Why don’tcha leave me alone? I feel so broke-up…

It’s interesting — I have to keep reminding myself that not everyone can see the traces of someone’s editing process in their writing like I can. And there’s some interesting things I notice…

For example, I got a reply to one of my Craigslist “housing wanted” ads yesterday. Someone who had actually read the ad — a rarity — and followed the instructions for contacting me. She mentioned that she had two rooms opening up (a bad sign for me, because it means moving in with one near-stranger and one complete stranger) and linked me to the ad she had up for the other, more expensive room. The room she was writing to me about was already at my maximum, and I’d be expected to additionally share the cost of utilities, which put it way out of my reach.

But the things that stood out to me were that even though she talked about herself first, it showed that she’d initially given her list of requirements first — in the “Me:” section were things like “I’m also a non-smoker, non-drinker, and vegan” for example, and other stuff that referenced the section down below about “You: must be (blah blah blah.)”

And in that section, she had things like “not a heavy drinker” and something about how “you recognize that housekeeping is a part of life” and how you’ll make sure the house “stays very tidy” and holy shit, the way she wrote it translated so clearly as “I’m an anal-retentive neat freak and likely a control freak as well” and then she ended that section by saying “bonus points” if you’re vegetarian or vegan.

She also mentioned in there that you “won’t have frequent overnight guests.” Okay, look — I really, really don’t understand the sex-hate and the slut-shaming around here. Whether in the (once-upon-a-time) Hippie Central of Berkeley or the supposed “Queer Capital” of San Francisco (though that’s becoming more Oakland these days) or anywhere in the “Gay Area” — the first thing I see is “no overnight guests.” Occasionally I’ll see something like this chick wrote, and it’s “no frequent overnight guests.” And it makes no fucking sense to me! Look, I get not wanting someone to “not quite move in” their significant other. I’ve lived with the Girl-Child and her Boy-Toy who “didn’t live there” — he just stayed over every single night, hung out there every single day, and made the water and gas bills triple in just the first month with all of the hour-long shower-sex sessions they were having. That sucks, and I wouldn’t expect anyone to be okay dealing with that. But having someone over two or three times a week? Someone who leaves in the morning, has minimal interaction with and minimal impact on anyone else living there? News flash: some people fuck. Some people aren’t ashamed of that. Some people don’t do monogamy. Some people don’t have a “steady partner” who has their own home and doesn’t care that “my place or yours” always has the same answer.

But remember, kids — sex is bad, mmkay? Even if it’s part of looking after and maintaining your health! Trying to explain that to people is often not worth the effort. Also — okay, you choose to eliminate a bunch of potential food sources from your dietary intake, as a matter of your overall health and well-being. I choose to give my body the foods that it needs for my overall health and well-being. But in the Bay Area there are more folks who selectively restrict their diets (and many more who have the financial luxury of being able to do so) than there are people like me — poor and not picky. But even if I were rich I wouldn’t try to harm myself that way. Finding housing with other omnivores is another headache on top of everything else.

So is finding housing without animals running around… I’m allergic to pets, and I don’t much like most of them anyway. I may play with your cat, as long as I can get away afterwards, and I’ll avoid your dog (yes, I’m sure she’s the sweetest little puppy in the whole wide world, and I don’t think she’s going to bite me. I’m not scared of her, just not fond of her. Really. Yes, I know that she licks my hands and face because she likes me. Should I lick your hands and face, too? Oh, yeah, that is kinda gross. Welcome to my world.)  The times that I do find animal-free housing, it’s the folks who make everything to do with animals a political rallying point. And I can’t deal with cigarette smoke, either — finding smoke-free places often means also finding people who think that alcohol is a horrible, disgusting thing, that anyone who drinks is a moral failure and a worthless, unmotivated loser who just needs to find a purpose so they won’t need to lean on those drugs anymore. And look, I don’t care if you use pot, smoked or vaped or edible or whatever. I might have even encountered it myself at some point, and I don’t think I could claim it’s a bad thing at all — seems like (hypothetically, of course) it would be rather pleasant. But I can’t live with it, not in the same space I’m supposed to call home. Sure, come home high as fuck sometimes, I couldn’t give any less of a shit. Come home drunk, whatever — I certainly will sometimes! But most folks seem to expect that if you’re cool with one drug, you’re cool with them all, and in any amount, and at all times. Moderation or being selective isn’t possible, somehow… if you’re cool with booze, you’re obviously cool with weed and tobacco and who knows, maybe someone does a few lines when they get home tonight, why would you care? Or you’re on the other end of things: no tobacco, no cannabis, no alcohol, and if you choose to take any of those into your body you’re a horrible person who deserves to suffer because clearly you don’t care about yourself!

Just… Ugh. No men, no pets, no smoking. Yes to meat, yes to sex, yes to booze. I’d ask why that’s such an incredibly difficult concept, but then I remember that it’s only incredibly difficult when you’re trying to spend over 90% of your above-the-table income on rent, and you’re not likely to find even the bottom-end options for under 150% of your income.  I’m too broke to ask for basic access needs, and if I do, I’m somehow a super-picky bitch.

I just wanna go home.


(untitled poetry)

Wake with a headache like every other day
I think I’m clenching my jaw while I sleep
Bounced awake today by the crashing panicked sounds of
(which means running early, honestly, for them)
and that goddamned
From every entry or exit
(why are the wealthy so desperately afraid?)

I manage to get myself upright
Empty the bladder
(and this time I don’t even have to find a way to cover my body in pretended shame)
Start into the morning routine,
Checking mail
Paying next month’s bills
(since I have enough money to do so now)
Look through Facebook, nothing critically important
Just a handful of posts complaining about
Fat women comfortable in their bodies,
Gay men enjoying sex for themselves
Religious and ethnic minorities daring to question their shitty treatment
(why are the folks benefiting most from oppression so full of hate?)

Before I can get away, get dressed, get out, get fed
The others are back again
Announcing that the perimeter has been breached
(they’re coming for us! you’re not safe! there’s somebody in the house! be afraid!)
Though the sniffing, snorting, nose-blowing, coughing, choking, guh-HURK! guh-HRRRRRRRRHHHHKKKKK!
Of a still-untreated sickness just as loudly signals to me
That I am not safe
That I am not alone
That I am not allowed any peace
(why are my simple and specific needs so difficult to consider, so hard for others to take seriously?)

So instead of actually getting anything done,
I’m sitting here typing up this stupid thing
Doing anything I can to make more noise
Because the only option I ever seem to have is to harm myself
In a manner of my own choosing
Or to let others decide the method and amount of harm

fuck everything

Somebody bring me some water!

I’ve been up a little less than 6 hours now. I slept for about 10 hours before that, after finally knocking myself out with NyQuil.

My head has been absolutely THUNDERING PAIN since I woke up, and at first I figured I was probably dehydrated, and possibly a little bit hungry too. I went to get something to drink just after I was awake, but I had so  little energy that I just drank a glass of milk because I didn’t feel like pouring any more than that. I got some leftovers out and heated them, and after 3 minutes of heating I didn’t care if it was warmed through or not. Hungry. Took that back upstairs and ate a little bit, but had no appetite and finally dragged the rest back to the fridge…

Then I figured since the headache was still around, I’d take a bath. I was already feeling irritable because when I was trying to microwave my food, I didn’t have anywhere to set things as I was wrangling with the haphazard house-of-cards mess that comprises the fridge contents, because The Rabbit had left her mess of stuff all over when she went to bed (she doesn’t tend to clean up behind herself, though, which is a continual frustration for me.) So I go in to the tub with a headache and a foul mood…

…and then I spend almost 15 minutes cleaning up after her so that I could take a bath! She had left her shampoo precariously balanced on the edge of the tub the other day when she took a bath this week (she seems to only bathe weekly or less,) and that must have been the crashing noise I heard when I was using the toilet a couple days ago. I didn’t think to check, because I’m pretty much fed up with constantly cleaning up after her, with that work never acknowledged or thanked or possibly even ever noticed. Well, that shampoo bottle wasn’t in the tub anymore, but the long trail of shampoo that had poured out across the entire length of the tub down to the drain was in the tub.

That stuff makes a hell of a lather, I’ll tell you that much.

Took my bath, nice and hot the way I like it (and the heat actually lasted through the entire time filling the tub, which is unusual.) Head is still POUNDING. All the coughing I’ve been doing hasn’t helped, either. The worst of this cold was fairly short, but this fucking cough has been killing me still, almost a week after the rest of the symptoms have gone.

So I sit down to write about it the headache, and as I’m looking at the numbers, I realize that from the time I ate dinner on Monday night until the time I pecked at a tiny bit of my leftovers was over 24 hours without food. And the worse part is shrugging my shoulders at the knowledge that it’s not unusual at all for me. I don’t have very much in the way of food I can eat here, and even when I do, it’s not much help since I’m usually trying to get the fuck out of here to attempt to maintain my sanity.

I still have no idea how I’m going to find a place to live. I can’t afford the luxury of a safe roof overhead, and I can’t afford the constant sensory assault, the complete lack of time alone, and the consistent stressful interactions with the people here, living on someone else’s schedule. I don’t have enough energy to throw myself into any significant work, and all of the things I need to accomplish require help or input from other people. Even something that should be simple, like cleaning this room I’m staying in I can’t do alone; it requires The Rabbit to get her stuff cleared out more (and she’s promised and promised that she’ll make some closet space free so I can at least put my clothes away.) That doesn’t happen without her actually putting in the time and effort. And when I’m not sleeping well, or enough… and I’m not eating well, or enough… and I’m not masturbating regularly even when I’m horny… and I’m barely scraping by in far too many ways… I don’t have the energy to do more than that.

My head still hurts, so I really ought to publish this, get some more liquid in me, take some ibuprofen, and maybe throw in some cough syrup to the mix because this stupid tickle in my throat is driving me crazy.

Where they find a molehill, a mountain grows!

Just thinking about how it often seems that taking measures to keep yourself safe is seen as evidence that you’re doing something “bad.”

Carrying condoms or other safe sex supplies on you? You’re obviously doing sex work, and those supplies are still used as evidence of your alleged “crime” in plenty of places.

Using encryption tools on your electronic devices? You’re obviously a terrorist or a violent child rapist (the two currently-trendy bogeymen endlessly hauled out to frighten people into giving away their rights and freedoms) and the fact that you’ve used those tools is often used as evidence of your alleged wrongdoing.

Keep your money in cash stashed somewhere instead of keeping it in a bank? Use a pre-paid cheapo phone, maybe even get one that (in the U.S.) isn’t locked to a specific mobile carrier? Both of those are frequently deemed “suspicious” and pointed to as obvious indicators that you’re up to no good.

You know what I hear in all of that? I hear the echoes of a (hypothetical) abusive partner saying “If you really loved me, you wouldn’t have any boundaries, and you wouldn’t hide anything from me, and you’d let me take care of everything for you! Just trust me!” And that raises all sorts of red flags…

Sometimes the spell may last past what you can see… and turn against you.

I’m in the process of reading an excellent non-fiction book at the moment, “Harmful to Minors: The Perils of protecting children from sex” by Judith Levine. Only made it about halfway through so far, but it’s a brilliant read already.

Published in 2001, it’s at least as relevant today as then — and refreshing to see one more voice among the very few willing to speak truth and cite sources instead of simply parroting the politically palatable lies and hysteria that (sadly) seem to dominate discourse on the subject today.

From the inside cover blurb of the dust jacket: “Through interviews with young people and their parents, stories drawn from today’s headlines, visits to classrooms and clinics, and a look back at the ways sex among children and teenagers has been viewed throughout history, Judith Levine debunks some of the dominant myths of our society. She examines and challenges widespread anxieties (pedophilia, stranger kidnapping, Internet pornography) and sacred cows (abstinence-based sex education, statutory rape laws). Levine investigates the policies and practices that affect kids’ sex lives– censorship, psychology, sex and AIDS education, family, criminal, and reproductive law, and the journalism that begs for ‘solutions’ while inciting more fear.”

The book starts with a foreword by Dr. Jocelyn Elders — y’know, the former U.S. Surgeon General who was fired from that job for daring to say that masturbation is a natural and healthy thing to do (gasp! The horror! Quick, clutch your pearls with me! Let’s all scream in unison, “THINK OF THE CHILDREN!Whew! That’s better… almost let in a bit of sense there, didn’t we?) and continues through several themed chapters, each addressing an area of common misconception, or bad public policy, or backwards social standards. She makes simple, easily understandable arguments for her positions and references primary sources, shows parallels between the current moralistic panics and similar ones throughout history, and brings into sharp relief much of the absurdity surrounding the contemporary received wisdom — making a solid case for why the measures taken to “protect” children from anything and everything to do with sex are the things which are truly (as the title states) harmful to minors.

Looking forward to finishing the rest of the book soon, and perhaps I’ll write a bit more when I’ve done so! If you have the opportunity, pick up a copy. Try your local public library if nothing else — you might just find that a shot of truth, neat, no chaser, will open your mind… and maybe even give you a glimpse of something other than irrational fear to motivate you!

%d bloggers like this: