Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sunday Top Ten: Promise I'll be Perfect From Now On

This week's Sunday Top Ten is Crystal's fault, kinda -- I like to absolve myself of blame straight away. I'd told her a hands-down totes fantastic story about listening to The Bible Experience on audiobook, which I later related here, and she suggested: "That would be an interesting/hilarious blog, you could call it 'Sunday Top Ten: Times I've Cheated to Win the Hearts of Others.' Actually that's a really crap title. This is why I don't have a blog audience." She's just being self-deprecating, obvs, she's got quite an audience considering she deletes her blog every two days, an action I've only had the courage to do once, and I didn't delete it, I just made the whole thing private for about ten hours. Everyone freaked out and thought I'd died. Seriously, if I'd died, I wouldn't've deleted my myspace profile first, which I did that same night. Rough night.

Anyhow, I tried but honestly couldn't think of ten times I've cheated to win the hearts of others ... then I considered "Things I've Done to Win the Hearts of Others" ... salivated over the idea of publicly stating my heaps of selfless grand gestures, supreme gifts and extraordinary efforts of relationships past, then realised that'd mostly be an exercise in self-congratulatory pride, fun for me, less fun for you ...

... then several un-interesting topic-morphs later, this became what it is, "Things I've Picked Up from the Fire" .... or "You Might Wanna Change Me, If You Met Me," which's funny because halfway into this thing I saw Crystal'd updated her blog [she's likely to delete it before I finish this paragraph so that may be a dead link] and she'd touched on this topic -- you know, but maybe not funny, coincidence = "clear signs of divine oversight" ... Anyhow, on seeing her ex next year: "I'd like to make some changes before then ... not because she didn't like me, she really did, that's the problem. She likes retards, so next time I see her I'd like to not be retarded. The need for change is not only about her though, she may be the least of it. It's also because if I keep going to the way I am ..."

Sooo .... relationships are not easy. I'm not in one or anything, but I've been, and I've got friends that are/were and it seems the topic of "how much can you change for someone" has been consistent issue and conversation topics w/my friends over the past several months -- how do you draw the line between what you're doing in light of them and what's too much? -- as Carrie Bradshaw said: "When does compromise become compromising?" For example in my last relationship I was unwilling to give up Satan-Worship, gluttony and my relationship with Lozo, I felt that would've been compromising. JK. Long story. [Good story.]

Sometimes, people want other people to change. Change is also not easy. Howevs, sometimes you're like: you know what, good point. This is something about myself I'd like to work on, and this is something that would benefit both of us and me especially in the long run, or like I wanted to read that book anyhow.

Angela : So, you and Kyle broke up? I mean, was there like, a reason?
Sharon : I guess -- I'd have to say -- it was my beliefs. I didn't feel -- like I should -- give up my beliefs. Even, even for Kyle.
Angela : So how do you, like -- I mean, you just -- *told* him that you didn't wanna have sex with him, no matter how much he was like expecting it?
Sharon : Oh, no. Oh, no, no. We had sex. I'm saying I had a belief that he was being a butthead, which was true.
-My So Called Life, Episode #13, "Pressure"

So anyhow, sometimes, you fight about behavior for eons, try to change for each other, flip fault like your brain's alternately treading water and breath-holding diving ... only to discover underneath all of that effort: you've just got different personalities. No one's wrong or right, no one's got big problems needing immediate fixing ... you're just not right together right now or possibly ever.

Sometimes, I feel like it's almost easier to be with someone who's nothing like you on the surface 'cause then you're forced to look for more essential similarities right away, rather than proceeding on a base level assumption that you're on the same page when in fact, you just like the same movies and have similar friends. You know?

When do you stop trying to make it work? When does it stop being good enough to be worth the actual time -- the actual minutes of life you're willing to devote to something ultimately temporary, preventing the entrance of other possibilities -- it's often argued that people don't ever really change, or that you can't change who you are, you can only change how you act or react. I think people can change, but finding a person at a point when the change you require is the change they can provide--that's tough. So often we're propelled into things when a piece of our soul recognises something beautiful and similar in the other but so often, timing is everything. So often, timing is tragedy. So often, timing is nothing, people are tragedy, so often, who the fuck knows.
Larry: Everyone learns, nobody changes.
Anna: You don't change.
-Patrick Marber, Closer
"People don't change, Wolverine. You were an animal then, and you're an animal now."
-X-Men 2
"There are the people who you've known forever who know you in this way that other people can't because they've seen you change. They've let you change."
-"Angela," My So-Called Life
"I won't mistake you for problems with me."
-Tegan & Sara, "I Won't Be Left."
Sunday Top Ten: They Made Me Do It
OR Things We Picked Up in the Fire,
and Either Kept or Discarded
in which I refer to many different people as "X,"
don't get confused. Not all the same person. That'd be a very schizo person. Haha! HA!!!


10. Smoking (Doesn't Stick)

I'm the most impressionable cigarette smoker ever. I've previously met non-smokers whom I've told "Oh yeah, smoking, gross, would never do that," revealing nothing of my past affections. Meanwhile, I'll date a smoker, and then start smoking. I never get addicted [Seriously; no denial here, I'm pretty open about my vices], it's just like "Oh, you're having one? I'll have one." Things'll end because things often do: and always, always, a partial pack remains. Theirs or mine --so I open the partial pack, I finish it. Ash builds at the base of a glass jar that once held a cheap candle. And then I toss it.

9. Lifting (Didn't Stick)
X asked me to meet him at the gym. I didn't know, I was 18, was it a date? In public high school, it seemed date #1 --for my friends obvs as I got no play in public high school -- was "making out while drunk in your friend's basement," and in boarding school, I dunno, the same thing but in the woods? No, JK. The Mel-Caf obvs. X told me it was a date, later, after, when we were at dinner.

X was 27, I felt grown-up like a girl in a magazine. X made me do stuff with free weights. "I just do the lat pulldown and cardio," I'd confessed though really I knew better. But X made me lift with him, said I needed to get strong, and then I got comfortable enough to do it on my own. Then I left New York, and him, and muscles eventually too. I prefer to be dainty, like a willow in the breeze.
8. Watching Movies Again (Stuck)

Me: "Whatcha doin'?"
X: "Lebowski."
Me: "Again?"
X: "I love Lebowski."
Me: "Whatcha doin'?"
X: "Watching Super Troopers."
Me: "Again?"
X: "It's so funny. Wanna come over?"
Me: "And watch Super Troopers?"
X: "It's so funny."

I'd never really understood why people re-watch movies, I'd get so restless. It was hard enough for me to pay attention the first time around, let alone the second time -- I get it now, all the things you miss the first time around sometimes, and it's satisfying in that way as life itself rarely is -- do-overs, you get it, really get it this time. Or something like Reality Bites that seemed boring and retarded the first time (1994) and like it'd been coiled straight outta my soul the second time (2005). But then I started to understand the entirely separate but totes valuable aspect of re-watching films, one of these being that if you wanted to make out instead you could I guess -- anyhow it provides something else entirely the 10th or 11th time, it's like soup or a blanket or something. I own DVDs now. I like them in the background sometimes; Gia, Almost Famous, St. Elmo's Fire, Breakfast at Tiffany's.

7. December is Darkest, in June There's The Light, But This Empty Bedroom Won't Make Anything Right, June July August September October I'm Alive November December Yeah All Through The Winter I'm Alive (Didn't Stick)
It seemed like X and I had tickets upon tickets to things; like every time we considered breaking up, in the back of my mind I'd be like "Fuck, what about the Pistons tickets? What about the Unwritten Law tickets?" or whathaveyou. Life became concert-and-sporting-event-centric, which felt-grown up to me, like these suburban pleasures based on national tours 'cause nothing exciting happened organically out there, but really, that was just the beginning of what X was willing to line up overnight for, I felt like X was on a calender that was light years more organised and boring than mine, that X knew where he wanted to be next year and what row and aisle number, I didn't even know what music I'd like then. Or maybe my favorite player was about to get traded, or maybe I'd have finally run away.

I want to be able to plan that far in advance. I want that really bad, sometimes.

6. Embracing Debt (Durrrr)

Before I met X, who was in Law School, I was unaware that one had the option to NOT pay off one's credit card at the end of the month. X was a Master of Debt. We'd get back to X's Brooklyn Heights apartment and X'd beeline for his computer to log that day's receipts on Quicken. One summer in L.A., X lived off of credit cards -- making cash withdrawals to enable minimum payments. X often said: "I'm the master of my debt" and "I have perfect credit." Amazed by the unused line of personal credit I had available, X encouraged me to take advantage of it, not be so uptight. And so: here we are, kids.

Maybe I would have been
Something you'd be good at
Maybe you would have been
Something I'd be good at.
-Tegan & Sara, "Call it Off"

5. I Bet it Stung, Don't Get so Uptight, Don't Get So Uptight ... (Didn't Stick)

X didn't like it when I made fun of him. Something about our sense of humors didn't exactly work together, which was odd, as we were described as "the funniest guy in school and the funniest girl in school," as if our relationship was instant comedy gold. Sometimes it was, but sometimes it really wasn't. I'm aware that making-fun-of-someone often veers into cruel and low-blow territory, with humor used to mask deep-rooted and vicious truths, but I don't do that, I'm just mean when I wanna be mean, not funny, anyhow I tried to be nicer. Now I just know I can't deal with sensitive people, or people who are sensitive to me specifically for whatever reason, like past insecurities/problems whatevs whatevs. You've gotta be able to take it -- and dish it out -- or it just won't work.

4. Blogging my Life Away (Stuck, Obvs)
I don't think I ever woulda started a blog if X didn't have one. I was like "what is this blog thing? And how is it different than livejournal?" She showed me the light.

Also, I've literally had three requests for additional photographs of X's ass, previously the center of attention when I used these old photos of us in my Dream Jobs Sunday Top Ten and It's Not What You're Like, It's What You Like Sunday Top Ten. I'd ask her if it's okay to post additional photos, but that'd be a little awkward, so I'll just do it. If I had that ass, I'd want it photographed and displayed as often as possible.

Also, FYI, this was X's comment-response to the multitude of ass-compliments received following the March post, which's brill: "Oh my ass is FAMOUS! There are so many people that I would like to thank ... Riese for making this public announcement on my "somewhat perfect' feature (and for buying us those amazing matching boy shorts which read "Hands where I can see 'em" and which perfectly hug my curves), Blox-tox for saying 'Carmen Morales perfect' which made my day, my Mom b/c I believe I inherited this ass, and by gym Maxim where cardio machines make it all that it can be!"

3. Being Blonde (Stuck)

My hair stopped being naturally blonde in the early 90's, but I've been dying my hair for so long that I forgot what my natural hair color was 'til I let it all grow out about two years ago as part of my Low-Maintenance Movement. Haviland [no point in X'ng dear Hav] saw my old photos and immediately launched a personal campaign to convince me that I had to go back to blonde, get highlights, etc. I'm not opposed to these campaigns--I wouldn't kiss my high school boyfriend unless he'd done his hair the way I liked it. When I showed up at her apartment re-blonded, the second line out of her mouth was "Omigod, we're going to look SOOOOO hot on the cruise!" Agreed. See, here's a "before" and "after":
"You're happy if the thing you naturally want makes the other person happy.
If it's not that way, then I don't know. I guess you're in limbo."
-Richard Ford, Wildfire

2. Ending Teeny-BopHood (Stuck Obvs)

Email, 1998:
This following excerpt is from an email I sent Jake on May 13, 1998. It's brill in how it addresses how Ryan changed me and also how little I've changed since then. Also, "phat as hell" should probs like, come back. That's ace.

"This summer, I'm gonna tear down all those fucking pictures of Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes and Jared Leto from my wall. And take down that stupid bulletin board. If Ryan's taught me anything, it's that the whole Leonardo DiCaprio thing is totally fucking crazy ... I mean, what is that? He's not even fucking real! I need to get that shit off my walls, or get over that phase, as Ryan calls it, my 'teen bop' thing, but I can still have my guilty pleasures, e.g., 90210. I saw Dawson's Creek today! It was fucking awesome, just because it sucks that much. i think it's hilarious how stuff like that can almost make me cry. But I'm going to tear down all those pictures, throw them away, and turn half of my room into an office, like where I can write, and its' gonna be my computer, like maybe some pictures, like those postcards, and I can sit there and work on my novel, write letters, listen to music. It'll be phat as hell."

1. Attempting to Understand Republicans (Ugh.)

Sometimes I joke that if Kerry'd won in '04, it's possible my relationship with X coulda lasted a little longer, though ultimately we just weren't right together and X was ready to be a grownup and I was ready to make out with as many girls as possible. I had a lot of anger towards the Republicans and the Country and 'cause X was really the only Republican I knew, I took a lot of it out on him. X wasn't a fan of Bush, but X said "I'm not gonna vote for fucking KERRY," and then I stabbed his eyes out with the overgrown fingernails of unaborted babies and fire-bombed his room, killing all the women and children. And (and!!) the rest of X's family was totes liberal. Last time I saw X, he said he's a registered Democrat now, "cause of Bloomberg." Amazing.


"I'm not unfaithful,
but I'll stray."
-Tegan & Sara
We're left with style,
a particular way of standing and saying,
the idiosyncratic look
at the frown which meas nothing
until we say it does. Years later,
long after we believed it peculiar
to ourselves, we return to love.
We return to everything,
strange, inchoate. Like living
with someone, like living alone,
settling for the partial, the almost
satisfactory sense of it.
-Stephen Dunn, "Essay on the Personal"


Crystal said...

Even though the topic morphed, I'm going to change 'interesting/hilarious' to 'amazing/awesome'.

I would agree that that it's easier to be with someone who is nothing like you - I kind of feel that they're less inclined to change you, that the differences are so big that there's just no point, it would take too long.

It'll be phat as hell made me LOL. Almost as much as Claire Danes does. I hope neither stick.

Lozo said...

i hate that only certain pics are blowupable.

red said...

"So often we're propelled into things when a piece of our soul recognises something beautiful and similar in the other but so often, timing is everything. So often, timing is tragedy. So often, timing is nothing, people are tragedy, so often, who the fuck knows"

effing awesome. you write the way i want to write.

Anonymous said...

Re: How you changed for relationships

"How was that drive-by shooting?

You don't care how it *was*, you're lucky to get out alive."

I really like this post.

P.S. I had the 'romeo' poster of leo on my wall for 3 years...I think that made me want to smoke because it looked so I get points for combining my compromises???


The Spaz said...

I gave up meat for a girl once. I went a whole month before it got the better of me. I ended up breaking up with her on my cell at BK. "Hear this noise? Its my whopper cookin' bitch!"

It actually wasn't, I was really drunk and making fake sizzling noises into the phone. While my idiot friend was making bird calls.

Mercury said...

I love that things either stuck or didn't. And that with the grandiose intro, 80% of the things were small things. And the things that did stick maybe you were just coming to anyway. People don't change people, I think, we change but along some path that outside influences have little to do with. Or else I think that every iota of my person was influenced and defined by people I've known and loved and mimicked. So I dunno. I'm confused now.

Ollie said...

Nice post Riese!
I stoppped wearing heels for a man.That was a mistake, I love heels and everytime he would say:"We're just the same size" in a smug way, like he'd domesticated the tall French girl, I wanted to yell at him and say:"Well, yeah, when you're wearing your DOC MARTENS, you stupid person.I'm wearing FLATS."
Riese is your size ever a problem for your BF/GF?
The Spaz, I'm a vego and your comment made me cry with laughter. If I have to be broken up with, I want it to be that way. With fake sizzling noises.

Peach said...

erm, I might be quitting my job, renting out my house and leaving for africa. for a guy. er.... not sure how I feel about that...

riese said...

crystal: Thank you Crystal, for your unconditional love. That's a good new point about the differences being too big to change. When Haviland read this she said "'phat as hell' made me laugh too," and I just realised that was a reference to your comment.
lozo: I hate that only certain fingers are blowable.
[that doesn't make sense, but um, maybe this will.]
red: thank you.
christine:amazing integration of mscl quotes into the perfect sitch. brill, really, how they touched on so many things ... my friend actually got me a bw print of claire danes looking at the fish-tank from r&j and I kept that up for a long time ... beautiful picture ... points, absolutely points.
the spaz: I took up meat for a boy once. That sentence can mean so many things, but it only means what I mean it to mean, but I'm going to leave it anyhow. That's the best breakup message ever. I should've called him and been like "hear that? t hat's the sound of soybeans being harvested!"
mercury: I love that you noticed that -- I did too, when I was reading through it, like "jeez, way to not really 'go there' after all, autowin." I think that the people we chose to be around and therefore influence us is a conscious choice that our real selves make, so what comes after that is no less real ...
ollie: I love that you call it my "size." Haha, anyhow, yeah my first BF wore doc martens which really helped that he was 5'8. Height in a guy really turns me on, i'm not gonna lie, like guys under 5'9 just don't seem like "men" to me.

No, I always state that I won't date any guy under 5'10, but somehow I manage to do date guys right on the edge of 5'10 and 5'11 -- usually they don't care, I'm the one who cares. I wore sandals to prom both years to avoid being taller, and didn't even own heels in college. I usually date tall girls, actually, which's funny, but it's much less an issue with girls unless they make me feel like an Amazon, which's often, but not as bad as feeling that way about a guy.
peach: I think if all the parts of your heart want it, then its okay. I mean, Africa, you know, is um, wow, Africa! Not like, the best place to go alone, but there've been some good movies about that. I've always wanted to go there.

Rebecca said...

I love that you mention Reality Bites. When I first saw it, I thought, "Oh wow, I know JUST HOW THEY FEEL." Then when I watched in a couple of years later in my intense career girl phase, I thought, "Wow, what a bunch of losers, stop whining and GET A LIFE." Now that I am a lost post-grad again, yeah, back to totally knowing how they feel.

Excellent post, Riese (Reise? All of a sudden I'm retarded). A pleasure to read.

Adam said...

I was all extra gonna take a break from my recent comment binge and sit this one out, but then you posted that link in your comment, and I felt it deserved a thank you.

Thank you.

Lozo said...

i meant the afro one. i'm over lo's ass.

Haviland said...

this is great. obvs.

oy what a time we're having.

MoonKiller said...

Well people do say it's a blame blame society nowadays, or something. I'm tired I've no clue what I'm talking about. And I've no clue what I'm reading, like it's reading the words not sentences. Like Lindsay on The OC. So. I'm going to read this again tomorrow when I'm awake. And I'll try to get past the first sentence/18 words next time.

[what was the point of that comment? It has none thank a-you]

dewey said...

"I've heard it said, that people come into our lives for a reason, bringing somthing we must learn and we are lead to those that help us most to grow if we let them and we help them in return"

Now who knows what that's from??

riese said...

rebecca: Yeah I was like "wtf? why does she care so much about ben stiller fucking up her show?" and "wtf? get off the couch." and now I'm like "holy shit, this is the story of my life."


adam: breaks are no good. you're welcome.


lozo: You might be kidding, but also, you're on drugs, so who knows.


haviland: oy, obvs.


mk: Who was Lindsay on the O.C. [still-a-awesome-totes]


dewey: Wicked, holla!

k to the lilly said...

Um, it's my bday in two days, so if you guys could like, make me a video blog too, that would be cool. I'll put it up on my myspace page for all the reno lezzies to check out. P.S. Hav can sing Kelly Clarkson all she wants. Or Guns N Roses. Whatever. :)

Razia said...

I used to be like that with smoking, then one day it just stuck. Funny.

You should only embrace 13% of your credit level for good credit history. Anything more or less is not good. That being said, my card is maxed out. Correction, my card has been maxed out for the past 10 months.

cait said...

why wouldn't you give up satan worship? that seems like a reasonable compromise to me.

"When does it stop being good enough to be worth the actual time -- the actual minutes of life you're willing to devote to something ultimately temporary, preventing the entrance of other possibilities"

love it

riese said...

k-lilly: What if I dressed up Haviland in a bathtub filled with rose petals, like in American Beauty, and then fired a gun into the air while she sang "behind these hazel eyes"? That'd be totes hot right? Yeah it would. So ... if there was no time to make a timely birthday vlog, what would be your second choice? ok ... third? xoxo
razia:I don't even know what 13% of my credit level is, but I have a feeling I've exceeded it.
cait: That's the thing about Satan, you know? Hard to shake.