For those of you who don’t know, my name is Alisa Starr. I make Snarky Cards. I sell them from a box that hangs beneath my boobs. They will crack you the fuck up. I will crack you the fuck up. In fact, usually I’m a funny mother-fucker. But this is a different kind of post.
About two months ago, I started seeing someone. And it ended badly. I didn’t want to write about it until I figured out what it was. Actually, I didn’t want to write about it until it was over, which it is. Usually, this kind of thing is easy for me to shake off. Usually when something ends for me, it’s because I end it. But this time has been different. This time I fell in love, and let somebody in, and I’m having a hard time dealing with the fact that he’s gone.
For the last years, a month was the maximum I was able to keep anything going. So this felt long. It always seemed to me that that was because I’m a hard person to love. I figured I’m a hard person to fall in love with too. And I was gracious and kind to the men who have left me. “It wasn’t their fault. I’m difficult.” I thought to myself. But, it’s starting to be clear to me that maybe my problem is not an inherent difficulty with my personality, but more an inability to trust men in general. As Magnum (yup, we’re calling him Magnum for obvious reasons) and I got to know each other better, I started thinking more and more about all the ways in which I’ve kept men at bay for the last ten years.
He told me a story about someone he once knew. Said that she’d had her heart broken in Junior High, and it never healed right. And I think I froze for a minute. “that’s me.” I thought. “Don’t nod your head.” I warned myself. “you don’t want him to recognize you in the story.” It didn’t quite happen like that. I trusted my first boyfriend, Carlos. And by the time we broke up for good, I didn’t trust anyone.
It wasn’t Carlos’s fault. In that 3.5 years, all of the adults in my life had hurt me. But it happened on his watch. I entrusted him with my heart, and he let other people tear it up. It was hard to realize that I was never going to be rescued by a man. This was my plan. It was actually, probably, more like my mother’s plan. Sherri loves abdicating responsibility for herself to God, to her husband, to me. And I think in my mind, we had some sort of silent bargain. I would take care of her. And then I would find a man to take care of me.
By the time I was 17, Carlos had jumped ship. And I think by then, I’d been so thoroughly abandoned and abused, the thought of trusting someone seemed absurd. My sister had relationships, my friends had relationships, and that was OK for them. But I knew a secret. Men hurt you. And so there was no point in trying to get close to them. That’s when I started my Mission of Sluttiness. And in the years since then, I’ve kept men at bay with sex, and my weight, and my personality.
I think in all of my relationships since then, I’ve walked the line between completely abdicating my responsibility for my own care (because we all try to become our mothers eventually), to defending my privacy, and my decisions constantly and angrily. I’ve walked away a lot. I’ve found men I didn’t respect, or trust to tryst with. So that it wouldn’t matter if I was broken. And I’ve found some really strong women to get my back.
So hanging out with Magnum was daunting. I tried really hard to accept him, flaws and all. And to be kind to him. And to listen to myself. Magnum’s a nice person. And he wasn’t intimidated by me. Nor was he intimidated by the fact that I seem to still be kinda fucked up. He didn’t wanna talk me through everything, but he looked at my flaws squarely, and he still seemed to like me. Which I think is the reason that I let him in so far.
At some point, in the middle of our newfound like, I had to go back home to my family, to see my niece. While I was there, I confronted my parents about their abuse. And I told them that they had caused me enough real damage, that I couldn’t see getting close to them again. It was a good move for me. But it took an emotional toll. And then something hard happened to Magnum too. And our thing, whatever it was, couldn’t withstand the weight of our respective grief.
So, for the last couple of weeks, I’ve been really sad. It’s harder because it’s not anybody’s fault. It’s scarier because I trusted a guy, and I got hurt, but I don’t think it was a mistake. Usually, this is when I pull out the rulebook, and I make some rules about how and why I should have known he wasn’t trustworthy, or why I’m just completely unlovable. But he was trustworthy. . And I am trying to just accept that I’m worth loving, and it was nice that someone tried.
All of this, the fact that I had this affair, the fact that I’m sad it’s over, is really over-whelming. I couldn’t piece it together until yesterday. My friend, Alicia Horton came up from Salem for the day. And we were completely devoted to girl time. Alicia and I weave our recent history in with our past, gossiping about things that happened 16 years ago, and things that happened last year in the same breath. At some point, after I had cried a little bit, and she had told me stories about her own ill-begotten affairs (pre-Weldon, her husband, who I love), I muttered “It’s like he took a sledge-hammer to the wall. And I don’t know who I am anymore.” Alicia nodded and said “Yeah, but now other people can get in.” And just like that I thought, “OK, maybe I don’t need the wall the way it was. Maybe I can build a door in there, so I can let someone inside if he seems like he wouldn’t fuck anything up in there.” After that, we went to Savvy plus, and tried on clothes, and I found a new pair of jeans, and some slutty tops for selling Snarky Cards in bars. And we kept gossiping and shopping, and laughing. And by the time she went home, I was closer to OK.
I know it’s just a broken heart. And those heal. It’s not even an interesting story. I loved someone, and they cared about me too, and it didn’t work. I hear those all the time, when I’m slingin’ Snarky Cards. In fact, I’ve made a living exploiting this story for my own personal gain.
I just never thought I’d be in the story. I enjoyed being the slutty girl who didn’t have relationships. I think I’m just as upset about losing the old, slutty, detached me as I am about losing Magnum. I miss my armor. I’ve enjoyed being above attachment. But it looks like I’m changing into someone else.
Usually, I comfort myself after a bad boy-incident with some sex with strangers. But I think right now, I’m too sad and sensitive to pick anybody up. And I don’t seem to have any friends with benefits around anymore. So, filling my Vagina with penis-comfort seems to be out. But shopping with Alicia really made me feel better. Savvy Plus (on Hawthorne) had some really good stuff, and their prices were really good. So even an Art Prostitute can afford the occasional retail therapy. I think I’m gonna start dying my hair a lot again. And I’ve been playing a lot with eye make-up. So, it looks like I’ll be turning to girly-shit to get my through my broken heart, and help me figure out who I am next. I anticipate Sex in The City marathons. And probably some dancing.
In the meantime, I’m trying to thrust myself into work. I’ve posted some new Snarky Cards, and I’m going selling a lot more than I have in the last couple of months. I’m trying to take more pictures of people laughing, while they look at my cards. I’m trying to document the things I like about my life, so that when I’m overwhelmed by my feelings, I have tangible proof that I am still doing a good job. However, my phone (awesome piece of technology that it is) doesn’t have a flash. So, I take pictures in the dark, and then lighten them in Picasa. Which means that a lot of my pictures look like they were taken in the 70’s. Or, possibly underwater. I kind of like the effect, but I’m sentimental. Thanks for listening to my tale of woe, Internets, and hopefully I’ll see ya in the bars sometime.