Walking along the beach with my father last Wednesday sipping a strawberry banana smoothie, I realized I did not know who I was. It’s almost as if a strange woman has died and left me with her laptop. I felt my gold painted toenails dig into the sand, like a baby learning to walk again, feeling the course crisp grain of salt for the first time. My hair blew in the breeze— no longer falling out, but letting the sun reach down and embrace each strand like a seamstress weaving a delicate tapestry. Who am I? Each year, I am different from the last. The person before me in the mirror is pangea, constantly shifting and changing, a traveler journeying across the world looking for her purpose her truth her destiny. With each new exploration, each new experience, I am not becoming another person, I am uncovering a deeper layer of myself. I watched a little girl pushing her pink shovel into the sand and sifting through it making mudpies and smiled. She looked up at me, her pig tails bouncing in the breeze and stared. I have that power over small children. Suddenly, she see’s something in me- a safety, an honesty, a mystery and a playmate- and she comes leaping and bounding over. My father is saying something about the economy or some shit about my mom and seafood buffets, but I do not listen. I am too busy looking at the little girl beaming at me, her sandy hands grabbing for mine. Her mother races over to me and snatches her-
“Don’t harass people” She mumbles in Spanish and hikes the little girl on her hip. I turn and look at my father. “Do you remember when I was that little?” I said. He grunted. I dreamed of babies- of holding a child in my arms, of swinging her around and kissing her soft black curls. We continued walking the beach in silence, as I turned and faced the peir. I am that little girl.
I am becoming more of me. It is scary, but also it is the fire that burns in my stomach and keeps me alive. For as I walked along the beach, watching the waves crash in, I think of the world. The turtles that somehow always know to return to the shore the garden that is planted in a lovers kiss, the wind that carries a single yellow leaf through the parkinglot, the taste of coffee on a cool Autumn morning, and I am so incredibley happy to be alive- to be coming into me.
One time, I kissed a girl in a church parkinglot. It was as easy as swiping a miniature angel paperweight from a Mom and Pop store without paying for it, and just as thrilling. Dating Alison was like being a kid again. We drew mustaches on each others faces and did crafts. It was cute, but also it was intense, like going to a third world country and having to teach poor African children how to read. In the beginning, I had no idea how wheelchairs worked or what dating someone who lives with paraplegia entails, but I knew one thing- I had never had a bond with a gay woman like this before.
There were many other girls before her. I was the pussy hunter. Sex was fun, it was fantastic! But damn, I was so sick of pretending .“Yeah baby, I’ll call, Give me five more minutes. Come on, honey. I’ll pop you real good” I would run the opposite direction when I saw the women I did things with that men talk about in rap music. There was no emotion what so ever. I craved it like a jumbo box of Freihofer cookies when I met Alison.
It was never about the sex with Alison. She started flirting with me after I asked her about her church, and just like with Josh and every other dyke who stuck their tongue down my throat, I went along with the ride. From our first date when she joked about not being able to feel her vagina, I was absolutely in love. Here was someone who wouldn’t use me for sex! Until, Of course, one afternoon we were playing trouble. I was sitting on her lap, when Alison grabbed my face and we started kissing. I tried to move away because I felt more of a connection to her than I imagined possible. Feminism, activism, coffee- We had so much in common! Immediately, my psycho trauma stress disorder kicked in and I began to stare at her hot pink bra losing myself in the color. “Please, slow down” I said. Alison tossed the board game to the side, “Fuck the game” and pushed me into her. She said Fuck a lot when we had sex. “Oh fuck, Oh Kat, Oh fuck.” That night I drove home and took eight laxatives. Then I made myself vomit. We had met at the height of my eating disorder, and the idea someone I really cared about was trying to take control over my body terrified me. I had never had an emotional connection with a woman before. At least, with a woman who liked to make vaginas happy. I fell in love with my straight best friend in highschool. I’ve never felt the same way about a girl since.
I called Alison that night and straight up asked her: Am I just sex to you?
She told me she didn’t understand. She never understood. The next morning, I arrived at her church wearing a blazer. My stomach felt the lightest it ever had before. Perhaps it was the dizziness, but I swear when I saw her I floated. Alison pushed herself over to me, grabbed my face and kissed me like I was a star. That kiss made the world disappear, and for a brief moment, I saw myself with her there for the rest of my life. Later, I sat at her parents dinner table. I couldn’t eat anything they made, and so my eating disorder got even worse. It’s silly, but maybe if I had eaten some salad, my safe food, at home those weeks we were first courting instead of trying to learn about wheelchairs and lifting a woman, I wouldn’t have had to be hospitalized. The night I came home, she got her parents to drop her off. Alison kissed me crying. My birthday was the next day. I made myself pumpkin pie, and Alison watched weeping. Her tears wet my IV bandages. I was out of breathe as I handed her the can. Alison opened it upside down, an orange clump all over her lifeless legs.
The two of us were laughing. I thought I was going to be with her forever. I didn’t mind that I had to help her use the bathroom. It was like she was a part of me, and yet, something always was missing. I suppose you could say I felt like a nanny more than a girlfriend. Alison and I went on a trip to Michigan. Taking care of her for four days killed our relationship, and the kiss that August morning burst into flames. I had a couple drinks, and a heart to heart with one of the gays in the bathroom about eating disorders and the lgbt community. Alison didn’t want to go to the workshop. I cried. After everything I HAD DONE- LEARNED HOW TO MAKE HER SHIT- Alison would not learn about a mental illness. I could hear that Alison had started crying as I sat in the bathtub. It was 3 am, and she was lying down in bed. I wanted so badly to take off on the next plane home that I drunkenly grabbed my coat and ran out the door. I woke up in bed with Alison. Apparently, one of the girls found me lying on the bathroom floor with one shoe on. Alison sobbed. “Are you okay? Be gentle with yourself!” I looked at her, and told her no. I wasn’t. She was always crying, and I was always there to hold her too. Until that night, when I wanted nothing more than to punch her in the face and scream stop feeling so god damn sorry for yourself.
We both cried in the hotel room. She promised she would be better and try to understand my feelings. When we came back home, I debated giving her her ring back for three weeks. I asked her about her plans for the future. Reality had sunken in. Would she get a nurse? Would I be sticking a catheter up her urethra forever? Would I ever be able to have kids? I had grown so much as a person in the past few months, but there Alison was still the same and trying to hold me down, hold me back, keep me safe and structured, when all I wanted to do was break away and fly.
I realized Alison would never learn how to use the bathroom herself. She didn’t bother at 23, and only after four months of dating and my urging had she even tried. I realized I was worth more. That night, I asked her to come talk to me. Alison texted me she couldn’t after I spent the day waiting. “I can’t come see you. That’s not something I can change about me.”
I began crying- softly and slowly. Then, I took a drink of coffee, and knew that I could change something else. At the time, Alison was happy ever after. But maybe happy ever after didn’t exist. Maybe ever after was the little moments- a kiss, a hug when you need it most, laughter until your stomach burns. Love was not stagnant, but a ripple from a drop of rain falling into the ocean. Your soulmate would cross the fog drunk sea, thirsty for your lips.
I broke up with my girlfriend dry eyed. Then I drove to Walmart and bought a box of lemon cake. As the house filled with sour, my stomach grumbled and I felt free.
Grey T-shirt sits down
Whirring fan flicks above our heads
Happy dirty feet
The sea plays
Dancing with the ribbons of the pale
The cup overflowing like the
She reads the lines on my palm
While I feed her chocolate cherries
glazed in honeysuckle
On a Monday in
He tosses the plate like mangos
As if a parachute
Had exploded inside
Swiftly wrapping around me
Pulled tight by both sides
Horses on either end
Either end on either hand
There are no
The dolphin rises from the orange
And murders the dark
That crossed the bridge
Sweet and salty
Brianna with her Bible blankets
Builds a bench under
The broadway bar
-chapter four of her book,
“Bones Over Bullets”
She sells it for a billion pennies
She drowns a copper cat
She drinks until the sea cows
The dogs evade his
Like warm peanutbutter sliding
Don’t get crumbs
Meet me at the
Mastectomies are half off
Only one boob
Left on earth
But there is a spider
The nipple L
Day by day
Wept for jesus
To touch his penis
His feet there
Bastard bibles under the bed in the building
“Hallowed be thy ween
Thy funbits cum
Then they will be done
Lord of lords
Heaven’s in hell
Don’t forget to tell
The babysitter, Bell…
I left the money in the bible”
Sometimes I wonder where
The pressue lies
Perhaps the devil
Is Ronald mcdonald
Getting a blowjob
Inside the ball pit
His meat and red hair
I’m a little angry. Not so much that my ex-girlfriend is telling people about my eating disorder, my history of abuse, lying that I cheated on her with a man, or posting poems about me on facebook and tagging my friends in them so that they see my lack of sanity and sexual preference. I had broken up with Alison a month and a half before I lost my lesbian ID card and started bangin’ a sexy writer.
It’s the fact that she believes that I never cared about her, that our entire relationship was a lie. I loved Alison so much. We had begun dating when my eating disorder was in full force- I was really sick- and yet, as my bones cracked like sparklers I put together her 50 pound wheelchair an average of four times a day. I helped her use the bathroom for fucks sake! And I never loved her?! When I was too weak to drive, I came to her house just to see her. Alison never came to me. One night, I hit a curve, and took out three mailboxes, then passed out on her floor. She asked what triggered my feelings. She didn’t come to the hospital. She bought me journals and told me to break through. My period was gone for 6 months. She bitched about hers, and told me I was perfect, when In reality my body was shutting down. I was exhausted on our anniversary just sitting, and a clump of my hair fell out when she told me I made her feel whole.
When I couldn’t breathe, I lifted her, cooked for her, and held her in my arms when all I wanted was for her to rescue me. If I didn’t love her, then why would I do all that? At the time, she was everything to me- but now, looking back on it, “everything” also seemed a lot like co-dependency and need. I called her to tell her that I loved her and I was terribley sorry that she felt that way, but she didn’t answer. Alison never answered. She turned off her phone when she went to bed at 11pm. When I woke up at three am with my heart in my throat, I was always alone.
“You’re a straight woman! You never liked vagina. ” My friend Michael told me when I invited him over for dinner a few nights ago. My other friends are also having trouble with my new vagina development. Lithuanian even told me she’d fuck me so I’d be a lesbian again. Michael was my gay best friend my freshman year who watched me go through girl after girl, and drop pound after pound. We laughed at her poetry while making pasta. I told him about the great sex with Josh which he dubed Dick Fest 2013. I gushed over how Josh caught me in the park from a tree. “How the fuck is Alison supposed to catch you from a tree?! She can’t pee!”
I always had dreams of Alison climbing a tree with me. I never saw her as broken, until we broke up and she proved me wrong by telling people my darkest days.
The silly thing is, as I walked down the aisle at Target, I debated who I should make a birthday cake for. Josh and Alison, my ying and my yang, are born within days of each other but total opposites. Alison listens to Savage Garden, goes to church, and does dishes. She does not crowd surf, cook, or drink more than one glass of wine. Josh listens to Radiohead, goes to Action movies, collects guitars and writes beautifully. I made Josh chocolate cupcakes, and I bought him peanutbutter m and ms, because those are his favorite candy.
Alison never took me anywhere. She used to go to church with her, because I knew she loved it even though my heart was more towards the Buddhist and pagan nature based group they had there. I told her I was going to die once while we were doing crafts. Alison pulled me to her chest and kissed me everywhere. Her hands breathing life into my darkest caverns like fireflies, her hands that made me chocolate milk when my bones throbbed. Alison’s hands held me together, until they became hands that held me back.
Josh took me to a touristy florida store like the one my grandpa and I used to go to- you know, where they have orange gum, homemaid icecream, fresh squeezed juice. And we just sampled juice, and when I drank three little cups of strawberry orange juice, he bought me a jug. Josh’s hands grabbed mine as we danced in some crappy cape coral bar to bad 90’s cover songs. His roommate’s Asian girlfriend asks “You two together?” We look at each other, and shake our heads no, our hands playing Ms. Mary Mack. Josh’s hands subtly scratched down my back and guided me to his car for another trip to Wal-Mart.
This time we weren’t getting cake. We were getting a bin for his recycling, Trojans, and a plate.
After I had broken all my plates a few months ago, I called Alison ecstatic. I wasn’t upset, I was happy. I just wanted to break them. She wept, so I fucking hung up on her. I called Josh, Who told me I was way too cool to be his friend and should invest in some paper.
Josh bought me a plate, and we got frozen yogurt at a place on the way back to his house.I was wearing his big leather jacket because I am the only person who is freezing in florida in May and short shorts. I put down my bowl of fro yo and followed him onto his porch outlooking a cape coral canal. The moon reached down and held the waves as Josh looked at me, his sapphire eyes glistening.
“How do we do this?”
“We need to put our energy in the plate together!” The rose quarts chakra crystal swang on the chain around my neck as I placed my hands on top of Josh’s. We slammed the plate down with a crash, bits of yellows and greens and blues all over. Josh grabbed a large hunk and heaved it down again shattering it. I laughed and screamed and ran as Josh chased me back into the house. His roommate Danny, who was drunk from the bar and entertaining two women looked over at us.
“What the fuck just happened?” Danny said.
“We broke a plate!” Josh said. I ate some more of my frozen yogurt, laughing as Josh put his arm around me.
“Why?!” Bimbo number one said. “Is this a greek dinner?!”
“Because we just wanted to! ” Josh said, guiding me into his room. I fed him frozen yogurt as he sat next to me. His leather jacket smelled of sandalwood as his hands cupped my thigh. He looked at the yellow sharpie chicken scratch LDF on my leg. “What is that?”
“Directions to your house, silly.” I said.
“That is the best thing I have ever seen” Josh said. “You have sexy legs by the way.” I feed him more frozen yogurt, as we lay there laughing about random things and talking, until he kisses my neck and throws off his leather jacket. Being with him was like rolling around in candy after surviving on celery.
You could look at me as someone in the midst of a complete nervous breakdown. I’m writing, I’m eating cake, breaking dinnerware, and I’m having sex with some guy- clearly, my shit is not together. That’s the beauty of recovering from an eating disorder: Losing control, learning to feel your body, and following your heart in each and every moment.
My mosaic is not complete, but the contrasts, and misshapen pieces are incredible- and without them I would not be me.