I’m having a moment. For this entry, let a moment represent, uh, a solid six months.
Today, I turned on American Horror Story: Apocalypse. I saw it in the queue on Hulu. I thought about how one ex boyfriend loved watching AHS. He thought of himself as a great intellectual, who indulged in the horror genre in that special way white men with chips on their shoulders bigger than their dicks can. I thought about how it was in the queue on my other ex boyfriend’s Hulu account. Next to it were a handful of anime, cartoons, and anything you might’ve seen aired on Adult Swim in the mid 00’s. Our relationship fit the air time of these selections, and was about as funny. I thought about how I picked up the phone Sunday and called my ex fianceé. She answered. We talked.
I turned on American Horror Story: Apocalypse. The premise is simple; the world is ending. Ryan Murphy introduces us to his current stable of favorite actors, playing unlikeable, unknowably shallow caricatures of people in an apocalyptic premise that is…tedious. I lay on my side and think about the cramps in my reproductive system. I lay on my side and think about putting pants on. I lay on my side and think about what a waste this budget was on dialogue this overblown.
Apocalypse trips along. It’s a lot of set up. There’s some organization that rescued a handful of “genetically superior” humans from a nuclear holocaust. Some people also paid for their rescue. This strikes me as try-hard. I roll over. I think about bad dialogue. I think about doing the best you can with what you have. I wonder why I haven’t turned this off yet.
Some commercials play. There are ads for Trojan condoms, new cars, Kevin Hart yells about something. I open my phone and delete my ex’s contact info. Our texts are still there. My phone poses the question “Maybe: Your Ex”? I don’t feel like answering. I talk to him more than I want to. I get lonely. I don’t need him. I need an ibuprofen for these cramps.
Apocalypse is back on. The world’s still ending. Or has ended. I put my hand on my stomach and press the soft tissue. I’ve always liked having periods. Like being drunk or yoga, they’re an opportunity for me to feel my body. A body that occasionally, like lately, I get so disconnected from it feels more like looking out of windows than out of my own eyes.
I talk about my exes a lot, y’know. And I think about tedious dialogue. I think about big budgets, poorly spent. I think about when, exactly, is someone supposed to intervene and say, “maybe because we can make this, doesn’t mean we should?”. Is someone supposed to intervene? Can’t someone from the inside look out a window and see, maybe, the car is careening off the path?
I’m in a weird moment. I’ve defined portions of my life by relationships because it’s an easy way to chop time up. And now, as I sit in my skin, I feel for all the world like a stranger in this beautiful body.
In Apocalypse, the people saved/rescued live underground. There is a social hierarchy defined by the color people wear, clothing both rich and vaguely baroque in style. I wonder why, why is this what you save at the end of the world? What rituals do you pick? How do you decide what words still fit the age? And when, as you inevitably will, do you discover aha! This isn’t the end of the world. Oh no. It’s a new version. The beginning of an end that’s only the turning of a corner. You were one way. You are another. Tomorrow, you may be either or some third thing.
I think about texting my ex. I think about telling him, if it’s six one way and half a dozen another, we should probably stop talking altogether. To tell him that, I’d have to talk to him. I’m much better from the reactionary position. Taking action in relationships has been, historically, a difficult move for me.
This moment, right now, after I turned off AHS, not finishing the episode, after I put pants on, after I walked outside to write this, this moment, right now, is new. I have never been here before. This moment is undefined by a relationship, except the one to myself. To the concrete steps beneath my feet. To the autumnal air, creeping creeping creeping around my shoulders as I listen to a favorite song. For a second, traffic whizzes by and I am home in myself. I don’t know if I’d survive an apocalypse. But this body, this self, has survived up until now.