Hey there! Long time No See!

I stopped writing in this blog awhile ago because of extraneous circumstances involving unsavory characters. I attempted to start up other blogs, but they just did not have the same ring to them. I am going to try again.

Before getting all feminist mathemagician hey-I’m-into-pedagogy vegan princess on you, allow me to give a few minor updates:

I spent a good portion of last year involved with a guy who I thought was supposed to be “the man of my dreams,” because it just seemed like he should be the “man of my dreams.” Ladies: If you come across your boyfriend writing his sister, talking about how he’s still in love with his ex but how he wants to give you a chance…dump him- f’realz.

Pffffft, boyz, whatevuh.

“Out of All the PhiLOLsophy Classes in All the Community Colleges in All the World, You Had to Troll Mine”

Then the Sarge walked in. Uh huh.

It turns out the weird, buff tattooed guy I made fun of on a regular basis from my Modern Philosophy class was kinda cool. (I always said don’t trust anyone who name drops Foucault. It hadn’t occurred to me that it may actually be impressive in a community college. It also turns out he’s a UC boy. Whatever.)  It’s kind of weird when I think about it. I spent months being miserable with someone else and the person I may spend the rest of my life with is sitting in front of me, looking totally pissed off. There was no flirting in class, either. Ever. I. literally. had. no. idea. In fact, I only started talking to him because I had taken to showing up to my night class drunk to get through it. Don’t judge me.  The class was painful. Prof. R. was incredibly knowledgeable and understanding, but the most boring lecturer ever. Like, ever. So I drank a bottle of wine before walking to class. It made the class fun and interesting. And it made me ask about the vibrams S. was wearing which lead to a conversation about books which lead to a book exchange which then lead to nothing.  The semester ended (straight-As! Woo!)  I did my own thing for the most part. You know, baked a bunch of (vegan) cupcakes and handed them out at bars.  Had an old musician attempt to take off my shirt in the middle of his set. Flirted mercilessly.  Volunteered at A. Acres on a regular basis. Bottle fed a 5 week old calf. All the fun stuff.

Randomly, one afternoon, I got a “Hey! How’s your summer?”

and I thought, “Hey, fling time!”

Except that didn’t happen, because I like to pretend I have game, but I’m a nerd!

This happened though:


So now I’m navigating the waters of a fairly functional relationship (I know, right?), still taking care of my brother (although he may be joining the Navy next year which gives me both anxiety and joy), and I can cook up a storm.

So should those unsavory characters choose to pop into this blog…I’m doing aiight. My boyfriend is awesome and he shares my love of bad pop songs and pretend hip hop dancing.

Oh, and he went vegan. ♥

Other than that…I messed up with my schedule this semester so I had to drop my calculus class which puts me back a semester. I’m getting to a point in my edumication where work seems to really be conflicting with the schedule, but what can you do? I also really miss studying science, surprisingly. The more I think about monkeys and elephants, the more I feel compelled to go back to Biology. However, as mentioned before in this paragraph, it is essentially impossible to work a 9-5 and fulfill the biology requirements.

I can’t even take a chemistry class…which makes me so sad. I figure post-B.A./teaching credential, I can go back (if I’m not totally worn out after having been in school for, oh, TEN STRAIGHT YEARS) and take some chemistry and biology. Although, I am thinking I may just try to grab a Masters and try to teach at a community college. Who knows?

I’m taking an ethics class right now that has actually turned into my favorite class. This is shocking, because I’m not a fan of  a bunch of dead white guys telling me what’s wrong with the world from some uber privileged balcony of whatever. Ethics, however, is that part of philosophy I have a major soft spot for so it’s good.  The textbook is awesome and I’m actually referencing it in my other classes. The class is discussion-based for the most part and while I tell myself I’m going to shut up and listen (rhetorical eloquence not being my strong point), I end up raising my hand and ranting and raving.  Afterwards, I’m, like, “Uh, why did I say that?”  However, multiple people from the class have come up to me to praise my arguments…which is still a weird feeling. Seriously. I am not lying when I say I am not a good public speaker. But, hey, I’ll take it.

That’s ’bout it for now!

I spent a good portion of last year involved with a guy who I thought was going to be “the man of my dreams,” because it just seemed like he should be the “man of my dreams.” Really dumb decision on my part. Ladies: If you come across your boyfriend writing his sister, talking about how he’s still in love with his ex…don’t do what I did and stay with them for a few months more. Dump the mutherfucker – f’realz. Anyways, after the fiasco that was that first real attempt in a long time at a monogamous, long-term relationship, I went craAaaAaazy! I baked too many cupcakes, saw tons of bands, got drunk off the tabs of others, and ran around like the nerdy hoodlum I am.

I hadn’t realized it at the time, but my ex-boyfriend was making me feel unimportant and not valued and unloved on a daily basis. It was all very passive though. Breaking up and him finally telling me he was planning on getting back with his ex, something clicked, and I was like “Yeah, WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?” I threw my arms in the air and said, “Whatever!”

That’s when the partying started and it was fun and good. I reconnected with a bunch of old friends. I went swing dancing! I was full of life and shininess and fun times! Then, that Sergeant up there waltzed in.

“Out of All the PhiLOLsophy Classes in All the Community Colleges in All the World, You Had to Troll Mine”

It turns out, the real man of my dreams was that weird guy from my Modern Philosophy class who I made fun of on a regular basis. (That is, I Lol’d at his namedropping of Heidegger and Foucault..which actually is impressive at a CC, but whatever).  It’s kind of weird when you think about it, actually. You’re spending months sleeping with someone else and the person you’re going to spend the rest of your life with is sitting in front of you. There was no amount of flirting in class, either. Ever. I. literally. had. no. idea. In fact, I only started talking to him because I had taken to showing up to my night class drunk to get through it.

Don’t judge me. You weren’t in my class. You don’t know how painful and boring it was. Whatever. I got an A. And my Descartes paper rawked. He contacted me when the semester was over with a simple, “Hey! How’s your summer?” and I thought, “Hey, fling time!”  Except he refused to sleep with me. He wanted to get to know me. Then I got to know him. And what I thought would never happen, did, in fact, happen.

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Repost: 2008: Radicalism and Academia

I’m just … letting my thoughts run rampant. This is something I have been thinking a lot about.  The sort of separation people have between ideas and action. Between talking about what is wrong with the world and actually doing something about it…

Andrea Dworkin was a radical feminist  Although important to feminist theory…I tend to think she’s full of shit.  When you go so far left that  right wing conservatives back you up…something is wrong. Dworkin pioneered the anti-porn movement in the 1980’s and her points were  valid…however, I do not believe  all sex is rape regardless of consent.  According to Dworkin, within an oppressive society, a woman can (supposedly) never give actual consent. I understand where that comes from. I can acknowledge some validity in that statement.  If a society views one group of people as second class citizens…consent never really exists. (Similar to the free will debate: does free will exist in a society that limits its choices?)

However, I do not agree.

Men are not the problem. Men are also harmed by patriarchal oppression (although they benefit more from it).  Despite being a radical feminist, Andrea Dworkin’s beliefs on sex is denying me my ability to choose my own sexual partners. It is denying all women agency. Under Andrea Dworkin…there is no real answer.

To me, that is the problem with radicals…there is no real answer, because to change society, one needs to actually work with society.  Even, I dare say, work within society.  You cannot suppress ideas, you can only work to cultivate them.  You can ban hate speech, but you cannot ban hatred.

Marriage, as an institution, is oppressive. For the majority of history, it was about ownership, treaties, business deals, etc. Love hardly entered the equation. The idea of monogamous marriage is also a fairly new idea. I also believe that single people deserve the same rights as those who choose to conform to a traditional way of living. I read a blog where someone wrote that she was not voting “No” on Proposition 8, because of the belief that it is inherently oppressive. She acknowledged her radicalism, but essentially called the whole thing stupid. Once again…that solves nothing, because one cannot reject society nor can they separate themselves from their place in time.

I am all for animal liberation, but I know it will never come in my lifetime, because to free animals from torture, one would have to basically overthrow Christianity (which says “animals are there for us to torture, slaughter, and treat inhumanely!”)…and that ain’t never going to happen. So, I do what I can with the means I have. I chose to be vegan. I encourage people to eat more meatless meals. I try to educate others about slaughterhouses and nicely point out flaws in their knowledge of the human diet, nutrients, etc.

We are where we are now. Once again, instead of only dealing with the theoretical, why not put real efforts into actual change? Apply your knowledge instead of just complaining.

This is one of the issues I have with academia and the reason I sort of fell out of my philosophy studies . . . when all you do is talk . . . you make more problems than there are. I naively started studying philosophy under the belief that it would help me answer some of questions about life…not lead me questioning the whole damn world. Theories are fun, but what good are they if you cannot apply them? For many years, I never referred to myself as any sort of intellectual, because I hated the thought of being associated with those in ivory towers spouting politics and ideologies and talking about what is wrong with the world with no real understanding of why it is wrong in the world.

True radicals also tend to reject everything. “It’s my way or the highway.” And, regardless of whether or not they are right, it is counterproductive not to do anything just because the change that you feel is needed is unattainable. Those stuck in academia have no right talking about injustice unless they’re going to do some small thing to remedy it. And, I often feel angry when people hide behind their college degrees. “I know…you don’t really know.” or “You couldn’t possibly understand.” So, teach. Be open with your knowledge. I know some people who can spout off ideologies and beliefs…but they don’t live that way? “I am this” and “I am that” but their actions prove otherwise.

In regards to education and academia…Unfortunately, there is an educational caste system in the U.S. where it is extremely difficult for certain groups of people to access education. It was difficult for me to access education. My father actually went out of his way to make sure I never went to college and then forced me to drop out of school.  Even today, I am terribly insecure about my intellectual ability in the face of my friends who graduated magna cum laude or are off to grad schools. I am, like, “Yeah…I am in my first year at community college….” I work full time. I am going to be in school for the next 10 years. I have no desire to get a Ph.D. I don’t really know that much.

Then I have to stand back and think about what everyone is actually doing in connection with what they are saying.

To quote Gandhi, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

In my experience…it has been true. When you lead by example…sometimes people follow.

One step at a time.

It seems the more you learn…the more you realize you don’t really know anything at all.

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Repost from 7/7/07 “Men Hate”

**This blog, despite lacking eloquence, makes me smile.  What’s the Gloria Steinem quote? “The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” Aw. I was but a baby then.**

Men hate.

**Please note, my reference to “men” in the following  is more a reference to “male culture of dominance”**

Anger has consumed me.

I turned my car on to leave work and it happened to be set at 97.1 which, in the afternoon, is the Tom Leykis show.

I was only able to listen for about 10 minutes until I shut off the radio in a fit of anger.

A young woman was on talking about the expectations she held in men she dated.  Apparently, she was quite successful (making about $75,000 a year), independent, ambitious, and educated.  She was getting older (whatever that means) and was looking to settle down and start a family and, thus, she did not want to date anyone who didn’t make as much as she did, wasn’t as ambitious as she was, etc. She stated, “Why shouldn’t I have some expectations.  What is wrong about me wanting a man that really loves me and can match me in my life?”

Then, they took to the phone lines. Every single caller in one way or the other called her a “gold digging whore.” Her reply of, “I’m not looking for someone to SUPPORT ME just someone to match me” fell on deaf ears . . .in fact the man she was talking to actually told her, “SHUT UP!” Shut up.  Here was a women eloquently making a point and the only thing he could come up with was “Shut up! You’re a gold digger! You only care about money! I would never date you!”  When she said, “How can I be a gold digger if I left a millionaire, because I felt like the love wasn’t there and that he just wanted to control me?!”  His answer: “Shut up!”

Now, here is a radio show that PRIDES ITSELF ON RATING WOMEN and putting them INTO CATEGORIES OF 8s, 9s, AND 10s.  Tom Leykis is a big fan of “Flash Friday”.  The purpose of Flash Friday? To get “8s ,9s, and 10s to show us their boobs!” Yeah!!! So, if I am understanding correctly, it is okay to sexify women and judge them based solely on how aesthetically pleasing they are, but they get offended when a woman hold them to some sort of standard?

Despite the anger in the guys’ voices, she very calmly asked “Why shouldn’t I want someone with the same goals, aspirations, and success as I have?”  And, you know what, why shouldn’t she?  Men bitch and moan about alimony. They bitch and moan about women who are looking for a meal ticket.  And, apparently, they bitch and moan about a woman wanting a man who can support himself on the same level she can.

These 10 minutes have taught me that men really do hate you, me, women, especially successful, independent yous and mes.  I’m not saying men as individuals hate you. Men as a societal group hate women. The hatred these callers had for this women who was only asking for equality in a relationship was absolutely astounding.  It is perfectly acceptable for porn culture to infiltrate women’s lives and thus women strive, starve, and beat themselves up to be a 36-24-36, but HOW DARE A WOMAN EXPECT ANYTHING FROM A MAN, especially when it comes to success!

What really made these men angry though?

That this woman, this female, had a sense of choice.  That she felt like she *gasp* HAD THE RIGHT TO MAKE A CHOICE.  Everyone knows us girls are just waiting for the first loser to pop the question so we can pop out some kids so how DARE this successful, educated woman actually THINK FOR A SECOND that she has, oh, I don’t know, personal sovereignty? Does she not realize that despite all her ambitions, goals, and dreams, she’s still a WOMAN and thus should just take what she can get? No, these guys must resort to telling her to “shut up” and calling her a “gold digging whore” to make sure she gets put back in her place. In fact, one foolio who described himself as a “poor ass black man with no dough” even said despite his lack of money, he can sure “make love to a woman.”  Because, as we know, sex is what makes relationships work. He can’t be her equal, but he can sure give her an orgasm! Just what every woman is looking for!  “Hey, honey, I can’t feed the kids, but you want to go get frisky?!”

I am mad. I am angry. I am tired of living in a porn-glorified culture where because I have ambitions and standards, I am seen as a bitch. Because I have some sense of expectation, I am seen as someone who only cares about money. I am just plain tired of fighting what seems to be a never ending struggle because I happened to be born with breasts.  I am tired of the animosity we are all subjected to on a daily basis.  I am definitely tired of the sexual harrassment we all have to endure just by walking down the street.  The homegrown terrorism that makes us scared to just walk to our cars when it’s dark.  Sick of forced femininity, rape culture, college sports gang bangs, whores, sluts, and bitches.  To quote a previous blogger, I wish that men would just stop.  Just stop. Realize, understand, and stop hating me, us, women as a whole.  Stop feeling threatened.  Stop getting joy out of domination of women.  Stop talking smack about “American women” for their “independent, bitchy ways” and insulting Latinas and Asian women by saying they make better wives because you can treat them like lower class servants.

Just stop. It really should be that simple.

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Epic Fail TIME


While sorting the mail at work this morning, I came across this cover. At first, I felt horror, mortification, sadness; all the emotions that one would feel when confronted with a young woman punished for running away from abusive in-laws.

Then I read the caption: “What Happens if We Leave Afghanistan?”


I understand that Americans want to feel more civilized, especially in the face of our own brutalities, but to reduce the trauma inflicted on various women of the Middle East by stating that this act would be more prevalent if we left is just straight-up right-wing propaganda.  That is NOT what happens when we leave Afghanistan. That is what happens when women are continuously viewed as second or third class citizens.

My heart goes out to her; it really does. However, there are things happening here that also deserve attention. Like, Native American women are the most raped in the country! Where’s their TIME cover?

That is not to say that her voice is not worth hearing or that people don’t deserve to be aware of the cruelties going on in the world. It is a great thing that a feminist (and I use that word deliberately) issue is taking cover on TIME Magazine, but at least have the decency to frame it as such.  The only real connection between war and the treatment of women is that women (and children) are more viciously treated during wartime and occupation.  In fact, if anything, I would carefully speculate that American occupation of the Middle East may be a reason for the upsurge in such acts, because not only is it an act of defiance towards a dominant, forced culture, but a lack of autonomy means folks’ll do whatever it takes for some sense of sovereignty and power.  Even if that power is coming from nefarious acts of violence like above. Note: does not excuse such behavior. Merely connecting some of the dots.

This is not a war issue. This is a woman’s issue. (This is also a way of saying, “Hey, you American women. Hush down! Stop demanding stuff! At least no one is cutting off your nose!” Yay for 2nd class citizenship!)

Not only that, but is this article really going to make people say, “You know, people are fucked up. I should do something that matters.” It might make one or two people stand up with concern, but most will be angry for a moment, and then indifferent for the rest of their moments. “Wow, that sucks. My heart goes out to her. Too bad I can’t do anything. Hey, sale on shoezzzzz.” There are so many things-little things-people could do it makes my heart hurt.


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Fall of 07

My heart had been smashed and I was medicating myself with people who wasted my time and cheap vodka. I felt alone and figured I would be alone and so I ran wild in the streets. I was never lonely; I was only ever just broken.

I met you once in August at 2 a.m on a humid night in Hollywood. We talked about the Damned and you struck me as slightly insane. I met you again at another Hollywood 2 a.m. and we discussed the Birthday Party and William S. Burroughs. I told you how much I loved philosophy and we talked about design. You told me I was your favorite and I ran away. Not because I knew better, but because I didn’t think I was better. I was still in pieces. “He likes you,” they said. “Me? Nah,” I replied. And, I tried to keep away, but you drove to North Hollywood for my best friend’s birthday and you asked me what my favorite movie was. I told you Santa Sangre and you were shocked and said, “You’re unusual. How have you seen Santa Sangre?” People kept telling me I should feel special and that you were so attractive, funny, and smart and to just “give in”–so I did. You picked me up on a Sunday afternoon and we drove to Venice and I took off my heels to walk in the sand. We sat on rocks by the ocean. You said, “I think I am in love with you.” I asked, “Really? So soon?” “I’ve never met anyone like you and I’m an old man.”

And, yes, you are the only who man came close to understanding me, but I realize now you never understood me. You tried to make me run away with you to the beaches, to the parks, to the woods, on hikes that lasted for hours and a conversation that went on for months. I told you I hated running, but that I could walk forever and you started to slow your stride. I warned you that I was awkward. Not perfect or fashion savvy. That I had only two pairs of pants, but I had bookshelves filled with pages. I told you that I had a face full of acne and I would never be a pin up model. That people would ask what you saw in me and I was so weird and it was so soon. But, you grabbed my face and told me I was amazing and smart and kind and beautiful and that you loved me. We went on adventures through Pasadena – asking old ladies to give us tours of their homes. Getting stoned with gay strangers in cul-de-sacs, drinking German beer with aging prostitutes, playing the guitar and singing with homeless street teens on the beach, discussions about Fellini and Cronenberg and Louis Malle and my fear of Mario Bava, drinking ice cold vodka with artists and their pottery in Santa Barbara. You said, “You love Cabiria, because you see yourself in her – I know. You’re not so tough – I know.” We kissed in mountains and ran through the oceans and I saw the sun for the first time in years.

You brought bottles of champagne and bouquets of stargazers and we drank out of small, green 99 cent store cups, because that was all I had. And I told you all my secrets and you wrapped your arms around my sorrows and told me it was ok. And we spent days laughing and learning. You said you wanted to paint my wounds away. And, I desperately wanted to believe that you could. You said you regretted your choices. That it had been over for the other. That it was just for the kids. That I made you feel young again. Hopeful, excited for a future.

You said, “I imagine you in a pool with the sun in your hair. I imagine us working together and sharing dreams over tomatoes and white wine.” You added, “I can take you away and make everything disappear.”

I told you I did not want to disappear. I did not want swimsuits or expensive houses or Belgian chocolates or mojitos in Palm Springs. You told me to give you my heart, but you knew you already had a home. You always said there was nothing real there, but I could never give you my heart. You used that as a weapon against me later. Blamed our downfall on the fact I always kept a distance. You said you couldn’t trust me after I spent the night in bed with a drummer – even though I told you nothing happened and I never lied to you and you spent most nights with your wife.

People talked outside. They called me names and applauded me. I had captured the unattainable, they said. Broken apart a marriage, some whispered. They did not realize that you had captured me and I was only barely keeping up. They do not realize that I’m the one that made your decision for you. And, now they whisper, yell, and say you went back to your wife and that I was scorned and left alone. They do not know that I said good bye to you, like I say good bye to everyone. They do not know.

Then your wife, your sister, and your mother called me spouting tears, insults, and curses. I knew it was over and I told you I was done. And then you called again: crying, begging, pleading. You said I would never understand how lonely you are. All you ever asked was for me to give you my soul. That if I could cry in your arms just once you would be there for me forever. I told you your arms were already taken and not even a ghost could find room for tears.

You brought me more gifts – chairs and food and apologies, books and music. Promises on necklace kisses and I told you no, no, no.

But, my heart had been broken again. And all my enemies laughed. And all my friends who supported us called me names and left. And what was left in my chest was spread out like splintered green glass on the floor of my too small apartment.

And, I try to believe that you had good intentions, but I also know now you are a bad man. Because you knew this would happen and you used me for passion. And, maybe I used you for love. And maybe we both learned our lessons. In January, I gave you our photos and I gave you your cufflinks and you lost them and asked for replacements, but I, once again, said no. So now we are left with nothing but our memories and our mistakes.

I think about your wife when she was a child. The stories you must have told her. The way she fell in love with you on acid and liquor and high off of art. You promised to take care of her forever and keep her safe. She married you when she was very young. And she loved the diamonds. She loved the houses. She loved the Jodorowsky films you brought home and the bohemian life you had made together. She loved you because you scooped her up as a baby and only let her grow up enough to mother your babies. I would never be able to love you that way. You said we were the same, but we both knew that was a lie. And, we both know that I was never the type of girl you really needed, because I didn’t live in fear and I had nothing to take and nothing I wanted and I am independent and you knew there was nothing to control there.

But, I thank you for the gifts you didn’t mean to give: I was an ugly sleeping beauty woman raging through dark Los Angeles streets who could only be awakened by someone more in pieces than I have ever been. No, I don’t hate you. I can never really hate you. Without you, I would still be lost. It hurt to tell you good bye, but I had all I needed and needed to keep walking. You reminded me of the life I had before- breathing, living, loving, away from time capsuled dive bars and boys who thought I was “weird.” Away from people who knew people and friendly politics. Sitting in the dark with you made me remember how much I missed the sun.

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In Defense of Prostitutes

When I first moved to Los Angeles, my father opened up a coffee house on Hollywood Blvd by Las Palmas. Right next to a decrepit movie theater, a few store fronts down from Two Guys From Italy (the best pizza EVER), and a 5 minute walk to the Hollywood Library where I spent many a day staring at movie posters and avoiding creepy old men. My dad let me and my brother wander around Hollywood at that age, unsupervised, but always said “Do not walk past Vine!” For many years after I thought of Vine St. as some hedonistic wonderland and would try to convince my brother to walk a little further down (“Nat, Ivar is so boring!), but he’s a chump and would just start crying. Anyways, I always found it funny that I was banned from walking past some street when my coworker was a heroin addict with his ex-wives tattooed on his neck. My other coworker was some old guy in some hardcore motorcycle gang who was known as Biker Jerry (B.J. for short) who would exchange espresso and food for . . . well, blow jobs. It would take me many years to understand why all his sleezy motorcycle friends giggled when I said his name. I still see him occasionally on his motorcycle, still parked outside of Two Guys From Italy, but I doubt he recognizes me now. And, considering he would always tell me what a “pretty little smart girl I [was]” I don’t think I’d want him to.

My dad meant well with his restaurant. Having started the successful Joni’s Coffee Roasters in Marina Del Rey before I was born, he figured he’d make a big splash on craptacular Hollywood Blvd. His restaurant soon became a haven for drug deals (“I didn’t know you could buy drugs with food stamps!” I wrote in my journal), homeless guys named Moses, and . . . prostitutes.

Oh, the wonderful prostitutes. Women my dad would take home and attempt to rescue (and then kick out when they denied his requests for marriage). I don’t even remember all the times I came home in 6th or 7th grade to my dad saying, “Haley, this is your new roommate.” My new roommate being some hot mess right off the streets. There was such a parade of them at one point in my life that I have only managed to remember a few that I captured in my journals at the time. Reading the entries is somewhat amusing as I talk about it like it was all so normal. Doesn’t every 12 year old girl share her room with a prostitute? I had no friends at the time and thus had nothing to compare my situation to. It was me, Edgar Allen Poe, Francesca Lia Block, and some Hollywood whores.

The ones I do remember made quite an impact on me immediately. There was Nancy, the young, fucked up female obsessed with the Smiths and Nirvana who told me stories of her grandfather getting her drunk at the age of 5. Mmmmkay. She was a stripper before “working the streets,” but liked working at my dad’s restaurant a lot more. “Haley, just know, that there are men out there who will want to hurt you because they know they can.” Thanks for the heads up Nancy! lol. She was funny and full of spunk and really couldn’t be much older than 25. My dad asked her to marry him. She declined and went back to the streets. I occasionally saw her when I was sitting outside the restaurant. Nancy would run up, give me a hug, a wink, and wander off with some punk rock dude. The last time I saw her she said, “I worry about you.” “Why?” “I know who you live with.”

I will call her “Anne,” because I think that’s what her name was, but I don’t really remember. Anne was most likely a dominatrix of some sort who had this great idea of starting a shoe shining business . . .a topless shoe shining business. My dad would just laugh at her and say “I think they’d rather you be shining something else!” She was a big woman. Well, in comparison to me, I guess. I remember her as some gargantuan, curvaceous figure with blond hair and a penchant for pleather outfits. She worked and lived with me for two week before being caught with BJ in the basement. “Haley. Just remember that you have power. Women have power.” “But, I don’t want power.” “What do you want?” “I just want to be loved for who I am,” I answered in all my pre-teen naivete. “Ha! I give you until you’re 21. Love is weak. Not to mention, you live with your dad so good luck with that.”

It seemed that everyone knew something about my dad that I had not yet learned.

Then, there was Diana – the ex 18th Street gang member in her mid-30’s who would regale me with tales of gang bangs, drive by shootings, and “one for [her] homies.” “They’re still your homies . . . even though they, like, raped you?” “It’s a complicated thing, you know.” Uhhhkay, lady. To me, she was the most tragic. She lacked the balls the previous women had. Her boyfriend was in jail (and yep, she had a teardrop tattoo!). She had two daughters aged 15 and 17 – I went to Universal Studios with them once. That was a trip. They liked me though. “You’re pretty smart for a 12 year old. How do you have time to read so much?” “I, uh, don’t have any friends or a life,” I would answer back. The 15 year old tried to convince me to let her do my eyebrows and make me over, but my dad was totally against that (“My daughter will not look like a tramp!”) She had a cholo boyfriend and was obsessed with TuPac. She hated my dad. Her kids lived with their father above a restaurant in Echo Park. Their father had a new baby and I had a very strong feeling that the girls were mistreated by the step mom. Diana had some problems with alcohol in the past and you could tell being around them that the emotional wounds had yet to be healed. Despite all this, Diana had a very good heart and was very high spirited. Occasionally, she stumbled in my room drunk and whispered funny stories about Echo Park in the 1980’s, but the stories always took a dark turn and she often passed out crying. I would get out of my bed and give her a hug, but that would only make her cry more. “Mija, I feel very sorry for you. You don’t have a mother. Even with all my problems, my kids still had a mother.” I would shrug and say, “C’est la vie.” “You’re too young to be so settled. Oh, wait until you’re a teenager. Your father doesn’t know who he is a raising!”

The rest of the women aren’t worth remembering to me – they were weak, pathetic, sad, desperate. Like the 28-year- old who took me to get stoned with her and some guy she met at a beeper store. We wandered around the streets of Van Nuys in the middle of the night and watched Colin’s Sleezy Friends on public access t.v. She did agree to marry my dad, but decided that she had a few wild oats that still needed to be sown and tried to hook him up with her mom.

But, there was Lisa – the Australian export who lived with me the longest. I called her my “nanny” and she had some serious issues. In her late 30’s, she often stumbled in my room drunk and crying. I have to admit – I latched onto her the most. She was the last in the line of “rescues” and probably deserves her own entry. I think she succumbed to addiction as well. When I was 16 years old, I received a phone call from her: “Haley! It’s Lisa!” “Lisa! Oh my god! How are you?!” “It sure is raining, isn’t it?” “No . . . not really!” “Bye Haley!” Click. Weirdest non conversation of my life. After that, my dad’s misogyny shot off the charts and he ended up just using prostitutes for what they set out for. Despite the fact he had me shacked up with all the women above, he really thought that I was totally naive and wouldn’t figure out that the cracked out 19 year old in his bedroom was being paid to be there!

All in all, I realized growing up that I did not want to be them. I genuinely loved and cared for some of them. They were kind to me at a time when no one else was. They bought me books and horchata, but I never wanted to be like that. So desperate and so sad. Despite their calling, you could tell they were always just looking for love, but being unable to love themselves . . . it never happened. They were more or less the Cabiria’s of my life – though some were more desperate than the others. I felt extremely sad when they disappeared. They thought they had power, but it came from someone else. I learned pretty young that that kind of power is not real. I saw “Anne” on the streets when I was 17 and going to the library. She didn’t recognize me at first. All the women and my coworkers had joked that I would end up growing up into some subculture (“There is no way that girl is going to be normal!” “I hope she turns super goth – that would be hilarious!” “I think Haley is going to be pretty punk rock.”).

“Hey, it’s me – Haley! From the coffee house?”

“I knew it!” she said. “I knew you were going to be rocking the knee high doc martins!”

“Really? Ha ha ha. Yeah, they take forever to lace. How are you?”

“Oh, I’m good. Making it by. Look at you! You sure grew up! How about that shoe shining business.”

“Some things don’t change, eh?”

“How are you, Haley? You know I always remembered you. I think we all remember you.”

“Really? That’s weird. I’m good. You know – still working and going to school. Looking forward to moving out.”

“So, you’re a party girl now, huh?”

“Not really. I mean, sometimes, but not really.”

“Do you have a boyfriend?”

“Not right now.”

“Good girl. Remember – power!”

“Yeah, whatever! ha ha ha.” We hugged each other and I crossed the street and started walking down Ivar.

“Hey, Haley! One more thing. Is your dad dead yet?”

“Not quite!”

“That’s a fucking shame. Find me when he is, yeah?”

“You’re insane!”

“Not insane – just powerful. Topless shoe shining – let me know when you’re interested!”

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Spring 07

So, last year, at this time – I used to drink a lot. And, apparently, when I drank a lot – I liked to ramble. So, I figure – for the sake of remembering why I quit drinking – I’ll post the embarrassing rambles here. Muahahahaha.  and, no, it’s not poetry. I have never written poetry.

I count the fact we’ve been apart
And yet…it doesn’t seem like it’s been so long.
And, I know that you’re still looking at photos of me (sometimes)– because you told me there was a box
But I don’t remember them
Because I mailed them in an envelope.
To try to forget.
I now wonder if they ever existed.
Once in a while I will pass that apartment with the holes and the tears and the mess:.
But I laugh now (well, sometimes)
And I think . . . did all that happen?
I used to say I would never know break until we broke.
But I realized I was broken long before.
And I’m sorry for any pressure
But I’m not sorry for any pain.
And I know happiness now
And happiness was never meant to be for us.
But – I can’t help but wish sometimes
For the time before my heart knew the cracks.
There was just you and me – and an old stained red couch. Some coupons and t.v. and a mattress on the floor
And a desperate desire to make it fit.
Maybe it’s not so much that I miss you.
It’s just.– what is there to do?
I want you to know
You had my all – and that’s something no one else will.
So I hope my all is in that box of yours and that one day you
Will pass it on
Or maybe mail
it to Africa.
Where I might find it in the desert while I’m trying to “rescue the world” – not your world of course –
And I will laugh
And remember myself at 19
And maybe then I’ll be ready.
Of course, it always sounds better to music..but you can’t expect that much from me.

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