My Fucking Feelings

Dear Internets,

For those of you who don’t know, my name is Alisa Starr, and I make Snarky Cards: Brutally Honest Greeting Cards. I sell them in bars from a box that hangs beneath my boobs. They will crack you the fuck up.

For the last few months, I’ve had a lot of Big Stuff happen. I was in a relationship, which messed with my identity. Because I haven’t had a relationship in about ten years. And it ended in a fiery explosion of suckiness. And then I was heart-broken. When things were at their best with Magnum, I was freaked, completely freaked out. “It’s like I spent the last 17 years building this brick wall, and he burst in and punched a hole through it.” I complained to Arlette. “That’s not true. You’ve been taking the wall down, slowly for the last few years. It’s a little more like you got it down from 10 feet to 3 feet high, and he came and kicked those bricks over.” She countered. I harumphed. I didn’t like that I was letting someone in that close. But I couldn’t help myself. I was in love with him. And I haven’t been in love since I was a teenager.

 

I know this doesn't really fit the post, but I like putting pictures in. And since this post is about my inner turmoil, I thought I'd show you pretty pictures of me. Hoping my boobs would ease the suffering of having to read this. Yes, I'm wearing clown panties.

I knew he would leave me. So did he. I just hoped that before he did, we would have some good times. And I would feel like I was good at it. The boy girl thing, I mean. I just wanted a little hope. Instead, he hurt me as hard as he could and then he left. In retrospect, I should have expected that he was the kind of person who hurts others because he’s unhappy. My parents were those kinds of people. And it would have been a lot to hope for that I’d gotten over my shit enough to date outside my type. We re-enact the most painful things that happen to us over and over again, until we realize that we can’t fix it. And then, hopefully, we move on.

The fact that I was in a relationship kinda fucked with me. The fact that I was broken-hearted rocked my world. For the last four months, I’ve been trying to put back together my sense of myself.

It’s been17 years since I’ve been hurt so badly. Men don’t hurt my feelings. They piss me off. I think that the fact of my pain was worst to me than the pain itself. I just kept thinking I’d made a terrible mistake. My friends were sympathetic, but in the end, they’d shrug and say “Well, yeah, DUH. Sometimes it doesn’t work out and you get hurt.” And then they’d keep talking. But I couldn’t hear whatever came after that. Because I was stuck. Alisa Kay Starr doesn’t get hurt. When a boy pisses her off, she goes out to the bar, and finds another boy to go home with, and she keeps doing that until she can’t remember why she liked the boy who pissed her off in the first place.

 

But that scenario was not this. I was mopey. And I couldn’t imagine sleeping with anyone who wasn’t Magnum. And I couldn’t figure out what to do with myself to get over it. I asked a few other people about break-up procedures and got nowhere. I wanted a ritual. Something to do with myself while I was waiting for time to do the thing that time usually does. And as I floundered for something to do, I began to question my identity more. I think I was just stunned that anyone got that close. And I felt like an idiot for letting Magnum in. All of which are normal feelings, according to the regular people I know. But they weren’t normal for me. And the fact that I was hurt made me feel like I’d made a mistake. A terrible, terrible mistake. And the thing was, I’d waited for him. I never told him this, in fact, I haven’t told very many people this, Internets, but while I’m confiding, I might as well get it all out. I wanted to move last year. But some part of me knew that he’d be free, and we’d hook up, and so I stayed, waiting for him. That little voice in the back of my head, which tells me which cards to give which girl, and when leave for the bus (Alisa doesn’t have a watch. Alisa has intuition. God, talking about myself in the third person is kinda icky.) told me to wait for Magnum. So I did. And being with him gutted me.

This is my most popular card of all time. I don't need any intuition for this card. I just hand it to everyone.

So, naturally, I started to doubt my intuition. The thing is, I depend on my intuition a lot. Snarky Cards is based on it. I try to make as many smarty-pants decisions as I can. But a lot of selling my art isn’t based on the bottom line. Some of it is me, meeting someone, and 30 seconds later, coming up with a pile of cards that fit their life perfectly. People think I’ve read their mind. And I have. It’s my own little psychic trick.

If I don’t trust those instincts, I screw up. But more than that, I start feeling insecure, and then I really screw up. When I get insecure, that part of me that can figure out how you feel about your lover, or you father is operating without any kind of constraint. And so for no apparent reason, I start talking about how much better my relationship has gotten with my grandmother since she died. And your face crumples, and it turns out that your grandmother was the most important part of your life, and she died two days ago. No shit, that kind of stuff happens all the time when I’m not listening to my intuition. Obviously, making people angry/sad is not good for business. And stepping on other peoples feelings depresses and frustrates me. I’ve been able to pull things out of people since I was 11 years old. Being able to pull a grown-ups’ secrets out of them scared the shit out of me as a kid. It took me a long time to figure out what to do with what people tell me, and how to leave their stuff alone. So when I suck at it, it makes me feel 11 again. Overwhelmed by my lame psychic powers.

So, I felt stupid, and sad, and alone, and bad at relationships. And I thought seriously about giving up on Snarky Cards. Because if I can’t read people, I can’t sell. If I can’t sell, I might as well just go try to get a Real Job. And anyway, I am clearly no longer a slut. I don’t drink that much anymore. What’s the point of my tiny little career, anyway? And so on and so on. You get the point, the more I questioned myself, the less sense my life made.

Me and Arlette at our favorite bar in San Francisco

Which makes a lot of sense. My identity was completely changed by Magnum. It’s still changing, in a really big way. And that kind of shift is scary. I don’t think I started to be OK until Arlette came for the weekend. We were going to go out and take over Portland with our unified radness. But in the end, we had a slumber party weekend. We dyed my hair, and went to the goodwill, and Arlette made amazing food, and we talked about stuff, and watched the first season of Veronica Mars. And by the time she left, I felt a little more like myself again. We’ve been best friends for 8 years. And I think I just needed to be with someone I love, who loves me, so that I could feel like “Maybe I don’t suck at this. Maybe I don’t always make shitty decisions about love. Maybe it’s OK that I made a mistake with Magnum.”

And, of course, there’s Karate. Karate and I have been going home from the bar, off and on for the last year. Not seriously. Never more than once a month. But still, it’s the longest I’ve ever had any kind of sexual relationship. And Karate and I see each other at the bar at least once a week. We’re friends with the occasional benefit. In the wake of my Veronica Mars weekend, I think I was feeling stronger. Whenever I’ve been annoyed with the way things are between me and Karate, I tell him, and he thinks about it, and then he does what he can. It was late, and I’d had a lot of whiskey. “You make me feel like I’m good at this stuff.” I sniffled into my drink. He smiled. “You’re really good at this stuff.” he reassured me. From there he went on to say how I’m fucking beautiful. And how I make great art. And, in the end, he was just so nice to me.

The best thing about my relationship with Magnum is that I was so hurt afterwards, I had a hard time walking. He didn’t hit me. But he said some pretty terrible things to me before he ran away. And I think some of my identity un-hinging, was me realizing I just couldn’t be with assholes anymore. They’re my type. It’s my Daddy Issues. I’m always trying to make up with Jon. Not actually with him. Jon is an asshole. He has done and said some horrible things to me. He can’t fix a lot of the shit he’s done. No. My relationship with my actual father is over. And so I date assholes. I think when I was in my early twenties, I thought that it was love when a guy told me I was worthless. Therapy relieved me of that retarded notion. But as I got older, I think I really was trying to figure out if I could make it work with someone who treats me like shit. As practice. Hoping if I could win over an asshole, and get one to act right, I could take those asshole-taming skills back to my father, and give it one last shot. But with Magnum, I think it was just purely habit. And when it was over, and I was literally limping with heart-break, I realized, I have to give up assholes entirely. I need a lot of confidence and a good amount of peace of mind in order to do my job. And I can’t sacrifice any of that to a lover.

Which freaked me out further. I mean, I’m no longer a slut. I’m now a girl who has feelings. And those feelings can get hurt. And so, I can’t date assholes anymore. Some part of me just believed that I would never get laid again. No-one bitches about not getting laid as much as nice guys. It’s a little ironic that I was destitute, because all of a sudden I realized someone would have to be REALLY nice to me in order to get my clothes off. And I just didn’t believe that would ever happen. Maybe because I’ve never had a romantic relationship with someone who was really nice to me.

So, when Karate swept me off my feet, with his compliments, and his kindness, I happily followed him home. And sleeping with Karate again, really made me feel like it’s going to be OK. Karate is a great lover. So, I didn’t feel like I was trading anything in for the niceness of him. And it reassured me that I will have just as many nice lovers as I want.

Beauty and The Beast is still my favorite movie. I mean, she reads, she says what she thinks, she has brown hair, and she turns an asshole into a Prince. It's like Disney selling me my own story.

And, so I figured out that, yeah, all this shit is different. I’m loving differently. I’m letting people in. And that means that my ups and downs will be higher and lower. And I have to let go of this angry slutty girl I used to be. But if I were telling the truth on myself, I’d say that while I was that angry, slutty girl; I incessantly wrote poetry, and I lived for didactic feminist literature. I scrap-booked like crazy. And I was still sentimental as Hell. I really wanted a dog. And I over-identified with Disney movies. I was never adeptly described by two words. No matter how rad those words were. So maybe letting go of those two words is not the end of an identity.

So, I’ve come back to myself. I still like to give strangers advice. I still like to go to bars, no matter how much I drink when I get there. I still like to flirt with every man I meet, whether I go home with them indiscriminately or not. This last month, I’ve started to realize that I’m not ready to give up on Snarky Cards yet. And as my confidence grows back, my intuition comes with it. And I get a little better at all of it.

 

So, you can see why it’s been so long in between posts. I think that the last time I posted, I was in the middle of this. I wanted to wait until I saw my way out of it a

Me and my typewriter, Bob, and my tits, and my cards

little bit before I wrote about it. I’m still trying to scrape together enough money to move to Seattle in October, and so you might see me out selling at the bars. These days I tend to stick to my favorites: Gold Dust Meridian, Circa 33, North 45, 21st Ave Bar and Grill and my beloved Muu-Muu’s. So, if you want a Snarky Card, from a chick who is trying to pull her head together, stop by any of those bars on a Friday or Satuday night, and keep an eye out for my tits, which will be hanging out of whatever slutty red dress I’ve recently found at the good-will. I’ll happily show you the new shit. And with a $20 purchase, you get a free motor-boat.

Love,

Alisa

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