I've tried to write this so many times but the words just come out wrong. They combine in curious ways to form new and unintended meanings, leaving the original thought unexpressed, dead at birth. This isn't a zine, not strictly speaking anyway. This is a means of recovery - whether from life or the hiccups of fate. This is simply a way to step back from the situation, remove myself from it as it were, and do my best to deal with these things the only way I know how - write about them.
You see, we all have problems, without exception. And as hard as it is to tear this down to its most fundamental level, my main problem is loneliness. I'm lonely and I'm numb. I don't feel much other than fear anymore. I don't feel human. I watch the people around me who are laughing and hanging out with their friends and they make me feel like a robot going through the motions, mocking the actions of those around it in an ugly parody of life. I don't really talk to people much because I seem to get along better with women, and in Southern California it seems like every conversational attempt with someone of the opposite gender is taken as a come on. I refuse to listen to the locker room gibberish about fucking and other masculine activities that passes for male bonding. I may exchange a few words in passing or joke around with some acquaintances, but I don't talk to anyone really. I don't express my feelings, my hopes, my dreams. I just bottle everything up and leave it alone, because no one seems to want to listen.
Ironically, the more I listen to people, the more I believe I'm not the only person in this situation. Almost everyone says the same thing, although they may not state it explicitly - I'm lonely. I'm afraid and I hate going home to an empty room. I just don't know how to change. I wish I had some answers. I wish I had just one of the solutions to these problems, but I don't. I can't even figure out how to avoid sliding further in.
Earlier tonight, I sat at a coffeeshop, eating croissants and cookies, trying not to look at the woman sitting across from me. It all seemed so simple - get up, walk over and talk to her briefly. Say something like "I know this is really forward, but is there any chance you might like to have coffee or tea one of these nights?", give her my phone number and go back to my food. Yeah, it seemed simple, but like most things, it was far more complicated than that. I was afraid, and I'm not even sure what I was afraid of. Maybe embarrassment, maybe rejection - I don't know. I could have been worried that I might trip and break my ankle. The end result is that I walked out of there without speaking to her or anyone else for that matter. I never do.
I love waking up in the early morning, sleeping on a couch in someone's house or apartment. It's a bit like waking up in a motel room - after all, as a sleeping surface, all couches are pretty much the same. A few months ago, I woke up after a long night of talking, sprawled on a couch under a warm comforter, looking at the dim sunlight streaming through the gauzy curtain at 8 a.m. I think I fell in love a little bit that morning, just wondering what she'd look like when she opened her door. Nothing ever came of it, but that delightful exhaustion from drinking wine and throwing Captain Crunch at each other until the early hours ...
I think everyone has had one of those nights where you sit with someone you like and talk for hours - maybe you kiss or hug, or a stray arm strokes your hair, or maybe nothing happens at all. Maybe you just sit there with them and you're lost in the moment. It's all about that moment, that euphoric feeling where everything is okay, for a little while anyway. Then the door opens or the sun comes up or something like that and it's over. I remember one night when I was over at someone's apartment. She was sitting on her combination couch/futon in a dress shirt, legs tucked underneath her, drinking a steaming cup of some flavored tea or another, I don't remember which. Her hair fell on her shoulders, framing her face and I sat on the floor, dumbfounded at being so close to this amazing person. We talked for a while that night until she got up off the couch, told me it was time for bed and held out her hand. I stood up and she hugged me. Then she walked me to the door. It's the story of my life.
It's heading up on 4 a.m. again. This is about the time you called, back when you called me. We talked for hours, listening to each other breathe on the long distance lines, trying not to think about the static and the miles between us. There was something there and you felt it as much as I did. After all, you were the one who said you were falling for me. Yeah, maybe I was the one who fought to get those three little words out of my throat, but I didn't know then what I know now.
Even if I had ... I wouldn't have changed anything because you were everything to me for those months. We had our ups and downs, but we always worked them out, even when you were off with someone else. I understood these things all too well. I understood how hard it could be in that situation, being a few states away from someone you loved. But drifting off to sleep with your voice singing in my ear, hearing your giggle and your soft laugh ... It's hard to think about it even now. I remember the flat tone of your voice at 11:30 a.m. on that Saturday morning, the way you explained that you met someone else again, someone new this time, and you didn't want remnants from your past to appear in your present time. I wonder if you even see what you're doing. It's the same as it always was for you. He dumped you and you're always looking for someone to take his place, but no one is good enough and no one ever will be because you still haven't gotten over him. You compare everyone to him and everyone falls short. They're never good enough and I just wish you would see what you're doing to yourself because every time this happens, you become more disenchanted.
I don't know why I still feel this way or why I'm spending my time thinking about this. It's over, right? Time to move on, right? I have to get on getting on ... but then 4 a.m. rolls around again ...
For some reason, I've always related to people better as a friend than a lover. I never really learned how to make a pass, "do" the singles scene or even meet someone. I guess I just fumble along ... I don't try to be antisocial but maybe that's the way my actions and statements appear to other people. People take me seriously when I joke. I tend to say socially inappropriate things and then try to make amends. I'm too inflexible and that's part of the problem. I can deal with losing friends and being lonely, but I couldn't handle compromising my integrity. At least I can look myself in the mirror after each sleepless night and know that I'm doing the best I can to get through each day with my soul intact. I know I'm doing my best to survive.
So here it is, 1995. I'll be 23 this year, but it could be 42 or 67 for all the difference that makes in my life. I recently got a card from someone who had apparently disappeared off the planet. I'll call her K for purposes of identification. Yeah, I had a crush on her when we first started talking. Now? I don't know. I haven't talked to her for so long and we've both been through a lot. I chatted with her a week ago and nothing seemed to be different, but I know it is. Everything is. Besides, I'm not sure about anything anymore. I thought I met the person (we'll call her W) I could spend the rest of my life with last year. At least, that's what I thought until she changed her mind. I think something could happen with K, but I've been wrong so often that it doesn't seem to matter what I think anymore. I just remember one long night in the summer of 1993 that was another one of those moments ... I had asked K to go see Bratmobile. She wore flowers in her hair and as we drove west into the setting sun, listening to the Boo Radleys' "Lazarus" EP, she smoked a cigarette, leaving a dark red lipstick print on it. The show started late so we talked for a long time ... eventually we wound up leaving before Bratmobile came on. I dropped her off at her apartment, kicking myself for not saying what I was thinking, what I was feeling, for not stopping at Denny's and calling her from a pay phone, for waiting until I made it home and then hedging on what I really wanted to say, softening it and lamely fumbling through some gibberish about having had a good time when what I really wanted to say was this: "I really like talking to you and I'd like to continue our conversation. Say Denny's in 15 minutes?" It was such a simple thing to say but those were some of the hardest words I've ever tried to force past my lips. It wouldn't have mattered anyway. She was on the phone and said she'd call me back but the phone never rang.
Yes, I dreamed about kissing her. I wanted to kiss her that night. I dreamed about running my hands through her hair and giggling as we rolled around on the floor. I hoped that she might take the first step, removing all the guesswork, but that never happened. Some of the things we want most in life never do.
I called K tonight and we spoke briefly. She was moving into her new apartment and said she had gotten my letter, but hadn't had a chance to read it yet. She asked if she could call me tomorrow or the next day and I said sure, I'll be around. It's two days later and I haven't heard from her and I don't understand anything anymore. It's heading up on 4 a.m. again and I'm wondering where she is, what she's dreaming about.
I spend my days in a state of perpetual bewilderment, unsure how people feel about me, unsure how I feel about them. I only feel at home when it's dark, when I can wrap the night around me and feel safe, when I don't have to worry about being disturbed. After 11 p.m., very few people call, and then only the ones who know I'll be awake. For some reason, everything seems more natural in the dark. Everything seems more possible. The dividing lines between reality and dreams lose their definition.
Ink-stained sheets, I feel like I haven't slept in weeks. I could write down everything I feel about her but I'd be too embarrassed to show her. I couldn't even let her see this because that would probably be the end of the friendship. Somewhere along the line, everyone apparently decided that showing emotions was something to be afraid of. We get scared when anyone shows more than a hint of passing interest. We created a culture of indifference to feeling, afraid to express ourselves for fear of rejection. Relationships have become a war zone where people engage in preemptive breakups to beat their partner to the metaphorical draw. We destroy our souls in this process and deny our emotions their freedom, isolating ourselves more with each passing day. Happiness eludes us and we go to bed alone, hoping tomorrow might be different.
I don't want sex. I'm not interested in fucking. A teacher of mine once explained that fucking is a word from another language that means "to plow the ground with hate." I can do without that. In this Age of AIDS, one night stands are an act of terrorism and condoms are Molotov cocktails, but acts of terrorism aren't enough. I want to start a revolution against complacency, against taking daily life for granted and a revolution for love. I'm not interested in sex because I want physical acts to mean something and sex in and of itself is essentially meaningless. I want to make love. I want to explore the semantic distinctions of expressing love physically and learn the differences intimately.
I'm sick of meaningless acts. I hate going through the same insignificant motions every day, feeling like nothing will ever change and that I'd better just get used to this state of existence. I want to start a rebellion against boredom and drudgery because I'm tired of the same routines. I want to sow sunflower and daisy seeds across universities. I want to lash out at the bitterness and spite I see around me and in me. I want to form a guerrilla cell with someone who shares the same ideas. I want to spend my days and nights with them, plotting against the trivial states of existence that confine us and restrict our activities. I want to stockpile our logic bombs and intellectual ammunition to strike back at these structures pinning us down and I want to escape from this dead-end life. I want to meet someone with a puckish twinkle in their eye and a grin promising adventure and excitement. I want to find a co-conspirator who understands the danger of loving in a loveless age, who understands the implications and significance of this clandestine act, and then, and only then, will I commit myself. I want to fall asleep in their arms and wake up there in the morning. I want to lounge on mattresses in hovels, hiding from the Thought Police, caressing each other and planning our next attack.
But every night it's the same thing. I go to bed alone, stare at the ceiling and dissect what I did that day, why I didn't say something, why I never say anything. I guess it's easier to dream of a revolution alone than take the risk of being discovered and unmasked. I guess it's easier to be alone than rejected. I guess it's easier to lock myself within these four walls, this nowhere I call a place, and listen to the wind howling outside my window than it is to pick up the telephone and take a chance on you, hoping that perhaps you are the one person who might be willing to take up arms in this fight and join me.
I guess I should face this simple fact - I'm lonely. I don't know how to socialize. I don't know how to walk up to someone at a concert and strike up a conversation. It's easier to sit on the floor, head in my hands, and let the music drown out my thoughts, if only for a little while.
I don't hate much in life, but I hate this feeling. I hate feeling like there's nothing left to feel, like I've already used more than my fair share of all the good emotions, like happy days are gone again and they won't be coming back. I hate feeling like I've only started to get over this and I still don't know how to cope. I know there's something better out there, but I don't even know where to start looking. I look around me and I see people sitting by themselves, quietly eating, reading or engaged in some other solitary activity. And I never felt more alone than when I was with someone and knew it wasn't right to be there.
These are supposed to be the years I celebrate, my days of sowing wild oats. I don't think any of the people who fed me that line of shit understand what this is like. I don't feel like them and I've never felt like them. I don't share their interests or beliefs. I'm looking for something more, something transcendent that will erase the emotions that came before it in one powerful blinding epiphany. I'm looking for romance, excitement and love. I'm looking for silliness and chaos. I hope I'll meet someone who will drive me crazy in all the right ways, who will make me absolutely nuts about them. And I'm hoping it will last this time. I'm hoping the day this all happens lasts forever.