Tuesday. 2.5.13 11:39 pm
DISCLAIMER: the entries throughout this month and going forward til otherwise noted reflect my thoughts, feelings, and life during the summer, fall, and winter of 2012. in other words, these are old entries ive been emaning to getting around to writing.
The most tortuous nightmares are the ones you sorta yearn for. Those nights where you dream of some real sweet shit only to wake up to discover the longings of your soul could be obtained only through slumber. I've been having these dreams going back all the way to when I was a kid growing up in a tiny Texas town.
It's kinda funny though.. back then I used to wake up to the realization that my relationship with my father didn't resemble Cory and Alan Matthews of boy meets world fame and get angry. The first few days I woke up on Amy's couch that summer left me feeling more shame than anything else. Waking up to the realization that I wasn't actually laying in her bed made me miss her and therefore brought upon the shame of coming to the realization that I was still very much in love with the girl still.
"Listen, man, let me just.. let me just drop some... knowledge on you right here, Jay," Tyler says with a mouth full of sloppy joe. It's late July and we're at a grimy downtown diner in Baltimore, Maryland. He licks his lips before he speaks again, allowing his tongue to flick the metal hoop piercing his bottom lip before continuing. "You just got to say "fuck it," you know? I'm not on some Dr. Dre shit or nothing -- I'm not saying women ain't shit. All I'm saying is that you got to be like me, man."
I hit him with one of those stale faces while cutting up my pancakes. "What do you mean, T?"
"I mean you got to realize that relationships are bullshit, Jon. You can't go around just caring about women this way because they'll end up fucking you over if you let them. So don't let them."
I picked up my grilled chicken sandwich -- white onions, pickles, and barbecue sauce as toppings-- and pushed my now empty plate of pancakes to the side. A weird combination, I know, but it's my special heartbreak meal. "I don't know, man. I hear what you're saying -- the folks we make ourselves vulnerable to are the ones who can do the most damage to us, but..."
Sensing I couldn't come up with a counter argument, Tyler sat back in his seat and grinned at me from across the table. I shrugged and turned my eyes back to the sandwich for a moment.
One of my most influential teachers told me once that the tattoo a person has tells their story of anguish. According to her, folks often get tattoos as a commemorative event of sorts -- a showing to the outward world that they've been through some shit but came out of it stronger. Sitting across from Tyler that afternoon, I reflected on her words as I took note of the maybe thirty or forty tattoos covering his exposed bodyparts.
"My favorite? This one--," he takes a hold of his collar and yanks it down far enough for me to see his chest. Atop his right breast was a Megaton Pokemon with a shield and sword standing guard before a gate. If Tyler's philosophy on relationships could be boiled down to one image, it'd have to be that. "Or, maybe this one..."
He may not have convinced me to completely adopt his philosophy in terms of relationships.. but he did succeed in convincing me to get a replica of the second tattoo he showed off. Across his knuckles were the words "Sola Fide," which roughly translates from latin to "By Faith Alone."
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Monday. 2.4.13 8:20 pm
Sunday. 2.3.13 5:53 pm
If you’ve ever carved a melon, you know that it’s a multi-tiered process. I often channel my inner Christina Yang of Grey's Anatomy whenever I do it – slicing and dicing the outer shell delicately. With the hard shell removed, all you're left with is the subdued sweetness of the honeydew melon you're familiar with from grocery stores -- except it's kinda shaped like an ugly football and not all sliced into actual readily edible pieces. That's when you make like Ninja Turtle Leo slice that mothercanucker in half.
And that’s when the honey doodoo appears – the mass of hard seeds and slimy green gunk in the center of the melon.
You’ve got options on your next move. You can either use a spoon or a scooper to remove all that gunk from the center. Or you can do like Jon and use your bare hands like a dumbass and scoop them out. Either way, you’re essentially gutting the core of the melon, removing the essential components from which that melon came to be, ya know? When when you’re done, you’re left with just the outside fruit – raw, tender, and all gummed up inside.
It’s such a fucking weird dynamic to feel like a carved up melon when you’re going through some foul shit. The entire ride from Richmond, Virginia to Washington, D.C., I carried that emptiness along. That immense loneliness is one I never felt prior to this summer and one I pray I never feel again.
And it wasn’t just the girlie thing, either. Having the supposed love of your life tell you she had a change of heart like a wrestling heel turn left me confused, angry, and profoundly sad. Couple those emotions with the uncertainty I was facing in terms of how I was going to make money, where I would sleep the next night, what I could afford to eat and for how long had me all shook up. Add in the fact that my moms was so upset with my decision to leave my job in politics that she wouldn’t even talk to me.. all this had me feeling like my honey doodoo was removed from within, leaving me raw, tender, and very, very, vulnerable.
By the time I hit union station Amy stood a few feet away from the last step on the escalator, her arms outstretched and hands becoming me near. “C’mon, bud. You look…” she hesitates, looking me over as I lumber toward the 4’10, 100 lbs pale woman in front of me. Amy, myself, and a collection of other individuals all lived together in D.C. three years back or so. She’s one of the few that I routinely kept in touch with so when I called her earlier that day and filled her in on my predicament, she told me to just come.
“Awful, I know,” I say for her. I moved my luggage to the side when I was close to her, and kind of just.. dove into her arms. I reckon it was a particularly interesting sight – me being a giant black man and her the exact opposite, - her consoling me like that. I buried my forehead into the space between her neck and shoulder, let my arms move across her back, and dug my fingers into the fabric of her deep red coat, grasping and clawing at the first solid show of love I’d seen in a minute.
“Well, you’re here now, Nom-Nom… let’s go get some food, yeah? My treat. I’ll take you anywhere you want to go – promise!”
“…I want to go to Wafflehouse,” I say despite knowing that there ain’t no damn waffle house in all of D.C.
“Well.. except for there, Nommers.”
“Oh, that’s okay.. I’m used to women breaking promises to me. I mean, that’s all they ever really do, you know? I mean, one day they’re saying they love you and want to spend the rest of their lives with you and the next they go PSYCHE! Or—“
“Alright, let’s set some ground rules. You get one – maybe two – of those a day while you stay with me. Deal? Now, what do you want to eat?”
Not only do I give her a nod of acquiescence, but I also managed to smile at her joke before I answered.
“I want ice cream. Lots of it.”
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Saturday. 2.2.13 7:42 pm
` “You’re an asshole,” she says to me with an exaggerated sigh. She took a step backwards as she spoke to me, having unwrapped her arms from around my waist. I didn’t hug her back.
“Thanks for picking me up. How far is the bus stop?”
“It’s just down the block from here. C’mon, lets go grab food first.”
Her demeanor was completely different in person than it had been days earlier on the phone. Since I told her I was leaving my job – perhaps a little bit before that even – Caitlin had been treating me with contempt. She was curt with me – behaving as though talking to me was some big chore, as though I was taking her away from her real life.
To be fair to her, she was going through some shit on her own. She recently left her son for the first time to move to a large city for school. It was her first time away from him for any long period of time and I reckon she was struggling to deal with that decision. She still saw him multiple times during the week, but it was the first time she had lived without him. Add that to the fact that she was actually moving across the state… I don’t know.
“You act as though you’ve got all these new things happening in your life right now,” I said to her about a week or so earlier. “I guess I’m just trying to figure out where I fit in.”
And that was when she went on to tell me she didn’t know was I was expecting when I came to Virginia – as though I did not explicitly tell her that I was coming for her. As if we hadn’t had multiple conversations leading up to my move discussing our future together. As though she didn’t tell me, just weeks earlier, that she was scared to see me because she knew she would end up caring for me on a romantic level again.. Our first night together she confessed to feeling as though I was the only one for her. When I confronted her that day before I got on my bus and began my journey, she told me I just confused her words.
“My mom won’t talk to me. She thinks I’m making a mistake leaving…” We’re sitting outside of a faux French café in downtown Richmond. She’s sipping on some bougie coffee thing in one of those oversized cups. I was a bit too anxious to drink anything myself, so I sat completely still beside her as she contemplated my words.
“I do too. I mean honestly, it’s a stupid decision. People compromise their faith and their principles all the time. What makes you any different?”
I took the napkin her cup of coffee came with and began fidgeting with it. “I.. I suppose I don’t want to be like everyone else. The people I look up to – the ones I aspire to be like, they didn’t compromise on things that they felt strongly about. I mean, that’s why I looked up to them -- they believed in shit and fought for things.”
“The real world doesn’t work like that, Jonathan. You’re not livin gin the real world. People like me – I could never do something like you did because I care about money and I need to provide for myself and Viktor. Vil? He can’t do that either – he’s got a family to look after. You’ve got this luxury, I guess, but real people don’t make that decision.”
“Even if I were you, or Vil, or any other motherfucker out there, I’d like to think I’d have the integrity to do the right thing even when the decision is a tough one.. I.. I don’t know. I thought you would support me on this.. I mean, I thought you loved me.”
“Do you really want to have this conversation here?” Caitlin says to me without glancing up from her coffee.
“Yeah. I want you to tell me – explicitly, put it all out there, tell me you don’t love me. I need this.”
“I don’t love you, Jonathan. At least not that way. I thought I did.. but I don’t. I’m sorry.”
And that was when lightning struck, a voiceover from above yelled “IT’S MORPHIN’ TIME!,” and I transformed from a beautifully stoic man to a 6’3, 250 lbs blubbering man crying beside a tiny girl.
Somehow she got me up and out of the coffeeshop and to the bus station. The whole walk there I followed behind her by a few paces, not wanting to see her face. We got in her car, drove to the stop, and got out.
We walked together to the corner in silence, her eyeing me. When we got to the stop, she just sort of stood there, one arm draped across her stomach, the other to her side watching me. She took a step forward, as if to go for a hug, then thought the better of it and retreated. Sensing her about to leave me, I lunged forward and wrapped her in my arms as tight as I could. She used to tell me, back in the day, that she loved the way I could wrap my gumby-long arms around her frame and engulf her when we embraced. Granted, later on she cited this style of hugging as one of the many reasons she no longer loved me.
I clung to her for a good minute or two before taking a step back with my head down, not wanting to see her. I heard her turn around, say “goodbye, pal,” get into her car and drive off. When I was sure she was gone, I fell to my ass on the concrete and wept until the megabus arrived.
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Saturday. 2.2.13 4:05 pm
Running away or Standing up?
Friday. 2.1.13 5:41 pm
"I'm just... I'm not sure that I'm comfortable doing all this -- going into church like this,"I say to Lana. We're sitting in the basement of the campaign headquarters. No one else is in the room -- just me and her.
It was actually the first conversation we had since my initial interview maybe three months earlier in April, 2012. Since that interview, I left law school, moved to Hawaii, lived back at home with my mom for a few weeks, and then packed all of my belongings and moved to Charlottesville, Virginia to start my job as a community organizer.
During that initial interview, Lana warned me that the job would not be too glamorous. "It'll be a lot of grunt work, Jonatha. It's nothing like the Westwring -- you won't be rubbing elbows with the most influential folks in the world. It'll be a lot of long hours, a lot of thankless tasks, and a lot of frustrations. Are you okay with that?"
Although I didn't go quite as far as Stone Cold Steve Austin by giving her a 'HELL YEAH,' I still enthusiastically told her I was down for the cause. "I'm not in this for any sort of glory. I'm joining because I believe he's the best candidate, you know? I'm passionate about this -- and I could care less what kind of glamor is associated with this gig."
Not even a month into my gig as an organizer, Lana sent me an e-mail with the subject titlted: "Time to go to church!" In the email were indepth instructions about how to talk to African Americans in their native habitat: church. The letter suggested ways to get them more involved and basically stressed the notion that there was a nexus between the candidate of choice's religious affiliation and his job as leader of the free world.
A nexus I refused to advocate for.
"Given his foreign policy choices -- with the drones killing innocent people, and with his stance on certain domestic policies.. I'm not comfortable advocating for him in my place of worship. I don't want to taint my place of worship, you know?"
"Well," Lana began. "If you're uncomfortable doing that, then I'm uncomfortable with you having this job. Take a few days to reconsider and get back to me."
So I did. I talked to my mom about it.. she told me I was being stupid and not to expect any support if I quit my job. Afterall, kids dying as casualties of war were just that -- casualties of war. Collateral damage. She did not engage in my point that whatever you label the deaths, God should not be used as a justification.
I talked to Caitlin about it. She told me I was being stupid and stubborn and immature. "Grown ups compromise everything all the time -- their faith included. I don't see this as such a big deal." Oh, and after that she told me that she no longer had an yinterest in being with me romantically after having convinced me to move to Virginia in the first place through a three month campaign of calling me literally three times a day and saying the following words: "My state needs you. I need you." Then, when I arrived, a week after sitting in her car with her head in my lap and confessing that she's been in love with me since she was a little girl, she tells me that she was just confused.. and that I was being stupid for not wanting to compromise my faith.
My sisters agreed with me though. They supported my decision to leave the gig. As di d a number of my pals -- Rob, who I'll write about soon. Zanzipal, who I'll wife up soon.
As it turned out, I left the campaign, lived on friend's couches and on megabuses for a while, and Lana was demoted and placed in a less desirable location. They offered me my old gig back but I declined at first, only to later on accept it.. but in a new location sadly.
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