Monday, May 24, 2010

Francesca Lia Block

Dear Francesca,

I was alone. Dropped into another new school, another new place that I was scared and without a familiar face. I wandered the library instead of eating lunch. I couldn't stand everyone watching me eat.

They say, never judge a book by it's cover. But I do. I saw a book's spine, lime green and purple. And the cover of a beautiful girl with big eyes and dark hair. Thus began my first love affair, at the tender age of 13.

The books followed my life, or maybe I followed the books. But no matter my age or experience, I knew these books were my home.

When you wrote about River in "Primavera", the images you wrote stuck in my head. Tiny fluffy little feathers growing from his head. I don't know why it was burned into my 14 year old brain. I didn't know, until my grandmother got sick. The cancer had spread to her brain and she had lost her hair again. She took off her scarf and it was then I understood. That image, burned into my psyche, was right in front of me. It had prepared me. My tiny Granny, with tiny feathery fuzz on her tiny skull.

When you wrote about the great friendship in the opposites in "Violet and Claire", I longed for a friend. Someone to talk to and drag on adventures with me and be a girly girl with. My 15 year old self could not image it ever happening. (Because at 15, you think that life will always suck like this...) But my first year of college, I saw a beautiful girl with black hair reading "Girl Goddess 9". (I was reading "I Was A Teenage Fairy") And I had found a best friend.

I have found myself at parties and clubs, places that I knew I shouldn't be. Needles and sex too young and sad sad girls. I thought back to Claire and Laurel. I always left before it got bad. I knew what was gonna happen. Then I read Baby Bebop and I knew that I would never be able to hate someone because they loved the same sex. I would campaign for gay rights and try never to judge someone with hate in my heart. The insightful 16 year old.

I chased my own bass playing, long haired Angel Juan, until I too realized I had to let him go. Mine never came back but now that I'm older, I know I am so much better off. I was stronger without him. I was 18.

And when my brother died, and I felt like I had died too, I packed my bags. I had to leave and didn't have time to think. I just started grabbing things. I packed 5 shirts, 1 pair of jeans, no underwear. But right before I left for my parents house, I ran back into my living room and grabbed a handful on your books. Weetzie and Laurel and Barbie and Echo and everyone else kept me company. (Weetzie actually came with me to the funeral, in my purse next to my eulogy.) Everyone one of them had been through pain and made it through beautiful and whole again at the end. It gave me hope.

Now that I'm much older, I fill my house with flowers and tea and love, as much as I can. I make and bake and work hard. And I have a feeling that I wouldn't be who I am without you! And when I'm sad, when I feel there is no more magic left in the world, I sit out on my porch, drink an Orangina, watch the birds play and read one of your books.

One day, I will be in California and will attend one of your classes or book readings or signings. And instead of telling you all this in person(because it would be too weird and complicated) I will just smile and thank you and I hope you will know that you changed my life.

love love love and glitter,

Friday, May 14, 2010

My Brain sings...

I'm just dancin' and singin'....
I'm singing in the rain
Just singing in the rain
What a glorious feeeeeelin'
I'm happy again!
I'm laughing at clouds
So dark up above
The sun's in my heart
And I'm ready for loooooove

Let the stormy clouds chase
Everyone from the place
Come on with the rain
I've a smile on my face
I walk down the lane
With a happy refrain
I'm dancin', and
Singin' in the raaaaain

*Hands umbrella to older gentleman walking by and continues to dance down the lane*

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Love and Marriage

Johnny Johnny Johnny... I'm so disappointed.

We argued in the middle of a Taco Bell about marriage, engagement and social rolls in America. Now ignore the fact that I'm actually IN a Taco Bell and just be secure in the knowledge that I did NOT eat anything from said establishment. (I would rather die... and I might have.)

On a Sunday afternoon, John got a hankering for a beef and cheddar heart attack so I reluctantly joined him to simply remain in his company. I innocently asked how things with his girlfriend, Sylvia, were going. He said things were great and he was thinking about maybe getting married. "That's amazing! Have you bought a ring yet?!" I exclaimed, in pure joy for my friend finding someone to whom he was willing to make a lifelong commitment. Instead of a smiling back, his face dropped into a perplexing somber affair.

"An engagement ring?", he asked with pure loathing in his voice.

He went on a 10 minute long rant about how the idea of an engagment ring is sexist and insulting to any woman he would marry. It hints at ownership. (I argued so does a wedding ring) Why does the woman only get a ring? Can't a man have an engagement ring too? (I said yes, if that's important to you) And why not a engagement tiara or engagement stilettos? (because an engagement tiara probably couldn't be worn at all times like a ring.)

I understand. I get it. Society says we must buy a ring; why should we yield? I could say the exact same thing about that flat screen in your living room. Do you really need 72 inches of TV when you don't even have cable? Why do you paint your walls or coordinate your furniture? Why buy anything from a mall? Why do you reluctantly recycle when you don't really believe it does anything for the environment? Why do you wear pants but never a skirt? Because it's in your head since you were born, that's the way it should be. Perhaps society does tell us we must do these things but we do them because we want to, really.

If he really doesn't want to buy an engagement ring, he doesn't have to. I told him Sylvia will be disappointed, perhaps only a little, but disappointed no less.

It is a symbol, regardless of what society says. A symbol of love, that he treasures me above all other. Whether is be a diamond, sapphire, or hunk of safety glass from a broken windshield, I'll know he chose that something special for me, to signify his love and commitment. To celebrate our new life together.

We get to pick and choose what tradition we want and that fit our lifestyles. It's like how I don't celebrate Christmas, even though society seems to demand that I do. How my lesbian friends live together as a married couple with their children even though that is not how it's traditionally done. And Johnny, if you want to not do the engagement ring, that's up to you. But I just want you to think about this: is this situation really about you and your ideals, or is it about making her beam and glow with happiness, not only when you get down on one knee, but every time she looks down and sees it on her hand? Would you deny her that if she really wants that?

But really, none of that matters, because for a girl like me (and Sylvia), it all come down to this... I want my moment. I want that moment where it's just like the movies. As little girls, we dream about many things. Driving our own car, getting a career we love, getting married. And not too many little girls imagine that the proposition to marriage comes with an empty velvet box and a "Let's get married" thrown commonly over one's shoulder. I WANT romance. I WANT a little dramatic flare during one of the most romantic times in my entire life. I WANT something special that is only for me, something that I will wear for the rest of my life. Something that will remind me again and again of that perfect moment, the romance and happiness. When the entire world melted away and it was just the two of us.

Nothing was resolved that day, as is typical. I'm not sure anything has ever been resolved at Taco Bell. But he said he would think about it. I think he heard me.