Alabaster Lobster

If yesterday’s post was all about giving up on role that the ethereality and fantasy plays in my life, well, I sure didn’t do a lot to let that seed take root today, at least not on its face.

I went to the Renaissance Faire today.  Last weekend for it, last day, in fact, and the plan originally was to wear my peasant faire dress.  The RenFaire is wholly and utterly the only appropriate place for that get-up and as I was trying to manipulate the off-color strings that lace up the bodice and I was feeling the humidity in the air start to pearl into little beads of sweat along my hairline, it seemed clear to me that this was a recipe for disaster.  That my mood, already altered by how terrible I felt I looked in said dress, was going to be downright chthonic walking around in 90+ degree heat for hours on end.   So, I said, self, what do you want here?  To tart around in this outfit just because you love being a part of the dressed-up crowd at the faire, miserable and sweating and grousing at everyone who should see how miserable and sweating you are but never does and all of a sudden it’s this big emotional thing OR can you just wear some clothes and a hat and go to the Faire.

I think only people who have that thin mote of whimsy settled in their eyes could understand why this would even need to be a fifteen minute self-discussion.

But, we went, with a modicum of dignity and a tiny piece of self-control and a minor panic and anxiety thing since I was pretty sure the duct tape on my car wasn’t going to hold for an hour and a half car ride on the highway in the heat (and then that my car was going to overheat and we’d be stranded) and basically walked around, going, oh, hey, it’s pretty much like it always is.  Oh. Hey, do I really need a leather pouch?  Do I really need a crystal necklace?  The answer being, now, suddenly, clearly no.

I didn’t feel connected to it at all.

I got my palm read, along with some Tarot and a brief handwriting analysis.  For 20 bucks, I feel I got my money’s worth, though I think the handwriting wasn’t entirely right.  I don’t consider myself someone who shoots from the hip.  Like at all.  But the lady was sweet and she didn’t try to sell me any books on angels or whatnot.  I could read some of the cards for myself.  The present draw had The Lovers, the High Priestess.  The past the Ace of Swords. The future the Magician.  Right now is an important time for me.  On many levels.

Also.  Today, today I decided was the end of the crazy food run.  It just is.  If only because I physically cannot continue it and not because my mind is ready to move on to a more elevated way of being.

I am in this body.  This mind and heart are in this body.  This alabaster lobster.

But You Did Enough

Five hundred words from the last Saturday in July.

I’d like to write to you today with some directness and purpose.

I am not entirely happy today with myself and the world as I understand it.   I am not entirely happy with my choices.  To be truthful, there is a part of me rising up that wasn’t to throw a tantrum.  A vase-breaking, hair-tearing, clothes-rending, fire-lighting tantrum.  This part of me is overwhelmed and doesn’t want to speak to you or to me, either, from the passive voice.  The control is such, though, that neither of us knows exactly how to stop invoking this voice and speak plainly and humanly to one another.  There is always some degree of arbitration and pre-preparation.  All texts must go through the clearing house.  Because the truth is very lame.  The truth is a burden that no amount of kindness can blackmail someone into resolving.

The truth is the straw dangling inches above the camel’s back.

Why wouldn’t I hold on to that straw, knowing it for what it is?

I’d rather be able to tell you outright how relentless my hunger has been lately.  How nothing seems to even touch it.  How lonely I am for personal attention.  For genuine concern that I am able to return.  How frustrated I am with myself for knowing that just like this passive voice, I’m the one choosing the roadblocks and surrounding myself with them.  I am going down roads I’ve always walked and blaming the scenery for looking so repetitive.  When you walk on a treadmill, there are no vistas to entice you further.  I’d much rather be open about everything, have bravery be the habit instead of the exception, the painful thorn that is only driven out by another thorn.  I’d much rather feel like I would choose to get better if all things were equal.  I’d much rather feel I was being looked after by a wise, guiding hand instead of this mercurial sprite I call my psyche.

I don’t know if this is just writer bullshit or something else.

It’s all a choice.  For better or worse, we choose it.

I have chosen to run away from the world.  And now I am choosing, despite feeling awkward about it and unfunny and without grace, to try and climb back in.  With all my feathers and soupcans and trailing moonflower vines clattering behind me, all the remnants of the spirits who have kept me safe and numb, all the reasons I have to assume the worst, I have arrived at the window-well of the human world.  I put down my milk and sugar offering.  I wait, not to sneak in as I have done before only to slip out unnoticed, but to be seen.  Mess and all.  Seen and invited in.

My adoptive home has not gone dark, but burnished amber.  I see the beauty in it still, but it hasn’t aged well.  Beings, all light and flight and fists, say that I can repair it.  I can make the water run down the dry river beds.  I can put a few more months into this long summer.   Set the long table with wine and cakes and ponderings without resolution, draw back all manner of beasts to the party, I can reign over this secret place and they would be happy for my governance.

But I have learned enough about the land to know this.  It was never governed by any soul.  It never bowed a knee nor did any of its inhabitants ever settle in a curtsy before any exile queen.   It serves its purpose better to let me think it needed me best and most.  For me to pass my strength into it, a lockbox, to which I was always promised a key.

Now, I see they’ve exulted in my weakening.  The little winged things have exacted their price for never having to face a fearless boy’s fearless face rejecting me.  Never having to face the terror of driving off to another state where I don’t know the shape and size and ferocity of my future.  Never having to fail and learn from it.  So grateful have I always been for that shield, for that white blankness they’ve provided, that wormhole just a few steps to the left, that I return to this body, this window-well, as a stranger.

I don’t know if anyone is inside to greet me.

I start to throw pebbles and whisper Wake up!

Overselling It

Insert the usual statement: I am not getting very far with writing this tonight.  But at least tonight it’s for a rad reason, rather than simply the fact that it is hot and I am tired and blah blah blah, you’ve heard it all before, darlings.   Tonight I am delayed with starting my post because the charitable project went into a new phase tonight and I’m pretty damned giddy about it.  I’ve spent a lot of the evening putting together spreadsheets (holy hell, you’d think I would want to smite anyone who came near me with so much as a tic-tac-toe game).   People are responding.  It’s making me very happy – primarily because that means the charity is being learned about and the visibility being raised and Invisible Children will benefit from that over and above any funds raised – but also because I didn’t wait for someone to go in on this with me.   I didn’t wait until I got the all clear and the hi sign from 9000 other people before I started this.  I believe in it.  I believe it’s a natural fit.  I believe it’s an important link.  I believe that good things will come of it.  It’s not about credit, though I get excited when people want to be involved in my ideas, it’s about seeing if this experiment will work.  So far, I think…maybe?

Okay.  So other things happened.  It is Friday, so obviously, things had to happen to get me here to the blessed other side of those things and the weekend.  A weekend wherein I have both days off! Sorry, pancake breakfast, I am rooting myself to home projects and my own sort of honey-do list if I was the type of person to walk around calling myself honey.  I already called a little girl honey when I told her she could use our public restroom.  Just found myself doing it.  Is that age, when you acknowledge the differential between yourself and a young person is wide enough or great enough that they won’t bat an eye at you calling them honey?  Very weird.

Otherwise, an ex-coworker who I actually replaced came in and helped me with office work for an event.  I was supposed to have the usual, somewhat dotty, sometimes reliable volunteer help but she wasn’t able to come in and that was actually a good thing because it’s enough of a trial to set one person up with a morning’s worth of work, much less overseeing two while trying to get your own done.  Then we did an offsite visit for a building, I took numerous pictures of old people with and without their hats while trying not to overtake the official photographer who was climbing on chairs and had to win on style alone, cruising up in his classic car that almost didn’t start when we were done to go home.

A man I knew died very suddenly of cancer.  I keep a tally now.  Seems hundreds of people I met briefly now have died.  Someday I will too, and so will you.  So.   Let’s dance.

Dead Bride Magazine

Shake it, shake it!

Not sure how to proceed so we’ll dance our way to the start.

1.  What I love.

I love Mumford and Sons.  I love the quietness of the house right now.  I like the idea that anything in here is possible.   An unfinished Mass Effect game.  Filthy medieval music sung by wenches done up like vampires.  Creating something from scratch.  The trust and faith and hope invested in me.  The Renaissance Faire, going and getting to wear something cleavage-tastic to it.   The cooler weather that lets me sleep deep.  Remembering my dreams even if they’re nightmares.  I haven’t had one like I had last night, unnerving, but visually glorious and I was lucid enough to recognize it was just a dream.  The sky turned to stone walls and collapsed before my eyes and it was all my fault.  I love that it isn’t all my fault.   I love that it will be okay.  I love that I get to skip the events this weekend and I don’t have to wander around taking pictures. I love that a co-worker is starting to pick up some slack.  I love that I got to email with a banjo player today.  For real work purposes.  He sounds as wonderful as I’d hope a banjo player not involved with Mumford and Sons to sound.

2.  I am grateful for?

Parents who send me email reminders to go claim my 800+ bucks that is sitting out there in the universe, awaiting me.  A working washing machine and dryer that I will fill with clothing so I have something to wear tomorrow.  A weekend to look forward to.  The chance to try again.   Clean water even if I don’t drink enough of it.  Friendship and being forgiven when I screw things up so royal I can’t even comprehend the fail.   I’m grateful for a dirty mouth and mind that can laugh when people use the word anal and not be upset by it.  I’m grateful for the second wind.  Or fifty-first.  Espresso frozen yogurt.  I’m grateful for the healing power of laughter.

3.  Wouldn’t it be nice if?

Wouldn’t it be amazing if tomorrow I could deal with the two volunteers who are, surely, oil and vinegar or…wait…oil and water or fire and water or some other binary opposition that will otherwise cause me grievous stress.  Wouldn’t it be nice if I got myself comfortable and ready  to enjoy the weekend?  If I ate like I wasn’t a house on fire.  If I came home and got things done in a good way, in a helpful way.  If I wrote the hell out of tomorrow and made huge progress on the story.   If both the delivery guy and the random Mr. Dr. Darcy showed up, all angsty and thoughtful and ready to divulge their secret and unbeknownst to anyone (most likely to themselves as well)  love for me.  If I had my face done up in such a way that I didn’t mind it being visible to people other than myself.

Treacle

I am fighting against it tonight.  I am fighting against the world.  I am grumpy and in no position to do fuck all about it.  There’s no lying and no complaining in the electrified age.  We have no worries here.

The skinny black cat apparently has unexpected lumps and I saw a terrible picture of an abused dog and that’s just the cherries on top of the big chocolate sunday of shit I don’t want to deal with or think about right now.

God, I’m thirsty.  And lazy.  And torn all up and down my midsection with bad plans and shifty, unimportant desires.  Things that won’t last the night.   I wrote something I thought was rather good in that it was absolutely terrible, but it was a sound idea.  It was also disturbing as hell and what the book needs.  I don’t mean to tease something that I have no intention of telling you outside of the book binding, if and when (when not if) it ever is published, but I was proud of myself for not just throwing the idea out with the bathwater.

I am thinking of late about the diet again.  Not only because it’s a lot easier to contemplate when you’re not doing shit than when you’re trying to not think your way out of the groove.

I am thinking about how out of fucking whack I am.  Last night, I passed out on the couch, just fully clothed and didn’t wake up till morning.  No alcohol in this furnace, darlings, just exhaustion and psycho-sexual starvation.   Sigh.  With no signs of that abating, we are marching truly, into hell.  Pretty much 6 weeks of events straight.  With other problems that I am trying to figure out how to resolve with no real way to resolve them.  I’m pulling back when I need to be diving in.

I know that and I’m doing alright.  I got up and got a couple glasses of water.  I pulled off the weirdly puffy victorian shirt with cinched up belt I was wearing because I don’t mind restriction until the very moment where I cannot handle it and I have to rip off my harnesses and breathe free.

Tomorrow’s an event day.  Tomorrow, I will hold on.   You and me, Marcus with your castanets. We’ll deal.

So, when one is needing to write and is blocked, and has to sort of inch her way across the page, taking it birds and words by birds and words, it’s best to take a breath and make a prayer.

I pray for a more definitive future.

I pray for a less speculative present.

I pray for a past that remains settled and sepia-toned in the past.  Except for all the good bits which I wish rise up and find my ankles like stray cats with sharp claws.

I pray for a memo of understanding between me and the stray cats in the universe.  That I cannot take them all, but I will cage and keep and care for the one that I’m meant for.

The Girl With the Plastic Cup

Nothing of significance happened today whatsoever.  But I didn’t mind it that way.

There was the late afternoon summer storm that is becoming the norm around here, and it only sort of destroyed the party I was at for our market, forcing us all inside the garage to eat chips and drink wine (and have the very not so enjoyable experience of drinking chip-flavored wine.)  I feel a bit disassociated from it and the people since there was a whole troupe of young people who are down in our area and volunteering whilst part of a church group.  They are labor and polite and everyone is charmed by them, and meanwhile I have been skipping the market.  I’ve been dealing with my own garbage and I’ve been ripping myself apart.  This is all unbeknownst to them. I am quiet because I am quiet and that is where I like to leave it.

So while I standing there in my awkward outfit, with my stringy hair and basically unmade-up face and trying to decide how tacky it would be to use my fingers to fish this tortilla chip out of my plastic wine cup,  it should be diverting dramatic irony for you to imagine that at this walks the handsome doctor volunteer, soaked by the sudden downpour.  Mr. Darcy, mutton chops and all.  Well, a sort of bony, aquiline Mr. Darcy in a t-shirt for a brewery once he finally strips off his sodden jacket.  He’s carrying a bag of tortilla chips.

Just as suddenly as he appears do my ovaries start to awaken and jolt in some kind of libidotrophic exodus straight through my belly.  I realize and reckon how really terrible my face is.  Since my friend who had the accident last year has moved away to Texas, I had sort of assumed that the best to hope for from the evening was barbeque ribs.   And after the power went out this morning – oh, huzzah for random brownouts –  I took my makeup bag to work thinking I’d find time to stop and shellac my face.  That time never came.  I took that opportunity to berate myself for letting myself get into this weird pattern of depression, this summer monsoon of the spirit, and tried to not stare at him too much.

He drank beer and smiled genially.  Apparently, he’s a nice guy.  I got blocked in at the table and as much as I tried to make an effort, there was no speaking to him even if I pulled out my best so fucking what if I look like shit devil-may-care attitude.  Instead, he was talking to the daughter of a friend, a girl who I support and value because I see something of myself in that she’s been thrust into puberty at a very young age and it’s undermined her in some ways, and suddenly, I’m a jealous, fretful wreck.  2 minutes.  Don’t know this guy’s name or story.  I just know, because I see perhaps 1 every 10 days, that he’s alive.  He’s about my age or within a decade and seems to be unmarried.  I eat my ribs and side-eye him for talking with this teenager who flirts so naturally and sweetly and for not throwing himself at me and for turning up with me at my worst.  I try to hear what he’s saying.  I can’t.  I can’t turn my head and stare at him without it becoming blatant and discomfiting for us both.

I fucking hate that response.  Makes me feel cheap and useless all at once.

I double check he’s not wearing a wedding ring.   What the hell do I want with this guy?  Why do I think he should take my hand and we should find a closet?  Who is he?  Why is he here? Why do I find his movie references both juvenile but refreshing?  Why am I trying to laugh at his jokes from across the room? Why can I not just ask, oh say, anyone…who the hell he is?

Instead, I retreat into the story, into the girl and the boy and their shadows, I’m commandeered by their emotions and so I let myself stop trying to seduce with this sack of potatoes I call a self.  Aloof and distracted and waiting for someone off-screen, Dr. Mr. Darcy doesn’t chase after me into the rain.

But, the rain had stopped well before I left to go home, and driving out I saw three brown rabbits.  Good symbols for me.  One was settled in the middle of the road and was not fussed when I drove up to it, rolled down the windows and yelled in the night “You’d probably live a lot longer if you got out of the street.”

Made to Mean

Lillie had long since decided that suicide was for other girls. She heard it in the hallways at school, two or three times a day. Everyone was going to kill themselves over everything from chipped nails to curfews to break-ups. Emily Seward had it as an affectation in her speech. Lillie mouthed it as she listened in to Emily telling her nodding friends, “If they didn’t get some better shit for lunch…. “ (I’m going to kill myself.) “If Mrs. Elliott doesn’t let us out early…(I’m going to kill myself.)

Emily had not been amused when she caught Lillie doing this out of habit when she suddenly turned her head over her shoulder and glared at her, but this too, was not worthy of death on either of their parts.

Like most things, she saw it on the news, and heard it at school, but understood it when she read it in Bulfinch’s. Things in your life being too unbearable to continue bearing. Usually, they were being chased down by an aggressive satyr, their purity and power about to be destroyed. A crisis of existence.

She understood. Alone, unwanted, filled with a sadness she could no longer ward off or control, she often wanted to die. She had seen Charles Senna hanging from a pipe, bent in, not meant to hold a man’s weight, but it had held enough to count. Whether that was just an invention of her mind or the whole truth, it was horrible, too, horrible for her to ever allow it to happen. As the monsters left her head and her body, there was just one thing left inside. A terrible pariah of her own: hope.

But she stayed near the idea that she always could fall out of Falls Valley if it became necessary, if she ever found herself on that thin edge of the blade from which she could not return and pressed herself against it in quiet moments, traveled with it as if its presence kept her from being truly alone.

Sometimes she wanted Willy to hit her. She wanted him to beat her into a bloody paste, a smear on the wall, a good riddance. It seemed to Lillie that much of their problems would be solved. No more mouth to feed for him, and Lillie would feel if only for one single, glorious, and last time. But when the naiads and nymphs wanted death, they were rarely given what they wanted. Instead some being reached down and changed them into something else, some constellation, some tree, a spider.

And she would admire that change for a while, until, she came to realize that all the changes were really more like punishments. Death wouldn’t be like standing still with birds in your hair or crawling in the darkness, waiting for a boot to smash you. Death was really the one place you could get yourself safe.

Lillie took the books from her bag and set them in the locker, some failsafe to guarantee that she would have to come back for them tomorrow.

And Death, in the form of her black-eyed Adrian, had given her up for the gods to change, the gods to punish, and Willy to watch over. She didn’t know how to respond to a future that looked like that now that she had this belly full of hope, this Mender’s Pond that nobody but he could swim in.