Floating By

Tis my birthday.  Yay.  I am old, older, but not yet oldest.

Not yay: spent way too much money just trying to live today.

Applied for a job that is close, am not desperate to have, but at least broke the pattern: yay.

Had to spend way too long at the old one: not yay.

Was a bit vulnerable again with The Guy, who I think I have to start calling by his initial, J, because so much of this is about breaking through these layers and barriers and shields, the vagueness of a person.  He has a name.  He is real, if real far away.  Yay.

Had a panic attack (minor-ish) in the car.  Not yay.  Had my fitbit heart monitor on so I could see how fast it was racing.  Not yay, and did, in the short term, make it worse.  But informative so…yay?

Made my therapist appointment for a week from Friday.  Very, very YAY.

Going to try and do some actual writing tonight.  Yay again.

 

We Want Freedom For Ourselves, We Can Give It To Eachother

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There is now plenty of time for reconnecting with life as it is.

It will take me a moment to do that, though.

How strange, how deeply and fundamentally frustrating, that the impulse I have right now is to take the ennui of the past three hours and extrapolate that to the rest of my life.  A life wherein, I am currently in a state of intense motivation and positive change and willingness.   On a day when I was lavished with moments of genuine attention.

Here’s the bottom line.  For me, for you, for everybody, birthdays can be rough.

This year, while I have caved somewhat to the emo, I refuse to give in to any nonsense weepiness or to take this forward with me into the 24th.    I think the emo, in part, is just a reaction to the fact that my body’s realizing I’m pushing it.  And parts of me are enjoying the push.  Going from a very sedentary lifestyle, one that consisted primarily of rolling from my bed to car seat to chair to chair to car seat to bed, some parts of me are not.  My legs are aching from this new regime – which isn’t much, just a few miles of walking a few days in a row or cycling…nothing that feels too intense in the doing of it, but it is the persistence of regular activity that which I think is making me feel the difference.   I also need to do a better job of stretching before and after.

Today, after last night’s walking, I did more.  Another two miles of kicking and waving your arms around and ostensibly burning the calories which would have otherwise just hung onto me. Imagine that.  And then, after the cake and all the food which I am currently doing my best to track, we walked the dog for a bit and because of the earlier walking, I felt like I could just turbo my way around.  I felt like I could go forever.  And now, I ache more than before all the way up and down these gams.

This would formerly be a sign that I need to quit.  Quit because it was painful (albeit so mildly painful that it’s almost indistinguishable from the basic twinges of daily life).  Quit because something about this is not status quo.  It’s change but not complete, perfect revolution.  It’s just the work of work.  The plodding of the plodding.  The muscle is trembling and I am not holding it tight, softening around it, saying we don’t have to do anymore.

Because we do.  Just not tonight.

And none of this is really what I need or want to say.  What I need and want to say to the universe with its constant eavesdropping…is thank you.  Thank you to my sister for making me an omelet for my breakfast and being so solicitous all day.  Thank you to my friends near and far for acknowledging me and wishing me well.  Thank you to the Faithful Light for suggesting that the best way to avoid trouble is to just say what I want to say and accept the chaotic nature of online repartee.  Thank you to my younger sister for helping me split the birthday into something else, with a dinner out on Tuesday, which kind of creates a bit of an Extravaganza!  Thank you to my mother for cooking things that felt special.  Thank you to my father for being such an incredible dork that I feel looked after and cared about.  Thank you to me for putting on a little makeup and finding those winter clothes I thought I lost.   Thank you for the dutch oven and thank you for beginning already with answering the wish I made when I blew out my birthday candle…

 

 

 

Bonne Anniversaire A Moi

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Today’s been several things, but mostly, it has been a giant exercise in “it doesn’t have to be that way anymore.”

I have this whole birthday negative ritual that I undergo every year.   As much a part of the ritual is the attempt to subvert it.  This is the year, I say, that my birthday is drama-free and I will eat according to the diet and not the day, and I’ll just quietly celebrate the me-ness of me and a whole bunch of crap that as soon as I roll out of bed no longer applies.

In the morning, I realize that I just want cake and streamers and secret emotional confessions and a smorgasbord of delicate, hand-crafted delights like sugared violets and marzipan.  I want singing telegrams and tiaras and gifts that relate to all my untold desires. I want a whole itinerary of scripted adventures, social displays of affection towards me, and a body that is entirely different than the one I walk about in the rest of the year.  I want to feel oppressively special.  I want my ego cossetted and placed atop marble pedestals, fanned and fed mimosas and chilled grapes.  I want Veruca Salt to wonder if I mightn’t be a touch greedy.  I want someone on tenterhooks with anticipation as to whether or not all the aforementioned gaudy marvels please me.

I spend half a moment, curled up in my sheets, hoping that somehow, instead of a small, quiet, self-contained sort of day that marks the occasion I turned up on this earth…that I will have fallen into an extravaganza dedicated to myself.  That accidentally, I have done what is necessary to cause people to knock themselves out over my birthday.

I do not do this for other people.  Though, I think I might if I had someone for whom knocking yourself out was appropriate.  I think I have stores of energy for such situations.  I have zero reason to get myself so worked up.   We are so midwestern and hands folded and just tell me what you want and I will get you that and it’s good.  Zero reason to concoct a tizzy.  But still, there’s that weird feeling of birthdays as a private, personal Christmas and when it doesn’t arrive, or it arrives in a way that feels as though it inconveniences everyone else, I always get emo.

It’s on the periphery.   What is different this year is I am not fighting this.  I am not castigating myself for wanting to be spotlighted or be special or to be the princess. I am not mad at myself for wanting something bigger than life, meant for me.

I know what will happen.  My mother will make me a cake.  My father will crack silly jokes.  My sisters will give me something that will make me happy.  We’ll have some silly argument while we drive to the restaurant.  We’ll talk about the same things that I’ve heard in some combination over the last month and this will irritate me to no end.   It will be too short before everyone sighs and says they’re full, the signal that my birthday will be over.

But, now that I’ve worked out, tracked food, taken care of a few things for myself, I believe it still doesn’t have to be like it always is.

I am having the cake.  I am having the tacos and the drink and I will write it all down without shame and I’ll take a walk and keep exercising and I will listen to the stories and the jokes and the arguments and I’m going to remember that I have my own shit going on, and the happiness I seek I can grant far more easily than I can hope to coerce it from anyone else.

What I want, what I truly and deeply want, are not birthday gifts.  Are not one-off acknowledgements.  Are not tokens.  They’re things I have desperately feared having and have actively barricaded off from myself and now, right now, I am walking towards with my hands out.  And that’s kind of a big goddamned deal.

So yes, whoohoo, holy shit, your girl lived yet one more year and oh, the beauty she beheld.

 

Tiramisu: Day Twenty-Three

I’m thirty.  Remember this, above all else, or none of what follows or ever was on this blog will seem remarkable.

It’s also not remarkable at all and what matters, what I really feel matters, is that I know I’m seen and loved today and the age I am at this particular moment is neither here nor there.

I hope I don’t have another post titled Tiramisu.  Ah, well, this is today’s Tiramisu.  Which became my birthday cake tonight and was perfect.   We went to Olive Garden because the realization that if I wanted anything to eat for my birthday, I wanted garlic bread sticks.  I wasn’t expecting to do anything tonight except perhaps to write a post lamenting my absent birthday celebration, but instead, from the very moment I woke up, I was surrounded by the kind, well-wishes of others.  My friend who I am going to see in Italy sent me an in-jokey picture.  I drove myself through some touchy, snowy roads, tense but breathing.  My boss texted me that I could take all the time I needed.  As I drove I told myself, half in jest, half in complete sincerity, that this was already the best birthday ever because I was pushing against my fear instead of being owned by it.  It was not perfect, but it was managed, with no real panic to speak of as I concentrated just on being safe.  At work, they got me flowers and we all got Starbucks in my honor.  I was given hugs and also quietude while the new boss went out on an excursion with some of the board.   There was Chinese for lunch.  I was given cards and thanked by people I care about.  And tons of people, people I haven’t talked to in years said hey on Facebook.  And then, my sister, employed and able to do this, bought me that Olive Garden birthday dinner which was delicious.  So good.  And it reminded me of the whole Italy trip and the fact that this pretty great, pretty big thing is going to happen because I’m willing it to happen.   

I think that’s all I’ve ever wanted.  To just feel like I wasn’t passing by in my life completely unnoticed, unremarked upon.

Well, maybe not all I’ve ever wanted.  But I have wanted it.  And it’s nice to get it, if only for a day.

At the moment, given how much love I felt today, it’s hard to gin up outrage or despair or even much more than a dim flickering frustration at not having one particular person to lavish affection upon me.   Staying in this moment feels more effective than worrying about what might be.  I laid in bed last night worrying about the snow until I realized that no matter how strongly I worked my brain, how aggressively I wanted that snow to not be hitting the streets, I had absolutely no impact on it.  I couldn’t stop one flake from falling.  And with that understanding made, I began to sleep.

Waiting on a Title

I have to change out the disc and I am not sure I am capable of doing that.

The birthday is nearly over, though still not yet official.

There is half a slab of cheesecake in a box next to me.  I am pleased.   I could eat it. More of it.  If I wanted to, I would let myself.  But really, nope.  I’m done and I don’t want to know that terrible anguish that arises when you eat more than you need to.

Ready to be back on track tomorrow.

Maybe if I double space this the clarity will return to my head.

Firstly, dinner.  We went to a Chinese restaurant, without my father since he was too exhausted but for the most part it went very nicely, very sweetly, and they’re getting me the bookcase I wanted and I have boots and a new dress and a journal and I feel quite pleased about the things I was given because they’re useful and they were given with care.   I felt…okay, here’s exactly how I felt, I felt like I didn’t need them to justify my existence and I didn’t want to give over my birthday feelings and emotions to be squished and squashed and made into a palatable, 30 minute meal and repressed and forgotten and passed out of everyone’s systems.  And for the first time, I was more concerned about my own enjoyment and less about making sure that everyone was comfortable or not discomfitted by anything.  And it made a lot of difference.  My mother did try and throw a wrench in the works and went on a bit about how she can’t do anything right and was going to make a low-carb cheesecake but didn’t know if I would want it and I said, thanks, but this is how tonight is going to go.

Because I have to show the control.  I can’t just justify to myself having slice after slice of low-carb cheesecake just because it has that attached to its name.  That’s the same old behavior.  That’s not learning.  I told myself I could have this planned deviation and we did it.  And it’s done.  Yes, we went to the Chinese restaurant, I ate most of my fried rice and then we tooled back up to the Cheesecake Factory where I ordered the most garish monstrosity of a cheesecake slice – with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and I think it also had caramel and cake and death.  It was wholly excessive and I didn’t enjoy it like I assumed I would.  I think it was the very act of having the full-blooded permission to eat it that made it so unnecessary.  And I don’t want to waste it, but at the same time, I see the value of my goals, too.

So out it goes.  Pitched.

I just liked the idea of being worth the trip.

So, there are other things, lots of other things, but I would like to leave it on that nice sentiment and go find some Miranda to watch before I collapse into sleep.

 

Reveille Mon Ame

I have to write this so I can hurry back to Ezio’s adventures before my sister puts the kibosh on the XBox as I’ve left it on and scurried into my room to make sure that this critical labor is achieved.

Yesterday, I intimated that the big posts are the birthday posts, event posts, the threshold type of posts and that yesterday was leading up to something miraculous today.  Some revelation, some genius piece of writing, something evocative and human and deep that expresses my immortal soul.  Well, I don’t quite know how to get there from here.   Today has been great.   It has not been the stuff of legend, I’m afraid, even with Assassin’s Creed driving me forward and onward and upward into the aerie of some Italian city rooftops.   I am up there, to be sure, but it feels like I’m just up with the pigeons.

A light dusting of snow, the news website promises.  I don’t know.  I just don’t know.  I could lose my lunch at least over a dusting of snow.  It’s that terrible a phobia, that stupid of one.  But I can’t go lay out the tarps for the twelve miles between here and there or institute some policy of targeted global warming, so what can be done?  Breath and sleep and gutting a few nearly incomprehensible Templar jerks, I guess.

Off and on I wonder about Facebook.  But on birthdays it is nice to have a swarm of people – even including people you have to question the motives of – all take a second to acknowledge your existence.   And the compliments are lovely, too.

And I do want to make apologies to all the Mamie Van Doren fans who found me this past week because I chose to title a post recently, I think Tuesday last week, Mamie Van Doren.  And while that may, to the outset, seem like a complete non-sequitur for what that post actually was about, it wasn’t really, because there was this whole anecdote about our trivia team name being Nun Reform School which was an actual game that my sisters and I played as children.  My older sister was the teacher (we didn’t really emphasize anything extraordinarily Catholic in this game) and she gave us lessons and we learned geography and read stories and answered little quizzes if I recall correctly, but we also had to learn to make our beds and pretend to behave lest we get demerits.   There was some chart of doing right and doing wrong and I remember how important I felt it was not to get any demerits.  Funny, how these silly things find reflexes in our future lives.  But I was explaining to my younger sister who didn’t have as clear a memory, that there was this MST3K movie Girls Town about a Nun Reform School for wild girls like Mamie Van Doren and her bullet bra and instantly, she took a shine to the name as a result.  I am a fan of Ms. Van Doren and that movie.  I don’t really have a great deal to say, but I think of all those stymied googlers out there thinking “Here’s a whole terrific page on Mamie Van Doren” only to find…hah, my terrible, wheedling voice poking them from across the internets.

I didn’t call it Nun Reform School because I think somewhere in the archives there is a post called that.

Well.  Happy Birthday!

That’d Be Nice

Some days are bigger days than others in terms of what I think the post needs to be.  And today, I think, the post is sort of a doorway to tomorrow’s post so it’s got to be sized accordingly.  You are, even as you read this, going through a portal to tomorrow – whenever that happens to be for you, it’s going to be tomorrow for me – and tomorrow is my birthday.

So it was Sunday and there was sleep and rising and baths and getting myself sorted and my face painted and then, very quickly, it was time for my birthday lunch.   I was pretty delighted that I was able to maintain my calm given what my birthday looked like last year – I will do my best to go back and link it here so that the contrast is apparent – and last year, I was OTR, I was crying uncontrollably, unconsolably even as I was aware of how stupid and unimportant my tears were and I was making promises in my head about the new year and the new person and I was just a frenzy of anguish.  This is not an uncommon event.   Birthdays, though maybe even not everyone in my family would know this, are the best chance I have to become a maenad.   To feast and gad about in adoration and love of everyone and then the epic-ness of the day gets in my head, the sense of what the day should be or should portend or where I should be at that deadline of a day wallops me and I get punch-drunk.  I curl up within and let everything sour and everything break my heart a thousand times and I become accusatory and really terrible.   I think my family doesn’t know this because it’s so internal.  I don’t want them to find me ungrateful so I just spend the day needling myself and needling them and it’s such a horrible way to spend a day celebrating the fact that you’re alive and still have potential and reason to take in air.

And today, because it wasn’t so bound up in the birthday requirements, was lovely.  We had a great lunch – my father who rarely sees reason to leave the house save for work and couponing it up at the grocery store, came and enjoyed himself – my sister’s boyfriend and she came and were pleasant to be around.   We had Chinese food which was excellent.  I was given gift cards which I will glory in spending.  I had a good experience.  And just like the man said, I value that over things.  I don’t care about the rest of it, really.

Tomorrow will turn up and there won’t be any particular magic and nothing will rise from the dead and catch me by the throat by the virtue of it being the year of the dragon or the sun returning to the same spot it was at 28 years ago.  No return of Saturn that I can spot.  No heart bestowed upon me, meeting me in the dark.

But I have love, nonetheless.  I have a guitar.  I have stories in my head.  I have so much more than I can even say.