Sunday, October 25, 2009

How everything changes so fast

Laurie kept planning to move out and get her own apartment, but then she would decide that she didn’t have enough money to move. So then we would talk about who was going to move out, since we thought it would be better for our relationship. I started becoming aware of the ways in which I wasn’t so welcome in certain dyke spaces, I mean I’d always noticed the way I sometimes became a sort of fetish object, oh I like your hair your nails your pants your politics, and other times everyone would ignore me because I wasn’t on the sexual menu, but I always thought it was okay, I mean just look at the way that dykes were treated in fag spaces. There was a certain kind of status about being one of the only fags welcome in dyke spaces, or almost welcome, it meant I had done my work. Kind of like being one of the only white people invited into some of those early activist groups, like the one where we fought over consensus and then I realized I was taking everyone’s rage and putting it inside me, like with my father, and that I needed to stop, to step back and figure something else out. Maybe part of figuring this out meant questioning that type of inclusion, I mean when it wasn’t really inclusion.

One time Laurie and I went to a party at a new art space that was also someone’s house, this was a different crowd, a newer crowd in the Mission, do you see how everything changes so fast? More money or maybe just attitude like money or college or something like that but some of the same people and this one person who was known for walking her slave around on a leash came up to me in the courtyard out back and said: do you mind if I piss here? Sure, no problem, I said, and she pulled down her pants and pissed all over my legs, mostly on my boots but on my legs too and I knew this game, I knew this game even though I’d never played it, never played it in this way but I stood there and acted like I didn’t even notice. Afterwards I felt so distant, maybe shaking a little bit like childhood too but enraged and maybe this was one of the things we talked about in the kitchen, how SM was becoming so trendy and how, when something becomes really trendy it can only go wrong. Sure, we were also angry about plaid pants on the runways, fashion victims who dyed their hair with Manic Panic, and mainstream gay men who wore combat boots, but this was different because it went deeper. Kind of like how I never wanted to recommend turning tricks to anyone, because of how it would change your life, I mean I would share all my knowledge but I never said do it, you should do it, it’s easy, like a lot of people said, because it’s never really easy.

But that was later, soon I would be a hooker, I mean in just a few months and it was already familiar, and then it would last for too many years and then when it was over it still wouldn’t be over and that’s where I am now. But back to the Mission, in the early-‘90s, earlier I said something about how New Age was just above trust fund trash in the hierarchy of morals, but the truth is that this was the West Coast, so you’d go to a party, any party, and someone would be doing tarot. Sometimes even in our kitchen, and I was aghast but really it was everywhere so eventually I learned to act like it was okay, like with altars, it seems like everyone in San Francisco had an altar, sometimes it was a bunch of Eastern religious symbols, take your pick and presto -- meaning -- but other times it might just be an empty cigarette pack from your ex-boyfriend, a yellowing black-and-white picture of a city you’d never been to, twigs from the street after a big storm, a rock from the beach, and a few club flyers -- and then it might become beautiful because it wasn’t just someone else’s feelings.

A lot of people had boundary issues -- Zee would put his arms around Laurie to cuddle, and she would cringe. He thought he knew her because he knew me, but I didn’t think all my friends needed to be friends. Actually, I cringed too -- what was Zee doing? Soon we were breaking up and getting back together -- we would stand on the sidewalk for hours in tense conversation, maybe I was smoking or on the verge of doing crystal again and Zee might have been stoned or pretending not to be or one of us was trying to run away or something was stuck, I guess we were stuck. At one point I threw something against his wall when we were fighting, and it scared him and I didn’t understand because I wasn’t throwing it at him but then I understood. Another time, I decided to take a break from sex because I was overwhelmed by the flashbacks that were surrounding me, like the time when I started screaming because someone was coming after me in the dark but it was Zee, coming out to hold me or maybe not originally to hold me but then he was. I wasn’t afraid of him, I was afraid of my father, under the bed with an axe, hiding behind the curtains, he was still there. Sometimes I would leave my house and then I couldn’t figure out where I was, oh this is the bus, oh people are getting off, can I get off, oh I can get off, okay I’ll get off the bus. Zee called me to be in a porn video with him, we were always planning to do sex work together but then we would break down, actually he would break down, something about how it would change our relationship and now I’m sure he was right. But you remember what I said about his physical boundaries? Anyway, he called me because his costar showed up strung out on crystal so they had to send him away, and I took his place because I needed the money, maybe I’d just gotten fired from the used clothing store where everything was a dollar a pound, I’m not sure.

It was always difficult for me to get fucked, but more difficult on camera when they kept making us stop and start again, the painful part and afterwards I couldn’t come and Zee got kind of angry because that meant we would have to go back, he didn’t even hold me afterwards and I felt like a broken toy. Maybe this was around the end of our relationship, I’m not sure. But we kept breaking up, or almost breaking up, which was kind of the same thing, and my relationship with Laurie was imploding, and that’s when I decided to go to Seattle. Just for a month, to take some space and figure out what to do. JoAnne was in Seattle, she was another person who I’d met at the March on Washington but we hadn’t stayed in touch, was it Garrett who gave me her number?

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