Dreams of Dynamite.

I dreamt of you last night. Of us. Of the places we’ve been and the places we could have gone. The paths we could have walked. The secrets we could have shared. I dreamt of you last night, and again you broke my heart. Again, I woke feeling empty, lost, confused. And alone. I try my hardest during the day to push you from my mind, my heart, and in dreams I’m vulnerable to you, to your words, to your presence. I dreamt of you last night and I wish more than anything that I had not.
I’ve been shutting off feelings for this dude I was seeing for almost a month now. Do you do that? Feel you are getting too close to someone and just turn it off? Like your emotional downpour is coming from some rusty faucet that lets your feelings drip drip drip and waste that sweet California water, even after you’ve decided your done washing your hands, and all you have to do to stop the drip drip drip is get a wrench and some big man strength and tighten that motherfucker up? That is what I do. This is what I have always done. It is this precise reason I claim to be emotionally retarded, not capable of truly loving, or letting myself be loved. The threat of heartbreak is always so much harder to deal with than the actual breaking of said bloody beating machine, and just like the threat of terrorism, I am willing to go to ANY lengths to ensure I never encounter either, ever again. So I push. Push push push him away until the man is confused, lost and moves on, away from me. A silent retreat from a sleeping relationship. Nobody says a word, except sorry, or perhaps…..”I’m just no good at this” and then follow up apology to make sure everything is still cool, and no one actually got involved enough to get hurt.
The more I think about my course of action, the more I think about my tendency to run away from relationships that either don’t go the way I plan, or start crumbling at the first hint of a word starting with “L,” the more I realize this just isn’t going to work. It hasn’t ever worked actually, running away from men I start to fall in love with, or even start to fall in strong liking with, and maybe its time for me to change the way I deal with relationships, or don’t deal with them.
They say

“in order to fall in love, to surrender, you must first love yourself.”

Lets start at the beginning. Sometimes it’s hard to love yourself.

When I quit doing cocaine, July 31st, my last day living in Pacific Beach at an apartment that almost evicted me for spending money on drugs instead of rent, I hated myself. I hated every part of myself. From the way I looked, to the way I thought, to the way I acted. I hated that I let myself fall so far from grace, so far from who I actually am, and the process of liking myself was one of the most difficult things about quitting cocaine. When I did a line, it didn’t matter that I didn’t like myself, didn’t matter that I had no money and what funds I did have were obtained selfishly from my father and used recklessly in my nose. All that mattered was that I fell asleep (or tin foiled my windows) before the sun came up. Before reality of the day set in as rays of light blasted through sleepy little PB. All that mattered was that I could scrounge up enough change from the floor of my car to buy a sprite and powdered donuts, ironically enough, from the vending machine below my house, to go with the big bottle of vodka I drank every morning at dawn to induce sleep. When I did drugs, it didn’t matter that I was unhappy with who I was. When I quit drugs, this was my biggest problem.
Luckily, I had a boyfriend that wanted me clean as much as I did, and he let me spend a month and a half sleeping off my 6 month cocaine binge, in the darkness of his bedroom. He didn’t ask for money. He didn’t ask for a thank you. He gave himself so completely to me in hopes that I would start to love myself like he loved me, and he hoped I would soon start to show him the love he shared with me, although I never did. No, instead of loving him, and being good to him, I cheated, fucked around, didn’t share my feelings, (which mostly revolved around the fact that I wanted to bang a couple of his friends) and then when I finally got my own house lined up, I disappeared. Like that marines commercial where you are watching the beach, the waves lapping up on the shore, with the moon shining bright. The wave comes in, and you see foot prints. A cloud passes over the moon, and the footprints disappear with the following wave. Like it never happened.
I moved all my things out of his house when he was at work one day. He came home and called me, asked me what was up, and I told him of the house I had just rented, and that I wouldn’t be living with him anymore. He said:

“I’m proud of you.”

I said:


The next day, Charlie Laine and I put on camo gear, face paint, and we snuck back into his house while he was at work, to steal away the rest of my worldly possessions: Like 6 Jerome Baker Bongs,3 bubblers, a couple pipes, and my grinder. We got in and got out, and high fived on the way down, thankful he never showed back up.
He came home that night and realized I was gone. He didn’t think it was over until I took my glass, the last thing in his home that could tie him to me. He showed up at my new house, wanting to talk, banging on the door, crying and yelling.
I sat silent behind my couch holding back alligator tears, unsure of any good way to let him down. Unsure of how to say it is over, unsure it was really over. But it was. Big over. And he knew, and left. We never spoke again.
My first week of living alone reminded me I hate myself. While living with Pete, he provided all the love I needed, all the reassurance and confidence I myself could not muster. As soon as I was alone, that self hatred struck, and I realized if I am going to survive this cleaning up game, I better start liking myself. So I bought post-its.
Every day, I would write one sentence on a post-it and put it up somewhere around my home. Each post-it had a sentence on it, a sentence that said something nice about myself, something I liked about myself.

“You have a great smile.”

“You are self sufficient.”

“You are nice.”

At first it was hard finding things I liked about myself. I reached to China for that one sentence, and even in writing it, wasn’t sure I believed it. A month later, my house was covered in post-its, and I felt better about myself, not better about what I had done to Pete, but it was a start.
Now, four and a half years later, I don’t need post-its to remind me of why I’m cool. Breaking up, or deciding not to be with someone, or someone deciding they don’t want to be with me, doesn’t get to me like it used to. Before, I took the blame, I thought something was lacking in my heart, in my soul, and this lack is what caused the man to run. Now, as an adult, and a strong woman, these are not things I struggle with anymore. I know I’m a good catch. I know that I am not lacking in anything except proper tools to deal with emotional distress. And these tools are like those in a toolshed. You get a hammer first. Then a screwdriver. Then a wrench and a phillips head, until dwammo, you have a full fucking shed filled with rad toys that can either build, or destroy. All the tools in my shed seem to destroy. Go figure.
But the point is this is the first time I’ve taken on the task of destroying a relationship that was in perfect working order. A relationship that was never classified as such, even though it was, and one that I still wanted to participate in.

“The dust has only just begun to form crop circles in the carpet. Sinking Feeling.”

He didn’t though. At least that’s the feeling I got. One large incident that changed the way I see him, changed the way he looks through my eyes. Changed the way my heart feels when he is near. He is not quite the man I thought, with characteristics I’m not sure I want to pursue. So I get out my tools of self-destruction, and start hammering away. First it’s my cold shoulder. Then its onto the hammer of words we cannot take back, with a grand finale of dynamite lined with apathy and impassivity. Until our building has fallen, and the dust has settled. And the dust had settled.
Until he invaded my dreams last night. So now, even though I’ve cut him out of my life, I must keep my tools out, my hammer and explosives, for a great effort to cut him out of my mind. First it will be the cold shoulder. Then it’s my hammer of word, tearing him apart in my head, where its safe and warm, and a good place for my feelings for him to die. Then its back to the dynamite to blow out any traces of love, except the explosives I reserve for myself, for the mental and internal destruction of a man I nearly loved, are much more compassionate than the dynamite of non-caring that I dealt him. My dynamite is cleansing. The dynamite I use for him is empty.

So this is where I stand. This is my love life, or lack thereof. This is my Die-No-Might.



~ by Penny Flame on December 16, 2008.

13 Responses to “Dreams of Dynamite.”

  1. This is such a wonderful piece of your heart Penny. You’ve been so honest and insightful today I am just completely blown away.
    I think your tender heart could use a bit of kindness, it might be time to trust someone maybe just a little. I have been pretty much emotionally unavailable for a few years too and it’s getting a little old.
    Write if you like Penny.
    I’d love to be your friend.

  2. Its amazing how easy it is to shut someone off when you don’t feel its mutual. Then how complex it feels when opposite arises. The need to make minds with off switches hehe

  3. Why?

  4. Holy crap you are a good writer. The introduction of the tool metaphor and then the return to the same metaphor as you conclude – amazing. Blew my mind. I like how you somewhat fearlessly lay down a very creative analogy or metaphor and just run with it. I can relate to that.

  5. Love isn’t everything Penny.

    It’s the thing for which we ache in bone and breath, and after lesser, fainter joys are tested, we may find it very well the best thing our little, dusty lives experience. But it’s not everything, there is much, much, more — though, perhaps not better. For what it’s worth I hope you find the capacity to love truly, completely, comically, without qualification (my apologies, sometimes I sound like a 13 year old Emo kid writing this shit).

    It may take a while to get there, and hating yourself for not loving yourself, obviously enough, goes nowhere. And loving yourself for being resilient, developing the tools to mitigate challenges, external and personal, will do little to to confront weaknesses within yourself unless your tools are able to adjust to the subtleties of real life and real people. Else you enjoy the illusion of certainty and control.

    Hate to say it, but, not everyone finds love with someone in this world.

    Accepting this possible reality is obviously not ideal, but it’s ok. There is a lot to enjoy in life without love, and indeed love (whatever this nebulous idea is — not to degrade the notion) can hold us back from experiencing many things through shackles of affection, duty, and fear of loss. All I’m saying is — and you should know this better than most — that love is just one of many ways of being.

    I believe, if I believe anything, that all things are as they must be. Accepting this has helped me to begin to love myself when years of abuse had made it impossible. I hate sounding like anything, least of all some a pseudo-new-age, kundalini, hack-guru wanting to hug everyone of God’s children (I’m not — I like smart, crazy, little brunette chicks that fuck a lot), but I think this is the truth.

    Finally let me make one thing abundantly clear: I’m not suggesting that this is your “key” to self-acceptance, who knows what that is? — I just think it’s a good start.

    I was slammed on Wild Turkey writing this. This isn’t an excuse, but I’m afraid I might have misread some of your post. If I’m on, propz to me. If not, then I’m just some jackass on your blog and who gives a shit, right?


    – JDW

  6. “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” by Jean-Dominique Bauby

  7. Waowww !!!
    Hi Penny … it’s 2 years along I read your blog and today this post tear my heart. So conscious of yourself but how you can’t find an issue in LOVE.
    I’m disappoint of you , I think you stop cocaine since every years… it’s a real shit this drug… it’s not entirely your mistake…
    Perhaps the lonely Penny like this life … until you still a pornstar… .
    Since a few week I don’t really read your post (not really interesting) but your new website is very nice better than in Xritic … love this sweet snow !!!

    Hope for you a happy end year in your head and your heart.
    N’oublie pas de vivre juste et que toutes ces pensées ne sont que des nuages noirs qui s’en iront pour laisser un ciel bleu.


  8. Thought this applied to your post, it’s really good writing. This came from the book “Diving Bell” and Mithra-Grandchamp is a race horse that the author, against what he knew, betted against the horse.

    “Frankly, I had forgotten Mithra-Grandchamp. The memory of that event has only just come back to me, now doubly painful: regret for a vanished past and, above all, remorse for lost opportunities. Mithra-Grandchamp is the women we were unable to love, the chances we failed to seize, the moments of happiness we allowed to drift away. Today it seems to me that my whole life was nothing but a string of those small near misses: a race whose result we know beforehand but in which we fail to bet on the winner.”

  9. Another amazingly prescient blog post Penster! Thanks for sharing a glimpse into your world. I actually think you are correct in dumping this guy though. I don’t think you act capriciously, so whatever he did must have been big enough for either your intellect or your innate feeling to pick up on as a warning sign. Actually you are probably healthier now when you can see things clearly and act on your own best interest. It sucks to say goodbye to people you care about- but you have to do what is right in the end. Think of it as just allowing you to eventually find the perfect relationship FOR YOU and don’t regret it or spend time dwelling on it. Let’s face it, you rock and are desirable to thousands so why settle for someone not perfect for you?!!!!

  10. Happy Christmas Penny.

  11. Happy jesus day Ms. Flame.

  12. The wisest words I have ever heard concerning relationships came from Matt Groening’s Life in Hell comic strip:

    “Your spouses hyenalike laugh will not grow more endearing with time”

    I’ve found that sometimes in a relationship you see something that puts you off, and you try to ignore it, but it always pops up, with that annoying little feeling “This person is not for you…”, and you never can quite shake it.

    Also, perhaps the person in your dreams isn’t really “him” but him as a symbol for something…just something to think of next time you see him in a dream and are hurling explosives his way.

  13. Sounds like you are working with the wrong tools, or at least using your tools for the wrong uses. First, the cold shoulder, good for keeping people away, good for numbing down the warmth and passion that people feel for you and trying to make yourself numb in the process. But this use of it is in the later stages of a relationship. In the beginning, it is usually used to temper firey passions, to coldly shoulder your way thru a person’s bullshit, on the way to discovering their true self. Sounds like you are really past it in this case…

    Next, the hammer of words. You are too focused on the sledge or jack-hammer, which given my own proclivities, is probably what I would think of first too. What about trading down to a smaller one, like a claw or finishing hammer? A claw is used to erect the crucial framing supports on anything from temporary stuff to homes, and a finishing hammer is used to enhance the basic layout of something and usually make it better fitting to the person(s) living in it. Good tool metaphors to use, as it is such the same with words and the bonds and breaks we can make with them.

    Lastly, the dynamite. Interesting choice, dynamite. I can’t help but notice that you specified dynamite, not something bigger, more powerful, like a nuke or H-bomb. Something more final, more scorched earth, leave-no-survivors kind of thing. Just about every kind of thing I have seen blown up with dynamite has been rebuilt better overall, or to make make way for something newer and better. What that says about your use of it here, I’ll not insult your intelligence and spell it out for you.

    I would never confess to be an expert in matters like this, more like a curious amateur, but I would say that for every story’s beginning, there should be an ending, a finality. Some sort of resolution, be it the extremes from the order of “And they lived happily ever after”, to something on par with Greek tragedy. And going by the human condition, which would scare or hurt us the most…?

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