Take Another Look

{December 17, 2009}   Extreme states

“I thought you always wanted crazier. ”
“No!” I holler. “What would make you think that?”
“Fame is an extreme state by the way. And you have an attachment to extreme states.”
“What does this have to do with me living a crazier life, which is something that would probably get me institutionalized.”
“You getting institutionalized would be like my brother smoking pot. Some things are karmically impossible.”
“So why do you think it is that I can’t write?”
“Why do you have writers block? Maybe you are oppressed by this mercenary mentality. Maybe you are oppressed by the need to look for work. You are not free somehow.”
“I know. I just don’t know how I am not free.”
“Well is it guilt? Some bourgeois implantation from your parents? You should be flipping burgers in your spare time? What is it.”
“I think it’s something akin to fear.”
“Well, maybe you should try for the very compact, the very profound.”
“Who says that something compact is something profound? What do you think are the questions I keep needing answered?”
“Do I still matter, Do I still matter, do you love me, do you love me.
“Who am I asking that of…The world?”
“Maybe. Or maybe just this tri-county vicinity.”
“Well, being angry yesterday seemed to return me to some semblance of what it feels like to have any power at all.”
“I don’t understand.”
“what do you mean.”
“Well maybe I need that explained to me one more time. ”
“Well, remember I explained to you that I felt like a bloody heart without any skin? Instead I was seething with fury, but it was contained. For the first time I felt some control. Being angry gave me some control.”
“Well good, but you always have control.”
“It doesn’t feel like I have control when I am out of control sobbing uncontrollably.”
“Some feelings should be toned down. Not every feeling should be exalted.”
“I do seem to have developed a tendency to look for comfort in the wrong places.”
“Hard to think of you as comfort seeking.”
“It just seemed like all I ever felt anymore. The seeking of comfort.”
“The craving of comfort?”
“It’s a Judaism thing. These late marrying years. So many Jewish girls in history would have been married by now. The organism is aware that you have not started a family by now and it’s making you edgy.”
“That’s very true what you said; I am edgy. But I don’t care about marriage… I mean…. I could be a single everything as long as I had what I wanted if you know what I mean.”
“Well, you don’t have the Jewish papa though. You have a Wasp father. ”
“So how would you explain the conflict? There is a conflict within me. I am willing to sacrifice everything to have my art expressed.. but I feel like I’d be admitting to a huge breach if I admitted- even to myself- that I do want to have a kid someday. The guy I’m with- he doesn’t want that.”
“Poor girl. You should be joyful. You are closer than you have been in the last six weeks. Striking a blow for honesty and truth.And he’s probably thinking about everything. The history, the future, the present.”
“He’s always thinking about that stuff. It’s just his problem with promises. It only happens that things went my way- or maybe I should say our way last night. But I can’t keep forgiving now that I’ve done that for so long and just been treated like shit. It only stands to reason that I should be more vigilant than ever. ”
“Well if you want to be-”
“I don’t want to be! I don’t know. Well, it’s preferable to the pain. I can’t let my guard down. Like this morning I was too blissed out to be angry when he said ‘Oh, we’ll talk before next week. I will call you.’ I should have just answered ‘whatever,’ and rolled my eyes. I let myself hope and I can’t… I left him a message begging him to break up with me because there is no way in hell I want to break up with him! ‘It’s not a relationship if you can’t call me back..’ and I said some other things but it was eloquent, not the way I’m saying it now. But I’ve gotten so many mixed messages from him it’s like reading spam. ”
“I’m sure you have a lot of company. ”
“A lot of company in what?”
“I think there are a lot of women in precarious situations, unsteady alliances, shifting liaisons.”
“Yeah, and the Muslims think we are all whores, and the men here all have conflicting views. It’s the chaos here I can’t deal with.”
“Here, you are not going to get raped and then stoned to death by your family because you dishonored your family. Besides, a lot of those countries practice female circumcision.”
“I wasn’t standing up for that culture- I’m only trying to understand.”
“It has great sides-”
“No! I’m trying to understand MY culture!”
“Our culture doesn’t have enough steadiness. Enough structure.”
“That is the problem!!!!”
“Greed. If we can’t stop worshiping money we will all shrivel up.”
“I sort of worship beauty. Beauty in words, and beauty in art. ”
“Accountants run everything. But they can never tell you the future. But we’ve taken the salesman, the engineers- we’ve kicked them out. The customer is definitely not always right in this marketplace. It’s smash and grab, lowest common denominator.”
“Again, that is something that has been weighing on me heavily.”
“But there is some hope. Our country hasn’t been unified for a long time. Not in my generation, not in the generation before me, and I’ve only heard stories of a time when it was unified. But the left side-”
“I don’t want to hear about the left. The democrats, the republicans, there’s no difference anymore to me.”
“The people in charge don’t want the US to be unified. It’s like the oil companies. They don’t want zero pollution. They want to cross that bridge when all the oil is gone. Or the insurance companies. They are effectively sort of demonstrating that they are more powerful than the people, the president..and some of these people were involved in the bailout and they are still arrogant. I mean that is just not patriotic, that’s grotesque. Even these interest laws. They used to be called usury laws.” ”
“Yeah, the bank stole 125$ in 37 dollar charges because an internet company stole sixty dollars and though they considered it fraud, I have to have the fraud clear it up, and then try and talk them into giving me the money back. I put in 300 dollars into the bank the other day and came out with only 196 in my account. But I have to use the bank to pay my bills.”
“I’m sorry.”
“For what?”
“Well, I wish I could be helpful.”
“I wish so too,” I whisper.


nice choice, the image you uploaded, because there’s a ballet going on between these two characters… a ballet about opposing cultures and inner conflict and identity and boundaries; both physical and metaphysical… i think this is a very interesting piece, Nicole…plenty to chew on here…


Nicole says:

thank you.. you leave the best comments. Your comment made me think. And i loved the usage of “ballet” as a verb, or the idea of how a conversation could be similar a ballet. It’s as if you must be part of my life because you knew about what’s behind those words and how did you know that!!!

I’m glad to be in touch again. I look forward to reading more of your stuff. I feel more humbled about the writing process and appreciative of people who write every day.

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