lambda literary reading

It was an absolute honor to be selected as one of the Fellowship recipients at this year’s Lambda Literary Foundations Writers Retreat. Here’s a piece about why we need gay clubs in Indonesia. 

 

dealing with microaggression

When I was a kid, I love, love, love comic books. Being feminine and gay, I worshipped Wonder Woman and Catwoman and Poison Ivy and Shadow Cat and Supergirl and BlackCat and Sorceress and the likes. As I grew older, the feminist in me learned that comic books are sexist. Now, I can’t even watch Justice League without being appalled. Also, I’m going to shout out a big fuck you to Jim Balent for destroying Catwoman by overly sexualizing her. May a homosexual bite your cock off.

The same thing goes for Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame. I used to like it, but then I realized that the Rromani people in the movie are depicted as thieves and con artists. I can’t say that all Rromanis are saintly, but surely not all of them are bad.

Nowadays, there are people, like the owner of this Tumblr, who take time singling out people who use the term “gypsy” on Tumblr to reblog their “gypsy”-tagged post and set the record straight (that “gypsy” is actually a derogatory term, much like “fag” and “retard” and “nigger” and that “gypsies” don’t wear long skirts or live freely in moving houses, that “gypsies” are actually still largely thought of as thieves and therefore persecuted). I don’t know how I feel about this Tumblr blog. I mean, I’m pretty sure the owner is doing a service to Rromani people, yet I feel like her approach is sometimes very subjective. For example, the Tumblr blog started out as a site that called out what is and isn’t belly dance (hence the name), and the owner apparently thinks this is belly dance. So in my eyes, the blog has lost credibility.

Yet, like a freak accident or a horror movie, I still check it from time to time, if only just to see how stupid people can get. One thing led to another, and I found this Tumblr. Hoo, boy. Talk about microaggression.

First of all, using Tumblr to do long blog posts bug the glitter out of me. I mean, really. Tumblr is meant as a microblogging platform, to reblog quotes, reblog pictures. This blogging and reblogging and adding stuff on the reblogging and how the entries become truncated or look like a long chain of Re: Re: RE: re: RE: Re e-mails, they’re just not easy on my eyes (and brain).

I don’t really care when you call people out to show them they’re using derogatory terms, hopefully out of ignorance, and not because their purpose is to troll. It’s a good thing. Even if you think you’re God’s (or whoever deity’s) gift to enlighten people. Until you’re tired and think that no one listens. Good for you. Heck, if it were up to me, I’d punch the daylight out of people who use the term “fag” or “retard”.

I don’t even care when you show that everyone is against you. Because, hey, no good deed goes unpunished, right?

But I take offence when you start bullying people. Correct me if I’m wrong here, and I’m chalking the (probable) mistake to my dislike for Tumblr’s reblog/reply lay-out, but here’s the gist (the original blog post was deleted):

A Tumblr blogger wrote that (the eras) 40’s and 50’s were so cute and then another blogger replied, “Not for black people”. And well, you can read what MyJourneyMyThoughts’ reply is (it’s the one in white).

I wanted to scream. There’s a great line from Devil Wears Prada (the movie) when Andrea is freaking out and Emily says, “You know, I rarely say this to people who… aren’t me, but you have got to calm down. Bloody hell.”

Bloody hell indeed. Okay I need to calm down.

Okay, I’m calm (and very turned on). Thank you, Stanley Tucci.

Now, there’s microaggression and then there’s totally missing the point (which is a logical fallacy).

I wear Indian jewelry. I wear Pakistani jewelry. I’m from Indonesia and I wear Indonesian jewelry and the famous Indonesian Batik. I love the Egyptian assuit. All of these countries are famous for the persecution of homosexuals, extreme and fanatic muslims, and the raping of women. I’m gay and a feminist. Do I go around trolling every goddamn Indian/Pakistani/Indonesian/Egyptian jewelry/fabric website and remind them about the atrocity the people of said countries have done to women and gays? Nope.

Do I go trolling around comic book forums bashing Stan Lee and calling him sexist for creating Stripperella?

Do I feel compelled to do those things? Sometimes. But I sure as hell wouldn’t because I’d be missing the point and doing (puny) cyberbullying.

Like another poster said, I doubt that the original Tumblr post was meant to describe the time when black people were still being persecuted and murdered in the US. I mean, the 1920s was such a good era for fashion, but the Nazi was also going around killing people. 

There’s also a post on said Tumblr of Kurt Cobain’s photo with a kitten on his thigh. The caption says: “Kurt Cobain + cats = perfection”. I love cats and probably end up living (or dying) in a house full of cats, but I’m restraining myself from commenting on that post that Kurt Cobain was a heroin addict and committed suicide (so he’s not exactly your definition of “perfection”, although when cats are involved…).

As a belly dancer, specifically a Tribal belly dancer, I know I’m doing what some call cultural appropriation. This term “cultural appropriator” is somewhat derogatory to people. Well, at least to me. I equate it with ignorance, with not knowing any better, and not wanting to learn. In the belly dance world, there is another word that’s also derogatory and yet still being thrown around. That word is “gypsy”. There are many dance troupes out there, whom I sincerely respect, that use the word as part of their troupe name.

Let me be honest. I never cared about the word “gypsy”. I never associated it with free spirit, not even with belly dance. Sure, there’s the “Gypsy Skirt“, and I help perpetuate the stereotype that the Rromanis (that’s the official, non-derogatory term for people widely described as gypsies) women wear that kind of skirt. You know, the flowy, circlular, multi-layered, 10 to 25 yard skirts.

Since we’re defending the Rromanis, people should know that Rroma culture is homophobic. Although, again, probably there are some Rromanis who are more tolerant, but still. Oh, and the Tumblr blogger is a self-professed queer woman.

My point is, if you scrutinize and find a fault in every single little thing (thus being microaggressive), then you won’t find beauty, and your life will just be horrible.

genderfuck: go ahead, call him a whore

My last post about Genderfuck received so many hits (measly by Huffington Post’s standard, but encouragingly many by mine). It took me a while to find out who shared the link and why I kept getting visitors from Facebook. I wanted to know what the comments were because I was kind of bummed to notice that one commenter (as correct as she was) got hung up on my unclear sense of sarcasm. Anyway, I did some research and found out that my entry got plugged on TransAdvocate’s Facebook page. Yay!

However, I discovered two things about myself. The first one is something really new and shocking, the second one… eh, I’ve always been suspicious of it.

First, as delusional as I am, apparently I’m not ready to be a celebrity. I’m not ready to be in the spotlight, because I want to make sure everyone’s happy with what I do/write/say. I was so intent on finding out who shared my entry on Facebook and the moment I found it, I regretted reading the comments. Sure, I got many Likes, but still. Now I think I know how Miley Cyrus some celebrities feel when they just want to say, “Fuck it, I don’t need to make anyone happy.” Problem is, I’m not there yet. I’m not that powerful yet. But then again, nobody can make everyone happy, not Jesus, definitely not Muhammad, not even Gandhi (ask some of the Brits), heck, not even Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter.

Second, I can be really unclear when I’m trying to communicate. Public speaking is not my forte (I managed to fake my way through three and a half years of being a PR executive), but I’ve spent two years and going on three learning to write (and edit and revise). This is a blog, yes, but I still would like it to reflect my writing skills. (I guess it sort of does, meaning I’m a crappy writer.)

What I mean is, based on the comments on TransAdvocate’s Facebook page, I realized that some people misinterpreted I was being unclear about my intention of calling men whores, skanks, bitches, sluts. One person says it’s misogynistic.

Well, guess what? It’s misogynistic only if you think it is.

If you call a girl jerk or douchebag, will it have the same feel as bitch or skank or slut? Hell, no. Why? Because “jerk” and “douchebag” are supposedly bad words to describe men. So you “elevate” women to “men” status (by calling them a word for men) and then drop them a notch because the man-word is a bad man-word. 

When you call a man bitch or slut, you “downgrade” that man to “woman” status (by calling him a word associated with women) and then drop him even further down a notch because the woman-word is a bad woman-word.

The question is, why does a word have to be aimed at women only? Or at men only?

By calling a man bitch or skank or whore or slut or calling a woman jerk or douchebag, you aren’t practicing misogyny or misandry, you’re trying to gender-neutralize the word.

And yes, by all means, if you want to go around saying/typing “That’s so gay” to all great, funny, witty videos/photos/articles, go ahead. But “retarded” is where I draw the line. See, with “gay”, it’s the same case as a man-word or a woman-word. The negative connotation of the word “gay” is that it’s something disgusting or stupid and that can easily be countermeasured (Anderson Cooper is definitely not stupid, Zachary Quinto is definitely not disgusting, Ellen Degeneres is perhaps one of the smartest, wittiest people on Earth, so are the cast of RuPaul’s Drag Race such as Pandora Boxx and Alaska Thunderfuck, and these people can fight back).

However, with “retarded”, the so-called “retards” can’t fight back. They can’t reclaim the word. It’s an unfair fight for them. I know I’m treading shark-infested water here, but it is what it is. Black people call each other “nigger”. I tell my friends, “You’re such a fag,” and use it as a term of endearment. Yet when a non-black person uses the N-word to call a black person, it becomes offensive.

My point is, don’t use “nigger” unless you’re a black man talking to another black man who’s your friend (or someone of another race that’s been accepted into the crowd, you know, like Eminem, or Jake Sully); don’t use “gay” unless you’re gay or a fag hag and talking to a gay man who’s also your friend; and don’t use “retarded” unless you’re intellectually disabled and talking to another intellectually disabled person.

Eminem being slutty. And you think Miley Cyrus and Britney Spears are “bad influence for younger generation”? Uh, their songs don’t bash gay people.

I’m going to end this entry with this really awesome line from Ian McEwan’s Cement Garden.

This line is used by an entertainer I used to like in a song whose video shows awesome Genderfucking.

genderfuck: why feminine gay men are awesome and why slut-shaming should stop

Oh haaaayyy.

Can you believe this? Two posts, two long posts, in one day. One day! Must be the New Year spirit. Let’s see how long this lasts. I posted thirty two entries in August 2013 (I think they are mostly haikus). August only has thirty one days, so that must mean I wrote two entries on one day.

Anyway, I’m here to talk about why feminine gay men are awesome (hence the title: the girlie show: why feminine gay men are awesome; I’ll get to the next point, which is slut shaming, right after this one, in fact, the two points are going to organically merge. You’ll find out later).

There are some douchebags out there who flat out refuse to meet gays that are “fat (or) Asian (or) feminine.” Well, I might as well be three of them now that I’m eating like crazy and can no longer wear size 4 girl clothes (I’m a six now. WHICH IS THE NEW FOURTEEN).

To be honest, those douchebags are sometimes really hot. I mean, my type hot. But then again, I’ve a very diverse taste in men. So, I whine like a little bitch, saying, “Whyyy? I’ll suck your cock good. I’m a good cock sucker. Reference available upon request.” And then move on to the next victim.

When I was sixteen, my gay friend (who was around my age at that time) said, “You know why you don’t have a boyfriend? Because you’re such a girl. I bet that if you act more masculine, you’ll have a boyfriend in no time.” We stopped being friends after that.

Then fourteen fucking years later (Oh fuck, I just sorta gave away my age), a guy sent me a message on Adam4Adam. Here’s a little disclaimer: I did write “Why is it so hard to find a nice top? Is it because normally tops are mostly doucheys and or intellectually challenged?”

To which he replied:

“Of course it’s hard for you to find a top. You’re girlish. You’re a dude. Stop acting like a girl.”

Before I could reply, he’d blocked my profile. Coward.

This may not be apparent in more developed countries like the US or Europe (excluding Turkey), but in Indonesia, feminine guys are easy to spot. We can’t hide. I mean, sure, there are some really oblivious relatives who asked me when I’d get married (to which I’d usually reply, “I don’t think it’s legal yet.” It’s a hit or miss joke). In Indonesia, “straight-acting” gay guys can lead a life of lies. Heck, even a guy who makes me look like Stallone (Sylvester, not Jackie) compared to him, can get married to a poor girl somewhere in the village and settle. Perhaps not happily, but without fear of getting discovered.

My point is, feminine gays are the ones who get bullied more often. Every beating we get, every spit, every nasty word makes us stronger. This is why I’m getting so angry every time someone equates the word “sissy” to “coward”.

I know perhaps Nicole Kidman’s Stepford Wives got Razzie nominations or something (it’s rated 27% on RottenTomatoes.com), but I love that movie. At one point, the men try to change Richard, sweet, sweet, bitchy, loud, effeminate, Richard to a manlier man. This change is supported by Richard’s partner, Jerry. Apparently, no one wants gay men to be stereotypically bitchy, loud, and effeminate. 

Well guess what, that’s because the bitchy, loud, and effeminate gay men are the ones who stand out. We’re the visible ones. While the “straight-looking” ones can hide, the feminine ones most of the times can’t.

While we’re on the subject of stereotyping, I guess now the gay stereotype is butch, straight-acting, and gym buff without the slightest lisp. I don’t think anyone is complaining, because that’s how men are supposed to behave.

Well, I ain’t gonna behave like that. I ain’t gonna hide.

I know why many men can’t stand us. I know many men can’t stand my high-pitched, trebly voice, my girlish demeanor, my bitchiness. This is why I’m doing all of those. This is why I’m walking around with my eyeliner and my limp wrists and my tight ass jeans and my knee-high girl boots and old-woman jewelry, shaking my hips to Vogue and Suddenly I See and lipsynching to Natural Woman at the bus stop.

So for 2014, if you haven’t already, try to do something that’s stereotypically not for your gender (I’m not saying sex, which is more of a biological term while gender is a state of mind). Call a guy a skank instead of a douchebag. Other terms you can use for guys include whore, bitch, slut. See how he likes it. Ladies, take a hint from Mean Girls and stop the slut shaming.

I know this is a stretch, and perhaps you guys can make out the connection between effeminate gay men and drag queens, but this is worth knowing. The Stonewall Riot, the very riot that helped propelled the campaign that made USA this gay friendly (although still two steps behind Canada and the Netherlands) involved drag queens. Also read this, this, and this. If you’re looking for a more “balanced” diet, you may want to read this

(Guys, seriously, I thought I didn’t have to tell you that I was being sarcastic about this whole balanced thing. Seriously, I’m not claiming I was there during the riot, but I’m sure drag queens were involved. Everyone knows how fierce drag queens are. I mean, really. A girly gay man like me not being supportive of drag queens? And really, I linked FOUR articles that support drag queens’ presence at Stonewall Riot and ONLY ONE that doesn’t. Doesn’t that mean anything? So before anyone gets all worked up, once again, the “balanced diet” thing is sarcasm).

And finally. Here. Here’s to 2014. Again.

Yeah, I totally made this one. Ferrealz.

Yeah, I totally made this one. Ferrealz.

ADDENDUM: My hit counter has gone bonkers over this post. I think it’s all over Facebook (well, “all over” is an overstatement), and yet only TWO comments (one of which is my reply)? I can’t see your “Like” (if you “Like” it) or your comment on your friend’s Facebook link, so by all means, please type your comment here. You can use your Facebook account to log in to WordPress and give comments on this blog post. I promise I won’t stalk you.

oh 2013 and the importance of having a clean ass

So, 2012 was full of possibilities, just as it was full of fear and apprehension. I remember trying so hard to live in the present. I’ve abandoned that notion a long time ago. I live for the future. If it gives me anxiety, so be it. Living in the present gives me even more anxiety.

I thought 2013 would be awesome. Nah. It started so shitty (which we’ll cover in a moment). It involved so much drama (break-up, etc). I declare that 2013 is The Year of:

  • Leaving Men
  • Loving Men
  • Leaving Oneself
  • Loving Oneself
  • Making Friends
  • Leaving Friends
  • Being Drunk
  • Being Skinny
  • Being Stupid
  • Being Slutty
  • Being a Sore Loser (I want to scream every time a copy of Glimmer Train shows up in my mailbox)
  • Discovering a New Hobby (have you seen my Flickr page?)
  • Frequent Bottoming

In accordance with saving the best for last rule, I’d like to talk to you about bottoming. Yes. I’m going in (HA!). I think I’ve earned the right to blog about this. I have more than ten thousand hits since I started this blog in July 2014. Granted, it’s not as many hits as I’d like, but then again, the subjects I write aren’t that popular. In fact, the post that really stands out is my review of The Conjuring (6,330 hits as of the time of this entry). I should point out that my other posts are also excellent (there’s nothing sadder than plugging one’s blog post on one’s blog. I mean, really) such as my How To Guide to Survive Parties for Socially Awkward People, and my essay about Relationships.

But I digress. Back (ha!) to the subject of bottoming.

Ah, the joy of prostate orgasm. Read this. I’m trying not to provide any links from Wikipedia because, well, it’s Wikipedia. So read this. There’s a tight (ha!) section in article about diets which we’ll discuss.

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And I don’t douche – I’ll save that one for when I’m ninety. I was once asked by someone how it was possible that my ass was so clean and ready whenever he wanted to mount me. I told him it was because I’m Indonesian. After pooping, we clean the area with water, not just toilet paper. No, it’s not frivolous.

However, as much as we hate to admit it, we bottoms are not always pristine. We curse, we fart (we don’t do this in the presence of a top because it reduces our mystical qualities; we sometimes don’t do this in the presence of other bottoms because bitches will talk to our top and badmouth us it’s just impolite). I know I’m smelly (not down there, but how would I know, right?) after a good workout or when it’s hot and humid. We have mushy, chocolate mousse-y (or perhaps chocolate moushe-y?) days. Upon reading this WebMD article about fiber, I decided that fiber is all in all good for you. In and out. (Ha!)

Chocolate Mousse. Yum. Image borrowed (without permission but with acknowledgment) from Family Heritage Recipes.

So, here are some dietary items that don’t work for me (I’m vegetarian):

  1. Coffee (thank goodness I generally don’t drink coffee)
  2. Spicy food (which includes Indian, Mexican, and Szechuan, all of which are my favorites)
  3. Some types of cheese (I’m borderline lactose intolerant too, unfortunately)
  4. Anything that makes me gassy or bloated (beans, broccoli). This is probably the worst feeling. It’s like being constipated but knowing there’s nothing inside but gas.

If you like these things, then plan ahead. I get instantaneous reactions from consuming beans and broccoli. I think I’ve had several accidents involving coffee (let’s just say that during which times I wished humans excreted Nutella instead).

Ooh, it’s heart-shaped! Image borrowed (without permission but with acknowledgment) from HauteApplePie.

Finally, if you, as a bottom, think that you’re not ready to do it (for whatever reasons), just say so. It is pretty confusing because having something up the bum feels similar to pooping. Then you lose your hard-on because you’re obsessing whether or not it’s fudge and hoping by all things good and mighty that it’s not fudge. Some people are just so anal (ha!) about it.

And Tops, please respect our decision not to take it for the team and give us time if we really don’t feel like it? Thanks.

Well, there’s that. All the opening hoopla and just a teensy note on bottoming tips. I think it’s a pretty fair way to end 2013, don’t you?

Here’s for a cleaner, more pleasurable 2014.

***

Post probably totally somewhat inspired by The Daily Post’s Prompt.

out west

I’ve seen this part of the City of Angels before, but only in movies.

Sunday. Blinding afternoon sunshine. Heat that disappears with the breeze under the shadows of trees, buildings. An ostentatious building called the Pacific Design Center. Three big bean sculptures in a park in front of it. Boys playing basketball.

“I think everyone here lives at the gym,” I mutter as I look outside the window of his Passat. Safe inside the cage. He agrees.

“Please don’t climb the art” the sign says about the beans. I argue that it’s not art. They’re sculptures. Calling them art is presumptuous. Who decides what is art and what isn’t? He shakes his head. I can’t argue. I can’t make arguments. He called me ridiculous when I told him he should stop smoking pot.

We enter an establishment. Young waiters. Defined bodies in tight red shirts. “The Abbey”. I’m not going in. “It’s just a tour,” he says. I give in. I walk in. Young Asians staring daggers at me. I’d like to say, “Come now, boys. Don’t be jealous. I’m not half as pretty as you are.” Young Asians staring daggers at me. Spiked jet black hair. Chinese? Japanese? Korean? I can’t tell. I look the other way. Too fast. Too soon. I should get shitfaced. But not at this place. Where are the monks? There are two boys in lycra swimsuits by the bar. Where are the monks? Are they the monks?

Back on the streets. Two muscular gods holding hands. One in a black shirt with Gucci logo and other words splattered on it in white. The other, taller one, six foot five, in white shirt, his wrist as thick as my neck. Veins bulging, as though screaming from all the testosterone, all the hours spent at the gym, all the lifted weights. I can’t look. I look the other way. At a bird, a table, a tree, a car, anything. It’s all about the pecs. And the tight t-shirt. I need to get shitfaced.

A donut shop is opening in January 2014, disappointing, what I wouldn’t give for sugar. A cakery has four decorative cakes in their display, all of which look fucked. “But they look good on television,” he says. I agree. I can’t argue with that. 

He’s wearing Adventure Time shirt. “Puncha Yo Buns” with Finn’s head on it. I bought him that shirt. He’s reaping the benefits. I bought him that shirt.

One boy, two boys, three, four, eight, I’ve lost count, smile at him. He likes the attention. My false sense of security falters. The ultimate test. There’s a zit on my jawline. Big, fat, white zit. Big, fat, white. He offered to take it out earlier in the day. I refused. Afraid it’d hurt too much. I can feel it throbbing. I haven’t had anything throbbing in me for days. Big, fat, white. I need sugar. I need to get shitfaced.

“You’ve been missing a lot,” he says, coming out of a raw eatery, checking its menu. I stand by the road, by a parking meter. Three boys sitting outside. I don’t say a word. Why are there so many fag hags? 

I avert my eyes every time someone looks at me, smiles at me. Should I flirt back? Can I? Just smile sheepishly. Hide behind the glasses. Hide behind these dirty lenses. I can’t see a thing. The sun is blinding. I’m glad I slathered sunscreen on my skin.

More boys. More men. Sidelined. Sidedished. Sideshowed. A guy points at his “Puncha Yo Buns” shirt. The guy says, “Oh hey, Adventure Time!” and disappears around the corner. The guy is tubby and he’s wearing skinny jeans. I want to say, “Oh, honey, it doesn’t work that way. See, wearing something that’s labelled ‘skinny’ doesn’t make you skinny.”

Why am I judgmental? Why am I offensive? Why am I bitter? Can’t you guess?

A thrift store. I found an XS sweater. Take off my black hooded jacket, reveal my low cut shirt. A young Latino comes in and smiles at me. I look the other way. I’m with someone else. The sweater doesn’t fit me. I’m fat. I’m wearing skinny jeans.

We enter “Gold Coast”. Oh, this is cozy. Dark film screens the windows, censoring half of the sunlight, dark wooden parquet floors beneath us don’t creak, or perhaps they do but I can’t hear it because people inside are talking, smiling, being friendly. Oh, this is lovely. A mutual friend greets us. How relieving it is to see him, to see someone I know in this beautiful world. I feel like fish out of water, a mutt in a dog show, a donkey in a horse race. Hee haw. I need to get shitfaced.

A handsome Ginger by the front door smiles at me as I enter. I avert my eyes yet again. Unsure of the smile. Really? For me? I stand where I can see him, where we can see each other. We see each other. I’m with someone else, sorry, someone who buys me Coke (in all fairness, I ask for Coke), I want to say, someone who says (jokingly) that it is apparently possible to have even less fun visiting West Hollywood with me than visiting The Castro with his ex.

Feels like being punched in the gut. Puncha Yo Buns.

I sip my Coke. Is this Diet? A little Christmas tree is blocking the Ginger. I want to burn it.

It’s getting colder in West Hollywood.

“You have to remember that I choose you. None of those boys are as beautiful as you,” he says as we walk back to his Passat. “I think it’s good that you don’t know how beautiful you are. I’d rather keep reminding you that you’re pretty than telling you you’re not all that.”

I want to smile, I want to believe, but I’m tired and somewhat defeated. I have a big, fat, white zit on my jawline. I can’t argue. You like the attention, I want to say. But everyone likes attention.

We come home and sleep until ten pm.

what i’m trying to say is

I know we just met once. I’ve heard so much about you. And I know you’ve heard so much about me too. I know what I learned about you, I don’t know what you learned about me. I don’t think that’s unfair. Everything I know about you is edited by other people, and filtered by my limited understanding about life, about how people behave, how people react to certain things.

I won’t call you crazy. I won’t denigrate you. I won’t reduce you into someone who’s mentally unstable, someone whom people try to understand but can’t, but I do understand you.

What I’m trying to say is, I’ve been in your position before.

I know how bitter you feel. I know why you feel bitter. One time a guy told me, after I’d shunned him for a week, that he’d made peace with not seeing me ever again. He said he was unhappy with the decision to leave me, but he said I’d been making him feel tired, and that I was basically poisoning the relationship by being passive-aggressive. It was our first big fight and he told me, after I said I wanted to patch things up, that he didn’t believe in patching things up. I felt blindsided. I was supposed to be the one who did that. He beat me to the punch. It took me several men and several months to move on. I’m sorry it cost you your man for me to move on.

We are competitive, you and I. We want our man to suffer when we leave. We want to be happier than they will ever be. Unfortunately for us, sometimes that’s not the case. The men I left became stronger, better, happier. The same guy from the previous paragraph sent me a text message, saying how much he’d been thinking of me and how he now had a great job, he was tired because of his job, but he was happy. HE WAS HAPPY. I was so tempted to write back and say, “Remember what happened when you chose health over happiness?” but I didn’t. And don’t get me started on other men. It’s like, I was their transitional phase, I was their wake-up call, their epiphany, that slap in the face, the one that reminded them they could be stronger, better, happier.

They’re lucky, I’m insufferably socially awkward. I met some of their friends. Once, twice, three times. The relationship ended before I could really fit in with the crowd. You were with him for six years. You know his friends well. I can’t blame you for reaching out to them, but see, they are his friends who became yours. You were the one who was invited into the crowd. I can’t blame you for not inviting me into your crowd and making me feel like an outsider the whole night long. I can’t blame you for not returning the favor. After a break-up, I didn’t have to reach out to anyone on my ex’s side of the crowd. I reached out to my own friends, or during the time I was friendless or didn’t really have anyone to take me out to escape my misery, I chose to be alone, spent hours on Netflix, sleeping with my headphones uncomfortably blocking outside sounds, blocking inside thoughts, so I didn’t have to think of my mistakes, of my stupidity.

What I’m trying to say is, I took it in, I swallowed the pill, I hugged the bomb. I may sound like a hero, but I’m not. When it’s fight or flight, I freeze. I curl into a fetus and have a private meltdown. It’s a pity party for one. I don’t invite his friends over, especially not to a party that happens at the same day, at the same time that your ex is making, and just so you know, this party predates your initiation into the crowd. 

What I’m trying to say is, I don’t sabotage other people’s happiness. I watch them from afar, brewing with anger, seething with rage. I take it out somewhere else. I gobble down cakes, because I know my body can take it. I know my heart can take it. Bring me all the sadness in the world, bring me all the heartbreaks and I can handle them. But I don’t sabotage other people’s happiness.

But maybe, maybe it’s because now I’m happy.

You told us you were dating. You were on the phone all night, texting. We all asked who that was and you told us it was just a guy you were dating.

He’s a rebound, isn’t he? Because if you are happy with him, if you think he’s the one that makes you complete, then you won’t be this bitter. You’ll think you’ve won over me, over this petty little homewrecker and the man you used to know. But no. The guy you’re dating, he’s a rebound. You’re not winning. You’re scrambling to find a man. Any man.

What I’m trying to say is, we are alike. You and I. Although physically, intellectually, you are more superior to me.

What I’m trying to say is, you’ve won. You’ve hurt your ex, who is my lover. He’s hurt. He’s as bitter, as resentful as you are. For different reasons, yes, but the feelings are still the same. That same bitterness, resentment. 

What I’m trying to say is, you’ll be fine. In time.

I know we just met once. I know it was probably the first and the last meeting. But before we met, I’d heard so much about you, and I doubt I’ll hear the end of you. You’ll be remembered.

What I’m trying to say is, how do you want to be remembered?