One-Star Review (1/365)

I am on the path. I know the start weight.  I know the score.  The feeling.  The muscle memory of January 1.  This is the easiest day of the whole thing.  The simplest to find the Fitbit and get it charged.  To look up a few low-carb websites.  To add a couple glasses of water to your morning.  To eat some cheese and be distracted by the newness of it all.

This is the day for all of that to happen.

I have gained weight over this year of undocumented emotional indulgence.  The roller coaster of are they, aren’t they, will they, won’t they, do they, don’t they has taken its only just now acknowledged toll.  I’ve pretended that I feel the same, even if stairs leave me slightly ought of breath, if I feel slightly overclocked sometimes, a mind and heart racing without any particular stress to trigger it.  There are signs that are subtle and not that double orders of chile cheese fries have an impact to the body.

I don’t feel the resonating thrum around the idea of providing this page with yet another, probably annual at this point, mea culpa.  I don’t feel like a public face palm is all that valuable to me, personally.   I was mad earlier, overlooking the scale, not shocked, but disappointed that I thought that the magic in my magical thinking was hardcore enough as to invent a workaround for the Law of Conservation.    That I could eat violently – eat against imperfection – and end up perfect.  End up unmarked and not carrying all of the impact of adding dessert at every meal, of cravenly eschewing anything remotely green in color (the chile was mostly red in hue). As ever, the value to me, or to you now, is in the path forward where either we do a little better at not fucking things up, or we don’t.  I mean, as much chatter as I can provide us both about it and we all know I can chatter with the best of them when I’m of a mind, the things I do today are what the rest of my life will look like if I don’t break the chain.

I have my plans.  My flexible suggestions that I am going to be writing into law once I am sure I am not going to spend every day breaking them.  I am writing them down, but not here.   Again, not until I am doing something I can comment on.  Day One, as has been explained to me at my new corporate job, is energy and excitement and press releases and the whole embodied concept of LAUNCH! It’s important and necessary to cast your boat off the shore hard and get moving.  But it’s Day Two, it’s the realization that people – perhaps you, dear reader – have moved on.  The excitement for them is already behind them, scratched out of their bullet journals, and it is on you to design and sustain your own passion and maintain it so you can sell it back to them all the way down the road.

So I have done the Day One Showing Up.  I have provided myself the rationale.  I have not eaten a single marshmallow of the bag of marshmallows that have sat next to me on the couch all day long.  I have joined the hordes of perpetual failure: I have started a diet  and I hope I achieve my goals with it.  But this is the same group that is winnowed out into those who get somewhere, who do make it.  It has to come out of the pool of everyone who is willing to say, goddamnit, okay, maybe my Id can’t run me from morning to night and I have to put my foot down.  All of us tryers standing at the shore, taking the shove into the waters we know, pulling ourselves into the waters we don’t.



Garfield Run

I love this place, so how could I let it burn?

I’ve been having reactions to the world that this nervous anxiety that is flaring up is telling me I can’t share.  This has been my life for always.  I intuit a reality that is personally terrifying, I shut up about it, just let shame force up a smile, let a face show focus.

I’m thinking about things that I have opinions about because I am alive and an individual and sometimes these things and opinions are out of line with my own circumstances.

It’s the high-dive.  Where I wait, standing on the edge of the edge, up over the sea of light and ruin.  They said doing the thing was where the magic was, nowhere else, and still I stood, blankly.  Another woman at the office is leaving after just two nights ago we had a big party to say goodbye to another, when not two days ago I had to sneak away the computer of another while they told him and five others in some office not to come back.  I am not existing in a vacuum.  Then the nice, but not particularly warm woman announces, casually that she’s pregnant, that she, at my age, is having a “geriatric pregnancy.”  Suddenly, the PMS throttles and sends me down some sort of biological clock luge.  Suddenly, I feel perhaps the burst of energy to get me to jump from this place into anything, anyone, anyway, but I look down and the sea is a sea of knives.  I look up and the birds that begin to swarm, knives, too.

I write this and know that there’s no place to go, but yet, maybe.  Maybe in the surreal world we share, I could fall and make it.  One hit point left. And if not make it, have the victory of having escaped the question.  Will I ever? Ever, never, ever?

This sounds darker than it is. But it isn’t not a cheerful prospect. It is factual in a way no one deigns to speak with me.

I called yesterday to see again about some therapy, some venting of the spleen and heart, easing of these sparklers I call a nervous system.

Could I make a plan to divest myself of circumstances that pain me within one year?  Could I delve deeply into these ideas of perfection, imperfection, motherhood, being loved, being feminine, having ownership of my own vessel again?  Could I go into the painful places rather than pretending I have none?  Could I be honest about the fact that all of this is my choice and nothing that is happening to me or owed me by any other entity in all the wide universes? One year can be remarkable in terms of habit, in terms of total output, but I have no reason to believe myself capable of doing much more than finding my way back into bed after breakfast.  I don’t know how to make this plan.

But I at least want to make one.  I don’t know how to get out of the January Trap, but I at least want to.   I don’t know how to jump or climb, but I at least am blinking in Morse code to the versions of self, the Astrids, the engaged and alive and writing parts of myself, that I’m here and I want help.


Terror in the Year 9000

Might be the title, might be just something I have to say.  Things are pretty crazy these days.  If anything I want ever comes to pass, I might like to have a reckoning of these days before they ruin me entirely.  Something to pass down.  Not that it’s genius.  Not that anyone would care.  But maybe it would help motivate me to recall that there is more than just absorbing and consuming the plot points of other people’s lives as a method of passing my own.  It would, at the least, in the end, remind me that I have one or two thoughts that ping inside my cerebral cortex and make five hundred words worth of sense.

Tomorrow we vote.  What else is there but that? People might follow it up with prayer but prayer these days just feels like giving the Devil your PIN.  Suddenly all your hopes and dreams laid bare to people that have no empathy for them, no sympathetic regard.  I don’t know what will happen if people don’t put a chain on the beast.  I don’t know what it means for our undying souls.  People starve in this world every day, and in Yemen, by numbers that are so unholy, so unbearable to comprehend, the fact that anyone can sleep at night, can fold their hands and feel so pleased at the catbird seat upon which they sit blows my mind.   I don’t know how I will feel if the result isn’t positive.  I don’t know how to re-route the despair and fear.  I’ve done my part, I don’t know anyone who isn’t voting, if I find anyone I can reach out to tomorrow that will make any whit of difference, I shall.  And the rest has to be made to be survivable.

I say this because it is not as though I’m not doing my own sorts of small horror as it is.  We smashed up a bunch of people’s lives today.  Once I would have been despondent over the fact that people I work with are now no longer going to be working with me.  I would have known each person’s wife’s name, where their kid went to school, some factoid that would build a red thread between us.  I would be able to visualize the ways in which this is going to fuck their shit up.  Now, perhaps because I needed to find that way to make the job survivable – to not let it claim the creative parts of my self and soul – I walled off a lot of both myself and my interest in others.  So I don’t know the specific ways in which this damage has been done, I just know that it happened, and that distance is making it possible for me to think about parties and daylight savings and strange curiosities come and gone.

I think this is growing up?

More to say, more skin in more games.  Suffice it to say, I wanted to hear the world the way I say it and not through anyone else. So here I am.


Somewhere in my soul, in my spirit, there are five hundred words.  Somewhere in me is the wherewithal to make it happen.  I swear that should be werewithal.  I really do.

The cup I have feels small, but in it, there is so much unmeasured time.  Sands in the hourglass.  They have no number beyond: this many.  So “this many” has to suffice.

I don’t trust this place, I suppose, to hold the innermost of the innermost thoughts.  Somehow, I guess, I feel there needs to be more security.  There needs to be fewer eyes when it’s really only mine we have to be concerned about.  The white space feels damning, knowing, spartan, infertile.  It doesn’t want to grow what’s planted.  It doesn’t give off warmth, it doesn’t call me towards it, bid me enter.  It says, if anything, if any whisper is audible at all…”Isn’t there a to-do list to look at?  To mentally stroke until you are absolutely sure of the draw of energy it would take to do the things that are written upon it.  To ensure that you are “on the ball,” “on top of sh..,” “with it.  It feels so luxuriant to write while at work.  Like taking your pants off in a public place.  No matter if nobody’s looking, no matter if someone would have to distend their neck to see it, there’s still a modesty here – in the open cube with the passers-by passing by.  I don’t want to make a mistake and wander off to feed a copier and suddenly my thoughts on de-pantsing are now bandied about.  I don’t want to be questioned, doubted, untrusted.  I feel like that’s the currency I get by with now.  For ages I was dead broke on that account and only time has allowed me to seem a bit more of a fixture, a purposeful being.  Only being in every morning and going home every night for a year and a half has created a sense of expectation.  I probably will be in this seat tomorrow, I probably will send the emails I say I will, I probably will give you the things you want around the time you want them.  You can mostly be sure of me.

I wish 30+ years had given me an inkling of the same within myself.  It’s not like we don’t have good evidence for a bit of self-faith.  Why, just yesterday, I was told by some kind soul I admired that I was his favorite.  Admired because, once,  in a meeting he spoke plainly and eloquently about sales enablement and some part of me mildly cared as a result.  That, and he appeared to be in my age bracket.  Twas nice, I guess, to see that the little flutter of oh, I get to help you! was requited by some acknowledgment.  So much gets lost to the sands.  So much just has to happen to chain into other things. Mostly because I laminated three sheets of paper did I get this good reference.  And on the same day, a thank you note with a card for coffee for the things that were nominally difficult over the summer, things I act as though were mentioned here, but I didn’t write about them so they’re just in my head.  The thank you note, of course, is all about how good I am and how appreciated the things I did were.  I blink as I read it.  I just did what was asked.  It had to be done.  It wasn’t special.  But it’s nice that you noticed.  It’s nice that my ability to work meant an increase in your efficiency.   It *is* nice.  But nice is all it is.

In this moment, the words of support feel like they are about the woman that does and not the one that is.  That I might be faceless, but I can fill the seat.  I can bear the yoke.  I can recall, mostly,

I think about dear J and the strange place, the Limbo in which we exist.  I used to think we were in Limbo together, but now it feels much more true to say that we have adjoining Limbos that meet sometimes in a message, and less frequently than the fevered pitch of summers past, in a call.  We both seem to realize at different points and with different senses of urgency, about the mismatch of it all.  It isn’t, as it seemed once, just a logistical challenge.  It’s his anxiety versus my anxiety.


The Words Impossible

It is relatively profound how securely a bad idea can affix itself in your brain and become something so akin to truth that you crave it just as much.  A Splenda of the mind. The warning, the wall, the block no chisel can whittle down to David.  It is time.  It is so past time to let some of these thoughts, and the poisons they leech, go.  It is time to draw the new line in the clean sand and say, okay, what is and what as been is beginning to cause a problem.  A physical, tangible, breathless problem.

The only way through the block is to put your hand up, lay your palm on its cold, eternal and sugar-sparkling marble surface so that every finger is evenly spread, and then you just press.  You press today.  You press tomorrow.  You press the next day.  You press when you want to let go.  You press when you no longer feel like pressing.
Eventually, that block will give.  Because it is just thought.  It is just idea and concept and synapse kissing synapse.  It is not real.  It has no external support.  No paper with names signed.  It has no hashtag trending.  It has just you believing a thing that you decided to believe even when it’s put you through the shredder to keep
You will probably need some reminders.
Right now, I am such a high-functioning mess in certain quarters that the other quarters would not believe that we come from the same place.
I don’t know what it is – entirely…no, that’s a lie.  I want to write today and I want to do it because I dipped into the archives and as so often, almost always happens, I found something pertinent and compelling to me in a way that I think only our own personal writing can be.  That voice of the past calling out to you as you sit here in what was once the far-distant future.  Beseeching you to exist differently, do differently, change the seemingly inevitable path you are barreling down.  The past is, even if it does not break it down or call it out, always a bit hopeful that the future finds the way it cannot.   That the world ahead will take the lessons and learn them well enough to choose the sacrifice the past feared.  Will see the truth of the anxieties of the past and side-step them.

It is nice, I suppose, to find myself here as a future soul tethered to all this past and know that in this moment – this space, not yesterday, and possibly not tomorrow – I am not choosing the depressive, fearful, and broken way of being.  I can turn back to her and say, at least for now, you have an ally.  You have someone willing to learn from you.  You have someone who is interested in the whirling of your mind, someone thankful for it.
I wrote about reading a book.  Not being afraid of imperfect reading and writing and self-expression.
That actually occurred.  Like it or not, that got me here.  So, it can get me somewhere else, if we put a little bit of elbow grease on it.

Ice Knife

Maybe the way to begin these posts these days is to describe the shape of the hesitation not to write.  Name the block and already it begins to shift.  Or maybe that’s just dumb hope.

At any rate, today, I feel questionable about writing about my D&D game.  Not because it wasn’t fabulous, because it was, but I suppose because it brings to mind the great issue of our times.  The grandiosity of our ideals being forced to meet in the middle with what we can actually do.  And I think the lesson I’m trying to corral and contain today is not that my ideals are too grand, but that I don’t give myself enough credit for what I can do.  I don’t appreciate as wildly as I ought what is happening and what could be done.

Escalators.  I used to be positively phobic of them due to some accident when I was a child and misunderstood what part to hold onto and got jammed up in one like so much toddler-based Play-Doh.  Thereafter, no logic would release me from fearing them.  The thought just created a new circuit with a fear that, as randomly as it appeared, could not be redirected.  But that’s only because my process for handling the fear was to stay way the hell away from escalators.  To address each panicky feeling by avoiding what caused that.  Short-term reward, but long-term devastation when you no longer think about whether or not it’s crazy to fear going on an escalator or not – you just can’t question it long enough to see the irrationality.

So getting to DIA from the train may not require an escalator, nor getting through security and to my gate, but it was remarkable how I spent a lot of time just trying to coast out of the flow of the crowd to get to an elevator.  After the convention, though, ride back, you get the clarity of…god, I spend so much of my precious time on this earth just trying to dance around things and it was nice to just, where do I need to go…up?  I go up?  Down? I go down.  So much so that I probably went on 3 or 4 extra ones that I didn’t really need to use until I came to the massive Mt. Doom escalator and my escalator momentum was such that I just got on it and got the full-on heebie-jeebies from the insane grade, heading into a tunnel form of this escalator.

But even then, I held on, because these things aren’t made to break at my arrival and neither am I.

And so too, the panicky feelings that came from starting this game a bit half-cocked, not entirely clear on how we would do it or how it would go…it was far better just to get out there and give it a shot and see what happened and not wait for a perfect moment.  We are incapable of perfect moments.

Remembering that, the last Sunday of vacation passed readily and without issue.

Circle City

It may or may not be the case that I post.

The lesson in the head is that it’s too much. It’s too much a flash of memory and light and the smells of the first Lyft and the taste of the radish in the salad and the nerves and the self-soothing and the JOY times a million and there aren’t really words that are easily accessible to put all of this neatly together in five hundred words or so.

But does the trip, then, therefore, slip into obscurity not an hour after returning to my own threshold?  When I have every capacity to take a  few notes that might spark my thoughts and memories and bring me back to a warm, nearly hallowed version of myself.

Because this is remarkable. While I was amongst thousands, and met very kind people, some of whom felt very much my kin, and others completely unfamiliar, I travelled myself away.  I spent the weekend with myself and I did not accuse or stress myself out for my imperfections, I did not deny myself or shame myself, I did not opt out of the plans I had laid out for myself to do and go sit, hidden away, in the hotel room out of anxiety.   I wanted, I planned, I activated myself and it happened.

Maybe I spent a bit more than I should have, but it’s budgeted, it’s planned for, it’s okay.  And that okayness led me to be in a room with people I admire so much, doing a thing I find to be truly a gift in my life, and I had deep joy and delight in watching them perform.  I didn’t have to accommodate anyone else’s plans. Didn’t have to concern myself with the timing of others. I could just go and do and spin around in the massive hotel bathroom and be the dork we all know me to be.

Of course, everything that happened, the minutiae of the first blush of Indianapolis, the roundabout back way we went to the hotel that was through these elegant neighborhoods where it seemed like 2018 was an inaccessible edge of the universe that mortals would never know.  Permanently, if elegantly, behind, and in green trees.  All of that which only I can know, only….I can know.  I don’t share these memories with anyone who can talk to me about them.  People care, but only to the degree that something about their own lives is sparked when I talk about it.  That’s a lonely feeling.  I’ve come home to that, but I have also come home to a lot of positivity.  To the usual self-reckoning that can push me a bit further than ever before towards the Grand Plan’s final stage rather than it’s first.

Tomorrow: perhaps, if I believe very hard, my first D&D game, a rite of passage, is to occur.  I have copper dice.  I have a backstory. I have a character sheet.

I am so glad to have at least this much.  To have dug my heels in today.

For Want of a Title

Just on a whim, I thought i might record some of the notes of the day – the week, really.

Because someone ought to know and the man has me so confused, his upness, his downness, what feels like his complete desertion of me being followed by a haymaker of an overture, all of which has me way too dizzy and exhausted to run through much of my day.   The small little details which need saying.  I forget they need saying so often that they haven’t been said and they’ve balled up, filled up my insides.

I worked hard this last week.  Figuring out – albeit only as a result of being able to afford purchasing transport – how to deal with an enormous four days of meetings that I had to feed eight others in a place where you can’t even get a cup of coffee without importing the shit from Colombia and the donkey it has to ride in on, too.   When you go from a place where you can’t turn around without office supplies and projector screens and meeting amenities slapping you in the face, to a place where the walls aren’t entirely drywalled in…twas tough.

And I was not a hot knife through that butter.  I have been ill, but not so ill that it would have made any sense not to be there at my 6:45am call time.  I can breathe, I can type, and I can walk and order overly salty poutine that weighs on your soul.

I woke up at 4:30am recalling the traces of the most amazing dream – an empty restaurant nobody goes to, a dream of how it ought to be full with 60’s era dancing and revelry, turning dark and mad with everyone racing a lawnmower race, an epic kiss, Madonna bra, violence and being chased by police until we became some sort of painting, maybe Crossing the Rubicon, only with lawnmowers…so strange and delightful to feel a creative mind freed to create, unafraid of the imperfection of that creation, just conjuring and building and breaking until something new comes of it, and letting the waves take that thing so that something new can come in its wake.

Small stretches in hope do seem to pull you out.  Pull me out of my morass, emphasis on the ass.  A bit more water.  Taking my medicine.  Saying no the one time.  Recalling that you have capacity to look ahead just enough to recognize that yes, you will need to wear clothes tomorrow and if you pick them out tonight you only need to put them on in the morning.  You only need to do a bit then, if, with all your energy, you do some of it now.  Imagine!  The logic and foresight.

Rising up from your supine position to realize that there are only a hundred more worlds to finish this up.  To wipe the slate and try again tomorrow.  Only two days until I go to Indianapolis.  Where who knows what obscure and unusual hijinks I could get into.