Hey there, buddy. You’re probably wondering why I asked you here today. Two reasons: 1) We need to talk. 2) You’re physically attached to my person; wherever I go, you go. You didn’t have much say in the matter.
So listen. You and I have been chummy for a while. Why, I even remember when we got acquainted! My close friends Pizza Rolls and Mt. Dew threw a party that lasted for pretty much the entirety of high school and college. Pizza Rolls, sweaty and breathing heavily, introduced us. “Katie, this is Belly Fat! Belly Fat, Katie. Y’all are gonna be tight as fuck, whether you like it or not.” Mt. Dew hollered at us from the kitchen. “DUUUUDE, Belly Fat is my BROOOOO!!” Then he did a sick kickback on his skateboard or something.
Point is, we go way back, you and me. But I think it’s time we reevaluate our relationship a little. I realize that the legal parameters of squatting rights aren’t a specialty of mine, and it’s perfectly possible that your having chilled at my middle section for the better part of ten years probably gives you some rights as a legal tenant. But that doesn’t mean you have my permission to invite your friends, Muffin Top, Fat Roll, and Chunky McWaistChubbers O’FlopFlops. They showed up around my 27th birthday and have refused to leave since.
Granted, it’s not like I’ve worked real hard to get them to go away. Case in point, the following is a transcript from the last time I voluntarily went to the gym:
Hhhhnnnnnnnnnnnnnng. No. No no no no no no no. Ooooow. OOOOOOOWCH. Ooooooowie it hurts whyyyyyyy why am I doing this to myself this is abuse! This is self-abuse! Someone should call Adult Protective Services on me on my behalf! I didn’t emerge at the back end of millions of years of human evolution to have to TAKE CARE OF MYSELF and WATCH WHAT I EAT and CONTROL MY PORTIONS like some sort of…well actually I guess those are pretty unique to humans but WHATEVER STILL I FUCKING HATE THIS WHYYYYYY.
And that’s before I’ve even left the house.
You’re like this weird conjoined twin that nobody else claims to notice but who screams in my ear pretty much constantly, just to remind me you’re there. HELLO HI. YES, HELLO. YOUR BELLY HERE. JUST SAYIN’ HI, LIKE USUAL. HOW ARE YOUR PANTS FITTING THESE DAYS, NOT GREAT? HAHAHAHAHA YEAH I KNOW. SORRY JUST A BIT OF BELLY HUMOR, DON’T MIND ME I’LL JUST BE HERE FOREVER BECAUSE YOU’RE A LAZY BASTARD.
On the one hand, I want to just learn to own you. I want to learn to accept the fact that I’m a woman in her late 20s who loves lovesloves eating food and also it’s pretty normal for fat to just start to show up in that area in anticipation of future fetuses that may never happen, like prepping a five star hotel room years in advance for guests who might not show up. On the other hand, I’ve sort of let you consume my life and sometimes I’ll just stare at you in the mirror after I get out of the shower and try to imagine which fruit I most resemble. I don’t have the hips to be a pear, I’m not round enough to be an apple, and my hair’s not pokey enough to be a pineapple. I’m more like a skinny mango. I cannot but marvel at how disproportionate you are to the rest of my person; long legs, thin arms, small boobs, slender neck…I have as logical of body proportions as Spongebob Squarepants.
The one force keeping me from coming to terms with you is every single other person in my life. “Nooooo, you don’t have a fat belly! That’s ridiculous!” they say, unconvincingly, as my stomach brushes their arm while we have casual conversation. “But you’re so skinny!” they argue (which is mostly true), ignoring the mound atop which I am gingerly resting my plate of chicken wings while I tear into them like I’m a velociraptor and they’re some terrified children trying to hide from me in the kitchen. I SEE YOU, TERRIFIED CHILD. IN THE REFLECTION OF THAT CHROME CUPBOARD. THIS IS WHAT YOUR GRANDFATHER GETS FOR PLAYING GOD.
My point is, I’m not trying to be self-deprecating here. I mean, I’ve got a pretty level sense of self-awareness. I am fucking awesome at quoting The Emperor’s New Groove. I can say the alphabet backwards as quickly as I can say it forward. I can belch on command. The fact that I’m aware of my built-in flotation device doesn’t mean I have some misplaced body dysmorphic issues, it means I know my body. Telling me I’m wrong, or I’m seeing things, or I’m exaggerating, means you think the way I see myself isn’t as important as the way others see me. But it is, because I’m the only person whose opinion matters. Sometimes I just wanna hug my middle and whisperit’s ok, baby. I see you. I know you’re real like it’s my own personal chubby unicorn.
I’m not even really sure what I’m getting at. Just think of it like this: you’re dead weight like a 30 year old kid who won’t move out of the house. I love you, you’re a part of me, and I’ve probably put more time and energy into cultivating you than I have into any one of my college degrees. So I’m just gonna need you to decide for yourself that it’s time to go, because I don’t have the heart to ask. And by “I don’t have the heart” I mean “I’m a lazy bastard” in case I hadn’t already made that abundantly clear.
XOXO, your host body,
-Katie Sisneros‘s mother freely admits she has a poochy belly, which Katie appreciates.
Lana Del Rey’s new album Ultraviolence is excellent. With songs like “Fucked My Way Up to the Top” and “Money Power Glory,” she lays down insane critiques of society while stopping to coo gently for the men who are still caught up looking at her lips.
It’s no surprise that her album is good. Her last album was too. She’s a killer songwriter but more than anything she’s a master at creating tension between the tone and content of her songs.
In one of her first big singles, “Video Games,” she sings, “I’m in his favorite sun dress/Watching me get undressed/Take that body downtown/I say, You the bestest./Lean in for a big kiss/Put his favorite perfume on/Go play a video game.” The lyrics make it sound like a love song, an ode to this man who she tries so hard to please. But her voice is bored as hell. She hates this guy. All he wants to do is play video games.
In “Money Power Glory,” she sings, “I want money, power and glory/I want money and all your power, all your glory/Hallelujah, I wanna take you for all that you got/Hallelujah, I’m gonna take them for all that they got.” If you don’t listen to the lyrics, it sounds like any other moody pop song. Her voice is breathy and ultra-feminine, even sweet. But then when you listen to what she’s saying, you’re like holy shit. It’s like she wrote a song in the voice of Muammar Gaddafi. Not your typical pop fare.
And then you realize, for just a minute, how weird it is to think of a woman wanting money, power and glory. Cuz, historically at least, that’s a man thing.
If you sit with Lana for awhile, you’re going to see some critiques of men, all delivered with lyrical complexity and whipped cream and a cherry on top. There’s something so interesting to me about this long-haired, gorgeous vixen sitting there critiquing men by playing dress up. Meanwhile men aren’t listening much to her because they are saying things like this about her:
-She’s so inauthentic. Her name is actually Lizzy Grant. As if half of pop stars don’t have stage names.
-She can’t sing. Crap maybe she’ll never make it to round 2 on The Voice!
-She’s shallow. Get back to your Iggy Azalea.
-She probably doesn’t write her own songs.
That’s the one that kills me most. If you listen to her songs, each one has a very distinct LDR stamp, because she writes songs like no one else. They’re all super lyrical — on Born to Die she was practically rapping she had so much to say. She slows it down on Ultraviolence, but only so she can play with repetition in new, interesting ways.
Plus you can just look at Wikipedia and see that she’s the first writer on all of her songs. She’s not just waiting around for the next song that Rihanna rejects from Skylar Grey.
It’s just tough for people to believe women can be both hot and smart, even in this day and age.
But if you’re a man and you don’t like Lana Del Rey, that’s ok. Just consider that maybe her music isn’t necessarily for you. I know it might be confusing because she’s pretty and has big lips. But her music is moody and dives deep into what being a woman is like. I don’t expect my boyfriend to drive around all summer spinning her album, thinking about all the complexities of romantic relationships and power dynamics of sexism. That’s ok!
But chill out before you troll on this particular female artist. She is different/weird/bold/risky and definitely sticking around. And that’s good.
In the short period between breaking up with my boyfriend and settling into a new apartment I’ve experienced every feeling on the emotional spectrum.
I picked up smoking cigarettes again, which could mean something existential but mostly just means another drain on my bank account.
I’ve started, and given up on, three separate books.
In the afternoons and evenings I spend a few hours at the apartment I shared with my ex boyfriend, attempting to pack, using the computer, showering. Nothing seems to change each time I come back. The same beer cans, socks on the floor. A pair of my underwear.
I don’t know how to remove myself from this place.
The hole he punched in the wall the first time we broke up just hangs there, echoing. A piece from a museum or a grave marking.
Here Lies the Beginning of the End.
I feed the cat, the cat eats, the cat disappears out the window.
The deli down the block blew up a few days ago.
I walk by the boarded up remains and wonder, “meth lab.”
So instead of there I buy my cigarettes at a smoke shop the same distance away in a different direction.
One night I pay with my card and the guy says he has to charge tax and I say it’s fine and he says it’s still cheaper than the other places and then he says “but you know what they say, cash is king.”
Cash is king.
Each day it feels harder to keep going like this. The air sticks to my skin with a tighter grasp than it did in the beginning. I wander around manhattan, just wander. Put off going anywhere specific. Eat a sandwich in front of a movie theater. It feels good to be aimless. Then sit in the hot apartment, choking, but I can’t leave.
Once a year I change my life drastically only to learn it’s hard being alive no matter what you’re doing. Get scared, jumped into the deep end only to realize I can’t swim, but it’s too late. Time moves one direction. You don’t get younger.
Wander the streets of Manhattan looking for magic. The hot air feels familiar. I remember emotions in my fingertips but it is just remembering.
I remember how to feel passionate but I am not passionate.
So it rains, so I shower, so I sleep in unfamiliar beds. My chest tightens in unfamiliar ways. The air is clouded, I have trouble distinguishing whether or not I am dreaming. Lights change color. I wish for more storms. So here I am. So here I am in limbo, in dreamland where my friends feel like ghosts.
Where my days feel like long, twisted jokes with no punchlines.
Last night I ran into my landlord on the stoop.
She was “just chillin,” her words.
I told her about the break up and she seemed to understand.
Somebody she knew passed by and they chatted for a minute.
Afterwards she told me she was sick of people taking advantage of her.
She said she’s going through so much shit and there’s nobody trying to help her.
She said she’s so tired.
She said at some point, you just realize like, you don’t have anybody. Nobody gives a shit. You’re on your own.
She said the building is going into foreclosure and nobody gives a shit.
I didn’t know the place was going into foreclosure.