Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Mom said it happens to all the girls, but I think she was just trying to make me feel better. In the same breath she warned me not to talk about it to school because the girls it hadn't happened to yet would be embarrassed and jealous that I got it first. I went to school the next few days obsessively staring at all the other little girls, staring at their bottoms, their tiny breasts, their arm hairs, wondering if they were going through what I was.

Mom had to buy me all new underwear, because I ruined mine. She bought me a lot of new dresses and skirts so no one would notice. She said I was going to experience a lot of changes in my body and my emotions and to be read for that. I got special deodorant for my new hormonal armpits. Mom made it sound like a privilege, but I just felt like a disgusting freak. I asked if it would happen to my little brother and she said no, it only happened to girls, and I thought that was unfair.

After a few weeks the tail stopped growing. It was about four inches long and soft and fuzzy. I had to cut holes in my panties so it wouldn't chafe against my skin. It was a bright turquoise blue, but Mom said that color could change. It wagged when I was really excited, bounced to the beat of any music, and flattened when I was sad. It was hard to see without a mirror. Now I know why dogs are always running in circles. Luckily, unlike dogs, I'm not an idiot.

Soon the hair on my body had thickened and darkened to a electric teal. This was when I worried I was a little bit different. I wore long baggy clothes to cover all of my arms and legs, grateful the fur hadn't spread to my face yet. I looked at adult women, wondering if they shaved their fur off. Mom said I couldn't shave it off, that it would grow back thicker. I thought it was an old wive's tale so I locked myself in the bathroom and spent an hour meticulously shaving a small patch on my stomach. When it was smooth I put the razor on the sink and victoriously looked at myself in the mirror. Within seconds the hair had grown back, twice as long as it had been. I cried into my furry blue paws and didn't emerge from the bathroom for hours.

My ears enlarged enough to poke out of my hair and my horns grew in gnarled and pointy. I stopped going to school. I could have worn a hat but the fashions of Blossom were going out of style. When I decided to homeschool myself, I didn't even discuss it with my parents. They just woke up one morning and I was sitting on the couch watching television instead of getting on the bus. It was Clarissa Explains it All, not that this part matters, but it's a really good show and you guys should check it out; maybe it's on netflix.

"I'm a monster," I cried to mom. My brother was hiding around the corner, terrified of me. My mother held me in her arms.
"We all are. You're just better at it than others. You're an overachiever."

My habits evolved. I didn't like sleeping in my bed anymore; I preferred to lurk in closets and under the bed. I no longer had an appetite for pizza and soda. I now hungered for blood and human flesh, wouldn't you? Mom taught me to feast only on emotions like despair and loneliness and defeat. These things weren't as delicious but they were filling. Sucking out the passions of civilians got dull occasionally. Sometimes I would slip up and accidentally devour a bratty child or a postal worker. When I came home with human blood smeared over my furry face, staining my sharp pointed teeth and leathery lips, my parents looked at me in disappointment. "Did you devour an innocent life form? That's so Barbara!" They would tease.

When I ate my brother it was the only time they scolded me. I felt bad but he was so tantalizingly scrumptious. They forced me to defecate him out using laxatives and meatmucil. They duct taped him back up together. I felt bad, but we monsters are somewhat attracted to fear. As that emotion diminished, he became less tempting. He became accustomed to my terrifying monstrosity. As he grew bigger than me he became more comfortable and to this day he will pet me and take me for walks at night so I can howl at the moon and crap in the yard and he would have to pick it up and put in a doggy bag for me because that's what love looks like.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Night Garden

Alison lay in bed listening to the clock tick loudly. Next to her, Greg wasn't snoring, just laying silently. Sometimes she wondered if he was really awake and listening when this was happening. She quietly leaned over, careful not to disrupt the covers or shift her weight too much. Her long wavy blonde hair fell across her shoulders like a curtain. She placed her ear next to his head and held her breath, listening to his sleeping dreams. At first she didn't hear anything, but she quieted her own anxious thoughts, closed her eyes and listened harder. She heard Greg dreaming of going to the gym, where only trees were allowed to work out, and he was trying to jog on the treadmill but one of the trees kept making small talk while asking him to name state capitols.

Alison smiled at her sleeping friend with benefits/ boyfriend/ hook up partner/ human being she intercoursed with. No one really knew, or ever knows, what's going on. People her age didn't really date anymore in the city. They didn't ask each other out or tell anyone they had romantic feelings for one another, or express vulnerability or intimacy. They just imbibed beer off their tits and intercoursed their friends of the opposite gender. If they did it like a few times in a row maybe they could consider that a relationship. And if they did it and one of them spent the night a few nights in row maybe the darkness in their brains would stop screaming long enough for the sea cows to climb out through their ears and butter their necks like burnt hairy toast. Alison didn't care.

Alison silently climbed out of bed and wandered down stairs. The clean quiet kitchen reminded her of being a child and sneaking downstairs to hear her parents yell at each other. It was a peaceful, relaxing hole in the universe she could dive into and swim through the nostalgia. The light of the night slipped in from an undisclosed inexplicable source. Blue silver beams whispered around like soft silky lingerie over the white and beige tile and cabinets. Anytime she was awake somewhere that wasn't lit by sunlight or fluorescent yellow bulbs, she felt like she was up early at summer camp, wading alone through the grayness to the dock by the lake. She poured herself a glass of water and drank it and then had a second glass.

Taking her glass of water with her, Alison walked outside into the front lawn. She looked up and down the silent streets and was disturbed by the stillness. She crouched in the front area, set the cup down, and dug a small hole in the earth with her hands. She sighed as the cool moist dirt drifted through her fingers, emptying away at a particular part of the world, gouging into something, extricating the dark filth of it's porous soul, and piling the remnants somewhere else, equally in the way.

When she had a small hole neatly created in the front lawn, Alison squat above it and lowered her pajama pants to her ankles. Balancing herself over the hole, she flexed her thighs, keigels, and bum hole muscles. Shutting her eyes tightly, she grunted and groaned, sucking in air as she strained and pushed. She rocked back and forth, almost losing her place in the world, the existence, the universe. A bat flew into the tree above her making a high pitched screeching noise and knocking a bouquet of leaves belligerently to the ground.

After a few minutes of pressure, Alison let a small bloody mess out of her. Looking up at her without any eyes, it made a screaming noise like a cat being beaten as it fell from her body into the hole. Oozing with blood and shit and goo, it wriggled and bulged against the earth. Kneeling beside the hole, Alison smiled sadly and began to use her hands to bury the mass of sticky globs into the hole. One entombed she patted the dirt clumped on top neatly and reached for her water glass. She took a sip of tepid water and dumped the remnants on the fresh grave, letting the delicious mixture of hydrogen and oxygen satiate the soil.

She lay down and whisper-sang to the ground a song about death and going down in a boat under a waterfall into oblivion and never waking up again. Kissing the dirty gently she leaned back on her heels, sitting in the dew soaked grass. As the sunlight crept it's cold bright fingers over her small city, a green leafy sprout sprung from the ground and a pink flower budded and bloomed into being. Alison plucked the flower, held it in her fingers, and turned her back on the ascending morning.

When Greg came downstairs, Alison had already made a pot of coffee. Still in her pajamas, with her hair messed up and flowing down her shoulders, she was sitting at the table reading her newspaper. On the counter sat a crystal vase with one single newly plucked pink flower.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The ring

Denise sat in the darkened room rubbing her hands against each other repeatedly. Her bedroom was cool and a breeze was reaching in through the window ruffling her hair. She rocked back and forth, sitting on her butt, with her arms crossed tightly over her knees. She rotated back on her heels to the same rhythm as her heart beat, a short punchy staccato. There were sounds of soft conversation, plates being moved around, and occasional abrasive laughter coming from downstairs. Denise rolled her tired deep set eyes and interlocked her scrawny fingers. She rubbed her thumb against the cold hard silver band on her middle ring finger. She slid the ring up and down the stem of her finger a few times, nervously twirling it. She then pulled it off her middle finger and shoved it onto her left ring finger.

"That's not yours," said a low whispery woman's voice. Denise turned and saw a face half lit, half in shadow. One eye peered through the room at Denise, half of a smile curled across thin pale lips.
"Yes it is," Denise whispered to herself. "It's my ring."
The face raised an eyebrow in the white fragmented light. "No, it's not. You stole it."
Denise shuddered and brought the ring up to her cheek. She watched how the light played against it and brought it to her lips.

The room was messy and filled with forgettable things. Denise stood up abruptly and began to pace with short, rapid steps around the room. Denise could hear her husband downstairs with their friends chatting. They were probably giggling about the season of the grapes and the smell it brought out in the cheese. They were probably talking about their children's 1st grade art project like it mattered, like anything mattered, like they liked each other and were not alone and crying and fake and desperate to be noticed, gasping to be real. Her husband was probably flirting with Mrs. Stevens with a confident smile and a hand on her arm, as if to say "I don't think we're all empty, vapid, and utterly alone; I'm not being loud solely to overpower the screaming pit of nothingness inside of me, ha ha ha!" She wondered if they had noticed she was gone. She wondered if they had noticed that she was there at all in the first place. A tingling sensation crept up her arms and legs like millions of invisible and one inch tall Beethovens were playing piano against her skin.

"I know what you did," said the voice.
"I haven't done anything yet," Denise answered.
"Not in this universe, not yet."
"Never, I won't. There is no yet."
"Doesn't matter, you're not that girl anymore. You're not the girl who he gave the ring to. It doesn't belong to you anymore," it said. The voice laughed a cold high laugh, echoing brilliantly throughout the room like a sharp, dazzling diamond. Denise felt her own lips curl up in the thrill and terror of that laugh.

She shivered as she felt microscopic hairs pick up against her spine. She placed her wedding ring inside her warm wet mouth and swallowed it.

"Maybe I never was that girl," Denise said. "Maybe from the start, I was always you."

The mirror image smiled from the shadows at her and Denise waved softly. She felt the millions of spiders inside her stomach come crawling up inside her esophagous and out of her mouth. They covered her face in a dark mask of writhing wriggling black bodies. Their hairy legs criss crossed as they climbed over top of each other, over her cheeks, around her eyes and down her neck. Their spit soaked hairy arachnid limbs brushed the fiber of her t-shirt and they slipped down beneath her shirt into her cleavage, around her warm breasts, past her roles of fat and down her sides. The little black legs swarmed her room and continued to overflow from her frothing mouth. Denise tipped her head back and laughed angrily and bitterly while the spiders blanketed her body.

nothing to wear

Stephanie sat on her bed in her messy room, the red blankets pooling around her thighs. Her computer sat, humming on the bed. Her damp hair hung down her back as she sat in a bra and jeans.

"hey," a chat icon blinked on her gmail. Stephanie leaned over and looked down at the computer.
"Hi Carrie" Stephanie typed back.
"are you ready for your date?" Carrie asked.
Stephanie looked at her half dressed reflection in the mirror.
"what are you going to wear?"
"I don't know..." Stephanie replied. "Clothing?"
"you want to wear something nice that looks cute but doesn't look like you're trying." Carrie typed.
"Okay, so not clothing," Stephanie replied.
"why don't you ask your magic 8 ball?"
"8 balls are so unreliable. I don't believe in that folksy hokey bullshit."
"fine. so ask your head in the drawer." Carrie typed.

Stephanie shook her head in astonishment. She couldn't believe she hadn't thought of that. She got up and went to the dresser, her long wavy hair hanging in a damp curtain over her shoulders. She opened the second drawer and peered in tentatively. Inside sat a severed head, blood dried on it's neck stump. It was a woman's head with short hair that Stephanie had to cut every month so it wouldn't get greasy in the drawer.

"Hey, wake up," Stephanie said, knocking her fist against the dresser.

The severed head twitched its facial muscles and opened its bloodshot eyes. It peered up at Stephanie in amazement. The woman's face was pale from being shoved in a drawer all day long, with greasy blackheads on it's nose and blemishes on its chin. It opened its chapped lips and gaped for air.

"Mistress Stephanie!" the head called in a high pitched strained voice, its wide eyes reverberating in the wooden drawer.
"Yeah, um, hey, head," Stephanie said.
"Please help me!" it screamed.
"Me help you?" Stephanie asked. "Listen, head, what do you think your job is here anyway?"
"Job?" gasped the head, tears streaming down wavering cheeks.
"Yeah, you're here, to help me! You're my advice head. So listen, I need to look cute tonight on a date, got any suggestions?"
"You're going on a date?" the head cried. "What? No... I... I am severed from my body! I'm trying to move my hands right now, nothing!"
"Okay so um, I'm thinking like a dress but a casual one, something cute and fun that says 'I'm-so-laid-back-that-I'm-not-that-into-you-but-subsequently-I'm-the-type-of-girl-you're-totally-into' but you know, not in a slutty way," Stephanie said. "Like Natalie Portman I think."
"What? You look nothing like her," the head said.
"Wow, why are you such a bitch?"
"Why am I such a bitch?" screamed the head. "Maybe it's because I don't know where my body is! How am I alive? How am I doing any of this? Please, Stephanie, I beg you, just kill me. Put me out of my misery!"
Stephanie slammed the drawer shut.
"What a waste of time," she said.

Stephanie looked at her watch for a second and went to grab her phone, wallet and keys. She opened the apartment front door and found her neighbor's 6 year old daughter standing in the hallway with her backpack. The little kid let out a short sharp angry scream and Stephanie remembered she wasn't wearing a shirt. She quickly fell backwards inside and grabbed a sweater to throw over her shoulders.

She only had about an hour before her date so Stephanie rushed to the mall, pushing past young happy people slurping giant sodas to fill the empty void inside of them. She saw a young woman in fashionable attire and began to follow her around the mall. When the girl turned around and looked at her, Stephanie grinned a big toothy grin.

"Hey!" Stephanie said.
"Are you talking to me?" the girl replied in a high voice, looking over her shoulder.
"Well I'm not singing to you!" Stephanie yelped with a smug giggle.
"Do I know you?"
"Listen, girly, my date is in about 42 minutes! We don't have a lot of time."
"I don't understand."
"Make me a dress!" Stephanie squealed.
"What? Why don't you buy a dress? I can't make them."
"I can't go like this," Stephanie said. She pulled a tiny ball of spaghetti and a needle from her pocket and handed it to the girl. "You better get sewing."
The girl looked at the tools and shook her head. "I'm not doing that."
"Make me one, Rumplestitskin, or I'll chop off your head and put it in a drawer!"

"Excuse me, miss?" said a deep voice. Stephanie whirled around and saw a police officer watching her.
"You're excused," she replied.
"You're going to have to come with me," he said. "Now put your hands out."
"John, Jacob, Jingleheimer Smith!" Stephanie screamed at the top of her lungs. She burst into dance. "That's my name too!"
"Maam, I..."
"You don't like that song?" she said.
"No, I like it," he said.
"Oh you do, don't you? Jingleheimer sounds nazi-esque! I knew it!"
"Knew what? Wait, you have the right to..."
"Whenever we go out!"

An hour later the police officer shoved the singing and dancing girl into a jail cell. Stephanie stumbled and caught her balance as he locked the gate. She brushed imaginary dust off the sides of her arms and her shoulders. Sauntering over to the corner of the cell, she looked into the next door criminal's room and made eye contact.

"Hey," she said.
"Hi, Stephanie," he said.
"You look nice."
"Thank you, so do you."
Stephanie beamed and blushed, looking down.
"I'm so glad we could do this," she said.
"Yeah, thank you so much for meeting me," he replied.
"Of course! I wouldn't miss our first date for anything."

Thursday, July 7, 2011

why I dislike Disney Princesses

When I was about six I had my first fight. I was playing princesses with my best friend, Abby. We both wanted to be Jasmine from Aladdin (who we both felt was the most beautiful and vivacious of the princesses) and I had a Jasmine costume and Abby had a beautiful Snow White costume. I remember Abby said "I'll be Jasmine since my hair is longer, but I get to wear the Snow White dress. Pretend-pretend that you're Snow White and we are borrowing each others' dresses." I said, "Well if I have to be stupid Snow White I want to wear the dress." She said, "No, it's my dress!" And I said "You sure? I thought you were Jasmine and borrowing it?"

We ended the day crying and didn't talk for two days, which is forever in six year old best friend time.

My point is that, as a little girl, I didn't just watch disney movies for entertainment, I acted them out, I sang the songs, I begged birds to dress me, I wanted to be them. As I grew up, this "pretend-pretend" games evolved into something more sinister. In 5th grade I was playing Spice Girls at recess. In middle school I couldn't play pretend anymore but I did dress like Audrey Hepburn for every single band and choir concert. I guess I shouldn't be surprised when I see some woman do something special and my first thought isn't "wow that was special" but rather "I wish I could do that." Studies show girls are socialized to model themselves after women they see in the media and society, to create idols and heroes all around them. I know this is a sweeping generalization and I feel bad for doing it, but I hate that disney princesses create such misogynist dark role models for impressionable young girls.

Snow White is the most chauvinistic story. The major conflict arises from two women fighting over who is the most beautiful of them all. (Oh it would be that hard to write about two girls with any other sort of personality attributes?) So, a young and naive Snow White runs away from home, goes to a stranger's home, climbs into the beds of 7 unknown men, and when they discover her, she becomes their dutiful housewife, because that's the only thing women are good for. After being poisoned for being attractive, a prince saves her by making out with her comatose body. Knowing nothing about Snow White except for the fact that she's hot and good at cleaning, the prince knows he is in love with her and they live happily ever after.

Sleeping Beauty is a very similar story to Snow White. In the fairy tale she sleeps for a hundred years. It is the height of female objectification, she has no personality, charm, or even consciousness and the guy still wants to fool around. Disney reduced a woman to her physicality so much so that they could have saved some money and just cast a flesh light. What is that teaching young women?

The little mermaid was one of my favorites when I was a kid. I sang the songs in my stuttering lisping little kid voice and I had a little mermaid costume as well as several other souvinier decorative paraphernalia. But this may have been one of the worst ones for me to like. Ariel was the first poster child for my eating disorders when she drastically and violently changes her body to get a man to notice her. She also exemplified codependency in the most sickening sense, giving up her greatest talent to be with a man. And it works in the disney version. A man falls in love with her even though she can't talk the entire movie, as if to say, a woman doesn't need to say anything or have a personality to be loveable. Why did my parents let me watch it? They might as well have shoved playboy in my face and said "see, because you're a woman this is the only thing you'll ever be good for."

Jasmine is a sex object her father can trade around for political power. Her only talents include being hot and to attempt to save herself and Aladdin she uses the only skill she has, which is seducing Jafar. Does it work? Not fully, and Aladdin saves the damsel in distress in the end.

Beauty in the Beast is probably the least misogynist, but it's still chauvinist. Belle is intelligent, kind, and has integrity, but what really saves her and the beast in the end is her hot looks. Also, the beast is cruel and gruff and abusive to her at first and she falls in love with him anyway. What really saves everyone is Stockholm syndrome. It's a symbol for how women are held captive in society by ourselves, the media, and men, that in our imprisonment we just have to endure the abuse and learn to love it.

Cinderella: I don't even want to touch it. Women are only good for cleaning, being hot, and the only way to get out of that is to marry a rich man who can provide for us.

What about the bechdel test? This test rates films based on the criteria of containing at least two female characters who talk to each other about something besides a man. None of these films do that, reiterating to young children, the entire goal in life for women, is to get a man to love you.

I hate that these were the role models being shoved down our throats as children. I hate that we dressed up like and idolized these women. All of them were dehumanized, depersonalized, and objectified. We were taught from a very young age how to fit into gender roles. I hate that unrealistic standards for feminine beauty were portrayed not only as a neccessisity, but as the only requirement for being loveable. More than anything I hate the idea that even for adults, it's hard to find a film with a female lead where the entire goal isn't to trap a man. Is that our only role in society? To fall in love? I would like to think I'm more ambitious than that. I can hope that women in my generation are seeing these force fed sexualized plastic beauty images and thinking "I can be more than that."

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Ride

Mom: I'm really glad we got to spend this time together, after all those years.
Jennifer: Me, too, Mom. (would it be funnier if I had her call him dad?)
Mom: So, what do you say, kiddo? Too old to sit on your mom's lap while she drives?
Jennifer: Yeah, kinda.
Mom: Oh. Is this because I was working and wasn't there for your first period?
Jennifer: No... I don't, um...
Mom: I'm so sorry I was out on a trip when you got your tonsils out.
Jennifer: It's fine, I don't care.
Mom: I'm a horrible absent mother.
Jennifer: No, don't say that. You're great at being an absent mother.
Mom: Is this because I missed your open heart surgery last month?
Jennifer: Mom, it's not that, I swear..... Fuck.
Mom: I don't blame you.
Jennifer: Fine, I'll sit on your lap and drive.
Mom: Really? You're kind of old for that, but okay.

(Jennifer sits on her mom's lap)

Mom: Okay, don't get nervous. Check your mirrors.
Jennifer: Okay.
Mom: Make sure the emergency break is off.
Jennifer: Right...
Mom: Turn on all four engines. Raise the throttle. Extend the wing jets.
Jennifer: Wait a second... Can I turn on the radio?
Mom: Sure.

(Steve enters)

Steve: Captain! We're losing velocity quickly and heading directly for that mountain! What's wr- oh... hi Jennifer.
Jennifer: Hi, Steve.
Steve: You're letting her....?
Mom: (confrontational) What are you trying to imply, Steve?
Steve: Not trying to imply anything. I'm trying to insinuate that the passengers are getting uncomfortable with the turbulence.
Mom: You think I care about those pussies?
Steve: This isn't the plane of domestic cat cargo!
Mom: It's not? Oh, no... Jennifer, it's time for mommy to save some lives. Get off.
(Jennifer gets up.)
Mom: Time to really buckle down.
(She buckles 7 imaginary seat belts all the way down to her ankles.)
Mom: Time to see what your mom is really made of... guts, bones, organs and mostly water.
Jennifer: No, Mom, I'll never see what you're made of, remember, I'm going blind.
Mom: Maybe it wasn't a great idea to let you fly.

(Steve takes Jennifer aside.)
Steve: Let's take this outside.
Jennifer: okay.
Steve: Jennifer, how are you?
Jennifer: Doing well.
Steve: You look well.
Jennifer: Thanks.
Steve: Listen, I'm really sorry about last month. I should have called.
Jennifer: It's fine.
Steve: I've just been ridiculously busy.
Jennifer: I got the message. I read "He's Just Not that Into You."
Steve: Oh you did?
Jennifer: Yeah, thanks for mailing me that book.
Steve: Glad you liked it.
Jennifer: But I don't know if you needed to follow it up with the second book. "Your Mother's copilot on the airplane is just not that into you"
Steven: Sometimes I overdo it.
Jennifer: Um, do you want your wrapping paper back from that book?
Steven: (deadpan) how generous.
Jennifer: How generous? About 7.
Steven: Sorry?
Mom: Hey did you kids want to stop at the drive through and get some sodas or tacos?
Jennifer: It's.... Listen, It's not like under my floorboards I have a shrine of your face I made with bits of your hair, chewed gum, and I talk to it every night in our own secret language.
Steve: ....
Jennifer: (really forced) Ha, ha, ha
Steve: (relieved) Ha, ha, ha
Jennifer: Blee-goo-glack.
Steve: The thing is, is I did want to call you, but your mother told me to stay away.
Jennifer: She told you that? I can't believe it. She usually has problems with "s"s.
Steve: She did, and I'm sorry I was stupid to listen.
Jennifer: Why would she say that?
Steve: She didn't want you to get hurt. You see the thing is, is I'm a robot.
Jennifer: You're kidding.
Mom: Hey, um... do you kids need to use the rest stop?
Steve: I know, I'm so sorry I was dishonest with you. I'm just ashamed of what I am. I knew you would be better off with someone human.
(Jennifer checks watch)
Steve: I had to tell you now, because no matter how disgusted you are by the truth, I'm in love with you.
Jennifer: This is ridiculous... You thought I didn't know?
Steve: How did you know?
Jennifer: Come on, Steve, the aliens taught me to identify artificial intelligent cyborgs.
Steve: Right, but when you were abducted they wiped your memory?
Jennifer: No they gave me a haircut.
Steve: It looks nice.
Jennifer: It grew back.
(Michelle starts singing)
Steve: Can you accept me for what I am?
Jennifer: Steve, this is our song... will you, do the human with me?
Steve: I'd be delighted.

Both Steve and Jennifer sit down on chairs and begin eating from a bag of chips, passing it back and forth while staring out into the audience like they're watching tv and littering on the floor.