Being a hard ass

Imagine my surprise as I was getting ready to sit down and rattle off another weekly blogpost and realized that this post will be #300. How the fuck did that happen? I mean I really don’t keep track of this shit.

But WordPress keeps track for me and I usually ignore it because I’m not all that interested in those kinds of factoids. But here we are.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to prattle on about for this post but considering it’s #300, I think I have something that should be fitting for a small milestone.

On Saturday, I came across a poem by Indian-born Canadian poet Rupi Kaur. It’s called Selfish. And holy shit, it fucking blew my mind. I had heard her name before. It was mentioned in the same breath as British poet Nikita Gill. 93 Percent Stardust is my favourite poem from Gill. Hands down, she is my favourite poet.

I never purposefully sought out Kaur’s words upon hearing her name. But she was someone whose work I would eventually read whenever the moment struck me. And indeed, it struck. I came across Selfish by accident. Selfish encapsulates perfectly the myriad of reasons I remain single, why everyone around me has fallen in love at least once while I haven’t had that experience and why I believe I’ll remain single for the rest of my life. 

I know what love is. I see it. I feel it radiating off those who truly are in love. But to share it with someone in all its glorious intensity is something I haven’t experienced yet. Nor do I think I ever will. Yes, it sounds depressingly pessimistic of me to think that way. I prefer to think I’m being realistic given my track record in the romantic relationships department and given who I fundamentally am as a person. Got some significant strikes against me.

I only say I have strikes against me because I intuitively know what I want and it goes against what some folks think I am because I’m a person of colour and the stereotypes that come with being a POC. In the past, I’ve always written off the fact that I’m a POC as one of the reasons that all the dumbfucks I was involved with, ever initiated anything with me. I think back and I have to wonder if I was wrong in writing off the assumption. Can’t fix what happened in the past. But I sure as hell will do my damnedest to prevent it from happening again. Because if it happens again, there will be bloodshed.

Yeah, I’ve become a hard ass about relationships. If the intangible isn’t there, I refuse to humour anyone and waste my time on someone who doesn’t have most of their shit together. I can’t possibly explain what it is that I’m looking for in a partner. What I want, and importantly, what I need, go beyond words. So, I’m not going to bother explaining myself.

After failing miserably in all of my romantic relationships — none of which were ever healthy from the get-go anyway and I’ll take my share of the blame for the bad choices — I will not work to make that first good impression. Sometimes a good first impression can be false advertising. Think about it. Take me as I am or walk away. 

If you’re not honest with yourself about who you are and what you want, then don’t even fucking bother with me. Words don’t impress me when I can tell you’re lying. Saying anything and everything to get into my good graces doesn’t work. I heard the horse shit before and some of it is pathetic.

Kaur’s Selfish hit a very ugly and sore spot with me. She put into words everything I felt when a relationship went sideways. I’m not asking any of the exes to apologize. They’re too unenlightened and too chickenshit to own up to their transgressions. I wouldn’t believe them anyway.

In fact, I’m sure a couple of them want me to apologize. For what? Believing you had your shit together, asshole? Go fuck yourself.

I’m past wanting or needing apologies. Actually, I never wanted an apology from the beginning because forgiveness is such a foreign concept to me. And considering how things ended with each of the fuckers, the likelihood of any kind of apology rested at zero percent. I know how to pick ’em, don’t I?

Regardless, what’s done is done. Contrition doesn’t work on me. Like I said… I’m a hard ass about shit like this. Learned the hard way.

Reading Selfish cut me open again. But I don’t mind bleeding. I’m used to it. Kaur’s words told me that someone does understand the pain and disillusionment that comes with trusting someone who was ultimately untrustworthy. Everything laid bare, wanting to die and berating yourself for allowing yourself to be fooled because you wanted to know what it would be like to be loved, desired, cherished and to be treated as an equal.

What a fucking idiot I was.

A friend told me that there is someone for everyone. I do want to believe that. Honestly, I do. But I know men who are absolute assholes and women who are unbearable cunts, who have managed to find themselves a partner/spouse and I’m left wondering what the fuck is wrong with me. I thought like that for a long time. It was time wasted. And now, I can’t be bothered to really think about it. We all have our roads to travel.

If there is someone for everyone, then it seems the older I get, the smaller that window becomes. That’s my perception of it.

Let’s be honest, we are taught to believe that love, desire and the pleasures of the flesh are for people in their twenties and thirties. They get to enjoy and revel in it. It’s kind of shallow when you think about it because looks eventually go away and you’re left with the essence of who you are. Your personhood.

For some folks, looks made up for the lack of essence. I can’t even make myself feel sorry for these people. No empathy here. I’ll save it for someone who deserves it. 

I’m battling stereotypes, conventional ideas of beauty and the ever-changing concept of commitment and what it means to truly love someone. It’s tiring. 

My energy is best saved for my ficitonal characters and their stories. They are deserving of that and deserving of my attention.

Fuck everyone else.

It’s easier being passionate

You have to have passion for a subject to write about it. You can’t expect your readers to feel any excitement if it’s nothing but a boring writing exercise for you – Leonard Mlodinow

I’ve done the writing exercises. And I’ve written stuff where I went in perceiving them as writing exercises. Stepping stones in my ongoing development to becoming a competent storyteller. Let me tell you, those stories have been deleted or are sitting forgotten in a notebook.

For me, writing exercises and passion don’t exactly go together all that well. You can ask my mentor how well I handled those exercises and my early attempts to weave something together within the boundaries of the rules and conventions surrounding story form and any kind of genre.

The only thing I seemed to have adhered to is long-form storytelling.

If asked, I’m sure my mentor will admit that he has learned some interesting things about me as he acts as a guide in my development as a writer. He might even tell you what those things would be. And I would have to agree with him. How knowing those things would be of any benefit to anyone is anybody’s guess.

After having written two novel-length stories, it is clear to me that I really have to have a passion for the story and for the characters in order to want to tell it and do any justice to it.

Okay, yes, it’s only two novels but you figure out quite a bit of stuff the second time around. What that stuff is, I haven’t quite wrapped my head around yet. It’s not like sitting down and doing a post-mortem of the process right at that moment.

Considering the manuscript of the second novel is in the hands of my editor, I can’t really conduct any so sort of post-mortem until the manuscript becomes a physical object in the shape of a book.

But then the question becomes do I deliberately want to do a post-mortem of the process? No. For me, the post-mortem, the figuring out of who I am as a fiction writer is a process that happens over time. The answers or revelations don’t come to me all at once. It’s a process that will subconsciously inform and shape the way I tell the next story. It’s so organic that I couldn’t possibly tell you with absolute certainty as to when I’ve discovered specific traits about myself as a writer. Things like that are a blur to me. I don’t stop to mark these kinds of discoveries on a calendar. I can only provide approximations.

Regardless of what I learn about myself through the art and process of writing and being a storyteller, there is no denying that I have to be passionate about the story I’m telling. Otherwise, I have no chance of convincing anyone to take an interest in any story I tell. If I buy into it, if I believe in it passionately and tell it passionately, maybe someone will feel the same way when they read it. I don’t particularly care if the general population doesn’t buy into my stories. I don’t think my stories are for everyone. I’d be happy with a much smaller population buying into and believing in the tales I want to tell.

I’m not an ‘appeal to the masses’ kind of person. It has that ‘I want everybody to like me’ kind of vibe. And it feels dirty to me. I’ve always been the outsider. Intentionally, or unintentionally, I’ve been made to feel like an outsider, and I’ve always backed away or walked away and did whatever I pleased in the privacy of my own little world.

By being passionate about the stories I want to tell, I’m taking a big risk in revealing a part of me that is true and unwavering. It’s not all of me but it is part of what is fundamental about me as a person. Part of the core of who I am. Does that mean I’m being raw, honest and open about what makes me tick? I don’t know. I don’t think I’m too raw or too open. I might be a little too honest. Is there such a thing as being too honest?

But I am revealing a side of me that may make people uncomfortable. And that’s more than okay as far as I’m concerned. I might be bit of a sadist when it comes to making people uncomfortable.

And honestly, it’s just too hard and too tiring to be nice all the fucking time.

It’s easier being passionate. 

Hardly a long shot

It looks like things are falling into place for the novel. And I couldn’t be more pleased.

Actually, I’m excited on the inside. I have a natural inclination to be low-key on the outside. I have that dreaded resting bitch-face thing going on. To be honest, it’s more of a homicidal bitch-face if I had to label my neutral expression.

You will never see me emulating a cheerleader shaking her goddamn pompoms as she watches the football team score another freaking touchdown. Nope, that’s not me. Fuck, no.

Found a designer for the book cover. Have a tentative date for the book launch. Date will be finalized in early September so I don’t want to say anything at the moment. Only a handful of people know the tentative date but they know that could change.

And I’m thinking about what to work on after the book comes out. I think I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I’m toying with a couple of options. What I would really like to do is juggle two writing projects at the same time. Ambitious, I know. The projects are different enough that I don’t think the two streams of thought will get tangled up in one another.

I’m probably going to speak with my mentor in September about my plans. He’s aware I have a couple of ideas bouncing around in my head. I know one of my ideas will have his full support considering he had wanted me try to this particular form of writing quite awhile ago. I’m just going to formally him know that I will be pursuing it.

As for the other idea, he probably will be on board with it, too. And I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that he might have a couple of ideas for me to consider pursuing.

Honestly, what I would like to do, post-second novel, is to continue challenging myself as a writer and as a storyteller. These two ideas that have been bouncing around in my head are definitely challenging. I will definitely be adding to my storytelling skillset if I pull these projects off successfully.

But my attention is still with the novel. Just giving the manuscript one more look over before I send it off to my editor this week.

I’m not done with my boys and they’re not done with me. Not by a long shot.