I have had an extraordinary 24 hours.
Last night, I went to Modell’s Sporting Goods and bought a punching bag. I did this because my therapist has been after me to find a form of exercise that was “metaphorically appropriate” to the emotional issues I’m dealing with; namely, my vast stores of suppressed rage. He thinks that “moving the energy” in a “metaphorically appropriate way” will do me no end of good.
I have to say that the idea of having something in my home whose sole purpose is for me to beat it up makes me very excited.
Then tonight I went to Our Name Is Mud, a pottery painting store, with my friend D.R. D.R. painted a beautiful vase for his brother and his brother’s fiancèe; I painted a mug for a friend of mine whose husband was recently diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. She told me at one point that she was glad she didn’t have to do her Little Mary Sunshine act with me, and I told her Little Mary Sunshine could rot in hell. She loved this image. So I painted a mug with the following (illustrated) text:
“Little Mary Sunshine went out for a walk one day. A safe fell on her and crushed her stupid head. She suffered terrible agonies before she died. Now Little Mary Sunshine is rotting in Hell forever.”
My Little Mary Sunshine was a pathetic stick figure (as is, in fact, any human being I try to draw) but she had the distinction of having repulsively curly blonde hair and a blue dress. To depict her rotting in hell, I turned her smile into a jagged line and added green and red dots to her face. The illustrations will certainly require explanation when I give my friend her mug, but I think the impact of the gift will be undiminished.
After I finished the mug, I went to join the cheerleading squad at an LGBT sports team mixer at XL, a bar in Chelsea. Now, I hate bars. They always make me desperately unhappy. They’re loud, so I can’t talk to people that I know, and smoky, so I can’t breathe, and intimidating, so I’m terrified to approach anybody. I went to this mixer fully prepared to spend a miserable hour not mixing with anybody before hightailing it out of there.
Instead, I had a totally great time.
From the instant I walked in, the cheerleaders were so supportive and welcoming that I felt like I was at a party with good friends where the music just happened to be too loud. I got a “Cheer Loud, Cheer Proud” t-shirt, which I immediately put on and then tied very tightly so as to expose some bare midriff, and a really gay silver sparkly Santa hat. The cheerleaders were the most touchy-feely group I’ve ever been a part of, and within moments I was leaning all over people, hugging them, putting my hands in their pockets, and generally being swishier than I’ve allowed myself to be in fifteen years, sucking my teeth and saying things like, “she’s such a bitch!” while pointing dramatically at a big, burly cheerleader.
I’ve said this before: it felt like home.
The only even mildly unpleasant element in all this was that I had to sell raffle tickets to people at the bar. Now, I am a reasonably attractive man; I know this. But settings like this deflate my self-confidence to such an extent that asking me to approach strangers and even engage them in conversation, much less get them to buy raffle tickets, is like asking Calista Flockheart to eat a 30-scoop Earthquake sundae from Swenson’s. It’s just not within my power to do.
So I just bought ten tickets myself and wrote the names and numbers of my friends D.R., B.N., N.M., and Y.E. on them.
But then it turned out that we hadn’t sold enough tickets, so I had to go and actually attempt to sell some.
And I succeeded. I hung out by the bathrooms and swooped down on unthreatening-looking guys, gave them a winning smile, and said, “can I sell you a raffle ticket?” And two or three of them, after some sweet-talking and eyelash-batting on my part, said yes.
I was actually able to charm men into buying raffle tickets.
I have never felt more desirable in my entire life.
So I finally left XL–having been there for over two hours and having enjoyed myself for virtually the whole time—and checked my messages on my way to the subway, and a guy I have a crush on had called me for no reason at all, just to say hi and he hoped I had a good time at the mixer.
Plus, I haven’t weighed myself in TWO DAYS.
I should probably burn myself as a heretic for saying this, but I am beginning to wonder if perhaps there aren’t some small happinesses to be found in this world.