Thursday, March 29, 2012

Music and Kissing

There was a time when the only things that mattered to me was music and kissing.

I did not have my first kiss until I was a high school freshman. Fourteen I guess. Up till then, I believed that I was already an old maid, too old to ever get kissed because everyone had already started and left me behind. I was too afraid to join in because I did not know how to kiss and I would be found out. The headlines would read “FOURTEEN AND NEVER BEEN KISSED”, I would be branded like the woman in the scarlet letter. My oh my, the issue felt so pressing, so very urgent. I lived in my little teenage head and I believed every thought from my not-yet-fully-developed teenage brain.

I dared to confide in my catholic school girlfriend, who also had not been kissed yet. It was so painful but I managed to ask her how do people kiss? Do they open their mouths, or close them. Do they move around? I needed to know. She seemed less concerned, and gave me a reasonable answer: Sort of opened, move around a little. How the fuck did she know that? It did not help calm the spinning wheels in my skull.

I have already written the story of my first kiss. It was more of a highjacking:

A bunch of us had gone in the Chevelle to see a band or drink somewhere and nothing much was going on. I had on black high heel shoes and fishnet stockings with my miniskirt and tons of make up. It was after two a.m. when we wound up over at the Left Bank, a club in New Rochelle. “Jesus died for somebody’s sins but not mine,” the Patti Smith record crackled over the PA as we walked in. I have no words to describe the perfection, joy and beauty of being a kid, out in the night, hearing brilliant music. I felt so lucky to be in the real world. I stopped in my tracks and listened to the song with my eyes closed.

We were there for only a few minutes when a stocky drunk blonde guy, maybe eighteen or twenty, cornered me and started talking to me. My friend Tina, who was also older than me and drunk, asked in a slurred voice near my ear if I needed any help losing the guy. I said no.

The guy went on to press me against a carpeted wall and kiss me. He tasted like sour kraut from the hotdogs that they sold in the club. I didn’t like him at all. He stuck his tongue in my mouth and made out with me. I did nothing but receive his kiss in wide-eyed wonder and horror as I watched the jaded platinum-haired bartender wipe down the bar. After a moment or two someone from my crowd grabbed my arm and pulled me away and that was that. My first kiss was over with.

My first kiss was not welcome, or invited, not romantic or even hot, but so fucking fantastic because it freed me from my fears. For after it happened, I was a girl who had been kissed!!!! I went on to joyously make up for lost time. I kissed lots of cute boys and it was brilliant, fun and fabulous. There was this one period before I was having sex where everything was just perfect. I was a teenager having fun, being playful and true to my self. I did not care about what anyone thought or wanted. I did not have a boyfriend or any worries, only great new wave music, punk rock, cool clubs, bands, and records… The Romantics, That’s What I Like About You; Sid Vicious, Something Else; Generation X, Dancing With Myself; Johnny Thunders at the Peppermint Lounge, She’s So untouchable; Joan Jett, Bad Reputation; The Clash at Bonds; The Ramones and the Cramps at the Left Bank; XRay Spex, oh Bondage! Up Yours!... And out in the world were other people who liked the same music, in the clubs a candy store full of lovely beings waited there for me to possibly kiss. How divine.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Where I come from

My youth was traumatic but beautiful and blessed. I suffered against the brick walls of limitations but I thrived in the wildness. The surroundings were beautiful and so were the characters. It is so much easier to appreciate now.

I grew up in a one-bedroom apartment on the tip of Manhattan. Four of us lived there in beautiful working class Inwood, with its green grass and open space. I walked home from school alone in the second grade with my own key. I played unsupervised in the streets with my sister until it was time for dinner. Other moms in the neighborhood would stick there head out the window and call their kids name, loud and annoyed, raw, and eventually their child would hear her and run home, just like animals in the wild.

The world was big and free and hard. Everyone around me smoked and used similar language. “Cut the crap! Get the hell outta here! I’ll give ya something to cry about! “Shut up.” Heavy accents from immigrant parents or grandparents made for those fantastic new york accents of the olden days.

Nuns at the Good Shepherd School slapped kids around. Not the severe beatings of the 50’s and 60’s, or not as many, but lots of hitting, yelling and insulting. “Get up on your two fat feet!” was said to the heavyset kid. Everyone was called stupid.

I’ve talked about it before, New York was like the wild west in the 70’s. There seemed to be no laws. No one cared about your fake IDs. I drank in bars in my early teens. I was surrounded by adults who were small time criminals, lots of alcoholics, lots of churchgoers. Working class neighborhoods probably still look like this. Maybe there are more laws that protect kids from their teachers and keep alcohol away from minors and more awareness to remind parents not to smoke next to their newborns, but probably not a lot has changed. The change is all here with me and my world.

I love so much about this romantic story of mine but I am fully aware of the damage hidden in the dark underbelly. I am always surprised when I see certain people from my past, how hard they are. They carry a hardness that they probably do not even realize. I know, I know, I carry it too. I am familiar with mine, and I have worked for years polishing away at those rough edges, opening up that heart of mine, softening up the insides. Still, I am taken by surprise when I see that hardness in my peers: That tightness around the eyes, the jaw, the line of the face, the way they see the world, the words they use, the way they live. Its time to put those heavy bags down and rest. Have a cool drink of water. The journey has been long and hard, I know. I wish that I could take those suitcases full of rocks from your clenched fists. Kiss you like a prince in a fairy tale and break the spell. Maybe I can just kiss myself for now.

I like supporting arts programs for kids in those low-income areas. Art is the gateway drug to getting out of the old neighborhood. Not the be-all end all, but a path, a beginning, a push in the right direction that can help us get back to our truth, freedom, beauty, compassion, feelings, love. Keep your hearts open. Stay soft. It keeps you young. And god bless you if you can go back home with gratitude, appreciation and awareness.

Friday, March 16, 2012

romantic fool

I was just a street kid, a feral cat, wild and free, going on instincts, not knowing anything else. I would fall in love with all these wild animals that I thought I could tame, that I thought would make me happy. They did for a while, but ultimately none of them could give me hat I wanted because I didn’t even know what I wanted.

One of my silliest moments was when I was crazy mad in love with this one talented beauty. The first time he looked at me he feel off his chair. I took that as proof that we were meant to be together, that it was love at first sight, that he felt the same way about me that I did about him. He was stunning. I too looked pretty stunning that day and he probably noticed but I didn’t take into account that he fell because he was just drunk.

He courted me and charmed me in the most fantastic ways, according to my silly romantic self. We went to Wo Hops at 5am!!! That was my dream come true. I was easily satisfied. I just longed for someone who appreciated the new york city romance of rainy dawns and secret spots, cool music and good clothes. He knew about all of those things.

We had not even kissed before he broke my heart, that is how much we were not meant to be together. Our short lived love turned into a longing for me till my neck was sore from turning every time a black Lincoln continental like his drove by. I knew better but I could not stop myself. I did not want to be there but I could not stop myself.

I joked about my bad choices and friends laughed but when I admitted that it wasn’t that funny one friends reminded me that poor choices can rob us of our dreams, that one day we can wake up and be too old to have a family. I didn’t even know that I wanted a family, I didn’t even know that I just wanted to be loved. I certainly didn’t know that I needed to make appropriate choices in order to find that person. I really didn’t. I just had a blind spot.

There were so many of these guys in my life. All those bad versions of love, those handsome, fun, reckless but limited loves who came along on my wild beautiful heartbreaking ride though nightclubs and cemeteries, coney island and movie theaters, culture and the underground- they all saved my life till I could allow real love. Thank you all you gorgeous, achingly frustrating, romantic moments. And thank you that I am not there anymore.

this song sums up the feeeeling, the longing, the tragedy, the beauty, the perfection...dig it

Friday, March 9, 2012

Why can’t I just be like everyone else, whaaa! Whaaaa!

I was the person who’s wedding got cancelled two days before it was supposed to happen. Long day time TV type story, shoulda been on Oprah, bla bla. I was in the New York post three times in three days because of the course of events. I was a low stress bride up till then. All we cared about was that we were in love and BANG!!! Stuff got really stressful. It was so stressful that I could not tell the story for years. In the end, the wedding happened when it was supposed to in a beautiful space more luxurious than we had dreamed of or paid for. It was a perfect day and I married the perfect guy.

I was the person whose scoliosis (curved spine) was just less than serious enough for doctors to do anything about. I was out of alignment my whole life, which caused lots of problems and pain. Other people who have aligned normal bodies have no idea what it is like to feel discomfort all of the time, sitting, standing, walking. Not enough pain to get surgery or even a diagnosis, but enough discomfort to make existence in the world difficult. I self managed the problem since I was a child, not really knowing that other people did not feel this way and it was not normal.

What eventually happened was that I was forced to take exceptional self-care my entire life. I have worked out several times a week my entire life since college. Exercise, and mainly yoga, has restored me to as close to normal as I can be. I have to practice consciousness everyday in order to maintain my homeostasis. In many ways this is a gift because I cannot be a slacker- I am literally forced to show up, be in my body and take care of myself - or be in pain. I guess I could just use pain meds, so maybe I am not forced, maybe I have a choice, but pain meds do not seem like a choice to me, so here I am with my excellent health and healthy habits that keep me young and happy.

Ok, lastly, I was the person who could not get pregnant. So we did 3 rounds of invitro. I got pregnant twice but my pregnancies did not go full term. I really wanted to have the experience of pregnancy and labor and I got to have that, as my miscarriage was actual labor. Labor was brutal but wonderful. I might write about all the gory details but not today, All I can say is while screaming with pain, I kept saying “thank you”. I wasn’t sure who I was thanking or why but I knew that getting to be in labor was a gift, even if there was no baby at the end. The perfect baby came, of course, just by a different means, and I have no regrets or longings about what I got to have or not have.

Now really lastly, I was the person whose adoption went horribly wrong in that we did everything right with people who chose us to parent their biological baby yet some freakish twist of fate wound us up in court for 18 months parenting our beautiful baby who might be ripped from our lives. She wasn’t.

The first year and a half of new motherhood was wrought with a constant obligation to be in absolute faith. I could not live in the stress and terror and rage (that was real and normal), and still be a good parent so I had to practice utter faith, which is easier said than done Again, I did not have to, but I did not see an option. (Urg! I would love to tell you more because I am like that- say it all so that I can help others going through hard times, but I have other parties to consider here so that is the best I can do.) In the end the perfect baby came to me and my husband. I would not ask for anything different.

I write this to remind myself when I want to say “why can’t I just get married and have a baby like everyone else, whaaaa whaaaa!” that I am just on a different path, one with so much good that there has to be some bumps. There are many good people in this world who are not half as lucky, god bless. Things have been extremely difficult but they have worked out in the end better than in my wildest imagination. It is that simple.

Find the gifts in your problems/struggles, have gratitude, and enjoy the ride peeps.


this song is not really relevant but 'cept the title, but it sure is keeeewl