Jaz Persing is a writer, singer, and human living in Los Angeles. She works in television when she can. The rest of the time she’s just looking for a dare-to-be-great situation, hoping she can put a good dent in the world with the mess of broken love, vulnerability, and words she has. In the meantime, she’s immensely grateful for God and the many good people around her that make it all seem feasible.

Nobody's Girlfriend

Nobody's Girlfriend

(as originally published on Medium)

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Speak the name of the demon, and it loses its power.

This is what I learn, and relearn, to be true. And for years now, I have known the name of my demon to be this: I’m Nobody’s Girlfriend.

And I never have been. Or well — that’s not strictly accurate. There was a brief six-month period in high school where I was Somebody’s Girlfriend. And Somebody was exceptionally wonderful, exceptionally handsome, and I loved him with my whole hormonal heart.

He was also, as it happens, exceptionally gay.

While that’s a longer story for perhaps another time, I’ll leave it at this for now — we’ve both been much happier since being Somebody’s Best Friend.

But even with this happier change, my demon has always found ways to be heard. On bad days, in heartbreak, and the end of my frayed self, while consuming a lot of art with limited perspective, my demon creeps in — What’s wrong with you? No one you ever want will pick you. You’re good enough to fuck, but not to meet anyone’s family. You’re just a warm port getting them through this particular storm. They’ll have the baby, the marriage, the life that can be photographed — with the next girl. If you were prettier, if you were skinnier, if you had more of your shit together, if you weren’t quite so loud…

You get the gist. And I dealt with it the way one deals with demons — something in the vein of “Shut the fuck up and get behind me, Satan”. Naming the demon is one thing. Giving airtime to the lies is another, and I spent too much of my life listening.

So it just became a thing. The Nobody’s Girlfriend pain. Don’t even say the words, because that’s only the match to the garbage fire of self-spite italicized above.

Then — a couple months back, I found myself starting to say it anyway. I’m Nobody’s Girlfriend. Not to torture myself, but because it was starting to sound different.

I’m Nobody’s Girlfriend.

Something about it was starting to sound a little less lonely…and a little more like…fuck you. I belong to no one.

Strike that — I belong to myself.

I’m Nobody’s Girlfriend.

I’m writing about this because it likely won’t always be true. I don’t say that in a coy, guess wha-at kind of way — only in the way that all my states of being, especially those I cling to — are temporary. Someday I will likely have to negotiate how to be a whole person in a committed relationship. Maybe soon. Maybe not for a long while. All these things depend on life and death and everything in between, and who’s around the corner, and who I’ll be around that particular corner, at that particular time…

So I need to claim this moniker while I can. I need to feel everything of what this time in my life means and affords.

I’m Nobody’s Girlfriend.

I’ve recently come to revalue the role of friendship in my life. It wasn’t until at a recent gathering on the topic of friendship that I realized I’m more the rarity in a group of women — not always but often, the presence of significant others diminishes the importance of female friendship. Or it’s not given the same weight or effect as anything involving sex.

But I can say with some pride that my friends, my chosen family, are the village that feeds my soul. And as a result, I thus far have been able to let my lovers be less than everything to me.

Is it only that I have yet to encounter an everything-worthy person? Maybe. But at present, I’m happier with where the priority lines have been drawn.

I’m Nobody’s Girlfriend.

One year ago today, I was devastated by this label. One year ago today, I was so convinced of my unworthiness for legitimate coupling that I instigated what was by all accounts an affair, and one that took far too long to end.

One year ago I could only wail at the heavens why was I not enough? Why was it never in the cards to be cared for by somebody I loved? And I could only wail this over email to a man I was unrequitedly in love with, pretending these were perfectly objective questions that had nothing to do with how badly I wanted him to want me. And God bless that man, whatever his shortcomings — he spoke truth, and he spoke it kindly, and he led me back to myself.

I’ve come to accept over time that sometimes — maybe even often — I end up finding myself along the way to pleasing a man. While it may not be the perfect route, it still gets me where I need to go, and I’m learning to have grace for this.

I’m Nobody’s Girlfriend.

Today, on the day I am writing this, I awoke alone, sick as a dog, but still aroused, and started my day with sex with myself. Read: very good sex.

Today I spent the day accountable to no one but myself.

Today I have also spent reading a manifesto of sexual pleasure and revolution that is Pleasure Activism by the inimitable Adrienne Maree Brown. And as I read everything that liberated sex should be, my heart soars with unshakeable gratitude that while no, I have not had the traditional Girlfriend Experience, my formative sexual experiences were with a man who continually prioritized my liberation, pleasure, and safety. And as I continue to have the privilege of continued sex with this man, even without the approving structures of a relationship label, even with the uncertainty of how long this “situationship” (credit — Adrienne Maree Brown) will continue, I feel wildly grateful that sex has only improved as I have known my desires deeper and learned to communicate them, that as I grow stronger into myself, this partner has responded and grown with me.

Girlfriend or not, I am no longer going to take that gift for granted. I’m tired of calling that anything but holy and miraculous. And I’ve known too many women in and out of relationship who have shared much more difficult stories with me.

Today I have filled my life with the pleasures of my home — reading empowered literature, listening to records I love, feeding myself, connecting with my roommates, meditating, bearing the heat more than I thought I could, delighting in my sweaty summer body.

And all this I have done while being fairly certain I am in the process of being ghosted by a new romantic prospect. Unfortunate, yes. But does this shatter me? Oddly, no. With every hour that passes of his silence, confirming this reality, I feel more deeply rooted in the woman I have recognized in the last few days — sexy, fierce, tender, resilient as fuck.

I’m Nobody’s Girlfriend.

This does not make me garbage. This means I have eyes wide open for the world outside approved structures. This means my standard for relationship is really fucking high these days. And rightfully so.

I’m Nobody’s Girlfriend.

And my life is too good to settle for half-measures, for a label too small for any whole human to squeeze into, committed relationship or not.

I’m Nobody’s Girlfriend.

And I say to you now — there’s so much good, my girlfriends, my loves of all genders. So much good between your legs and at your fingertips, on your tongue, before your eyes, in your lungs, pinpricking your skin. No matter who loves you, who you go home to, what the one in your bed calls you…you belong first and foremost to yourself. Eat it all. Don’t miss a thing.

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Meditations from an Emergency

Meditations from an Emergency