I know! I’ll sneak in and spy on them in their bedroom!” AND DAD GIVES HIS CONSENT! Alright, I’m sorry, there are so many things wrong here my head just blew up, but my ORIGINAL point was…. why not ask? I think Shakespeare actually got it right in HAMLET. If you lurk behind curtains listening for secrets, you are gonna get stabbed. Nobody takes the simple option of involving the other person. I blame this particular foible of humanity for everything from recording phone conversations to nanny-cams to the eleventh incarnation of CSI. If you want some information, you can either go through extraordinary and morally questionable gymnastics to get it all by yourself, OR YOU COULD ASK.

    “Hey! What’s up with your shoes, girls? Why are they worn out every morning?”
    “Oh, Dad, so glad you asked. There’s a spell on us and we turn into swans every night and go dancing.”
    “Wow. I had no idea. Are you happy?”
    “Very. Last night deadmau5 was spinning. Unbelievable.”
    “Okay, then. Just be safe.”
    “We will. Love you, Daddy!”

    This is also true for Rapunzel’s parents, by the way. If your wife has a pregnancy craving for something your next door neighbor is growing, you could sneak into her yard and steal it, OR you could nicely knock on the lady’s front door and show her the respect of ASKING. I did this with my neighbor’s kumquats. It’s very liberating and civic-minded, plus you don’t have anyone demand your daughter as payment. As much as I offered.

    Think of the agony an entire kingdom could have been spared if ANYONE had talked in SLEEPING BEAUTY. Tell the fairy why she wasn’t invited. Let her make amends. Tell your child she’s probably gonna have a short life. Let her live it to the fullest. Tell the prince necrophilia is frowned upon. Let him get some therapy.

    I promised I’m not going to delve into the topic of feminine ideals, and I shan’t, but for the love of fairy dust, listen to the advice of THIS Disney heroine:imgres

    You gotta have a goddamn conversation.

    Finally, the blatant racism of fairy-tales galls me. I’ve already mentioned the fact that wolves are okay to kill, even when they’re just doin’ their wolfy thing. Goldilocks was never once reprimanded for what was essentially a B and E only since they were bears and she was a blond, white girl, welllllll guess they should have known better than to wake her sleepy ass up. After she ate their food and wrecked their furniture. It’s always assumed the humans are in the right and the differently-abled or sized are in the wrong, even when the human has already had their life saved by a dwarf or giants are just sitting around being big. You want the dragon’s gold? Sure! By all means, kill him and take it! Not cool. Back up, humanity, and check your fucking privilege.

    So today’s idea is as follows: If you find yourself doing something kind of dickish only because it’s dictated by society, stop and decipher what part of society may have started the habit. If it can be traced back to some shitassery and has just been perpetuated ever since because that’s the way we do things, start a new trend! Write your own story! Make up your own cuss words! I sure as hell am. Because I am cuntabulous!

  9. Name and Shame

    May 29, 2014 by kim

    Trigger warning: rapey rapey subject

    I’ve been spending my allotted writing time recently working on a different project, so I’ve really just been communicating with the world through Twitter. However, the recent hashtag YesAllWomen inspired some interactions I feel compelled to comment upon, and one hundred and forty characters ain’t cutting it.

    A long time ago I was raped. So. Yeah. Then, yesterday, I SAID I was raped and received an abundance of lovely support. I also received some venom and some judgment which I found interesting. Now, I don’t think for one minute I will change anyone’s mind about how they react to such a personal and extreme incident, and I’m not going to address the trolls. But it does seem that when I put my own experiences into words and toss them in a bottle to be chucked into the Interwebz Ocean, some good comes of it. I feel better, for one, and sometimes people express that they feel better too. So I would like to do a little further musing on the subject matter, specifically why I do not name my attacker, as the phrase goes.

    I was nineteen and a virgin. He was the alpha male student in the department. The teachers deferred to him, other students idolized him, and I made out with him because that’s what the beta females do. It’s how I was programmed. My own sexual education consisted of, “Don’t do it,” so I was left to trust my own feelings of emotional neediness and burgeoning attraction to figure out my way through that jungle.

    The short version is, he made me spaghetti, he got drunk, he locked the door, I said I wanted to go, he alternated between, “It’s okay, I just wanna hold you,” and, “WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING TO ME? WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM?” then I remember him asking me if I came and taking a shower. There was a bloody handprint on my neck and I’m not sure whose it was, but I thought I wish they had squeezed. Then he drove me home.

    Here’s the first thing… he actually thought he was in the right. His ego and warped view of entitlement told him if a woman was in his room and he had an erection, she OWED him a fuck. This was not some savage maniac who was hiding in a bush, this was someone who had always defined “right” and was at the point in his life where, if he wanted it, it was by definition the right thing to have. He deserved it. And since I too had learned that male energy defined what is well and proper, I DID NOT KNOW I HAD BEEN RAPED. Yes, this is possible. This is common, even. So it wasn’t until a year later, when I was in therapy for the weird habit I had of vomiting violently whenever I slept around a male, (college dorms, remember, I wasn’t fucking anybody, just going to sleep while the roommate was doing homework with a lab partner), that the therapist asked me about my sexual history and I said I didn’t have one. Well, there was that one time….

    So then I named. I spoke up. I said something to my teacher. He told me he was sure the guy was very sorry. I said something to the girl he was hanging out with. She said I was jealous. I said something to my doctor. He said a lot of girls are confused about their first time.

    Sense a pattern?

    Most rapists are not obvious “bad guys”. You’d probably even like most of them. In fact, you probably know one and DO like him.

    Rapists can rape because they are experts at taking another’s power. People WANT to side with the person who has the power. It’s in our genetic code. This is why there are so many women decrying feminism and so many men mocking women who have been abused. The reaction at that time was for one of his friends to finally ask me to stop talking about it because it was upsetting everybody. (This friend of his recently contacted me to see if we could go for coffee. Clearly, his experience and mine were vastly different.)

    A few women sidled up to me in the darkness of the theater and said they believed me because it had happened to them too, or, worse, said they wished they had believed me when they had the chance. But mostly I was told resoundingly to shut up and take care of everybody’s feelings because I was clearly broken and deranged. It’s not people’s fault they respond this way. They are scared, too. They don’t want it to be true and they REALLY don’t want to have to stand up against the powerful, popular dude who is the clear winner of the fight, so please just la la la la la I can’t hear you stop being hurt.

    So I shut up and it took me seven years to figure out how to have an orgasm.

    About fifteen years ago, this particular sociopath came across my loose social circle. One of my best friends who had also suffered at his hands joined me in putting up a simple, “Guys, he is some bad fucking news,” and were met with…. get ready for it…. DISBELIEF! Oh he’s so charming! So talented! So lovely! How can you say that?

    So we shut up. Again. (Then he stole a bunch of money and left town. It’s small comfort to have people apologize after the fact, but a comfort nevertheless.)

    Now he’s a very successful person working in an arena I have also been in. He gets awards! He teaches at colleges and apparently fucks the students! He has a kid! He is universally applauded! Why don’t I name him?

    Because I don’t fucking want to. AND THAT’S A GOOD ENOUGH REASON! The thought makes me feel ashamed and scared. Because it sure as fuck wouldn’t look like all the people demanding his identity and thinking he’d suddenly be anathema. It would look like it always did. A few people would speak up and agree with me, probably overly dramatic women with a chip on their shoulder, and I’d be asked to shut the fuck up because at this point it’s libel since I never filed charges.

    Being raped is experiencing your body being used as an object for another human. Your needs are pulverized under that person’s will. If I feel compelled to open this wound up, not for my OWN healing, but to ostensibly help another person, to prioritize THEIR assumed needs…. how is that not perpetuating the problem? Now, if it would make me feel free and strong and right and good and loud…. then fuck yes! Name and shame!

    But if naming results in more shame for me, I think I’m allowed to take care of myself.

  10. for shame, give a guy a break

    October 7, 2013 by kim

    Let’s start with a disclaimer, shall we? Let’s shall!

    I am about to grotesquely generalize. Specifically I will be generalizing men, but I’ll probably lump a few of us xx-chromosomes in there for good measure. If you are an exception to my blatant laziness and refusal to do any form of fact-based reporting to support my opinions, you are actually welcome to leave a message. I’d like it to be kind, that makes it easier to learn from, but please note I am aware and saying right up front that when I say, “guys,” I mean, “The guys to whom this applies.” If it does not apply to you, well then good on ya. Also, let me go on record as stating my intention is not to label or judge men. My intention is to impart a little lesson that made MY life easier when dealing with men, so hopefully it might do the same for my sisters.

    There. Hope the lawyers amongst you are satisfied.


    This is astounding to me. I really thought we cornered the market on “issues”. I mean, come on. We have PMS, for fuck’s sake! It’s, like, practically sanctioned to be irrationally moody and hyper-emotional at least once a month. We are the sensitive sex. The emotional ones. We are the soft, squishy sponges who soak up feelings like grape juice on the counter and leak them out all over the porcelain sink of life. Dudes? If you can’t eat it or fuck it, why do they care?

    Uh… yeah. Apparently that’s an inappropriate assumption. They have feelings!!!!!

    My “thing” is abandonment. It paralyzes me. Aside from harming my child, the worst thing you can do to me is walk away during a fight. When I feel abandoned I cease being able to function in a rational manner and become a three-year old child lost in the woods, watching the sun go down and waiting for the wolves to come get me. I KNOW it doesn’t make sense. I am, by all accounts, perfectly capable of keeping myself sustained and breathing. Chances are I probably won’t die because my boyfriend won’t pick up the phone for three days. But it sure as hell feels like it.

    A lot of women have abandonment as a “thing”. It’s pretty common, actually. And, because dudes don’t seem to, we neglect to realize that there might be another thing that’s their “thing”.

    A dear friend of mine who identified as a lesbian for her whole life found herself in love with a man. (YOU ARE NOT WELCOME TO COMMENT ON THIS. Your own personal reaction to that statement is of no interest to me whatsoever. I support this individual, I love this individual, and I will not see her life used to further an agenda on either side of the fence.) They were experiencing some difficulty at one point, and we talked about it.

    “I don’t know why he’s so angry,” she said. “It’s my problem.”
    I answered, “Yeah, but he can’t fix it.”
    “So? He doesn’t have to fix it. But he told me I shouldn’t even be upset about it.”
    “Because he can’t fix it.”
    “He’s mad because he can’t DO anything,” I explained.
    “Well, he could listen,” she offered.
    “Honey, he’s a man. This is what they do. If their woman has a problem, it’s their job to fix it. If they can’t, then the fucking problem should not exist any more.”
    “Wow. Lesbians just ‘process’ everything. Not much gets done, but at least somebody listens to me.”

    So, obviously, the person having the experience here is the woman. She has needs for validation and affirmation that simply listening would provide. He’s just being a neanderthal.

    Or… Or…. OR… he’s experiencing something too!

    One of my two best friends on this planet is married to a man who is wise and wonderful and works as a facilitator for men’s group therapy. I was talking, (ie “venting”) about someone once and he said, “Oh. He has shame issues.” That stopped me dead in my tracks.

    “Shame. It’s very common for men. It’s paralyzing for a lot of us.”

    I’ve always assumed guys who become idiots when they are mocked or make mistakes or can’t find a solution to a problem are just not trying to keep their big-boy pants on hard enough. I mean, I get shamed a dozen times a day. I have various reactions to it, but none of them constitute a radioactive meltdown. My friend’s husband continued.

    “Men react to shame the same way a lot of women react to abandonment.”

    Oh well fuck.

    I remember discussing with one of my favorite male recovering alcoholics about men’s fear of women. His hypothesis was that male aggression stemmed from fear. I couldn’t imagine what they had to fear from us, but he said, “Failure.” That’s shame right there, that is.

    The same way we, as little girls, (and often older girls), believe that if he REALLY loves us, he’d just know…. guess what? They think so too! Imagine how fucking frustrating that could be, knowing that it’s actually your JOB to have a solution but you’re a day late and you’ve misplaced the manual that was written in Mandarin anyway and oh by the way it calls for AAA batteries and you only have C. Is someone you love sad? That means one thing and one thing only: YOU ARE A GIANT FUCK UP OF A FAILURE AND NO ONE WILL EVER LOVE YOU!

    Wow. That sucks.

    So, ladies, just for today, let’s give our guys some breaks. Instead of seeing an insensitive boor or an angry behemoth, (assuming you are safe. This is talking about just fiddly day-to-day details here, not spousal abuse. That demands help. Get it.) see a little boy standing on the school yard with a stain on his pants trying not to cry as everyone points and laughs at him. Tell him he’s doing a good job. Tell him you appreciate and admire his strength and that, if there WAS a solution, you know he’d be able to find it in a heartbeat. And, for God’s sake, don’t chastise him for not being someone else if you want him to function. Especially if you love him.

    Because, see, when I try that…. the guy who needed to walk away from me always comes back.