Ophelia’s Revenge

There once was a precious, courageous, little girl. Her big blue eyes never missed a bat. She could see farther and deeper than most adults. When she would outsmart them, from deep in her belly would roar an innocent, high-pitched laughter.

Unfortunately, her laughter and her wisdom were so often muted. Her tiny toes tiptoed around the dark, treacherous place she called home, cringing with every creak, anticipating his next attack. The man who dwelled in her mother’s bed, not entirely a man, but part monster.

This little girl was a soldier. She had a sworn duty to protect herself and her younger siblings from the monster. Her mother worked long hours and a lot of overtime just to pay the bills, so she was in charge of taking care of them. She wasn’t the “typical” nurturing little girl who liked to play house. She was an awful cook, and she’d rather read a book than play with dolls, but they all survived, thanks to the little girl.

This was no easy task, mind you. The little sister seemed to rattle the monster no matter what she did, and then a whirlwind of anger would wreck the home, breaking everything and everyone in sight. Once, the beast had the sister by the throat, snickering “I will kill you!” The little girl called the police and the beast never tried that again. Something about the little girl frightened the beast, perhaps he could sense her strength…or maybe it was her crazy father.

When the little girl went to her father’s house it was like an escape, from one hell to another. Her grandmother didn’t relish children, she was cold toward the girl and her father. As an authoritarian German woman, she pushed her to do well in school. It was so much responsibility and pressure for one child to bear.

The girl was smart though. She had a way out. She dreamed of becoming a lawyer since she was five years old and her parents were divorced. The path to a better life began with school. School was predictable. The rules made sense, they were fair. There were kind, loving adults who praised her good work.  

She lived in a small town on the Hudson River, about two hours north of New York City. Beautiful Victorian houses and large farmhouses decorated the valley, and hidden in its grooves, under large pine trees, were tiny houses and trailers, like the one her family lived in.

She went to a decent school. Many of her peers came from normal homes, with two parents, without scream fests and mind games. Their parents were doctors, professors, and lawyers. Some of her peers were even ancestors of the wealthy settlers that came to the town long ago.

She was never first-chair in the band because her peers got private lessons, but often second because she spent so much time practicing. Her peers had access to better technology and materials for their projects.  Some of her peers had parents who taught at a renowned private school nearby, and they got to sit in on their lectures. They didn’t have to go home and live in terror every day, and she still competed well with them.

Of course, there were bullies too. Mean girls would make fun of her non-brand clothes. Teachers asked her how she would be a lawyer and a mother. There were scheduling conflicts and counselors urging her to take easier science and math placements or justify why she wanted to take such challenging classes. Questions that boys were not asked.

Nonetheless, she persevered, she survived childhood and she graduated salutatorian from her high school. She held close to a 4.0 average in college and passed the bar at the age of twenty-four. Her first job post-graduation was in retail, since she didn’t have any family connections, and after her law school was sued for skewing numbers on post-graduation employment rates. She eventually landed a  government job in worker’s compensation with a starting salary of 40,000, not even enough to pay the interest on her student loans.

   Now she works as a hearing officer, making 80,000, still not as much as her male co-workers in litigation. Litigation lawyers have the highest salaries and biggest bonuses at her firm, and they are all men. The females and minorities are at the government jobs with significantly lower salaries. At the litigation dinners, she is the only woman. The air smells of ego and cologne. Loud brass voices and puffy chests tower over her. She sips her drink and listens to them rating the female lawyer’s attractiveness. She feels so out of place, so violated, but she nods and smiles.

This is the status quo in her field, the delicate tickles on her wrist, the unwanted hands on the small of her back, as to escort her into a room. As if she didn’t know the way. As if she didn’t get this far without them helping her. As if she hasn’t fought more battles than they could imagine, and won, on her own! Once after winning a hearing, she hears one of her co-workers loudly professing that she had only won because the judge thought she was cute, not because she had a better argument.

She did everything she was supposed to and more. She conquered beasts in her home, in academia, and she continues to fight them after she accomplished her dream of becoming a lawyer. But she will never back down, she will never tire. She has fought all her life and will continue to fight until the battle is won. She has penetrated the walls of the patriarchy and is dismembering them from within. I am the little sister who angered the beast and Lord, I aim to be again.

This is just one woman’s story, but the more we share, the more we’ll find this is every woman’s story, and the infection runs deep, carved into the veins of society. Until the remedy is found, let our voices continue to echo out, beyond the borders that have silenced us for so long, causing a crack that will eventually tear down that wall.

Helena Bonham Carter as Ophelia, in Hamlet

“Lord, we know what we are, but not what we may be”-Ophelia

 

Feminism for All

I’ve always considered myself a feminist. Over the years my ideas, as well as society’s, about what feminism means has changed greatly, but I still proudly profess my feminism.

As a young girl, I was fixated on boys. I wanted to date boys, marry boys, make little baby boys. When I had a man, I was loyal to him, I took care of him. I thought about getting married a couple of times, thinking that would be the end of my problems. I would have someone to help me out through life, keep me safe. Like all little girls, I believed the patriarchal propaganda getting shoved down my throat since birth.

From “Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Lobster”

As a young adult, I always considered myself a strong, independent woman. I only let guys pay half of the time, I wanted to be a doctor. I always had a boyfriend, though. My boyfriends and I would talk shit about all of my single girlfriends who were slutting it up. I’d say, “Feminism isn’t about acting like a guy, becoming emotionally inept, power-hungry, horndogs. Women should still act like women, but be pure and nurturing mothers or professional career women if they choose. And men should act more like women if they want. To hell with gender roles.” Not realizing that I was doing what women are “supposed to do,” gossip and talk shit about each other, fight with other women, and agree with men.

Nearly a decade later, half of it spent single and exploring my identity and my sexuality, my views of feminism have clearly shifted once again. I don’t believe there is any right or wrong way to define feminism. The way someone practices their feminism is contingent on his or her unique experiences navigating the world. Lately, however, I have been feeling many people trying to force their ideas of feminism on me, and spurning me if I disagree.

Ever since women were recently granted the right to think for themselves, there has been a division amongst us. Now that she has some autonomy, how should she behave? Now that she can work, what should she be allowed to make? Does anyone else wonder why teachers and nurses are so underpaid for the imperative jobs they do? I don’t think it was women making these decisions, and it still isn’t. Because the decisions we make are based on ideologies instilled in us by our fathers.

If I laugh at rape jokes, can I not say #MeToo? Even though I was a victim of sexual assault? If I objectify myself for a living, can I not call myself a feminist? Even though stripping empowers me? Even if it helped me succeed in life more than my college degree did? Am I “a part of the problem” because I didn’t vote for Hillary? What about the women picketing outside the abortion clinic, because of their religious views? Aren’t we all victims of inequality and injustice?

Dave Chappelle

I didn’t want to bring up my political views on the blog originally because I didn’t feel the communities I write for would agree, and didn’t find it relevant. I also believe people’s need to label everything and everyone has consequences. But politics, religion, sexuality, and gender are all different building blocks to an individual’s belief system. To ostracize someone because of any of these beliefs is to attack their personal freedom.

I feel identifying as a “Spiritual Christian,” libertarian, bisexual is part of the reason I  constantly feeling like a fish out of water. “Spiritual Christian” is just what I say when people ask my religious beliefs. I am both spiritual, as I believe aspects of many theologies and create my own, and Christian, I was baptized and pray to Jesus. Although, some Christians would say I’m “not Christian enough” because I believe in other entities. Trying to date in the LGBTQ community as a bisexual feels like you’re “too straight” to be considered. 

I never caught so much flack as a bisexual libertarian as I did the last election. Gary Johnson wasn’t my favorite libertarian candidate, but I really thought he could get 5% this year, which would allow the party to join the debate next election. I would obviously love for my voice to be heard, but people were attacking me, saying a vote for anyone but Hillary is a vote for Trump, and that I “wasted” my vote. After he was elected, it was like you can’t be feminist or bi and support Trump, or do anything less than despise him. (It’s not that I don’t despise him, just that I despise Hillary too). The LA Pride parade earlier this year became the “Resist March” that was “not supposed to be democratic or republican,” but ultimately became an Anti-Trump march. In my opinion, this divided the community it was meant to bring together. I see moral confusion and abhorrence trickling down from the pinnacles of society, corroding communities at every level.

2017 LA Pride marchers deface Donald Trump’s Hollywood Walk of Fame star

Beliefs are not black and white, there are gray areas. People always tell you, “Just make up your mind! Choose one!” Why must I choose one, when there are so many options? So many combinations of the two, options beyond the two you haven’t even imagined!

Feminism is something unique and personal to everyone, so why are we segregating those who don’t share all of the same beliefs? Don’t we all have the freedom to believe what we wish, without the social chastisement?

If you disagree with someone, feel free to argue with them, provide evidence for your opinions, but at the end of the debate, if they still disagree with you, that’s their right. Don’t shame them, and hate them. Don’t excommunicate them from your community. A community exclusively of individuals with mirrored belief systems will lack adequate size and strength to make a difference. It also sounds to me like a cult because naturally, people disagree on some things!

An informative Washington Post article suggests modern feminism should focus on equality, inclusion, and personal choice.  Anyone who wants to join the fight for equality should be allowed to. Period.

…But to paint a silver lining, if we are strong enough for them to try so hard to divide us, that means we are getting stronger.  

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that”-Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

Revelations

 

I thought I’d start off by sharing the humbling experience which inspired this blog.

I got these new shoes, burgundy, suede heels with straps that tie around the ankles. I just had my hair and nails done. I had been so lonely and horny lately, that I was swiping on Bumble. It’s like Tinder, but filtering out some of the uber-pervs hoping to play out their fetish fantasies on you (myself included).

I found an adorable little rich boy. I typically go for poor, chubby guys, with a little edge, and a lot of baggage, but since I moved to L.A. I’ve had to lower the bar‒a lot.

He was visiting from New York, so it was perfect. Even if the date did go well, which it definitely did not, there wouldn’t be any expectation for a second.

He called me to discuss the plans for the evening.

“Hello,” I answered, making sure to use my smokey phone sex operator voice. “So what should we do tonight?” I asked.

“We can go anywhere you want,” he replied confidently.

“Oh yeah?” I giggled.

“I have a private helicopter.”

“Okay…” I said, not knowing what else to say to that. Even when I did have standards, having money was not one of them. Bragging is actually a major turn-off for me. Especially when you didn’t work for it, you just came out of the right vagina.

He said he was just kidding, but his uncle does have a helicopter.

He wanted to meet up in Santa Monica, but I was like, “That’s too far, the Lyft will be too expensive.”

“I’ll buy you drinks all night, and pay for the Lyft home. It will be worth it,” He promised.

I suggested we go to Hollywood. He said his friend was driving, so he’d meet me there and we could figure it out.

I heard him call “Vera!” and looked up from the artificially lit sidewalk. He was average height and skinny, but toned. He had a narrow pretty-boy face, was well dressed, wearing much nicer shoes than mine. He was only a few years younger than me, but his eyes looked decades.

He opened the door of his friend’s car for me.  I sat shotgun with his friend and he sat in the back with another guy and a girl. He said “I told them we had to get a bottle since there is a New Yorker coming,” and handed me a bottle of Ciroc.

We passed it around the car as he asked me questions about myself. He pretended to be so intrigued by my answers.  Everyone in the car pretended to be interested as well, but you could tell they were the kind of people who weren’t truly interested in anything. I think they assumed just because I was pretty and well-dressed enough, that I was one of them, high class, dignified, and always looking for an excuse to talk about myself.  I felt like an imposter, but also a talented actor.  

He kept mentioning how he was moving here soon (like I haven’t heard that one before).  I could see right through him. He was so transparent, or maybe I’ve just grown wise with experience. He was saying everything necessary to get me in bed. I wonder, if he knew that all it really would have taken is the Ciroq and a cock, that he didn’t have to pretend he wanted to date me because we were both looking for one night stands, would he still have gone through the whole courtship charade.

We finished the bottle and went inside. Needless to say, I was drunk. Impressively, I only tripped in my new heels once on the walk into the club. I paid the thirty dollar cover fee, yes, I paid it. We stayed about fifteen minutes, then he called a Lyft back to my apartment, yes, my apartment.

To give you some background information, when Vera gets too drunk, she becomes “Veeda” (my name but with a rolled “r” and some sort of failed attempt at a German/Russian/Jewish grandmother accent. At this point, Vera blacked out and became Veeda. Veeda is known for puking in Lyfts. Had Vera been there, she would have reminded Veeda of this, and they would have kept dancing a little while before going home, and the night might have ended differently. Unfortunately, Vera had stepped out for the night and would not be in until the next morning.

When I woke up the next morning, naked in my bed and feeling refreshed, I began to piece together the night before. I had several “snapshots” after the club: me feeling sick in the back of the Lyft, the wind belting me in the face with my own hair and vomit, looking back at the Lyft after we stepped out, seeing the epic trail of puke exploding out of the back seat window, and him saying “I’m probably going to have to pay for that,” with this strange, disgusted, clenched-jaw smile.

Then Veeda said, “Oh, it’ll only be like fifty bucks,” stumbling with awful grace.

Art by Kimberly Kyne

A little more background, I live in a one bedroom in the valley, my roommate lives in my living room, and he had to get up very early the next morning. I know, I’m an asshole…well, Veeda definitely is anyways.

The sex was so unmemorable that I literally don’t remember any of it. All I remember is one moment where I was on my bed, his lean body standing on the edge of it, the condom drooping over his limp dick, his face looking displeased.

Out of nowhere, in the next room, my roommate yells “FUCK!”

Alarmed, he says, “Is that your roommate?”

“Yeah,” I said all nonchalant and started giggling.

I know I was talking dirty to him because Veeda is a freak, but I don’t remember what I said. I was probably saying blatant lies like, “your big cock feels so good.” It was possibly the worst date I can hardly remember. My roommate said he slammed the door as he left, around midnight.

You’re probably wondering, what the hell is the point of this story?!

The point is when I recalled the fool I had made out of myself the previous evening, I really didn’t care. This was not the first time I’d embarrassed myself in front of upper-class men and women, but in the past, I woke up in the morning with a ball of anxiety, regret, and self-loathing in my gut. This time, I just laughed at the ridiculousness of it all. I am a joke that I have been taking too seriously.

I was always trying to become someone else, rather than accepting myself as I am. As Carl Rogers said, “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change”.

Sure, I can look and sound like I have class. I’ve been doing research for this role all of my life, but an act is all it will ever be. Behind the scenes, I will always be my true self. I hate pretending, I’m brutally honest. I like making vulgar, insensitive jokes. I love sex, and I love talking about sex‒a lot. Come to think of it most of the subjects I like to talk about are inappropriate, controversial, or just plain odd, as you’ll soon find out.

I can’t help it. I was born this way for the most part, and the rest I learned.

I grew up in a trailer. My mom, who is either a genius with High Functioning Autism or severely traumatized‒but most likely both, working her ass off to support her four kids with three different men along with her Antisocial Psychotic boyfriend. We have not a drop of aristocratic blood, going back as far as we know from any of my lineages. Yet, I’m still so fucking awesome.

Despite what society says, there is no “right” or “wrong” way to be. You just get penalized for being the wrong way! 

Society may not be ready to love me, but I am ready to love myself.

Epilogue:

He texted me the next morning, to my complete surprise, since I expected to never hear from him again. He told me, “They charged me $150.00 for the cleanup, so just Venmo me the money when you get a chance.” I told him I didn’t have that kind of money. He asked if I could just pay $50.00. I explained to him how even that was too much for me, as I had rent due in a few days and had to make what little money I had left last.

He said, “Well, I could be an asshole and just send Lyft your information and have you pay the entire thing. I was trying to be nice”.

I said, “You can give it to them, there literally isn’t enough money in my account. I am sorry, but I physically don’t have the money. I am out here completely on my own. I will send it when I can”.

…But I didn’t. 

“ Learning to listen in the bliss of undistracted silence and the comfort of inner humility is required for the gift of revelation.”- Carolyn Myss, Defy Gravity