I could knock this out easily. Nobody in this massive office is here. Well, a few folks, sure. But nobody, REALLY. Nobody in the cubes around me. I can type away, giddily, to my heart’s content. Maybe it’s the caffeine, maybe it’s the Friday, maybe it’s the half-day broken up by a dentist appointment…it’s definitely the caffeine. Damn.
Let us mark this evening as the very beginning of the terrible mistake. My heart is just getting too hungry while my belly holds the line.
After getting a message asking me if my nose was real, I decided that this was just my lot. I read another profile – someone far further away than the last stupid foray – someone carved out of a list of compassionate, feminist, writerly x’s and o’s and said fuck it. Life is so egregiously short and torn out of our hands and lonely. It is sometimes so unbearably lonely.
The man that is: He seems to have a clarity. He seems to be at peace with my distance, though every few weeks we fumble so madly, like last night, at each other, like we both suddenly woke up and realized we were drowning. Suddenly, I realize I know how to save myself in this moment, I know how to give in, dive into the current and not be pulled by it. I know what I’m doing, and I do it and it’s good…but you lay there, afterwards, having said the words, having smiled the smile, and you are alone with it. Nobody’s there to talk to about your mom.
I mean, he’s there. But There Are Limits. And the more I ignore them, the more they present themselves to me. I said I didn’t want it to be about that for us. And it’s not, but as I pull back the time we spend together, that piece of it becomes the anchor and the focus and his wanting is the knock on the door that I always answer. Mine feels like there are towers upon towers to traverse before any gate can be opened. Guards must be wakened. Timing must be aligned with the heavens.
So me, affirmatively single, who took an alright selfie the other day…at least per the kind orbit of souls that follow me on FB, sent someone in SF a message. Just because I need to move the needle. I need to cause myself some sort of significant trouble. Because the longing for emotional engagement with someone that doesn’t come with this trail of…but We’re Not a Couple, so Don’t Get Any Ideas, or Embarrass Yourself by Being Angry…is a stick of plutonium. It’s unbearable to look at my plans for vacation, to torment myself by plotting out all the carbs I’m going to destroy my diet eating, and contemplate all the fun I’ve set up for myself and the pretty hotel and the games and nobody’s ever going to have any idea about any of it but me. It’s the tree falling in the woods, entirely inaudible. You can believe me or not, you weren’t there to prove me wrong.
So maybe I’m a terrible person. I think it only matters when the choice is on the table. For now, I am doing my level best, chickadees. To matter, to commit, to look after myself, to be a loving soul in a far-flung universe, to honor my promises, to not give up before the starter pistol goes off.
And in this moment, there’s the notion you can’t do anything and the notion you have to do everything.
Remember, please, the something in between.
Here’s some thoughts. I don’t care if you read them, I only care that I want to write them and do it now, right now while they’re hot from the oven.
- The loneliness right now is pretty nuts. It’s all in the mind, but the mind is the easiest coffee shop for me to hang out at. I don’t know if six months ago I could have been the sort of person I am right now, in this instant, this person that is zero percent ready to date, but 36% ready to roll the dice and try and just fucking start some shit. I was so tied up in him then, just as he was telling me that we were everything in the world that is the klein bottle of messages and emails and phone calls and absolutely nothing if I’d ever want to step outside and breathe the free air. I talked about all sorts of things, but the coffee shop just kept playing Patsy Kline and I would pour another cup, looking wistfully into the grey digital, imaginative space on old Hwy 23 and say I couldn’t hurt him like that.
- Now, our talk is brief, fumbling, frustrating. I want to say – I will say, if I’m given half a chance – that I’m pulling back because I can’t just destroy myself on something that’s never going to happen. I’m bailing, not driving towards terminal velocity. And I have to think that he’s doing the same thing, that he’s understanding without me asking if he’s reading my caution and putting on his own brakes, protecting his own heart. And that, in this moment, infuriates me. Because how much of our lives are spent on this British fucking farce, endless rooms with doors, endless pasty people on settees aggressively not saying how fucking done they are.
- And that leaves me here, on the bed, in the bath, in the rooms with the doors where I can be as done or as just starting as I want to be, there’s nobody to hear my starched and coiffed monologues. I am exhausting myself.
- I think this is part of the medication. I had this moment today after slugging down another coffee drink/low-carb shake situation (thinking I was safe a few hours after initially taking the Levo) and this was many hours later, where I felt super overclocked. Just like I was an endless battery that could never lose power. This happened a few days ago, same drink, same feeling of trying to calm down and take a nap and my eyes bugging open like there was a bullet train passing through. Should be of note, I suspect.
- I think part of this bullet train, though, is the sense that I’m doing it. Look, ma, no hands! And yet, we’re still in the long early stages (which are really the only stages I know) and I have to pass through this place to get to anywhere new. But I have moved the scale a titsch, you know? I have done a non-zero amount of work. And so I’m finding the momentum even of a .8 lb loss this morning to be exponential. We’re inching up on 12 lbs in a month. I want to just think about it so hard that the final goal weight is reality. And like everything in the universe post-Big Bang, you gotta wait for it, be a millisecond or a many, many, many minutes strung together. A result that can’t exist until 100 sleeps from now, and only if, I keep after it all the way in between.
- See what the new day brings.
To whom do you turn when all you want to do is wail to the stars? When you want to scream to the highest of the high heavens? When you want to stamp feet and break walls and birth the shifting fit of pitch that is holding down your ribs?
There ought to be someone. Someone who can absorb all of that. There ought to be a person in a room. Not a priest. Not a holy person. Not a relative. Not a friend. Not a therapist.
The person you love.
And all I really have is you, my white blank page, so I will try not to kick too hard…but even as I write that, I am not sure it is a promise I can keep.
There will always be an awkward family gathering. This is not a new story. There will always be some new construction looking out over overturned dirt, workers using their air guns to rapid fire nails into wood in the distance, a picnic spread of too much food and too much drink. And I will always be dieting, ignoring every blessed apple, every silver drageed cupcake, as I scan the horizon overhearing couples fight without fighting around me. I will be alone and no one will ask where my person is. My sounding board, my punching bag. No one will expect of me to have brought anyone who leans in for my stories, who assures I have a drink refilled, who wants me to be happy and arches a curious brow if I get suddenly quiet and will talk to me about it later on the drive home…what that moment was and what it meant and I will say it was nothing, just my mother saying something that reminded me of a time at school when they took me to this special opportunity to study robotics in a big lab at the local university and I was very dumb and not interested in robots at all and that moment will exist again, however briefly, between our shared minds. No one will expect it. And I will not produce, as in this television program I have been mainlining, some secret romantic Darcy, some suddenly embodied Rochester, some long imagined and prayed for Tilney…just at the right time.
He will not turn to the surrounding room and announce that just as I had been looking for him, he will have been looking for me. For years, for aeons, for time immeasurable. And now, at just this set of coordinates, we are met, we are found, never to be parted again.
No, I will make strained small talk with the couples instead, with men who smile and say they remember me. For this there is only one possible frame of reference: I am remembered as sitting alone at other parties by these men who were also single once at those parties and about whom I entertained a single poisonous thought, men who were never introduced to me, regardless, and are now with eager and extroverted women who used to work where I work. I will sit there because there is no where to go. I will imagine a giant fork in the center of the table growing, growing ever more turgid and erect, tines sharp as razor blades. I will imagine rising up and standing on my chair so that I can leap and impale myself upon it. There is no fork. Just trays for fruit salad and ribs and teriyaki chicken which will fuck my diet. I will scan my phone to see if, amongst all this, the man who sent me a message six months ago, to which I accidentally read and made the inexplicable decision to respond to last night, has replied. He has not.
I turn and my sister is drunk and crying. My aunt said something kind to my mother and my sister performatively wrung out her sorrow because my mother is dying at some rate of speed faster than you or I. I consoled her, patted her face and hair. I was entirely Elizabeth Bennet at that moment. LSensible, connected, above the fray but deeply empathetic towards it. Looking after a crowd of curious relatives, none of whom know how to be social today. She calmed for a moment before blubbing again 10 minutes later to someone else. I push the gummy worms and fruit away and listen to my sister’s boyfriend’s treatise on a particular brand of corn liquor.
It is so strange to experience all this and have nobody grab you by the arm, sharply, so you can’t get away and say “Are you okay? I mean, is your heart….okay?”
Compose a post in forty-five minutes at the end of the day? Is such a thing even possible anymore? The mind does wonder. The mind…
In all this time, all these posts from Surfeit to now, all these hundreds of thousands of words…years and years, it’s only just this month that I have health professional-based information derived from me being personally examined as part of my observations.
It is enlightening.
Many things, said out loud, to another person, can become enlightening as well. Your thoughts and beliefs can become cartoonish when you have to share them. Perfectionism, the beast, makes me think I can’t do things at all when I do them regularly and nobody stops me. Never once.
so tomorrow, a diet. a place for something to happen.
And past this place, I have some degree of positivity. I have some degree of charging ahead, banners in the sky. What a deranged and marvelous mood. I bought elf ears. I can be as ridiculous as I can be severe.
in equal measure, onward.
A friend – a good online acquaintance – I used to watch MST3K with passed away last week, though word reached us through social media today. Nobody knows why…she was only 42. It just, it seems, happened.
I am thinking of her and the conversations we had, the buoying she did for me and I attempted to do for her. She was one of those people who if she got the sense that you might be friends…you were. You didn’t have to awkwardly negotiate it. You just got pulled in, under the wing. She wanted no one left out. Even if I got the sense at times, perhaps because I understand this mind, that she poured out her soul for people who never did the same for her. She spoke about being weird and strange and that she was entirely at terms with all of her quirks and eccentricities. It would be up to the man she was looking for to come capable of taking all of it on board, and she would take the path she took and wait for him to get there.
She felt always so strong and brave to me. To have such boundless energy, but to be able to bind it, now and again, with this clear-eyed sense of self. Of what she deserved. If she was sad about being a single person, she was also a thousand other things – to and for other people and to and for herself.
If her death is without meaning, her life overflows with it. I want to take some of that with me now, Ms. K, as I stand on the daily precipice of my life.
Because like it or not, it is an edge. It always is – be it the risks we’ve mapped or the ones we haven’t. I found out from the kind PA that my labs and tests are normal, save for elevated thyroid which makes sense given my symptoms. There are things to do about that which I will surely learn about and which will benefit me.
I just have to finish this post – now several days on and I can begin to say a bit more.