this morning is full of rain, a day
better spent in bed, two bodies
coiled together like snakes, both
of us shedding skins, swallowing
secrets for sustenance, crawling
back toward one another,
testing the air and tasting home.
this morning, and all others, reminds
me of you. I think of the way people drown.
I think of the way people love –
they are two sides of a coin
that pays for nothing, and yet
whose value is limitless.
this morning, I am reaching
for your voice; this morning, I am
the impossible girl
with a constellation in her heart,
leaving just enough stardust
for you to find your way.
This morning, I found myself searching for a word I couldn’t find, the ghost of yesterday’s mascara underneath my eyes. It is strange how some moments seem to count more than others, how a single feeling can stretch out for an eternity, encompassing everything that it touches. In that instance, all the words stop struggling; sentences are entirely rearranged, until idea of language becomes something else. Something tactile, something sacred. A science of atoms, splitting. The way the wind blows through a chime, music lingering the distance. The warm quiet of blankets first thing in the morning. A Sunday spent without obligation.
For this, there are no adjectives, only shadows of them. For this, there are no explanations, only the pale distance between breathes. All definitions have been rendered useless. All equations found perfectly solved. The key is a single word, polished like a diamond. It turns a lock. It slips a chain. It opens a door and shatters a window.
Sometimes, the things we let ourselves believe are the most dangerous. We place our faith in our hearts, not because it is easy or simple. It is because we realize the power in a single ripple, a star found in the sky, when everything has else has faded into the night. Ultimately, what we believe in is what we hold highest. And where there’s truth and trust, there is strength. There’s making the impossible, possible.
What is more miraculous than that?
Who do you trust, when you shouldn’t trust anyone? Better yet, who do trust when you can’t trust yourself?
When the foundation of your world is shaken – you lose your job, your identity, or the love of your life – it changes a person. Essentially, you feel alone. Suddenly, you don’t know what’s right, anymore. Up looks like down, and down is sideways. It is a dangerous thing, when you cannot trust yourself, because you are hurting, and betrayed, and feeling off-kilter. In Thursday’s Scandal (Boom Goes the Dynamite), everyone is unsure of who to trust, and because of that, possibly trusting the wrong people.
Huck is suffering from the aftereffects of his waterboarding. It is revealed that his trauma has left him unable to shower in the rain. Quinn confronts him about the fact that he smells, and it’s revealed that he’s been having panic attacks. He assures her that he’ll be fine — after the rain stops. And who, in that moment, didn’t want to hug him? Huck can’t trust himself not to freak out, so he avoids the situation – the shower – that would trigger it. Damaged as he is, that is a sound logic.
We come to discover that a panicked David Rosen is relying heavily on Olivia Pope and Associates. He has no one else. They uncover a mole in the CIA, possibly something/someone called Albatross, and a random friend of Wendy’s appears to assure David that she knows he didn’t her. (Not entirely sure I trust random, crazy-eyed lady. But we’ll see.) Fitz is relying on Jake to monitor (STALK) Olivia, claiming that she is not what she seems. Jake and Fitz clearly have a personal relationship, initially talking and drinking like two old friend do. This is the man who took surveillance photos of Olivia and Edison. The trouble is that Jake seems to be inexplicably drawn to Liv. Liv, despite her best efforts and protestations, appears to be warming up to him. This is a serious breach of trust on all fronts. But we’ll get to that in a minute.
In the White House, we find that Fitz is still behaving like a directionless moron, taking Mellie’s advice – which we come to find out is not actually her advice at all. She’s been using Cyrus as an idea farm, pleading with him about not knowing how to handle Fitz, only to take Cyrus’s idea and pass them off as her own. Mellie is shred as hell, but a political animal is no match for a political monster. Cyrus takes Olivia’s advice and lets Mellie figurative hang herself, because she a) has no idea how to really HANDLE Fitz, b) always oversteps boundaries and her duties, and c) has all the political savvy of a parking meter. In one deft scene, Fitz finds out Mellie went behind his back, breached his trust (tenuous as it may be), and fumbled the political ball with ardent fervor. Mellie realized that Cyrus knows what she’s been doing, and that he hand a hand in her own undoing. But it’s too late. Fitz gives her a “That will be all” brush off (BOOM). From here on out, we expect that Fitz will again rely on Cyrus, and hopefully, equilibrium is not far behind.
Additionally, a well-established political family, the Caldwells, hires OPA to get one of them elected Governor; rumor has it that Will is gay, so Olivia is tasked to arrange a political marriage. Conveniently, and probably not accidental on Fitz’s part, the President is the keynote speaker at a Caldwell fundraiser, which had Olivia in attendance. While the two of them did not cross paths, Fitz’s face crumbled when he spied her on the phone with Jake, smiling and blushing (BOOM). Jealousy contorted his features into a shocking picture of disbelief. Fitz is the epitome of horrible, insane jealousy. He may say that he doesn’t want her. He may say that her actions were unforgivable, but he’s only letting her go in name – not in reality. He needs to know what she’s doing, and how she is, despite their strange separation. He claims not to want her, and yet…he’s doing the Presidential version of driving by your ex’s house at 3am, hoping to glimpse a silhouette. Honestly, the video surveillance is creeptastic and not cool at all. And yet, as Fitz mentioned, he didn’t count on the isolation of the White House and his position. In the past ten months, his whole world fell down around him, he’s drinking in the shower, and he’s separated – by his choice – from the love of his life. These kind of soul-shaking tragedies make people stupid. He has a hell of a lot of power and authority. Jealousy does not mix well with that kind of thing. I can’t imagine what Liv is going to do when she finds out what he’s done – and that Jake has been watching her.
During the fundraiser, something interesting comes to light. The would-be governor is not, in fact, gay – he’s having an affair with his brother’s wife. They are in love, and Olivia stumbles across them kissing in a rose garden, not unlike her and Fitz’s special spot. (Hi, symbolism. Thanks for beating us over the head.) Furiously, Liv unleashes a tirade at him, one that unmistakably applies/parallels her relationship to Fitz.
BOOM. You have nothing. And it’s achingly, horribly true in that moment. Liv sees herself in this, and she was the statue – willing to wait for something that may never have materialized. She put her life on hold for a man she loved, and it blew up in her face. In that moment, Liv is bitter. She is angry. She is mad at herself.
Incidentally, the last interesting piece of this episode was a second meeting between Jake and Fitz, after the fundraiser. Fitz, seething like the green eye’d monster, wants to know who the guy is. He saw Liv on the phone. He knows that look. And he’s way past ticking; the time bomb in a teddy bear is in pieces.
Jake lies to Fitz, claiming that there is no guy, because HE is the guy. And it would a serious breach is security etiquette to reveal that he’s trying to woo his target. Jake, for all intents and purposes, is not a bad guy. He’s doing a job. Who hasn’t accidentally fallen in love (or infatuation) with someone they work with? Yes, the circumstances are messed up, and I am by no means Team Jake/Liv – but I like Jake. He’s got a heart. He turns off the cameras when Liv gets undressed. He’s not a creepy stalker asshole looking to get cheap thrills. Needless to say, Fitz is abusing his power, because he can’t control his erections or his heart. It’s wrong. It’s bad. It’s fifty different kinds of fucked and ridiculous. But it’s not a boiled bunny. Not yet, at least. But this is, unquestionably, CRAZYPANTS.
Trust is a funny thing. Liv broke Fitz’s trust with Defiance. Now, Fitz is breaking hers with this whole stalker by proxy thing. I wonder how this will explode, and it will explode. They’ll either forgive each other the stupid wrongs they’ve rendered – or they will continue to widen the physical chasm between themselves. This, folks, is what happens when you have a failure to communicate. You get stupid. This is what happens when you don’t know who you should trust, and you can’t trust yourself. You get crazy. Most people have enough common sense not to semi-stalk their exs. But when you’re having the worst time of your life, you have no one to learn on, your wife is Lady Macbeth and Iago rolled into one, and you’re in charge of running a country (hello, stress!) – normal goes out the window. Personally, someone or something needs to slap some sense into Fitz. Because he doesn’t have any. And neither does Liv, because she agreed to a second date with a guy who’s watching her, and her gut hasn’t whispered a hint of danger. Cyrus was foolishly trusting Mellie to return him to Fitz’s good graces, until he had proof that she was full-on Machiavelli-ing him.
Nothing is what it seems. No one is what they seem. There are good intentions and malicious ones. The reasons are there, clearly marked. But the end does not always justify the means. The episode is titled boom goes the dynamite, but I can’t even begin to imagine the aftershocks of all the various explosions. The truth remains that when you cannot trust yourself, all bets are off. And everything is a lit match held in front of a fuse.
- Every waking moment, like all the oxygen’s been taken out of the room. When you do not wake, you dream. When you dream, you see his/her face.
- In every song you hear. The lyrics remind you of everything you want and need.
- Between I love you and the silence that follows.
- When the car crashes and your heart aches – but does not break.
- Quietly, like a pulling tide. Insistent.
- When lightning strikes the sand and turns it to glass. You wish you were the lightning. Then you wish you were the sand.
- Standing on the edge of a cliff. You want to jump. You want to be pushed. Sometimes, the fall kills you. Sometimes, you fly. (Apologies to Neil Gaiman.)
- Madly. Without reservation. As if the top of your head has come off. Suddenly, you can hold nothing in, and so much of you pours out.
- Silently, with your back turned and your hands clenched. Because ignoring the feelings make them go away. Only, it doesn’t. Only, it makes it worse.
- When you can no longer look at yourself in the mirror, without seeing his/her face. Without conjuring – involuntarily, in a fit of abject longing – the feeling of teeth, lips, and hands.
- Stuck in the middle of the moment when you realize that this is a disaster. That you cannot be apart. That you do not know how to say it or how to ask.
- In the dark, before you fall asleep, when the house is quiet and there’s nothing to distract you.
- When all your fears are screaming at you, but you just smile at them. They are nothing in the face of what you feel. What you feel is everything.
The other day, I was watching television, when my eyes were accosted by an ad for whatsyourprice.com. It is, for the love of all that is holy, a dating site in which “generous” people bid on dates with “beautiful” people. So, that narrows it down. Because if you’re cheap and ugly, you’re out of luck.
…seriously, WHAT? Go ahead and take a look at that site. Prepare for your IQ to drop at least twenty points, your blood pressure to skyrocket, and your sense of indignation to hit its zenith. Basically, how it works is you upload a profile, a person bids on a first date, and you accept it. I suppose if you are one of the generous folks, you troll for a date, place a bid and wait.
Because nothing says HEALTH RELATIONSHIP like having to PAY FOR IT. And, ladies, if you’re worried about a Date Fail, fear not! The About section quells your terrors, “Even if your date turns out to be a dud, you will be compensated for your time.” Essentially, you are a HOOKER. So, haul out your Vivian boots, slap on a blonde wig, and get thee to the Regent Beverly Wilshire.
First of all, this just makes me sad. It says terrible things about self-worth on all sides. It commodifies beauty in a strange, insulting way. This also implies that there is less of an emphasis on the appearance of a “generous” person, because he/s she has money. So, it doesn’t matter if your personality is wretched, as long as you’ve got a big wallet or a pretty face.
The website also has a section for testimonials, where you can read what “real people are saying.” Thanks for clarifying that, because I was TOTALLY thinking that there would be a testimonial section for robots, chairs, and mannequins. (Which makes sense, because this feels like a messed up episode of the Twilight Zone. Eye of the Beholder on CRACK.) In the section, the word “gentleman” was thrown around a lot, to the point where I am certain it did not mean what they thought it meant. One woman talks about how her date paid her $200, flew her to the state in which he lived, and paid for a hotel room. This is a stranger, flying you around. A person you do not know. Guys, this is how a bad Lifetime movie starts, where a girl gets murdered and everyone talks about how the guy was such a sweet GENTLEMAN, you never would’ve suspected he secretly ate BABIES. This kind of thing is romanticized stupidity. The thing your mother warns you about. This is getting into a van with a stranger to help him find his lost puppy. And puppy is a euphemism.
The site advises the users to pay half of the agreed upon amount up front and half after the date. Because nothing says CLASSY like trying ensure that your date doesn’t dine and dash! Also, CASH is KING (their phrasing – I shit you not!), and one is advised not to accept personal checks. Maybe because this is tantamount to prostitution and that’s illegal, except at the Bunny Ranch.
Lastly, the website boasts that it isn’t a new concept by any means, implying that it is merely incentive dating. (Anyone want a biscuit? Sit. Stay. Roll over.) The site wants you to think that this is totally awesome, even wholesome, because hey! It’s just like a charity auction: This isn’t a new concept, celebrities and firemen have been participating in dating auctions for decades. The only difference here is that the money isn’t going to charity.” But, um, isn’t the charity party the whole redeeming aspect? Otherwise, you are a hooker. GUYS. LADIES. WHAT THE HELL?
Going on a dating site is one thing. BIDDING ON WOMEN IS DIFFERENT. I would be just as livid if the reverse was true: if “generous” (read: rich) women were bidding on hot guys? It is still outrageous. And not in a good, Jem and the Holograms kind of way. People aren’t meant to be purchased. We are not cows. We are not slaves. And sure, signing up is voluntary. It’s not as if you’re being forced, but I cannot imagine a justifiable reason to do this. You go on a date with someone to enjoy their company, to get to know them – NOT to earn extra pocket cash and get a free meal. That’s not dating. That’s Hot Girl ebay. And it is a WORLD of NO.
To answer the question, “What’s your price?” Honey, you couldn’t fucking afford me.
Trust is a fragile thing. It is something that people must earn, must continue to earn – and, once lost, it’s not a thing easily gained back. We surround ourselves with people that we trust, trusting them to various degrees. And yet, what happens when one person breaks that trust? Then, another. And then, finally another. It’s not one, singular pain. It’s total devastation. In relationships, we take people for who they are, see them as they are, and gauge our levels of trust accordingly. This is the danger, I suppose, to putting someone up on a pedestal. Eventually, inevitably, that person is made to fall. That is a hard thing to recover from.
On Thursday’s Scandal (Whiskey Tango Foxtrot), Fitz is reeling. He has lost his grip on himself, on his identity, on his confidence. He’s drinking in the shower in the morning. He doesn’t even react, not really, to the ardent affections of his wife, Mellie. He just wanted whiskey. She wants to give him a blowjob, and he keeps DRINKING, until Cyrus interrupts. Basically, Fitz is every person who has suffered a soul-shattering betrayal. Where getting out of bed is a challenge and regaining perspective seems impossible. Fitz doesn’t get the luxury of spending a month in bed, eating Hagen Daaz and watching bad TV. He’s got a country to run. And we find that he’s seriously off his game. He’s frozen Cyrus out, because he knows the truth about the election. Cyrus, foolishly, turns to Mellie for help – thinking that they are still some kind of bastardized team. And she, only after her own gain ALWAYS, throws Cyrus under the bus, blaming him for the election rigging. “He made us do it.” The Fitz we knew before? He would’ve called bullshit on that. He would’ve recognized Mellie for what and who she is, and known that she was manipulating him. Instead, he asks for her advice on a mission. Then, he follows it, effectively shoving Cy farther into Presidential Siberia (again, brilliantly scripting with the repetition of “Did you need something?”). Listening to Mellie, whose political savvy is lacking, is a terrible decision, and the mission in question is a spectacular failure.
Olivia, on the other hand, is just as broken as Fitz. She is so off of her game that she can’t read people. She may not fall apart in the same way that Fitz does, but she is just as devastated. Approached in a coffee shop by Jake (played by the delightful Scott Foely), he hits on her and she is visibly flattered, unable to see it for what it is: some kind of surveillance. Why? We don’t know. But that was way too coincidental, way too much of a meet-cute to be actual accident. Of course, we discover at the end of the episode that he has cameras all over her apartment AND at OPA. (My first question is when did that happen? And why didn’t Huck notice? You’d think he would be on top of that.) I wonder if Edison has something to do with it. Regardless, Jake ties into Olivia’s current case – which is that someone set poor David Rosen up for murder, killing a woman in his bed. The woman in question is Wendy, a “story-whore,” who made her living by stealing and selling secrets. In turns out that she was in communication with Jake, who works in Intelligence for the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
After ten months (presumably) of not seeing each other, Fitz and Liv are reunited for Ella (Cyrus and James’s ADORABLE daughter) christening. They are godparents. Fitz and Olivia both look entirely stricken when seeing each other for the first time, even more so when they’re hands brush against each other during the ceremony. Afterwards, at the White House, Olivia goes to leave and Fitz follows her, consumed by a whirlwind of powerful emotion. Pulling her into an electrical closet, without a word, they sleep together. Contrasting that scene to the one with Fitz and Mellie in the shower, and you can see the difference between a convenient relationship and one that’s rife with passion. Fitz feels hurt and betrayed, but that doesn’t diminish his feelings of love for Olivia. You can still love someone and hate something they’ve done. That’s what love is, sometimes: forgiveness.
Truthfully, after they’re emotionally charged tryst, Fitz claims that he may not be able to control his erections around her, but that doesn’t mean that he wants her to wait for him. Why bring that up, in that moment? Because when all is said and done, he doesn’t really want to lose her. He is actively trying to wound her, because he’s hurt. And we all lash out at those we love the most, when we are that level of emotional decimation. She tries to apologize for Defiance, and he calls it a betrayal – not a mistake. That is why Fitz is hurting so much, that is why he can’t see or think straight. He feels like the one person who believed in him without exception did not actually believe in him. To borrow an analogy from the show, he found out that there is no Santa Claus, when he thought HE was Santa.
But you know what’s important about that scene? They had a conversation. It may have been short, but they got things out in the open. Each knows where the other stands, and both are clearly miserable with the way that things are. Fitz says one thing, but his actions say something entirely different. He could’ve let Liv leave the party without a word. He didn’t just follow her out of lust. They haven’t spoken, and we all know that when that happens, Fitz turns into a time bomb stuffed into a teddy bear. Tick. Tick. Tick. Liv, time and again, is the only thing that can defuse him. (Okay, that sounded LESS dirty in my head. Moving on…)
After his rendezvous with Liv, we find Fitz and Mellie in the shower together again. This scene is completely awkward, because here are two people who are so disconnected from each other. There’s no love. There’s no passion. She always manages to not see Fitz. She manages to ignore the emotions clearly written on his face, bumbling through “handling” him without paying attention to him. Fitz has a spaz fit, because he doesn’t want to intimate with Mellie. They share the most dispassionate kiss I’ve ever seen (again, WHISKEY!). The entire scene made me uncomfortable, because of the complete lack of emotional connection. Right there, that’s every passionless relationship ever created. That’s Mellie, trying to take advantage of Fitz, by attempting to keep him under her thumb when he’s so clearly vulnerable. Mellie is exploiting that for her own personal gain. In her mind, if she controls Fitz (and he foolishly IS listening to her), she controls the country. That is a scary thought.
We take out our pain on those we are closet to, because we expect them not to run when we’re ugly. We expect them not to turn from us when we’re at our worst, our weakest – when all we see when we look in the mirror is a monster, a failure, a fraud, a person undeserving. When we are as vulnerable as Fitz is, we lean on those we love. But for Fitz, the love of his life has sent him reeling. He’s grappling and grasping, drinking and disassociating – without actually dealing. His pattern is that he drinks when he’s miserable. This is the worst we’ve ever seen him, even considering the time his father spent of his campaign.
It takes time to earn back trust. To build up a willingness to try. The fact remains that without Olivia, Fitz is a weaker person. His gut is off. His instincts are frayed. He’s a lesser version of himself. For Olivia, it is the same. She’s tried to fill the void by keeping busy, by hurling herself into exercise and work. But that only takes the edge off. It does not negate the problem, the heartache, the hole that is doing the foxtrot in her life. Neither is whole without the other. Regardless of the particulars of the situation, they are less when they are apart. This separation is destroying them both, and while Fitz may protest that they are done, one look at those two – one look between those two – proves that could not be further from the truth. And, like dirty little secrets, the truth always comes out.
This morning, a good friend was telling me a story. It was a story, had it not been 7:30am, that would’ve gone perfectly with whiskey. Because some things, man, they gut you and leave you gaping like a bloody fish on the floor. The truth is, it hit too close to home, like emotional shrapnel made of Ebola. I won’t go into detail (not my story to tell), but on one hand – it was incredibly sweet and romantic. On the other hand, it was a big, shiny, fancy pile of excuses.
Which made think about a lot of things. How much energy do we spend on the wrong things? On hiding, not talking, not risking, not loving, not trying? How many excuses do we manufacture – yes, manufacture – because we’re terrified or [insert action-stalling emotion here]? We do this TOO much. Far too much.
We say no too often. We flee. When we don’t really know what’s going to happen tomorrow, or five minutes from now, or whatever. We don’t really know if we’ll wake up tomorrow morning – or if we’re going to trip walking down the stairs or walking the dog (especially if your dog is anything like my dog. He plots my demise EVERY day).
Today is, of course, Valentine’s Day. It’s a Hallmark holiday, and while I love any excuse to stuff my face with chocolate, it’s not really the DAY I care about. Love is more than doing what you’re supposed to do. It’s more than societal expectations. And no matter the day, it should be celebrated.
Out there, right now, is someone who is bricking up his/her heart. Right now, there is someone who has a laundry list of reasons why not. There is someone who feels something great and wonderful, but refuses to honor it. And that idea, that truth, breaks my heart more than anything else.
We spend too much energy conjuring up armor, keeping people at arm’s length. If that’s you, if you’re hiding behind x, y, and z – STOP. Hurl yourself into the dance, right straight where your heart lies. Anything less than everything is nothing more than fear. And yes, it’s a risk. And yes, the brick wall MIGHT fall on your head. But in doing so, maybe that’ll knock some sense into you. *blinks* I mean…
Love might be madness, but it is the very best madness.