If you’re going to suffer you should suffer magnificently.
Not sure where or when I first heard that but that phrase resonated with me. Spoke to my slightly untamed and indulgent nature. Was louder and more enticing than the sullen voices and memories of hollow women that would scold me for laughing too hard or too loud, falling in love to often or giving myself over to any real pleasure. Somewhere around fifteen I was sitting at a table in a restaurant, my mother and her mother both whispering, scowling and passing judgment on a group of people three tables over. The group was opulent for sure; many empty bottles and more on the way, food remaining on their plates while they ordered dessert, lots of laughing, cuddling, touching, kisses. I sat there watching this six top of shameful behavior wishing I could slip out from under my chair, ditch the “civility” of whispering women, the clinking of the ice in the cold glasses of tea, the slow, guilt laden, stabbing of food….the glances around the room to see if anyone was seeing them pleasure themselves when the morsels landed upon their twisted-with-envy-and-regret palates. I ached to slip away and let myself plunk bits of food…food that I picked at with my fingers…between my lips. Longed to pick up one of those glasses and let the warm with alcohol liquid slip down my throat and loosen the behavioral corset that bound me so tight that I was incapable of feeling much of anything at all.
I sat there, them shaking their heads, looking over their shoulders, bitter words of “trashy” and “no class” feeling slightly fragmented. My years of trying to please these women urging me to agree, to denounce these people for…and that was when it hit me, denounce them for what? Having fun? Living too much? Laughing too hard, enjoying their food too much, touching? Oh I felt shame for sure but it was at the boorish, uncivil and very clearly jealous snapping of the people at my own table. If this was what you got from living your life by the rules, restraining yourself from feeling too good too often, this holier than thou attitude full of judgment and ugly words sputtered from a tight lipped frown, well then I was ready to go stomping around in puddles, naked, Slim Jim between my teeth, someone’s lips on my hips while I danced to Let’s Get It On.
Now I know there are wicked smart and driven teenagers but sadly I was not one of them so I went about this new, “Gonna get my feel on” thing all wrong. Took a lover, took a lover at 16, as if the fumbling of some 16 year old boy was somehow going to please me. Fail. That was my first of many failures when it came to discovering what made me feel good…although I did find that I derived tremendous pleasure from “seducing” him, so much as it was. The way he would risk just about anything to be with me simply by me giving him a certain look or brushing the back of his neck with the tips of my fingers….the way he would stutter, stammer, tear at my clothes, the way I could get him to follow me behind the building where he worked because I “Simply had to be with him”. Wish I could say that was the greatest 3 minutes of my life, wasn’t but I did start to figure out that I was getting the real pleasure by making him feel.
The relationship was bound to end, fuck I mean we were only 16 but it was doomed more by my pretending it was just for fun when I actually cared very deeply for him. This thing of ours went on into our twenties, both of us in and out of relationships but always lovers. He wanted the body I was freely giving him and I wanted all of him. To this day he holds the record for breaking my heart, hurt me the worst and to this day….I don’t blame him and I would do it all over again. To learn as much as I did, to hide the way my own heart was pounding away when he would kiss me, the pain I felt when he would talk to me about his newest love, the way I cried every time he left. If you’re going to suffer….
Now at almost forty I am often at that “touching bottle filled table” using my fingers to eat whenever I wish, pouring plenty of warm alcohol rich liquid down my throat and still playing around with whatever bit of sexy I might have. Flirt, bend my body, wet my lips and growl saucy things to make people stutter but I’ve found my true pleasure comes from using my words to inspire want. Being able to describe something in a way that drives people to seek out that moment, that bottle, that taste…now that is what truly drives me wild. I’m lucky enough to work in an industry that kind of requires that, unbelievably lucky to have a boss that allows me, often encourages me to do it in my way and…I have this place. This place where I just talk and all you amazing people come to feel me…you simply cannot know how much pleasure you give me.
I spent yesterday just couching. Recovering from a weekend that saturated me in amazing wines, pouring them alongside two men too humble to truly understand how much they have changed me, drinking with, dining with and selling wine to people that either drove hundreds of miles or flew out to be there…because my words, the ones they found here, inspired them to do so. Unreal to me and truthfully a tad overwhelming. I was just a puddle yesterday, drained and exhausted, too tired to do more than fondle the remote but…damn, sweetest exhaustion ever. So while this painfully shy woman suffered a bit from being kind of in the spotlight….I assure you, I was suffering magnificently.