What’s my price?

He got my attention and motioned me closer to him to hear what he had to say.

“What’s your price?”

“Excuse me?” I asked, sure that I heard what I had heard, hoping that I hadn’t.

“What’s your price?” He repeated.

His two friends said nothing, but they grew uncomfortable looking at how my face changed to anger.

“Don’t you fucking look at me, touch me, or talk to me again if you don’t want to get fucking punched in the face, you fucking asshole. Go suck your own dick.”

I turned around to the faces of my friends, confused about what just occurred. I can feel him behind me still looking.

“Do you want to go?” My friend Evangelista asked.

I tried to play it cool, like I cared only to tell him off, then when I did it was all okay.

“Whatever you guys want to do.” But I could see their eyes looking passed me at that sorry excuse of a human.

“Let’s just go,” She said, taking hold of my arm. I knew she could feel me trembling.

The second we got out into the filthy street, they all asked what happened.

They couldn’t believe it, just like I couldn’t the first time I heard it. Then a slew of comments:

“You don’t even look like that, what the fuck were they thinking?”

“He was drunk and just an asshole, don’t even listen to him.”

“Yeah, don’t let him get to you.”

My heart was racing.

And not even a minute into our walk, I saw Evangelista react to someone touching her ass as we walked by. She gave him the dirtiest look, then continued walking.

My insides were turning.

“Look at that place! It’s playing latino music! Maybe we should go there,” She suggested.

“Well, it can go one of two ways,” I told her. “It can either be amazing, and no one will talk to us or try to touch us, or it can be the complete opposite and the most sleazy place in town.”

So we took our chances. I bought myself a huge Corona with lime and salt to shake off the tension, then we danced the night away until our heals asked us to give our feet a break. By the time 2am rolled around, we were ready to head back. Evangelista’s idea to take our chanced at that cantina was the first great idea of the night.

We parted ways with some friends. Evangelista, Green Eyes and I all walked back down the street the way we came, trying to stay friendly to our feet as we continually sped up.

Two minutes later…

“Hey Mami! Get me some of that!” This huge black truck drives by slowly, so they could get a good look at the human beings they consider pieces of meat.

“Fuck off,” I said, along with the universal signal. But they weren’t giving up.

The other two girls sped up, not saying a word.

I realized they weren’t going to say anything, so something ridiculous and quiet hilarious took over me.

“You’re fucking ugly!” I shouted at them. They sped off embarrassed, while people around us laughed.

“My sister always did that to gross guys growing up. I was always embarrassed by it, but now I get it.” I spoke fast and confidently, trying to mask my nerves. “It’s empowering to embarrass them instead, especially when you have no other way to gain that power. My sister was right, it feels great!”

I had a false sense of hope that I could have some sort of control over such an uncomfortable situation.

Not even 5 minutes later, I witnessed this hideous gross excuse of a man smack Green Eyes’s ass. She turned and glared at him. I realized she wasn’t going to say a word to him, so I turned around and started walking towards him.

“Don’t! Just stop! It won’t do anything!” She yelled at me.

So I stopped. But my brains were screaming at me, and at him. My insides were still walking with all their might towards him, and my heart was so tense I swore it would tear itself into shreds. But my knees were completely weak.

“I can’t. I can’t do this anymore.”

I completely broke down.

All the feelings that I had been pushing deeper inside me were just spilling out onto the disgusting, grey concrete. My tears were non-stop.

“I’m strong, I know. But I’m not strong enough for this. Not anymore.”

Green Eyes took hold of my left arm, lifting it up in case my knees would give.

“Let’s just get a cab,” Evangelista said, “None of this is worth it at this point. You’ve completely broken down.”

Her second great idea of the night.

We all squeezed in the back seat of a small taxi, not wanting to be more than a few inches from each other. It was too uncomfortable to be apart.

My eyes were puffing, I could feel their weight. My nose began to run. My mouth ran too, repeating itself over and over, “I’m so angry. I mean look at us. How pathetic is this world that we have to catch a taxi to avoid being touched by disgusting men?”

The second the cab driver heard me crying he turned down the music. It was like he wanted to respect whatever mood we were in. After what I said, I could tell he was listening. It didn’t stop me.

“I hate men right now. I really do.”

“Something needs to change, something big,” Said Green Eyes.

“Yeah, and the fact that you’re so upset by it makes me rethink how I reacted,” said Evangelista. “You being upset tells me that it’s not okay. I’m just so numb to it.”

“But that isn’t okay! You can’t be numb to it. Half the problem is that fact that we let men do it.”

I didn’t mean to scold them. But I couldn’t stand my best friends being violated, then watching them brush it off because they feel helpless to the situation. We have more power than we think.

“But what were you going to do?” Asked Green Eyes, “You had no clue if he was dangerous. He could have hurt you if I had let you go up to him.”

I bit my tongue. I knew she was right but my boiling blood didn’t want her to be.

“So we’re fucked. No matter what we do we’re fucked. I feel so fucking trapped it hurts.”

We arrived to the apartment, handed the guy the fare and got out as quickly as possible. The second we entered the room we completely unwound.

“How funny it is that a place that isn’t yours suddenly feels like home in times like these,” Evangelista said, wiping up some smeared eyeliner from under her eyes.

That night I had the weirdest dream. I was in my kitchen cooking up some food, when I noticed the ugliest cockroach I had ever seen. It was huge, absolutely enormous. I wasn’t scared of it, but I set down newspaper over it to step on it so many times that my kitchen was covered in newsprint. And it still got away. I turned to the roach spray, but I missed every time.

Then I woke up to the sound of my Evangelista’s voice.

“I just had a dream about a cockroach,” I whined.

“Awww, you’re so cute,” Green Eyes said to me, making me feel like I was 10 just waking up from a nightmare.

But then I sat their as they got ready, and I began to pick at my own brain.

Men, or should I say boys, like that are vermin to me. They are the scum of the earth and I only hope that one day they will learn at any cost to them what it feels like to be looked at as inferior. But as vermin that creep around an infested kitchen, these sad excuses for men creep around our lives never to leave. Until we make them. Until other men help correct them.

“I’ve got a solution,” I told them.

“Wait what? For what?” They asked.

“For these sad excuses of men that continually demean women.” I said, softly and somewhat lost in thought. “I’m going to get one of those blow dart things. The solution on the end of the dart? I’m not sure, yet. But what I’m sure of is that it’s small enough to conceal it anywhere. The next time some fucking asshole grabs my ass I’m going to turn around and shoot him in his ass. Maybe he’ll pass out from it, I don’t know. I haven’t decided.”

“What the fuck? That’s hilarious!” The girls congratulated me on my plan.

It’s been two days ever since that night, and I’m still nauseous with anger.

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The reality of children gone.

I read once in a roommates most deepest writings that hurricane sandy killed the non believers and saved those that believed.
But what about the children? Innocent, unknowingly mistake-making children whom deserve only the best. How about the children in the Middle East, dyeing horrible deaths from drones sent with a button from the other side of this Mother Earth? She cries, I swear by it. What about the children overworking their developing bodies, working days in and days out to make needless material objects for Walmart bought by this very same roommate, objects used maybe once and left to waste? What about those affected by globalization, a loss of culture, and a never ending identity crisis for the mistakes of Europeans made hundreds of years ago? What about the children forced into slavery of all kinds? And those forced to have children after being raped. Or those that live next door to you, starving while you eat three meals a day, with a small snack of 200 calories or less in between each meal. Or those that wish they could read? How about the children fighting cancer or aids, or those living with sick parents that expect care from them? Children lost and confused with no where to go.
I read her comment about hurricane sandy in her personal journal that she left out on the dining room table. Pages open and full of a false knowledge, the overall ignorance constantly protruding out of this close-minded, Midwestern world. Pages heavy with the scent of frustrated innocent children, asking this supposed god, why?
This morning, 52 dead in Oklahoma, some of them children. A state drenched with self-righteous Christianity. So I ask you, now what?

The strength of the women in my life.

My grandmother moved to the United States from Mexico when she was in her 20’s, looking for work to feed my mother. She gave up everything she knew to start a new life. However, immigration told her she could only choose one, a life in Mexico, or one in the Unites States. Under her agreement, she was not allowed to declare residency in the United States, and even if she did, she was not allowed to travel across the border. She did both. My grandmother couldn’t go two years without seeing her daughter.

My mother crossed the border with a student visa when she was 9. She excelled in school, way more than any other kid. The education system here has never been the best. She grew up in an era of racism, gang wars, and through the second wave of feminism. She bought mens 501s and sat in bathtubs of blue waters to fit them to her female curves. She sewed her own prom dresses and wore her hair long and wavy like a true Californian. And through it all, she never got along with her step-dad, who treated her like a servant–demanding the world and more from her. And although I wish she had it easier, as no one should wish hardship on others, it made her the strongest woman I know. Her nurturing raised me, my sister, my friends, and children we have never seen again since their grade school years. She taught us all how to hold pencils and ride bikes, how to be polite and how to stand up for our own beliefs. She’s a powerhouse of a being who isn’t afraid to admit her faults and never feels the unknown. And I love her so.

Recently, my mother told me a story about her crossing the border. My grandmother had illegally crossed back to Mexico after illegally declaring residency so she could visit my mother, numerous times. On my grandmothers cross back to the United States, with my mom’s small hand in hers, the immigration guard checking their papers said to them, “I knew it. I knew there was a reason you kept crossing back over. I’ve checked your papers each time and something told me not to turn you in. She’s your reason.”

There are good people in this world. Sometimes they don’t know it, and most of the time the rest of the world doesn’t see it. If it weren’t for that guard keeping it silent, I may not be here today, my mother probably wouldn’t either and my grandmother could have been in huge trouble. But here we are.

And the strength of the women in my family. They are all so beautifully strong. I can only hope I have a sliver of that strength in myself.

Happy United States Mother’s Day!

Wet dandelion eyelashes

Your eyelashes damp and gathered together with teardrops, like the lashes of a dandelion on a rainy day. You cried until the clouds disappeared, clearing out the sinuses of the great skies until your face withered dry. Cracked like the deserts grounded in the world of regret. I told you moving forward is the only option for someone stranded.
You could have, I know you know.

I’ll Be Fine

A few days ago I was on my way to pick up my best friend from the airport, 3 hours away. For some reason, at some odd moment in the car ride, I decided to call my dad with the intention that by the time we said our good byes, he would know I liked both women and men. So I told him, with the expectation that he would be upset or annoyed or even disown me. Instead I shed tears of relief the second he said, “you know I will always love you.”

And I thought that was going to be bad. It wasn’t at all. I think it helps being 2thousand miles away, when they realize that they actually do miss me no matter who I like.

Then last night I decided to tell my mom. Thinking I had the more difficult of the two out of the way, I felt confident. “This is a lot for me to handle right now,” she said. “Take care of yourself.” I told her I don’t know what she means. “Don’t expose yourself. You know as your mom I’ll always worry about you.”

I love you, too.

I hope she comes to realize that out of everyone in my family, I am very aware of my location. It is not “liberal” west coast, it is not the best place for people like me on many levels. I am very aware of my surroundings, and even more so aware that I am not white. Overall, not that I am going to try to hide it anymore, but my sexual orientation is something that isn’t obvious. It never has been even when I was home. Little does she know that I worry more about my safety out here because I am a woman and because I am not white. After years of dealing with that, this is easy.

I’ll be fine mom.

Breakable

I used to converse through email with a teacher of mine. I miss him dearly. People may even think I’m weird because I ask him advice still, like he’s still around. But I guess he is. He always will be. He sent me these lyrics once. I miss him. 

Have you ever thought about what protects our hearts?

Just a cage of rib bones and other various parts

So it’s fairly simple to cut right through the mess,

And to stop the muscle that makes us confess

And we are so fragile,

And our cracking bones make noise,

And we are just,

Breakable, breakable, breakable girls and boys

And you fasten my seat belt because it is the law

In your two ton death trap I finally saw

A piece of love in your face that bathed me in regret

Then you drove me to places I’ll never forget

And we are so fragile,

And our cracking bones make noise,

And we are just,

Breakable, breakable, breakable girls and boys

And we are so fragile,

And our cracking bones make noise,

And we are just,

Breakable, breakable, breakable girls-

Breakable, breakable, breakable girls-

Breakable, breakable, breakable girls and boys

Her Perfume

I usually cry when I see those familiar faces I missed months long. This time I didn’t. I saw them from a distance and ran up to them for the homecoming hugs. And right after the thought slipped into my mind, “Hey, this time I’m not crying!” the tears poured out. My Mother’s perfume has a way of doing that. There’s nothing like it, really. And her strong arms enveloped me, making me feel so small and so big at the same time. How much I missed her warmth. I love her so much. 

The Break Up

We started with a walk. I told her to slow down. Later when talking over the beginning of our relationship, she told me that moment is when she knew I liked her. I wanted to walk slower and savor the moment with her.

On our walk home tonight, I told her we needed to talk. She agreed with that fact that we needed to break up, but then got really defensive with me, putting blame on me for avoiding her lately without really saying it out loud. She didn’t leave room for me to talk, so I let her get everything out, making me feel like shit with everything she said.

We walked up the stairs to the house and I asked if we could sit on the couch to talk it out. I could tell she was still defensive, ready to snap back at anything I said. I didn’t care if she wanted me to leave her alone. I had plenty of things to get off my chest that needed to be heard.

I told her I cared about her, and that we just weren’t compatible. We’ve talked about our issues, tried to fix them multiple times. We’re both tired, therefore, not happy. She agreed but then said she was angry, that we tried so hard and it failed.

That was confirmation #2 for breaking up with her. If you didn’t get it already, confirmation #1 was how she initially made me feel like shit.

Confirmation #3 was when her insecurities arose, yet again. We talked about one of my friends, and how he might have feelings for me. This has been a reoccurring problem, not just with him. She thought it was acceptable for her to talk to him if I didn’t, to ask his intentions with me. And once again I had to explain to her that means she doesn’t trust my judgement. I told her I could handle myself and if I ever doubted that I wasn’t too proud to ask for her help. All of this, nothing that is new. So I guess confirmation #3.5, because this is still an issue no matter how many times I’ve tried to reassure her.

#4? She went upstairs mid-sentence to bring down a scrapbook she has been working on for me. I knew it existed, and I knew through others how much time and money she had spent on it already. She gave it to me and said she couldn’t look at it anymore. The confirmation? The fact that I knew her intention was to make me feel guilty. So I called her out.

Good thing, too. Because she then realized a bit latter that she was taking it all out on me. I told her i had to leave tonight. She said that it was nothing different, so I called her out again on her snarkiness. She again apologized and we hugged for probably way too long.

I hope she believes me when I tell her I plan on being her friend, that I’m only leaving for a while.

She doesn’t understand that it takes time. Not a day or a week like last time, but months, and hopefully not years.

I didn’t think we would end with a walk. But this time I didn’t want to slow down to doubt the decision I had already made.

True Story: Homophobic Roommates

Homophobic Roommates.

With everything that has been going on lately, I’ve been so crazy distracted. It’s like dancing to a song that you used to feel every beat to, so incredibly in sync with your body’s own rhythm. Then suddenly, you’re dropped onto an indecisive conveyor belt pulling you every which way, but you’re expected to keep dancing. No matter which way you decide to let it take you, you may never get back on beat.

If I stay in the house, I will always have to hide who I am. If rules are put on certain parts of the house, I will still feel uncomfortable no matter where I go.

She told me last night, “Don’t take this the wrong way, but I even feel uncomfortable looking at you in front of them.” I expect that elsewhere (it’s a shame that I do.) But in my own house? Where are we supposed to go to feel safe?

So, here’s what happened with the roommates.

“When we signed this lease, we didn’t sign to live with a relationship. If I wanted that I would have signed for co-ed.”

TRANSLATION: I expect a relationship to happen between men and women living together. And even though I was warned that this might happen, I never expected this from you two. I mean, you did tell me it was a possibility, but I guess I didn’t believe you. If one of you could suddenly change your reproductive parts, then we wouldn’t have a problem.

“Maybe it was the way I was raised, but I would never have sex in the house. I see you as my family, and if my sister was doing this I would also talk to her. My boyfriend and I would get a hotel room. It’s just disrespectful.”

TRANSLATION: Let me impose all my stupid, ignorant, self-righteous beliefs on you. Shall we? Since I ‘Love you like family’, let me also make you my child, under my roof, where you will follow my rules.

“We do not feel comfortable with you two in your rooms alone with the door closed, or sleeping in each other’s room. How do we know you’re not doing anything?” 

TRANSLATION: I think it’s weird to imagine two women having sex, because a man’s penis is so much more acceptable to have inside you, even if you’re lying to yourself about your orientation. Again, if you could change your reproductive parts, then it would make more sense why your door would be closed. It would make more sense why you want privacy. Too bad you’re both women, shoot. Oh and by the way, this is me trying to be your parent again.

“Even my brother was uncomfortable when he came to visit. He would send me texts whenever I wasn’t home to hang out with him, about how uncomfortable he was. He said he loved it here, that he didn’t want to leave, but that he couldn’t stay even if he wanted to.”

TRANSLATION: I wasn’t home to see if you really were all touchy feely near my brother, he would just text me saying that you were. So I believe him. He’s also 18 and completely unexposed to life. Oh, and visiting and staying in our house, but you should still change how you act in your own house to accommodate the ignorance of others.

“I’m more disappointed with her, but not so much with you. (To her) I feel like I can’t come into your room and talk whenever I want like we used to. I miss you. I’m really hurt by this.”

TRANSLATION: I’m more disappointed with her because she’s supposed to be a ‘good Christian’ like she used to be, like how I pushed her to be. Since you’re not religious, I’ll just ‘give-up’ on you and lay all the weight on her shoulders. Let’s make her feel more like crap for everything that is going on. You on the other hand, thanks for fucking things up and putting her in a bad place. And even though the only thing that is different between her and I is sexual orientation, lets pretend that it’s her fault that I don’t feel comfortable being the same friend I used to be to her-because you know, my lack of acceptance makes it so easy for her to hang out with me. Come on, do I look ignorant to you? I’m hurt that you may assume so. I’m also hurt by the fact that you’re happy now. Thanks for hurting me! Here’s some good ol’ guilt.

“And I’ve been struggling with this subject. With homosexuality. Because I see nothing wrong with it, but the Bible says it’s wrong. I’m trying not to judge. I’m not following God right now, so I have no room to talk. This isn’t about religion though. It’s just the fact that we’re uncomfortable with how close you two are getting. And that night, when we heard you two upstairs. We just don’t want that in the house. I’ve just been uncomfortable lately when I come in and see her sitting on your lap, or holding hands. We saw you kissing once.”

TRANSLATION: I’ve been struggling with the subject of homosexuality, because my conscious tells me love who you love. But this book written by men thousands of years ago is telling me that you two should only love men. Not that the times have changed or anything, ya know? I’m not judging you or anything, even after I laid out all these stupid rules for you two. I mean, I’m a heathen, too. But if I weren’t, if I was a ‘good Christian’ lately like I should be, then I guess I would have room to judge—which really means I’m judging you, no matter what. Oh but this has nothing to do with religion, even though I mentioned it, and you know, talked about it for a while. Oh but forget everything I just said about religion, because I’ve already said it, and I’ll say it one last time, ‘This has nothing to do with religion.’ So anyways, now that we established that, because I swear it has nothing to do with religion, lets move onto the real problem. I don’t want to hear lovemaking in this house, because I rather you go elsewhere, or I don’t know. How about the complete opposite. I rather hear acts of hate than acts of love. Like you two arguing would be more acceptable. Or how about staying silent. Because that’s really what I want you to do. Stay quiet when having sex, stay quiet about your sexuality, stay quiet about not being happy due to my selfishness, just fucking stay quiet. Oh, and I’m not mature enough to laugh it off and just bang on your door and tell you two to shut up. I don’t know, maybe I’m bitter I’m not getting any myself. So no sex, no cuddling, no touching. Hell, I mean heck, don’t even look at each other. Not in your own house.

“If we can’t work this out we need to start looking for two roommates to either replace you two, or us two.”

TRANSLATION: So after all those rules I just imposed on you, you should feel welcomed in this house once we figure all this out. After this passes I hope we go back to the friendships we had. But really, if you don’t do what we say then it won’t work. Oh a compromise? Yeah, we’ll see about that….

True story.