Tag Archives: domestic partnership

The Pariah Chronicles, or, Why I Haven’t Posted Anything Here in Exactly One Year

25 May
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Hollywood’s interpretation of Disgruntler as Pariah

Vol. I – November 2013

So I recently ended a long-term relationship, a transition that started off sort of OK, then I royally fucked it up with a Death Spiral of Lies, and then basically got booted out of my house. That’s the abridged Reader’s Digest version. Actually I think that summation may be short enough to be a tweet, plus no-one probably even knows what I’m talking about when I mention Reader’s Digest …. So yeah, I guess that’d be my Twitter feed on what went down … except that I thankfully have no personal bandwidth available to participate in Twitter. And if I did, I really hope I’m not self-absorbed enough to go ahead and tweet something like that for the entire blatho-sphere to suck down.

However I am the person guilty of the Death Spiral of Lies, so who knows what I’m capable of these days.

Let’s back up.

I fucked up big time, I’m a fuck up, I’m living the fuck-hole life of a fucking pariah right now (I think I need to invent a new word that combines “fuck” and “pariah” in order to really capture it), which is, as I’m sure one can guess, perfectly fucking lovely. Among many other things, being a pariah automatically precludes one from publicly airing snarky commentary or making humorous observations about her predicament (if there actually are any to be made), which is sort of my general M.O., so it’s been especially tough. Writing like I am now is the best way for me to process and make sense of things, but I haven’t dared to since this whole thing started. I guess I feel like I don’t have the right.

Vol. II – May 2014

Jarring jump-cut to the present day. Have my rights yet been restored? Perhaps partially. But I can’t speak to whether or not time heals all proverbial wounds, since I am the wounder, not the woundee. Things here in Pariahdom have gotten a bit smoother, a little less pariah-y, and some of the people peeved at me have grown slightly less peeved, I suppose. Unfortunately, the only existing route to the Wounded Party still remains the Eggshell Highway, and most likely this will continue to be the case for some time. It’s a road I must traverse regularly I’m afraid, given that we have a kid and a house and related logistics to negotiate and whatnot. Ah, modern life.

What’s proven trickier, however, is the slow unfurling of my suddenly very tightly-guarded self. Virtually overnight, some 7 months ago, I went from Open Book status in almost all affairs, to holy shit, Circle the Wagons. And when you are a Wagon of One, your circle is very very rigid. Since barricading myself here, I’ve barely dared to breathe, lest I make any pariahdom-aggravating missteps. I painstakingly question and evaluate every move I want to make before I make it, putting me into a perpetual state of second-guessing myself that has been an especially difficult adjustment, given that my natural emotional state is Casual Friday. I don’t really have the wardrobe for anything else …. so I guess that’s why I haven’t ventured out much. Emotionally, that is. Jesus I’m getting lost here inside this ridiculous metaphor … where was that emergency exit I saw a few hallways back?

oh, here it is

As for the unfurling, I suppose it will come with time. I have so much I want to overshare and blather on about, good things as well as bad, but I can’t just yet. Actually, almost all of it is good, but of course “good things happening for oneself” is an especially taboo topic of discussion for a pariah, so I’m keeping a lid on it for now. In the meantime kids, my recommendation is – don’t try this at home!

 

Marriage: WTF?

24 Jul

For some unknown reason, we have a plethora of old dictionaries around the house, and according to Webster’s Popular Illustrated Dictionary (new revised edition, 1937), to”marry” is “to unite in wedlock: to dispose of in wedlock.”  I had  intentionally sought a literal dictionary definition of the institution to which I have never and most likely never will subscribe, with the primary purpose of digging up something about it I could potentially spin into a critical, or at least funny observation, and lo and behold, no spin was necessary.  To dispose of in wedlock?  Do tell!

While I have gone forth and propagated, or spilled my seed upon the ground, or whatever it is – sorry, there weren’t no Bible-learnin’ in my house (though my copy of Webster’s Popular Illustrated Dictionary looks quite suspiciously like a Bible)  – anyway though I’ve done what I’m supposed to do as a responsible organism, my baby-daddy and I completely overlooked the marriage part.  We’ve barely even discussed it.  Which may be why today, 15 years in, we’re still together (ba-dum, bum).  Though it is also why, 15 years in, I still can’t come up with an appropriate title for him, a way to refer to him in the third person that makes sense to either me or the world at large.  Say “boyfriend,” and the immediate assumption is that he is not the father of my child.  “Baby-daddy,” while accurate, and sparkling with a certain pop cultural cache, also seems a bit flip.  “My son’s father” sounds too clinical and implies said genetic donor is no longer in the picture. And I sure as fuck ain’t using “partner.”  It is an ongoing dilemma.

Which brings me back to the subject at hand:  marriage, what-the-fuck-ness of.  Notice from the above roster of unfit titles for my, um, son’s dad, I am particularly concerned about it being clear that a) we are Not Married and b) we are still a couple regardless, and are raising our child together. Why do I even give a shit?  Throughout most of my life I have cared little of others’ opinions of me or my actions.  And why is it when, for the sake of simplicity, said difficult-to-describe relation refers to me as his “wife,” I feel like clocking him with a frying pan like he were Andy Capp?  I do NOT want to be a Wife.  But I don’t want to be a Single Mother either. Oh, what’s a girl to do?

When I was an undergraduate at UCLA, part of an untidy clump of punks that hung out on Bruin Walk, spoiling the otherwise pleasant collegiate scenery, there was a bridal shop along the southern edge of campus called Westwood Bride.  Whenever we happened to pass it by, I would always wail, in mock misery, “I’ll never be a Westwood Bride!” to appreciative hoots and cheers all around.  But at the time I knew it wasn’t really a joke.  I just couldn’t see myself ever getting married then; and now, 20-odd years later, I’m still spoiling the scenery, and I still don’t want to take the plunge.  Sad to say, the main reason being:  what’s the fucking point?

Sure, love can last a lifetime.  And sometimes it doesn’t; who’s to say what’s down the road?  And don’t even get me started about how the early incarnation of  many forms of marriage essentially relegated a woman to just another bullet point on her husband’s list of personal property. With oppressive origins like those, it’s hard to be a cheerleader for the institution, regardless of how much its purportedly improved since then.  Though certainly there is something to be said for the beauty and profundity of making a formalized commitment to someone else, among friends and family, in some sort of vaguely lovely environment, with tasty food, maybe a band, an open bar.  And something could also be said about the phenomenal expense, as well as the stress of planning and hosting a large fancy event, not to mention the new Burden of Meaning you have unwittingly hoisted upon the shoulders of your relationship.  What sounds like more fun – a day of revelry with your friends and family in uncomfortable shoes and sweaty pantyhose, punctuated by disagreements with the photographer, or a month of traveling across South America?

And I know I am not alone.  I’d say the majority of married folk I’ve asked the “what sounds like more fun?” question have opted for the latter choice.  More than a few of my friends have confessed that their wedding was one of the most stressful days of their lives; one bride spent half the day in terror she would be hurtled headlong from her chair, which was continually hoisted up in the air and paraded around by guests who grew progressively more drunk and uncoordinated as the evening wore on.   For anyone who gives me the “marriage = tax break” argument as a feeble defense, I counter with the fact that as an unmarried couple, we have the advantage of telling the IRS that one of us is Head of Household, towing it alone in the parenthood department  boo-hoo, with a bit fat juicy dependent, and voila!  We end up with a big fat juicy tax refund every year.  Take that, you beholden joint filers!

Let’s revisit that  Webster’s Popular Illustrated Dictionary entry for a moment,  “to dispose of in wedlock.”  So the “dispose of” part caught my eye first of course, making me think of some bitter old miserly couple, desperate to rid themselves of their useless daughter by tossing her into the trash bin of matrimony.  I completely dismissed “wedlock” at first though, since the word is so ingrained in common, if folksy, English usage; I figure most people, myself included, don’t give the word much thought. But wedlock?  How boorishly obvious.  Oh, and appealing certainly.  “Oh, father, thank you for arranging my engagement! I can’t tell you how ecstatic I am to soon be locked in the conjugal dumpster of happiness for all eternity!”

Final thought:  Gay marriage?  Go for it!  I do understand that there are thousands of people who would greatly welcome life in the conjugal dumpster, but have been steadfastly and unjustly denied the opportunity.  People line up to do all kinds of crazy shit, like buy the latest Apple gadget or be humiliated on a reality show – cuz we have a right to!  This is America, man!  And I ain’t gettin’ married if I don’t have to.  Word.