This is the rawest, realest thing I’ve ever posted here but if I don’t get these words out once and for all I might explode. A lot of this has been simmering to the point of boiling over lately. I’ve found myself snapping at friends. I found myself brooding over vengeance fantasies. And last night I found myself screaming at the computer screen when I saw what women had written in reaction to Chris Brown being at the Grammys.
Can somebody please explain to me how we have come to the place where we not only turn our heads at physical violence towards women but we somehow manage to collectively ‘forget’ that it ever happened if the perpetrator is talented, charming, charismatic or ‘a really great guy when he’s not drunk’.
Yes, the big blind eye turned towards Chris Brown has had me seething for a while. The only place I’ve found antidote are in Jenny Johnson’s relentless tweets at the stupid animal.
He makes me vomit in my mouth. Not a little bit either, a lot.
The facts of what he did to his girlfriend at the time are disgusting. In case you missed them, he punched her repeatedly. He bit her in the face. He told her he was going to kill her.
Is that what you want, girls? You want a man to terrify you and hit you so relentlessly that your arms are injured from protecting your face? Maybe you think you’re being funny? Maybe you’re confusing S&M fantasies with real abuse.
S&M is about consent. About people giving and receiving pleasure through pain with the knowledge that any time it becomes uncomfortable or no longer pleasurable they can say stop. There is a great and intimate power in that kind of trust.
There is no power in being hurt against your will. The only things worse than the person inflicting the abuse are the people who choose to look the other way.
I’m unfortunately no stranger to domestic violence. I hid under many childhood beds when I was a child as my mother was slapped, punched, dragged from the room by her hair, raped and verbally abused.
It was terrifying and I did not understand why someone didn’t make it stop. Why she would forgive him. Why everyone forgot about it.
Then I grew up and found my own men. Men that would shove me hard enough so that my whole body bounced off the wall.
Sorry. They would say. But I didn’t actually hit you.
And so my friends and I would find a way to rationalise it. To make it seem like a bad dream that happened to someone else. That was inflicted by someone else. A bogeyman version of the person I loved.
Last year that all changed when a man I was in love with gave me a black eye. I did not report it to the police. I covered my bruised face up with layers of make-up and told very few people about it. I even turned up to work where we were both employed with garish foundation highlighting my pathetic attempt to cover my shame.
Because I was ashamed. I felt like I had somehow deserved it and the majority of my friends and co-workers perpetuated this. I left my job that day with my employer’s encouragement while the man who hit me stayed on. Our managers that knew about it were told to say nothing to our co-workers. Friends made appropriately horrified noises and then amended that I shouldn’t have been in such a conflicted relationship in the first place.
Yes, friends of mine said this to my face.
Why was this? Perhaps because he said that he hit me by accident. Some people seemed to focus on the fact that he had struck me with the palm of his hand instead of his fist. Perhaps because I forgave him.
These people are no longer in my life. And I’m not sorry for that. But what I am sorry for is that my shell-shocked acquiesce allowed another instance of domestic violence against a woman become whitewashed. I’m sorry that Hollywood and the media continue to do the same thing.
I want these girls who say they want to be hit by Chris Brown to think about their own accountability by perpetuating such garbage.
I want people to remember that it’s never okay. I want people to heal and become stronger than their attackers. I want them never ever think that they have to suffer anyone else’s violence ever.
I want them to forgive and not let that bitter taste eat them up. I want them to bloom.
But don’t forget, okay?
I’d like to introduce you to collaboration #53 with the gorgeous babe, Coco. The card made me chuckle but of course when I sat down and started writing a story about being topless on the beach I didn’t exactly end up with a summertime romp. Oh well, hopefully that’s why you like me…. maybe even love me?
Yeah, you love me.
But not as much as I love you.
but i want to
The sweat drips down her ribcage and she puts a hand under one breast and flicks the moisture into the sand. She lies back on her towel and parts her legs slightly so they are no longer touching. Her bikini bottoms stretch and the elastic irritates her bronzed skin.
She lights a cigarette and looks down the beach while the stale taste of tobacco swirls around her tongue. No-one was around and she takes a deep drag before extinguishing the remainder into the sand. It sticks up beside the other three she’d already smoked like little tombstones of her time here.
The beach house she was renting had hundreds of them scattered through the yard. Sometimes it was the only way she could tell how long she’d been here. The first thing she’d done when she’d arrived was to pull out the telephone and turn off her mobile. He would have to find out where she’d gone before he could convince someone to drive him down and confront her. His license had been revoked after he totalled his car high on someone else’s meds.
She lights another cigarette and pulls the string of her bikini, tossing the sodden lycra in the sand.
She turns at the masculine shout. A small, tanned man was awkwardly stomping towards her.
LADY YOU CAN’T SMOKE OR BE NAKED HERE
She sits up and squints at him making no move for her bathers as he approaches.
This seems to enrage him further and he shouts that it’s against the rules. There are signs with the rules on them. He shouts for a while before he abruptly stops, his face crumpling, and leaves with slumped shoulders.
When she puts her hand to her face it comes away wet not from sweat but from tears.
The ‘You and Me’ postcard project is back after a long, lame hiatus… which to be fair was mostly spent writing a novella that’s hopefully to be published around June to hopefully blow your socks and jocks off.
But back to ‘You and Me’. For anyone that is new or needs a refresher, the deal is this….
A project between you and me. 100 postcards. 100 stories. You send them. I write them. Each one in less than 300 words.
If you’d like to be involved please send me a postcard with a word or phrase written on it. It can be bought, found, made, stolen in any shape you like. Shoot me an email in the contact tab if you have any questions or you’re just the friendly type.
Send postcards to
you and me
PO Box 92
Thank you to Sheamus for sending in such a beautiful card and also for being so patient about seeing it up here with its story.
Sometimes he remembers everything.
The sun forces another hairline crack down his spine and hewould smile if he could. His frozen arms grip the edge of the world and he watches the specks below him move with the city around them. Once water rushed through his throat and poured like vomit away from the masonry he perched atop. He would vomit and watch lovers embrace under umbrellas in the rain, their shoes spraying small fountains as they ran. He watched them grow older, their steps less sure, sometimes slipping and breaking a brittle bone, growing into smaller specks until they were gone entirely.
Sometimes they climb and stand behind him, catching their breath at his view, their hearts beating hard from the height, their blood hot in their throat as if they too would lean over and open their mouths wide. Small and great specks lean behind him and have their photograph taken as their decomposing skin flakes onto the ledge beside him. As their skin gathers in funeral piles beside him the specks laugh and clutch his likeness in their hands. They take their proof home and take it out from time to time as they grow smaller and remember how the world looked back then. As the city burns around them. As buildings collapse. As the new specks devour everything and grow large.
Sometimes he knows nothing. Not why the dryness of his throat causes particles of powder to crumble from his empty mouth. Not the ravaged city below as his insides float to the surface. Not that he smiled for the first time as the church shuddered with an explosion and he tilted over the edge. He only knew he would have opened his arms wide as the ground rushed to meet him if he could.
Dear Drunk Me,
Remember when we first met? Down on the beach crowded around a fire with bogans in skinny jeans well before skinny jeans were ironic then just popular again. You were so confident, braying jokes and letting the alpha bogans slide their hands over your arse. You liked bourbon. Well, you drank it like you liked it.
I don’t know why I’m asking if you remember. You’re sneaky when it comes to that. I wonder what you do in those black holes? What your face looks like. Does anyone notice I’m not there anymore?
I know you like to impress friends and strangers with dolphin impressions. I know that when you find a party hat you insist to the birthday girl that it is in fact your birthday and you’d appreciate it if she’d stop trying to steal it. I know that you want to fuck everyone.
It’s like a disease. You’ve been laid so many more times that me that we don’t even exist in the same sexual stratosphere. You ride strange men like you have a whip in your hand. Sometimes you do. I think it would be nice to meet someone that wasn’t a complete jerk. You magnetise them to you.
You’re clumsy. Your mascara smudges under your eyes. The bruises on my arms and legs last for weeks. I bruise so easily and permanent. Someone looked at my legs once and asked if I was in an accident. Like a trip to hospital kind of accident. Most people think it’s rough sex. Or dudes that beat on me. You spice things up and make it all three.
I appreciate the little games and challenges you set up for me before you leave. Like the finding my house keys game. Broken necklaces. Lost bras. Unreadable scribbled epiphanies about something terribly important.
You take some serious bullshit liberties with my phone. I know it might seem like a fun toy. The buttons are shiny and bright. But sleeping friends aren’t as interested in knowing what you’re doing as you think. Nor do they want to come out and stop being such soft-cocks for staying in their beds at 4am.
My exes’ might want to hear from you but they usually don’t. It’s worse when they do and I wake up beside them.
I don’t mind apologising for you. They know what you’re like.
Everyone does. You’re likeable.
But you’re sort of a dick. You eat at 7-11 and McDonalds. Only dicks eat there. Everyone knows that. You can’t write worth a shit and you bring Hungover Me over to sloth around the house like a jerk.
But you’re around all the time. Good times. That’s you. Not as if you ever get maudlin and think about the alcoholic chain of command you’re only positive goes back as far as your mother. Not as if demons worked out over the years of meds and therapy and breathing exercises ever slink out of the wormwood.
Oh and you’ve never, ever contemplated suicide.
So you might be around for a while. I don’t know. One day I might just put the stopper back in, Jenie. I might just choose boring and nervous and socially awkward over you.
I know I’m not done with you yet. I just wonder what you’ll do with me in the meantime. And that’s the crux, huh? The wondering? Maybe you’ll behave. Maybe you’ll fuck everything up. At least you’re not predictable.
We can always agree on that.
See you soon,
P.s. Stop asking people to bite you.
lamb eats wolf has been nominated as a finalist for the 2011 Pedestrian Blogster Awards and voting is open now until the 26th of September.
If you like my words and projects and general gibberish, click on the link above and vote by clicking the like option under my icon.
It’s kind of a nice thing. I didn’t think anyone but my friends really payed attention. Or dudes trying to cyber bang me.
Ah, see, it’s probably sentences like the last one there why my mother doesn’t pay attention. Probably a good thing.
Hope you’re happy.
There are a bunch of new stories going up at HOUSEFIRE at the moment to promote NOUNS OF ASSEMBLAGE and also just to have some damn good fun with words.
The whole process behind this and most of HOUSEFIRE’S projects are to challenge writers with prompts and see what the hell comes out of that dark mess of word and image association.
The title I was given for the book was A GANG OF ELK. I don’t want to give too much away – but I came up with something to do with migraines, sexual frustration, heartbreak and masturbation. Any of you reading this familiar with me aren’t surprised in the least, I know, but that’s the best thing about this party. You kind of get strapped down and ordered to write. The masochist in me likes that a lot. So does the control freak actually.
Anyway, some of the incredible writers featured in NOUNS OF ASSEMBLAGE were given the opportunity to take another collective noun – one that’s already been written and published in the book – and come up with a teaser of sorts for the website.
So far they’ve had gems from the likes of Riley Michael Parker, Tyler Gobble, David Tomaloff, Robert Duncan Gray, Len Kuntz, J. Bradley, Stephen Tully Dierks and Drew Swenhaugen.
Babes, the lot of them.
Oh and me. If you would like to jump right to my SNEAK OF WEASEL here you go – have a nibble, then a bite, and if you like the taste go and gorge yourself on the pretty shiny book, available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Image sourced from teannagrace
If I really was a wolf instead of just a lamb that eats them, I would be howling in happiness right now, strutting around on my hind legs swinging my pocket watch that I keep in my waistcoat.
The words are going well. My favourite artist told me I was their favourite writer last night.
I wish I had recorded it so I could listen to the phrase all day like a creep.
Instead I’m going to show you something just as wonderous. The babes at HOUSEFIRE have released their FIRST BOOK, a collection that I’m lucky enough to be included in, and it’s a DOOZY.
“NOUNS OF ASSEMBLAGE, 222 pages of stunning fiction, rad poetry, clever witticisms, and slick design, can now be yours to own forever. Stories include AN AMBUSH OF TIGERS by Kevin Sampsell, A BUILDING OF ROOK by Matthew Simmons, A HUDDLE OF PENGUINS by J. A. Tyler, A BUSINESS OF FLIES by xTx, A SMACK OF JELLYFISH by Stephen Tully Dierks, AND. SO. MUCH. MORE. Like fifty-eight additional authors kind of more. It’s a pretty solid book.“
There are so many of my favourite writers in here, I get prickles knowing that my little NOUN is in there too. You can get yourself a copy here from Amazon for $12.95. Yep, a real live book with a spine and everything.
If I haven’t sold the radness enough by now, try this trailer Riley Michael Parker and Colleen Rowley made.