Dangerous Compassions

being valid

There’s a huge fire burning on Mt Charleston. There was a huge megacloud of smoke, a huge swath of the sky, smoke cloud. It looked weird and wrong.

It made that weird orange light. Las Vegas seemed more dystopian outside than usual.

There’s a windstorm. The power went out about six times, yesterday, just for a few seconds. I’m glad that didn’t happen during Ming’s online presentation! The power going out means the router goes out, which means we lose our internet.

“You should have begged her for pecans. Pecans is what I really wanted. I now see that is true.”

A few men I know like to get a reaction out of me. One tries to squick me with gross stuff about bugs or bodily functions or disturbing stories.

One tells me current events–the shooting down the street, a fire, a thing the governor said.

Another disturbs me with politics–modern or historical.

Maybe it’s a variation on men liking it when I laugh at their jokes. Something about power, or like the kid who runs down the beach to make the shorebirds scatter. The man tells himself: I can do stuff–I can make things happen. I exist.

I know now, as an adult, that if I laugh at a man’s jokes, that won’t make him love me. He will take my attention, put it in his pocket to strengthen himself, and walk down the road to the pretty lady who he actually wants to have sex with. I’m repairing old damage to his ego, so he can feel better, to get the girl he actually wants.

Ming is not a regular person. He’s not looking for a trophy or to prove something with the hotness of his partner. He could love all different kinds of people, and he chooses me. He’s doing a whole other thing.

I was thinking about my friend who I couldn’t stay friends with. His ex-wife is a 10 of hotness–she has everything going. The prettiness of her physicality, also an attitude, and a lot of costuming and makeup and a whole deal going.

I saw his wife’s picture and realized something about his values that had a lot of impact on possible futures I could and couldn’t have with him. Definitely I don’t want to judge her, and I don’t need to judge him either. The woman he chose to marry was doing a very time-consuming project related to power.

I don’t know what she wanted. But she was extremely successful as a hot woman. She could use that for fun, money, influence, politics, sense of self-worth, sex, pleasing her family, pleasing herself–whatever. But I’m a very fat woman who never learned a lot of gender things; I don’t have the option.

I had this amber bracelet. I got it lengthened fifteen years ago, so I could wear it–it was too small, when I bought it. I always felt like I was a bad woman, for having such large wrists. A woman should be ___________. I was not that.

Then Ming was wearing the bracelet, recently. It fits him just right, with the extension. I saw him wearing it and realized his wrist is a similar size to mine. Ming is definitely a valid person. So maybe I am too?

I see gender as a joke. Ming and I don’t need to be the opposite gender or the same gender. We can both have any gender at any time. We’re queer, so we’re free. We don’t need to worry about any of that. In our house, we can be whatever gender or no gender. It’s comfortable that way.

Hmm, I seem to have taken my train of thought too far, like the person with narcolepsy who falls asleep on the BART and wakes up at Pittsburg / Bay Point or something. Rubbing my eyes then jumping up quickly, saying, “Shit!” Picking up my two bags and checking my pocket for my cellphone.

I guess my point is–I don’t really want to give those guys the reactions. It’s a way of stroking their egos I never wanted to do. Helping them feel alive is some emotional labor I don’t have the strength for.

He made a joke about borage that I didn’t find funny. I didn’t react, and he repeated his joke.

“Yeah, I heard you!” I said. Ming laughed. Our friend thanked Ming for his reaction, saying if nobody reacted, it was going to get awkward.

I really like awkward–those weird moments of discomfort are my favorite. Something unusual is happening, and that’s what I like best. The learning possible in that rich, fertile uncomfortable feeling.

Thank you for listening to my Bed Talk. Please exit through the gift shop. Zines are $3 each, little handmade notebooks for writing letters in are $2 each, and confused looks are free to anyone.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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