Beyond Impulses

MATT GROENING ([The Simpsons] Season 3 DVD Commentary): I think Lisa’s a great character … She’s the one character not completely ruled by her impulses.

JEFF MARTIN ([The Simpsons] Season 3 DVD Commentary): And as a result, she’s in pain, all the time. Or it’s never far from the surface.
The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History. John Ortved

sometimes i cringe that some of the most incredibly useful things you ever say come at such a fantastic expense on your part.
Gywneth, November 2008

People find the things I say incredibly useful.

They spend time listening to me.

And after a while, they want to know when the pain stops, when things get less intense and brighter.

I’m really loving “You’re The Worst,” a sitcom on FX about two incredibly smart people who live somewhere between their powerful impulses and their sharp vision.   They are pulled in opposite directions and they are always, in some level in pain.  This makes them both completely compelling and totally exhausting to be around, which is why they both have histories of short, intense relationships.  Even Aya Cash admits she wouldn’t want to spend a lot of time around her character, talking about the acting challenge to make Gretchen likeable.

I know that I am stubborn, sharp, suffering and exhausting.   After all, who has spent more time around me than I have?   Seeing through my eyes is wonderful and clarifying, yes, but it is also intense and challenging, laden with pain.   Just ask my sister, who has known me for almost as long as I have known me.

My impulses are untrustworthy.   I know this because I was told this from as early as I can remember, because I was told if often and told it loud.  I challenged authority, spoke truth to power and have a trans heart, all offences against the establishment.

Someone had to transcend impulses in my family, and somehow I knew I got the short straw.   I was the target patient, the one out of step, the Lisa.  Only queerer.  Much queerer.

Four pounds of short-dated beef bologna got left at the checkout by me on Thursday, and it broke me.  Hadn’t been out in two weeks.  Sure, it was only $4, and I won’t starve, but I didn’t really need one more example of loss and failure.  Fall comes and the lifeline is below sustenance, starved by twenty months of forced denial.

I’m the Lisa, though.   The one who is expected to forgo impulse, the one who has to eat her own pain.  And the one who is, in the end, intolerable.

Between out of bounds impulses and the pain of denial, where do I breathe?  Where is charm beyond struggle?`