Hold your breath, folks, and watch the Slacker Hacker writhe in agony! Months ago, I tackled one of those Insane Internet Mass-Mailing Questionnaire Thingies! For your exasperation, I give you A Whole Bunch of Shit You Never Needed to Know About Dwanollah. (Filled out sporadically over a period of several months.)
1. Who are you?
Hopefully ever-evolving. I’m ambitious, stubborn, a worrywart, weird, dorky, and completely loyal and devoted to those I love.
2. What are the 3 most important things everyone should know about you?
- Don’t bullshit me. Don’t even try. No. Don’t.
- My mind is very active and in twelve different places at once, so if I forget you owe me ten bucks or I misplace my house keys, that’s par for the course. And it’s nothing personal.
- I don’t give third chances.
3. When you aren't filling out question surveys like this one what are you doing?
Working and studying. Writing. Traveling. Playing. Pondering. Worrying.
4. Where do you live? Describe it: Is it messy, neat, avant-garde, sparse, etc.?
We live in La Casita, a cozy 1920s bungalow in West Hollywood. It’s cluttered with books and photos and personal things and colors and patterns, but very neat and clean (mostly because we have a weekly housekeeper, but also because that’s the way we like it). Lots of flower print and chintz and mismatched fabrics; yeah, The Husband-Type Man picks that shit out, too. We also have lots of antique stuff that we’ve stolen from our parents, and odd and weird things hanging on the fridge or on a bathroom shelf, just because. It always smells good, as well, from all the candles and incense. There are lots of flollop-able places, things to look at and read, and usually some groovy music on.
5. Do you own a car? Describe it.
There’s Adam, a silver Corolla (yes, I know it’s spelled differently than the real Adam Carolla) that I bought quickly when I moved back here for school. I’m getting ready to trade him in for Alanis when I can find the time to take some test drives. And then there’s Dita, named after The Husband-Type Man’s Girlfriend.
6. What is your most prized mundane possession? Why do you value it so much?
I don’t have mundane possessions!
7. What is your biggest goal for this year?
Finish my book.
8. Where do you want to be in 5 years?
Teaching and working and writing someplace – prolly other than Southern California – with a Ph.D. certificate on my wall.
9. What stage of life are you in right now?
In the great hero-journey cycle, I’m trying to return home with the knowledge I’ve fought for.
10. Are you more child-like or childish?
I play with Barbies. What do you think? I’d vote child-like, I guess, because I don’t pitch fits or act cutesy-poo, and I’m not a spoiled brat.
11. What is the last thing you said out loud?
“MISTER MAAAAN!” because THTM and I were flirting and yodeling at each other. (He yodels “MRS. MAAAAA’AM!” at me.)
12. What song comes closest to how you feel about your life right now?
We’ll go with the ever-popular choice, “Secret Oktober.”
13. Does your life tend to get better or worse or does it just stay the same?
Blissfully, amazingly, miraculously better. And I don’t mean that in an assy, Star Jones “I’m so blessed” way. When I was young, I lived for the one or two moments of joy that were scattered here and there amidst drama, depression, frustration, and all sorts of crap. But life has been an incredible joy for the last decade plus, and I’m thankful every minute of my life. I just spent pages and pages in my journal this morning making a List of Gratitude, and realizing that I have been truly and wholly HAPPY for the last dozen years is at the top of the list.
14. Does time really heal all wounds?
Some may never heal completely, but they scab over or scar pretty good. That breathless agony abates.
15. How do you handle a rainy day?
I dress in brighter colors, build a fire in the fireplace, fix cozy food, and enjoy finding nooks someplace to have cocoa or tea, read, and enjoy the sounds. I love rainy days.
16. Which is worse... losing your luggage or having to sort out tangled holiday lights?
Losing luggage. Luckily, even with as much as I have to travel, it’s only gotten almost lost once (*knocking on wood*); a person grabbed my bag by mistake, and, as I was reporting it missing, came back with it. But that’s way worse than holiday lights, because… that’s your stuff!
17. How is your relationship with your parents? Will you miss them when they are gone?
My relationship with my mom went through a real rough spot when I was in my teens and early 20s, when she was married to Blevins, Stepfather 2. She really subjugated herself to him to the point that it seemed to me that she had no self-respect, and I’d get frustrated and angry with her for putting up with his stupid shit and compromising her self. From the time I was 14, in fact, I almost felt like I had to be the “grown up”… that I was, in many ways, responsible for her happiness. We had some issues to work out, in general, and, with a lot of talking, our relationship now is great. We can discuss almost anything, and have tremendous love and respect for each other, and just plain enjoy hanging out. She’s funny as hell, and we spend a fair amount of our time together cracking each other up. I don’t even like to think about her being gone.
My dad, on the other hand, is a waste of space, and sadly, his departure from this world will likely only make me feel relieved that I don’t have to deal with his dumb-shit boundary-trodding bullcrap anymore.
18. Do you tend to be aware of what is going on around you?
If I’m reading or working, I get completely absorbed. You’d have to light a fire under me to get my attention.
19. What is the truest thing that you know?
I have Adam Carolla to thank for this: If you do crappy things, you’re a crappy person. Period. You can tell yourself you’re a good parent or a nice person or a great friend or a really good guy. You can love puppies and kitties and babies and rainbows. But you’re still ultimately defined by your actions, so if you abuse drugs or lie to people or scream obscenities at everyone whenever you’re mad or hook up with your friend’s girlfriend or cheat on your taxes or shoplift or bail on your family or smack your kids, then you aren’t a good person, no matter what you say.
20. What did you want to be when you grew up?
A marriage counselor, believe it or not. I wanted to understand how to have a successful marriage. That seemed to me the cornerstone of stability and happiness.
21. Have you ever been given a second chance?
Oh, yes. I’ve made damned good use of it, too. I hate to use phrases like “watershed experience,” but… yeah. I became, in many ways, a very different person after all that. I became a happy person after that.
22. Are you more of a giver or a taker?
A taker. Especially in my line of work. There’s so much to learn, especially from other scholars. I feel like an academic leech at times, wanting to absorb all the knowledge others have and learn and understand as much as possible. My family and friends tell me I’m generous to a fault, but since I’m not deeply altruistically motivated, I don’t feel like a true giver. There’s nothing altruistic about wanting to make sure your Gram isn’t driving a junker car and your FiL doesn’t have to work full-time when he should be retiring due to health reasons.
23. Do you make your decisions with an open heart/mind?
Isn’t that the way one is supposed to make decisions?
24. Who have you hugged today?
The Husband-Type Man. I haven’t seen anyone else in person today.
25. Who has done something today to show they care about you?
THTM ordered dinner to surprise me while I was taking a nap, so it was here when I woke up. My brother called me to chat. Several of my friends called and/or emailed. Parlance made a dinner date with me for this weekend so’s we could plan Audience Participation Showgirls. Kendra sent me a note about being loved. The Slacker Hacker whined about me ignoring him, which means he cares. Rad wanted to know if we could have a playdate. Sheri sent me a link to nekkid Robbie twiddling his ween!
26. Do you have a lot to learn?
Yes. That’s what life is about, isn’t it? That doesn’t mean I haven’t already learned a lot, though.
27. If you could learn how to do three things just by wishing and not by working what would they be?
- Speak multiple languages fluently
- Basic house construction/fix-it stuff
- Literary theory
28. Which do you remember the longest: what other people say, what other people do or how other people make you feel?
As if they are three isolated, unrelated incidents…?
29. What are the key ingredients to having a good relationship?
Honesty. Trust. Mutual respect. Maturity. Equality. True partnership.
30. What three things would you want to die to avoid doing?
- Something evil and inhumane, like harming/killing an innocent person or thing. I don’t think I could torture an animal or harm someone even to save my own life.
- Something that would cause harm to mankind in general, like spreading a disease.
- Wasting away slowly and painfully.
31. Is there a cause you believe in more than any other cause?
Since most of the causes I believe in – pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, social progressiveness, equality and equal rights, firm separation of church and state, less government, term limits – can all be lumped under one general liberal heading, I’d have to say the cause I believe in more than any other is fucking INTELLIGENCE!
32. What does each decade make you think of:
- 20s : Scratchy jazz and blues recordings, great literature, great art, kewl hats, Paris, “new women,” rattley autos….
- 30s : Rose Wilder Lane, awesome fashions, socialism, fascism, ism ism ism, global unrest and upheaval, more great literature, art deco, great architecture….
- 40s : WW II, swing, more awesome fashions, new roles for women, transition to post-modern era/contemporary era
- 50s : sterility, sexism, racism, pre-fab everything
- 60s : Optimism and revolution, first-waves, groovy music, possibilities
- 70s : Horrible music, horrible clothing, horrible social conditions, horrible colors, horrible childhood- Well, and disco.
- 80s : New Wave, trashy mirrored clubs, glossy magazines, bright colors, bad dance moves, bad hair, spectacular music, fashions I wish I’d been brave enough to wear….
- 90s : Lousy music, nifty hippie revivals
- 2000 (so far): A return to the 1950s, with the added fun of war
- 2010s : Please, God, let it involve positive social change from what’s going on right now!
33. Which decade do you feel the most special connection to and why?
Right now, I’d say either the 20s or the 80s. Most of my reading material and a big chunk of my music is from the 20s, but I’ve also been on an early-New Wave/New Romantic kick and’ve been rocking lots of music circa 1981-3 and ruminating about club scenes and social changes and such.
34. What is your favorite oldie/classic rock song?
Just one? Um… right now, I’d say Paul Simon’s “American Tune.”
35. What country do you live in and who is the leader of that country?
US of A. And that’d be Führer George W. Bush.
36. If you could say any sentence to the current leader of your country what would it be?
You really think the rest of us are as fucking stupid as you, don’t you, you smirking chimp?
37. What's your favorite TV channel to watch in the middle of the night?
When I have insomnia bad enough to hit the sofa for some TV, I usually watch the VH-1 shows… those 80s ones or the countdowns of, like, The Top 100 Worst One-Hit Love Songs. I secretly love that kind of stuff!
38. If you were traveling to another continent would you rather fly or take a boat?
Fly, usually. But, since I HAVE flown to other continents, I’ve actually had a bit of a yen to take a boat, all Betsy and the Great World, to Europe. And I don’t mean the contemporary Giant Floating Buffet boat, but that genteel “we dress for dinner” turn-of-the-century “Great Tour” steamer trunk and steamer rug thing.
39. Why is the sky blue during the day and black at night?
Because the 24-hour cycle of day and night reflects the greater cycle of life, of light and dark, of life and death and rebirth. Or because there’s no sun at night. Take your pick.
40. What does your name mean?
Morning, a beginning, a new day. A professor once told me that I was put on this earth to “enlighten” others. That was groovy.
41. Would you rather explore the depths of the ocean or outer space?
Neither, really, but since I hate flying, I’d prolly take the ocean. Let’s put it this way… I’d rather snorkel than hang-glide.
42. If you could meet any person in the world who is dead who would you want it to be?
One of my favorite authors, likely. Choosing would be hard. Would it be Maud Hart Lovelace or Gertrude Stein? Louisa May Alcott or Laura Ingalls Wilder? Frances Hodgson Burnett or Edith Wharton? Joseph Campbell or Rose Wilder Lane? It wouldn’t be Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner or Scott Fitzgerald, though. Much as I like their work, I think I’d hate their guts as people.
43. What if you could meet anyone who is alive?
Sir Paul, maybe.
44. Is there a movie that you love so much you could watch it everyday?
No. I’m not a movie person, so the thought of watching the same one – even ones I love, like Mommie Dearest or Empire Strikes Back – every day isn’t remotely appealing.
45. What small thing annoys you so much it should be a crime?
Email/text message lingo/writing style. People using multiple punctuation marks!!!!! Or people who “don’t”……… know how to…….. use ellipses or quote “marks” properly!!!!!! What the fuck is wrong with people????!!!!???? U kNOw wot i meen?????? LOL!!!!!!! ROTFLOL!!!!!!! LMAO!!!!!! *insert stupid emoticons here*
46. Is it better to be loved or feared?
It depends on the person/people, but loved. Der. Although, after teaching, I’ve discovered it is great fun to be feared!
47. Are you kinky?
I have my moments. I guess it depends on the definition. I mean, I don’t think threesomes, anal sex and painful whippings are kinky, but rather, are indicative of highly problematic relationship dynamics. However, I understand the fun of light bondage and toys.
48. How would you feel if twice a week you could wake up next to the person you love?
Bummed, because only twice a week ain’t nearly enough! I’d miss his cuddles. Starting off the morning with him snuggling and kissing me and telling me he loves me, and knowing he means it, is the best feeling!
49. What qualities made you fall in love with your partner?
Intelligence and intellectual curiosity. Genuineness. Honesty. Trustworthiness. Maturity. Dorkiness. Especially the dorkiness!
50. What is your most cherished memory you share with your partner?
There are so, so many. Lessee…. One winter, about five years ago, when we lived in The Mansion, we both got the flu, bad. The Mansion didn’t have heat yet, and it got freakin’ COLD in there. I woke up shivering and icy cold in the middle of the night, and just couldn’t get warm, even though we had blankets piled on us and I was cuddled up against him and we were both feverish. THTM got my hairdryer from the bathroom, and stood there for about five minutes blowing hot air on my feet and under the covers to warm me up, even though he felt just as crappy as I did. He’s the bestest, most awesomest boy in the world.
A more smoofy choice might be when he asked me to marry him.
51. Are you and your partner more alike or more different?
Way more alike. We’re both typical older siblings: responsible, serious, dedicated, ambitious, and very analytical; we were both shy and reserved kids with popular/outgoing younger brothers. Personality-wise, both of us are still somewhat shy and can be tentative and reserved, especially in groups of people we don’t know; you’re likely to find us sitting quietly observing and/or talking about the party instead of being the life of it. Both of us are hardcore bookworms, listen to tons of music, and like learning new stuff and figuring things out. We’re also both very self-sufficient, and like time to ourselves; it’s no offense if one of us just needs some quiet time alone. We get very absorbed in what we’re doing, and zone out and daydream a lot. We hoard things, don’t yell and scream, love music, love food and cooking, love cuddling and being affectionate, have twisted senses of humor, and are very sentimental.
We’re different, though, in that THTM is more optimistic and less of a worrywart. We’re both detail-oriented and organized, but in drastically different ways. I’m moody, he’s not. He’s great with money and finances (he thinks it’s FUN to make budgets and analyze financial data, even!), I get tied up in knots just balancing my checkbook. He likes going to movies, and I hate it. I like painting things and gardening, and he hates it. I can dance. He totally can’t.
52. What song would you pick to describe your relationship?
“If I Ever Lose My Faith in You” by Sting.
53. Describe your partner in one word:
54. What was your parents’ reaction to your partner the first time they met? What was your partners’ parents’ reaction to you?
After our first date, my mom asked me “Do you think this could be The One?” C’mon, Mom, I don’t even know what the man likes on his pizza, yet! Calm down!
THTM’s folks were awesome to me, both genuinely interested in getting to know me and letting me get to know them. To just be wholly accepted by them, with none of the “Are you good enough for our baby?” bullshit was a novelty for me.
55. When did you know you had fallen in love?
There was no one moment; it was like a slow crescendo. I do remember one instance when we were talking about classes we’d taken, and he was telling me about a “The Bible as Literature” class he’d taken, even though he was neither Christian nor an English student, just because it sounded really interesting. I’ve enjoyed his intellectual curiosity since the beginning. And, although it was well after we’d fallen in love, but I realized he was pretty special, and valued me as much as I did him, when he moved into his new apartment and, the first time I visited him there and he was showing me around, he mentioned that he’d saved me a bathroom drawer to use when I visited. One of those Little Things. He wanted me to be part of his life. And to be part of mine.
56. What was your wedding like?
Extremely personal. We spent a lot of time, both together and alone, going over traditional wedding vows, and really considering what we wanted to promise to each other and ourselves. We actually ended up deconstructing and reconstructing the entire wedding ceremony, and re-wrote the whole thing, incorporating poetry and elements of the hero journey, with very personal vows. It was a ceremony in every sense. It felt like a different space in time.
I didn’t cry, but The Husband-Type Man did. That’s another for the “cherished memory” file. I’d never seen him cry before.
And one of my favorite memories of all our wedding-ing is our dance lessons. THTM is a notoriously (oh dear) bad dancer. Like, to the point that it’s a family joke. And some months before our wedding, he said to me that no one was gonna make fun of his dancing at our wedding, so why didn’t we take some lessons? We ended up having a couple private waltz lessons, with a choreographer who helped us plan a whole dance routine. And because we lived in an apartment at the time and had no room to practice, we’d take our portable CD player to the local park on afternoons after work and school, or on weekend mornings before going out to breakfast, and dance together. Gads, we had fun! So after our expected first dance, we surprised everyone by staying on the dance floor and breaking into our stylin’ moves (whispering “ONE two three” to each other under our breaths). My MiL, as reserved as THTM himself, cracked everyone up when she gasped aloud, “Wow! That’s not my son! That’s not my son!”
57. Recall a date from hell:
My last date with Boy Wonder. He wanted to go to a bar with a group of friends from work and get drunk. Er, not my thing. And he kept hanging all over a very drunk Airhead, pushing her hair out of the way and whispering secrets into her ear and laughing intimately. And at the time, I was still insecure enough to think I was just being paranoid and jealous and petty, but… no. That was when it clicked in my head, “Hey, this ain’t working.” But when I suggested the next day that maybe we should call things off, he insisted he was really into the relationship and-
Yeah, right. Trust your feelings, Luke.
<montypython>I got better!</mp>
58. How did you know you had fallen out of love with a person?
Dumb Ass had dumped me about a week prior to the DumbAss’s Birthday incident... which happened two days after I’d been in a car accident (a guy ran a red light and plowed into me, flipping my car around). I hadn't yet told anyone that we'd split after 7+ years, and, in a neck brace and on the couch at Gram’s, I was tearfully begging my mom to take DumbAss his birthday present from me so he wouldn’t think I was slighting him because he didn’t know I’d been in an accident-
My mom looked at me strangely. “He knows; I called him the night it happened.” Wait, what? "What did he say?" "He said 'Thank you for calling.'" That was all? He never once even asked “How is she? Is she okay?” Not even a courtesy phone call to check on me? If the situation had been reversed, no matter what, I would have at least called to say “Are you all right? Do you need anything?” or asked his mother about his condition! Instead, he had invited my two best friends (who also didn’t even ask if I was okay after the accident) to go out with him on his birthday and get drunk. And I finally, finally clued in that, no matter what he said, he… God, he really didn’t care about me at all. If he did, his actions would’ve been markedly different. No excuses.
With that, to my surprise, my love for DumbAss just stopped… as effectively as if a faucet had been turned off. I’d thought I’d spend the rest of my life loving him, no matter what. I thought even if we didn’t live Happily Ever After, part of me would always love him. But in a matter of seconds, that "hindsight's 20/20 thing kicked in," and
I saw clearly just how incredibly, soul-suckingly selfish a human being he was. All the stuff I’d made excuses for, rationalized, convinced myself that “No, it’s not that bad, I’m blowing it out of proportion. Deep down, he really-” Wrong. And the love just… quit. While I didn’t wish him ill, I didn’t love him anymore, and never had even the slightest pang of “Maybe I still might…?” ever since.
59. Out of all the people you know who is most likely to be one of the great minds of our time?
I don’t know, but I WISH it were me!
60. Is rubber ducky the one?
Simon fans think so!
61. When is the world going to end?
It already did, but no one’s noticed yet.
62. If you could be famous for inventing one thing what would it be?
The TOTO toilet.
63. Are you crying on the inside?
Not anymore. I used to when I was much younger. I was a true bottle-it-up, don’t-let-the-sun-catch-you-crying type of person. I had to be happy! Cheerful! Positive! Anything else was selfish! Rude! Mean! (I totally got that from Mom and Gram.) Until I was in my early 20s, most of my friends had never seen me angry or upset, much less crying. I was the one everyone with problems turned to, but wasn’t supposed to have problems myself. After a bunch of therapy, though, I discovered that not only is it healthy to get angry sometimes, but if you’re always “the rock” or “the helper” or “the fixer-upper,” you can attract some really sucky people that way.
It still takes a lot to upset me or piss me off, but now I have no problems showing it, any more than I have problems with those I love expressing their feelings. It’s better that way, it turns out.
64. Are you afraid of the future?
Considering the state of this nation right now? You bet! It’s actually one of the primary reasons why we haven’t had children.
65. If someone was asleep in the sun and you wanted to play a joke on them by writing a message into their back with sunscreen so that when they burned the words would be on their skin what would you write?
OUCH. Not very original, but hey.
66. How do you feel about the 1800's?
Considering that I do a lot of work on turn-of-the-century literature…? I’m more interested in the later half, I suppose. Industrial revolution and all its effects. High colonialism and imperialism. Victorian stuff. Social changes.
67. Do you roll your eyes a lot?
No, I’m more of a pained sigh/groan/wisecrack person. Although I write “*eyeroll*” a lot.
68. Do you prefer b-sides or remixes?
B-sides! Who would choose “The Monkey Mix” over “I Believe/All I Need to Know” or “ Silent Icy River”?! You can either have interminable rehashings of a song, or all new, different material! I’ll take the new stuff, thank you!
69. What makes the world go 'round?
70. Is Blink 182 punk or pop?
Pop. Piercings and tattoos don’t make you punk; punk is all about attitude and breaking down existing standards/boundaries. Besides, look at their song structures, videos and lyrics… ultimately, they’re about entertainment, not subversion. Pop needs their fans to love them; punk doesn’t give a shit.
71. Do you remember Fat Albert?
Yes! Me and Sugie used to watch it every weekend! It’s still one of the best TV theme songs ever.
72. Do you take things slowly, as they come?
To a point, but I’m also very impatient. It’s my Cancerian crab-dance; I’ll waffle around for a while, trying to decide, but once I’ve set my mind on something? NOW, dammit!
73. Are you laid back or tense?
A weird mixture of both. It depends on the situation. One the one hand, it takes a lot to anger me or upset me; I’m not going to freak out about someone cutting me off while changing lanes or dinner burning, but, on the other hand, I’m a hardcore stress-case with the things that (I think) matter, like family things, or my work and school deadlines and papers and stuff.
74. Are you insecure?
*falls about in hysterical laughter*
75. Why can't we give ourselves one more chance? Why can't we all just get along?
Because we are, by nature, selfish creatures who look out after our own asses without regard for others, no matter what we say.
76. How long have you ever gone without sleep?
Not more than a day. Physically, I can’t. I get really sick-feeling, and will eventually just fall asleep, regardless of where I am. I need eight hours, or I can’t function.
77. What bands do you want to see live that you have never seen?
78. Do you like raunchy songs?
I love dirty blues, and have quite a collection of old raunchy blues songs. And I like raunchy songs with kitsch-factor. “My Ding-a-ling” is NOT a raunchy song with kitsch-factor.
79. Do you like the band Squeeze?
Yes. My favorite songs by them are “Cool for Cats” and “Take Me I’m Yours.”
80. When you are angry or upset do you know you're being irrational but you can't really stop?
Rarely. I’m aware that some of my mood swings are irrational, but I’m hardcore analytical, and hold myself to a high standard of fairness, so I’m unlikely to get pissed off without damned good reason. You may not agree with me, but that doesn’t make it irrational.
81. What is the most physically painful thing that has ever happened to you?
Gashing my finger open with a knife.
82. What is the most emotionally painful thing that has ever happened to you?
Having to put Mouse to sleep, and holding him and feeling the heart that I’d fought to keep beating for almost a year stop. I’ve never been able to completely get over the feeling that I should have done something different in that situation. He was the best cat in the world, such a loving, faithful, awesome companion. I was so torn about what to do, if it was selfish to keep him alive, or selfish to take the “easy” way out and have him put to sleep when his heart failure was first diagnosed. Even now, 8 years later, I can’t think about the night he died. It was unspeakable emotional horror.
83. Be honest… do you generally listen or wait for your turn to talk?
Interrupting is one of my worst traits. I usually get so excited about talking about something that I jump right in. I have to be very careful in the classroom or at conferences, but I’ll still find myself sometimes jumping in and babbling, despite my best intentions. I actually made it a point to apologize to one classmate after a discussion, because she kept bringing up such great points about a text, and making me think of stuff, and… off I went again. She should have kicked me. Hard.
84. Where are they now:
- Your first best friend in elementary school?
I have no idea. We were best friends in 4 th grade, and last time I saw her after elementary school was about 10 years ago. She was a cashier at a store, and pretended not to recognize me.
He’s been dating Calista Flockheart for a few years.
- Your first boy/girlfriend?
- Your first love?
- Your first lover?
Those last three are one in the same, and, in one of the greatest karmic moves of all time, he’s married to my ex-best friend, The Sycophant.
85. Do you have a lot of self pity?
Not really. I’ve had my moments at the time when something really bad happens, but usually I just get pissed off at the situation and determine to make things work. I remember, when I was young, there was a commercial for some help-line thing that had a woman saying “I’m not a victim of sex abuse; I’m a survivor.” I feel that wholeheartedly. I’m not a victim of shit; I’m a survivor. There’s a huge difference. I don’t use shit as a crutch. I don’t deserve a free pass or an easy out because of crap that happened.
86. Have you ever had something really good come out of something really bad that happened to you?
God, yes. Remember that first love who’s married to my ex-best friend…? At the time, it was the most brutal betrayal I’d experienced… two people who claimed to love me… then doing something so unethical and underhanded and shitty? And knowing it, but trying to turn it around like I was a betrayer for… being upset about it? What kind of friend starts fucking your ex right after you’ve split up? What kind of guy does that? The answer is: two extremely selfish and insecure people, one who wanted “someone to love him” (as he put it to me when he dumped me), and one who wanted to think she got something someone else wanted. Or, as Gram put it, “Water seeks its own level.”
Sorry, kids. That wasn’t the perfumey-pink call of true love y’all heeded. But because of that, I got away from selfish, toxic relationships, got therapy, set some standards for future relationships, and grew the fuck up. That was the up-slope of the aforementioned “watershed.” And they got stuck with each other. Which is exactly what they deserved.
87. What is one of your secret delights?
When The Husband-Type Man and I flirt with each other. We do it a lot.
88. What gives you a cheap thrill?
Buying toys and/or makeup.
89. What is your biggest guilty pleasure?
Bad food, bad books/magazines and/or bad telly. Usually in some combination with each other.
90. Have you ever misinterpreted song lyrics in a funny way?
When I was little, I used to think that “Tie me kangaroo down, sport” was actually “Tymie Kangaroo, down, sport!” Like the kangaroo’s name was Tymie Kangaroo, and someone was admonishing him “down, sport!”
91. Are you under pressure?
I’m in a Ph.D. program. What the fuck do you think?!
92. How well do you know yourself?
Extremely. Between the counseling, the EMDR, the overly-analytical personality, the pressure and the sense of responsibility, I’m extraordinarily reflective about my personality, my actions, my emotions. I’m also brutally honest with myself, and I don’t mean all Danny Bonaduce Professional Victim “Lookit me! Yeah! I’m so fucked up, man!” I mean, like, when I’m inclined to procrastinate something or afraid to try something, I ask myself tough questions and don’t rationalize shit. And then (usually) I take action. I actually have some issues I’m working through (religion-based. Thank you, Puritanical Christianity) about having to be completely honest and ethical and do ___ and ___ and ____ or else I deserve God’s punishment. So I can’t lie to myself or reconfigure things to rationalize them; I have to face them baldly.
That’s why I have such a hard time taking bullshit from other people, too. You’d really expect me to believe… that? Really? Lie to yourself all you want to, dipshit, but don’t lie to me and expect it to work.
93. What wins the award as stupidest lyric you can think of?
“Can you taste the summer? I do, I find it in your mouth” What the shit is that, El Nob?
94. Do you have a mentor? Who?
Yes… a children’s/feminist-lit scholar whose work I studied for years. I discovered she taught a summer program, and I applied, got in, started working with her, and… damn. She ended up retiring two years later, and gave me her collection of Frances Hodgson Burnett books to “pass the torch” to me. That’s the greatest academic honor I’ve ever experienced. I still get goosebumps thinking about it.
95. Name a person you love: How do you love them? Let's count the ways...
I’ve banged on enough about The Husband-Type Man elsewhere, so I’m gonna pick someone else that I don’t often talk about in-depth: Sugarbear. It’s hard to believe that we used to hate each other’s guts, but as kids, we did. It wasn’t until he moved away and I moved away and we started talking on the phone and stuff that that changed. I once told him, “You know, I’m the only one other person in the world who can really understand what you went through growing up,” and it’s true; no one else gets personally what it’s like to have had The Stepfathers, or to be our Dumb Dads’ offspring, or have lived under certain circumstances. We also really developed a strong respect for each other, and can be balls-out honest – “I don’t agree with that, but I respect your decision” sort of thing. He’s the proverbial crunchy coating outside, soft squishy inside; he really takes things to heart, so it’s hard for me to not jump in with “STOP THAT! You’re going to get hurt!” on occasion. I admire his loyalty, sense of responsibility, and his work ethic. Especially, I admire his generosity. He’s the type of person that will (pick your cliché) bend over backwards, give you the shirt off his back, and do whatever he can to help someone out. He’s also hysterically funny, and most of our time together is spent having conversations that no one else could figure out and laughing like loons; we can have lengthy dialogues that are nothing but non sequitur movie quotes and weird family catch-phrases. Finally, he’s an extraordinarily talented drummer, like, blow-you-away innovative. I’m so proud of him for taking that plunge with his music, finally. He doesn’t want to be a “rock star”; he wants to be an artist. And he is.
96. Does your place have a lawn gnome?
No, but it should! It has several statuettes in the back yard and a couple fountains. Secretly, I’ve always loved those tacky plaster animals, too. I want a whole menagerie of ‘em!
97. Do you ever wonder, “why me”? When?
Sometimes. I’ve had a few points in my life where everything just collapsed, and I had trouble figuring out what I’d done to cause all this awful stuff, because I must just be the worstest person in the world, and-
Well, and, as life unfolds, it becomes clearer that sometimes the painful crap is much like amputating a diseased limb without anesthesia. Not fun, but overall better for your health… indeed, survival. It’s that “everything happens for a reason” stuff again.
98. Is rap a form of poetry?
Absolutely. It’s based on rhythm and rhyme. Doesn’t mean I like it, though.
99. How many days until your birthday?
Damn, I dunno… half a year. I’d have to, like, do math to figure it out. *twirls hair*
100. Have you ever MEANT to hurt anyone?
The last few interactions with My Dumb Dad, I knew he’d be hurt by what I said, but that wasn’t my goal. I have a huge guilt complex, so I don’t set out to cause someone pain. The last time I consciously WANTED to hurt someone was when I sent that nasty-ass letter to someone I’d been friends with all through jr. hi., high-school and beyond. I felt like she’d been hurting me with her snippy comments and overly-critical attitude, so I wanted to, for what I considered the first time, give her some of her own. I’ve regretted it ever since. It did no good to anyone.