Tag Archives: genes

“But When She Gets Weary — You Try A Little Tenderness.”

Woke up late:  A day off.  I planned it that way.

But before that, I woke up every hour, on the hour, jumping up in bed and staring at the clock with the anxiety of someone whose memory was escaping her.  And I would decipher the neon red numbers of the alarm, as if among them, I could find reminders of my missed appointments or, god forbid, any broken promises.

I swore I was forgetting something.  But then, I would remember:

A day off.   I planned it that way.

Exhale.

I would recline back into the stupor of my dreams, just to leap up again, in bed, an hour and a few dreams later, and stretch the memory for the things I was forgetting.

When I finally got up — late, on my day off — I made it over to the journal I used as a calendar (this year, I had refused to get myself a planner — a giant fuck you to my memory); and I stared at its pages for any suggestions of things I was forgetting.  The coffee drip was already spitting at intervals; and truth be told, beginning a day — had never been my problem.

I remembered that, while staring at my handwriting and inhaling the first aromas of caffeine.  The disorientation by dreams began to fade away.  In my mind, in my memory, I could see the trajectory toward my desk:  That’s where I start, every day, habitually.

Yet, I continued to stare at the pages — and at my handwriting; and I swore I was forgetting something.

I sensed my face:  I was pouting.  I don’t own big lips on me, but the lower one always insists on rolling out in my sleep, and it stays this way for the first hour of the day.

“Your grandfather always woke up like that,” my motha once told me, over a decade ago, while she could still witness my waking up, in her house.  And after I had moved out for good, into my own adulthood — however untimely, every morning motha would find me waking up in her house, she would tell me again and again:

“Your grandfather — my daddy — always woke up like that.”

And I would find it amusing, the way genetic inheritance worked.  We are talking eight decades now:  six of his and three — of my own.  He died too young and tragically.  Yet, still, he showed up on my face.  I guess, that’s one way to matter, in the chronology of the human race:  on the faces of humans that follow our deaths.  (But first, I would find it amusing that a grown woman would call her father “daddy”.)

Motha and I had both been the only children in our families.  Her situation was a bit more tragic than mine:  She had a younger brother.  He died, and in the worst of ways:  too young and tragically; without any witnesses — or even a body to bury after.  No closure.  And with him — seemingly went her memory.

Motha’s memory would begin to malfunction soon after her brother’s death.  The first thing — was to block all matters related to the loss.  It was a coping thing, most certainly:  These brain synapses collapsing on themselves for the sake of further survival.  Or, how else could one carry on, past such tragedy?  How else — to persevere?

Surely, she would still remember the general story of his life, its chronology.  But the details would be blocked out forever.

“My memory escapes me,” she would answer to all my inquiries.  “I was too young.  He was too young.”

I would stop asking.

But the second thing that changed — and that equated us, after my own birth — was the lack of opportunities to rerun mutual memories with her now missing sibling.  No longer could she turn to him and say:

“Remember that one time…”

Somewhere, I once heard that repetition matters to children.  That’s why they must ask the same questions over and over; or to provoke the adults to retell them the stories of their own short lives — their chronologies.  So, for those with siblings, memory becomes easier to train; because one could always turn to a brother and say:

“Remember that one time…”

I’ve never had that:  After my birth, motha decided, on my behalf, to never have another child.  Just in case anything would happen to him or her — she wasn’t sure I could survive it.  So, in her way, she was protecting me from my own possible tragic memories.

But any time she would find me waking up in her house, stumbling out into her kitchen for the first aromas of caffeine, she would study my face and say:

“My daddy always woke up like that.”

And she would wander off into a story — a story I most likely have already heard a dozen times before.  Still, I would let her retell it — and I would listen — because repetition matters to memory.  Repetition matters to children; and her brain synapses, collapsing on themselves, retracted my motha back to the little girl, with a younger sibling.  So, I would become her equal — someone she could turn to and say:

“Remember that one time…”

Agreeably, I would behold.  I would never embarrass her by interrupting the flow of her memory and say:

“You’ve already told me that!”

Or:  “I’ve heard that one before!”

And neither would I ever embarrass others if I caught them in the midst of repeating a story, for the dozenth time.  Because I could never predict the tragedy they may have had to survive, in their own chronologies, interrupted by bad memories.  (And chances are, there is always a tragedy — such is the human statistic.)

Instead, I would behold.  I would listen.  And I would try to commit their stories to memory — my memory with its own collapsed synapses, from years of tiny tragedies I myself was trying to forget.

In “Da” Club

Wakin' Up, Russian Style

Good morning, comrades.  Oh, wait.  Is it afternoon?  V’s on Russian time today, after a 10-hour hibernation post a night of heavy partying that would make my gypsy ancestors very proud.  With my feet feeling non-existent because I insisted in ripping-up the dance floor for 5 hours in my 10-inch stilt-like stilettos, and my mouth dehydrated and venomous — my words are slow on the uptake.  With a cup of tepid, black, straight-up, sugarless coffee at my right hand, I’m starting my Sunday morning at half-speed.  But the tongue is heavy, just waiting for the mind to regurgitate an image or two that would unleash the words, V-ness style.

I will say this though:  Last night, I did it all in the name of research.  Oh yes, my comrades!  When I wasn’t balancing on stilts or shaking that compact, yoga-toned booty of mine to my favorite brown girl Riri, I was a student of human behavior.  The joint was dark and packed.  The male specimens were highly intoxicated and blinded by laser lights.  So, the Russian’s undercover research was conducted safely when she either slithered between the unknowing subjects or when she rested her tortured feet in the most corner booth with the messy glassware of the club’s bottle service.

In the midst of mayhem, I didn’t wonder about the motifs of my subjects’ behavior.  Instead, I jotted down their images, as if my words were photographic; and left my judgements for later.  Oh, don’t get me wrong:  I am aware that I’m an opinionated cunt.  But last night was different, for I merely observed the behavior of males.  I soaked it up because I would never be able to think up the following gems on my own:

— ASAP!  Something must to be said about the men who strut in through the front door of a club with toothpicks in their mouths!  How dare they scan a crowd of beautiful women for their prey when there is an actual object sticking out of their teeth?  Or what about the type that after ordering his drink from a gorgeous bartender, pays his tab, picks-up the rocks glass — and sticks his gum underneath the counter?  Classy move, buddy.  No matter how discretely he can conduct this disgusting habit, something tells me:  The man has never flipped through a single issue of GQ or Esquire — in his pathetic lifetime!

(What?  I’m not judging.  I’m just warming up my venom glands.)

— How about the defensive boy in a crocheted beige beanie hat, who otherwise would be pretty if it weren’t for the permanent sarcastic smile or too low of a cut of his V-neck?  He threw a lil’ tiff with the giant bouncer who’s asked him — quietly, yet forcefully — to keep the pathway clear.  The man of service was doing his job, while this boy-child (who better grow out of his hippie fashion sense if he’s at all interested in joining America’s workforce) held up the traffic and pouted at the fact that he wasn’t being courted properly.

(V — movin’ on!)

—  The fat boy, loud and utterly unattractive in his insecurity, who so obviously compensated for his shortcomings with a repertoire of behaviors that would look much cooler on him if he weren’t 1.  white and 2.  so chubby.  I mean:  Why the gangsta handshakes and the bad-ass chest pumps with your buddies if you can’t even keep your face straight or your drink unspilled? ‘S okay, we all know who you are:  You’re the Seth Green type.  So:  be that! Be the nerdy, chubby nice guy who is smarter than his non-Jewish friends — and better educated — and in about a decade will be making twice, or thrice the dough.  I promise:  There are girls who dig that!  Oi vey.

(Mkay.  So, I am judging.  I can’t help it — I’m a cunt!)

—  Hello, Mr. Short Guy!  Why are you hiding inside that oversized, buttoned-up up to your Adam’s Apple shirt and your vintage hat pulled down to your earlobes?  If you must be funky — embrace it.  Find some comfort in your physical traits — select better complimentary clothing for your body type — and chill. I can see the potential:  you are quite magnificent, past the bullshit.

(Well, I’m on a roll now!)

—  The white boy who doesn’t know how to dance; neither has any sense of rhythm nor swagger:  Why do you demand my attention during the uncensored version of Enrique’s Tonight I’m Fucking YOU!?  I was just standing here, boo, perfectly content in my lack of male escort this evening.  You tap me on the shoulder — twice! — in some poorly practiced, self-invented shtick; gesture that I should keep my eyes on you during the lull post Ludacris’ bit; and when the music crescendoes, you start jiggling your white body as in a fit of epilepsy.  Truly though:  I don’t give a flying fuck if you don’t have the skill to move your body with coordination.  But please, don’t request my company or my watch!

(Watch out!  The venom’s dripping into the coffee now — straight up!)

—  You just seem sickly, sir, leaning your clammy forehead against the cold mirror.  So, I ask if you’re alright.

“Oh yeah,” you respond automatically; but when you realize you like what you see, you give me one of those How YOU Doin’? grins.  “I’m the heat of a text,” you say, demonstrating the cellular device you’ve been groping underneath the mirror.

“Well, I hope she’s cute,” I nod and turn on my stilts to start walking away.

“Not as cute as you!” you throw at me, like an ice cube against my naked back.  Oh, c’mon, honey!  Why gotta do that?  You’ve obviously got a girl — you just said so yourself.  So why do you go offending me with an assumption that I’d settle for leftovers? And the cheesy line!  Really?!  So, you’re embarrassed now, pushing yourself through a line of defensive males waiting for their turn to use the bathroom.  Why do all that?

(Where is the next victim?  I now scan my last night’s notes for a memory…)

But oh!  What’s this?  A man in a suit?! Shit.  I shut up and study.  He’s in his late 20s, standing at the diagonally opposite angle of the bar.  A headful of jet-black Indian hair.  A crisp shirt with erect collar-stays.  Not even slightly tipsy, he’s buying a beautiful girl a drink.  His gaze is sharp, and despite the absentee tie — the boo’s on point.  I swear, comrades:  It’s as if a search light came down on the playa, and I think I heard the angels sing.  An Esquire man — is always noticeable. But besides that, I bet a good suit is sold with a pair of extra balls; because no matter the man’s genetic inheritance, when well-dressed — he acts like fuckin’ George Clooney.

On that sight, I wrap up my night, my darling boys ‘n’ girls.  There is hope for the male kind yet.  If only, they’d stop seeking solutions at the bottom of a rocks glass or at the tip of a joint.  If only they had the balls to live in their own skin — to tell their authentic stories — and to dress up the rest.

Good night, my darlings.  Or is it:  Good morning?

What I’ve Learned from My Lovers — About My Son

With my lover still asleep in his bed, looking every bit like the young boy he must’ve been before the loss of innocence and the magnificent man I watch him become every single day, I’ve wondered what it must entail to mother a man.  Here, I don’t mean the man whom I, as a woman, have adopted as my selfish project titled I Can Change Him, then forgiving him—and myself—for failing.  (Although, in all those tomes of my failed histories, I shall never regret the tales of the child-like charm of every Peter Pan I’ve cradled on my chest or lost track of in a sporting goods store.)  What I mean is this:  What skills, what generosities and wisdoms, what graces and forgiveness must it take to raise a son?  What deities must a woman summon to bring up a man who causes the least amount of destruction in the world while contributing to humanity’s betterment?

As the old iconoclast Bill wrote: “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ‘em.”  Thanks for that, Bill; and although I don’t mean to sound all New Agey ‘n’ shit, but in my opinion, from the first survivor sperm in my womb—it’s all predetermined; not just through destiny, but genes.  Why else would I be treading the world and running an obstacle course between my lovers’ beds in search of the best suitable companion?  Because when it comes to my potential baby-papas, my vagina is Darwinian.  Which explains why it hasn’t procreated as of yet; for I have only recently graduated from the mean school of my 20s during which I’ve slaved to get over my own terrible patterns (ironically, but not surprisingly, originating from my own mama and papa), just so I can start choosing better-suitable Peter Pans, and their sperm.

Here is the circumstance that I, as a parent, can control for the sake of my yet-to-be-born child:  Education through schooling and travel.  As someone who has studied men for years—and someone who has pursuit her own non-interrupted education between the ages of six and 26—I shall be the first to admit to being a complete snob when it comes to my lovers’ educational background.  Sure, they may be naturally intelligent (which brings me back to my vagina’s Darwinian choice-making).  But my lack of tolerance for their poor grammar, for instance (for which a smiley face is never a fair compensation, by the way), comes from a non-negotiable belief that, in this day and age, a college education—is a basic must.  If mama and papa have failed a man in that category, it then becomes his own responsibility to fix that gap.  So, as a mother of a future great man, I shall work my bloody hardest to grant my child the education that he deserves and that equips him with enough skill to “achieve greatness” (in case the whole “born into it” plan doesn’t work out).  As for the worldliness, no man can accomplish his style or confidence without the exposure to other cultures.  But right around here, I’m starting to feel preachy, for these are basic truths, right?  You’d think so!  Yet, the tomes of my dating failures do reveal a disappointing number of men of narrow minds and uneducated pasts.  (Good job, V.)

Finally, I must sing an ode to the most important quality of man:  Self-esteem.  The other night, the fiercest woman I know said:

“Insecurity is the ugliest feature of humans.”  Bingo, my gorgeous Amazon!

Oh, how hard is the work of self-examination for the sake of achieving one’s own esteem!  I’d know:  I clock-in for it daily!  However, I believe that no human will bring violence onto another—or onto himself—if he has learned to be enough; learned to be sufficient.  In that, a parent is fully accountable to lead by example.  As my lovers are rarely allowed to witness the moments of my self-doubt, thusly my son will never be made privy to my lesser self.  That way, I can only hope—I can only pray—that with my very being, I shall inspire him to be a man of esteem and grace who never loses the grasp of his self-worth, never gets in his own way and walks in tow with his potential.

Hence, it all comes back to the mother, I’m afraid.  (I’m starting to sound like my shrink here.)  What I owe my unborn son (and my son-like lovers, for that matter) is my own life, well lived, in pursuit of self-exploration, professional success and prosperity.  I owe him a parent of unshakeable ethics, of tested and reaffirmed grace, and of never-ending work of self-esteem.  I owe him—to be my own enough, for his and my sake.  Hence, now, while I wait for his arrival, is the time for my stubborn pursuit of my calling; for I believe all dreams must be tried out—and some must be accomplished—prior to his birth.  To my Shiva, I vow to be well-established in my artistic career (or at least well on the way to it) before I begin taking my basal body temperature.  I shall do my work—now!—so that I never resent my son’s success or project my failures onto his destiny; because life will put him through enough of a wringer without needing my two cents.