It’s too early to know what the song of this year will be, but “Thrift Shop” was my song of last year, the one I woke myself up with on the way to work, sweated to at the gym, and heard in my head when something, yes, fucking awesome was happening.
I wrote last fall about how it’s a good philosophy of life; just being delighted at what you find, letting chance and serendipity show me where I need to go. With that theory in place, I left the year with an armload of experiences, many of which were unequivocally awesome, some that didn’t fit, some that were stained and downright nasty. As unegalitarian as it feels for me to say this, chance threw some things my way that simply weren’t good enough for me, and I took them home anyway.
I like that seeing play as a magical thrift shop helped me to take down a lot of the structures of control that I had in place. Though I still do love planning and anticipating, I think that my calendar fixation was a lot about trying to make things stay the same, trying to keep things safe and cozy for Sweetie so that she wouldn’t yell at me and call me names. I learned how to be more flexible, to adjust my expectations, and even how to not want to claim people immediately upon kissing them. Well, a little shaky on that last one, but still.
I really, really miss it, just powering through and experiencing every single sensation that I could, even when the emotional cost was high, even when I had to fight my own instincts to do it. Last night was my first night skipping the Regular Dungeon in a long time, and though I had a fantastic time, I still felt nostalgic for the nights where I was able to experience thing after thing after thing, to slip seamlessly from bottom to top, from fire to floggers, and feel like a princess superhero while doing so. It occurs to me that very, very little of that experience had to do with the Steampunks, so I probably don’t have to give all of it up just because they don’t like me. I hope to eventually return to some of it after the wounds have healed.
Back to my metaphor: In real life, I don’t shop like “Thrift Shop.” Not even when I’m IN a thrift shop. I tend to mostly browse, enjoying the bright randomness of everything and only picking anything up if it’s really special, like a tulip-glass pitcher or a perfect grandma cardigan. I would certainly never take home anything that needs fixing, especially if I already had a broken keyboard at home.
In regular stores I’m even pickier. In fact, I’m currently refusing to buy work pants until tapered legs go out of style. I don’t have a shape or a budget for careless shopping. I’m a grown-ass woman who knows what she likes and should never have to settle for anything that doesn’t fit or that I don’t completely love. If I’m that picky with spending my money, can I be a little pickier with spending my heart?
When my therapist got unavailable because her supervisor wanted to Girl Interrupted me, I refused to even look for another one. I couldn’t stand the strangers’ input that came from the 10-minute screening process. So I waited seven months for my real therapist to get her own practice, and now she even makes house calls. There’s a lesson there about waiting for something that works, rather than trying to fit with things that don’t.
My point, and I do have one, is that I hope to find a balance between the natural excitement and momentum in my heart and the discernment that will allow me to get what I want and deserve. That way I can have chance and magic but also, you know, sanity.
That said, I reallyreally hate being on a break from the pursuit of sexytimes. My emotions are grateful to have the time to rest, but my body is like what. the. fuck?
But remembering what pants-on activities I enjoy is rewarding and comforting. On Thursday night, I sat in the meeting room of a neighborhood historic building (we have a lot of them) and drew while I listened to my friends sing and play the most lovely and gently moving music. I was flooded with a sense of (mostly) platonic wellbeing that nonetheless made me have to go home and ravish myself.
Last night, Gold Star Winggirl (So named because she sends me gold stars whenever I’m awesome at being on my break) came with me to a Bhakti dance, and by the end when we were Om Shanti Shanti-ing, I felt so good and loved that I could have Om Shanti-Shanti-ed for about 10 more hours. The best part was getting lots of time to catch up with GSW and root for her adventures too.
Transcendent and fulfilled as I was though, I still would have liked to have driven over to the Regular Dungeon and handed out some what-for. Funny how that’s the thing I miss most.
But guys! Guess what. Granted, it’s only happening on Twitter (hence the loophole) but for a few weeks, I’ve been spending attention on a guy who actually gives it back. Who is actually nice to me! Who checks on me if I’m sad and whose girlfriends and wives and metamours all seem to be delighted by our exchanges. I’ve never even seen any of their faces and at the moment I’m not ready too, but I do feel a genuine connection and I think this is excellent practice for letting myself be treated kindly when it comes time for IRL flirtations. A gold star for me, and one for the Mystery Man and his family. (I’m quite sure they’ll be good at sharing a star.)
Likewise, the Recurring Character is being internet-adorable, telling me semi-daily which of my (G-rated) body parts he is rooting for. So a gold star to him, too.
Okay, so I’m somewhat terrible at taking a break, but I am still making a lot of progress: Friday I told Sweetie we can no longer do groceries together, and yesterday I told her that this is my last week of sharing the car with her. Next weekend I am going to try and find a car of my own. I’m getting better at letting Sweetie-things go, and that’s progress.
PS. As I leave on pop song behind, I just want to take a moment to celebrate and thank the part of my soul that will always sound like this: