you might not fall in love with me, but you might think me less strange (or maybe not?)

FELICIA_3

Last weekend, like Hallie, I read a piece in the Times about falling in love. I found the article fascinating and strange, simply for the fact that love is elusive. While I love my friends and my father (and cat!) deeply, I’ve only fallen in love once, and, in retrospect, I didn’t love him in the way I see how others love. I let him in, but not all the way, and I wonder about my ability to take a hammer and chisel and break all that I’ve built. If anything, I’m in the best place for it, so we’ll see what happens.

I know this may sound strange, but I never participate in online group activities, memes, etc, not because I have any aversion toward it, I just find it hard to be part of a group activity with strangers/online acquaintances. I get vertigo leaving blog comments; I read online spaces I like to visit privately, because there’s something about this anonymity that comforts me, however, I was so intrigued by Hallie’s ingenious take on the Times article (turning it into a dialogue between people who set up shop with their online spaces and those who read them) I decided to take inspiration from her post and post answers to some of the questions here.

Hope you enjoy, and feel free to ask me any of the other questions from the article, which I haven’t answered. 🙂

Also, I’m recovering from food poisoning (don’t even ask), so I’m a little ravaged and delirious.

IMG_0268IMG1231A

###

Would you like to be famous? In what way? Absolutely not. Fame doesn’t interest me because fame is really about tending to an inflamed ego. While I do want people to read and care about what I create, I take pleasure in the fact that I will never be mass market; I will never have to wade through thousands of comments on this space. I get anxiety if I’ve more than 10 emails in my inbox, so I’d rather skirt the edges of things and find my tribe as it happens.

Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why? No. I just play it as it lays.

When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else? I sang R.E.M.’s “King of Birds” while I was writing a blog post this week (I had the video playing on loop as I type–I tend to write to music). I don’t sing in front of other people, and I think this might be the greatest gift I could give any of my friends.

If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want? My body because I didn’t know, at 30, nearly as much as I do now. I’d rather have the perspective of age. However, the notion of running up a flight of stairs at 90 is thrilling. I want my body as a means to move, rather as a figment of vanity.

Name three things you and your readers appear to have in common. It’s hard because I know many folks don’t comment on some of the more personal aspects of my work, however, I will say that those who do also are on a journey of self-exploration. We’re all at different stages of it, but we’re all examining our lives and asking ourselves if we’re really living it. Which is awesome. In that way, writing these posts makes me feel less alone.

For what in your life do you feel most grateful? My friends who are my family. I don’t have any lineage to speak of–I am the last of my kind, so it feels good to be surrounded by people who truly feel that I’m their kin.

If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be? To always see life through the eyes of a child, to never lose the sense of wonder, even as adults we’re busy chipping it away. I want to feel firsts; I want surprise; I want wide-eyes and cackling laughter.

If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know? When will I die, and how.

Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it? I’ve always wanted to pick up and travel the world for a year. Truthfully, I make excuses for why I can’t do this (finances and debt burdens) and I also have a cat, and I’d be sad to leave him behind.

What is the greatest accomplishment of your life? Giving the greatest gift I could give to myself: my life back to myself, i.e., my sobriety.

What do you value most in a friendship? Loyalty, integrity, kindness, compassion.

What is your most treasured memory? Let me get back to you on this. This question actually stumped me because I don’t have one that stands apart from the rest. Oh wait, I’m answering these questions from the bottom up and it occurs to me that my sobriety stands out as a moment worth treasuring.

If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why? I’d probably leave New York the next day (sooner than my intended departure) because I want to feel what it’s like to uproot and planet anew.

What roles do love and affection play in your life? I often talk about one’s body as their home, house and refuge. I’m finally at place where I want to build and preserve this home rather than burn it to the ground. And I think, in that self-love, I’m at a place to love someone else. Candidly, my love life is one aspect of my life I’ll never share online. Maybe to let you know if I got married, but that’s pretty much it. Even my close friends consider me CIA when it comes to my love life, so there’s that.

Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your readers. Share a total of five items. You are so fucking smart, it blows my mind.

motherHow do you feel about your relationship with your mother? She was my first and only hurt. I don’t love her. I wrote about our life in my first book, and I have no interest in returning to that dark country.

If you were going to become a close friend with your readers, please share what would be important for him or her to know. I need my space and quiet. Sometimes I prefer that we not occupy every moment with chatter.

Tell your readers what you like about them; be very honest, saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met. I love how many of you have brought your personal souls to bear on this space. You’ve shared intimate parts of yourself, and I know that isn’t easy and I truly am humbled by it. And while some just come here for the pictures and the recipes (and that’s fine), I love how others truly read and connect with some of the longer pieces I’ve written.

Share with your readers an embarrassing moment in your life. I was an alcoholic for the bulk of my 20s and early 30s so every weekend was pretty much an embarrassment.

When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself? I cried after I first saw my father struggling to shift in his bed after his double hip replacement surgery. I stood outside North Shore Hospital, waiting for my taxi, weeping. I don’t really cry in front of people that often, but I remember breaking down in front of my best friend when I relapsed after being sober for nearly seven years. That was a 18 months ago.

If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet? I wish I would’ve told my mother that I loved her once, but it breaks my heart that she’ll never be the mother or woman I want her to be. I’ve no interest in re-opening that door, so I’ll live with that regret and I’m fine with it.

Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? My computer. It holds all of my writing. I was initially going to say my passport, but all papers can be created anew.

Untitled

16 thoughts on “you might not fall in love with me, but you might think me less strange (or maybe not?)

  1. Hi Felicia,
    Totally unrelated, sorry, could not come up with your email address… Wondering if I could have your Dad’s hospital or rehab address? Thank you so much! 🙂

    Like

  2. I read your book and it brought me back to NYC ( I was born and raised there, but we moved when my dad passed. I was 13 then) and I totally enjoy your large pieces. Your writing and your words are amazing. Keep doing YOU!

    Like

  3. I was shaking my head – in the best way aka with respect – the entire time while reading your answers! But I have already said how grateful I am for your honesty. Now can I add brave to the list too? 😉

    Like

  4. I never responded to your post on friends but this may relate. I’ve fallen in love once, 44 years ago. It was pure luck. I was sixteen. I’d switched high schools and happened to see a girl who’d turned my head a year earlier when we attending different schools. Theresa, the girl, had won a bronze medal in a forensics completion for her high school. I’d competed, too, reading a poem by James Weldon Johnson, but I didn’t win any prizes. A year later we were attending the same school. She introduced herself to me to win a bet she’d made with some girlfriends. I asked her out on a date and, as the cliche goes, the rest is history.

    My best friend, at the time, was the best man at our wedding but forty years later I haven’t seen him in a while although we’ve recently had some e-mail communication. This is to say that my only real friend is my wife, Theresa. Sure, I have lots of acquaintances: coworkers, members of my writing group, and some people who I count as friends even though I don’t see then much because they live in other states and I do love them dearly much as you mention loving your friend, your father, and your cat.

    For reasons complex, I can’t say that I love my mother (she’d be horrified to read that) and I definitely don’t love my father (he’d not be surprised at all although my mother would be horrified by this also).

    On points from the interview: I sing to myself all of the time. I also sing to other people. My wife loves for me to sing to her. I was in the drama club in high school and performed in several musicals (“Half of Sixpence,” “West Side Story,” & “The King and I.”) I first sang in front of people in a 7th grade talent show when I sang “Don’t Look Back” by The Temptations ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVi0A_E9MyQ ). My goal is to keep my mind and body at age 90 as close as possible to my mind and body at age 30. I’m 61 years old now and doing my best to exercise mind and body. I could go on about some of the other points in the interview but I’ll stop here. Best wishes for your travels to Washington, California, and New Mexico. I’ve been to two of the three (CA & NM) and New Mexico is my favorite. Speaking of friends I love although I never see them, two of my best friends, great writers both, live in Albuquerque, NM.

    P.S. I do love our cat.

    Like

  5. Hi Felicia,
    This post gave me a feeling of sudden calmness and validation. I, too, need space and quiet. I mean no harm to other people, but sometimes I need some quiet to read and I do have a small tribe of friends who are my family. I’m working on loving myself and building myself from the ashes. Up.
    I am 34 yrs old and I have never fallen in love. I love certain close people in my life and that circle has become smaller, instead of larger, in the last few months. I am a private person, although I have less anxiety discusing what happened (or about other things) via email one-on-
    one. I was brutally tortured and raped a few months ago and was released a couple weeks ago.

    I’m used to being alone and living in darkness. I no longer want to live in extremes. I want some light instead of constant darkness. I want to know what it is like to be loved. I feel unlovable, the constant parent, the therapist, the one who has to fix everything, etc. I would like.to love and be loved on a romantic level. Both are completely foreign to me and I don’t know if I either will ever happen to me.

    Without going into details, I will take a huge risk right now, by revealing that starting at age 4 (and probably earlier has a child) my mothet sold me into sex trafficking ring in order to pay the mortage and bills.

    I am a Professor of English and Writing. I just want to let you know that “Sky” has been on my syllabus for years and it it is the most popular reading on my syllabus. I know that you already know this, but you a remarkable writer. On a semi-personal note, you are my greatest inspiration. I am working on my life changes in large part because of you and you alone. I’ve been so broken and you’ve given me hope in all ways. I just thought you’d want to know.
    Please feel free to email me privately, if you have any questions or would like to talk more. It’s finally ok for me to move outside my comfort zone, especially with someone who I respect so immensely.
    Thank you, Felicia!
    Warmly,
    Jess

    Like

    1. Jessica,

      I’m so honored and humbled by your words. Candidly, I’m awestruck in all the best ways. You’re so wonderful and brave, and I’m warmed to have been a source of inspiration in your personal journey. And you no doubt know that this journey will be an auspicious and powerful one, and one that requires you to be surrounded by all the best people–on and offline.

      Recently, I read this article and was struck by its teachings: http://leostartsup.com/?utm_content=buffer4fdd6&utm_medium=twitter.com&utm_source=social&utm_campaign=buffer

      Ignore all the start-up stuff, because at the heart of the matter is advice on how we can transform regret and struggle and make it the thing we use as a means of good for ourselves + others.

      So much light!
      Warmly, Felicia

      Like

  6. Thank you very much, Felicia. Your words, as always, help give me strength as I am just beginning my recovery and journey from the ashes. When I had to undergo the 4th surgery from the recent beating and rape (a knife was used in place of an erection & I
    will stop there because it is very difficult for me to share intimate details and out of
    respect for you & your blog/
    reading fans), I was unconscious for quite some time & on a morphine drip. I had horrific nightmares and flashbacks to the point where I bit through both lips, blood covered in blood. I know this because a wonderful, compassionate nurse told me when I asked if it was normal for my mouth to taste so metallic, the unmistakable taste of blood, of something deep & wrong.

    This may be difficult to answer because healing is so subjective, but do the nightmares ever lessen? does one ever have the ability to move in without a biological family? Following your journey brings me incredible hope & has saved my life in many ways. Again, thank you for that and for your writing.
    I would like correspond via private email because I am such an introvert & publicly shared all that I can. However, writing to you in private may bring a sense of hope & compassion that I’ve never known from a woman who I consider a hero for me.in many ways. I don’t have your email address, but you have mine. I know that hearing advice & learning more about your own journey privately from my mentor, would be amazing. But I understand needing time alone for safety and.to think. I hope to hear from you privately, but even your response on this forum means more than you know.
    My mirrors are still covered. I have been told that my face is not “safe” to look at yet (though I disagree). My writing, journey to self-love first and the kind words & compassion of others who understand darkness, pain & the process of climbing out is all I have right now.

    Again, I truly thank you for being as candid as possible, Felicia. So far, it has been an arduous, agonizing, yet freeing processing at the same time. I’m just choosing to begin in order to live. It means the

    world to know that I am not alone anymore.
    I hope to hear frim you. Either way, I thank you from the bottom of my heart, Felicia. To see that it is at least possible through you, changes everything.

    With much appreciation,
    Jess

    Like

    1. Jessica,

      I just got home and read through your comments, and I’m so terribly sorry for what has happened to you in your life. I tried emailing you, however, I received a bounce-back, so I’m posting my note below.

      Darkness is a terrible country in which to live, and I assure you that there is light.

      I think it’s really important that you talk to someone about all of this, professionally. While family and friends and the online space are helpful tools, I’ve made much of my journey with professionals who can help you on your path to health and mindfulness. And I’m not entirely sure I’m the right person to help, although know that you have some virtually rooting for you.

      Know that you’re in my thoughts and prayers, and I’m sending light to you.

      Warmly, Felicia

      Like

  7. Thank you, Felicia! I have decided to seek out professionals which begins on Monday.
    Thank you for your kind words. I would never burden you with that sort of help. I just admire and appreciate your compassion and kindness. I admire your strength. You are among my topfavorite authors. My email is now correct whenever, or if you ever,feel like writing more privately. Please know that I absolutely respect your time and need for space.

    Either way, thank you. I feel incredibly honored.

    Warmly and with much appreciation,
    Jess

    Like

  8. I too read this article and I found some of the questions interesting but I don’t reallt see how they would make two people fall in love… It was however great to read your answers to these questions!! Great post!

    Like

  9. You and I seem to be so different on so many levels. At first I read one post… I was intrigued. Then another… made me sad… then another maybe a little pity. Now this… curious and a little upset with myself that I let a stranger affect me so much… again.

    My life is an open book and I plan on going through this same exercise with the questions on my blog.

    I don’t have the stress with quietness that you have… but it doesn’t matter because I don’t have many readers. Those that I do have are mostly geeks and I consider all geeks family.

    You have made me ponder why I write… though I know most of what I write is what you would call “shit”, it is a huge release for me to share…

    Damn… I need to go blog about this. Keep doing what you do girl. You seem to enjoy it and you are truly gifted.

    Like

  10. Thank you, Felicia!
    As a writer (and person from what you’ve shared), hearing from you is an amazing honor for me. Truly. Just knowing that you are out in the world rooting for me is incredible. I’m embarrassed because I feel as if I don’t deserve it for sime reason.
    I admire you so very much. I can’t wait to read your novel when it comes out.
    It was never my intention to make you feel as if I wanted you to help me through my deciisionsive trauma and agonywas wondering if privately, albeit vitually, you would be willing to share what helped you not live in the dark. I would share certain things with you. I don’t expect an exact answer whatsoever and, although you don’t know me other than our brief vitual
    exchanges, I understand the need for quiet time, the lack of
    family, writing because I
    HAVE to, etc.
    I forgot to put the period after the j in my email. I’d love to hear from you, but respect it if you don’t want to. For what it’s worth, you give me hope that I didn’t think was possible. The idea of the work and re-exploring dark places
    I’ve never shared, I’ve kept hidden. But you are my inspiration through this journey whether or not you truly realize it or not.
    Other than hearing from you privately via email so that I may speak slightly more candidly ( and I say “slightly” because almost everything gives me a combination of anxiety and vertigo), would you be willing to autograph a copy of “Sky” for me. I have both the paperback and hardcover copies. I would cherish an autographed copy from one of my top favorite writers through my journey to some kind of light. However, I respect your decision either way and hope to hear from you on a private forum.

    Respectfully and with much admiration,
    Jess

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s