Saturday, January 26, 2008

The truth is...

Every day I wake up and have to force myself to get out of bed. It's embarrassing how out of control I feel of my life and my own mind sometimes, because I want people to believe I have everything together, that I'm fine. I never feel fine. I rarely feel happy. I feel like my life is too complicated to hold together, even though it's really not... I fantasize about living in a cabin at the edge of a mountain and doing nothing but gardening and milking goats all day. I crave freedom, simplicity, and hate myself because I feel that it's a cop-out. I feel homeless, lost, unsettled, nervous, directionless. I feel extremely alone. I think I've felt alone since my mother moved away. I have nightmares and I wake up with my muscles tense and my mouth open and dry and I lie awake at night, afraid to close my eyes because I feel there's something staring at me. I can barely sleep. It's like I'm searching for something all the time... there's an emptiness I can't describe or fill or change, no matter how much I will myself to feel good or what pep talk my mind gives me. I feel incomplete and unlovable because how can anyone love a person who isnt themself? I don't feel like myself. I don't feel anything, really, except a desire to run away and a fear of doing anything, of failing at anything. It's paralyzing. I don't know what's missing. I don't know if it's God or art or a fucking chemical in my brain... but something just isn't there. I'm this shell that walks around, trying not to touch anything for fear of being shattered. It's pathetic.

I wonder how long it'll be before I delete this post.

"We chase misprinted lies
We face the path of time
And yet I fight
And yet I fight
This battle all alone
No one to cry to
No place to call home

My gift of self is raped
My privacy is raked
And yet I find
And yet I find
Repeating in my head
If I can't be my own
I'd feel better dead"

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Nathan was in town this weekend, which was great, and it was also Christina's last weekend in town, which was sad. Nathan is the "new guy", for all of you who follow my life on here with such enthusiasm. I like him. And he's hot. Girls mack on him at bars and waitresses stumble over themselves in restaurants. I don't care if it makes me shallow--I completely get off on it. Of course he's also a lot of other things besides hot, including a good cook. There is nothing sexier than a man who can make amazing stir fry with meat that he hunted and butchered.

Today I'm hungover. Having dinner with Tessa in a bit. Going to try not to drink too much sake and end up miserable again tomorrow. Stressing out about so many things... I need to get working on my gallery, I need to make a bunch of money this week and I need to get my car fixed...

Last night I was out and a guy came up to me when I was with Nathan and said, "I'm not used to seeing you with your clothes on." He was a customer. The way he said it made me want to punch him in the face. I mean I know guys are going to recognize me. Lafayette's not that big of a town. But what makes them think they have the right to say two words to me in my real life, especially in front of the man that I'm with? I probably saw 7 customers between the two bars I went to last night. 4 of them spoke to me, the other three just smiled and waved. It's not like this is the first time... it's happened while I was buying art supplies, groceries, at a coffee shop... everytime the same conversation. "Do I know you?" "Do you think you know me?" "Where do you work?" "Where do you think I work?" "Wait a second... you work at..." I need to find another town to dance in. It's not so much that I care who knows I'm a stripper--everyone does, even my parents--but I didn't anticipate assholes accosting me when I'm standing in checkout lines.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Last night I was out with Bonnie, her co-worker Keith and his friend Joe. Bonnie's new boyfriend was our waiter, and I complimented her on her taste because, frankly, the guy was hot--very masculine and competent at his job. This spawned a big argument about, essentially, why women are attracted to masculinity and competence and whether those things are important. My approval of Bonnie's boyfriend seemed to trigger the insecurities of Keith and Joe. Keith is good looking, but self-professes his "sensitivity" and aversion to being "forward with women." This translates into, essentially, that he wouldn't have the balls to talk to a woman if she was flinging herself at him naked. He is constantly self-deprecating and feeling sorry for himself because "women only want to date assholes." (I argue that maybe if "nice, sensitive guys" actually asked us out once in a while, we might have other options.) Joe is overweight, a self-professed nerd, generally negative and a little arrogant. Joe believes that self-care, confidence and ambition aren't nearly as important as "what's inside." Guys like he and Keith apparently don't have girlfriends because girls are too stupid and shallow to "look at the inner person."

I call bull shit.

In almost every species, the man is bigger, more colorful, and louder than the female in order to attract her. This is our primal mating ritual. Am I going to be attracted to some mopey fat guy sitting in a bar who won't even look me in the eye? Fuck no. I don't care how "special" he is inside. If he wants me to know, he should be doing something to let me know he's interesting and amazing. Yes, to attract a desirable mate you have to have something to offer. What is so wrong or outlandish about that concept? Yes, I expect men to care about their appearance, have jobs, ambitions, interests and a personality. I expect them to be confident in who they are. When did women become shallow for expecting men to actually make an effort? Men don't have to do that fucking much anymore. I mean it's not they're going off and dying in battle in order to prove that they're "real men." In fact, any ideals of courage and heroism and masculine strength we once exhalted have all been lost to my generation. I'm pretty amazed when I go out with a guy under 30 who actually pays for dinner. What I want to say to these guys is, "Okay, I'll pay for dinner if you go out and slay half an army and bring me someone's head on a your shield."

Keith was upset at his friend Nolan because they were both buying drinks for a waitress and Nolan got her number first. Keith, apparently, interprets this as "cockblocking." It's called NOLAN HAD MORE CONFIDENCE THAN YOU AND ACTUALLY TOOK INITIATIVE. Guess what, guys? Woman LIKE that. He refuses, however, to engage in such immature "antics", and is pissed because the waitress doesn't acknowledge him now, even though he barely raises his head to look at her when he goes into the bar. You have to compete for mates--it's been that way ever since we evolved into primates. All he has to do is strike up a conversation with her, or at least say hello, or even flat out ask her if she'd like a drink when she gets off work. I'm not going to pursue any guy. I'm going to expect him to have the courage to pursue me. I mean, hell, if I'm single, I'll usually go out at least once with a guy I'm not even that interested in just because I'm impressed by the fact that he approached me. Confidence and initiative is much more sexy than brand name clothes or hair gel or "sensitivity."

All of these stupid little emo guys are sitting around reading Lord of the Rings and playing videogames and living in their fantasy worlds, but none of them seem to connect the fact that the same reason they are attracted to those sorts of examples of male heroism and strength are the same reason women are. Men are supposed to be strong. I don't want to hear about some guy's self-esteem issues and how special he is if only I'd look closer. I want him to show me. FUCKING SHOW ME! DO SOMETHING! ANYTHING!

When did men get this pathetic? They should give off their fucking couches, take off their headphones, actually learn to wield something sharp and dangerous, work out a little bit, and go out and fight for women like it's been done since the beginning of time. Or at least learn to have the balls to ask a girl for her phone number.

Monday, January 14, 2008

When I started dancing, I remember thinking that I wouldn’t get jaded. After all, I like people, even creepy men. Lots of my best friends are creepy men. I figured I would be able to handle anything. Well, yes, I can handle anything. Whatever a customer says to me, good, bad, disgusting, obnoxious or pathetic rolls off me like water. It doesn’t have any effect on my self-esteem or how I view myself. What it does do is give me a sort of contempt for them. It makes me think while I’m smiling, “You fucker. I can’t wait to take your money. You are drunk and awful and you deserve it.” It’s made me a better hustler. I just don’t care anymore about the ethical or sociological aspects. I’m all about the money.

There’s an attitude that strippers are money-grubbing and amorally greedy and I don’t understand this. It’s a job. Of course we want to make money. Doesn’t everyone go to work to make money? Don’t waitresses expect tips for their services? Doesn’t anyone in the work force expect to be compensated, whether they enjoy their job or not? Why is capitalism wrong only in the sex industry? If you disagree with the sex industry, that’s fine, but if you’re actively patronizing it, why would you expect anything other than an equal exchange of currency and service?

Ironically, I think strip clubs exploit men more than women, and I think men are deeply, uncomfortable with this. Lots of men justify spending money at strip clubs as charity—“helping poor, single mothers”—and they love to make us feel like we’re lucky that they’re giving us THEIR time. What a joke. Even worse are the guys who want to be my sugar daddy—and probably mean it. I want to say, “I make more money than you, asshole. What are you going to do for me?” If I wanted that, I would be out at the campus bars every night looking for some engineering major to marry me and not working my ass off for a bunch of dirty bastards. I also hate when guys act they’re making some big gesture by giving us a dollar bill, as if we’re Chinese factory workers and think that’s a lot of money.

But really, deep down, most men know the truth about the job: that we don’t care. We don’t care what they do for a living or how much their marriage sucks or how big their penis is. We care about the money. And men don’t like that; it takes away their upperhand. Everyone knows men like to have more money than women, it’s what makes them providers, primally dominant and important in the species. And so if they’re going to shell out money (as “charity”), they all want to be told that they’re special, that they’re “different” from the other customers, that we’re talking or dancing with them because we want to. If you can learn to play that card as a dancer and convince a man for a moment that this is true, you will make bank, even if you’re missing a limb.

On Saturday a (drunk) customer came up to me and said, “You know, you’re really beautiful. I don’t want a dance from you, I want to take you out to dinner and really get to know you.

I smiled sweetly and said, “I’m sorry. I don’t date customers. It’s not personal.”

He replied, “You know, you girls are all the same. What if this was it, you know. What if I was the guy for you. You’d never know because you’re looking right past it and just trying to get at my money. Here, I’m a nice guy, just wanting to take you out, and you’re throwing it away.”

I said, “I’m sorry. I just can’t. You’re really nice, though.” I didn’t say, “What the fuck, dude. This is a strip club, not speed dating. And you’re a slob that I wouldn’t consider getting near under the influence of anything but money.”

He looked drunk, pathetic and somewhat genuinely scorned. Later on, I saw him buying dances from some other girl. The moral of this story is that men who don’t want to pay for my attention need to stop being emo and go out and get real girlfriends (who will probably just take even more of their money.)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

I'm strangely happy. It's not any one thing. Part of it has to do with Christina being home for her Christmas break--simply the luxury of having my otherwise-absent best friend around at the end of every day. It's that lovely sense of comfort that you only have in really strong relationships where you think "I can get through today because there will be someone there to hear about it." The other thing is that I'm more optimistic about my art and my professional life. I've been getting a lot more clients recently who are leading to other opportunities and more exposure. Plus I have the space, which I'm starting to feel really good about, even though I haven't begun to even tackle the hell of painting it or fixing it up. Third, I'm planning ways to escape, inspite of my ties to Lafayette at present. Going to Europe in March, going back to camp this summer, going to Burning Man. Fourth, I have cats, which make me feel happy and loved everytime they curl into my lap. Fifth, a really hot man who makes me feel like I'm some sort of animal in heat. I won't say anymore. Sixth, my mother's mammogram came back clear, and the lumps in her breast aren't malignant. Seventh, I've been spending more time with my friends than I have in a long time and reading more books and cooking dinner for myself. All good things.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Updates:

1. The space downtown I rented is huge--over 3,000 sq ft with an 800 ft loft. It's not in tremendously good condition and it's going to need a lot of work. The storefront that's going to be the gallery will probably be the last thing I really work on. I'm hoping I can have my studio moved into the back by next week sometime, then I can start painting the walls and exterior of the building. Big project. Big, expensive project.

2. I have more commissions on the burner than I know what to do with.

3. Makenna and I adopted cats from the Humane Society. They're adorable.



4. I found a really lovely guy to date. Someone said he looks like he's in a boy band. Fortunately his mind transcends his body.

5. I need to quit drinking. It's making me fatter.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

This was probably the best New Years that I've ever had. Most of them have been pretty depressing and unmemorable. I've been trying to remember what I did last year on New Years Eve and I actually have no recollection of it. Perhaps I was abducted by aliens and should undergo regressive hypnosis. I spent this year with a sweet and handsome man and his friends and lots of alcohol and it was very memorable.

I think New Years resolutions are crap. I think what people should have are New Years GOALS. I wrote down a few months ago what my goals were for the coming year. Go to Europe, save up a semester's tuition, try mescaline and acid, read a book every week, lose 15 lbs, train for a mini-marathon, grow my hair another 6 inches, take horseback riding lessons, only eat out once a week and cook healthful, meditative meals, go to Burning Man.

Across the street from my studio, an empty store front opened up. I eyed it for a few days, then finally called for information. It's 3,000 sq ft with a perfect workshop and studio space in the back. The front can be turned into a gallery. I rented it. I'm going to make it work, goddamnit.

I've been contemplating legally extending my name... Gwyneth, Gwynevere, Gwyndolyn. What do you think?

Monday, December 31, 2007

There comes a moment after you break up with someone where you have to re-examine who you are outside of the context of the relationship. I think I've alwyas been inclined to get into safe relationships with people who I knew wouldn't leave me, whose emotions I seemed to control more than they controlled mine. To counter that control, they would frequently exaggerate specific qualities and traits, which are, in moderation, perhaps endearing, but when amplified, often very negative. They may have loved me for those traits, but in the end, they would always make me feel indebted to their ability to tolerate them, as if I were some sort of wild creature that only they could tame. Maybe this is true. I am a believer that pain is superior to numbness, that suffering brings enlightenment... perhaps I too often apply those beliefs to my relationships. Sometimes I amplify conflict because I like seeing how the other person can handle it, because I want them to see something about me that I don't know how to communicate, that I fear they will reject. Men meet me and assume that because I'm blond and personable, I'm sweet and safe and predictable. The truth is, I don't know if I'm really meant for anybody. There are plenty of men who would be willing to tolerate me, even love and appreciate me, but those men never seem to challenge me. The men who challenge me seem to want their own opposite... sweet and safe and predictable. I don't think it has anything to do with my age, I think it has to do with the fact that I expect some level of masculinity and persistance and open-minded acceptance that only exists in my imagination. I'm tired of men making me feel like I'm crazy because I drink and get loud; cry over stupid things; rant about everything I hate; cavort and whore for attention; push the boundaries of what is socially acceptable; get restless whenever I do one thing for too long; am incapable of making decisions; rebel for the sake of rebelling whenever someone tries to push me to do something--regardless of whether or not I want to do it; want what I want and refuse to compromise; think too much--about everything; ask questions and push people's boundaries of comfort; come up with the lowest, most biting insult imaginable and say it even though I don't mean it... I am not a moderate person. I never will be.

When I was a kid, I exhibited a memorable self confidence, according to my friends of childhood. I was self confident. I was smart, I was funny, I was adventurous and brazen and felt a strong connection to boys and a strong disrespect for women, who I perceived as petty and boring and weak. Secretly, though, I hated myself and I envied the attention other girls got for their obedience and idiotic cheerfulness. I wanted desperately to be one of those pretty, simple girls that everyone liked, that adults doted over, that did everything right and kept their room clean and got straight As. I was always being told that I was negative, obstinant, opinionated, disrespectful, sloppy, lazy, incompetent, blah blah blah. All I ever wanted was someone to pat me on the head and say, "Good job! You're great! I'm proud of you!" I wanted the kind of positive attention that those girls got. They're the kind of girls that everyone wants to date when they grow up. They get engaged when they're 22 and have perfect children with a perfect man and live in the suburbs. I know how most of those women end up... their husbands start cheating, the marriage falls apart and she's left with no work or life experience at 42--and no independent sense of self, either. Sometimes it doesn't even take that long. These women are rarely loved for who they are, but for the combination of qualities they project, which makes them good genetic canidates for men who must reproduce but are more focused on their own ambitions than anything else. This isn't the fate I want. But these men at my age are everywhere, trolling for a perfect mate, not a soulmate. They seek an attractive female who will fit into the design they have already made for their life and are threatened by any female who already has her own design. They see me, a personable blond and assume I'm "one of those girls". They worship me--until we have an actual conversation. Then I disappoint them and threaten their proverbial male ego because the last thing I'm looking to do is comform and fit into someone else's life agenda (what a crime). Then they end up attacking me and telling me all of the same shit I heard my entire childhood, only they sum up all of those adjectives with one word: bitch. Frankly, all I want is someone to love me for all of the things I'm inclined to hide or tone down about myself and to love someone for all of the things that they have had to hide from everyone else.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas was less than pleasant. Somehow they always turn out that way. Last year, I went home from the Bahler family Christmas crying. This year I didn't even both going. I stayed at home with my mother and Christina. My mother was volitile as always, and there were good moments, but they barely outweighed the ones where she was ranting and screaming. Christmas eve I walked out of my apartment and roamed the streets of downtown and took a long drive, crying pitifully and wishing I'd just volunteered at the shelter instead of participating in all of this bull shit. Christmas can be such a great thing, but only if you really have a family that's warm and loving. My family has never been warm or loving, except in a few isolated, redeeming moments, which never seem to happen on holidays.

Misery lingered until Christmas was over officially. Then last night Christina and my mom and I went to Nicky Blaine's in downtown Indianapolis and had a fabulous time. We ended up drinking two bottles of wine, dancing to the jazz band and stumbling through the rain in downtown Indianapolis.

I took this picture Christmas morning...

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Oxygen network. "Oxygen delivers edgy, intelligent entertainment for women and the men who love them."

Um... let's review the lineup. First of all, we have the show "The Bad Girls Club." This show is all about a bunch of anorexic, self absorbed bitches who are self-declared "bad girls". They are the dregs of society, according to Oxygen's "edgy, intelligent" standards: strippers, girls who will "cut you up", who steal from the registers at their menial food service jobs, alcoholics and promiscuous bimbos. But what actually makes them "bad girls" is their affinity for getting drunk and having bitch-fights in bikinis by the hot tub while male viewers mute their TVs and wank off. I get plenty of criticism for what I do for a living--I'm a stripper (who has never been in a drunk bitch-fight, incidentally), and apparently stripping is "degrading to women." I hear that crap all the time. Excuse me, but women seem pretty busy degrading themselves on a much more public forum. We have a network for "edgy, intelligent women" that endorses and promotes stereotypes of women as dumb, self-absorbed, mean, belligerent, shallow, classless, unambitious, promiscuous and, of all things, misogynistic. Ironically, the stripper is the smartest and least obnoxious one on the show.

Then we have the Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency. This is a show which I cannot even stomach long enough to watch an entire episode, but one needs only see three or four minutes to know that it's an ego trip for some has-been bag who hit her career peak as a model thirty years ago and who has had so much plastic surgery she's practically humanoid. She basically walks around telling emaciated, starry-eyed young girls who aspire to be models that they're too fat. It's a show entirely dedicated to making women feel bad about themselves so some vile hag can relive her glory days in psychosis. If one of these girls didn't have an ounce of body fat on her, she'd tell them to have their eyelids liposuctioned and injected into their lips. It's offensive, it's vile, it does nothing but empower the sins of this culture's media which I don't even need to name.

These seem to be the only two shows on this channel's line up, probably because they have no money for production, which hopefully foretells their eminent demise. Occasionally they have reruns of mediocre, feel-good chick flicks like the Amanda Bynes epic, What a Girl Wants. How about some shows about female attorneys or, at the very least, high school graduates. How about some shows where the women have witty dialogue and keep their clothes on and don't demean each other? How about some shows that don't make me want to go out and get a sex change operation?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Last night I went with Kirk to an office party at one of the law firms. I drank a little too much wine and went on a rant about how prosecutors need to stop focusing on petty drug and alcohol misdemeanors (that are easy to deal with because they dont require investigation and never go to expensive, time consuming trials but make them look like they're actually dealing with "crime" in the community) and actually prosecute REAL, violent crimes, like child molest and murder. Afterwards we had sushi and went to see I Am Legend. I didn't piss anyone off for the rest of the evening.

It's been snowing all day. Dan and I went to the Bistro and it was so pretty sitting inside and watching it.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Would somebody fucking comment on my blog? I feel unloved.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Thanksgiving was strange. The Professor ended up in the hospital with a blot clot. I've visited a few times, but probably not enough. Then again, I don't think I've ever written about the Professor on this blog. I will do so in the future.

The rest of the weekend I spent with my mom, mostly getting drunk in public. Actually, to tell you the truth, that's pretty much all I've done for the past few weeks. I've been going through a pretty major transition, in terms of my relationship, my life and my mental health. Tuesday I spent bar hopping on campus, which I've never done before. I ended up making out with some gorgeous girl in a bathroom for half an hour. Jon eventually carried me home after I apparently cussed out the guy at McDonalds because they weren't taking debit cards. For some reason, I get insane cravings for McDonalds cheeseburgers when I'm drunk. I don't even eat beef.

Tonight I took Makenna, my 13 year old art student, to get hot chocolate and go ice skating at Tapawingo park. It was really lovely. For the first time in a while, I felt really, really content.

My creative drive seems to be coming, maybe, out of it's slump. Today I was painting over with gesso (gesso is primer) an old canvas that had the remnants of a half-started, crappy attempt at forced creativity. I was having a hard time covering the sharpee and charcoal (it was a mixed media), but started to like the way the image sort of seeped through, ghost-like. Then I started sponging the gesso lightly over another painting that I wasn't too satisfied with. What was a fairly amatuerish painting was suddenly visually complex and very interesting. I got excited. For the first time in a long time, I felt like I was going to create a good piece.

I'm trying to sublease my apartment. With the uncertainty of the building my studio's in, I should probably find a place where I can have my studio IN my house/apartment/wherever I end up. What I'd really like is a really large studio apartment or one bedroom where I can sort of have an office/studio/livingspace without them interferring with each other. And of course, I need hardwood floors. This may be a challenge to find. I may need to move to Indy. I don't really know. Blah.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I read through one of my old journals today. It was from a few years ago, when I was living on Alabama Street, driving my Pontiac, working at the coffee shop and broker than shit. Here are some excerpts:

...I'm sick of not having money. I should just suck it up and let my parents help me. I work full time and I still don't even know how I'm going to afford a winter coat...

...Speaking of Sean, I had a big fight with him about how much money I DON'T make. I tell him I only want to work part time so I can get another part time job that pays more, then he's like "blah blah blah I bought this coffee shop for you" and I say "well I've been here for two years and I only make fifty cents more than the morons you hired two months ago" and he says "well they can't live on what you were hired in it--I had to pay them more" and I say "they all live off their parents and work here for beer money. I can't live on what I make now" and he says "fuck you for threatening to quit" and I say, "I wasn't threatening and you should understand wanting to make more money since that's all you care about" and then he comes into the store and it's all kissy kissy...

...So I signed the lease today for the efficiency. I like it, I think. It's close to downtown, it's new and clean, and it's only $300.

I am so broke. But I don't feel bad about buying a car. I had to. My piece of shit died in traffic today on the way to meet with my insurance adjustor to insure the Civic.

My landlord said he would give me my deposit back before the first, but now he's decided to hold it for the full 30 days. I'm so fucked.

I'm starting a housecleaning business. I have confidence that it will work...


The good news is, I no longer drive an unreliable piece of shit car or overdraft my bank account or worry about affording the basic necessities or live in an apartment that gets broken into or where I can hear my neighbor's beating their wives (like Alabama Street). But I remember that point in time and how depressed I was and how overwhelmed I felt by life and money and other people. And I wonder why I still feel that way. It's like I've been in this anxious survival mode for so long that I can't get out of it and I can't trust myself to be happy. So what about all of the things I was going to do when I wasn't broke and working constantly... I can't even remember what they were now.

Friday, November 16, 2007

I haven't had cable or internet in over a year. Here I am, on a Friday night, sitting on my ass, watching Erin Brockavich on TV and surfing the internet. How sad. I've only had cable for about 2 days and I already want to cancel it. About the only thing that's nice about it is that I see movie previews. I've maybe seen two movies in the last two years... mostly because I don't ever know what's out. Otherwise, it's all trash. Dumb girls in bikinis and obnoxious sitcoms. I just saw an advertisement for some reality show called "Intervention" where they exploit the pitiful misery of people with meth, prescription drugs and alcohol. The world makes me so depressed. I work in a fucking strip club and five minutes of television is more dark and depressing to me than anything I've seen there.

Interesting note... I've had some problems with my art studio. It's in the Reifer's Building, which is now taken over by the bank, as the former owner went into bankruptcy. It's been managed by a guy who I've been unable to get ahold of... and I don't even want to complain about anything, just rent more space. I don't have a lease anymore and neither does anyone else in the building. Basically the management is non-existent. But anyway... I noticed that they'd actually added my name to the directory downstairs. There's a sign that says "Gwyne Bahler, 3rd floor." They even spelled it right. It struck me as odd... they won't return my emails, but they'd take the time to do that.

Anyway, I never did post any pictures of my apartment. This is my happy little cave where I'm now sitting contently drinking wine and chatting on the internet. This is the best Friday night I've had in a long time.