6 feet beneath the moon


on friday morning i went over to the ues guy's apartment and began my downward spiral. "you could not sound more thrilled," i had texted him the previous afternoon when we were making plans and he was responding tersely, so little validation from him despite my offering up my body. up until this point even though we'd just been having sex there had been some level of effort involved on his part and now i was getting so little attention, and it made me feel "impotent and out of control," as cher in clueless would say. this feeling intensified through the day on friday as we alternated between working and hooking up, he would tease me for things i said and i felt like he thought i was stupid and i felt bewildered at how this dynamic had arisen. "bring me one of your shoes," he texted me from his desk while i sat on his couch, and he took a picture to send to this other girl that he's been hooking up with--the rich girl with the insane nudes. "her sneakers are so dirty but yours are possibly even dirtier," he explained, and it wounded me that he and this girl had the kind of relationship where they even talked, why wasn't i on the receiving end of any of that attention? i realized that it could partially be my fault because i never text him outside of arranging to hook up and he had commented on that once when we first started seeing each other--"feeling chatty today huh"--but none of that rationalizing made a difference, i felt pretty sad and shitty. later in the day when we were talking about general horniness i told him about how sometimes being attracted to women feels tied to being unsure of whether you want to be them/whether you're jealous of them. "that might be a you problem," he said, but i was insistent, i feel like so many other bi women have told me about the same thing, and i feel like that sentiment is probably tied to us still being colonized as fuck by the male gaze in our nascent stages of bi-ness. i told him about how sometimes seeing another hot girl makes me depressed, and he at least understood that much, "society really forces this twisted mindset into women." simultaneously throughout this conversation i felt like what i really wanted was just for him to tell me that he thought i was hot, and when i left around 4pm i wasn't even shown the door and it made me feel so fucking terrible, i felt so worthless and interchangeable and knew that i had failed to hold on to some flirty mystique because i hadn't tried hard enough to be fun and engaging (and i hadn't.. but should i really have to?). at one point while we were having sex i slapped him and that felt really great, and i wondered how much more mind-bending i could do to make myself ok with this situation. i felt defiant and initially resolved to take on the challenge of earning back some sense of power, but the more i thought about it the more i knew that i'd already lost. my low mood and bruised self-esteem started to feel like an indictment of my ability to even have casual sex, which i know i can do, but even the fact that i'm so stubborn to prove it is indicative of the self-molding process, in this instance it's the "cool girl" effect once again--"aping patriarchy," as bell hooks calls it. as i stewed on the subway ride home i got angrier and more hopeless by the second as the horizons of my position were made clear - sometimes i feel like being a young woman is great because the world is so open to you but i was finally feeling the flip side of that now. all of this free passing validation that you get from strangers looking at you and being willing to talk to you a flimsy consolation prize for the fact that you have no fucking power, that "confidence is not a vector of power," that it is so hard to separate the idealization of female confidence from the notion that being confident is sexy and attractive and therefore the image in which you should shape yourself. in girls adam and ray talk about how women are at their most attractive when they're really young - vulnerable and innocent - or middle-aged - self-actualized and no longer reliant upon men to feel confident about themselves. "i'm 24 i'm allowed to be insecure," i had texted katie the previous day, and now i felt like an onlooker to the spectacle of my own insecurity mushrooming into something i would inevitably have to confront. "spiraling on close friends today," i posted to instagram when i got home, accompanied by a small rant of the above, and i felt dirty and weak once again, this time for having gotten back into that relationship with social media where i feel the need to post things so that my implicit call for attention can be satisfied. i resolved to delete instagram from my phone when i go to mexico city so that i could detox through the rest of my travels for the summer. after an hour long nap, i started mark fisher's "capitalist realism" while killing time before going to kat's bubble t pregame and felt myself sinking deeper into depression as i felt everything in the book echoing the same things i've been thinking and feeling, such as the concept of the "consumer spectator" and, separately, how irony about capitalism is played out because it's already been subsumed into the capitalist cultural production machine. i appreciated his varied use of media to illustrate his points, and what really fucking got me was when he talked about kurt cobain, how kurt already knew while he was ascending into stardom that capitalism loves glorifying the anti-capitalist performance and how trapped he felt knowing that everything he was articulating regarding his anger and hatred fed into the very things he hated. the evocative writing also made me think of my and silas's conversation about "performative writing," but even while being aware of some rhetorical strategy working itself on me i felt myself getting dragged further into the pits. i put down the book and started getting ready to go to kat's in order to rouse myself from my funk, and it almost sort of worked, except as i was biking home from the 14th and 1st stop at the end of the night listening to pink pantheress i felt it all rising up again as i relished how smoothly i was cruising home, happy that the streets were empty and that the night was cool. today, pau, marc, and i met at pau's where marc was playing video games and we found the perfect patch of grass in fort greene park near the memorial where we split a tab and came up amidst the spotted elm trunks. eric joined later and i felt myself getting replenished by the companionship, i was so happy that we were all there together. simultaneously i was terrified of looking at my phone, i wanted the moment to last forever and didn't want to confront the eventual necessity of going back out into the real world, real life, where my real problems still existed. before making my way to park slope two different guys i'd given my number to texted me in ways that felt so helpless in terms of how i could produce an actual conversation and i was stressed thinking about opening my messages app and seeing these texts again and being reminded of my gender and sexuality ennui. marc did a bit about rodents and i took a video of one of the several industrious squirrels near our section doing a backflip and we saw an old man walking with his terrier, "they look like they're in conversation with each other," pau said. despite the occasional warning raindrops it never did actually rain while we sat there on the maroon blanket. things started ramping up as soon as we mobilized to pick up lunch at 5spice. the thought of drinking a hot bowl of pho broth sounded incredible, but the vibes were so fucked as we crossed the barclay's area back to 5th ave. i felt overwhelmed and stressed, and these feelings intensified when were greeted by the unwelcome sight of a crowded 5spice and the reminder that they were cash only. we decided to get take out and waited inside to order and then for our orders to be completed. marc was deliberately acting childish, "can you order a beef pho for me? and a vietnamese iced coffee?" when we got back to new boerum i was feeling sweaty and spent and like i needed some ventilation, and i went into the bathroom where i beheld my reflection with dismay, zeroing in on the smudged/faded parts of my eyeliner and my flushed cheeks, and felt generally ugly as a result, before i went back to the dining room and we ate and i gave up on the last half of my sandwich because the pate and baguette were expanding and contracting and thus putting me off from the idea of swallowing any of it. marc played with his food with comic enthusiasm, squirting full packets of hoisin sauce and sriracha into his broth. at a certain point eric winced in exhaustion and i felt sad witnessing his fatigue, which had formerly felt abstract and thus understandable but transformed into something realer and more extreme once i saw it embodied; i hoped that despite the inherent narcissism of tripping we were doing something to help ease its edges. thinking of how juhi dons her sunglasses when she's tripping and doesn't want to be perceived, i kept my sunglasses on during this next section of our trip, which began with our walking down flatbush ave. to prospect park. the vibes continued to be off but things started getting better when we got into the park, everything green and muted thanks to the sunglasses. we meandered in the wooded side paths and alongside the lawn and past a very joyful and clean dog beach and some small waterfalls where teenagers were hanging out on the section of rocks labeled with a "do not climb" sign. we compared them to the teenagers in the cure cover band marc told us about that was comprised of 17 year olds who would "jump out of a van and immediately start singing boys don't cry" and marveled a little at their relative self-actualization compared to how we had been at that age. when we eventually did sit it was in a section of lawn opposite an endless sprawl of little-league baseball/softball diamonds, and someone's microphone resounded through the area, first with a man speaking then later with some weird unparseable sounds ("this sounds like someone is just tuning their bass") then finally reggae music. "the god of prospect park," we called the sounds of anonymous origin, and it felt like we were in some weird purgatory. i watched as a guy on the opposite side of the lawn strode towards a patch of grass then plopped down and lay down on his back with one leg propped over the other knee, the entire transition from upright to this position taking mere seconds and executed with such deliberateness that i concluded he must be a pretty happy person. later in our ambling we came across a pair of teenagers standing towards the side of the trail making out, and we half-joked wistfully about their having a fun and sexy time. we watched birds and turtles in ponds, and it felt good to be around two people who had the ease of having been friends for so long. from 5-6 i kept checking my phone and getting depressed when no new text messages popped up and i thought again of the personal issues i was getting closer to having to confront as we were exiting the portion of the day where we could just be together and tripping and unconcerned with logistical obligations to others. i got a twix ice cream bar from the bodega that was already half-melting by the time i haphazardly tore open the wrapper and shoveled hot cheetos into my mouth and felt gross but also delighted by the extremes in culinary variety i had just consumed. when i got onto the d train back to manhattan i listened to true romance by bella boo and watched as we crossed the river, feeling so distant and so sad. i am actually in such an unhappy place right now and it was strange to realize that i was a Sad Girl again, i was so used to being happy over the past couple years and especially over the past several euphoric months that i hadn't even known how to identify it...."the astro girlies have been saying that something's off for the past couple months," drew remarked while we were in the backyard of the vegyn set, and that was strangely very affirming.