Put it in the deep freeze.

A deep freeze, my shrink explains to me.

She says I’ve been putting it in the deep freeze, like all good PTSDers do.

But it’s time to un-do. Our goal: EMDR, once it thaws a little more.

I enjoy this analogy, this deep freeze. I’ve Saran wrapped the tasty trauma to save for later: I put it in the deep freeze. Count on Saran™ for freshness that’s easy. Whatever it takes to appease me, to relieve me. Deep freeze: a condition of being held in temporary suspension or inactivity. Like a refrigerator, hard ice, a storage space to keep things for a long period of time. Store it in the back of the deep freeze and forget about it. It will keep there, hidden away, buried with ease. It will keep in the deep freeze. It will keep. If and when you take it out and let it thaw, like really thaw, be cautious and make certain it’s safe ‘cause when you take it out of the deep freeze it’s as good as fresh like oozing like no time has passed at all. Like you just stored it yesterday.

I enjoy this analogy. But letting it thaw makes me angry no matter how tasty the freeze promises it will be.

Anger can be healthy, says my psych.

Yeah well FUCK HIM, I reply.

Ten years go by.

Ten years go by.

Couldn’t even try to say hi. Keep it in the freeze.

I’m traumatized too goddammit, does he think he’s the only one?

Ten years go by and I’m finally done.

I can’t keep it in the deep freeze anymore, as good as fresh blood dripping knees to floor, fresh like thrift store fine china crashing against the back door.

He’s not the only one.

Dear god let me be done.

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X-Loves and madness and family holidays

Not sure what’s going on here but I took a zolpidem, swallowed it down with stale warm water yet refreshing water all the same. So I will be sleepying soon enough but sometimes right before bed there’s just something stewing or burning or aching that I must tend to before I can sleep. Tonite it’s like an ache in my bones like in my knees and hands and shoulders and my jaw is tight I keep trying to loosen it but this can be a difficult task. I ache emotionally for my mom for my dad for these parents of mine because they do so good to me when I visit and spend all this money on tasty food and all I really have to do is eat it and grace them with my joyous presence in return. But this narrative of giving and deserving and appreciating involves all these other weird manipulative social scripts like if I don’t act proper enough and host our extended guests as I should then its like a cost against me for all the costs my parents have incurred so that I may have such a privileged experience. Words and feelings like disrespect and distrust and hurt and pain get lost amidst these holiday performances of good food and family time.
We sit around my parents’ beautiful outdoor fire pit having dessert, in some ways it’s like the nite has only begun. Apparently my best friend Jessica who i have not spoken to since April 2012 for deeply painful reasons sent my mom a thanksgiving text message and my mom responded by inviting her to stop by. My mom invited her thinking what? shed be all cutesy and have Jess over even when my mom knows the sitch and needs to be my ally? So I’ve evacuated the downstairs and locked myself in the upstairs bedroom for the moment. I really really can’t see her on a whim on a holiday like that so whatever. I physically left the downstairs but I’ve also deserted my parents and all their work on the holiday and I don’t want them to think that I don’t appreciate them all and love them all I just need a place of refuge like this dark upstairs bedroom typing on my iPhone a blog entry into WordPress. I mean really mom, there’s almost a laugh coming out of my mouth and almost a tear coming down my cheek in disbelief I just don’t get why you’d invite her over. I feel weird and upset and quarantined with this insanity just leave me alone please and let me be. I might only feel safe here with the bedroom door locked lights off away from you and her.

the night before

The lovers walk hand in hand, across the slippery and saucy super-sized saucer: her plate, they skate along like grace at a pace in sync with the swirl and twirl of fork fingers, of spaghetti noodles. Silverware and Bolognese combine, intertwine, to pluck her palette with pleasure. She eats, mmm, mmm, one romantic grandstand after another to a salacious ovation applauding on the tip of her tongue. In the back of her throat. On the roof of her mouth. Titillating her taste buds only for such a moment to be remembered with torment, with painful self-humiliation.

That fucking diet, again. I don’t know, maybe this is the second or third “official” time. She made an appointment with a weight loss counselor. She has her own chart, with waist measurements, ass measurements, and her recorded BMI. She can just hear it now: come on back, it’s time to weigh in! as her smiling Jenny Craig comrade waives her down the lone hallway towards the scale. Are your pockets empty? No, but my stomach is. The fork moves slower, and misses spaghetti noodles in its droopy scoop. She pushes some chunks of sauce atop the entanglement and dives—fork first—into the bite, scratching against the plate like motherfucking nails on a chalkboard. She drops the fork and the handle clangs against the plate and she gasps with her hands held in the air begging for amnesty. Oh dear Cheesecake Factory, thou shalt grant me amnesty with the power of thy mercy. Save me from my impending doom, from the fascist calorie-counting regime that awaits my starvation. I hate myself more and more each day, each weigh-in, each ounce closer to a size six.

Ode to Professor Geary and Feminist Theory

“I came to theory because I was hurting—the pain within me was so intense that I could not go on living.  I came to theory desperate, wanting to comprehend—to grasp what was happening around and within me.  Most importantly, I wanted to make the hurt go away.  I saw in theory then a location for healing.” –bell hooks

I hear all the time

about this so-called divide

that we find

between theory and “real life.”

But some of us need theory to live.

There is no divide.

Professor Geary, there you are in feminist theories.  How awesome and lyrically convenient for me that your name rhymes with theory.  (Oh Dr. Geary, neoliberal capitalist theory is so dreary it makes me weary and a little teary!)  One day you said to the class with such sincerity when we were all frustrated with this “concept” of “neoliberalism,” frustrated with corporatization, with the insurmountable odds stacked high against us in hundred dollar bills for cheap thrills causing dire ills—we just couldn’t grasp it, we felt trapped with no way out—all this theory bullshit, all this greed and exploitation; the class was against you ready to throw our hands up and say, Fuck you academe! Fuck you theory! you reassured us: Some people…some people need theory, to live.  And there you are: dry-erase marker in hand, the white board behind you, and all our ten sets of eyes concentrated intently on you.  Some people…some people need theory, to live.  We all breathe in heavily, chests heaving together, exhaling, some of us breaking for a cigarette.

Some people need theory to live.  To resist.  To feel, to understand, to be, to learn, to interact, to thrive, survive, to love, to listen.  Some people need theory to live.

coffee against my lips

it’s cold by now but I still drink it

and the mug tips,

a little bit

slips

out the side of my mouth as I sip,

eyes looking past the mug onto my feminist lit—

coffee tear drops drip

and stain the polemic.

How do I understand this world I live in     we are all connected now     somehow     there’s the internet     there’s airplanes     there’s tourism     there’s the t.v.     there’s movies and there’s dvds and blank cds ripping copies for free     information as a commodity     there’s Google translate     there’s Google     there’s Facebook     we are all connected now     How do I understand it all     this New World Order     where does my milk come from     where do my bananas come from     let’s all preach equality and fair trade     we got Chiquita banana all dressed in a blue oval sticker all the way from an exotic, tropical, faraway republic     How Do I Understand This World I Live In     of contradiction     some people     need   theory     to     live     we are all connected now     somehow     in this era of globalization     turn of the millennium     post-nine-eleven     connected twenty-four/seven     with our bourgeois blackberries and iPhones     feeling all alone but surrounded     how do I understand this world I live in     where can I find the words I need     help me theory     help me explain explicate iterate and reiterate contemplate commiserate     identity     performativity     materiality     this life     that I am living co-existing imagining and producing, my privilege depending on that of another human’s suffering     amidst all this stigmatization of differentiation     perpetuating extremes of love and hate and the rich and the poor and the traumatic and the joyous     help me remake meaning     help me understand this world I live in     help me theory     help me transform and be transformative, imagine an alternative     we are all connected now

Coming Out of the Closet

I’m eight years old, and Brittany is six.  Every Saturday since we can remember we spend the night over at Grandma and Poppy’s house—just down the street on Grover’s, on the west side of Tatum Boulevard.  Every Saturday we spend the night over at Grandma and Poppy’s.  There’s a spare bedroom just for us at the end of the long, narrow, dark hallway of the small, one-story house down Grover’s, on the west side of Tatum.  Our room is next to the garage door.  Across the hall from Poppy’s den.  Wonderful things happen in Poppy’s den.  He works in there for hours and hours, building model trains and cars.  He takes us to the Hobby Bench to pick out his next project with him.  He limps, a bad hip.  He talks unusually loud, his voice booming and almost startling.  Grandma back-hand slaps him on the shoulder, and screeches, Arnie, turn up your hearing aid!  Poppy’s eyes open wide and he shrugs his shoulders, implying, what can I do?  He’s mostly deaf.  Since World War Two.  World War Two—Poppy a lone veteran.  Ear drums blown out from the all-too-nearby blast of hand grenades.  Ka-plow-ee!  Off in the jungles of the Pacific.  Island hopping.  Hand grenades blasted and my poppy’s ear drums go ka-plow-ee.

He brings back a small sack of precious stones, gems, pearl-like beauties from his island hopping during World War Two.  I wonder my whole life where they are today, and how he got them.  A historical mystery of sorts.   We check out from the Hobby Bench with a new project.

Our room is down the hall, next to the garage door, across from Poppy’s den.  We have a pull-out couch for a bed.  We have a small walk-in closet full of random and incomplete toy sets, misplaced children’s books, and clashed items of clothing like an off-white and maroon ski jacket on a hanger next to a pair of bathing suit bottoms, draped over the corner of a coat hanger—tilted sideways from the imbalance.  Where’s the matching bathing suit top?  It must be somewhere in here, perhaps over near the shoebox with no lid, holding a pair of my dad’s old business loafers, wrestled in closet dust and placed rather queerly in the rectangle cardboard—one shoe lay sideways while the other shoe lay similarly pointed in the same direction yet completely upside down.  This is what I love about this small walk-in closet that is really no one’s walk-in closet in particular, just a walk-in closet that so happens to be in the spare bedroom that is kind of my sister and mine’s room that we sleep in every Saturday, across the hallway from my poppy’s den and next to the garage door.  I sit squarely on the floor in this small walk-in closet full of random and incomplete toy sets, misplaced children’s books, and clashed items of clothing—but actually I do not really sit squarely but queerly like the pair of dusty loafers in a rectangle cardboard box with no lid.  I sit queerly since my pigeon-toed legs demand I do so.  I close the closet door and sit on the floor alone tinkering through the trinkets and missing board game pieces and missing bathing suit tops.  Immersed in an absent presence, combing through what’s not there, curious and careful as I peruse and ponder.  Might I install a sense of order to these knick knacks?  I pick through one by one, flipping through an old hardback children’s book with pages torn and corners bitten off.  This is what I love about this small walk-in closet.  Full of random and incomplete toy sets, misplaced children’s books, and clashed items of clothing—these missing pieces, absent presents: refuse categorization.  Resist organization.  I’m enthralled by the unruliness and I embrace the unknown of the bathing suit top, the cropped book pages, the dusty loafers facing all directions wrong.

There is a light wrap at the door and it’s my sister’s six-year-old voice asking me to come out of the closet and observe as my poppy puts the finishing touches on his latest model car.

Cranberry the Facebook Friend

Your bagel is coming right up, he says.  It’s summertime in the Bay, after the first year of my Master’s program, and I’m a visiting student at UC Berkeley for a “Women and Disability in Film and Stories” class.  Here’s your tsea, he says.  Voice soft and elegant, a soft ‘T’ sound, pronouncing his vowels and consonants with a light lisp, not so much a distracting lisp but a soothing lisp, a T that sounds like a tz, a ts, sliding off the tongue so crisp.  Tea.  Tzea.  Earl grey.  He’s going back to the counter to get my bagel.  I ordered what I believe was an Everything bagel left in the little presentation box of pastries and whatnot.  The only bagel left.  What bagel do you think that is?  I ask him back when I was ordering at the counter.  You think it’s an Everything bagel?  He leans over from the cash register and takes a peak.  Well, he says in that elegant, crisp voice of his.  It has poppy seed, some sesame seed, yes looks like an Everything bagel.  Okay I’ll take it, I tell him.  Half awake: my head swimming from not enough sleep, and I take whatever is in front of me.  They said the soup for today is Split Pea.  Split Pea is not really my kind of soup, but Chris Lewis would have it.  Chris Lewis, my second high school sweetheart, a compassionate soul indeed.  If he were here, he would get some of that soup, maybe.  So I say no to the soup and I take the bagel because it is right there in front of me and I don’t have to think too hard about it.  No thanks to the soup.  I’ll have a bagel.  Five dollar minimum for the credit or debit cards?  My order is $4.35.  Do I order something else so I can use my card or do I maybe have enough cash in my wallet?  Oh there’s a five dollar bill in my wallet, here you go.  Do you have Wi-Fi here?  I ask him as he drops off my tzea.  No, we have no Wi-Fi, but maybe you can connect to Air Bears.  And he walks away to get my bagel.  My signal to Air Bears, the UCB internet, is very low.  Basically no connection.  Some people have Internet wherever they go on their laptops.  They’re fancy like that.  I am connected everywhere I go!  That’s what the chick at the table next to me is probably thinking.  I have Internet at this Wi-Fi-less café, wow look at me!  Fancy free!  Internet, Internet, Internet.  Why would I even want to connect to the Internet right now anyway?  World Wide Web.  I would probably check Facebook, read through my e-mails.  You know, important stuff.  Stuff that keeps me preoccupied so fucking much.  Keeps me preoccupied?  Keeps the World preoccupied!  Millions of “professionals” make a living in the U.S. and around the world sitting on their asses all day long, checking e-mails.  Check, check, checkity-check.  Oh wow I finally sent off all those emails and even responded to the emails that I’ve been meaning to respond to for weeks.  Boy I feel accomplished.  Look at all those e-mails.  Check check check.  I better not delete any of them in case something extremely rare happens and I need the information from that one random e-mail.  How should I sign my e-mails?  Something simple yet unique.  Unique!  Sincerely, Brooke.  That’s mine.  Several people write: Best, Cranberry.  Cranberry!  Where did that come from?  I’ve never met anyone named Cranberry before.

This bagel is pretty tasty.  The tzea, I don’t know yet because I haven’t tried it.  It’s probably still too hot for me.  My tongue, it gets burned by this scalding hot water.  Tea water.  So I try to be cautious because a burnt tongue means burnt taste buds and tender pained tongue muscles.  It heals quickly, I know, but I still don’t like burning my tongue.  Okay I just tried the tea, the tzea, and it’s perfect temperature.  And it’s delicious.  Earl grey.  Mmm.  I just took another drink of the perfectly temperatured delicious Earl grey tea and I held my pinky finger out while I sipped.  I’m so refined.  It happened naturally, so I didn’t try to restrain it.  Pinky out, sip the tea, I’m a natural socialite.  I should have tzea parties with Everything bagels with tsea water at just the right temperature and everyone will be happy that their host made sure not to burn them with scalding hot tea, tzea, water.  And everyone can bring their laptops or iPhones or iPads or Blackberries and we can all sit around together drinking tea and eating bagels and checking our e-mails.  I might even poke someone on Facebook when s/he is sitting right next to me in real life.  Now wouldn’t that just be super silly of me.  Get it?  I poke her/him on the World Wide Web when I could just talk to her/him in person!  Oh, the hilarity ensues.  Before I know it Cranberry over there is going to write on my Wall when I am sitting right across the room from her.  She is going to say, my Brooke this tzea is divine!  Then I will most likely “like” her comment, and then comment on her comment with an emoticon smiley face.  But then Cranberry will look up from her iPad and see that I’m not actually smiling in real life.  Then she might tag me as an untrustworthy narrator.  Or a flat-out liar.  So when she sees that I’m not actually smiling in real life, I will comment again on her comment after my initial comment with a “JK” so as to redeem myself from being a Facebook liar.  JK I’m not really smiling Facebook friend!  Facebook friend, I am not really smiling.