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I am...a New Yorker
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Thursday, July 25, 2002
Naive
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Seeing...
A cute albino boy with a nice package.

Receiving...
Spam from dumbcunt.

Sweating...
But I didn't find it necessary to wear a wet washcloth on my head, like a man I saw on the M14.

Realizing...
You've hit bottom when you're giving married men hand jobs in Alphabet City -- for free.

Seeing...
My therapist, finally, after 2 missed appointments, one each of our faults.

Reading...
The Sun Also Rises, because I haven't read much Hemingway, just The Old Man and the Sea.

Eating...
Hot fudge from the jar -- how menstrual. I began referring to vanilla ice cream as a "hot fudge delivery system." (As tobacco executives refer to cigarettes as a "nicotine delivery system.")

Pondering...
Applying for a job with Phllip Morris, which is a smoking environment, naturally.

I am...still looking for the lesson in the last few months. I still yearn for friendships that have turned out to be one-sided.

It's not that I don't understand that people are busy and have lives outside of me. Duh. But you could return a phone call in 3 months, 9 months, a year. Maybe New York is just harder than I realize. I thought I'd finally found my tribe here -- brilliant, sarcastic, sardonic, strange. But even us freaks, geeks and weirdos need friends.

The irony is that all my life, until I moved out of my parents' house on my 21st birthday, I dreamed of the day when I would be free to go outside, have friends, socialize, do as I pleased without threat (or "promise," as my dad called it) of violence.

Now there are no physical impediments, but somehow I still don't know how to go about things. It's hard to know what's right, normal, correct. I know those are judgemental words, but there's a reason I use them. Perhaps "appropriate" is less judgemental.

At any rate, often I don't feel I know how to behave around others, that maybe the reason I don't have close, in-person friendships or relationships is because I'm being saved for something really important.

Or maybe I'm just justifying my own weirdness.

. . .

I am...off to my family reunion in New Jersey, of all places. I'm glad, because it brings my mom and little bro a few train stops away and I can visit with them over the weekend. However, I am always uneasy at the prospect of spending time in close proximity to my grandmother and aunt. They think I don't like them because they are black and my mom (who is white) buys into the guilt and cowtows to them.

What my grandmother never understood about me is that I think I'm better than white people, too. I'm an equal-opportunity snob.

But seriously, I think she also never understood that I was shy and that shyness is only exacerbated when I'm around people who don't accept me. Yes, I was more comfortable with my mom's brother, his wife and my cousins. That's because we grew up for some time together in California and because I was always treated as their niece/cousin and not as some freak or sociological experiment.

Far be it from me to defend my mother's parenting, but her failures as a mother were not because she is white or fat, but because she didn't protect me as a child. That's it. My grandmother and aunt harp on her size, belittle her when she eats, marvel when she doesn't, talk about her like she isn't there, and generally treat her badly.

They were so wrapped up in her color and her size as the root of all my problems, they, too, failed to protect me from the real threat -- to my safety. My father beat my aunt (his sister) up once and heaven and earth moved to get her out of our apartment by the next morning.

That's when I learned my relative worth within the family and understood that the white guilt trip they specialized in was a smokescreen. Perhaps their minds are truly that narrow, and if they are, I am sorry for them. But I do believe that people know what's going on around them. It's a test of their character what they choose to do, if anything.

. . .

So this reunion involves hundreds of families I barely even know from all over the country. Based on the album from a reunion a few years back, for the first time I will not be the only biracial one there. What a difference a decade makes.

I know my father's aunts, uncles and cousins well enough, of course. Most are still in Indiana, or at least I got to know them when they were growing up there. I'm vaguely acquainted with some of the folks from Ohio, Illinois, and Michigan and have attended reunions in all of those places.

However, beyond that, and not having gone for 10 years, I dread all the "don't you remember mes?" and my grandmother's inevitable accusations of racism if I don't recognize someone I haven't seen in 10 or 20 years. Indeed, I only expect it to be worse than ever, as at least before I wasn't remembering people I hadn't seen since I was 2 or 6. Now there will be no excuse for my feeble mind.

It's also going to be odd to see cousins who are younger than me with all their kids. That's something I noticed the last few times I went to Indiana. It still surprises me that people don't know anything better to do with their time. But that's just my bias, being a wife is WAY down my list of priorities and goals and being a mother is only slightly higher.

That reminds me, CNN mentioned a study yesterday about marriage. They highlighted statistics such as a higher rate of divorce among couples who cohabitated before marriage. Another statistic was that 1/3 of marriages will end within 10 years.

The one that really got me, however, was that black women are less likely than white women to ever marry at all. Why did they look at black and white (Newsflash:, other races exist, well, inasmuch as race is actually a biologically meaningless concept) and why did they look at women and not men? Because the only thing that matters that we accomplish in this life is to sucker some asshole into marrying us?

Way to reinforce repressive roles for women, AOHell-TimeWarner.

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