I am so sick of reading columns about love and sex and all that crap, and I know you are too.
So this isn’t that column.
This is a column about bullsh*t. Which, right away, you know, means nearly the same thing.
I vibrate at a higher frequency when a certain young man is around. The pitch of the world redistributes, and I feel I’ve hidden in a great clanging bell and he is all the deaf moments after — a silence that crashes over me and drowns everything.
But like hell I’m gonna tell him that. I have this communication problem. You know what I mean. The more you care about someone, the more you want to get the hell out of the room when he is around because you know the best you can do is make moronic conversation. Of course, you stay because you’re entirely rigid. You’re so conscious of every ripple of every atom between you and that person that you become totally incapacitated — kind of like being buried from the neck down in a 10-foot snow drift.
You’re desperate for it all to melt away so that you can say “this is me and my feelings” there in the permafrost. Be honest. “Hey, I really really really really really like you and the stupid way you walk and the funny bounce in your hair, and I’d be happy to go to grad school in New York just to be near you. Now let me go hyperventilate.”
Instead, there’s all this bullsh*t — all this white noise getting in the way. My roommates, my mother, and my friends tell me you can’t just say that kind of thing to a guy, you can’t be yourself, you have to tone it down. Otherwise, you will freak him out. You will sound stalkerish. You can’t just go making yourself vulnerable by saying this really intense thing to someone, even if it breaks the almost palpable tension.
But I can’t play games because I am oblivious to the rules, and I am not sure I am alone on this. I fall for the bullsh*t. I believe it all. These pseudo-flirtations can be such a fake out. If people aren’t straightforward with me, I have no idea what they really mean. Hang subtlety up in the atelier. I am too burnt out to know for sure that every message I get from body language and eye contact isn’t me simply hallucinating. And I clearly don’t know how to let someone know that I like them except by the not-so-clever method of writing a column about it. Brava, Kati. Brava.
And it’s all such an utter waste of time. Granted, as a second semester senior, I can’t help but feel like I’m snowballing. Now that I’ve nearly reached the precipice, I see that slowing down is no longer an option, and I can only wish I hadn’t weaved my way around so many pine trees and just rolled over them instead.
The bullsh*t waltz around defining a relationship is so exhausting. I’ve spent the last several months with heart palpitations and an inability to engage in stimulating conversation every time I see this guy. I am reduced to mumbling, followed by forehead-punching as soon as he leaves.
But do I have the guts to throw down? Not really. I’m scared.
Let’s be honest about this at least: the bullsh*t is there because we are so afraid — not so much of being rejected (an almost certainty in my case … I’m entirely out of my league) but of having no illusions to hold onto. Politicians wouldn’t master the art of bullsh*t otherwise — they know that deep down we don’t want to know how bad it really is.
We’ve become too soft since moving from the cave to the prefab vinyl-sided house to take the news that it isn’t all sunny and sappy out there, and it may very well not all work out for the best.
I hate the illusions. I want it bare knuckles, black-and-white, this is how it is. I’m not sure I’m strong enough to survive disillusionment, but I think I deserve to find out. But this bullsh*t has worn me out. I want to know. I can’t stand the foreplay — it’s worse than waiting for those last grad schools to just send my rejections for Christssake. I can’t move on and concentrate on my senior thesis, decide where to pursue my MFA or get on with my life at all until I am freed of either this hormonal stupidity or there’s a face-off.
Granted the heartsickness is both a wonderful diet and great for my writing — poets write better when their fingers are trembling and their cheeks are blood-rushed. And where would the poet be if there was no bullsh*t? They’d be redundant, like cops in a crime-free utopia. Is it worth it? Is peace worth having no one around fight for justice? Is direct communication between you and me worth having no poets around?
But seriously, that’s just more bullsh*t. No more dialectic. No more patience. Cue the crescendo. This is the defining moment. Break through the bullsh*t. Strip yourself of all the vacuity. You don’t need alcohol or some other drug. I grant you courage. Say what you feel, speak your mind, tell people what you mean just for once. Just for f*ing once.
It may be the most horrible moment of your life, that one second of pain. Still I’d rather have it than the prolonged agony inherent to all the bullsh*t. You can recover from pain, eventually, and there’s always the chance that the results will be good. Bullsh*t is damning. If we let it bog us down, we’ll never get anywhere. I only have two months left here. Stagnation is no longer acceptable, and I don’t give a damn what the social rules are. Join me in the revolution.
It’s spring. The bullsh*t belongs in the ground. We have better places to be.
Kati Stevens thinks she may have made a huge mistake by writing this column. But Kati is often wrong, so f*ck it.