Delilah, a Paglian Feminist
who didn't prescribe to the idea of victimization, was a landscaper
who loved cultivating the earth. Puerto Rican, big butt, small
waist and big expressive eyes -- but dressed better than Ms.
When I told her of my past
relationships,she smiled, "Miha, you need to get your head
out of your ass. Those bitches sounds crazy."
I fell head over heels pretty
fast. I would help her haul mulch and potting from the horticultural
center. She'd educate me on the nature of bugs and plants and
how all the elements work in balance. "Not like people so
much," she sighed. "Nature is perfect even in her flaws."
After a few years Delilah got
a grant to go study horticulture in Peru. I was happy for her,
but devastated. She'd be gone for six months and at times in
remote areas with no internet or cell phone access -- not even
a Whole Foods!
While she's away, I'm in
my secret place. In my secret place, I'm Natalie Young, the teenager
from New York who got suspended for wearing a "Barbie is
a Dyke" t-shirt.
Then I get a call from someone
named Xochicateca. Said was a botanist from the reserve. She
had a soothing voice and pleasant manner, but something seemed
"Delilah had you down
as her -- em -- novia, si? Well, a few days ago we had
a ritual in the jungle, as part of our homeopathic research.
We distill an indigenous root and flower blossoms which the native
peoples drink. Em
unfortunately Delilah she
adverse reaction to this. We in a remote area... by the time
medivac came she was in... eh... cómo usted dice arrest?
Mis apologías de mi corazón
I woke up a few days later
at the WHC clinic. Olga was there, holding my hand and reading
a Joni Mitchell poem from my bed side. Apparently I'd gone on
a bender for several days. Security at the End Up found me slumped
in a corner holding a cracked disco ball, a boob hanging out
of my tank top.
She fucking died on me! What the fuck? Could I be more cursed,
more doomed to a life of loneliness and despair? I finally found
someone who was genuine, caring and loving, and finally thought
that I, Gwen the Ugly Dyke, was sexy and loved?
Then fate jacks me, killing
my girlfriend with some fucking jungle root?!
Once in a dark while, in
my secret place, I am no longer human but a fierce mutant heroine
like Rogue of the X-Men, who's greatest challenge is to avoid
sucking the life energy out of people. She can fly and wears
a cool suit.
Olga decided it was time for
serious action. She took me to Harbon Hot Springs for a month.
Her donor kids were put in the care of a collective in Ukiah,
a bunch of vegan hemp activists who practiced Pad Thai Chi and
studied the Tao of Pooh. I went there to space once, but the
giant stuffed Pooh in the living room freaked me out.
Olga had me do some serious
sweats and keifer-yoga two or three times a day. We read and
analyzed Sexual Personae and Backlash.
"Gwen," Olga would
ask me over a cup of tea. "Allow yourself to grieve the
loss, but be strong in that you had Delilah in your life and
were blessed to have had the time you shared."
"How about I just become
a crack head, lose my teeth and get Necrotizing Fascitis?"
Cold glare. Silence. Finally
a sigh. "Dear heart, I know your humor is simply a redirection
of your pain. That's part of your process."
I laughed. "My whole fucking life is pain, Olga! I just
don't know anymore." I sobbed into my cup of murky organic
tea. The thought occurred to me that a shot of JD woulda been
really cool at that moment.
stuff? I dunno. Maybe all those junkies and mentally warped,
broken-down souls were on to something. Distraction, self-abuse,
denial -- my parents' generation:
Moms in the Sixties who
used to pop pills instead of running to counseling when Jennifer
came home with a half-black baby named Malcolm.
Buckets of coke to blow
your brains out cuz Dad was a dick, Mom was indifferent, and
all the fucking in the world never made you feel really loved.
Naw, these are the days of
getting in touch with your pain, dealing with your pain,
and doing decoupage to channel your pain into some sort
of "creative energy." Gone were the days of being a
truly fucked-up mess.
Suddenly, I had an epiphany,
staring into my cup.
I bailed on Olga, left her
on the hill with the goddess salve and Bonnie Raitt CD. I got
home and in a frenzy sold most of my worldly possessions and
gave stuff away.
"'Dildos for Dummies'?
I dunno, Gwen."
"Just check it out. Strap-ons
are very user-friendly these days."
I gave my notice at the center
and recommended Fatima, an urban primitive intern from Cabrillo
College, as my successor.
I packed the hybrid and drove
right on through to Vancouver, stopping for gas and to eat.
I took odd jobs here and there
in E.VC -- the part of the city I dubbed "Girlsville."
I got a small apartment and cat I named Loverboy after the Canadian
Sometimes change can cleanse
the soul. I settled into a mellow life with Loverboy, working
as a snowshoe guide at Whistler in the winter. Eventually I met
Milk-Maid, from Alberta. We bought a small farm in British Columbia,
got a dog, and churned soy butter together. I started eating
meat again, usually when I got my period. Sometimes through word
of mouth, we'd put up a traveling baby-dyke coming through for
a week or a month. In exchange for room and board, they'd help
on the farm, cultivate the organic garden, or do odd-jobs around
That worked out swell, but
this one girl Hannah, a grad student from Ottawa, was a bit cracked
when she made a comment about one of the cows, Gertie, and her
"I hate that cow! See
how she neglects her? I bet she criticizes her, too! Yeah, I
bet she tells the baby her udders are too fat and asks why doesn't
she take it easy on the feed!"
Milk-Maid sniffed. "I
think we should let Hannah move on, eh?"
It was cool to be with a nice
Canadian dyke; to not try so hard as I used to with past partners.
She wasn't full of PC rhetoric, magic hippie potions, or ramming
Tori Amos' music down my throat. She was just a mellow normal
human being. Sorta Sarah Plain and Tall, but really into hockey
and shopping for new winter gear. She enjoyed American rap like
West Side Connection (or anything Ice Cube did), but would weep
when listening to Anne Murray's "Snowbird."
Milk-Maid did have a certain
disdain for my very American characteristics. Being impolite,
impatient and rude or not knowing much of another language other
But, the whole French-Canadian
thing was just lost on me.
"Simone de Beauvoir is
fucking French. Celine Dion is fucking Canadian!"
Milk-Maid would scowl as she slung more feed into the pig trough.
The oddest cultural observation
I had about being an expat in Canada was that there were virtually
no blacks and no Latinos, but instead gobs of whites, Asians,
and Native Canadians. A Berkeleyite's proverbial wet dream when
I considered it.
Milk-Maid always liked to have
afternoon tea with toast. I liked Canadian bacon with breakfast
and was compelled to ask what exactly makes it Canadian.
Milk Maid shrugged, "Because
it's round, eh?"
So, ultimately I found my way
in the world, in a good cozy place that allowed me to be me,
just Gwen. I may not be the hottest thing ever, but I'm happy
-- not just with Milk-Maid, but with myself, which is what I
suppose everyone back home is scrambling for, too, with their
soy chai lattes and macrobiotic Tibetan stews.
Even someone like me can end
up with the girl, which is bonus.
-- Badass Blue
January 21, 2003