The Tiniest of the Tiny Miracles

vintage-2-1418279I did not collapse over the weekend or die or get sucked up a drain pipe or any other such worries you or I may have had about crossing the imaginary temporal threshold between 2015 and 2016.  I am here, changed because every day changes you, but not changed because I have fully come to terms with my issues and resolved them as sometimes I have imagined in the past this passage would provide or make me capable of doing.  It, as the lady says, doesn’t have to be that way anymore, either.

Instead, I have a lot of hard, hard, back-breaking work to do.   So we can’t get overly hyper about January 1st.  January 4th and the return to work, relatively visionless and deeply concerned, are both on their way so, my friends, instead we get grateful of the last stretch of time to get quiet.  And from that comes a desire to be glad and to use this blog to refocus.

I have done lists of gratefulness before – I don’t think you can get too much gratitude. It centers you amidst your own universe, so you don’t get too far ahead or behind yourself.

    • I am grateful for this time, however poorly or grandly I spent it.   It, like every other 10-day stretch, went too fast regardless.
    • I am grateful as hell for the desire to work on the novel again.  Even if it takes a cheap reason like the cut of a character’s jib to get my rhetorical wheelhouse turning – it’s yet another example of the reason not bearing much on the result.  It is the work that matters and getting this strange and important part of my life together.
    • I am grateful I was willing to get on the scale today.  I am grateful because that was quite a scare it gave me. Like shit, howdy.  You can’t eat like you do, darling and expect to stay at the same not good but not scary spot forever.  Things do shift even if you aren’t watching them move. It makes sense out of a lot of odd body things I’ve been experiencing.  It also makes sense because I started tracking today.  I need to rearrange things here, but I need to share that every day because I SO don’t want you to know.  I live for your approval and eating shittily and saying, “yes, I did have four doughnut holes to match four garlic knots and a piece of pizza and some popcorn and I don’t feel bad about it” does have a strange power over me to actually make me feel – not bad – just alert to what I can do to look good for you.  Again, bad reasons, fine results.
    • Just about getting on my bike.  Don’t care that it’s 10:45p.m.  Gonna be that way a ton this year.
    • I am grateful for old Liz Phair songs, the Pharos Gate,  Lucille Clifton, the limbic system.
    • I am grateful for this meditation video and being able to relate to it.   And the School of Life in general.

But It Doesn’t Have to Be That Way Anymore

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My new favorite thing to say is “But it doesn’t have to be that way anymore.”

I want to say that all the time now.  About nearly everything.   I want it to be my new catchphrase.  Is the sky blue?  Yes….But it doesn’t have to be that way anymore.

Oh, we can’t go out for breakfast – we woke up too late and now life is blurry and I’m already exhausted.  True.  But it doesn’t have to be that way anymore! And it wasn’t! So now I am full of the Universal’s Cornbread Rancheros and

So, I’ve made a firm decision.

Tomorrow I am not starting a diet.  Everything says yes, gung ho, now, do it, 20 carbs, total comfort, 30 minutes on the bike, throw in a walk, strip all the sugar out of my meals, start doing yoga, start to the power of 20.  Because this is the window.

No.  I just am not going to play the three-weeks until my birthday game, then I throw myself on some chain restaurant food because I “deserve” it and then guiltily struggle through the next three months, have a another summer surge and then because of stress and life, spend fall and winter trying not to think about wasting time.  How many years has that happened?  Only every year since I became aware that dieting was a thing, more than that, “my thing” and high and low tides aside, it hasn’t worked out.  I am just one of the statistical masses.  Hate to say it, but it’s true.

So, it doesn’t have to be that way any more..

That’s kind of a relief.  I may, in fact, drink an Atkins shake.  I am going to do some cleaning and some (10 mins+) time on the bike. Try and suss out some vegetables to eat.  Drink some water, write it all down as best as I can recall.  But that’s it.  There is no carb limit.  There is no step counter (yet). I might check my weight for the first time in six months.  I might not.  There is no perfection. It’s just a start to get a few good habits comfortable enough to take root.  There is nothing to flub up.  No promises made.  I just want to be elsewise, so I’m doing other things.  Goals are distant guideposts.  My focus is in here, on me.  On writing and reading and showing up and building up capacities to be open and ask people into my life and keep progress I’ve made over the past two years rolling and growing into something easier for me to show.  Validation is okay.  Wanting to have someone talk to you about your life and choices and your struggles and absences and tell you they see you is not shameful.  I want to be able to do some work and get it packaged up and sent out into the world.   The greek chorus only knows what it knows.  What I know.

Also, princess stories, Kate Beaton, Miranda, hot bath, talk of bummer moon wars, the delights of Mark Hamill’s twitter account, Regina Spektor (as is required), and so freely not sad about a goddamn thing.

The Greek Chorus

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How hard do we want to look?  How hot do we want to burn?

Harder and hotter than before.  Even if we move by degrees, we are still moving.

Missing the M key tonight for some reason.  Feeling it in that particular fingertip.

Alright, the focus is that maybe the sky isn’t falling and maybe I’m not the worst of the worst and maybe my detachment this week is purposeful (of course it is) and maybe I don’t have to be written off yet.  One of the things I like best about going to therapy is eventually you say things that surprise you.  I think it’s just a token of developing a rapport with someone where you can reference your own isolation and hermitudery and there isn’t this backpedaling process of dialing it down so everything feels copacetic.  When it’s not.  I’m there because it’s not.  We don’t have to do that so I can say I feel like the fact that I’m so isolated in my day to day life has really caused me to generate this rich internal system of communication where everything gets batted around between these voices of self.  We talked about the Crone who has to be Mildred’s regretful mother or grandmother with this deeply aggressive passive-aggressive wisdom.  The oppressively sage voice that knows better whenever I make a proposal of any life consequence.  A voice that has not been lifted wholesale from my mother whose voice rattles around in there with the whole gang, too.  She’s her own thing, her own mythological archetype, she exists to keep tribes safe and not running off of cliffs and eating the wrong plant, but she also thinks she knows how much discomfort I can take or what I’m willing to do.  And that’s the Crone, there’s no surprising her.  If you fail, of course.  If you succeed, she knew it all along, but just couldn’t tell you and change your course.  There’s Mildred, of course, who is a bit like an overweight Samara from The Ring. Not Mass Effect’s blue-skinned Asari, I think I could clarify.  That would be a hilarious mashup.  She just moans and plots and bangs around and yipes with fear when you casually suggest you might want to have a kid or might want to go outside or might want, I don’t know, to not have to keep her in sugar water and stuffed animals the rest of your life.  Much better, much lovelier, but still insidious is the voice of the Femme Fatale.  If I could picture her, she’s in black and white, and she kind of looks like Paulette Goddard with Dorothy Parker’s wit.  Just sassy about everything I attempt.  Self-amused constantly.  A good friend to have when you need a laugh, less so when you need someone to take your earnest heart seriously.  She’s her own walking noir and where she spits, no grass grows ever.

And then, in its own category, the Faithful Light.  Who accepts the name I give her, accepts whatever femininity I assign her, but needs neither.  She so keenly understands me and is inherent in me that she ways for all the other voices to speak and waits a little longer, a little longer, until she knows that I am hearing her.  And then she says a true thing for me to take hold of and be helped by.

I was less detailed with her.  We only had an hour.  But there was good work done today.  I’m glad I went.

Bright as a Daisy

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Have no fear, we’re here, we’re really here!  Bright as a daisy, sunny as a buttercup.  Sentences at a time, but present and accounted for.

Your little turn of energy becomes mine and mine becomes yours.  Winds beneath wings and all that.  It is as simple as having chosen to begin.  You can spiral down and out, but you can also go up and in.  Ahem.  You can.  It is just a change in direction.  It is just a willing, scullery maid’s spirit.  There’s work to be done, but here we are to do it.  Even if we mouth the words, we know the words so there’s a start.

The new year is coming.  It is unavoidably nigh.   You can choose other than you chose before.  No one will hold your evolution against you, not really, not I think, if you believe in its necessity far more than you believe in the heartsick that others throw up at you when they’re frightened.

The habits already decided on are 10 minutes of physical activity everyday + 10 situps.   Will I get to the point where I can do 20 or a 100 every day? Gee, I hope so, but for the moment, we’re thinking 1×1 inch picture frames (thank you, Anne Lamott) and doing 10.

Interrogating my thoughts.  This is rather huge.  It is a habit that needs building, though.  Saying yes things are possible so often that you lean towards the assumption that you can get up and tackle your life, thank you Cheryl Strayed, you can frigging murdilize it as needed.  Rather than acedia, plodding, exhaustion and accepting nothingness.  You can’t get out of bed ever now?  Not ever, ever, ever?  What if you have to pee? What if you need to eat?  Someone will come, someone will encourage me, someone will bring me food.  No.  No, they won’t.  And even if they did, you wouldn’t like what they brought you anyway.

This is the sort of internal dialogue fight we have to fight 24/7 until we get strong enough to avoid the fighting entirely.  Right now I’m just getting ambushed all the time by oddball freak-outs.

If there is some secret inner vault where we keep the beliefs we hold dearest, contrary to what we talk about or espouse or intend, it is time to crack it open and let it be awash with light.  What lives after the lustratio deserves to remain.  We will walk the long walk, we will give up the pig and the ram and the bull and drive the evil spirits out. Look to the birds, let the gods call it as they see it from their side of the fence.

Enough with the blather.  I got up, I got food (and coffee), I have therapy tomorrow, I checked my email and made sure of that.  Then, my friends have made genius plans for Seattle that I am delighted to turn up and experience.  Yes.  We have to get out of bed at some point because the only people they fly horizontally, at least for my ticket price, are corpses.

Autumn in December

pexels-photoIt’s a question and answer sort of post, but I have no questions to ask of you or myself that haven’t already been asked and no answers that match any of those questions so I suppose I can offer you lots of ands.

And I am doing alright for a Saturday night that is actually, I think, Tuesday.  I am not entirely sure.  Is it Tuesday or is Wednesday because it can’t be Monday anymore.  And I am aware that I should be, at bare minimum, aware of what day it is.  And it’s just fine and dandy that I don’t.  I’ll scrape together a bit of sense in the morning.  For now, we have words and trying harder.  And yesterday’s post, now that I recall, was about trying harder.  Trying harder when all you want to do is Alt-Tab the hell out of whatever situation you’re in.  Not great on days when the computer runs hot and slow.  Sometimes the image hangs and you are forced, however briefly it may happen, to acknowledge the things that bring you discomfort.

How I am spending this week is not one of those things.  Not yet.

I am on vacation.  The first in a long number of very stressful months and I am, I imagine, going to return to an equal amount of insane pressure.  I am thinking of an old hot iron that can smooth out the wrinkles, but can’t be left to set face down on anything but for a moment, or it will burn it.  My wrinkles will be smoothed, the whole of me burnt until you wouldn’t so much mind a wrinkle or two anymore.

It feels like I am failing on day two of thinking about not failing.  But I’m not.  Okay.  It’s late and I am trying to do better for myself, but today that better comes in the form of thinking my cute little quirks of language are cute and endearing and not, what they really are: wrong and obnoxious.  We are not out in the cold and the heater works and we have clean water to drink and nobody starves even if we are often too lazy to go hunt and gather our food.  When you beyond the face of it, we cannot call this life anything other than charmed. And I made up this bed, fresh sheets, blankets no longer akimbo.  Ah, mes amies! I made the bed!

So, yes, I’m cleaning and playing video games and watching sand in the hourglass fall.  I think I should put the hourglass on the end of a lathe and spin it so that time just reaches outward in all directions and we’re none of us being passed by.

Speaking of First World Problems (thank you, Mr. Good), the stock photography site I use was giving me grief so I found another, but all the pictures seem on the nose.  I haven’t used pictures of people, but these seem especially posed, especially generated to make you think you know what all of this is about.  I like to avoid that clarity.  Oh, well.  Rub your hands through your sandy hair and shake out all those grains of days gone by.

Life in the Fast Lane (Theabild)

coffee-laptop-notebook-workingThis song has been stuck in my head – just the first line of the chorus and the earwormiest notes.  The worst!  (It had gone away, but I came back and read this line and suddenly, it’s in my brain again!)

So today, I was thinking that now is the time to know – if I know about 10 minutes of physical activity + 10 situps + tracking, what do I know about the needs of this blog in the coming year?

If I relieved myself of this “burden,” what would be improved?  I would not experience those brief, but real mental wrinkles I have every single day when I wonder about how I need to stop everything and Summarize! I would not have to stop everything and gather my brain into one spot.  I would not need to pull myself out of games and reverie, where I have spent another day idling, pleasurably, but yet, idling.  I would not be able to say that this, this daily blogging thing, is a thing that I do and have committed myself to.  I’d have to say, if I was asked, that I stopped because I found those fifteen to sixty minutes tiresome and I prefered to think of myself as a successfully non-writing writer (which is still the very edge of the qualifications I can affix myself with.)  I would have to, I assume, find a more haphazard schedule with which to approach the page – any page – and relieve the writing bug, jones, need, addiction.  I would have to assume I would even if I know, five years ago – nearly six – this habit was started because I was failing to do just that.

I don’t want to give it up.  I don’t need to.  No one is making me.  I just find myself keenly aware after having written posts beyond counting about this keen awareness that I can spit words like nobody’s business.  Just words. Not well-curated, elegantly crafted, viciously pertinent language.  Without editing and a trajectory, this becomes just like anyone’s life – not that there’s anything wrong with good ol’ Anyone’s life, but it isn’t my dream.  It doesn’t feed me and make me a stronger, more able writer.  It is sugar.  You can live on it, but only just, you goddamned humming bird.

Do better, you say?  That should be the answer.  And in it lies a greater truth than perhaps we either of us realize.  I am willing to step forward and write puff and fluff and call it good day after day.  Because it takes nothing of me.  In all of these areas, success is about me not accepting bare minimums anymore.   More not less, forward and not away, not giving up because the way has greater resistance than we first envisioned.  I need the pumping up, I need the daily reminders, I need this, but better.  I need this, and more.

So next year.  500 words, but I need to incorporate the diet side.  A real check-in, every day as to what I’m doing with my goals.  And the other writing on top, beyond, more.

Sounds plannish.