I’ve always been a bit of a snob. All of my snobberies are well rounded by good manners, an extroversion born for the ball, and conversational skills that can talk a militant out of any vice. Consequently, the snobbery goes unnoticed to my advantage. But If you know me, you know my go-to precursor for any rabid story I’m ramping up to tell, is, don’t judge me (or my parents because the story is probably about them.) I’m not entirely sure it’s true that I don’t want to be judged, the truth is my give-a-fuck-o-meter conked out a long time ago, and the older I get my gaydar seems to be headed towards the fritz too. So, by all means, judge me because guess what? I’m judging you too.
Opinions are based on experience, and your experienced opinions are no less valid than the opinions I hold based on my own experiences. And all writing is, are experiences and the transparency to transform those experiences into something legible (in hopes others can relate.)
After preordering, receiving, and eagerly devouring Jia Tolentino’s Trick Mirrors, Reflections on Self Delusion, I was quickly reminded that our recounts of events are often times exaggerated, sometimes even fabricated. “In the 21st Century, she says, “it would sometimes be impossible to differentiate between the pretext for an experience, the record of that experience, and the experience itself.”
Meaning whatever story you come up with for how you ended up at that bar, or how you lost your keys, or how you kissed that one person that one time by accident, or how you fell in love with the other, will more than likely deviate from the whole truth. But again your happenings are yours because you had them, or you made them, and good or bad, they are apart of you. I may even say you deserve them.
“Underneath this veneer of a conservative moral conscience is a clear sense of fearful superiority.” Jia writes. Delivering me to question my transparency in writing, specifically, my memoir in progress, since nothing else has been deemed worthy of putting out there. Am I attempting to be conservative? (insert roaring laughter) Am I trying to sound moral? Am I fighting to articulate an honest person, if so why the struggle? I’ve often considered myself superior, hence the snobbery, and rarely fearful, to which you’ll understand soon enough.
So, what could it be? The thing that continues to cultivate my creative death, my depression, and/or my anxiety, depending on the date, day, time or hour? Was it my self critiquing view of all my experiences, my incessant writer’s block, my need to never sound inferior, my transparency, or lack thereof? While all true, the latter seems to take the lead.
Consequently, this is nothing more than my proclamation of transparency. A manifesto, even better, a manifestation of self, if you will.
I am a cheater. An unadulterated adulterer with a track record that could go toe to toe with Flo Jo. I’m not too sure if people are still taken back by women cheaters in 2019, but I promise you there are more of us than you wish to believe. Or that you far too quickly have categorized as a slut, a hoe, whore, homewrecker, backstabber, trifling ass trick bitch, dyke; whichever pleases your pussy, by all means, take to it. Your experience is yours, this is mine.
I was raised by neither of my parents, their physical presence typically accompanied by another body, anybody. My dad’s women were diverse, from Morticia Adams to Chi-Chi Gregorio to Lucy Bell, sometimes an Ugly Betty or two, nevertheless I more times than not found something in them that I liked. If none other than the fact that if they could love a sociopath (like my father) meant that I could probably find love too.
My mother’s men were secrets. I only ever saw one, not including my father which meant I’d be twenty-four the first time I’d (recall) being in the same room with my parents at the same time, nobody fighting. My mother’s late partner of 25 years, I was 24 when he died, was White, baseball playing, blue eyes, could have been Eminem’s doppelganger, White. But all her lovers were Brown, sweat shimmered like gold off their saturated skin glistening under whatever street light they were hiding beneath in the night. I thought they were beautiful too, and Black love warmed my belly.
My mother would tell me often, sometimes with her eyes as low as a seizing fire. I’d shake her awake so that she could keep coaching me on life, after all, she seemed to be the only one that had it figured out, anyhow. She’d say,
1. Keep your own money in your pocket. In case you gotta’ get somewhere and ain’t got nobody to take you.
2. Keep a friend a phone’s reach away, a plan b, if you will.
3. Mind your own damn business because people will always be minding it for you.
To which I’d succeeded most of my rebellious teens, early 20’s and a tiny bit onward, that is, until I got married. A marriage, I so desperately craved and even envisioned with plenty snapped off Barbie heads that I’d superglue to action figures bodies and vice versa.
My partner became my best friend to whom I’d tell all, including my faults after welcomed interrogation. Money would become ours, and friends became distant, or mutual. Though you may not believe it, I do love my partner, and I do go to PTA meetings, with all my scandal intact. My transparency has been with my partner above all else, granted, I have support from them that doesn’t come easy. Did not come easy.
The fact is no one ever taught me differently, nor did I care to learn myself, nor do I perceive much of a change; as far as the ache that seems can only be quelled by someone else’s conversation, thoughts, or touch. What I choose to do is what matters. How I honor myself if what matters. While my record tends to precede me, my current desires prevail.
When I was two or somewhere around there, I went to live or was taken by my paternal grandmother, to whom I acknowledge as my mother. Never discrediting my other (bio) mother, or my paternal great grandmother, whom I too consider a mother. They taught me, unabiding love. They loved my father to pieces as if he wasn’t well…him and they nurtured me into feminity, into sensuality, and womanhood by merely being themselves; though they’d leave earth before I’d truly peak. They did all this while coddling my unrest nature, unconsciously teaching me to accept myself, wholeheartedly. Even if it meant I’d be just like my father, or my mother; both hardheaded, and insatiable.
I imagine my grandmother resting in between her God and her mother, everybody with a Corona, lime, and salt that she’d add to all her beers; waiting for Denzel to croak because that’s the only man she ever spoke of. While watching me, giggling sorrowly at all the pain they left me in, knowing that it has matured me in ways they couldn’t have done, but left me in pieces they certainly could have filled.
They would have loved my spouse, taller than Denzel, and much more yellow, but smart, a little accent, A little Book of Eli, a little John Q. I’m not sure how they would feel about my indiscretions, neither of them was married, my grandmother once, but like I said little talk surrounded men, or women, or cheaters, or bastards.
My therapist told me she thinks if I would have been introduced to polygamy early on through literature, or experience, I’d have a more fulfilling life. To which I responded I do have a fulfilling life. A conundrum, I know.
I educated myself on monogamy well over ten years ago, and I have yet to ask a partner to quiet their wishes for mine. I presume that's not the way to go about it, either way, I’ve come to understand I’ve never asked for openness because I’m not sure I want it. This is my ego. Can what’s mine be shared, the way I share what’s allegedly theirs? Can I be as open, as I want everyone to be open to me? This is my ignorance. Thus, this is an attempt at transparency.
An effort to deconstruct my ego, when my ego is all I have left.
What I have learned in the midst of my wreck havoc having ass is that clarity is key. If I can’t be myself, I can’t be a writer. Toni Morrison declared in her most cliche quote, if any, “You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.” This is my shit. I’m a cheater. An honest one, one nonetheless. I’m also a mother, and a lover, a woman, a sister, a wife, a friend, an artist and a writer. A damn good one, if my pride would allow it. Who knew you could be all of the above? Maybe it’s Toni Morrison’s passing, or the timing of the day, or my current life experiences, or lack thereof that drives this. Either way, I’m evergrowing, ever-evolving, a cluster fuck of a human, that wishes nothing more than to feel my grief, find my way, and not be fucking judged by you.
But by all means, judge on because I’ll still be judging you.