The Threshold or the Thresher

Alright, so here’s the thing:  none of this has anything to do with them.

Not one nth or one iota.

Much as I would like to claim the reason I went flailing home, swallowing tears, bag of un-eaten bean dip and chips in hand was about the people at the reunion barbeque, I wasn’t upset because of them.  Nor the fact that I was the only single, childless person there.  Nor the fact that I was typically  alone and awkward sitting there at the picnic table, observing exactly as it happened day in and day out during high school.

It was completely and utterly about me.  It’s about the way I just keep waiting for something to happen.  The way I relive what was, warm the milk of memory and escape in its sugar structures to this place that never really was.  This knife-blade’s width place where I was writing and reading and full of potential and every year that place gets more real and my real life becomes harder and harder to bear.

I don’t want kids.  Or necessarily someone there with me at all.  I don’t not want that either, but  what it really is, the nutshell: I just want to finish something.  I just want to reach some goal that is so much bigger than just breathing and eating and waiting for death.

I knew it would be like this, but somehow, I thought that maybe some of the invented magic, that concentrated blood orange, was real.  And what was bitter could turn sweet in time.   As I sat there, smiling, checking my phone, I think that ten years gone isn’t bitter, it isn’t sweet, it is strangers meeting and parting.

I find the way the sky looks right now so beautiful, such a fierce and heavy blue as the dusky sunset pumps in cracks of red veined light which break it like a creme brulee.  I didn’t give in when I felt so sore and so deserving of food.  I have a mother who calls me back six times when I don’t answer to see if I’m alright and then makes me eggs and lets me think my way out of the morass I swear is my new party dress.  I can leave all of that behind.  I have a party with rock stars to go to.  My hair looks beautiful.   I have a story that needs me.  I have two legs.  I have plane tickets.  I am sincere in my hopes for love and peace and adventure.  I am a decent person.  I don’t live under the overpass.  I have a personal fan.  I have aspirin for my headaches and time for my heart.

The scale says I’m losing.  Then I swear I’m gaining.  I don’t know.  I’m wearing the fitbit.  I just crave the discipline, the doing of things.  I crave purpose, identity, friendship, being known, producing, a good haircut, music, dancing, and most of all, I want to get my hands on the next ten years.

This isn’t about you, my high school acquaintances, but I do thank you for being kind.

 

The Water Sustains Me Without Even Trying

I ….

I have to hesitate because I wanted to use you.   I wanted to open up all your windows and bust them open with a baseball bat.  I wanted to piss in your zinnias.  I wanted to crayon all over your symbolistic white walls.  I wanted to spend all five hundred words venting and vengeful and to end up aglow with catharsis.  Oh, blog, I wanted to put you up on the rack.

But I cried in a dark bathroom, stared around into the mirror, said Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, trying to make out something, make out nothing, trying to ignore the helpful spirit that made itself known to me.

I am angry, still.  I’m mad at how much is thrown on me.  How I leave so little room for my own sorrow that when I give myself an inch of it, swarms of everyone else’s falls down to fill that vacuum and I am pressed in with the blocks of concrete and this worm of disdain, of rage.

Nobody gives a fuck.  I got it.  I got it cold.

There’s a deadline.  I got that, too.

I’m shutting the door.  I’m shutting it over and over again until I can get the hell away from everybody’s demands.   Everybody’s expectant gimme fingers.  Everybody’s cooing “Oh, you’re so good.  You’re so good to us.”

Fuck you.

When the only response that anyone has to your sorrow is to tell you how they have it worse, I don’t know how to deal with that.  I don’t know where this one-upsmanship can go.   I have empathized myself into a pit.

I ache to distract myself.  I had bread.  I had one slice of pizza.  I had to willfully go home and stop eating anything so as not to justify eating even more.   So now I am so tired, and I have to get on the bike, and do the situps and this makes me feel bad and upset instead of inspired and good.   My sinuses clogged with the snot of an overwrought monster of the mind.

I want to be better than how I’m feeling right now.  But most of me wants to feel what I feel right now more.  To not just let it be swiped away.  Every choice is the wrong choice.

I was just…nothing went my way today, nothing, and I had to smile and drop things to make things nice for others.  And it seems like I do that a lot.  So much that I feel the ugliness of martyrdom upon my shoulders and that’s not what I want either.  I just want to vent.  I just want to keep going.

Why won’t the weight come off?  Why do I spend so many hours alone?  Why won’t I read more?  Why do I miss my viola?

….

It’ll be alright.  It’ll be fine.  I will take care of it.  I’ll tamp it down.  They’ll take a little more.  I’ll care a little less.

At least, I take solace in the fact that last bit isn’t true.  It’ll never, ever be true.

And you.  This shadow burnt on the pavement of this heart.   Hard to take solace in a shadow, but I’ll take off the martyrdom and wear your gossamer over my bare shoulders instead.

Gabriel Sounds the Car Alarm

Apologies.  I’m just having a moment.

I’m just having this strong feeling of needing to do the exact opposite of everything I’m doing and it’s almost crushing me.   So I have to let it pass or let it shift.  This kidney stone of reality.

I am pretty sure this has something to do with a thing that if I were a proper sort of girl I’d know for certain that it was unacceptable to talk about here, but as I am as I am, I’ll just outright say it.  I am not on the rag at the moment, but I am in that ten-day spread where I know my inexplicable rage is unkind and unfair, but it is present nonetheless.  I’m slouching, extra-imaginary cigarette on my lip, towards Scarlet Town.  It’s not fair, but it’s the way of the world.  And it’s got to stop.

I’m grumpy under the sway of this aggressively sarcastic moon because I’m thinking thoughts that address realities like oh, hey, 10 year reunion, I don’t know if I want to go because I’m not  in the catbird seat of my life.  I’m not financially settled, married, published, kid in tow, deeply in love, verging on perfect like I casually but permanently assumed I would be right now.   That all, I think, would be fine because that is the state of things for most people: divergent from post-graduation expectations, however, they’ve moved the location of the reunion itself and now driving to it seems impossible and getting a ride seems repugnant and all of a sudden, I have this blossoming field of self-hatred ready to harvest.  I didn’t even know if I wanted to go. If I wanted to see these people again who in the best case scenario are entirely ambivalent about my decision to attend.  If I wanted to go tickle the dragon who so long had me in its clutches of adolescent, limerent, attachment by hoping that someone I cared about briefly, one-sidedly, manically, uselessly (the model for most of my other relationships to follow) would attend.  When he probably wouldn’t.  Or worse yet, would turn up happily and with a family, or at the least, a wedding ring.  Which I could crow to all the heavens wouldn’t bother me, but it would, at least for the next day or two and another ship in a bottle busted and gone aground.

I don’t feel grown-up at all.  I don’t feel anything but the jack-booted heel of a future that doesn’t give a shit about my particular endeavors.  What are you doing with your life?  What occupies your time? Are you published?  Are you writing?  Are you happy with your work?  Are you anything at all?

I will wake up and resolve myself entirely to all of this, but tonight, for now, I feel like, Jesus fuck.  I should have done drugs.  I should have run with the wolves.

No.  I…I don’t think that’s right either.

I just feel like all this time has passed since high school and the emergence of this sort of teflon shield that enveloped me then and has become part of the atmosphere now, as unnoticeable as newly washed glass.  The thing that hurts is that I still don’t get why it’s there.   Still haven’t found a hammer.

 

 

Soup Etiquette Day

I do not have the remotest idea if I am sick or well.  In any sense of either word. I am in my essential, but always forgotten stage of any illness.  The “I’m fine now, but I’m pretending to still be sick for sympathy and laziness’ sake” stage. Except I still ache in twinges and I still feel off.  So I am at home, drafting this on my phone wondering why I’m not a better
person than I am.

On a gray day, where we are anticipating snow and our impotence before Mother Nature, when we’re not at work where we properly should be, I start to get rather frantic about the future.  I don’t have my guitar here.  No computer or X-Box games and tv to distract me, I start to think about my most favorite topic: myself.  I start to think with fervor and rapaciousness, how much I need to alter myself.  Immediately.  I realize how unacceptable I am as I am.  Sitting about in these clothes, eating crackers, wasting life while everyone I’ve ever heard of is either running marathons, being married and having children or in the alternative, developing brain tumors and cancers and age is coming upon them and stealing them in the night. 

I start to feel the individual grains in the hour glass, these separate days of my life as it were, and I am not satisfied and I don’t know how to change the big things and I don’t – at this moment – have the ability to change the small things like what I’d wear or going and putting on makeup and straightening myself and my surroundings a bit as I’m not at home and I am car-less and this frustration continues.  The pressure builds and I start to deal with it by completely compartmentalizing it and muting it until I hear only white noise and fall into a story where the heroine has power, wit, and resolve and knows everything she needs to know and I’m there until that, too, fades into the middle distances and then for a time there’s nothing until I remember the body housing this great mockery of a life and the cycle begins anew.

When you go to a random page in this blog and it could be an exact description of today, exactly, only it’s from three years ago and even then bespoke of a mobius strip life…when you know that everything you say and feel is so relentlessly worthless, released in a klein bottle, surging forward only to smack you in the back of the head…well, it sucks. 

I would like a real life person to distract me from all this.  Offer me advice or kindness.  Hell, a real fake person would be fine, so long as they could stay for more than appetizers, for more than an apperitif.  I need to go places and meet people.  I need to escape the gray cloud.  I need and I know that my need is whiny and draggy and unattractive and I want to escape it, too.

But first I have to meet it – look it dead in the eye and hear it out, all of it, every last warble and every last clutch at my ankle – before stamping it on the head.

Batter My Heart

The title track.

It’s been a long time since I’ve cried in my car.  It’s been a long time since I’ve cried at all.  I’ve convinced myself that personally, it’s not all that useful.  Probably because I used to cry all the time.  Daily.   When someone looked at me crosswise.  I was known for feeling too much.  I remember growing up as a kid and being sent to my room because I couldn’t stop crying.  Crying for good reasons and bad reasons.  Maybe I was addicted to the catharsis.  I’ve forgotten how it used to be, somehow.

Now, even when I’m really frightened by myself, by my job, by my reality, I mostly don’t cry.  Because nothing’s changed and crying makes me feel…like a lot.  And frankly, if nothing’s going to change, I’d rather not feel the feelings of someone so isolated and lonely and terrified of the future.  I’d rather not go down that road.  That’s not what grown-ups do and if I start, I’m pretty sure that it’s going to take some effort to stop and that absence of control is disconcerting now.  My empathic nature has been tamped down so hard that just up and crying seems absurd.  But I started crying today.

It was for a good reason at first. I was so relieved that my Christmas work was over and that I could sort of look ahead and see clear to the holidays with joy.  I made a Christmas CD, something I love to do every year and hadn’t felt up to or interested in until now.  And I read on facebook something about the people paying off strangers’ layaway plans for their holiday purchases for their families and I found that so profoundly good and kind and lovely that my eyes welled up.  And I thought good, I’m not so broken that the reaction, the knee-jerk ability to sense love in the universe, hadn’t rusted over.   Then my CD played this car-vibrating version of Carol of the Bells and the tears bubbled over again.  And I thought this is how it should be.  I should be aware of the emotion of the season, I shouldn’t be a brick wall, I don’t want to be a brick wall, that’s not right, that’s not me.

And then I went shopping and ate with my sister and mother after checking on my other sister who was so sick last night.   I was in a good mood, I really and truly was.  I was thinking how nice it was that we could be friends after everything that’s happened, that we could be talking like we were and not at each other’s throats.

But maybe it was the surging crowds and being open to all of that just drained me.  Maybe I’m almost on the rag and all of this is just a hormonal imbalance.  Maybe I do this to myself for attention.  Maybe I just got overwhelmed.

I just started getting so negative.  So frustrated.  Like every breath was the straw breaking this camel’s back.  Fuck, even now I hate that fucking analogy.  But I am that thing.  The camel going for ages in the desert on its own resources.  And my sister and mother chattering about her new boyfriend and love, love, love, and how she was in such agony not seeing him for two weeks and I’d so like to think of myself as someone who could separate another’s happiness from my own.  I’d like to think that I could always understand that I could want good things for everyone and if I can’t have good things for myself, want to strip them from everyone around me.  I’d like to think that my heart was more open and giving and truer than that.  And I know, deep down, that *is* what I believe.  I am happy for her.  I am happy that she’s growing and I’m happy that she’s found someone who thinks she’s great.

But this bullshit maiden aunt perception fucking drives me up the fucking wall.  The way someone can stare at you and talk about themselves without even a flickering of how what they say can play in the mind of someone else.  She’s never known me to date anyone, mostly because I haven’t much, and this is not her responsibility to resolve.   I state that for the record – she doesn’t owe me a life.  But I try to just be myself and I’m told over and over that I’m weird.  That I dress wrong.  That my hair’s wrong.  That I should go hang out in bars.  That the music I love isn’t palatable.  Or more than that, lately, I’m just not talked to at all.  Today I felt like I’ve been sorted.  I’m boxed into whatever they see me as and I’m done.  Everything’s changed for her and I’m done.

And I know this is all just jealous bullshit on my part.  I know it is.  I know this is a broken record.  I know this pain is just as helpful as the crying.  I know I have to just mind myself.  I know nobody likes any of this and nobody finds any of this at all inviting.  I don’t want to discomfit anyone with my emotions. I know that being a mess is pretty unacceptable so I’ve kept all of that under the table.   Or maybe I just thought I did.  I know that I can’t let this absolve me of trying harder to deal with myself and my issues in a plain-faced, even handed way.  I can’t back down.  I’ve already done that too often and in too many ways.

I just wanted to say thank you to this space.  This space I’ve tried to claim for myself, but maybe never have, still trying to sit in the corner and wonder why no one’s wandering over to talk to me.  A long time ago, I thought being here, writing daily, would somehow make me brave.   Some magic pill that would earn me a place, some respect, someone’s interest.  I feel the need for re-invention, but you can’t run away from what you are.

 

Resurrection of the Flesh

I have to forgive myself for today.  I have to, otherwise, these razor blades in my belly are going to stay razors and like everything else will have to pass through.   Make them into marshmellows, something sweet and inconsequential.

Still have a lot of things to do tonight and I’m failing.  Failing all over the place.  I have to work on my directory project as it’s dragging on and on and on and I want it done.  You have to forgive and do better, otherwise the forgiveness doesn’t mean much.  So, we’ll hurry, trudge along towards our number five hundred.

Tomorrow is the boss’ surprise party.  Tomorrow is a slightly snowy day for which I’ve already procured a ride, though it means I’ll be at work an hour and a half early.  Maybe I’ll leave early.  Not unless I get what I need done and I haven’t yet and have no real plans as to how I will.  I have no earthly idea.  Shackles, I has them.   Tomorrow has no real potential to be a better day.  So all I can do is enjoy this mattress beneath mine arse, which is firm enough (the mattress, dear me) to make my legs feel like they’re levitating out from under me.  Enjoy the now of now before it slips away.

There were things to say yesterday that I noted I didn’t get to, but damn if I can remember them  now. Big important happenings.  I don’t know.  I’m awash with a weird hunger that I can’t deal with until we’re done here.  I really feel like, extraordinarily, I have nothing to say.  Nothing worth saying whatsoever and that all this tap-dancing across the screen means nothing to you and how could it, because I am not saying anything relating to anything.  There’s not even a whiff of revelation.  Just the same story pressed into digital matter over and over again.

All of this makes one almost necessarily ask why I am posting if I have nothing to post.

Well, great nation of silence, we post because we have to.  We post because maybe there’s a deep chasm of nothingness, a pit from which I am but a surrounding tube of flesh, a conduit for this emo and neurotic empty space.  But sooner or later, if we keep up the muscle memory and develop the calluses, the knowledge will be with us when something does arrive worth writing about.  We won’t be overcome by the need to translate this great intangible, consuming and absorbing unknown into text and failed by our ability to approach it.

So I talk about salsa and chips.  I talk about cold feet.  I talk about how Mr. Polite has not yet written me back, a solid, choking taste of my own medicine.  I talk about work and stress and I say things are terrible while people are starving and dying, frostbitten and with love on their lips and in their hearts.   My suffering is of my own making, which doesn’t make it worse, it just makes it persistent, intractable, embedded.   It makes me have to dance with it every day.  And when I am better, I at least find some joy in the dancing.