I’ve been using the same chapstick since I was 13. God knows how many tubes I’ve bought over the last few years. I’ll blow four dollars on a pack, and invariably destroy all but one - they’d go through the laundry, get lost in one of my many messy bags, find their way into whatever time-continuum vortex it is that’s been eating my stuff since 1990. I was always left with the shitty orange kind, meaning I had to blow yet another four dollars and say goodbye to that Friday’s sub-health code Mexican food. As unhappy as angsty eighth grade Pay was about everything missing out on another death-defying Plaza Azteca night, my nineteen year old body thanks me now for keeping it from becoming an e. coli farm. But back to the chapstick. Blistex Fruit Smoothies saw me through a number of wild pubescent shitshows, and I’d like to tell you about a few of them.
Fabulous purple Berry Explosion lined my lips the first time I ever made out with someone. I was a couple of weeks shy of my 14th birthday, and he was a newly graduated eighteen-year-old knife salesman who’d essentially made the rounds of all my new ~*high school*~ friends in the four years prior to my arrival. I’d met him the Christmas before, when he was dating one of the girls I was in a band with. He called me Blonde. Even though he had something of an aversion to personal grooming, I overlooked it in favor of these ridiculous blue eyes he had that stood out ten times brighter against his dyed black hair and sallow gamer skin. Being a recovering chubster and, by extension, the Last American Make Out Virgin, I was dying to get it over with (a tendency of mine that would later come to haunt me in my wise old age of a couple months ago). Amazed as I was that this older guy who’d sparred with me about John Kerry and not thought I was a total nerd and holy shit those EYES seemed to be vaguely interested in me, I decided to throw hygiene to the wind. As I lay on that trampoline under him and his black trenchcoat, I smiled to myself when he pulled away and told me how awesome I tasted. Also that I probably shouldn’t use so much tongue, but as far as this particular yarn goes, that’s irrelevant.
Delightful green Melon Medley is another ninth grade relic, though considerably less creepy than its weird, berry flavored half-brother. A little backstory before I get into this particular nostalgia trip: I always say that ninth grade was my favorite year of compulsory public education, and the reason is more than likely that it was the most John Hughes-y out of the lot. Huge group of friends that hung out on the wall outside school in the afternoons, eating Chinese and sleeping three girls to a bed on Friday nights, and him. You know who I’m talking about. That one gorgeous, just-barely-attainable-yet-totally-out-of-your-hands senior whose very existence is enough to wrench you out of bed on the bad mornings, because he might smile at you from under that shag of dark hair that covered his face, and you’d be lying to yourself if you didn’t admit that was just the bee’s fucking knees. I didn’t have a whole lot of typical high school things, but I sure did have him. A couple of Fridays after the bizarre Weekend of My Eighteen Year Old Lovah, the group of us that hung out in the afternoons were enjoying a delightful round of Dirty Dice, which someone had on their phone. (My life has always been a giant game of grab-ass; getting eaten alive by the theatre has only made it that much more shameless.) Dirty Dice being what it is, everyone ended up kissing everyone else, meaning that this time, I’d kiss a boy I actually liked! Novel concept, that. After the first time he got me, he kept coming back - I liked to think it was because of me, but I know too well that, once again, it was because of the chapstick. He even stole one before I left. My birthday had been three days before that, and as far as I was concerned, even the iPod I’d gotten couldn’t top whatever the hell that was.
There’s also offensive orange Triple Tropical, but it tastes like something dead that got covered in bubble gum, then left in a sack to rot. In the sun. In July. In Virginia. Seriously, fuck Triple Tropical.
Limited edition Peaches and Cream was the whole reason I started buying this chapstick. One day at band practice, my drummer let me borrow her chapstick before we headed out to something or another that could’ve run me into the kid I’d had a crush on for eight years, who went to the same private school she’d gone to so she could skip out on the shitty public middle school the rest of us toiled through. I’d steal it from her every chance I got. I was only able to choke down my first Corona because it rimmed the bottle, and I’d get a kick of sweet every time I forced myself to drink that bitter Mexican piss. When I begrudgingly went to cotillion to show off my new, forty pounds lighter HAWT BODY to said kid, then watched him awkwardly slow dance with a girl who wasn’t me, it was there. I basically pumiced the lipstick off of my face, not wanting to taste the same sweetness I’d hoped he would. Two weeks later, when I got kicked out of the band, the smell would make my stomach turn, and that was the end of that. By the time I could handle it again, it was gone, replaced by whatever sexy new flavor would bring ‘em in that week.
Six years later, when I was at Walgreens for batteries and an Arnold Palmer, I walked past the aisle where my old friend hid, and saw that for the first time in forever, Peaches and Cream was back. I bought it, and put it on my lips right when I got in the car. Such as my awful, intense nostalgia can be, I was right back in that violently green room with a bass that’s bigger than I am strapped across my body by a fuzzy piece of leopard printed fabric, muddling through another song I didn’t particularly like with girls I loved. A few hours after that, I started writing this.
Amazing what four dollar chapstick can do to a mind with too much damn time on its hands, huh?
The Gaskets always remind me of what I thought summers should’ve been like when I was around 15 or 16. I guess they also remind me of that weird little four month period in 10th grade when I just about had everything. I was so awkward, and Lord knows that I handled everything as badly as I possibly could’ve, but if I could go back and ride in that car again for five minutes, and stare into that rearview mirror, I would be all of that and more.
Sometimes I wonder how the hell I ever became this. Maybe it was the full crazy, I don’t know, but I’m so close to being all I wanted that I can taste it.
Say I did go back. Say I sat next to myself and told her everything. She’d never believe me.
1. got up super early and went strawberry picking out in Driver with Mama and Steph. I can’t help but wish I could always wake up to gorgeous, sunny country. thank God I’m getting out of the city for a couple of years. I think.*
2. stopped by my elementary school’s carnival and saw an old friend of mine who I haven’t seen since we graduated high school, by which I mean she hasn’t seen me since I lost like 40 pounds and got bangs (let alone dark-headed). she told me I looked like a country music star…that is easily the most awesome compliment I’ve ever received.
3. waiting on the Princess to get in Norfolk so we can go to Greek Fest. mama needs pastisio, to say nothing of loukomades.
4. then I’m going to see the babies’ play! I’ve heard conflicting reports. at the very least, it’ll be an interesting night of theatre.
1. the overture from “Tommy” is just one of my favorite pieces of music ever. I have to admit, though, I liked the way VCU did it better. doesn’t really need the brass.
2. asterisk note: “I think” is necessary because I might be getting a D in stat, in addition to the three Cs I got this semester. the University and I have been in touch, and I’m covering my ass in ways I didn’t even know were possible, but there is always the possibility that they’ll think again. horrifying thought, that, but you’ve got to prepare for everything. and either way, there is never goodness in my life without something like this. I totally saw it coming.
It is not that you are complaining about my complaining that is important; you are talking about me and that is what is important.
I enjoy thinking about you, but not to change you. Especially about your ass. It is perfect. What other meaningful things are there? Me and your ass. Sublime If you could get over me enough all three of us could have some fun….Instead I am your warped social engineering project.
Inhale, exhale, smile.” —Yet another fine, fine gem from Richmond Craigslist.
Oh my God, that acting final. For one thing, five hours. FIVE HOURS LONG. But it didn’t feel like it…about the normal class length worth of monologues and scenes, then another class length worth of going around in a circle and…well, let me explain it this way: you remember in high school, you and everyone you know would sign each other’s yearbooks, and it was all very “OMG UR AWESOME LUV U!”? Basically we did that, only verbally. We did our teachers too, and invariably, if you weren’t crying yet, you were then. At the end, our teacher went to each of us and did the same, and if you were only crying a little bit, you were sobbing then. It was awesome, and I am spent in every possible definition of the word. There is a phrase our teacher ends every class with, and as soon as I heard the first word of it, every shred of composure I was just barely clinging to said “later, bitch” and I was done. Absolutely done. It wasn’t until I saw all the love in that room, and really saw everything I’m leaving behind, that the bigness of what I’ve done hit me. Although it’s true that my parents would have made the decision for me had I not come to the conclusion on my own, and there is a whole bigger picture working behind it, I accepted that the fact of the matter is that I made a snap judgement to go 100 miles away because a boy I loved did not love me back, or anything even remotely resembling it. I have regretted that snap judgement every minute since I made it, and I will continue to regret it until I’m shown otherwise. I pride myself on being smarter than things like that and I’m just…not. And I can’t help but hate myself for it a little. It’s for the better, and I know that, but I don’t believe it.
On a vaguely related note, my teacher told me today that I am an actress. I’ve been doing this all my life. No one has ever said that to me. It’s such a small thing, I know, but it’s so big. Finally feeling like I’m not doing this in spite of myself is beautiful. And maybe I could write myself into my pilot. And maybe that would work out.
I want so badly to say something, but doing that would constitute being the first voice to break the silence, and that would make me pathetic.
Also, someone actually made libertarianism make sense to me. Haaay!
As of now, I don’t think I’m gonna be a sniveling mess on Wednesday. Or Friday. My guess is it’ll all come in this huge, angry rush of sadness sometime in July, maybe after I go up to Charlottesville for orientation. I have the shirt and I have the sticker and I have the letter, but it still isn’t real. I don’t think it will be until August comes and I’m looking at the Rotunda rather than PAC. I don’t know how I’m gonna do this. All I want now is to see all the people I love one more time, and for things to be at least passable with the person I’m trying my very hardest not to. Having neither would kill me, having one would hurt, having both is impossible, but I’ve done that before. I don’t see why it can’t happen again.
Some excerpts from my application to live in Awesome Residential College at UVA:
1. You wake up one morning to find a race of tiny people has taken a personal item of yours and have begun to worship it as a god. What is this object, and how will you get it back? Do not underestimate them.
Somehow, my bedroom has turned into bizarro Lilliput and Blefuscu overnight. The little bastards have managed to tie me down - their surgeon’s knots are incredible - but I can see that they’ve Shanghaied the plastic statue of Colonel Sanders that not even I know why I have and formed a shrine to it. Little Double Downs, barely the size of pinheads, clutter the altar. I get the feeling none of them have any idea what the hell they are, they just thought it was a nice idea. This leads me to believe that this may be an easier situation to get out of than the prompt suggests. (Hello, fourth wall, didn’t see you there.) They weren’t clever enough to gag me, so I shout to them and suggest that maybe they’d want to try the Double Downs. Do it for Colonel Jesus! Their leader picks one up, likes it, and the others follow suit. Two hours pass, and they’re still going to town on those sandwiches. Meanwhile, I’ve managed to unbind myself. As soon as they see me in all my looming 5’2” glory, they begin to drop like flies. The platoon’s doctor suggests they all had massive coronaries, then drops dead herself. The Colonel is once again mine. I eat a biscuit. It tastes of victory.
2. You’ve just moved in, and you’ve already kicked a hole in your wall. Why?
Well, I was moving stuff around - optimum feng shui, you understand - and the desk wasn’t cooperating, so I stopped to rest. On the newly clear wall, there was this big black thing about five inches above the floorboard. I thought maybe it could’ve been part of an art project gone wonky, or maybe even a really uninspired tag (I’m from the inner city, it’s not so far fetched)…but then it moved. I don’t care how much Thunderbird you had that night, tags do not grow legs it doesn’t make sense what the hell oh GOD SPIDERRRRRRRRRRR KILL IT KILL IT KILL IT KILLLLLLL.
I hate spiders.
5. You are forbidden to enter the state of Rhode Island ever again. Why?
Rhode Island, known fondly by the colonials as “Rogues Island” or “That Sewer”, wants no part of me. Back when I was a crafty, enterprising eight-year-old, I decided to take advantage of the Great Clam Shortage of 1998 and form a syndicate. A clam cabal, if you will. With the aid of my father, a grizzled Canadian clam digger, I was able to procure roughly 82.56% of Rhode Island’s bivalves (and some from Nova Scotia). Word spread quickly, and all the neighborhood kids flocked to me, eager to get in on the ground floor. We wore blazers with clam patches. It was very Norman Rockwell. Restaurants across little Rhody fought tooth and nail for the goods, and though we did not accept cash for our services, we were not above accepting gifts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and our egos were inflated with free meals and swag. The syndicate began to splinter into two groups: my Loyalists, and Kitty Shaw’s Team Quahog. Though I’m not legally allowed to disclose what happened until the gag order lifts in 2018, I can say that we had a little dust-up, ending in the murders of Kitty Shaw, three quarters of both teams, a group of local entrepreneurs, and three nuns. I lost my leg; there but for the grace of God (and my clamshell bazooka) go I.
Three more. Sounds promising, yes?
I don’t know why, but I have a tendency to start thinking of awful ideas for Halloween around May, just so I can start figuring out how exactly to pull my shenanigans off. Usually I come up with some good shit, some great ideas that can’t possibly be executed, and some things that I should probably be shot for. Since I always forget the good ones, I’m gonna start keeping a record. This post will be updated every time I have one of my Flashes Of Brilliance.
05/07: Quail Man
Man In the Yellow Hat
Heat Miser and Snow Miser (couple costume OMGZ)
*Note: The writer, being part actor, part opportunistic exhibitionist, and all shameless, fully embraces the unwritten law that relatively attractive women between the ages of legal and mother must in part look like a strumpet. The list does not reflect this, but just understand that all of the above may as well have “slutty” in front of them.
Thing I’m Gonna Miss So Hard About Richmond #386:
Richmond Craigslist. Oh my God. Something about living, loving, and losing in a flannel-covered crack den has brought missed connections to a fucking art form.
1. I went to Charlottesville today to buy a shirt. (I LOVE IT - says “One Helluva School” in blue with, as you might expect, the “uva” in “helluva” in orange. Cute.) On the way there, I popped in one of my 65,000 unlabeled CDs for something new to sing along to. It was from around September, so lots of warm weather music, which was nice. One of the tracks on that CD is “There’s A Fine, Fine Line” - if you’re not familiar with Avenue Q, it closes the first act and is all about losing someone you were far, faaaaaar more invested in than they ever were in you, but turning it around to make it OK for yourself. Also cute. I sang “you’ve gotta go after the things you want/while you’re still in your prime” just as the mountains first came into view. I’m convinced that the things that happen in my life are not real.
2. Even though the thought of living in a dorm again makes me wanna go Lady Macbeth and pour poison in my ears, I’ve pretty much been rendered optionless and have been trying to figure out the best way to go about this. My plan is basically to apply for every single on campus, then cross my fingers and hope for the best. One of the places I’m looking at is Brown College, which is sorta like a Hogwarts house and requires an application. One of the questions on the application, listed under Critical Thinking: “You have been banned from the State of Rhode Island for life. Why?” If our god is a merciful one, I will be living there next year.
3. All I really want before I leave is for everything to be OK with everyone. I’ve taken care of everyone that I fucked up with. Now I’ve got to sit back and hope the others come to me.
- Payton: "I need a job, very badly. I work hard, I'm pleasant as fuck, and I need money in a very serious way. HELP!"
- Drew: "you should put "pleasant as fuck" on your resume."
- Payton: "True Story: When I applied for my first job, I requested the title of "bagel wench." If I hadn't hated that job so much that I've chosen to forget that summer ever happened, I'd still put it on applications."
- Drew: "I hope that our generation will have enough of a sense of professional humor that it won't be a life-ending decision to put something like "free bitch" under current employment, or Lady Gaga on my professional references."
- Payton: "Drew Wylam: Free Bitch... you need to put that on business cards."
- Drew: "I need a doctorate degree in free bitchery."
- Payton: "Somehow I feel that getting a PhD in free bitchery will be far more useful in the long run than either of our degrees."
- Drew: "I just need to figure out how to obtain a sustainable income based solely on being a free bitch. Career challenges; everyone has them."
- Payton: "I'm trying to see how far I can get in life on a quick wit and a a nice ass. UPDATE FROM THE FUTURE - You and I just shared a lovely meal of toast and bathtub gin at the poor house."
- Drew: "are we bound by a civil union? Can I have a prenup? Can I name our children after Lady Gaga lyrics? Can I have other men in my life? Can I? Can I have them? Can I?"
- Payton: "1. Yes. 2. Yes. 3. This seems the perfect opportunity to tell you that our son is named Paparazzi Let's Make A Sandwich Drake-Wylam. 4. We've both got pool boys. 5. Yes. 6. You may have them. 7. Yes."
- Drew: "splendid."
I should be happy. This is a good thing. But how do you make it work when everything has fallen apart around you? And I knew it would. Everything about this year, as beautiful as it has been, is incredibly fragile and walking on eggshells doesn’t even begin to cover it. I mean, I called all of this. Still, I did my best, and doesn’t that count for something? Jesus. I would be a little more optimistic and a whole lot less uneasy if I knew that I would finally be enough for someone, for something, for anything in Charlottesville. I know that the theatre department there is a downgrade. I’ve been living the dream for nine months and there isn’t, and won’t be, anything like it. But does that mean someone’s finally going to want me? I know that once I crack the surface of bros, the kids there will be more like me. Does that mean I’ll finally find my people? And I hate to even bring this up, but does it even mean there’ll finally be someone who gives a fuck? All the talent, all the gifts in the world mean nothing if there isn’t someone else to appreciate it the way you need. Success is nothing if you’re not happy.
I was going to delete that thing I wrote last night, but then I decided I really didn’t fucking care. It’s not like I’ve got anything to hide anymore.
UPDATE, 4:15pm: I didn’t get into William and Mary. I’m going to UVA not because I want to, but because if I don’t get out of here I’m going to explode. Maybe it won’t be the best place I could’ve gone, but it’s one of the best schools in the country; I can make it work. I have to say, though, only in my life would all the things I’ve invested myself in go so horribly, horribly wrong in a span of fifteen hours. That really is impressive.
let it be known that i got sick of crying and took more shots. now i’m swaying back and forth and singing hey jude. i don’t know why. it’s better than curling up and tugging at my hair in my bed, which i can barely even stand to be in. i’d sleep on the couch if marie wouldn’t find it odd. i can’t sleep. i want to sleep. i bet you’re sleeping just fine, i bet you don’t feel anything. i know nothing hurts. over here, on the other side of the street, everything would if i wasn’t so drunk. i can’t say it. i want to say it, i can’t say it. you’re the first person i’ve ever said it to. and i might make someone happy some day, you might be right, but now, it doesn’t fucking matter. all that matters is that i’m here. and you’re not. and you won’t be. you never will be. i honestly don’t think you would ever have been. for all i know this was some elaborate joke. i’d like to think better of you, though. i really would. you are beautiful, and i hope you know that. i’m torn between wanting to beat the shit out of you and call and beg you to think again. i don’t know anything anymore. and i blame you. everything hurts. i want so badly. i want so badly and i do not get. one day i will get. how soon, though? how long am i going to have to do this? i have to leave now. i have to. no matter how much i want to stay with them i have to leave. i have to put miles in front of you. nothing will ever be over if i don’t. goddamnit. why does it always go like this? why can’t i just be happy with what i have? fuck that. why can’t i just be happy? why can’t i just find someone who gives a fuck? i don’t understand. i’ll never understand this. it just doesn’t compute, and i can’t see how it would.
i am too drunk to be able to type like this. all i want is to fall over and sleep but i know whatever i dream will scare me. i know whatever i dream will be wrong. but what could be more wrong than this? if anyone’s got an answer, i’d love it.
regret. regret is all i feel. i regret everything. i should have never taken your number from her. i should have never met you back then, last year at glass menagerie, which i doubt you even remember. i bought new shoes that night. i wore the same shoes tonight. i don’t know why i remember that. i just want so badly. i wish i didn’t think you felt nothing but i know you don’t.
and if you don’t then you don’t. if you won’t then you won’t.
i would like to consider you gone but it’ll take too long. i just hope you know that no one will adore you like i do. i feel more deeply than the average bear and i suppose that’s just an occupational hazard of it. it’s not like i want to. it’s not like i would if i had a choice. but it’s my nature and there isn’t a whole lot about it that i can escape.
i’m sorry. i’m so sorry. i wish i could go back and do this again. i’m sorry. you don’t deserve having this put on you . but then again, neither do i.
i will probably delete this once i am considerably less sconced. for those of you with the extreme privilege to read this thing, consider it a collector’s edition.
i would drink more if my gag reflex could handle it, but it can’t, so i suppose my next chaser will be sleeping pills. i’d say good night and good luck, but i need it so much myself that i need all that happenstance on my side. i just don’t understand. i’m sorry. dammit.