Stuck in a Vortex: Day 30

Paraphrasing from a recent TED talk I heard: The energy it takes to get you out of a warm bed into a cold room is the exact same energy required to change your life.

I heard this two days ago and still hit the snooze button until the last of the last possible moments before the hellfire and threat of unemployment finally rousted me from my agitated half-slumber.  This morning, at least, I found a way to get myself moving at 6:15am and in that pre-dawn hour, get out the door with enough time to swipe the massive drifts of snow from my car and get to work by 7:30am for an event that in no way required me to be present.  But here I am, with that extra half-hour of work time under my belt and enough positive energy to start writing this now.
I want the time tonight.  To do taxes, to think, to write something else, to deal with some true truths.
Therapy was today.  And after rushing to get myself out and there, it was sort of this agonizing, powdery exploration of the basic terrain of my heart.  Stomping in the dry, musty fields of teenage hopes and dreams.  Trying to excavate and tamp down at the same time.  To circumnavigate it all and yet not move a foot.
I’m so confused.  I answer the phone almost with a weird feeling of self-awareness.  Of falling for the ol’ three-card monte.  Just enough vigor on his part, just enough exhaustion on mine and suddenly, he’s crazy about me.  Thrilled and desperate for me, wild about me.  Rapturously moonstruck over me.  For 30-40 minutes, I am entirely convinced that I have it all wrong.  I am his and he is mine and all the things one thinks when one is cooed over and the center of attention.  Even in my terrible mood, I feel immediately beholden to his better mood.  I feel silly and girly and cared about and chosen and selected and accepted and flattered.  Ultimately, flattered by the intensity of the whole intimacy thing.  Eventually, I say I can’t work on the writing project until this weekend, he says no problem.
We hang up.
I think, beneath the roar of the heater, about how my therapist told me to think about things – about the things I’m choosing not to think about – and I feel in this moment like I’m trying to take a sobriety test.  I go back to the usual rack of tabs that await me, including FB, and see the same post that was driving me mad last night.  I see at the bottom, and there’s a comment indicating he finds this woman a cool drink of water.  An hour’s passed.  Or something.  One can register these things lightly or heavily as one chooses.
Sigh.  All of which is within his purview, I suppose.  All of which is in his remit as a person on this earth who has no commitments to me.  She’s as far away as I am.  She’s surrounded by heaving, turgid masses, of men, each of which appears to be hoping to be chosen, in a casual, text-based way.  She’s probably a real human being with feelings, thoughts, personality – about which, in this moment, I’m electing not to give a shit. It’s all a game. Nothing matters and the longer I hold onto hope, the longer I stand in the fire.
I re-read the first sentence of this post and would like to dive into the sea.  The frozen, vortex-locked, endless sea.

Pertinent Information: Day 29

That feeling when you’re way too fragile, self-esteem-wise, to handle someone the avoidant-obsessive game.   Everything justifies everything else.  I said we needed to know where things stood so we wouldn’t accidentally hurt one another.

Why does he need to tell some British redhead her smile is great?  That “damn…that smile.”  It’s a group for single people!  I don’t know.   He just does.  Meanwhile, I feel as though I’ve crawled out of some terrible, pilled sweater cocoon an even greater, more shlubbier bit of nothing.  Meanwhile, I’ve got a chair half-full of pizza.  I’ve got this exhausted anxiety.  I’ve done what I could.  But everyone’s better being themselves than I am these days.   My feelings always have this edge of plausible deniability until the moment someone tries to deny them.

I want to tear off my skin and tear the bone from the marrow and get back to dust and air and weightless, speechless things.

We aren’t dating.  We’re single.  But we’re not, you know?  We’re honestly not. But we are, apparently.  This is the shit you have to just blink and determine has no power over you.  But it does.  I want to be passive aggressive and shitty like the bad sitcom wives who hold shit over their unwitting husbands’ heads – the ones I swore my relationships would have no single common thread with.  I want to post cold-hearted, snide, acerbic things.  I want him to feel bad for thinking whatever probably innocuous thing he was thinking.   Probably.

Everything is fine except in the ways, you know, it ain’t.

Everything is grand except in the ways you’re actively eating shit.

I’m glad that therapy is tomorrow.  Even if it means I have to mess with running around like an imbecile in the middle of the day.  I’m trying to learn.  I’m trying to do what I can.  Trying not to dwell on how I feel so awful I can’t even think.

Just a momentary vent.  It’ll heal.  Along with everything else.  Fuck.

Bare Minimums: Day 28

This has been, unintentionally, a day spent in bed.  Not out of illness, but because my desk is too uncomfortable to sit in for long stretches cross-legged which is my wont when I’m doing anything computery, and today, the sky decided these coordinates are where all snow must fall.  Eleven inches of it right on this little part of the world, while other places, namely places like where my work is, had less than half that.  So you begin to feel when you call out, that you’re both justified and quite insane.

It’s too late now.  I have plans in the morning to take the bus.  This means doing the little walk too and from work to accomplish it, but this, this is something I need to do anyway.  Accidental, magical exercise.   I’m embracing it.

Meanwhile, my mother apparently nearly choked on her water today.  That was big news.  I watched and felt moved and encouraged by Kamala Harris’ Town Hall.  I feel good that at this stage of the game, there’s someone who I actually want to pay some attention to and hear what they have to say.  It is going to be a painfully long two years or so.

What else?  It was work, and then a brief conversation, and then work, and the YouTube videos and salsa chicken and a queasy stomach and me doing my damndest just to get myself together enough where I could get in the position to go to bed without the whole world falling on my head in the morning.

 

For Best Results: Day 27

So yesterday was a longer post, I don’t know what tonight will bring when I really want to work on at least two other things and the thing I most want to work on is delayed until Tuesday at the earliest.

I have tasks I have to complete.  I’ve been arguing in some ways with J all day as our motivations and interests collide and diverge.  I need the time to think about and address my own stuff.  This morning we did not do breakfast.  No fancy final eggs benedict to swallow me up, however, the absence of breakfast lead to me holding firm on the idea of needing lunch.  So my birthday lunch ended up being my younger sister and I eating tacos quickly and splitting the bill so we could hurry and get my mother the pho she wanted.  This was important because she’s changing the chemo formula next week and things are continuing into a positive, but nebulous place.  A nebulous, but positive place?  One spot going away to reveal another spot.  The cancer in the bone holding steady.  Things not progressing, but the medicine not attacking like it should.  Somehow the new medicine will be less harsh.  Maybe her hair will grow back.  If she wants pho, or she wants the moon, we do what is required for her to have it.

You stop thinking about needing some grand party in moments like these.  You stop thinking that the day needs to hit some watermark of ego-stroking to matter.  They gave me a big gift card for Amazon.  They let me watch Critical Role for over an hour with nobody making too many comments.   That’s lovely.  If I can’t have them sitting there, engaged with something I care about, I’ll take being able to just enjoy it around them.  It’s nice to feel as though I could give myself 5 seconds of not being beholden to an idea I have and how much air is in the room when I do that.

I don’t have to be made to be a princess.  I have to make myself happy.

I’m doing that by writing, and slowly, painstakingly, taking care of one thing I need to take care of at a time.  I’m doing that by letting myself think about the plans I made and set out in the future, how day by day they’re moving toward me…but also, I can move towards them.  I can find the mechanized walkway they have in the airport and walk fast as I can on it and zoom by rather than lean on the side.  A labored metaphor, but yes.   I can think about what I want.  And another day of Starbucks and pizza and refusing to track and pay attention to your choices is not going to make for better posts.  Must lay your head down in new places to have better dreams.

Tonight before bed: find your bus pass, please.  Pick out some clothes that you can wear to survive the snow.  Buy the book. Charge your fitbit.  Check your email.  Take your hand off the stove.

Phone calls.  Other things to note.  I apparently leveled up in our game.  I’m excited about that, given that it’s never happened before.  I’m excited to be able to do more, to use the information I have.

That’s enough for you for today.

An Exclamation Point Too Far: Day 26

A long time ago,  I had a friend with a celestial last name.  It’s her birthday today.  Just thinking about that as I pour out a toast and contemplate a week of birthday, D&D, body image, surfeit, and surely other things.

So, last night, was another fun night of D&D.  Me and a bunch of nerdy boys.  Boys and men.  Boy-shaped men.  Man-shaped boys.  I really only get comfortable and remember what’s going on once it’s about done.  But there’s always that one moment where you go OH THIS IS GENIUS, I AM GENIUS, EVERYTHING IS FUCKING GREAT!  And then it rolls into you being unable to tie your metaphorical D&D shoes.  The highs and the lows – as anyone with any experience will surely tell you.

The dangerous thing I’m coming to realize is I have a crush.  A crush on tin whistlin’, very tall, charismatic and unbothered guy at D&D. Guy with a girlfriend who also plays D&D. Guy who is pleasant, sociable, but I refer you to the aforementioned exceedingly unbothered about me.  Times being what they were, this once would have been the sort of mental drink I thrill to just nurse for ages.   I would spend a great deal of time despairing over the reality of the situation (and probably still will, though I think it will of much shorter duration and intensity), but I would, as an ultimately rational being, accept the facts as they are.

However, I have been told I am single recently.  Even if this information has been followed by an inverse desire to speak with me and pat my head and flirt and behave as before – as someone might cling to a life preserver.  Sure, life preserver, if you’d be happier floating adrift at sea, I’m fine with that.  But if you’re not doing anything, keeping me from drowning seems like a noble way to spend your time.   Sigh.

So I’m letting myself scan the world around me for a boyfriend who wants to be my boyfriend.  I mean, I guess.  That’s awful forward of me, but death dances close and brushes my hems with her own.  No harm in looking, single girl that I am.  And I go to D&D and suddenly I’m surrounded by wry, clever boys making dick jokes.  It’s that one silly slice of high school life that I deserved more of and never really got.  And suddenly, I think of that girl that I hated so who had all of the goths and nerds and offbeat guys in as much love with her as I knew existed at the time – because she played Magic: The Gathering.  How they would swirl around her and her piercings and go out to the Pit and probably had a lot of other pain and issues going on in her life that I was mentally incapable of seeing because I was this sensitive ball of hot wires that was constantly rolling away from anyone to keep them from getting electrocuted and me from losing the one thing I had – that useless circulating power.  I was outside of all of that, but I always believed that’s where I belonged.

Now, somehow, at the table, I’m the only feminine force.  Now I’m the one that makes them at least cognizant of the dick jokes…after the 3rd or 4th time.  I’m the unattached single girl who is both trying and not trying to be the cliche I cast my high school nemesis.  I want the tall D&D guy to see me and approve somehow.  I want validation and to rewrite those years.  Damn, it’s ridiculous and bizarre and The Onion headline-worthy and far too much pressure to put on myself, but it feels like if I just stay in the awkwardness long enough, something’s got to happen, somehow. Maybe.   As of last night, there was already wry, sardonic, clever boy #2 who may or may not be dating anyone but does have a “last girlfriend” who lived in New York with him and may or may not now be in a freezer.   This is America. Never assume.

So, given the fact that I am this explosion of bad ideas lately, I am trying very hard to use my dead-end crush to a good end.  I am trying to convert it, rather than into whinging posts and mournful emotional exfoliation, into motivating myself into becoming the sort of woman who would have the option, were she immoral enough to take it, of breaking his heart.  I wouldn’t, of course.  I have boxes of evidence to prove I wouldn’t.  But I want my self-esteem and regard to be at the level where I would be pretty sure that were I to press the issue, there would be an issue to press.  I want that sort of slow-boil ego.  Not spilling out on the stove narcissism, just steady, constant faith that your shit is together enough that he should want a bit of it.  It’s a much nicer idea than rolling up in your rumpled sweater and sitting there stiffly in worry and fear and wondering how terrible you’re doing and how shitty you’re RP’ing and being shaped in the shape of garbage in the world. In both worlds.

It’s funny how you begin even to think about how much you need to act in a bit of self-regard, how you let one dream, one person, one thing that is no longer…sparking joy, ahem…go and the energy shifts around you.  Marie Kondo is on to something.  Suddenly, J wants to do some writing with me which feels like a far more productive thing to do together than where we are right now.  Suddenly, a couple other writing opportunities are opening up – personal things I that I want to do – suddenly, rather than clinging to the life preserver in J – I feel like, maybe, metaphorically, I know how to swim.

And painted in the background is the siren song of eating shit.  Sugar and salt and shit.  Tomorrow, after heading to a restaurant to visit with m cousin and ordering the wrong thing today, a nice tasting but overich croque madame heavy with bechamel sauce, I’ve been invited to invent a quasi-birthday meal out.  Everyone’s sick.  After just wave upon wave of dining out in a, damn, if I don’t want to stop and just have a piece of celery and walk calmly for 1-2 miles.  But my brain won’t allow it.  There will be tiramisu and maybe waffles and I’ll submit to the unknown calories and draw a line. So I’m hopeful that we eat early, I get home, and I can just begin the hard work of getting out of my own way here.

I have not, as of this writing, been to Chipotle this year…which is the hill of guacamole I’ve chosen to die on, I guess.

And I’m finding myself too irritating to stand, and publish…

Elf Overboard: Day 25

Day 25

It’s Friday and I have opinions.  I also have D&D which I will try and find time to write about tomorrow along with all the other things I want to write about.
I have information I need to share with you that I think typing a long at work for fifteen minutes is not going to elicit.
We are running the heck out of time.  Bah.
I am so tired.  I have not been sleeping well.  Another sign to get back to business.  I am melting – brainwise.  I am seeing things that aren’t there.  I am going to be useless tonight at saving the world, but maybe the dice will do what I cannot.