Grief turns out to be a place none of us know until we reach it. We anticipate (we know) that someone close to us could die, but we do not look beyond the few days or weeks that immediately follow such an imagined death. We misconstrue the nature of even those few days or weeks. We might expect if the death is sudden to feel shock. We do not expect the shock to be obliterative, dislocating to both body and mind. We might expect that we will be prostrate, inconsolable, crazy with loss. We do not expect to be literally crazy… In the version of grief we imagine, the model will be “healing.” A certain forward movement will prevail. The worst days will be the earliest days. We imagine that the moment to most severely test us will be the funeral, after which this hypothetical healing will take place. When we anticipate the funeral we wonder about failing to “get through it,” rise to the occasion, exhibit the “strength” that invariably gets mentioned as the correct response to death. We anticipate needing to steel ourselves the for the moment: will I be able to greet people, will I be able to leave the scene, will I be able even to get dressed that day? We have no way of knowing that this will not be the issue. We have no way of knowing that the funeral itself will be anodyne, a kind of narcotic regression in which we are wrapped in the care of others and the gravity and meaning of the occasion. Nor can we know ahead of the fact (and here lies the heart of the difference between grief as we imagine it and grief as it is) the unending absence that follows, the void, the very opposite of meaning, the relentless succession of moments during which we will confront the experience of meaninglessness itself.
It is night it is night it is night and I’m typing on my cell phone typing into this New Year that passes while I like a somnambulist cross over unaware that I’m thirsty or that time passes my heart on fire for all the love lost and returned in a single dream of songs sung wildly in the splendid dream cave.
Our voices would echo
Like Cecilia Vicuña the voice the voice I weep for the fragments of dream lost but I woke my soul still stirring from breathing in all the voices that echoed there, in that dream cave in the sky
Palace of sand
It’s my heart
Why has it become so hard to hear my heart?
Sing into my mouth
The feminists danced into the new year to Talking Heads, “This Must Be The Place” and Lana Del Rey and to Tove Lo singing about blotting out the agony affects that accrue to the body of the one who has just lost love
“You’re gone and I gotta get
hiiiigh all the tiiiiimmmee
To keep you off my mind”
Now that I’ve dabbled with heterosexuality I know the true meaning of pop:
To train you to love
To condition, domesticate and *generate* desire
To induce heterosexual desire
To shape it
The form of your desire
The tempo of your desire
The fantasies that emerge around your desire
To feed you narratives
A catchy melody becomes a mnemonic device for the heterosexuality scripts
I found myself wanting it
That obliterative, sentimental love
That home-in-you feeling
It is a feeling for femininity
A feeling for femininity I never had before
As I have always felt more alien than feminine
On New Year’s Day I woke with the thought
Should I go back to being a lesbian
Should this be a kind of…resolution?
Because heterosexuality is anti-woman
To make heterosexuality work you have to become anti-woman
And by that I mean, unbecome
Or aligned yourself with masculinity and against women–to *become* through heterosexuality
I feel like I have something unpleasant sticking to my skin
Maybe heterosexuality is the feeling of having something gross sticking to your skin
You trade your subjecthood for the subject position of the girlfriend
But can you even be a full subject outside the heterosexual matrix?
But what are you as a girlfriend?
The subject position of an…appendage.
Becoming-girlfriend is the pits when you just wanna be weird sisters.
Maybe my 2015 heterosexual experiments were not like the scenarios I alluded to above.
Or were they?
I have been the “mentor” to young men who feel I am more powerful. In 2015 I dated a guy who would constantly fret about what he felt was my intellectual superiority and then I would have to nurse his singed ego back to health by apologizing for being smart or feigning stupidity.
I want that “top-in-life, bottom-in-bed” arrangement Berlant told me about over dinner once.
But is this even possible in heterosexuality?
What is a “powerful woman” in a hetero context?
Women are scorned and seen as weak for loving too much
Resented or seen as cold for not loving enough
In heterosexuality women always lose
Even when these men I’ve been with say I have so much more power than them
The truth is I forfeit a chunk of my power when I enter a heterosexual arrangement
On New Years Eve B, who was drunk, rolled into bed with me while I was brooding
She said, “do you feel like your full self with him? Like full JACKIE WANG?” And I hesitated before saying, well, no, but who do I feel like my full self with?
And then while going through old pictures of all my punky outfits I feel a pang of sadness thinking maybe that shitty dude’s criticism of my clothes got to me more than I thought, because my look/sartorial sensibility has been evolving away from queer punk to something else, not exactly bland femme, but something more subdue, like classy goth witch. Have I lost my élan? What am I becoming?
What I also don’t understand is why these men who are drawn to willful women like me resent me for being willful
Like–why not seek someone out who is submissive? Or is that just no fun?
It’s funny that multiple times my feminism has been attacked after not giving men something that they wanted
In heterosexuality, women lose psychically. Actually I see now that being outside the masculine recognition system for so long protected me, allowed my personality to evolve in ways it never could have if I had been fretting about making myself attractive to men.
This year I dated a man who wanted to possess me fully while he was secretly romantically involved with women in other cities
I even offered to be in an open relationship
But he declined saying it would “damage” our relationship
What he really meant was that he was entitled to my complete loyalty and fidelity, while he had no obligation to me.
But while women in hetero relationships lose psychically, maybe they gain something materially…?
Unfortunately I lost materially with my main 2015 lover, bleh.
Well Alex said she wanted to read some of my reflections on venturing into the world of men for the first time, so late. I sincerely do want to make things work w my current lover, who is not very masculine and definitely not as sociopathic as the main 2015 lover, but I know what I have to give up to make a hetero relationship work. Entering into a hetero relationship is entering into an alliance with patriarchy.