December 6, 2010

texas: home of the american portion

whew. made it out of new orleans alive. man that city is crazy. the last 24 hours we were there really brought that home to me. on the last night, the queen went to a show, leaving me in the care of pixie. but pixie wasn't home, and while i had a key to their place, i was so exhausted, i just went to sleep on the bus, and didn't wake up til late at night. i stayed up to wait for the queen, who came stumbling home at five in the morning, after walking through the ninth ward. the next day, pixie was shocked he had done so. "walking in the ninth ward at night? after drinking? i'm amazed he didn't get mugged." (i may have paraphrased slightly) she then told me several terrifying stories of muggings; she has been shot at and seen her friend pistol-whipped in front of her. both times she was on a bicycle, on her way somewhere.

i am glad she told me these stories after he came home. the next day he woke up quite hungover with a few good stories. we double-checked he still had all his things; dude didn't even lose his zippo. the only casualty seems to be a horrible crick in his neck that has spread through to his shoulder and grown in density to resemble a rock. pixie mentioned that clearly, someone was looking out for him. he and i talked about how he used to be much more crazy in his twenties, and told me some stories i won't repeat here because they aren't mine. but yeah; that's my man!

truthfully, the incident really opened my eyes to something: i am vulnerable. i have been trying to avoid this, bargain with it or deny it since i got pregnant. my dislike of vulnerability has been the driving force behind not doing a lot of things: not staying in long-term relationships, not going through a long-term university education, not travelling overseas; i don't like investing a lot into something where i might not get much return. i prefer to travel light, so to speak. well those days are over, aren't they? while staying up waiting for the queen in the wee hours of the morning, i came to terms with my vulnerability. it's funny how we can't force acceptance, no matter how many times we try to fake it. when it comes, it comes (and usually doesn't stay, sigh).

after my last blog entry, we had some serious discussion. a few really great things came out of it. one is that i still feared the queen would break up with me and leave me screwed (see: vulnerability). things he has said and done since then have reassured me i can begin to let go of that fear (and replace it with other, more interesting fears! like children!). another interesting thing that came of the talking we did was him calling me on my walls. i was, of course, very defensive about this, and he backed off, which allowed me the breathing space to realise he had a point. i have some great walls. even my close friends know i keep a distance. i am a loner. i need time to myself. but when is this healthy and when is it hiding?

the empathy thing: sometimes it feels like my 'safe distance' is other people's intimacy. i don't think most people really notice that i keep myself so closed, it's like i can fake it way too easily. but i know my close friends probably notice. i hope they do. it's been difficult to figure out how close is too close, because i don't like seeing more about people than they do themselves. with the people i care for the most, this feels like part of how i respect them: give them their privacy, stay a little bit away. let them figure themselves out. be a friend, not a know-it-all who can dissect their emotions for them. but after talking a bit with the queen, i realise that maybe i do this too well. that i block the people i care for. that i justify my hiding with rationalizations of respect and privacy, when really it's a desire not to be vulnerable. block their emotions so i don't have to feel so much. because feeling when i feel all the time can be rough.

for my own emotional sharing, like most people, i think i come clean about stuff when i feel pressured - either by people (this isn't usually a good thing in a friendship. there are very few people i am okay being pressured by.) or by circumstance. when i was dating k, i came to the wife in tears after he got messed up on substances and was violent toward me. the wife, bless her, was amazing (this is what i am talking around in this early entry). but i don't pour my emotions out to her regularly, even though we lived together for over a year and have known each other for six, maybe seven. oh sure, i talk about my emotions. as the queen said, talking hides my passion. another person i once knew well commented that i only release things as a full package: i tell you what i was going through, not what i am going through.

those walls protected me for a long time. but maybe they're hindering me now, maybe they're blocking the sun.

anyway, we're in texas now. austin is actually really, really great. so much live music! we saw an improvisational jazz band last night, and the queen bought a banjo today. also, we glutted ourselves at a half-price book and vinyl store. i found a soundtrack to a neil young film. yeah, that's what i said... oh, and there is an entire gluten-free café! unless you are denied it, you have no idea how good it is to be able to order anything on the menu. the nutritional vixen mentioned this in relation to vegetarianism when we were visiting her, and i share this happiness with her by proxy; oh goddess it was so wonderful. the focaccia!

oh another hilarious postscript to making it out of new orleans alive: after the queen slept some of it off, we packed up and dropped pixie's key off. we almost simultaneously realised two things: i didn't have my laptop, and the bus wouldn't start. it was a heart-dropping moment. but the queen recharged hank's batteries and she's been chugging ever since (go hank!) and he also remembered we went to a bookstore after the coffee shop two days previously, and indeed, beth's books had held onto my ancient little powerbook g4. so please, send them some money or karma or whatever. they are not only a good bookstore, but they are kind and sweet and honest souls. they are website-less, but located next to this decent coffee shop. yeah, i know most of my readers totally live in new orleans. yep. that link will definitely result in more business for beth's.

off on interstate ten through new mexico to arizona! ta for now.

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