I had a dream I was with a woman. She was brown and slender, tall and linky like a string bean. We met in the top floor of a building, shaped like an attic, where artists and students do laundry and record songs. She looked like this one actress — the love interest playing opposite Keenan Thompson in Fat Albert.
She peeled out of her clothes and applied herself to me like a salve that was homemade. She was smooth. I had to catch myself; I almost handled her like men have handled me, like if wolves had human, male hands.
I couldn’t hold her tight enough. My right hand swept a pathway from her thigh to her buttock to her teeny waist and back like a meditation, or a ski slope.
I was afraid of messing it up, I remember. I wanted to be trustworthy and not break her. And I wanted to not want to break her, but I did. I did want to. (In retrospect I’d also like to be better than to think anyone could be broken, or made, the way I’ve thought of myself in the past.)
I wanted to absorb her, as if by consuming her, I would get to reencounter her and have her with me all the time. And I’d never have to be dissappointed when one day, the person she woke up as, was no longer interested in getting to know me again.
I wonder if this sort of fantasy about consuming in order to neutralize the “other” is how most of us understand desire, in a very capitalistic way: dominate so that you never have to be truly known by anyone, ever.
And I wonder: do I want to be with this woman, or do I want to be her? Someone who, at least in my dream, seemed so safe with herself, as a feminine person.
Somehow, next, we were on a picnic blanket outside on my street, just under one of the light poles. Audio seemed to be playing out of a nearby tree: an audio book on bugs. A man towered over us while we sat half-up and against each other, me supporting her it so happens, like couples do at an outdoor movie or open air concert. She and I watched that man dual with a cop car like a bull and bull fighter. I don’t know which is which in this comparison.
There was a crowd, blue and red lights, and that bug story playing in the tree. A soundtrack to a whole scene out of a full-length motion picture.
I just remember feeling safe, amused, and aware of how at-home hostile situations had become. And relieved. That a woman like her — unambiguously feminine — could be with a woman like me, neither of us having to be particularly butch to compliment each other (the way hetero-narratives say). I could be as femme as I wanted to be, and boyish at times, all in the same body, and she was still with me.
I suspect that the feminine element that I’m attracted to, in the dream and in my life, in myself, in other people and in non-human and inanimate things, is also the thing that I’ve rejected or obscured in myself, because I learned it was unsafe to be feminine and alive.
Have I emmulated my aggressors in this way?
I’m reminded of my father and the men I love, people who have learned to demonize the feminine as a tenant of manhood. And when they have starved themselves, they go looking for it, exoticizing it, devouring it, marrying it as an accessory to themselves, trivializing it, and calling the people who express it without fear or shame trivial, too. When really, it’s quite threatening to these men, and not a game at all, to have the self they’ve built be illuminated for the artifice it is. They’ll kill for it. They’ll kill the truth in anyone they claim to love, including themselves, if it means keeping up the lie that they made themselves, chiselled every muscle from stone. That water is not what brought them here, that water is not what keeps them alive, that water is not what gives them liiife.
I mean to heal this part of my inheritance. The part that says I can’t be in the world as my self all the way.