Sid is Innocent

I was walking through Chinatown last week, listening to my ipod on some awesome new headphones I got on sale via the Wendy Williams show (“How you doin’?”), past spitting old Chinese men and sad fish markets. It’s a nightmare, overcrowded, slow-moving and stinky, but cool that it still exists in all it’s old school New Yorkness.

I was feeling melancholy. Drew and I just can’t see eye to eye at the moment and it’s painful, even though I understand his point of view and that it’s part of the process. I’m doing pretty well now, but I am still processing deep personal change/death, so while insanity and darkness seem past, residual sadness clings like a smoky film some days.

Sometimes I wake up with the words “I’m sorry.” already on my lips. I apologize constantly in my sleep. I remember nearly every transgression I’ve ever made, starting with that kid in high school who made a comment about the Doobie Brothers that I shot down so hard I know I destroyed him. I’m so sorry, dude. I still wish I could take it back.

But I find long walks with a musical accompaniment are good for head sorting, even if it’s also accompanied with a bit of elderly Asian snot rocket dodging. An exceptionally sad song came on and the sorrow under the surface came bubbling up and expanded within me until it felt as if my chest would crack open. So much sadness in this life, how do we manage to process it at all?  No wonder so many people become drug addicts. And I am fully aware that my first world issues are not really problems. It’s a luxury to fester the way I do.

I let the feelings roll through me without judgment. A phrase popped into my head–”the exquisiteness of sadness”. Then I thought, all emotion is exquisite really. Love, sadness, joy. That’s why we love music (and art and movies) so much, it makes us feel. Our souls are here to feel. Pain sucks, doubt sucks, fear sucks, numbness sucks. Anger can be good, it’s my personal favorite. But it’s only a protection and often destructive. Sadness, when it’s allowed to rise in its pure form, isn’t so bad. It bubbles up and flows like water, sometimes rushing, sometimes rolling quietly. It passes by.

I allowed it to consume me, tears behind my sunglasses, and then let it flow out of the cracks and through the top of my head. After a few minutes I felt better. And then a drunk Euro kid with a big backpack slurred, “…You’ve got a good ass for an old lady…” and I went back to pissed off with a soupcon of amusement. Fuck you, Junior. And thank you I guess.

Anyway, the primary focus for me today is not sadness, but the energy shift that seems to be fluttering under my feet, preparing to carry me somewhere new soon.

I have spent my life suspicious and fearful of money and of people who have it. It didn’t fit into my rock and roll mentality; punk rock and I came of age together and from the time of first memory I always felt that I was “other”. I related to very few kids in school, I purposely marked myself with clothing and hair and jewelry, later tattoos, to telegraph to the world that I was unwilling to join the club. Some of that bravado was conscious choice, some of it was rejecting “them” before they rejected me. The popular kids scared the crap out of me. They always had a handle on what to wear, they didn’t worry about chewing food in front of each other, they knew the right things to say, there was an ease of movement that I never had. Until I put on a Fiorucci snake print stretch tee and a homemade “Sid is innocent” button and raised my middle finger. Then they all thought I was darling without me having to say a word.

So, into adulthood carrying that flag, wearing that flag. Rock and roll life, rock and roll boyfriends, East Village wildlife, drugs, fights, passion, obsession, music, I’m crazier than you, tougher than you, harder than you, I raise that same middle finger to the popular kids of my adulthood, which I suppose are investment bankers and models and the children of the famous and wealthy these days. In some ways exactly like it was in high school, what has always hidden behind that finger is fear and the feeling of being less than.

I had a terrible, awful time when Drew was in the band Bloody Social, because most people in and around the band were models, children of the wealthy, children of celebrities, everyone rich from birth, gorgeous to look at, younger than me, more confident than me, shittier than me. They didn’t give a fuck about anything. They were the real nihilists because they could afford it. I was older than them, covered in tattoos, hailing from another era that they could neither reference nor respect. I fought with Drew constantly as bisexual 20 year old beanpole assholes spilled drinks on me as they shoved past to throw their vaginas full of gold cards at his head. Excruciating. I drank and scowled and railed against it all until even the nice ones had a hard time breaking through my angry wall. It wasn’t until the incandescent May Anderson ignored my cornered snarl and pulled a bottle of Jack Daniels out of her purse, grinned and handed it to me, that I was able to breathe and let my guard down a little and make a friend. But only her. That experience was devastating to me, but with the cushion of time, so informative.

Fast forward to now. I posted a status about this on facebook and got an avalanche of response, so it must be hitting a nerve–maybe it’s our age or maybe it’s a movement of the tide. I was sitting in a basement watching a friend’s band, at a show I had booked, and this thought came floating up and lodged itself in the front of my brain. I could die happily never seeing another rock band in another basement for the rest of my life. In that one moment I was changed forever.

What? Blasphemy! Or preaching to the choir, depending on where you sit, rocking chair or bar stool. But before you send me a dreary email saying you never go out anymore, you hate going out, people who go out are losers and you’re content to knit potato chip bag cozies by the fire, understand that I am not talking about that. I don’t want to retire necessarily, more that I feel the urge to live fresh  I’m talking about releasing an energy that has had a hold on me since I was three and dancing in front of the television to the Beatles. I still wanna go out; I just want to go out FANCY. I want to use graffiti-free bathrooms. I want to wear my good shoes without fear of stepping in mystery liquids. Or I want to sit on a beach chair looking at the ocean with no shoes on. The details aren’t important. I just wanna get out of that basement that I have been sitting in for about 30 years now. I’m not afraid anymore.

Again, first world pondering, but I gotta give you what I got.

I am still very much in love with my world, but the ATTACHMENT to only that has dissipated. I am ready for new experiences, new environments, new people, new outfits. Somehow, after this long stretch of suffering and confusion and self-hatred, I am expanding inwardly and seeing glimmers of what could come outwardly. I can see now how my mental state of insecurity and judgment has kept me stuck at a less than perfect financial state, at less than perfect contentment levels. And along with that I can see that it’s all an energy game. I can be whoever I choose to be now. Well, except for a bisexual 20-something asshole beanpole with a vagina full of gold cards. I suppose that ship has sailed. But there is still a myriad of possibilities. I simply need to make space for myself, for the options to show themselves. That is incredibly freeing.

So I’m doing the work. I’m working on my thought patterns around money, I’m taking a second to ask my body what it wants before eating. I’m actively choosing quiet time, I’m walking around Chinatown crying it out instead of picking up the phone to try to fix what isn’t mine to fix. I’m allowing people to pick up the check without fighting about it. I’m accepting compliments without deflecting them. I’m cool with my age. I’m cool with some people not liking me. I’m daydreaming about all of the things I can do or see or be that I never considered before because I thought I was anchored into one state of being for this lifetime. I’m feeling love and forgiveness for myself without having to do a big flagellating apology and atonement dance first. For the first time ever.

It’s weird.

But cool.

If you are new agey of mind, this particular video has been very helpful to me:

If you’re not, watch this instead because it’s time that more people appreciate the awesomeness that is Linda Belcher.

Christmas Miracles

Well… I’ve got a wicked hangover at the moment and haven’t done anything all day long so I thought I’d fill you all in on my weekend.

Friday night found me at the gorgeous home of my fancy friends Luke and Jack for a snowman themed holiday party. They have a beautiful condo right at Astor Place and always go out for their parties. There was a big ice sculpture of a snowman and the bartenders wore top hats and there were plenty of hors d’ouevres being served by waiters with trays. If I tried to set up a bar and some waiters in my apartment that would be the whole party. The ice sculpture would have to go in the tub. But their place is huge and sleek and modern with a windows running along the whole side of the building so you can feel like a movie star while gazing down 7th Street from different angles.

The singer from the Counting Crows lives next door and Norah Jones is in the building somewhere too. Mike suggested we go ringing some doorbells and see who turned up, but we behaved and simply drank and snarked over the bad ensembles some of the women were wearing. I looove a roomful of bad ensembles when I’m getting my drink on and no one dresses more horribly than a nerdy fag hag at a holiday party.

There was a guy plinking out Christmas carols at the grand piano (yes, they have one of those too) and I was tempted to lay on it and sing “Making Whoopee” a la Michele Pfeiffer in The Fabulous Baker Boys. Since it was a party full of gays I’m sure no one would have objected, but I don’t know the words and my corset was so tight it was all I could do just to sit down, so rolling around on a piano was out of the question. Maybe next time they have a party I’ll rehearse a repertoire ahead of time.

And then a Christmas miracle happened for me: Along with the Mikes (Mike and his boyfriend, who we differentiate by calling him Mike Squared), I brought some of my co-workers and we got into a discussion with some other partygoers about earth and animal consciousness. Sushi, the head buyer at PF, and I have gotten into vicious arguments about fur in the past. I buy the lingerie and handle all the consignment for the store, and I refuse to buy fur for those departments. He liked some fur lined hoodies that his friend wanted to put in the store on consignment and I refused to take them and it turned into a war.

This was a couple of years ago and after that I felt that my point had been made. So I’ll crack bitchy jokes about the fur he buys but I don’t fight him really hard on it because he already knows my opinion and I don’t want to be unpleasant with people I like and have to work with.

For the record – here is my view: I have always loved fur. My first memories are of a white rabbit trimmed blue velvet coat my mother dressed me in. It had a fur hat and a fur muff and I felt like a princess in it. Through high school I collected vintage fur coats and muffs and had a ton of them. My mom has always picked them up for me when she would see good ones as well. But as my consciousness grew about it and I learned of the suffering that goes on, I realized I couldn’t justify my love of real fur anymore. So I would never buy it now, but I do have two short black jackets that I am just not ready to give up, although lately I’ve been wearing them a lot less often because I feel like a hypocrite when I put them on.

Anyhoo, so we got on the subject of fur and I made my usual point about the fact that in China they will just stick an animal on a hook and skin it alive and that is one of the many reasons that I don’t think it’s okay to buy fur. And Sushi turned to me and said, “You know, years ago when we would fight about this, I just thought ‘fuck you!’, and that you were just being a bitch. But now I understand your point and I think you’re right.”

My jaw dropped open and just hung there. Did I just hear these words from one of the most rabid fashion fags I know? I think there may have been a chorus of angels singing somewhere, although perhaps that was just the free-flowing vodka talking. Still, I was floored and thrilled and it gives me great hope that change in consciousness is indeed possible even with the most stubborn cases.

Then the next night Drew had a gig at Don Hill’s with Bloody Social and before I knew it I found myself surrounded by models at the front of his stage. It was like this cartoon I’ve had up on my fridge for so long it’s old and yellow:



That pretty much sums up my life so far and describes last night…

I have a strict policy about standing right in front at my boyfriend’s gigs. I think it’s gauche and distracting and I prefer to stand further in the back where I can watch a little more anonymously. To me it looks very amateur when the girlfriends line up at the front of the stage and glare at fans like they own the band.

And you all know how I feel about models – tepid at best. But there it is, because of this particular band I have slowly found myself inducted into a pack of them like Mowgli with his pack of wolves. I fought long and hard, people, with much scowling and bitchy sarcasm. I tried my best to be as terrifying an unapproachable as possible. But eventually I had to give in and be nice to someone, and since all the someones in the entourage are 6 foot tall, 22 years old, 100 lbs and gorgeous, I had no choice but to bite the bullet and befriend the beautiful. And it turns out that some of them are actually all right.

So there I am, covered in tattoos and a crappy attitude (cue the song…”one of these things is not like the others…”), doing a dumb dance with my supermodel bff (who is actually quite badass) and her lanky pals at the front of the stage. Of course Drew mocked me afterwards, but I know he’s relieved that I’m actually getting along with people instead of giving him constant grief with the insecurity that ensues when I’m surrounded by gazelles.

So there are my Christmas miracles: less fur at PF, no fur flying at the gorgeous people convention. Pretty awesome. And then at the end of the night when there were no cabs, a wasted Brooklyn mook in an expensive white SUV stopped and picked us up and drove all the way home in the snowstorm, just to be nice. It was heaven-sent and hilarious in a really comical and completely New York kind of way. So maybe that’ll be the next New York type I befriend, I have a feeling they’d love my model crew.

This photo’s a little beat up and blotchy because it’s a polaroid that knocked around in a drunken dancing girl’s purse all night, but I like it anyway.

Another Day in the Life

I was out this week for one of Drew’s gigs with the band (he’s in three) that is getting a lot of attention. I’m finally getting the rhythm of these shows down, being surrounded by a ton of very attractive women much younger than me, men that I don’t completely understand or feel connected to, just being in a scene that isn’t my own. It’s a new “rock” crowd and I am slow to assimilate into that which I don’t already own. But the band is rocking, they put on a great show, and my man is a brilliant drummer and a joy to watch onstage.

We hooked up with Jonny, Brooke, an old friend named Denise, and our friend Timmy. Essentially family and extremely old school rockers, surrounded by baby girls in tiny skirts scanning the room anxiously for members of the band or others worthy of their attention. We stood near the DJ booth, where Mike Schnapp, my former manager and one of my favorite people, spun actual rock (for a change) and we went nuts when certain songs came on. We cheered and sang along to White Zombie and when no one else reacted the way we did Jonny shouted “Guess who’s OLD school in this room!” Yep. Then he said something shitty and I slapped him in the head and he bit me and we shrieked at the next song.

The room was packed when the band played and people were not well-mannered. I felt tense and invaded. I want them to have a jammed show but I want to have a space to watch where I’m not being shoved. Denise began arguing heatedly with a wasted girl who was sort of weaving and stumbling and not paying attention. In my nervous tension I went straight into old school mode. I grabbed her hard by the scruff of the neck, turned her head towards me, and shouted down into her face in a deep voice, “LISTEN TO HER.” The poor girl straightened up, blinked at me in surprise and said, “I’m sorry!” and literally darted away into the crowd.

I turned to Denise and said, “What happened?” And she said, “I’m wearing a boot” (one of those injured foot things) “and she kept stepping on me.”

I thought, fuck, I just abused some poor little girl for stepping on someone’s foot in a jammed room? I’m an asshole and a bully. But I was so uptight that I just clicked into dominator mode as soon as I saw a fight brewing. Sometimes I react physically before my brain processes properly.

And the band played on with the crowd cheering loudly. Ten minutes later Jesse showed up, still recuperating and vulnerable from a very serious illness, and the crowd veered around us dangerously. Giant guys with no consciousness for the words “excuse me” shoved us back and forth.

Then the little girl popped up like a bobber in water and drunkenly wrapped her arms around my neck. She slurred into my ear, “What did I do?” I said, “You didn’t do anything, baby. You just stepped on my friend’s sore foot. I’m sorry I grabbed you.” She hung on me like a lover and I tried to extricate myself from the embrace. Jesse thought she was a friend and waited to be introduced. I shook my head and shrugged as she wrapped her arm in mine and put her head on my shoulder. He said his goodbyes, too physically delicate for the mayhem and as he turned to leave it dawned on my little date who he was and she ran out after him.

Behind us wasted straight girls dangled upside down off of the obligatory stripper poles that now decorate every club, their badly clad crotches (I know this bc I’m a lingerie buyer!) a mere foot or two from our faces. Jonny shouted, “Whores! You’re all disgusting WHORES!” After the show, he looked around in disgust and turned to me as he left and said, “After all these years you’re STILL the hottest girl in the room, bitch.” Thanks, Jonny, you made my night.

At the afterparty (because you know, there’s always an afterparty) I was handed a large chunk of extremely strong mushroom by a Sports Illustrated supermodel. She kissed me hard on the lips and said, “Here you go, baby.” I chuckled thinking how many men would kill somebody to be in that position.

There I went indeed. Mind you, this was at 2 am, and I had to work the next day. But it seemed the appropriate thing to do, mushrooms are so happy and generally benign. Within 20 minutes Drew and I were melting into a couch with other trippers, giggling and shouting nonsense. On either side of me were two of the prettiest women you’ve ever seen, the supermodel and her best friend, and on hallucinogens they seemed to glow, their limbs long and slender, perfect skin, faces of angels. When I shut my eyes colors danced at me at lightning speed. When I opened my eyes lovely wood nymphs were pouring glasses of whiskey for me and trying on my shoes. I made Drew get up and sit next to me so I could hold onto his hand in order to stay grounded.

And then at 4 am he dragged me out. I would have stayed there until daylight most likely, consuming what was apparently an endless supply of high grade hallucinogenic mushrooms hidden in an expensive handbag. Lest anyone out there thinks I’m a total maniac, I don’t do things like this very often, but when I do I tend to need a minder. I also have a work rebellion thing. I’m hyper responsible and work my ass off at my job, but sometimes I just don’t want to be the good girl. Sometimes it seems more important to live that moment at that moment than to worry about what time I have to get up in the morning.

We got home and I apologized to the pets for my bedraggled state. They too glowed very prettily. We took something to help us sleep and I went out watching the colors dance behind my eyelids.

In the morning I awoke very early to my building manager calling me to tell me the super and workers would be delivering a new (used) stove and refrigerator to my apt. I’ve been bugging them about my busted appliances for a while. Drew left for rehearsal and I helped the guys tear my apartment apart, yanking out the old appliances with the contents of the fridge laid out on every available surface. Once they were done I did a head count to make sure all furry bodies were present, left the mess and ran to work, feeling somewhat vulnerable and emotionally messy. I felt badly about grabbing the little girl and sometimes I just feel overwhelmed by this strange new world that has entered my life. I worry that it will separate me from Drew, I worry that I am not strong enough to handle it.

I listened to the Black Crowes on my ipod as I walked. Chris Robinson shouted, “I hate myself. Doesn’t everybody hate themselves?”

Yep.

I ran into one of the wood nymphs on the street; she looked all fresh and clean and shiny and unhurt by the night’s activities, despite the fact that she’d stayed up til 10 am. But it was comforting to see her somehow.

Drew knew I was feeling shaky and he sent a text when I got to work, “Don’t worry, honey. It’s all good, you’re safe, and I love you like crazy.”

And then I got down to the work for the day.