Tuesday, March 14, 2006

ears and boundaries

my birthday was on sunday. for some reason, it always feels like it falls on a sunday. i prefer the birthday weekend approach; it allows for me to not feel like i have to pack all celebration and reflection into my birthday proper.and it is also spring-ish here in philly.

now, i'm a good northeastener, too, and i know that it is going to go back down to 40 degrees sometime this week. but, while it was warm, and for the first time in 2006, me and T had sweaty sex. the kind that smells different. the kind that makes belly stick together and hair matte. i had my first girl-on-girl sexual experience during the springtime, so spring sex has a special place in my heart. and my mangina. it makes me feel whole.

and i've also been fairly anxious. i am sure that the communication and programming difficulties at the group home are part of it, and my lack of income. but there was also this strange conversation that i had with my grandfather that has conjured the "imdoingnothingright" personality of my Anxious Andy.

I called to thank him and my grandmother for sending me a birthday card. mind you, the conversation i usually have with my grandfather is very brief, because he and i are impaired in the commonality of having nothing to talk about. it's usually him sweetly competing about how his new location (east coast of Florida, 3 years) has better weather than his homeland (yonkers, ny, 75 years). but in the conversation yesterday, he says "you sound good..." and i say "i feel good" because i did, walking west on walnut to catch the bus home from a work meeting. then he says to me "give me a big kiss." huh? just as i give a kiss to the phone, i hurry and hang up because the bus coming.

and because i felt gross. did i mention that i am 29? did i mention that this is a phone call? this is the same grandfather that used to "nibble" on my ears when i was younger. take the whole ear into his mouth and suck on it really. later in my life, it made me never sit on the couch next to him at Thanksgiving. the couch was where he would sometimes grab me and do it (was i 5? was i 10? i don't know....) and i always hug him hello or goodbye strategically hiding my ear. and i became notoriously shy. before this, after this, as a result of this, i don't know. but i became very very shy. around strangers, which in a family like mine, came to mean most of my extended bloodline.

but this was something i have already remembered. and it comes up for me every once in a while when i am having sex, or while i am sitting cuddly on a couch. or just when ever it fucking feels like showing up. but what i remembered after this conversation was that i had told my mom and dad that Pop-Pop was biting on my ears and that i would try to squirm away from it and that he wouldn't let me and that it made me feel bad. and they were not hearing it. and they told me that i need to respect my elders, and that he was just showing that he loved me, and that i should stop being so shy and rude. and so when he said "give me a big kiss," i felt paralyzed. like there was nothing i could do. like i would be being disrespectful to not succumb to his requests.

it's funny how we have this cultural stereotype about the overbearing Aunt: she's gonna pinch your cheeks, and she's gonna call you "baby boy" in front of your friends, and she's gonna give you hugs that squish your boyhood. but i bet there are way more "father figures" out there that cant fucking handle themselves around little girls, that don't know what to do with their daughters, nieces, granddaughters once puberty starts turning everything batty. or don't know what to do with us was before that. and that when a kid expresses discomfort about a family member, they are just told they are shy or rude or mistaken or exaggerating or otherwise dismissed. if it is addressed at all. and when you are a kid, and you learn this dynamic early, you associate discomfort with love and care. you feel guilty about not wanting to do something, even though it doesn't feel right at that moment. at least i have had to work through something like that.

listen.