Chez Madeleine

Thursday, April 26, 2007


I think that what defines us is our ability to remain true to what is important when we are threatened. Think about those who you know who have had their hearts consumed by divorce, rejection, failure, or heartache. Slowly, the worms of pain weave themselves in and out of their skin, eating until nothing is left. Only bitterness and bile. Negativity and glass-half-empty.

I'm trying to rise above myself and look down. I'm trying to exit my body and be my own friend. I'm trying to explain away the irrational by looking at how much worse things could be.

But my fear is that if I'm not bitter, they'll think that I've forgiven them. That for a moment, or a long string of them, they will feel justified, that their guilt will go away and they'll say "see, we always knew she'd come around." That somehow I'll be their secret, silent accomplice.

And yet kindness comes up as easily as vomit when you're trying to gag yourself. You want it to come, you want to feel better, you want the room to stop spinning, so you stick your finger as far as it can go and hope and pray it will come. I'm down there, scratching at my throat looking for the me who can forgive.

And it makes me question why I value their guilt so much. Why I want them to feel sad about hurting me. Even when I know I'm defined by how I behave in situations like these.

My friend Melissa calls me an old soul. So today, and tomorrow and the next, I'll try to believe her, and I'll tell myself that this isn't the first time (or the first lifetime) where I've had to challenge myself to be better than I want to be.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Women. You can't live with them, and you can't live without them. Ehem. Actually, I can't live with them and I can't live with them. They're my mother, my sister, and my friends.

When I think about my relationships, the ones I've had with women are the most complicated and the most rewarding, and the most risky.

Tonight, I was betrayed by a friend. Someone who I had opened up to, who I had shared everything with. Someone who knew me inside and out. The friend who said, "don't call him when you're feeling mad or sad--call me. tell me those things. he's not worth it. I'll listen and I'll field your screaming pain, and I'll understand." and I did. I told her everything. My worst fears come true. The things you only tell your diary. And I told her.

And she took those pieces of me, and she shared them with him, and she betrayed me. She holed up with him on a couch somewhere, curled up like we used to, and they whispered about me and laughed about me. And in that moment she took me and flushed me down the toilet. She is the kind of woman who actually thinks that men change. She thinks that he treated me like "this", but that he'll treat her differently. That he only acted that way because of me. But that she'll be different. She's willing to sacrifice a friendship to find out the hard way that that never happens. That he'll never change.

And then there are other women. The kind that tell me that I'm worth a thousand of her. The kind who take their crappy days, and their crappy relationships and put them aside to sit with me and listen to me cry, and moan, and complain, and weep, and scream. The kind who say "I know exactly how you feel. And its not crazy. And we love you anyway."

And that's the difference. There are women make you proud to be women, and there are those who you file away with old tax returns and receipts and buttons for clothes you will never repair.

We all know women like this. And most of us are damn lucky to know the difference. Take the ones who you know are true, and love them to death, and tell them how lucky you are to have them. I will do that. I will never make a mistake in telling the difference again.

Friday, April 13, 2007



Fuck food. Sometimes when I can't fall asleep I try to count how many skinny single women I know and how many fat single women I know. I compare them. I try to write a formula that will predict whether I will ever end up with someone. One size 4. Single. One size 12. Single. No dice.

Where is the fois gras and the marshmallow cream when I need it? Why doesn't it fill the void that I feel. It makes me full, but life sometimes leaves me empty. I hum my favorite song to hold back the tears. Like you used to do when you had to get a booster shot. Taste the tears as they're falling. And then my cat does too. Crying feels like eating. A letting go. An indulgence. Leaves you puffy and hurting. Salt-stained and red.

A woman saved her husband from a mountain lion. Stabbed it with her purse pen to save his life. And I stand in my panties in my living room and cry. That's love. Saving someone from a wild animal. But how often do we get the chance to make those grand gestures? Instead, we grow up on Say Anything and Sixteen Candles and we expect someone to be outside our window with a boombox when we get in a fight. And we wake up disappointed and disillusioned.

And then there are the dreams. Of exes. Of trauma. Of making love and of eyelashes blowing in the wind. The dreams where I'm drowning or giving birth. What do they mean?

I see the yellow flowers in the jar, and it reminds me of the jar where our biology teacher used to keep a brain. Preserved in its gray matter. Eternally thinking: how did I end up in this jar? And then there are the pansies that grow near the entrance of Emory, that get ripped up every two weeks. And it makes me think of our pursuit of perfection. Ripping up perfectly good flowers only to replant in a different shade of purple. Like a bruise, changing its color over the week, healing and then turning brown and yellow before the new pink skin pokes through.

And so I guess I can only hope that my purpleness, my rawness, and my tears will give way to that ugly brown and yellow that will mean healing and new skin to come. New skin that's never been touched by tears or even the sun or wind. And then I will allow myself, all over again, to be exposed. To be sunburnt. To be scratched. And I will hope that one day I will heal again.