Saturday, 11.05.2016 - 2:00 pm.
And now, a list of things occupying my mind this week:
I was scrolling down Instagram one of these days and Joseph showed up as suggested contact. Sorry for still bringing this guy up, but it's been helpful seeing his face a few times this year. The thoughts of adding him crossed my mind. He doesn't feel like a crush to me anymore and a part of me believes that getting back in contact with him, with so much time and personal growth between us, would be interesting. Then I asked myself, what kind of message would adding him send to him? I can't tell for sure but I believe it signals interest. I've humiliated myself with him too much doing just that, so, no, I won't add him.
If he added me first, I would reciprocate, you know? I checked the few photos he's uploaded, it's nothing I haven't seen before. I get the gist, it's standard adulthood, and good for him: he's happily married with a child and has a job. His face is wider, and it's bound to happen when we get older, and wears glasses. After seeing his face on my Instagram feed, I spent the following morning with a weird smugness swirling inside me, feeling I got the better deal out of that break-up on the long run. I'm careful to say that because I don't think "becoming a better person" and so and so justifies being put through rather painful experiences (here I'm talking just about the end of the relationship, but I feel the same way about certain atrocities). But yeah, he let go of my hand and I discovered the world.
Speaking of the world brings me to the second thing occupying my mind this week, actually this morning: such a beautiful morning. That's all. Andrew is doing Movember, bless his enthusiastic soul for that, so he's trying to walk thousands and thousands of steps a day and I tag along. This morning was very cold, and windy, and sunny, like the end-of-school season when I was a child in my home country. Andrew and I had a lovely breakfast together (it was only toast, but we both were in a good mood) and went for a walk in the neighborhood, through the cemetery where Full Monty was filmed, and down to the main street of Crookes. We stopped by charity shops, which for me is one of the BEST THINGS this country has to offer, and by the supermarket, and by a card shop. I bought a birthday card for my mom to send soon, and christmas cards to send to our families (the greeting cards being another of the BEST THINGS in this country for me, they are so artsy and thoughtful and/or hilarious. I sent one to Brother #2, whose 45th birthday is today. Happy birthday!).
Let this be on the record: I don't ever want to leave this city, or the life I'm leading in it.
Oh, oh, oh: AEROSMITH IS PLAYING IN DONNINGTON NEXT YEAR!!!! The night I learned that, I spent it grinning and shaking. Now that I've cooled down, I can say that I hope they do a little UK tour because music festivals are not quite my thing. I will go there if I have to, though. But can I please, please, please, meet them? Especially Steven Tyler and/or Tom Hamilton? I know I would make an ass out of myself if I did but my life cannot end without me thanking them personally for helping in my upbringing.
The last thing that's been occupying my mind is what I said last week about maybe, perhaps being bisexual. This week I observed myself observing other people. Everyday I find people in the streets that I like, as in they-take-my-breath-away like. Mostly guys, I realized. I mean, I knew that. But every once in a while comes a woman or two that also take my breath away. I knew that, too. I am capable of admiring beauty, elegance or charisma in a person regardless of their gender. I do that all the time. I don't think that's a valid test, I argued (with myself).
Last night, there was a women's meeting. Women in the Chilean community planned a get-together, just to chat, eat, unwind, have a good time. There have been other events like that one before but I'd always refused to go. They were in pubs and I didn't really felt connected to the group; they all talked among themselves as close friends, and I didn't feel I was part of that. Also, a part of me is sore because I often blend in with the community too much and my nationality disappears among them. "No, I'm Salvadorian" became a catchphrase for me. I'm glad Andrew noticed, and he's stopped introducing the both of us as coming from Chile. I do come from Chile, as in, I was living there before I lived here in the UK. Chileans have been kind to take me under their wing and make me feel part of their community, for that I'm forever grateful. But I am not *from* Chile.
Anyway! I accepted this invitation because the young lady who was hosting the event explained in the Facebook invite that "it would be nice to get together and support each other after all the nasty things that have been happening". She referred to personal issues, no doubt, but also to a recent string of feminicides in Latin America, which have given rise to a wonderful international sorority movement, which has in turn given rise to a lot of angry men and women who cannot conceive that the specially vicious kind of violence directed toward women is that special at all. I saw a lot of the latter in my social networks and I was just sick, hopeless. "Let's get together and support each other" after witnessing all that backlash to solidarity sounded very appealing.
That's where it happened. The environment was so relaxed and funny, and this time I felt among friends. Well, that's expected, as by now I've seen these women over and over again in various get-togethers. The group included S, the friend who is also my colleague in the PhD program, and N, the friend that is a lot like my friend Virginia (which makes me happy and breaks my heart at the same time). At some point, I ended up crammed up in the tiny kitchen with N, and M, and the hostess, and the conversation was delightful.
But M, you see. In every get-together I've tried to get closer and closer to her, and after a year of that, now I know she will always leave room in her agenda to come talk to me. She's the kind of person that lights up the room as she enters, and she's friends with everybody. In a genuine, heartwarming way. At these social events, she always tries to speak to everybody, ask them how they are doing. Last night she asked me about my country, and it's so rare that I get someone interested in what I have to say about it (because usually it's gory stuff, "but the food and the beaches are wonderful"), someone who asks questions to keep my story going, and to learn from it.
Ok, her. She was standing too close for comfort to me. Her arm was rubbing with mine. I wished that everyone else in the room went away and that it was just her and me occupying the same space. At some point, I realized I was supposed to turn to N, too, as she was part of the conversation we were having. I was only addressing M, I was only looking at her. Some things happened between my legs, and at that point I realized that those things do not usually happen for Andrew; they didn't usually happen for Joseph; they happened, hard, for Joe, the guitar player I crushed on for years and years when I was with Joseph, and some years after that. And now they were happening for her. She's married. She joked about having an "open marriage" to include people who brought her and her husband food, and I just begged in my head "please, don't say that". Please, don't put those thoughts in my head.
I hold my own writing responsible for realizing all this. The characters in this text I'm writing (158 pages!) seem to be stirring things in me. They come from my silly cartoons, which have always represented something I am, or something I am not. But in writing, the way fiction forces you to put everything in a different language, all these characters are making me deal with real-life situations in code, and with traits that I may not have or I restrict but I wish I had them or let them be free.
There's the civil disobedient character that kept me engaged in a Facebook post (a fucking Facebook post!) from a friend against veganism, that went on for so long that the guy stopped liking my replies and responding altogether. I'm sure I didn't change his mind, and heck, I'm not vegan, but I thought of her and I was trying to be her so I could tell her story better. Then there's this powerfully luscious and charismatic guy that melts everyone and loves everyone and loves being loved by everyone, and that's a lot like my unchecked delusions of grandeur, my well-kept secret of aching narcissism, and, well, my uncovered desire to get laid with men and women (that, again, doesn't seem to manifest itself in the structures of my real life. Nobody who knows me would tell you that any of those three things describe me.).
It may be the case that constant exposure to heteronormativity throughout my life has screwed me.