We are looking ahead.  We are liking our new fonts.  We are building mysteries and unpeeling others.  We are going to go.

Step One.

Convince yourself that even if you are a Lovecraftian horror, you’re not the single worst Lovecraftian horror on the block. You don’t need to name names, but there’s somebody out there, face-wise, who you would not trade places with. Recognize that no matter how long you stare into the mirror and gingerly, physically alter your own self-perception, tomorrow morning you’re two steps backwards. Different body chemistry, different demand on your brain, a weird-ass dream when you’re pregnant and decapitating villains from a rope invisibility affixed to the sky is in your mind. You wake up and feel fucking awful. This is okay. You are building a muscle. It’s going to be weak for a good long while and it will shake when you use it unexpectedly for a more than a few moments. It will shake when it shouldn’t and you’ll think it will fail, and sometimes it will, because that sense of yourself in a positive light will fail. You’ve got all these terrible habits that tell it to be quiet, still, to not scare you with the failure that feels such a part of it, such a part of you.  

 But once you start to stretch it and work it, it wants to stretch and work. It activates and suddenly, self-esteem isn’t this joke you tell yourself about beauty queens and models, it’s this being that involves his or herself in how you experience the world. The time spent worrying about the negative impression you might be making on others – the self-esteem leans in and reminds you, gently, sometimes with a soupcon of snark, that you’re never going to see that jerk in the grocery store again. Or, you might, and if they have an opinion on your mismatched socks and want to share that with you, you can survive the encounter. You hear that and you straighten your spine and you let your shoulders fall free and you just got fifteen minutes back that you didn’t have to spend skulking and simpering and calculating a stranger’s untold disdain for you.

It’s sort of like having an administrative assistant for your inner bullshit. And so often, I think, when you have someone other than yourself involved in a problem, you take better care of it.  It keeps falling to front of mind. You force yourself to step up. You want to avoid disappointing them so you fight back.  If you can separate threads of personality inside, you can listen to some of these voices and take up some of their causes when you pretend they’re not my own. Maybe that’s not the best impetus for internal change.  Maybe you should be able to enact change because you deserve it.  

Ideally, yeah, you can synthesize the self-esteem AA and the motivation coach and the creative muse and the squishy stuffed animal of friendship and the Crone Who Knows and the WASP Who Won’t and all the parts and pieces of your psyche into a single, consolidated you. But first, I think, you need to know who is up there rattling in your attic and invite them for some imaginary tea. Or imaginary coffee or even just an imaginary census-taking. Try it.


Course Correction

A stitch in time is what this is.  If it wasn’t obvious, yesterday’s pre-snow wig-out was not entirely warranted.  There were some seriously bad patches which are on the route that I take and the people who inform me on the conditions of the road don’t ever go down and I’m not just saying that out of my own crazy sense of things.  But, you know, I’m alive and I’m hoping to not have to spend ages at the tournament and I’m able to get on the road prior to the apparently REAL snowapocalypse coming tomorrow.

Speaking of forces well beyond our control and cowering in the face of them, I am doing so well and I took a bad turn at lunch.  Whatever the reason, I did it.  I didn’t eat much yesterday and I’m feeling alright about it.  We’ll not let it affect anything else though, that’s my solemn vow. I’m trying to write this now so I can conserve just enough energy to get myself home and do the Wii, that will be enough magic for me.   The sun is shining pretty intensely and I know for the most part, it’ll be clear sailing, but I’m already tired and just psychically frangible and unpleasant.

Not great when you’ve got to get the books done and then figure out if you want to go buy some concealer for your face given the fact that you’ve left all of that at home because your key wouldn’t re-open the door after you’ve locked it and it feels so like a Monday that you want to be one of those Monday asshole people that are utterly crushed by the arrival of the new week and feel no compunction about making sure you know how disabled they are by this particular 24-hour set of circumstances.  I don’t want to be that kind of person, though.  How does that help anything?  How does it help me to recognize that life is going to have is disabling kind of circumstances for everyone and spitting nails whenever I have to deal with something is not a fair or even effective way of dealing with life’s lemons?  Sometimes you have to look at what you have in terms of stress and weigh it against the suffering of others, the suffering that you will never be able to resolve just by individual action.  The pain that you are helpless in the face of, the agony of a moving universe that is always present, the emotional tectonics that are cleaved and fused and eternally in tumult around you.  Stare at all of those parts and pieces of which you are a part, inescapably, and let your brain escape.

You have to put your shoulders back and your head up, get a bottle of water and steady yourself to move forward.

I know there’s a Regina Spektor song that makes this make more sense.  It’s just a life theme for me.  I focus too much on the incoming pain and less on the outgoing thoughts.

The Lion-Hearted Girl

Been watching vlogs. Time to speak for myself and time to get this post done before time gets away from me.

The diet.  Here I am with it.  Knee-deep in it.  I’m enjoying it at the moment.  I’m enjoying the idea that I’m making myself better and healthier and I’m not succumbing to sloth and gluttony.  I’m enjoying the physical manifestations and, more surprisingly, I’m enjoying the physicality of causing those changes.  Exercise.  It’s not a complete revelation that I would enjoy it, I’ve had long strings and streaks of days where I’ve been into a particular workout video or walking or something like that.  What is new is the feeling that this is foundational.  This piece is important, too, and not something I should blow off for option b, which is always what fills up the time when I don’t give myself a schedule and something to work at: starting off into space.

I honor and value that complete detached state, and as a writer, it’s my most essential exercise all on its own.  It’s a very natural neutral zone that I can slip into and observe and refuel my imagination.  I think it is crucial for writers, and to some degree, all people to find a peace within and a map to it so they can travel there even in the dark and let their senses go fallow.   So much is demanded of all of us that our resources, particularly our mental ones, can be stripped bare before we realize they’re leaving us.   I find to my greatest horror and dismay that the desire to be creative isn’t always met with a bubbling spring of psychic ability or grace.  Sometimes we flounder and have to just sink down into everything to remember anything at all.

But.  (You knew that was coming, right?)

But you go to the bottom of everything and never come back up?  That’s drowning.  That’s a waste.  This is a life full of fertile materials, we’re all up-cycled stardust, and sometimes we need encouragement to stop imagining the world and start making it according to our own imagination.  The body has to turn up at some point, and I’ll refrain from the lengthy and varied collection of transportation-based analogies that are dashing across my brain, but at some point you have to show up and start carrying out your will by mortal means.

I don’t feel such a disconnect between me the girl, the writer, the shyest creature ever to fake extroversion, who loves makeup and steampunk clothing and her wonderful, bizarre friends and this case I ride about in.   I do pushups and I feel my muscles tighten and release.  I jog and bike and I feel the strain in my quadriceps, but I know I can keep going because I could keep going yesterday.  It’s body knowledge and the value of that, to the girl, the writer, the body, the future is incalculable.

We keep going.

I drove home despite the snow, because I saw the tracks.