Trading Towns

Dear Internets,
 
 As you may know, my name is Alisa Starr. I make Snarky Cards: Brutally Honest Greeting Cards. They will crack you the fuck up. I sell them in bars from a box that hangs beneath my boobs. Mostly, I sell them in Portlandia. And sometimes, I sell them in San Francisco, where my bad-ass bitches reside. Even more sometimes, I sell them in Seattle, where my sister lives.
 
As some of you know, I have been a little miserable lately, due to me finding myself in the middle of a Thing. With a boy. Whom I had Feelings for. And the fact that I found myself feeling feelings has unnerved me. And it kinda fucked with my identity. I’m now a person who has relationships. And I wasn’t sure that was OK with me.
 
Recently, in the middle of my life-philosophy-blowing  Thing, I also went back to San Jose, from whence I came, and confronted my parents about their abuse, and explained to them, that no matter how nice they would like to be to me now, it doesn’t make up for the shit they did to me before. And we’re not going to have a relationship.The depths of my despair meant that I couldn’t do any of that shit at home. I think I was left alone too long with my feelings or something. Because after a while, I was crying every day. For hours. And nobody came to check on me. And after a little while, my abandonment issues started sounding alarms. And then the fact that I was sad didn’t matter. The fact that nobody checked on me was the problem. I felt alone. And I was sure that I’d been right all along, and everyone will leave me eventually, because who could ever learn to love a loud-mouthed-big-assed-titty-showing-bitch? (I have illustrated both my big ass and my titty-showing above, for those of you who would like to see more boobs and ass to get you through this long-ass emotional post.)
All of this line-drawing, boundary-having, combined with all this relationship-having (and then Not Having) has left me…drained. I found myself in “the depths of despair” to quote Anne of Green Gables. And I couldn’t figure out how to snap myself out of it. Eventually my shrink suggested drugs. Or, she strongly recomended, that I call my friends and ask them to come help me. Which is hard. I hate asking for help. But more than that, I hate pills. I love weed, but pills kinda give me the heebie-jeebies. And so, when people suggest I take them, I try to fix my shit, so that I don’t find myself at a pharmacists’s mercy. So, I called my sister. And she said “Come to Seattle. Bring you paint, and your cards. I’ll buy you a train ticket, and you can stay here, and work until you feel better.”
So, I’ve been hiding out, in her apartment on Capital Hill, painting and thinking, and smoking weed, and worrying about how I got myself into this hole. Joy has been a goddess. Sometimes, when we’re together we’re 15 again, and everything we do is hilarious, and a little mean. And sometimes we’re in our thirties, trying to figure out how to be kind to each other, only after recently ending our five-year-war. For most of our childhood’s we were on each other’s sides. We kept each other safe. But in our twenties we became different people, or more ourselves than we had been.
THis was my motto for the last ten years. Well, maybe my motto was more like "Be alone, fuck often".

Joy falls into relationships easily, and stays for as long as she can stand it. I avoid contact. I like sex, but I think, for the most part, I haven’t really trusted men. And it’s easier to fuck ’em and leave ’em than it is to trust them to be nice to me. And due to said shitty childhood, I’ve had really crap taste in men. And I always thought, if I’m gonna have shitty taste in men, I might as well keep contact with them brief and to the point.

Joy, having the same Dad, and therefore the same Daddy Issues as me, has gotten involved with a long line of assholes. Deeply involved. And I think my choices freaked her out, and her choices freaked me out. And we keep telling each other we’re doing it wrong.

But my inability to pull myself out of this funk has trumped all that. We may annoy the fuck out of each other, but in the end, she wants me to be OK. And I think I just needed that feeling. I think I just needed to stay with someone who gave a shit that I was OK. Portland is a wonderful town, but I don’t think I have a lot of friends there. And even if I did, I don’t have anyone who wants to take care of me. Who will check in, because they know I’m going through something hard. So, I’ve been sleeping on her couch, watching her dress her friends up for parties, and eating her yummy food. And after a day or two, I was able to start painting again, and then I was able to start typing. And then I started selling in Seattle.

Anyway, that all seems to be changing. I think that the depths of my despair come, not from a break-up, like I first thought, but from me, creating a new person inside of myself. My shrink likes it when I do this. She calls it cocooning, and she gets this look in her eyes, like I’d make a good case study. I sit around, and I make art, and I think about who I’ve been, and what I thought, and I get rid of some stuff, and I figure out what to keep. And in the end, I have more self esteem. And I take less shit. And I tell people how I feel, and what I need quicker. It takes a lot of sleeping, and some crying. And I have to talk to somebody who knows me, and can talk me down, when I climb myself up a tree, with all of my crazy-thinking.

Like, last night, when I tried to pin all of my bad feelings on Magnum, and Arlette wasn’t having it. “You just got stretched too thin.” she chided. “You tried to do a lot of hard things at once, and now you’re a little vulnerable. But don’t blame Magnum for all of this. No relationship can knock you down this much. And you’re not broken, you’re just a little delicate now. You’ll recharge. And no GUY will ever shake you up this much. This is your family, and your parents, and your identity.”

This is Jenny, one of Joy's crew, in the middle of before-the-party-dress-up!

So, I’ve been hibernating at Joy’s. And her life is fucking amazing. Her friends all live a block away from her. And they all wander as a group from house to house, carrying weed and beer with them as they go, trying on each other’s clothes, telling each other funny stories, making or eating food, and generally preparing for the next party, knowing full well, that the party they’re already at will be better than wherever their going. Her friends come over, to do all of those things, whether Joy’s there or not. And so

Yuriko and Marissi getting ready to party!

I’ve been admitted into this club, forced to hang out with her hilarious and kind friends. And being surrounded by people has helped me with the cocoon thing. I miss my cats. But so far, I don’t seem to miss PDX much.

Seattle, it turns out is much more marvelous than even I had anticipated. The people here are smart, and funny and they are trying to figure out sex and themselves, and dating, and friendship. I’ve been trying out some new bars. And I think I’ve made some friends. There are a few cute boys that I have some simpatico with, who might wanna hang out in the future. Everyone seems to dig Snarky Cards. And Snarky Tits. And life in this town is a lot less bleak than life in Portland has been. “So, move and have sex, and make friends, and be around people who actually do stuff. Portland is where hipsters go to die.” Arlette recited, in a bored tone of voice. She’s been trying to get me to move for ages. And you, Dear Internets, might have noticed, that I haven’t been happy in PDX for a while. “Well, you told me a year ago, that you couldn’t live in Portland for longer than a year.” Claire said. “So it’s about time you moved.”

This is my newest painting, for sale at Twilight this Thursday!

So, I’m trying to figure out how to make it work. I’m checking Craiglist. I’m mentally packing up my house. I’m figuring out the logistics of getting my ass from Portland, to Seattle. Along with all of my shit, and my cats.

Until I go back and pack up my Pdx life, I’ll be out in Seattle, selling my Snarky Cards, mostly haunting Capital Hill, working on paying my last month’s rent in Portland. And on Thursday, I’ll be debuting my new paintings, and typing Custom Snarky Cards at Twilight Artist Collective.

Come check out my new shit, and celebrate my newly declared Seattle Love at Twilight Artist Collective on Thursday, May 12th, from 6-9pm. I’ll be typing up a storm. And I’d love to make your life easier, by writing you some hilarious and angry Snarky Cards.

Love,

Alisa

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