For The Women’s March

I confirmed all of his worst fears.  Because even though he was an atheist, he still believed women came from the devil.  My unwillingness to sacrifice my life on the altar of our relationship was the first hint that something was horribly wrong.

And something was wrong.  I committed one mortal sin after another.  Laughing too loudly.  Going out too often.  Writing too much.  Refusing to hide my weirdness.  Refusing to live like the saintly women I knew–starving themselves until they fainted, inspiring their men with their very presence, full of gratitude and grace.

Never satisfied, angry and opinionated.  The serpent from hell had once come to chat with a woman just like me, or so I’ve been told.

Well, you can have your devil.  He crumbles before my Kali–She who can destroy the universe you’ve built with one touch.  Fear of Her is the reason you’ve tied us down and locked us away for all these centuries.

But even when we’ve been tied down with velvet ribbons and smothered in lace, She never really goes away.  At night, when I’m curled up next to him, breathing into his ear, She’s there.  Silent, but breathing with me.

Are You still asleep, my love?

 

One of the more amusing aspects of traveling around America’s little motels is the reading material you might find in your room. While staying at the Sweet Breeze Inn on my vacation trip last week, I ended up perusing a 1960s Ann Landers book encapsulating some of her life advice. I believe it was titled “Since You Ask Me”. Some of the advice was quite outdated–Ann took a firm stand against interfaith marriage, for instance. But other parts of the book sounded like they could have been written today. In particular, there was a section talking about how not everyone is meant to be married. Ann wrote about women who don’t have the desire to get partnered up–and how she rarely received letters from those women asking for help, because they were, for the most part, content with their lives.

As I get older, I’m turning into one of those women. In fact, I’m starting to suspect that I’m a person who’s happier when she’s not in a relationship. A relationship requires compromise, it requires a give and take. There’s no way around that. I get frustrated about having to give up time and space to a partner, and that’s not fair to either one of us. I like to spend my time doing the things I’m passionate about. I like writing. I like being involved in volunteering and politics and social events. Whether it’s because I’m the creative type or because I’m just plain selfish, I don’t want to have to sacrifice all that for another person. And I definitely don’t want to have to listen to a guy bitching and complaining because I want to go to a protest rally or want to go out dancing.

Our culture is in such a fevered rush to pair everybody up, as if our life isn’t complete unless we’re part of a couple. As if we don’t represent something complete as an individual. The problem is there is already so much going on in my mind and my soul that I have trouble making room.

So I have to say that it would take a lot to convince me to try dating again. I would have to be sure that my partner would recognize the real person I am, instead of trying to change me or make me over to match his tastes. I would need the freedom to still follow my passions. And I don’t know if any of that is possible.

Because inevitably, a relationship would require that I give and change as well. And like those single ladies who never wrote to Ann Landers, I kinda like my life as it is right now. Is this a bad choice on my part? Am I too self-centered? Am I settling for something less than? And if so, why do my wrong decisions make me feel so damn satisfied?

For the past week or two, Facebook has been pressuring me to post my year in review photo slideshow, under the headline of “It’s been a great year!” Because it’s always a fantastic year on Facebook! Yay! I took a peek at my slideshow, and it looked like a year in the life of a fake person I don’t know. Which is my own fault, since when I’m on Facebook I’m a strict follower of the “polite small talk only” rule, and I don’t exactly show my true self there.

This is what the year in review would look like for a real human being, instead of one created by the Facebook-bots:

January: Working lots of hours of overtime. This is going to be a continuing theme for the rest of the year. My profile picture for the year in review should be a pic of the cubicle wall I’ll spend most of my time staring at.

February: Relationship falls apart. Insert adorable video of screaming couple.

March: Don Lemon spends the entire month playing with a model airplane.

April: Great vacation at the coast. Rented a room right above a brewery. Insert hangover pictures.

May: Fuck! Did I really just turn a year older? More hangover pictures.

June: The weather outside is finally getting nice! Another picture of the beautiful view of my cubicle wall.

July: Burned my fingers on fireworks, and the cops came looking for the illegal explosives. This was actually a great month!

August: Hot and bored. Nothing interesting ever happens in August.

September: This is the month when I always volunteer for the local arts festival, in a futile attempt to feel like I’m more than just an office cubicle monkey.

October: Another Halloween, still no idea for a costume. Insert selfie in bulky, unflattering sweater.

November: Election night. WTF, America?

December: It’s holiday time! Insert picture of people in a mall killing each other.

So yeah, it’s been a year. And it appears another one has started. Don’t know yet if it will be “great!”, but for now, I’m wishing all of us a 2015 marked by the absence of pain.

I’ve never cared about fashion. Shoe shopping makes my eyes glaze over with boredom. I rarely wear make-up, and prefer to simply brush my hair back and tie it into a ponytail. I feel complete indifference towards whatever is “in” right now. I have nothing against fashion–it’s just not a thing for me.

But oh, the stuff you realize while watching public television. Their shows are totally worth the tax money.

It finally clicked for me as I was looking at the prancing birds of paradise on a Nature episode. Yeah, those birds, preening their feathers and spending hours decorating their nests in an attempt to attract Mrs. Bird. I would have to be pretty dense not to notice the connection between that strutting male’s bright red tail and the photo of the stilettos in the magazine. Every species has its mating rules. For humans, the rule is that the female wears the feathers–the make-up and heels and dress. I can’t willfully refuse to follow the mating rules of my own species and then complain that things don’t work out for me.

Does that realization make shoes and clothes any more interesting for me than they were before? Not really. I still find fashion to be dull at best and a pain in the ass at worst. But you gotta do what you gotta do, and I have a choice to make. I can remain the way I am, but then I don’t have the right to bitch about it if I don’t attract a mate in the future. So I suppose I should make at least a minimal effort at being “female”.

Or…I could do what genuinely interests me, and go back to listening to that discussion about the Keystone pipeline on C-Span. I never said I was particularly *good* at this whole being human thing….

Well, I could use this space to whine and cry about the midterm election results, or I could post something a little more…entertaining. Especially when it ties into my line of work.

Part of my job consists of investigating accidents and trying to find out how injuries happened (to see if there could be any liability involved). This means that I spend my day looking at countless ways in which people hurt themselves. Everything from skateboarding and snowboarding accidents…to those who injure themselves while attempting to dance or do yoga…those who fall into a hole in their backyard…or get bitten by a cat or spider, or the bat they find lying on their bedroom floor. Needless to say, my work makes me a bit paranoid about doing…anything, really.

And that’s how I can confirm that what Meetville.com is reporting is true–quite a few people hurt themselves while having sex.

Meetville–which is a dating site, but not an ISIS-sponsored one!–has published stats showing that one third of adults are injured every year while doing the wild thing, with an even kinkier 5% having to call in sick to work the next day. And 4 out of 10 have broken furniture or other household items in the process of making love. See? It’s much safer when you’re not getting any. I’m just sayin’.

They even provide a handy chart of the most dangerous places to have sex. They say it’s 10 places, but I only see 9. Perhaps they were too busy getting it on to count:

10dangerousspots

Ack! The sofa and the bedroom are so dangerous! Did I mention you can get ebola there, too?

I should add that in my workplace, when we receive information about *those* kinds of injuries, our clients don’t give us any details, and we don’t ask. I’ve seen a couple of hospital emergency room claims with a diagnosis of “foreign object in anus,” and I…I really don’t want to know. I figure that anyone in that situation would be too embarrassed to sue anybody else, anyway.

So there it is, a little silliness to brighten the mood for this dreary week. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll retire to my dangerous bed and continue smarting from the spanking we got from the Republicans this Tuesday…ouch!

Dear Portland…our relationship has been difficult lately.

There was the time when we went for a gallery walk on First Thursday and none of the art galleries were open, because it turns out you shut everything down super early.  The same thing happened when my friends and I decided to go out on a Wednesday evening.  The night was still young, but you were a ghost town.  As my mother so aptly put it, “Portlanders go to bed with the chickens…except that here, the chickens are wearing hand-knitted sweaters.”  Portland, you’re a city.  Part of the deal is that you’re supposed to entertain me after it gets dark.

And do I even have to bring up Cover Oregon?  You had such big plans–our health insurance exchange was going to be the most ambitious in the country.  Obviously, it did not work out that way.  It’s embarrassing when Kentucky does a better job at socialist health care than we do.  And now, the FBI might be investigating Cover Oregon to see where all that money went.  Portland, please leave corruption to the big boys like Chicago.  You are inept at it.

But in spite of it all, I still love you.  Even though you try way too hard to impress me with your weirdness–were the bearded men in tutus really necessary?  Even though you’re not very wealthy, not very good at sports or business.  Every time I think about walking away into the arms of New York City, I end up staying.  You’re just so damn pretty and intelligent.  And like you, I’m a failing dreamer.  Yeah, we’re stuck with each other.  I’m even willing to forgive you for that Unipiper guy.

Like any long-time lover in a worn relationship, all I ask for anymore are the simple things.  Please, would you give me sunny weather for my week off?  I know late May is when you bring back the rain, but will you make an exception for me?  I won’t complain when it rains in June, I promise.  I’ll post pictures of you on my Facebook and talk about how beautiful you are.  I know how much you like being flattered.

P.S. —  I’m also planning to see an art exhibit this Sunday.  I’m sure it will be empty and closed.

xoxo, Karolina

If I post a picture of myself wearing a fashionable hat, will I be fabulous?

If I post a picture of myself wearing heels, will you love me?

If I post a picture of myself having drinks at the bar, will my life be exciting?

If I post a picture of me and my boyfriend grinning into the camera, will my relationship be happier?

If you Liked me, does that mean you like me?

If I post about how much I love myself, will I love myself?

If I’m having one of those days when I’m curled up in a ball in my room, but I still drag myself to the computer and post about how fantastic my day is, will my day be fantastic?  Will I be accepted?  Will I become one of you?  Will you give me the secret password to your world?  If I keep talking, will what I say mean something to you?

Or will I turn off the computer and go sit in the sunlight in my garden, where I don’t have to be anyone or say anything?  What’s on my mind right now?  Absolutely nothing, and it’s beautiful.