Every morning, I go into the bathroom and with my makeup bag write the only fiction possible for me—my face—so when my iphone crashed the other day and in setting everything up again after it came back to life, I had to do another face scan password, I really had to contemplate. At the time, it was morning and I didn’t have my makeup on so I briefly thought that maybe scanning my makeup-less face to use as my password might make it more challenging for my phone to recognize me and use my face as my password once I had gotten the fiction published up there on my freckles (*cough “age spots”) and my eyebrows. But I proceeded with the makeupless scan and realized that I didn’t need to worry; I’m happy to report that my phone scan recognizes me either way—both with makeup and without—and opens right up at the sight of either face. And I think the moral of this story isn’t so much that I don’t look that different without make up as it is that basically anybody’s fucking face could probably open my phone at this point. Use it in good health, Anybody.
This particular picture was taken this morning in honor of the new lip balm I bought at Sprouts the other day. I don’t usually use the stuff—if your lips are dry, you’re dehydrated: drink water—but it’s nice to have so I grabbed some randomly and after applying it to see if I liked the texture (I didn’t) noticed it made my lips do this iridescent pink/white effect. And Back in the ‘80s I had this lip crayon that used to do the exact same thing; the ‘80s were a very iridescent time—chock full of a lot of face fiction plus some non-fiction, no makeup, etc—but I’d forgotten about it until seeing my face with this stuff on. Seeing it was a walk down an old and age-spot covered plus FiveGuysLastNight memory of my face and a surprising one; like who makes and sells iridescent pink/white lip balm at Sprouts? That’s not a thing now. How exactly does the company that makes it justify the hassle and expense of producing something that even the freaks of the free market like myself aren’t sure they can pull off? So I looked at the label. And that’s when I realized that my lip balm was sunscreen.
Twelve years ago, I caught a cold that wouldn’t go away. The runny nose left me dehydrated and exhausted and was accompanied by sneezes so powerful my eyes would explode in volcanos of mascara’ed saltiness sending twin rivers of black gook oozing down my face.
“Are you okay, Miss Amy?” the concerned kindergarten students I worked with would ask, confusing (perhaps) my red, runny eyes and smeared makeup for the tears of emotions. And I would pat their arm, and tell them, “Yes; I’m alright,” even as we both knew I must be lying because all they had to do was look at me.
Things obv weren’t alright.
Then it got worse.
The congestion—in what I initially thought was it’s big finish—clogged up my sinuses to the point that I became unable to hear their 5 and 6 year old voices. They would ask me for help with their math or sounding out a word, and I’d have to turn their head to face me so I could read their lips as they repeated their question. The snot had made me hearing-impaired. My cold was a disability.
One week later, I saw a doctor who was so professional she managed to leave the “omfg you dipshit” off of “You don’t have a cold; you have allergies,” and—within two weeks—I’d beaten back the mucous invasion courtesy of Big Pharma.
For some weird reason, these allergies had gestated for 40 years–never once making an appearance—but now every year hence arrive with a ground swell requiring tsunami sirens.
My mom lived with year-round allergy symptoms courtesy of an exceptionally sensitive nose.
She always had a tissue with her—always; usually near her wrist tucked up inside her sleeve —and in typical humor, classified these tissues according to their level of degradation.
Stage 1: new
Stage 2: used once; no rips, barely crumpled
Stage 3: used more than once; ripped, starting to shred
Stage 4: intact only because of the glue-like properties of snot
Her tissues would often engage my gag reflex, and watching her blow her nose into a Stage 4 was like looking into the shit-abyss of a Port-O-John.
Inevitably, Mom’s intimate experience with allergies led to a desensitization about the etiquette of mucous management, to the point where her public persona often involved honking into her tissue using an uncompromising dual-alternating-nostrils-at-full-force technique akin to trumpeting the arrival of the snot queen. The volume involved in this expulsion indicated base tones of an underlying “fuck this fucking fucking shit” and when she’d reach into her sleeve to pull out a Kleenex, I would restrain the impulse to walk off—loyal as I was—while viscous nasal belongings were gathered up into a decaying tissue right across the table from me at Taco Bell.
11/3/2020. They’re back. I haven’t had allergies for several years—don’t know why they’re even back in November of all months—but the volcanoes, mascara rivers, itchy nose, clear snot (eyes that suddenly burst open with tears, along with the continuous urge to sneeze—while not actually sneezing, requiring me to blow my noise just to have some sense of a climax) are all back. How tf can I board the Trump Train looking like this? I can’t. I just can’t. I’m very devastated.
And today is Election Day. And I don’t know who needs to hear this but you’re stronger than you believe and are much much more than the sum of “all this”. Our brains are masterful creators—seamlessly making stories both real and not—but our body/breath can medicate it when it gets too frantic. Thoughts and worries aren’t themselves real; thoughts/worries are “over there” rather than “here,” we just convince ourselves otherwise. I once read that if the sun were to explode none of us would even know for 8 whole minutes because that’s how long it takes for the sun’s light to reach us on the surface of our planet. We’d go on living our lives not knowing anything had happened since everything we see in front of us right this second is actually via the light from the past sun. Over there vs here.
I had a dream about my mom last night. I never dream about my mom but this was something I was supposed to remember and write down. In the dream, I’d been doing some errand and Just finished and came into a large kind of crowded room, making a beeline for my mom, believing she’d be happy to see me. But she wasn’t. She was angry at me, cold—wouldn’t look at or speak to me—and in the dream I knew that there wasn’t any reason for it except for her own pain and trauma yet I knew it was bullshit for me not to say “this is bullshit.” So I spoke up really loudly to this crowd of people I didn’t know and made a speech thanking them for being the America I needed to rise above such redirected aggression and when I finished everyone clapped, some people clapping loudly for a long time.
Anyways, take care, whatever the day/week brings make sure to breathe yourself back to life and thank you for being the America I needed.
(Artistic representation of misery and allergies courtesy of my recent accidental purchase of Prisma).
Go Pool Flamingo Hotel/Porn Hub Auditions during Julia’s 21st birthday trip to Vegas. Those butt cheeks teased him backwards, turned around added some facing him, then clueless to the fact that people were pointing and laughing in shock—communing on our mutual disbelief, shaking our knowing heads at one another over their brazenness—covered themselves up with a towel and finished up. Yes; yes they did. Didn’t think they would but I was wrong and now I can cross “she got off him; she got back on; it escalated; they’re doing it” texting narration to my children (who were up in the room and missed the whole thing) off my bucket list.
Oh and, PornHub, if you’re interested, I got other videos. Message me.
Lady at the Costco eye center counter last week when I was ordering: “Are you sure? They’re too big for your face.”
Me (inner eye roll, like she thinks it’s amateur hour): “No problem. Been wearing broken ones for 15 months; lost two other pairs in one year. I’m not even gonna have these long. It’ll be okay.”
[Sees them on my face; they’re too big; but they’re not broken and I can see and shits imperfectly perfect and it’s gonna be okay].
The rundown on dead glasses are as follows: lost a brand new pair in 2016 by dropping them from the Sundance ski lift during their final fall Full Moon run, lost an almost brand new pair in 2017 (dropped them in a rental truck) during our move to the Logan Avenue house, dropped/stepped on a pair of year-old glasses on New Years Day 2018 which I still wore lopsided as fuck for a year plus, and then these too-big ones which I think brings us all up to speed on why contacts are such a good choice for some people
Sometimes, when it’s 9:30 at night and you realize that you accidentally left your Public Storage unit door wide open and the main gate has been locked, the office is closed/not answering and you’re in the process of moving your kids from their home of 14 years after a year where they both ended up having extreme (and frightening) stress responses to all the previous changes in their lives (but you have to move from the home otherwise your own stress response will lead to crippling depression) and now knowing your storage unit is wide open, you’re hysterically worried that all the stuff/mementos/artifacts from your life in said house will end up being ransacked by some asshole who’d rather take your beloved stuff and shit on it than leave such an opportunity unspoiled…
Sometimes, in these cases, YOU DO WHAT YOU GOTTA DO, drive your car up to the closed gate, climb on the car hood, pull yourself over the 8 feet spikes and run your ass down dark Public Storage alleys like a pissed off Mama Bear to shut the damned door. That is what you do.
Next day my muscles were sore and when the storage unit manager called to ask if I’d gotten the situation resolved—I’d left several panicked messages the night before—I said yes, and then he followed up with asking how happy I was with their service, at which point I thought about it and decided I was actually pretty happy. For there is no greater review I can give than my genuine gratitude for not arresting me.
USPS: “Ma’am, we delivered the card to tell you where to pick up the package. That’s what that card is. We couldn’t find your house so we sent the package to the nearest post office and mailed you the card to let you know where to get it. That’s all that is.”
Me: “yes. right. Okay. I get that. But here’s the thing: you emailed my kid several times telling her you couldn’t find our house to deliver her glasses and I’m holding a card that says the package sent usps to my address was undeliverable even though the card saying the package was undeliverable was itself delivered to my house.”
USPS: “That does seem weird. I don’t know/Do you want your package?”
ME: [Unsure; very tempted to pick at this until one of us is crying. Long pause…] “Yes.”
[have package, start to walk out but suddenly realize it’s the hill I want to die on]
Me: “But do you AT LEAST see what I’m trying to say about how insane it is that I’m holding this card that you delivered to the house that you couldn’t find?”
Just sitting in the parking lot of Whole Foods getting dictatorship updates via Twitter—since it’s the first time I’ve ever lived in a dictatorship and I want to be informed—and I had a nip slip while I was trying to get something out of my bra. And the nip slip was more like not really a slip as it was an entire boob visible and outside my bra and also it was definitely seen by someone. And how I know it was seen by someone is because I was so engrossed in searching my bra for whatever was inside it making me itch that I didn’t know my boob had come out of my cup until the very second I made eye contact with the lady parked in front of me and she opened her mouth in shock as if someone had just brought their boob out of their bra in the parking lot of Whole Foods.
Now I don’t have any clarification on what a dictatorship will be like because Twitter is basically just a whole bunch of people panicking about it—including myself—and no one knows what the fuck is happening or how much worse it will get. Maybe one boob is no big deal and it will get much worse; no one knows.
But for right now, i’m still trained in democracy so I holstered my boob, and mouthed the words “oh my God” and watched the lady—who was a real pro about it— get into her car and back out super fast almost as if she’d just been flashed. God bless her; my boobs made her flee, and that is some badass legit street cred going into this newest national nightmare.
Anyways, for real: I hope everyone’s finding a way to calm themselves. Because things are dying very quickly at the hands of the bad guys and we gotta steady this internal shit and repeat the mantra “sometimes we fall down because there’s something down there we’re supposed to find.”.
Fun Middle Age Online-Dating Fact: When you’ve hit it off but haven’t met irl, and he’s starting to confess via text the three things that might make you bail in order of severity and No. 1 is that he still lives with his ex-wife and No. 2 is that he has genital herpes for the love of God, DO NOT ASK WHAT NO. 3 IS.
But if you HAVE to know what #3 is…if for example, after #2, you’ve decided there’s no way you’ll see him at all ever because you’re only committed to him via light sexting and aren’t turned on by open genital sores yet still MUST find out what is worse than #1 and #2? Then don’t be surprised when he tells you that #3 is that he makes his entire annual salary in just a few weeks each year by going out to California and filming fetish porn–“Ladies humping pillows, that kind of thing”–with his ex-wife and that your head bobs up and down in confirmation that he got the ordering just right.
Death by food poisoning was circa 2005. I was still married at that time so to set the scene, it was 11 pm-ish, the kids are asleep, James is downstairs watching TV (or porn or playing video games), and I was lying on my back on the couch in our darkened living room, crying softly to myself about the CIA.
I knew they were up to something, detaining people; making them eat tainted Costco ground beef, and doing it in the name of, what exactly?—I whimpered to my thoughts—“American values”? Like where we torture people by feeding them e.coli until hunched over toilet bowls they violently expel the ‘implant’ and everything they know?
I was not in a healthy state, both body and mind doing a little interpretive dance with reality, and the malfunctioning electrolytes were cinching brain waves until it was beyond the capability of my nausea to endure such mindfuckery and I mentally packed up and disbanded.
The repeating cycle of redecorating my bathroom with the hamburger I’d had for lunch began—at the very start of the evening— with the slow build of nausea precipitating a mini-wave of panic.
For I still hadn’t emotionally recovered from the nausea experienced five years before courtesy of my second baby (who I actually still ended up loving). That was a nausea which had stayed inside my cells to solidify their legacy in muscle memories of a sickness so transformative I actually felt guilty for having it. And now here I was—five years post “nausea baby”—having hedonistically-squandered the interim years (living like that privileged bitch) now barely able to stagger back to the couch, the only remaining liquid I’d managed to hoard post-vomit already pissed and gurgling in the depths of my bowels before my ass even found the cushions.
I had ignored the debt I owed my misery/had not honored it with celebrations of life. And now shit was getting so dark I was strapped into a body performing an exorcism on itself—begging God for mercy—while just coherent enough to make it worse by analyzing America.
I don’t remember when things got better that night; there wasn’t some moment of “Thank you sweet Jesus” and if there was I’d share it. Because I’m not religious at all but certainly the Christians have endured enough with that war on Christmas. Plus I’m American and clearly on the moral grift—capable of justifying implanting AND expelling demons—so I’m patriotically programmed to thank a deity I don’t personally believe in for the opportunity to keep water down.
But the truth is slowly, somehow, the shivering, vomiting, and hallucinating, gave way, and I fell into the stupor of health. Yet forever changed this time.
For its 2020 now. That second baby is 19, in college, (nausea now only caused by her overuse of puns) and I haven’t been that sick or religious since.
But in the interim years, I’ve thought about that night—writing this ~15 years later in loving dedication—being intent on paying the debt of that misery.
Because I think sometimes only from bathroom floors covered in their own barf should privileged bitches rise. And I think in light of everything, the Christians would be pleased to know that staggering up from the floor was a coherent measure of pious gratitude. For if in the midst of delirium and dry heaves, the agnostic finds themselves begging God to help our thirst, it speaks to a religious redemption not yet identified even as it clearly can be tidied up to become some major collection-plate material.
In loving memory of the bonding experience with Livy (DD2) where we move 18 years worth of flotsam from her old bedroom to her new one across the hall (some of which was actual trash; “what era of your life is this trash even from?” “I don’t know” and of course she doesn’t because she’s too ashamed to tell me it’s been sitting there 8 years) and she’s on the ground sorting shit and trying not to get defensive while I’m standing and looking around like I’m Scarlett O’Hara in that Civil War scene with all the bodies she has to step over to get inside where legs are being sawed off for the gangrene. But the up side is that Livy sent me these memes (I couldn’t decide which was funnier) and I got a good laugh out of them because sometimes I think the line between laughing and crying is uncomfortably-thin and barely manageable but that really when you pull back and look at the big picture: is there anything better than a family who can come together and laugh over times spent sorting defensively through piles of old garbage?