Who Are You Anyway?

6 Aug

Who Are You Anyway?

She chooses quotes for her Facebook page of Ralph Waldo Emerson, George Washington, Buddha, Dalai Lama, Kahlil Gibran and  (Rumi –  born so long ago – 8th Century – in a country that no longer exists – Persia), to realize worthwhile things, to understand the world, to feel connected, to appear tolerant.


Michele Bangelo walks to her car, she is unhappy, fighting back tears. Her lover didn’t show up at Starbucks at the mall.  Though Michele’s lover, Babe Dye, has a good reason for not showing, Michele, will not want to hear “another excuse.” Babe will get stuck at school, where she works as a jobs coach for developmentally challenged teens trying to land their first jobs, and Babe had a trying time with a particularly difficult kid that afternoon when she was to meet Michele.

But as she’s been hung up before by Babe, Michele will act out the way she was taught by her mother: she will not pick up the phone to call Babe. She will be spiteful and stay silent, punishing Babe by ignoring her in every possible way. And when she’s good and ready, and when Babe gets sorry enough, only then will Michele let her back in.  This, of course, leaves Michele with the upper hand, just like she was taught, just as she had witnessed how her mother would treat her when she was out of line, or when she didn’t do something her mother liked, and in this presence of mind, she will carry out how she will conduct all her past, present, and future relationships.


Wendy Van Glow is recently broken up from Maria Losintres. Maria didn’t want to break up with Wendy, and the first year of their involvement was amazing: they did everything together, they were inseparable. This was it:  they would define their relationship as “soulmates.” But something happened the second year, something unexpected, and Maria Losintres began to see Wendy in a different light.

Wendy had resented Maria because she viewed Maria’s life in comparison to her own, and she realized what a loser she was after all. Maria had had surpassed her educationally, graduating with a Masters degree in Physical Therapy and within two years of graduation, opened up her own practice where she would build her staff to 18 others with a very large clientele. Maria was enormously successful, but it didn’t hamper the very sound lessons she learned early on.

Maria was just like her father: soft-spoken, a resilient man who took the verbal abuse from his wife. Whenever a fight ensued between Maria’s father and Maria’s mother, Maria hid in her room, feeling despair for her father who she loved most, she would put her hands to her ears to cover the hurtful words her mother slung like arrows over innocuous situations.  “Idiot! You forgot the toaster was on!!”  “Moron! I told you to paint the trim first!!” and “Jerk! flush the toilet!”

So Maria found Wendy on Match dot com, a divorced mother of three, who now wanted to explore her lesbian side and come out at forty-two.  It worked that first year, but the second year Wendy began to lose patience with Maria’s steady-as-you-go demeanor. Whereas Wendy, a little bit on the wild side, and a lover of a good happy hour, was inclined to ditch the kids, and head out for drinks early, calling Maria while Maria was still at work, sometimes interrupting Maria’s client’s physical therapy sessions, would enjoy unraveling Maria bit by bit.

And so the second year Wendy showed Maria just how it had to be: “You’re a fool to think that way,” she told Maria when Maria said, “I’m not buying a house with you yet until you behave.” And with this sound logic Wendy became worse with the sourness she felt down inside of her, “Fuck you, Maria, who the fuck do you think you are? You don’t tell me what to do, bitch, I do what I want. I don’t need you, and my kids don’t need you. With your cars, and your fancy practice. Fuck you. You have nothing over me.”

And Maria, so hurt, so hung by the delivery of these words, says humbly, “I love you, I give you so much. I give to your children, I give to you. Everything you ask for, I buy. I pay the bills here, and I give you money. All I am saying is please: don’t call the office several times a day to bother me at work.”

Wendy doesn’t see Maria’s  earnestness, “Oh, Maria, you know what? You told me when we got involved you would be there for me. Everything was going to be perfect. So excuse me. Excuse me that I call my girlfriend. Excuse fucking me.”

“You call when you’re drunk, Wendy. That’s when you call. You call to ask me for more money so you can drink. And when you drink you become like this.”

Their relationship will last another five months, through Christmas, ending right before Valentine’s Day.


Jeremy Leary has been with his partner, Rocky Lee, for nearly fourteen years. In September, they will head to New York to be married. Jeremy is a tall, slender man  in his thirties, while Rocky, ten years older, is almost better looking than Jeremy, with his square jaw, perfect hair, the color of wheat, and his eyes that shine brilliantly blue when he’s engaged in conversation, Jeremy is wrapped in his partner’s charm, and Rocky knows just how to play him, teasing Jeremy when he stands, Rocky pushes his ass  into Jeremy’s crotch.

Today is a good day to Rocky’s way of thinking, a perfect excuse with friends coming by, Jeremy will not say a word to Rocky about his drinking, heaven-sent,  so  Rocky can drink to his heart’s content without  a complaint from Jeremy.

They often argue about money, “Why can’t you just cut back to once a week,” Jeremy pleads to Rocky, “if you just kept it to Saturdays, I wouldn’t care. But you drink every night, Rocky, and it’s costing us a fortune.”

Rocky shrugs  off these accusations.  It’s his money, he works, too. After all, a man should have some vices, and Rocky works longs hours to indulge his vices of cigarettes and six-packs every night. “That adds up. Rocky,” Jeremy continues with the nudge, hoping to make Rocky see the damage he’s doing to his body, while at the same time calculating the numbers, “It’s nearly four-hundred dollars, four-hundred!  A month! That’s how much you spend in cigarettes and beer. With that money saved every month we could go to Hawaii. You like Hawaii. Think about it, Rocky.”

“Well, I’ll just drink in Hawaii, too. Jeremy, please.”

They dance around the real issue:  While all his friends and family can see it, Rocky and Jeremy never talk about Rocky’s drinking problem.

Jeremy was visited by his friend Areena, a Russian-speaking woman who befriended Jeremy at work.  When Areena asked, “Hey, why so blue?” he didn’t hesitate with his admission, “I think Rocky is an alcoholic.”

The reasoning of these words isn’t easily spoken about.  So instead Jeremy flirts around the issue of money, hoping Rocky will see his trouble as an alcoholic. They will go through the seasons together, probably like this for a lifetime. Jeremy stays with an alcoholic, enabling his disease, and Rocky knows that if he ever does go straight, finding some way to admit he is an alcoholic, Jeremy will leave him


At the start of our lives, as we go out into the  world, we are given a toolbox where we learn how to say “Please” and “Thank you.” We learn to share, we learn to kiss a boo-boo, and we learn about friendship and love. But when the positive enforcement is mixed with the negative enforcement that’s where our thoughts become muddled. With the forces of good versus bad,  we yearn  for the once sweet memories to bring us back but  we don’t know how to get back to them.  Instead we get nuggets of happiness here and there.  We go to social media, relying on friends and family to build us up, to connect to us. We post quotes of happiness , integrity, and sincerity, desperately trying to reach inside of ourselves to find the happiness that is our birthright.

Instead, like Jeremy and Rocky, and Wendy and Maria, and Babe and Michele, we become comfortable in negative behavior, suffering the consequences, we settle, either directly or indirectly, into endlessly hurtful patterns of behavior, infusing our relationships with the fucked up shit taught to us by our parents. Dump their value systems.

Socrates once wrote a profound message that he hoped would cure one of all negative emotions, it has two words:  Know Thyself.  I should know, I’m the character of Michele Bangelo.

© Terry Rachel, 2011


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