While Eddie and I drink two bottles of Red I’ve brought back from Italy, I read to him from my Tantric Sex book. 
“I want to know if you’d be freaked out if I did any of these things to you.” 

Soft penis seex is so not a good time; I don’t care what the Indians say.  Eddie tells me when he goes down on a woman, he performs the alphabet with his tongue.  “I do A three or four times, then move onto B.  Debbie really likes E, not Dallas.”  He mixes it up, and it’s as simple as A.B.C. 

“Nice pusssy you have there.”

“Ew, don’t call it a Pussy.”

“Oh, I’m sorry baby, what should I call it?”

“That’s my nurturing place of goodness.”

That’s tantric seex; it’s only freaky because it’s hokey.  It’s like square dancing in a city.  There’s something strangely odd, yet intoxicating about it. 

So, Eddie and I are surveying my Tivo lineup.  “Man, you never watch T.V. anymore do you?”  I’m writing two books and organizing photographs, trying to date, and see my friends, and run my dog, and get highlights and new accessories.  Who the fcuk has time for T.V.?

I’m getting worried.  I’m too used to being alone.  I like taking over the entire bed.  As soon as I find someone I like, I approach the intersection of insecurity and anxious.  I’m happy in my own private world, with my small life and circle of friends.  I’ve been so afraid of alone, for so long, that I’ve forced myself into it.  When I was on the varsity soccer team, the most dreaded thing in the world was the running.  Okay, running, just so you know, was invented to escape bad situations.  Something wants to eat you.  You run for your fcuking life.  It’s not meant to be a good time in a gym with headphones okay, it’s a fcuking life raft mechanism.  Fight or flight.  Yeah, as simple as that.  And then you find yourself a well-endowed teen– who’s embarrassed that she even has to wear a bra—having to run laps around a football field.  I hated it.  I’d have preferred to eat dirt, or let them stick a needle in hard-to-find veins.  Asking me, a fat girl whose heart can give out upon orgasm, to run a mile, was really like asking me to give up the idea of ever having children.  So, here was my take on anything painful: get it over with.  Face the worst, so you won’t hate it anymore.  I hit the locker room early, shin guards, knee socks, chapstick, and ponytail.  I was ready for the run.  I would get a head start so I could finish with everyone else.  I faced the worst of it, and eventually, I became okay at it.  I became comfortable with it.  It’s happening now.  I’m running my life, in such a safe, meticulous way, having learned from everything, playing it safe.  And the problem is, I’ve left her behind.  The passionate one, the one who’s messy and full of heart, the one who doesn’t run.  I miss the me who dives, who’s messy.  And lately, I’ve been reaching out to her. 

Today, in a hair salon, I checked the horoscopes (which I never do—no really, I don’t.  It’s all crap).  I still don’t believe in any of it.  The point is, I didn’t just check mine.  I found myself checking his horoscope.  I found myself leaving and finding refuge in Victoria’s Secret for something that matched.  Who am I?  I’m all of a sudden this girl, some teenage girl with gum and a locker, with shin guards.  Fuck.  How did I get back to this juvenile place?  It’s enervating. 

Here’s the thing: I genuinely believe blessings come to our lives when we’re open to receive them.  And being open, means being vulnerable.  A good home is an open vulnerable one, open to strangers and stories, and to the uncertainty of life.  It’s hard when we live in such a cautious time, when we don’t just bolt, we slide chains over our lives.  We’re very worried.  My heart has a chain-lock door, the kind you can only release from the inside.  And, I’m trying it now.  But I’ve gotten so used to things, the way they are, set in my ways, in my safe one bedroom life.  But, shite, do I really want to get comfortable here?  I mean, I was terrified of alone for a long time, but now that I’ve faced it, it’s become more comfortable than “together.”  See “together” becomes ‘tragic.’  It becomes, “Shit, I’m sorry.  Are you okay?”  And I don’t need that anxiety or heartbreak again.  It’s easier being me and the dog and the bad dates.  It’s easier when things are light, and nothing is at risk.  But, I’ll tell you one thing, from a girl who has been on both sides of that… there’s nothing like a messy life.  There’s nothing like passion and feeling alive.  Sometimes it’s reckless; other times it’s the timing is bad.  But when it lasts, it is what will keep you from ever really enjoying “safe.” 

Life, I imagine, is filled with struggles over more than who hogs the covers.  It’s bloodshed, in-laws, heartbreak, embarrassment, lust, guilt, and The Gypsy Kings.  It’s Pina Coladas, extra towels, seex in the middle of the afternoon, flip flops and calluses you wish you didn’t have.

Just as I became comfortable with running, with the one thing I hated more than tuna fish out of a can, I became more comfortable with alone than with “us.”  And whenever “us” is a possibility, I sabotage it.  I’m afraid of the one thing I want more than well done fries.  I’m afraid of the one thing I actually want more than anything.  It makes me sad. 

It’s all about balance, I suppose.  Three quarters of the battle is knowing you can’t control anything but your reactions to things.  The other bit is timing.  Magic and fate is a sprinkle in there somewhere, at a bar where they make your Caesar salad in front of you in a wooden bowl with some Mexicans serenading you with their guitars and Guantanamera renditions.  Man, that’s life, with your hair braided, flip-flops, and drunk with the people who make you smile just from thinking of them.  I want that life again.  It’s worth the vulnerable heartbreak; worth the, “I can’t get up to shower” type of depression. Mostly because I rarely shower anyway.


  1. I used to watch romantic movies and feel this sloppy aching pain, like my heart was a too-big puppy trying to scrabble out of me. I yearned with "ohhhh" noises.

    And now I laugh at most romantic movies, and when one actually moves me, I cry because it hurts more than ever.

  2. I've reached the same conclusion, Stephanie. Risk/reward. To me, all the bad vulnerable heartbreak stuff is worth the risk.

  3. Guantanamera lyrics…

    I am a truthful man from this land of palm trees
    Before dying I want to share these poems of my soul
    My verses are light green
    But they are also flaming red

    (the next verse says,)
    I cultivate a rose in June and in January
    For the sincere friend who gives me his hand
    And for the cruel one who would tear out this
    heart with which I live
    I do not cultivate thistles nor nettles
    I cultivate a white rose

    Reward/Reward…People are frightened by the demands of close relationships because timid minds have impressed them with the risks but not the blessings, and neglected to mention that the blessings require more, much more than being largely a passive participant in shaping the relationship. A little honesty with oneself and others goes a long way towards mitigating the risks.

    The reactions of some to comments regarding making ultimatums suggests that many view themselves as being limited to being passive participants who react, who keep their expectations, needs, and desires camouflaged from disappointment–ultimately, a fool's painful endeavor. Instead of making an ultimatum why not make a marriage proposal? The difference between the two actions resides not only in the labels that describe them.

  4. The alphabet technique is a good one. Been using it for years. Certain letters and typestyles (print v. cursive) get better response than others.

  5. Ah how you've touched a cord within me this morning. Thank you over and over again for letting me know that I am not alone when battling the sabotage.

  6. Stephanie,

    You wrote that your heart has a chain-link door locked from the inside.

    That feeling you express is strangely familiar – evoking memories of a song. It was sung with passion by Brent Mydland, whose work on the keyboards and Hammond B-3 organ were legendary, and whose soulful, raspy, cigarettes and whiskey infused voice masked a troubled spirit.

    Then again, John Barlow of EFF and recent Fourth Amendment infamy wrote the lyrics so it could be John's feeling and emotions sung passionately by Brent.

    But it's Brent's rap at the end of the song from Spring 1990 (March 26, 1990 in Albany, NY to be exact) that evokes the locked-up heart image.

    And I always have found solace in music, that which stirs my soul.

    Blow Away
    Lyrics: John Barlow
    Music: Brent Mydland

    A man and a woman come together as strangers
    When they part they're usually strangers still
    It's like a practical joke played on us by our Maker
    Empty bottles that can't be filled

    Baby who's to say it could have been different now that it's done
    Baby who's to say that it should have been, anyway
    Baby who's to say that it even matters in the long run
    Give it just a minute
    And it will blow away
    It'll blow away

    You fancy me to be the master of your feelings
    You barely bruise me with your looks to kill
    Though I admit we were sometimes brutal in our dealings
    I never held you against your will


    Your case against me is so very clearly stated
    I plead no contest, I just turn and shrug
    I've come to figure all importance overestimated
    You must mean water when you get on your knees and you beg me for blood


    Like a feather in a whirlwind
    Blow away
    Just as sure as the world spins
    Blow away
    [to fade out]

    The following is Brent's rap from Grateful Dead: Dozin' At The Knick (GDCD 4025 – Arista)

    Gimme just a little piece of your time
    Gimme just a little second now
    All I'm asking for is just a little minute
    A minute for you to listen, listen to me
    Listen, listen to me closely
    Come on, gimme an 'm' Are you out there? Can you hear me?

    Let me know
    You wanna love me, wanna love me
    You think you got love
    You think you got love right here in your hand
    You're holding on tight to

    You think you got love
    You think you got love right here in your hand
    And it's like you wanna put it inside you
    It's like you wanna put it deep inside you
    It's like you want to keep love in your heart
    And the only way you're going to do it is not to let it go

    It's like you think your rib cage is a jail cell
    It's like you don't think love can get past your ribs
    It's like you don't think love can get out
    Get away from you so long as you hold it inside
    But you're wrong
    The only thing you're doing
    Is keeping that love out, keeping love out
    Keeping it out, keeping it away from you

    You gotta open up the door
    You gotta open up the door, let love in
    Let it come and go, let it do what it wants to

    Do you wanna know love?
    Do you wanna know real love?
    Real love you don't hold inside you
    Real love you can let go
    And it'll come back, it'll fly right back to you
    That's real, that's real love
    . . .

  7. Wow! first I must say that you write like I used to, like I wish I still did, like a river of feeling just gushing out of your stream of conciousness. I used to be passionate. I used to put those dead bolts on my door, give my guy the key and then he would be so awful that I would put on another dead bolt. Then I would give him the key again. I had 4 locks on that door. Now I live safely but the old guy writes to me teasing me to leave this safe life where I am dying with no passion left at all.

  8. Boy…this one just made me cry. I'm in the midst of charring the sweet affection of a great guy right into a burnt, unrecognizable lump of ash. And I don't know why.

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