Self Discovery

Cute

“Oh look at you, you’re so cute.”

He squeezes me, spins me in the air

“You’re so tiny.”

“Look at your little dress!”

That’s how it always begins

One of them said “I’d rather be with a cute girl than a hot girl.”

As if that somehow made me special

Because instead of just fucking me

He wants to squeeze me and spin me in the air.

I am his little puppy, a bright eyed kitten

In fact, so many of them have compared me to cats it’s insane

Aww look at the way you yawn

Aww you’re so tired let’s get you to bed

Awwww awww

And even when we fuck it’s cute

Because this cute girl wants to be a little bad

By letting him go down on her in the cafe bathroom

Or blowing him on I-89.

This cute girl’s trying to be dangerous.

“Your moans are so cute.”

But god forbid I ask him to choke me a little

Or even pull my hair

That’s not that cute

But let’s not go there yet.

Let’s talk about my mannerisms

“Aww the way you get frustrated is so cute.”

“Everything you do is so cute.”

“Everything you will do is so cute.”

Until it’s not.

When I tell them my biggest, not so cute secrets

They still think it’s cute

Because now they have a cute girl to protect

A cute girl to take away the pain from

Until I start screaming at night

Then the illusion is broken

Then suddenly I become too real.

And the real me, evidently, is not that cute.

But they try so hard to make me cute again

Missionary-style sex in beds instead of alleyways

Unless of course he’s in the mood.

Intensive therapy twice a week so that they don’t have to hear about

The not so cute things anymore.

Nights away, distance, restrictions.

They need me to be a certain way,

They need me to be that cute girl.

And my therapist asks what I’m doing

She says they need a girl instead of a woman.

Because when they call me cute

They take away my power

They take away my womanhood

They try to erase who I am

And where I have been.

But when the new boy calls me cute

I want to be.

I want to be his kitten

I want to be squeezed and spun in the air

But that can only last so long

Before I remember how I got here.

Because when they call me cute

They try to erase the cancer

They try to erase the rape

They try to erase the broken heart

And the madness that came with it

They try to erase my loneliness

All those other men I’ve fucked

Who hoped I’d stay cute

And learned that I couldn’t

That I wouldn’t

And left.

Self Discovery

Ghost is my Favorite Movie but this was Nothing like Ghost

I wake up in the middle of the night to the cat howling outside. I look at the clock and see that it is 3:15, only two hours until I have to wake up for work. I try to cover my head with a nearby pillow but it seems to only increase the volume. Something in me tells me I need to investigate, so I walk outside. I don’t see the cat but I see someone by the pool. Someone I recognize, who looks over at me with a solemn, unpleasant look in his eyes.

“What do you want, Natalia?” I have always hated the way he says my first name, always mispronouncing it, stressing the wrong vowels. When we were dating, he only called me it when he was angry or trying to teach me something. When we broke up, that was what he decided to exclusively call me. But, when I hear it now, I feel a sense of relief.

“I’m not sure,” I say. “I don’t exactly know why you’re here.”

Still annoyed he says back, “Maybe you miss me.”

I try to think why he might be here, over 3000 miles away from where he probably should be.

“I thought I heard your voice earlier today. I felt really panicked and nervous, maybe that’s why I’ve conjured you up now.”

“I don’t want to be here with you,” he says. “I’m still really upset. I didn’t make the Dean’s List because of you, you know.”

“I didn’t know that,” I say. I wonder how many of his problems he has decided to blame me for, how many he will continue to blame me for. “But things are different now.”

“How many times have I heard that before?” he asks, angrier.

I breathe and close my eyes, hoping he will just disappear. But then I hear her within me and so I tell him from my deepest parts: “I still feel bad about a lot of what happened. But I can’t be upset with myself anymore, it’s not good for me. There’s a lot I can be mad at you for too, but I don’t want to be mad anymore. I want things to be good, and I’m well aware that they can be good without us repairing things. Maybe, though, I would like us, one day, to talk about all this. Maybe write a book or something together. Start a business. I don’t know. Maybe not that. Maybe I just want us to be able to wish each other a happy birthday over text without it being the worst thing in the world.”

He looks at me, then looks at the cat walking toward him. “I need a lot more time.”

I smile and don’t say anything. I nod to him and head back inside. As I open the door he says, “But why would you be mad at me? What did I do?”

I quickly turn around, smile and say, “You owe me $375.”

For a second he looks confused, but when he realizes what I’m talking about he says “You still have a really sick sense of humor.”

The alarm wakes me up before I can even walk through the door. The cat is purring beside me. It’s time for my morning run.

 

Self Discovery

There’s a Book for That

I think there’s a lot you can learn about a person from their favorite book. I share this theory with a friend over tea the day before I move across the country.

“Please don’t think I’m a condescending prick for saying this, but I really think I can predict the course of all my relationships based on their favorite books.”

“I guess that’s easy to say in retrospect.” He takes a sip of his tea.

“Fair, but to be honest I think it’s more like foreshadowing I chose to ignore.”

He puts the cup down and contemplates this for a minute. “Hmm. Given the course of all your relationships, I can certainly believe that. You do have a tendency of romanticizing and not seeing the blatant problem of the boys you choose to bring into your life.”

I roll my eyes. “Thanks for that.”

“I’m not the one who dates wanna-be intellectuals. I’ll fuck them, but that’s the extent of that.”

“All men are wanna-be intellectuals.”

“Exactly,” he says smiling.

“You’re too much. What’s your favorite book?

Lolita,” he says.

“That’s why our relationship is so fucked up.”

He laughs, “Alright, alright give me further proof.”

I take a bite out of his danish, wait until I finish chewing to finally speak again. This boy is not a wanna-be intellectual, he’s the real deal, so I gotta really wow him.

“Okay. So let’s start with Never Let Me Go. Depressing, strange, captivating.”

“Don’t forget easy to swallow,” he grins.

“Yeah, and life felt okay once it was finished. Then we got The Torah. Fundamentalist, enough said.”

He shivers, “Fuck. Okay, okay. That one’s probably got a whole range of meanings but yeah, can’t deny the basics.”

I conclude, “Okay. And then there’s Name of the Wind. Too much time and energy spent on looking for a hidden meaning that probably just isn’t there.”

He adds, “Way too long and boring, I’d say.”

“Definitely obnoxiously long without a lot of substance. Mama loves fantasy and she couldn’t get through it.”

He looks at me as if expecting I’ll say more. When I don’t, he pokes my nose and asks, “What’s the new guy’s favorite book?”

I clear my throat, “There’s no new guy.”

With a smile that is borderline sinister he says. “Yes, of course of course. You’re just friends now. Changing the age old story-line that Natalia Korpanty does not stay friends with the boys she’s dated. But hey, maybe there’s some hidden meaning you have yet to uncover, my beautiful romantic?”

I sigh. “Of Mice and Men. Short and simple.”

“Maybe you should say the rest before I do,” he says.

“An ending I think about on a consistent basis.”

Happy that he has once again won, he says, “There she is! My crazy girl! Another drawn-out tragedy for Miss Little Women!

“Actually my favorite book isn’t Little Women anymore. It’s the The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.”

“Oo. Spiritual and full of hope. I think that’ll suit you better in California. Do you think relationships change when favorite books do?”

“I certainly hope so.”

Self Discovery

Words&Actions, Thoughts&Prayers

When practicing my loving-kindness meditation, I send well wishes to five people. The first is myself, the next is someone that I love, the third is to a friend, then to someone I barely know, and then finally I send love to someone I have had trouble with. The specific people vary depending on the day and my outlook that morning.

Her name unexpectedly came into my head one morning as I was going through my list, and even as the meditation started to fade away and I became aware of the room again, my inner voice just kept saying “call her, call her.”

I pick up the phone and she answers three hours ahead of me. “Oh my gosh, hi,” she says. “I was just thinking about you!”

I figured. I respond back, “Hi! Hi! What’s going on in your life? It’s been a while.”

And so for an hour we talk about our jobs and the places we are living, we talk about spirit and God, we talk about our family and shared childhood. And then she talks for a while about her struggles, about the daily stresses in her life, about how she worries and finds herself often feeling pessimistic and down. “You sound great, though,” she says. “You sound like you’re…happy. I don’t know how you do it.”

Hearing the sadness and despair in her voice, something moves me to say, “I can tell you my secret, if you really want to know.”

Her voice cracks a bit when she replies back, “I really really do.”

And even before I can consciously think of what to say, my feelings manifest themselves in words, “There is a spiritual solution to every problem, and the first step in having the solution present itself is to surrender to God’s will and trust that they know what is best for you.”

There is silence on the other end of the line for a few seconds, and when she finally speaks I can tell she’s tearing up, “That’s exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you, Nasia.”

I sometimes feel apprehensive using the word “God,” and I probably would have worded it a little differently if I had thought before I spoke. But I suppose the universe knows best how to deliver loving-kindness to those I wish it upon.

Self Discovery

Childhood’s End

It only took about ten minutes, a month full of anxieties and tension and uncertainty and a completely broken relationship. And now it was just me again.

The doctor asks me if I have a ride home. I only nod. She hugs me and tells me the same thing everyone else has. Things are going to get so much better for you.

I don’t cry.  I just walk.

She is in the waiting room. We silently greet each other and walk to the car. The radio plays the same songs it always does. I thought maybe they would sound different, but they don’t.She stops by the lake and we walk along the boardwalk. I look at all the babies in their little hats, and I still think they are beautiful. She looks out onto the water, she takes my hand and guides me to her side. Sitting on the ledge for the last time, she turns to me and says, “You’re going to be a great mother someday.”

It only hurts my heart a little.

But soon enough this heartache turns into gratefulness, if only I knew then.

Self Discovery

Loose Ends

He is falling asleep in my arms, saying over and over again, “You make me so happy.”

That’s when I feel my cheek bones beginning to melt away, my skull softening. My eyelashes are sprinkled across his face. I continue to brush his hair as I disintegrate.

He doesn’t notice. They never do; because, how they feel about me never has anything really to do with me.

My first instinct is to tell him he makes me happy too. But, since I decided I wouldn’t lie to the men I love anymore, I keep quiet. How can I put my feelings on him?

One of the only things I know for sure in this world is that I am the only person responsible for my own happiness. So what do I do with this? What do I do with these words I know cannot possibly be true?

I let it be.

I stop wondering whether he is ready for me, whether I am ready for him. I let him be whoever he wants to be in this moment as he sleeps, holding onto me.

It all will only last a single moment.

And when it passes, we are sitting together in the room next door, eating chocolate ice cream and laughing about the last few days, few months, few years. We can agree that meeting each other was the highlight of a very rough year and that we like kissing each other more than we have ever liked kissing anyone else.

That is enough. In the meantime, I continue to work on putting myself back together, carrying the broken pieces in my own pockets.

Self Discovery

The Last Night on the Fifth Floor

I want to write about all the people in the room.

They wake me up while I am lying next to him, begging me to say something. I look around and I feel them on the mattress, clawing and pounding. What are they racing toward? The room is shaking and sinking and I look to him. He is wide awake. Can he feel them too? I ask, “Can you feel all the people in the room?”

His gaze is fixed on me, his eyes tender. It looks like he has been staring at me for hours.

I ask, “What’s wrong? What’s wrong?”

“Nothing.” Nothing.

“Please, what’s wrong?”

He pulls me closer and sighs, “It’s all okay. Go back to sleep.”

In the morning the people are gone and so is he. Something in the dark moved us.