The Rub

OF COURSE THIS HAPPENS ON VALENTINE’S DAY.

I absentmindedly clicked “Save Draft” only to have WordPress fuck up on me, so I just lost about 800 words about anything and everything and I’m freaking out and crying and it’s almost 3 a.m. on a school night and I feel like an idiot but saving a draft is supposed to prevent shit like this from happening. I’m crying I’m crying and these are just words but what can I do.

I’m going to try to piece together what I’d been saying before. Good lord good lord good lord just… why.

/deep breath/

.

If you see me walking ’round with two rosy blooms around my eyes, rest assured: I’m not a member of some underground fight club.

For the past couple of days though, my roommates and I (except you, lucky Alexa) have been under assault by some mysterious allergen, or whatever, that’s been making the skin around our eyes freak out. For me, this means that my eyes will occasionally water up and/or start itching like mad. To remedy this, I’ve been slathering Cortisone on my eyelids and the on the skin under my eyes pretty much every 6 hours (if there are any dermatologists reading this, please let me know if this will eventually kill me or something). The medicine’s helped a bit, but the true test will come when I wake up in the morning and check the mirror to see whether or not I have dead skin caked around my eyes!!!

Sexy, can I.

Anyway, I came home tonight to find out that the person who was supposed to sell me cookies for my friend’s fundraiser had already visited my apartment, and so in an effort to obtain my cookies, I ran out into the courtyard of my building yelling “COOKIES?!” like a totally normal person. My roommate then told me that she had the person’s number, so I eventually acquired my promised 6 cookies (for the record: 3 white chocolate macademia, 3 double chocolate).

I then spent most of my evening sitting on my couch watching “Parks and Recreation” and chortling like a madwoman. That show, man… it’s been a long time since a show’s spoken to my wishful ideals. People being good and doing good things! Healthy relationships between men and women! Women being portrayed as more than flatline characters, and who actively work against the restraints of sexism and misogyny! All of that, I dig.

Since today’s Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d rewatch the episode “Galentine’s Day,” but since I just started season 3, I don’t want to go back to Rob Lowe and Adam Scott-less “Parks and Rec.”

And besides, I already have a Valentine’s Day tradition.

For the past 4 years (going on 5 now), and with the help of some liberal interpretations of time zoning, I’ve watched “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” on Valentine’s Day.

This all started in my junior year of high school, when my boyfriend at the time invited me over to his house to watch it. Despite the film’s ambiguously optimistic ending, I still cherish it, and the memory of my first time watching it, as it was my first real movie date experience (“Requiem for a Dream” does NOT count) (there’s nothing more uncomfortable than watching Jennifer Connelly go ass-to-ass while the person you’re secretly crushing on is sitting right next to you).

Moving on. What I love about “Eternal Sunshine” is the fact that, despite its fantastical moments (which I do adore), the story’s very much grounded in the impractical, unreasonable aspects of real relationships. Joel and Clementine are far from perfect, but neither is so flawed as to become a Manic Pixie Dream Girl or Guy. As Clementine so bluntly puts it in the film:

“I’m not a concept. Too many guys think I’m a concept or I complete them or I’m going to make them alive, but I’m just a fucked up girl who is looking for my own peace of mind. Don’t assign me yours.”

But there was a time when I thought about the film, and anything relating to love and relationships, really, and swooned like a teenage schoolgirl (which I was, and to a large part, still am). Being irrational and isolated from the rest of the world is okay when you’re in loOoOoOve, and I really could belong to someone else, just as I could lay claim to a body, to a soul, that was not my own.

I was full of these expectations, and they nested in my body until they finally sprouted wings and rocketed into the stratosphere. There they stayed, suspended in the cloud drift, until inevitably, they plummeted back to the ground in a dull thud.

That sounds really despairing. I’m still a small r romantic, but the flutterings of my heart are tempered now partly by a lot of sputtered starts and dead ends, but more so by a feeling of ease that floats to the forefront of my mind whenever I feel dissatisfied about my romantic prospects, or rather, lack of. Truth is, it doesn’t matter, because anything I tried to pursue now would be forced, and besides, it’s not like I have better things to do with my time than dream about things that either don’t exist or aren’t what I really want.

.

I’ve been reading a lot of “Saga” lately. “Saga,” for those of you who don’t know (and there will be a lot of you), is a graphic novel series written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Fiona Staples. I don’t remember exactly when it ended up on my radar (I probably saw a panel on my Tumblr dash; that’s how I got into David Aja’s and Matt Fraction’s superb “Hawkeye” series), but as soon as I learned that the series is written by Vaughan, I immediately tracked it down. Vaughan’s “Y: The Last Man” is a profoundly moving meditation on, among other things, gender and sex roles. Though “Saga” is not quite as heavy in its subject material as “Y,” it still features some of the most inventive characters and gorgeous artwork that I’ve seen in a long time.

When it comes to the sci-fi/fantasy distinction, I generally veer toward fantasy. I’d choose “Lord of the Rings” over “Star Wars,” “A Song of Ice and Fire” over “Ender’s Game,” the Old Kingdom over the USS Enterprise. But “Saga” mixes elements from both genres quite liberally, and to great storytelling effect. The concept of “Saga” itself isn’t so (and I use “so” very lightly here) original, but from using secrets to activate spells to the concept of a decentralized war in a world in which “world” means a distinct planet, Vaughan’s writing structuring and Staples’s inspired art elevate the narrative into something quite brilliant.

“Then why did you risk everything to be with him?”
“Because your son is so goddamn beautiful.”
Ha. I assure you, looks aren’t forever.”
“Oh, I know.
I wasn’t talking about his looks.”

.

Maybe it’s better that I ended up losing this post the first time around. I sounded more bitter before, but Valentine’s Day isn’t a sad or mournful occasion for me. I’m not planning on drinking a lot, or hanging out exclusively with my ~*ladies*~, or watching Nicholas Sparks movies and weeping into a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. I have class (as in school), and it’s the second Thursday of the month aka DTLA’s Art Walk, and come the later evening, when most of the world has already retreated into the expectationless February 15,

I will watch “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” and reminisce about all of the love I’ve seen pass through my life

and dream about the weightless sound of wings lifting off in easy flight.

(Image: Untitled by Jesse Morgan Barnett)

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