mad men

I’m dragging myself back to it again because of this article, despite having thrown up my hands in disgust a few episodes in at what I deemed [and still maintain to be] shitty people leading shitty lives. I don’t really understand what I’m supposed to feel here—relief at not having had to be who I am, back then? Pfft. I knew how good I had it. My parents bothered to tell me how it was. Is the whole point just to make me angry at the way things were, and thus to further my resolve to keep it from going that way again? It’s not going that way, so I don’t see that as a valid point. The Tea Party and its druthers notwithstanding.

Pete Campbell as a character, though, is now more depressing than ever, since the people I know whose lives mirror his have multiplied. Him with his stupid gun as his wife berates him, then feeding with watery eyes these demented hyper testosterone fantasies of killing and cutting and being fed the kill by subservient women…ugh. And his “I like doing things for her” is so spot-on, because people do try to convince themselves that this is what they want. You see it all the time. But you can’t make a tinker out of a trolloc. In this, even my psychosis-ridden dog is superior in intellect. Dress it up as fancily you wish, with blankets and peanut butter and pillows and even meat, it doesn’t matter. She’ll know it for the cage it is and chew her way out, even if she has to shatter her teeth and slash her ears to ribbons doing it.

But Draper and Campbell are desperately trying to convince themselves that their petty purchases and bedroom dalliances make the cage somewhere they’re in power, somewhere they chose and would choose again, if given the chance. Perhaps what they really need to invest are some beagles, who would quickly show them the error of their ways…

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On Bad Life Decisions

People around me keep falling apart, and I am powerless to stop them.

…which sounds really vain (what, like it’s my job to?) and pretentious (what, like I could if I tried?), neither of which I intend.

(I met the person I could’ve become if I’d stayed in my old line of work, and he was a mess, and that was I guess a relief, but I don’t mean him.)

I mean people close to me. They just keep spiraling down. And I’m not actually that close so I can’t really even say anything and when I do it’s just like “hey, you there, you look, uh, in need of more help than I can possibly offer you with my meager years and experience.” EVERY TIME. And then if that prod doesn’t work I flee, so as not to watch it all come to a head. They used to ask for help. It was awkward but at least I had that to work with, had that reason to even open my mouth. Now the decisions are the same but the people are smarter and they feel worse for making them. So they just go down this black hole.

Also, I am surrounded by women who treat the men in their lives abominably. Seriously. What. Is. Wrong. With. You.

On Weightlifting

I’ve never liked it this much before. Granted, I had only done it a little, before, and then only as part of a laundry list of physical activities to pursue to make time pass and distract me some. I loathed the slowness of lifting and would vastly have preferred running, but I’d already done that. 

I’m okay with the speed of it now, though, and especially with the results. Probably the more pleasing effect has more to do with  my actually having a list of lifts to make sure all parts of a limb get used (plus the increased weight) than with any diligence on my part, but I was knitting yesterday and glanced past the wrist and thought yep, yeah, that’s still me. Most of my life, my flesh has been a burlap sack that’s dumped over the stuff I value, and it’s scratchy and awkward and people look at it and think “yeah, trashy.” Or fat, or unhealthily pale, or whatever. Now, though, I’m not looking at clothes trying to consider how best to hide that which everyone has some problem with. I think, fuck yeah, those are my arms, and that will sit nicely on them. 

The appeal isn’t, as I would definitely have assumed it would be not long ago, due to perceived power either. I don’t walk around thinking how safe I am because I lift, or that I would be in any way more likely to bust heads if someone tried to fuck with me. (That’s part of the reason I lifted in Japan, too, and we see how much that mattered when someone actually tried to fuck with me…yeah.) It has nothing to do with a comparison with men or even with other women—I neither know anyone near me who likes lifting (or me) enough to talk about it with me, nor can I make presumptions based on the build of this or that person, and compare myself with the thusly revealed regimen. I’m viciously competitive and I’m relieved that competition has no part of this, as souring a motivator as it eventually turns out to be.

I think it’s that for the first time my body is actually doing things I want it to. How long do you spend bowled over by it? Turned from a spry little kid into a lumpen mess of a teenager whom even your own grandmother sees fit to poke and prod and pronounce unfortunate, then shoved off into peer groups who’d slit a goat’s throat on a mountaintop if it brought them closer to The Vaunted Tit, whereupon you are deemed old enough for the whispered haranguing to begin: maybe you should let your body drag you through more unknown clusterfucks; maybe you should get pregnant and see how THAT goes, don’t you see how everyone but you would enjoy that? Bodies, temples, magic, babies, rah rah rah.

Fuck you people, I’ve got arms with muscles now. They’re there because I put them there, not because some wretched cocktail of hormones and peer pressure dragged them into existence. Somebody else can pump themselves full of silicone then have the babies then wear the spanx to pretend they didn’t have the babies then sweat and starve away the physical reminders of every meal they ever ate, all while striving desperately not to upset (or outshine, strengthwise) the fragile self-conception of their partners who incorrigibly equate masculinity with the kind of body they too will never have, further snowballing this hurricane of mental and physical fuckeditude. 

I will be quietly lifting weights in the wee hours of the morning, and marveling at the body’s ability to rise to the demands you—I—place before it.

Mrs. Dalloway

For years I was obsessed with The Waves. I still have my original copy, bristling with plastic note stickers like a porcupine. But Mrs. Dalloway is much dearer to me now. At the time, while I understood what I was taught about there being so much meaning invested in this seemingly mundane thing, yet another dinner party of so many in a life, I fancied I I understood it. But if I did, it was an understanding born of condescension. I looked down on her awareness of the fleetingness of things and on her dogged conviction to try and create this one brief, sheltered moment that would last. I thought she should be able to accept everything passing, gracefully, and not to keep fighting it with these desperately-forged memories.

I was a fool.

When you care for very few people, and you are lucky to boot, you aren’t so acquainted with loss. And I’m still not, not in the way most people are or will be, some day. I don’t know what it feels like to lose somone you love and to know you will never get them back. The closest I can come—and here I am grateful for the format of tumblr, its lack of reply buttons, because I know I would be chastised for even this hesitant comparison—is having lost people I love for a year or so, though my own fault, and having them returned to me. Since then, I think, I have been trying to go the route of Mrs Dalloway, digging in, constructing shelters, trying to preserve one moment after the next in a futile attempt to shore up against the next loss. It is why I want to buy a house. Why I try and cook when I used to have no interest. It’s why, as if I were playing The Sims, I just want everyone in my building to be happy, and content, and to leave me out of it, so that I can chronicle that contentment dutifully. There isn’t a day I walk from the bus stop to work when I don’t think how lucky I am that the house I’ve left behind me isn’t empty.

Wrath Thy Name Is Sniggering

Went apeshit today. Haven’t really gone apeshit since that 9/11 conspiracy theorist I lived with. This guy would fancy himself a 9/11 conspiracy theorist too, if he wasn’t too lazy to believe in things.

It wasn’t about that, though, that I got angrier than I’ve been in years. I finally found out what would be the button they’d push, for me, when they lock you in a room with a guy in OT who is tasked with “breaking” you. I knew people who had done it but didn’t know them well enough to ask what would set them off, and I always kept it in the back of my mind, wondering what it would be in my case and cataloging it when I saw other people’s breaking points. For a lot of males, it’s being told what to do, or some related form of control issue. Their neurotransmitters misfire into some clusterfuck of unintelligible rage. For others, of either sex, it’s physicality. I doubted it would be that with me because though I resent it mightily when people go that route, I put up with it. What it ended up being was more childish than that, I guess, if bodily harm can be placed over emotional (the law does it; one assumes with a purpose). I was fucked with, for no reason and with absolutely zero provocation on my end. But that wasn’t what made me snap. It was others’—this guy’s—chortling merriment at my fucked-ness.

Oh, I snapped all right.

It was viciously familiar. It was having decorations ripped off my head and thrown out of the window of the bus in elementary school, while everyone jeered and thumped the seat around my face. It was walking home with a best friend who giggled as peers idled past in the cars of their siblings, proclaiming my obesity to the world amidst hoots and hollers. It was the small, relieved smile on the face of the woman I locked eyes with as the guy on the train in Yokohama backed me into a corner. That is what does it for me. Uncaring, heartless, absolute bullshit merriment at the helplessness of others. 

I guess I never have to go into OT to find that out about myself, then.

I was livid. I don’t troll people. At all. I may resent them, grumble about them, avoid them, but I never plant bombs for them to find and stumble on while I howl like a hyena in the background. A Visa rep did this to me. My time was short; I had bills to pay and a misclick on my part locked down my card, and instead of sending me to the E-business department he sent me to a prank number and then locked down my attempts to call him back. It just automatically hung up on me. I couldn’t fix my card, I couldn’t report him, I couldn’t do anything. Impotent and furious, I slammed out a brief description of the scenario on that wretched site that draws drama like moths to a flame, and this guy is amused. He is afuckingmused. Aaaaand I lost it.

Eventually my bank circumvented Visa and fixed the issue for me. I got to the supervisor of the prankster and he claimed it must have been a mistake. I was too tired to duke it out, and had already wasted too much time on this at work. I let it go. But boiling behind the fatigue was the fierce resentment of, not the prankster himself, but that slimeball who thought it so very fucking funny. The fucker who claimed to be my friend.

I have gone great lengths to surround myself with kind people. With effort, I have become someone who can be patient and even sweet, despite lacking those traits in the beginning. This is so that people will be gentle to me. Because I have lived without gentleness and I do not like it. So I took steps to insure that it would not happen again.

This, though, is bullshit.