The following essay was read aloud at a “Grown-Up Story-Telling” event at Aeronaut Brewery in Somerville, MA on July 26, 2017.
Things are so precarious at the beginning of new relationships. Something that feels exciting can easily be deflated by a bad kiss, a Ben Carson bumper sticker, or an admission like “Yeah, I don’t know, I just don’t like many books written by women.” Any of these offenses can instantly kill the sizzle that has built up over a couple of dates. While most people end up getting dumped unwittingly, not knowing what they did that made things fizzle out, sometimes you need a grand gesture to stop a relationship in its tracks. In that case, I have a suggestion for you. Recently, my budding relationship met an untimely death due to a rather unexpected culprit: a Yelp review.
Hey friends, I’m back to writing!
Sorry it’s been so long. Since I last posted, I took some time off to take a writing class, finish the school year, move, and start my graduate school applications. Big things are happening, but I finally have time to write again and I couldn’t be happier.
Stay tuned for the next installment!
I’m not sure if it’s because actual humans my age have started to get married. I’m not sure if it’s because I am starting to think that the astrologer I saw in August was full of shit. I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve written and journaled and dated and obsessed about my romantic life, and for some reason, I still cannot find the relationship I want.
I recently turned to a book called Spinster by Kate Bolick to see if it had any answers for me, as I’m well on my way to becoming a twenty-something abuelita. In the end, I wanted to chuck it against a wall BECAUSE Bolick ends up in a relationship in the end. Also, she’s in several long-term relationships in the book, so I feel like that’s not a spinster.
I want real spinster stories. I want to see a story about a single woman who is not sure if her happy ending is coming to come through. I want to read more stories about women who prefer to eat popcorn in bed while watching Gilmore Girls instead of going on another mind-numbing date. I want to read about the women who never found that monogamous partner and what they do when it’s 10 PM and they really want a back rub. I want to know about the women whose fingers lack wedding rings and what they plan to do with their one and precious life.
At least, that’s the narrative I’ve lived so far. And, from where I’m standing, it’s a lot harder to savor the stretch in between the beginning and the happy ending when it’s your own life.
I am a bad yogi. Though I’ve been attending classes for three years, I’ve only recently committed to mastering crow pose. I loathe inversions. I don’t breathe like Darth Vader. And my cynical side often asserts itself quite loudly during class. Once, when an instructor contemplated, “Why is it that we breathe?,” I decided not to answer, “Well, Becky, it’s a reflex.”
Before Christmas, my boss and I joked that we were just slouching towards Bethlehem – simply focusing on getting our bodies in one piece to the holiday break. This year of teaching has been difficult and taxing due to the huge learning curve of first year teachers. In a fit of desperation, I made a list this year about all of the things that seemed easier than herding preteens into learning things:
I really can’t say this gently, so I won’t even try: You have a problem with if you only consume media made by white people.
There is no way that your views on race, gender, class, ability, sexuality, ethnicity, religion, or ability will ever change if you live in an echo chamber. Instead, you must challenge yourself to listen to others’ experiences. The best way to do this is to make friends with people who are different than you in some way. Another great way to supplement your intersectional education is to listen to podcasts that are produced by people of color.
Though I certainly support reading works by diverse authors, and watching shows that tackle issues of identity, I think the podcast is a unique media form due to its aural nature. You hear folks telling their own stories in their own voices, and you often feel a stronger emotional pull than you would get from words on a page. The more you learn a show’s inside jokes, recurring segments, and host dynamics, the more you come to identify with the showrunners and love them as if they were your friends. Podcasts are a free way to become absorbed in someone else’s world, which is essential to breaking down prejudices.
Do not worry: I’m not saying you have to delete Radiolab, This American Life, Welcome to Night Vale, or How Stuff Works. Just consider adding a couple of my humble suggestions to your list.
Since November 8, I’ve felt a sense of low-level anxiety and dread every single day. Before Trump took office, I took each of his comments as further proof that we were headed straight for dictatorship. Now that he’s in office, I keep waiting for the worst to happen: Abortion has been banned. DACA has been revoked. International travel frozen. Gay marriage rescinded. A new war has begun. It’s as if I’ve illustrated a dystopian state in my mind, and every day, something happens to put us closer to that awful future.
Like the women of Wicked, I eventually had to put a name to this feeling: Loathing. Unadulterated loathing.