Ever fall for someone you knew you shouldn’t?
Rachel was an artist, an obsessive, straddling the line of addiction to quell her “relentless isolation, like a glass wall between me and the rest of humanity I’ve never been able to shatter.” While she sought what most women did—to be married and in love, have healthy kids, she wanted to be “more than a wifey,” torn between parenting and career, the choice facing most women in the 1990s, and even still today. It was hard enough attracting a man when she wasn’t rail thin, heroin chic and perfectly quaffed like most L.A. women, sparkly but not too bright, as her mother insisted females need be. But finding a man willing to share the housework, be an equal partner seemed the impossible dream.
Then along came Lee…
Disconnected reads like a modern Jane Austen—taut, smart, historical lit chronicling the coming of age for the last of the baby boomers with the displacement of classic gender roles at the end of the 20th century. Rachel and Lee’s tumultuous relationship is reflected in the land of perpetual sunshine imploding with rapid growth, racial tension and violence. Disconnected is an L.A. story, an addicting contemporary romance, and like the city itself embodies a very sharp edge.
J. Cafesin is a novelist of taut, edgy, modern fiction filled with complex, compelling characters that bring story live, and linger long after the reads. Her debut novel, Reverb, has been called “riveting,” “deep,” “an original and unique read,” by recent Amazon reviewers. Other works include her fantasy
short story series, Fractured Fairytales of the Twilight Zone. Her second novel, Disconnected, is due out in spring, 2014.
Her essays and articles are featured regularly in local and national print and e-publications. Many of the
essays from her ongoing blog have been translated into multiple languages and distributed globally:
J. Cafesin lives on the eastern slope of the redwood-laden Oakland Hills with her husband/best friend,
two gorgeous, talented, spectacular kids, and a bratty, but cute Shepherd pound hound. Find her on
Facebook, Google+, and Goodreads.
Intuition is a flash of insight. Neither psychic telepathy, nor stroke of divinity, its enlightenment comes from empiricalevidence, consciously or unconsciously attained. Intuition may not tell you what you want to hear, but if ignored, you’re basically fucking yourself.
I wasn’t listening to my intuition when I met Lee, one year earlier, almost to the day. Terrified of a life alone and childless, of being nothing, to anyone, ever, I could barely hear my inner voice anymore beyond my internal clock, and the ever-present media insisting yet to be married women over 30 were worthless hags. I finally succumbed to running a personal ad—the new hip, slick and trendy way to connect in L.A. Friends insisted finding my knight was a numbers games. An ad was a good way to meet men seeking more than getting laid, and looking to date women, which you never can tell in line at the market, since being gay was vogue in L.A. before AIDS.
Five bucks a pop granted access to leave a message on the voice mail the newspaper provided with personal ads. I called most everyone back. It was only right since they were investing in me, ignoring the few angling for ‘one last rendezvous’ before leaving town. L.A. is a very transient city. People come here seeking fame. When they find out the pass to entry is an uncle or cousin in The Industry, or that it takes years of waitressing, skating poverty with no guarantee of success, they generally move on.
Lee’s message came days after everyone else. Deep, resonant voice, he said I was the only ad he responded to, sparked by my words, but the rest of his message sounded like he was reading from the same script as the twenty guys before him. Thirty-something, athletic, successful entrepreneur, ‘at a great space in his life.’ All he wanted (not ‘needed’—’wanted’ makes one better adjusted) was someone to share his wonderful life with. My intuition bridled. If his life was so fulfilling, why the hell was he answering personal ads at $5 a crack? Personally, I was lonely. Really lonely, the kind of lonely that shrouded me in persistent darkness, groundless emptiness. A relentless isolation, like a glass wall between me and the rest of humanity I’ve never been able to shatter. I’ve spent a lifetime on the outside looking in.
The following is a post from J. Cafesin’s blog. I loved it so much and was so impressed with her openness and courage to write so honestly about herself that I wanted to share it with all of you.
Thursday, June 5, 2014
The Folly of Perception
I’ve been on the outside looking in since I was a little kid. Failing to assimilate, I worked at cultivating unique and different. After achieving this coveted perception, I no longer wish to possess it.
Unique often translates into strange. And as the mother of a 10 and an 8 year old, I do not want to be perceived as strange or different. I want to blend like homogenized milk and give my kids the platform to fit in, be a part of. What I don’t want is for either of my children to be, “that kid with the weird mom,” though I fear I may already be there.
My kids still hold my hand, and not just in parking lots or crossing the street. They both still love to snuggle. I am their first choice to talk to, confide in, way beyond even their dad, which makes me feel valued, respected and deeply humbled all at the same time. I realize this level of intimacy probably won’t [and perhaps shouldn’t] last as they grow and find their own path, but I don’t want my kids to ever be ashamed of me. I want to be proud of them. I want them to be proud of me.
I try to fit in. I go to the soccer games and the ballet classes and I wait around with the other parents and try to blend. But I don’t. And I get that they notice I don’t. I look different. I’m one of the oldest among them, by a good margin. My kids came late, after six pregnancy loses. I dress for comfort so most everything I have is rather loose. I don’t wear make-up. My hair is long and fine and all over the place. It refuses to stay pulled back in the scrunchy. I never quite look ‘put together.’
But looks aren’t the only thing that separates me.
Through the years I’ve come to realize that I don’t think like most people, and the glass wall between me and most of humanity is not just me being paranoid. There is a casualness the parents seem to have with one another as they discuss their kids, or some celebrity or popular new show. I stand there and nod my head when it seems appropriate, but I don’t watch much TV, and really don’t care that Kyle is playing basketball now which conflicts with his sister’s dance schedule.
I’ve tried engaging more personally, ask about jobs, interests outside of family, broached news and current events, but taking a position and endeavoring to discuss it has mostly been met with nods and polite blank stares (like I so often wear). Everyone is careful with their words—politically correct and upbeat. I’m neither, and over the years I’ve learned shutting up avoids discord. The conversations usually segue back to their kids and related activities around family, school, church, and I invariably check out of the exchange and focus on the event at hand and cheering on my children.
The game or recital ends but everyone stays and continues talking. I’m on the outside again, feels like I’m lurking while I linger to give my kids time to play. I stand there watching them all integrate, proud of my children for choosing to, and of myself for giving them the opportunity when I’d rather just leave. I watch the parents gaily chat and wish I fit in like that. The folly of unique and different is it’s really quite lonely.