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.
The most metal of moons.
I need to change this website. I know I do. I’m not entirely sure how to go about this. But the endless icy sheets of black and white, even the blurry little weed breaking through the crack on the screen no longer makes me smile when I look at it. I need to just hire someone? I don’t know. Just change the picture, that would be a start.
I am needing to do something different tomorrow. All of it. I made real shit choices today, this weekend, this month, really. So. How do you stop the engine when you’re rolling right along into a hotter and hotter fire? You are here, for one. You turn off the other noises and you give yourself over to a bit of self-reflection.
I have written a lot today, none of it really suitable to share. That’s been the sum total of it. Did leave the house for a brunch I absolute did not need to have. I’ve spent the day bleary. In some conversation with J, consoling him for his bleariness and ignoring my own. Honestly, this is the hardest bit of it. The up and the down. I don’t blame him for it or even judge him for it, but finding yourself attenuating your moods to someone who is equally fluid when it comes to being able to tolerate themselves is a rough gig. Yesterday, I’m queen of the universe for him, today, exhaustion and sad posting and a bevy of other people suggesting how to break out of the mental funk while my suggestions get little more than a shrug.
I’m reacting much more poorly than I’d like to all this.
So now, end of the Sunday shame spiral: I am here, spattered with gravy from the undying pot roast, and everything is a mess. Petrified to check my work email. Checked it as best I could and nothing was radioactive so I feel instantly much relieved. My plan to combat this and come back to some form of recognizable :
Find my Fitbit
Drink an entire glass of water (a whole and entire eight ounces)
Charge my phone and fitbit and put them somewhere I can find them in a few short hours.
Defenestrate the undead pot roast.
Not get so distracted by nonsense that I can’t finish this post
Finish this post.
Remember I have my drink in the fridge in the morning.
Brush my teeth and try and wash my face in a format that my face will find tolerable and not set to itching over.
Fix my sheets so I don’t find falling asleep completely impossible.
Set my alarm.
Figure out what the heck I want to wear tomorrow out of the bundle of laundry I did and tossed aside out of some sense of boring laziness that sure as fuck fucks me over now.
Possibly order groceries for tomorrow. Possibly just plan to go to the grocery store?
Trust in the process.
Remember to reschedule therapy.
Here’s the frog to swallow. Do this now and everything else will be easier. Not easy, mind. We can’t make that assumption these days. But easier to not despair so fully. That’s the benchmark we’re reaching for…to not maintain an overfull sense of despair about things we have zero control over.
I’ve bought my airfare to go to Seattle, see some dear friends, indulge in all the Critical Role my heart can endure (this is why you need less despair, so the bucket can tip and sway under the overfill of joy) and reliably, it’s nice to have something real and immediate on the horizon to look forward to. It’s a good reminder, of course, about the Grand Plan, to get myself into a bit better shape to not get overwhelmed by those hills once again. A reminder that you can’t get there by doing what you’ve done before.
Someone posts a meme: “You deserve someone who isn’t confused about their feelings for you.” Comments ensue. His feelings – all feelings in all forms – are confused is the public statement. Well. I think. Well, I nod to myself, pulling at my dry eyes. Well. I can be snide about it. Post back something charmingly sarcastic about how little confusion he seemed to exhibit last night. Maybe all of that is a lie. Who can say? But I know that would be painful, mortifying, frustrating, and would end with me apologizing and feeling as though I’d crossed some line in the sand.
And I would have. It’s not who we are to use the forum to have actual communication, to argue publicly, argue at all. But the forum exists and these parallel streams of experience flow through its conduits, currents that split and run for miles in opposite directions before they cross into the fog of Love and War and somehow end up pooling in the same ocean. I hear what he’s thinking as a vase in a room absorbs an actor’s monologue. I just get to know it, hold it. I don’t have any option to roll myself on the floor and crack over it. I’m not the audience. I’m a piece of set dressing in the long Pinter play that is his life. An upgrade from a handful of dust, tangible, photographable, but unless you put some significance in the narrative, the gun is just a gun, the vase is just a vase, a spade…
Not entirely true. But far less false than it should be.
No word from the honorable RP’er. That is as it should be, of course. He’s passed the test, refused the ring, and away he goes with a good and happy life. Maybe. Nobody can begrudge him that.
I am moving on? Not really, but I’m enduring by building the small brand of power I claim. Another day – 3 days running – of facing the turn of terror.
A note, as a poet one must comment. Mary Oliver passed away today. You can kind of feel a chill in the air, a lacking that feels urgent, new, inexplicable. Let’s not forget the work, the way the work can make a life just where it stands.
Strange days back. Things I thought would happen didn’t, tasks surprised me with their incredibly efficient incisions into my spirit. The pile-on piled on. I endured.
Small thing: something nobody save the therapist will be all that delighted in: I fought an irrational thought and won today. Letting yourself recall the advice you intended to take before you stopped letting yourself absorb external stimuli…helpful, you know? Oh, I don’t have to blow off the idea that I drive this way because I’ve got these thoughts that don’t make any actual sense. I can let the reality sink in and not be overcome and panicked. I can deal just a little bit. Even if I don’t make the turn and take that road today, I can push a little bit.
And, I thought about my friends and their freedom and willingness to drive. How we’re such similar people in so many regards and while they may – or may not – be weighed down with psychic pain that lives somewhere else in their heads…they find joy in driving. They’re not in constant, irrational fear. So with them in mind, with the peace of the weekend running through me, I made the turn and I saved 20 minutes of driving into the Hinterlands for the sole purpose of avoiding a feeling that I didn’t actually have when I took that road today.
So that was a good thing.
I also – I know you can’t possibly know this because I haven’t properly said it here – but I’m alone this week. Alone with the cats and my cookery and my TV shows. And it’s so relaxing and marvelous to experience a deeper quiet of the soul. To not feel like you’re on stage in any way whatsoever. It drives a desire to be domestic, to be organized, to be still and whole. I hope I get to move some of that desire into actual housework tomorrow.
More than that, I suppose I need to talk about l’affaires du coeur. Which is to say the things that used to thrill me about long-distance relationships (or two people being in psychic orbit without any plans about it) now…they wear me down a bit. The excitement of being emotionally servile…servile is not the word, but it’s not not the word. It’s sort of the stage past the courting when everyone’s gotten comfortable and in that comfort, they’ve decided to open the cupboards and let the unmentionables get mentioned. It’s hard to feel the romantic whirlwind when, instead, with top billing with have a very modern take on the whole 2 people thing. You can get dark with me, I don’t mind, but I need to not feel like we’re only ever two to three sentences away from the things that you like and we’re a whole Jane Austen novel away from my fantasies.
I don’t know how I feel about the place we are now. I don’t know how I’ll feel at the end of the week. What the connection means. But it’s on my mind.
So a thing happened about which I have emotions. I have been cut loose. Well. Not really. I have been told that the walls around Rappaccini’s garden are not locked. The poison is not so very poisonous. We are all free to come and go as we please, but ideally, we will just stay right as we are, happy as the pearl in the clam. Benefitting from the friendship.
I don’t know how I feel save that I know that I feel a bellowing, echoing, stentorian vibration in the deep unknowable fathoms of my soul. A bit of an how dare you feel so free and easy? It’s not free and easy for either of us, not in truth, but I suppose what I am sad about…what I am able to reckon with being sad about right now, is that it felt like he felt he could just offer me this gift. He could just back away from the past two years. like an inconsequential sandwich at a forgettable lunch on some innocuous afternoon. It was just logical. There was no welling of the soul, no choked back tears, no fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.
Knowing him, as I do now, if I am fair and not speaking out of the pained parts of me, of course there is an intense sadness for him. But in that moment, the control, the adult demeanor, it’s important to be reasonable and honest and logical and therefore, it’s all up to me to determine the fate of everything was just depressing and frustrating. What I want is what we will have. He doesn’t want me to have regrets about it all. It’s almost a dare…in its way, looking back, it’s this almost bravely, absurdly brazen, request to just knock me off this perch. To stop being the person of general kindness he’s known me to be and just cast him aside with a HA HA HA. That’s the frog to swallow. And if it’s not that, if it’s fine. It’s just fine. Life is beautiful if I’m not the devil. Like waiting to take a punch and if I’m the pacifist, well, then, what a strangely perfect tension we get to sit in.
I guess, I guess… I’m proud in that moment for saying hey, of course, I don’t want to send you flying off the top of the tower to your doom and tell you I’m no longer speaking to you, let’s not be silly, but I do need to know if we meet other people, that’s…that might happen, what does that mean? And then, he said, well, I would never want to be in the way of your happiness. So Spockian. So ordered. So straightforward and unmoved as if I’d asked him the time of day on a street corner. I said I don’t…I’m not…it just could happen and I don’t want us to be surprised. He says, no, if there’s any…prospects, just let me know. I said there wasn’t. If there was, I would tell him. And he should tell me. And I flashback to the boots through the thin crackling ice sort of heartbreaks I’ve have had in the past – places where I thought I was safe and cared for and special and turned out to just be a placeholder for some other, better person. And then, the subject is forcibly changed.
So I have my answer. I am free and unrestrained to find somebody here as my therapist believes I want. Impossible. I’m terrible and full of panic and weight and shit that never gets off the ground. What do I want? I understand my own hypocrisy here. I understand I want to be free while I want him to beg. Beg? No, just fight for it a bit. Just offer something to it? Just fan the embers slightly? I understand it’s unfair. I understand we had to have the conversation. I understand, but I don’t get it at all.
So many things going on. Task upon task upon task. I used to fear and crave this sort of life. That my creative self would be broken upon its rocky shores, that my life could be pulled up out of its primordial ooze and spun into an elegant vase by the forces of just being busy. Being full of purpose and absent of time to worry and suffer and build up anxiety within. Being a vessel void of anxiety seemed always like a good way to be. Daydreaming of adult life as a girl, I always imagined silver cars up steep hills, making the hairpin turns out of a harried, glittering city, into the mountains, the highest mountain to some massive estate. Sweeping into a room that overlooked the city skyline, a glass of wine in hand, silver stilettos tossed aside to clatter on the marble floor, I would collapse onto some white chaise longue, or even some simple kitchen table and I’d watch the sun set. I would, I always imagined, feel safe and secure, fully funded, free, and yet, I always imagined myself entirely alone in those moments.
Here I am, grown-uppish, striving for something better for myself than an unhealthy future or capitulating to the belief that I can’t have anything just because that person driving those switchbacks to that hideaway mansion feels so far away from my hopes and dreams as they are today. I’m actually counting the old calories. I’m actually drinking water and not eating late into the evening. I’m actually doing the things I’m asking of myself. Weird. Who knows what this means? Who knows what 365 days of this will bring? But it would be something. It would be something.
So I am trying on the third day to continue. Not perfect. Teeth still irritated as hell and they’re begging for help and the best I can mentally say to them is that there is an appointment and it’s 12 days away and unless there’s blood or things falling outta my head, that’s what it is. I wish they’d call and let me know, I’d love to not have this impede my fun this weekend and next, but I can only do what I can do. I am just human. Sorry, gums. Sorry, I lived a life of dental fear and immoral and indecent dental behaviors, but I can’t undo it now except by being brave and calling…which I did.
So J. So that talk that seems ongoing and strained and strange. I mean, suddenly, there’s a slew of compliments…good ones, meaningful ones that only come from someone who’s actually paid genuine attention to you. But I’ve haven’t been able to say the parts of this that are the hard parts. The…thank you, but you need to know that if we don’t move on from the nebulous nature of this…that the pull to figure out how to be with someone here, someone local, is going to just get stronger. It’s going to just be harder to bear and I don’t want us to suffer through that, suffer worse if it comes as a surprise to either of us when we don’t want to suffer anymore. Not being able to properly call a thing a thing is its own sort of pain.
When I say “Oh, I don’t know” what I mean is, I know exactly, but it would hurt you so I won’t say it. That’s a deeply disappointing thought.
No disappointment. We’re on target. We’re on track.
Well, here I am. Day one of 2019. Locked and loaded. Imperfect in my plans and desires but missing you all dreadfully. Every one of you my favorite voice in the Void. Me not writing last year had reasons, I suppose, but none of them ever seemed very reasonable. I just didn’t want to deal and I see now, the results of not dealing. You gain weight. You stress out. You lose hair. Your gums ache. Your heart is powdered. You exist but only on the terms of the unforgiving universe.
I would like to think we can do better than that.
So here at the start of the year, I’m not afraid of a useless five hundred a day. I’m not afraid of repetitive posts, of a whining, broken record telling me the same hopes and draining me of the same fears three hundred and sixty-five times in a row. Because somewhere in all of my nonsense, there are granules of the good stuff. Clarity and freedom and mental security where I know what I want because it’s on virtual paper.
I have grand plans for 2019 and I’m not afraid of that, either. I’m not afraid of the piping, shrill, nasal inner voice that indicates “She always has plans! And all of them go to shit!” Sure, dear critic, I have plans and want things, things that my circumstances do not warrant, things I am not trained or prepared for, things that I don’t have any way of getting – especially, when I refuse to acknowledge that I want them. I’m human. It’s okay.
And I’ve done work in 2018 to clear some paths. I’m in therapy again. I’ve got every kind of tracker imaginable and I’m joining boards and teams and taking before shots and measuring myself the way it’s suggested so I have that baseline. I’m not making any decisions on doing low-carb until after my birthday. I’m going to try and practice careful tracking and exercise and loosely reducing sugar and starch in the meantime, but I know that I am going to hit those dates and judge myself based on my behavior and I want to give myself the best chance I have. My friends are coming in a few days – 10 days – and I care more about figuring out some supportive habits that I can keep going through that than showing everyone I can be perfect. When nobody knows what I think perfect is anyway, nobody cares in that regard at all. I have what I need to do mapped out. I have things beyond just dieting and exercise that are important to me to get back into and they’re a part of this movement forward. I am here. I will be here, writing my shit out instead of leaving it somewhere lost in a fog in my brain.
J. Well, there, at least I can say that I am growing myself up. We had an adult conversation that didn’t go superlatively well. I cried a lot. He said I was wonderful, marvelous, all the things any girl would like to hear. But wouldn’t commit to the fact that we’re single, only to say that he is not in any position to meet anyone. He doesn’t want things to change. I don’t want things to change, but I know that they have to – I know that I have to have his understanding that I need a person in my life who is here. The therapist kept reiterating that’s what I need and at first, I felt frustrated, thinking that was something she thought I needed. But I can’t live a thousand years on a string. I’ve lived so long that way and it’s what I know, but it isn’t fair. It isn’t enough.
So that’s going to be a place where work has to be done.
But not today. Not everything today. Today is showing up. Cheering myself for showing up instead of being down and dire about another restart. Let’s have a lifetime of restarts and caring for myself enough to give a shit about not letting myself go to shit. Let’s have a lifetime of being a dork about it. Let’s be cliches, baby!