It has come to my attention over the past few days that I need more girlfriends in Austin.
I live in a house with three respectful, clean boys, all around my age. Two of them are in grad school, and one of them is a Harvard grad who works in urban planning. They are good roommates. They clean up after themselves on most days, and they pay their utilities on time, and we text each other when someone is going to be out of town to make sure the cats are fed. It’s a good system we have, and I rarely see them on most days.
I spend roughly 30-40 compressed hours in a weekend with my bandmates, four boys. Depending on if we’re performing in the same city two nights in a row, sometimes we’ll all sleep in the same room together. We ride in a van together. We set up a stage, and then hang out, killing time before we perform. We talk about stupid and not stupid things together. My band, though not a group that we’ve chosen for ourselves but was somehow pieced together and pulled apart and pieced together in random fragments, is my family. And like any family members do, we get on each others nerves because our conditions force us to be inseparable for long stretches of time. I get home on Sunday mornings, and most weeks, I don’t see them again until Friday afternoon, when we head out to gig again. And I recover, and I spend time by myself and with other people and I eat healthy and I take care of myself.
I had to get a colposcopy done this morning. For those of you who don’t know, a colpo is when your gynecologist looks at your cervix after you get back abnormal pap results, and scrapes out tiny samples from the areas that don’t look normal– potentially cancerous areas. Those samples are then sent to a lab, and in a few weeks, I’ll find out whether or not I need to get these not-normal cells lasered off so that I don’t develop cervical cancer in the future. Or, it might be something that we’ll trust will go away on it’s own. I’ve had a colpo done before. I took a lot of painkillers right before, and it really didn’t hurt that much or take that long. Plus, I’d had the luck of having a female roommate I was good friends with drive me to and from the appointment the last time this happened.
I drove myself to the gyno today. I placed my feet in the stirrups and I scooted my butt down so that my lady parts were in her face. She inserted the speculum and I told myself to breathe, and she had a female assistant handing her tools and helping collect the samples, and dear God, it is a terrifyingly humbling thing to let someone scrape out little pieces of your lady parts. I think it took about 10 minutes to collect samples of all the abnormal areas. It felt like much longer. I kept telling myself to breathe deeply and I felt my face get tingly from potential hyperventilation. I clawed my nails into my opposite arms, as if covering my upper lady parts would stop the discomfort in my lower lady parts.
To be honest, it wasn’t terribly painful. Mostly just uncomfortable– knowing what’s going on, wanting it to be over quickly. At one point, I think to calm my nerves and discomfort, my gyno said “You’re going to feel blood trickling out, I’m sorry.” She kept apologizing. She was doing her job.
I. Lost. My. Shit.
I started bawling. On top of trying to breath deeply and think about things other than what was happening to my reproductive system, I started thinking about the few boys I’ve been intimate with in the past year, and how none of them are in my life anymore, and I started beating up on myself for jumping into things quickly– for being quick to trust, and for picking people who ultimately didn’t want to commit to a relationship with me. And I got ultra self-loathe-y in the worst place to get self-loathe-y at– laying with my feet in the stirrups at my gynecologist’s office– because what I really wanted at that moment was to have someone waiting for me, or, even better, someone in the room to hold my hand while this was happening.
But I don’t have a person. I haven’t had a person in a long time. WHO DO YOU ASK TO GO TO SOMETHING LIKE THAT BESIDES SOMEONE YOU’RE INTIMATE WITH?
I felt very, very, very, very much alone. And neglected by people I’ve loved. Every single negative feeling I could have had surfaced while blood dripped out of me onto that medical table. It was not one of my finer moments.
I wanted to cry to someone after and share this with them– just how disappointed and hurt and how much I hate this hookup culture my godforsaken generation lives in because I’ve listened to my girlfriends talk about their boyfriends– both good things and bad things– and boys that I know don’t talk about their significant others; they talk about girls they don’t have, girls they want and what they would do to them.
It is one of the most frustrating things in the world to me– listening to one gender talk incessantly about the other. We’re just all going to fail and we’re going to keep getting hurt and hurting other people and today it feels like it’s not going to stop. There is a vicious cycle of disconnect from what people actually want.
I want commitment and love and truth. It sounds simple, and even stupid to me when I say it out loud, but that’s what I want. And honestly, I don’t see many of my peers who are capable of all three things, which I want to believe are all tied together.
Commitment is a lost art. Lucky are the people who find it. Even luckier are people who can practice it healthily, and not in a jealous or fearful way.
I want love, like I said. I know I’m not alone. I have a huge wonderful and supportive family. I have friends who are single and friends who are married and friends with kids and friends who are engaged and friends who, like me, can’t seem to find the right person, and friends who, like me, would rather spend time alone than in the company of those who are just trying to get in your pants (And yeah, I will admit to spending time with those types of people, too, as an ego booster).
I’ve been better at cutting the bad ones out of my life faster than I have in the past. I’d like to think that means something.
Back to the boys who are currently in my life: I live in a great house with great roommates. I perform alongside boys that I absolutely adore, and we’ve come to create this magical energy and willingness to bring drunk people nostalgia and gyrating dance music. And it sounds silly, but there is love in this environment– in the van and on the stage and all the other tiny compact spaces we share, I’ve come to hold these boys in high regard. And I am grateful to have found people of the opposite gender that I can spend time with and not worry about the gray areas. I didn’t have relationships like that until I moved here.
As alone as I felt today, I know that I’m not. I could have ended up in a horribly dishonest and uncommitted relationship with any of the boys I had wanted before (that, either fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you want to look through that telescope, has become the problem of other women).
I’m going to keep searching. And I’m going to keep singing. And I’ll get the results back from that ridiculously uncomfortable examination in a few weeks, and I’ll deal with it as it comes. And I’m going to keep sending love out into the universe because hopefully it will echo it’s way back to me in the various delightful ways it has already done, and then some.
I can only hope for so much.