Ignis Fatuousness

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Alright, back and away from London-town, to write to you about the fact that it does not seem to matter how I move my head and/or neck, because there’s an odd, dull pain that has come out of nowhere except for the very reasonable explanations I can find for half of it and that I am in a right fit of very calm, very relaxed panic about it.

It is just not bad enough to need to linger, and yet it has.  I woke up with its presence running through me and the worry has kept my attention focused on myself from toe to tip so that every breath and twinge and horror appears to me as a flag of something too horrendous to speak of.  And the hypochondria which has no verb form just lingers with it.  I have spent the day leaping at internal shadows. There have been verifiable moments I have also marked down in my mind that I felt okay, that I was laughing, that I had thought, okay, this is just a pain in the neck from sitting in bed and staring down at my computer and phone 12 hours a day, conservatively.    And getting old as fuck.

After this, I will be getting myself into the hot bath and soaking my neck.  I’ve been using the Hitachi Magic Wand for its intended purpose.  I have been considering what, as a downtrodden, broke-ass person is a problem that is at the level where I have to get it checked out and what…you know, given my histrionic history with health complaints can be borne and rode out until November 1st when I can enroll again and get myself on some sort of health track.  I am actually encouraged by the thought of a health track.

It is, in some measure, if not entirely, based on the stress I feel.  Work is so dysfunctional right now, and frustrating on so many levels, that I am starting to dread it.  I think it’s just working through my body.  It knows this isn’t right for me and even if I refuse to fully acknowledge how much I need to run for the hills, my body is finding ways of pulling my chain back…hard.

The remainder of my words are thrown at a job application.

 

 

 

Viola D’Amore

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I meant, probably around when it first came out, to talk about the This American Life episode about fat.  I don’t know what else was going on at the time, the usual, I’m sure.  Double job fuckery, having just returned a few weeks ago from burying my grandfather, from burying a certain Camelot that had existed both in reality and in my mind since childhood, and, I think, the sudden and hardcore romantic interest of someone online.

I felt wild about it then, but it felt like this, forgive the horrible and discomfiting pun, huge box to unpack.  An undertaking to relate to these women who had opened their souls up to the whole world and within their souls is much that mine finds as kindred.   I wasn’t up to it and slowly, other posts took its place.

We were talking today after we celebrated my father’s birthday.  We talked about NPR and Serial and briefly about podcasts that the majority of which I hadn’t paid attention to.  We talked about Peaky Blinders and I made my pitch they should watch that.

I wanted to say as part of this flow of conversation – had you heard this particular episode?  This Tell Me I’m Fat episode which was something I felt charged about, felt ready to talk about.  My mother, my mother taking cancer medicine, my mother whom I adore, had earlier mentioned that she needed to lose five pounds.  That she wouldn’t feel okay until she lost five pounds.

Nobody looked at me.  Nobody didn’t look at me.  Nobody shook their index finger at me.  It occurs to me that nobody had to.  The message was so ready in my mind – I’d spent the day not eating anything, there wasn’t time, there wasn’t anything in the cupboards, and I wanted and it had made me the definition of hangry.  Worried about money and all out of whack, we had to run errands before I got food and ended up with a big burrito at nearly 4pm.  A choice made to just make all of the hyperactive pissant thoughts in my head stop in their tracks. Ravenous, I ate until I felt sick and gross.  Then, as though on a conveyor belt, my father’s birthday supper arrived at five.  Homemade spaghetti with garlic toast and wine.  A meal that is enshrined in my head as soothing, homey, wifely…real kitchen witchery.

I tried to explain how the garlic toast was my version of a madeleine – tried to explain Proust.  My mother nodded at my ramble and changed the subject.  Suddenly, it transported me into wave after wave of memory.  Joy, family cohesion, a time of weightless and worry-free childhood.

We watched the ballgame.  I felt waves of effusive agape in equal measure to the frustration I’d felt before.

Then, we had cake.   A big yellow Betty Crocker cake with cream cheese frosting and optional toasted coconut.  My sister’s boyfriend who does not care for desserts made one of those quasi-innocuous comments that I every so often wonder how exactly quasi they are meant – about how every time lately that we’re over there there seems to be cake.  Well, we said, swallowing another bite of the treacly frosting, there’s been a lot of birthdays lately.  For my part, I felt a fair amount of shame, sitting there, no makeup, nearly relaxed, nearly out of reach of my internal monologue and whammo, oh, you girls and your eating again.

I wanted to have the conversation with everyone about being okay and being seen and being registered as I am in this moment and being connected when I felt so loving and caring towards everyone.  That dissipated out of my hands.

But listening to it again now, I know I wouldn’t have liked the path the conversation would take.  No matter at what point.   I wanted to offer a tool for greater understanding of me.  Me, a zaftig person, or an overweight person, or a cute little pudgy darling, or a fat. person. and how maybe I was trying to be okay with myself…mentally, right now.  I was trying to say, think about me, hah, doing something so crazy, wow, as to just live.

When Lindy says, for the most part, she doesn’t see her fatness as likely to change.  That for the most part, fat people’s fatness doesn’t change no matter how valiantly they war against it.  That after holding space for that question to even exist…she’s struggled and struggled and eventually, somehow, found the place where she’s okay with that.

It blew me away. It felt like such an epic question to me.

When Elna Baker explains how the thin and fat versions of herself are in this conversation of worthiness and fear and pedaling as fast as you possibly can to keep these two versions of self separated despite how they long for one another…that’s something I want to share.  The profound nature of Roxane Gay finding herself outside these constructed barriers of fat levels that can use societal tools to subvert societal messages.  This idea of working as hard as you can to better yourself and if your body doesn’t hit a mark, you don’t make it.  You don’t get the gold medal.  You don’t get on the podium.  You don’t get some guy to hang out with you and complain about the type of TV you watch behind your back.

Sitting there, though,  I didn’t want this to be taboo.  I want it to be a shit that could be shot. Even as I think about dieting and weight loss for my own physical comfort, my own air in my own lungs, my own clothes on my own body…I want to say, hey, whatever you think of me…it could be okay if I knew what it was. Even as I contemplate what it means in this singles group if a guy talks about liking heavier girls?

Do I feel…appreciative of that, relieved, amused, disappointed, encouraged?  If you knew someone would look at you and want you, and they’re alright in your mind, do you go and chat them up?  Yes, the universe leans in and hollers, YES.  But for me, I feel profoundly less able to go towards someone who is moving towards me. I feel as though there’s that finger wagging I’ve been looking for.

And maybe that’s my problem.

I have needs in this world.  And being so bold as to breathe them out loud, to say, hey, I want happiness and I want it the way I want it and the way I want it is evolving every day in my own mind and I’ll let you know when we’re getting closer so long as you do the same…that seems like progress.

And if me saying something out loud complicates someone else’s reality, well…good.  It probably needed saying.

Spare Change

dirty-old-truck-1475644-639x503Okay.  So.  The thing in the way of my happiness is me.  If I am to gauge that I would experience a noticeably larger amount of happiness were I to follow up with my plans and attempt to struggle towards my dreams.

So, weight loss.  Right now.

I hesitate to write this because I certainly wouldn’t want anyone writing about my status when I’m working on myself, but my sister is doing great with her low-carb.  I don’t know how much or how little she’s lost, but she’s feeling good, she’s doing it and I can see a difference and I hardly pay any attention to anything.   There is, not an insignificant amount of jealousy, in that I feel bloated and starving and exhausted all the time and she seems, from the outside, alright.

And I am making no money at all, (so it seems) and running out and buying fast food and eating out at places that aren’t really in my poor person budget, acting in old habits, airporting as I defined yesterday.  Just thinking about the

I think, okay, vegetables.  And my whole body gets pissed off.  I get pissed off about everything that’s out of my control or seemingly so…my job situation, the fact that you can have one of these lingering powerful romantic interactions with someone and be strung along for weeks, my mom being sick and having to suffer to do what we can to destroy the sickness and getting messages from my vacationing sister about how I need to be reacting and behaving right now.  And in that space, being able to have a sandwich or a piece of pizza or four or five peanut butter cups to quash hunger and everything else attached to hunger, is magic.

It feels like sidestepping the effects of time.

Yesterday’s truth: There is no day outside of the chain of days, time does not stop and restart, we don’t escape life to some other place.  We just live in or out of fear.

This is the story of the fat people of the world.  Sometimes.  Some of them.  Of me. The Brene Brown bonafide truth that you feel freaked out and vulnerable and you do whatever you feel is necessary to excise those feelings.  Eating, when you’re scared of your own power, is this magical shield that is also a sword.  It just shuts off the thoughts for a while.  I feel like if I am vulnerable to my thoughts, I’ll lose ground, not gain it. Start panicking about driving which I’ve mostly avoided for the past three or four months.  I’ll look around and see what I’m currently half-blind to – real unhappiness with the treatment I accept, real fear, real sense of time slipping out of my hands.  It’s all the mental surgery I don’t get anesthesia for.

I’ve put forth this diatribe before.  I’ve danced the dance, lit the candles, stood very still and waited for signs to emerge.

Yet. At the bottom line, it’s will I do it or won’t I do it?  Right now, I don’t have the strength of will to curb things slightly.  Right now, I want a big act or nothing.

Hmm.

Bonsoir Lune

it-s-a-happy-world-1194421-639x852It is quite a thing for a girl in my position to overdose on the taffeta and organza orgiastic nightmare that is Say Yes to the Dress.  Its delusion and its wastefulness and its unbearable brides insisting that a 10,000 dress rather than a 1000 dress or a 100 dress is going to ultimately make a difference beyond the comfort level of an ego on a single day of a single life.

And perhaps, in this unknown world onto which I peer, the difference exists and is palpable.  From the screen, though, it is just Veruca after Veruca, even the modest ones are Verucas demanding spotlights for no other reason than to insist that the world kowtow to the fact that they have committed to a relationship.

Is that raw bitterness spewing onto the page tonight?  I feel like I have spent hour upon hour with women who can’t shop where I work until they lose twenty lbs and announce that fact when they leave as if to make sure we know that they know that we know. Women who can’t wear things their husbands don’t like.  Women who can’t walk around in a piece of fabric because they’re a certain age.  Women who hate the fuck out of themselves in a public, pleasant, social sort of way.

All the time at the shop, I walk around in an ill-fitting costume, tits akimbo, blobbo-arms bare to the shoulder, feeling alright about it.  Or mostly alright until I get two or three of slender, stylish ladies in a row who savage themselves and suddenly, I pass by one of our countless full-length mirrors (I don’t keep such a weapon of mass destruction in my house) and yeah, okay, I need to lose twenty pounds to work at this store.  To live my life.  To not die alone.  To breathe another breath.  But then I breathe another breath and I look at myself and I say, okay.  Maybe you need that, but you have to finish this shift.  And I finish the shift and come here thinking about how penny-ante and asinine my worries are with what’s going on with my mom, my country, my world.

But still.  In my country, the thought is not obliterated.  The endless ache of less than remains. And I do, tonight, in this hot, dark space, feel the absence of a thing I desire.  A hope I want to cling to.  What I have to cling to is letting me slide down into places I don’t care to be.

You have not replied, you have not restarted our…liaison. This is okay.  This is not okay.  This is what is.  This could be the thing that saves my bacon.  Saves me from refreshing a webpage every two minutes for the rest of my life.  Eventually.  It is fine.  I like the tenterhooks, except, of course, when I want to throw the whole laptop through a wall and let me go with it.

I have therapy in a few days, therapy that I can hardly afford anymore, but by law have to keep paying the insurance for (I love you, Obama and having this insurance will be important when they discover all the sicknesses I am surely riddled with) and I am already half-deciding not to mention all of this.  It’s not real and I know that.  That it’s already a giant leap over a chasm I may or may not be able to ford seems less important than the fact that I have no say or agency or actual embodied experience of you.

Really, what I want and need to say is that I am ready to do the work.  All of the work in all of the ways that it is.

Glow-Worm

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This American Life…fuck.

This is one of those times when i want to write something in a particular way but I don’t want to write it here where I have certain expectations/connections/readers/friends.  I don’t want to explain the thought, I want it to not need explanation.  I know I probably won’t give explanation if prompted.  I want to find a thread that may or may not exist and knot it tight.

Today, someone robbed the bank where I work and I was unaware of it happening, we all were upstairs.  We strolled down in the middle of the day to leave and there were swarms of cop cars in the parking lot, but the drama was essentially over.

Work is…not something I need to share here.  It needs to change.  I need to change because that’s the only thing I have control over.  That’s a whole post on its own that I am not going to write tonight.

You wrote me back if only just to confirm that your surgery went okay.  I don’t know what exactly this surgery is aside from it being related to your arm.  I don’t know if I can even 100% assume that it even happened.  I don’t know why you had it and if it’s the first of many, if it fixed something, if it is part of some terrible bleak prognosis.  I only know that we co-exist in such a way that you didn’t wait a day to tell me this.  I only know that I was glad to hear it.  This is stuff for my therapist, seriously.  I miss my therapist, actually, and I don’t get to see her for almost another month.  Apologies for all that will spew out of me between now and then.

There’s no news yet on my mother.  I find myself able to think of it and not able to think of it and to step outside of any emotions I might typically have about it because I feel so loaded for bear right now.  It has to wait.  The worry for that has to wait and in the interim, I will glow like a glow-worm with love for her.

I am, despite my better judgment, looking into the soul-selling business.  I skipped lunch and had pasta salad for dinner.  I didn’t have Starbucks today by sheer accident.

I listened to This American Life – all about fatness and society’s current messaging and how varying people experience it.  It was moving.  Painfully easy to recognize myself there. Struggling towards acceptability, smallness vs. reality.

There just feels like some odd synchronicity in these otherwise unconnected events.

Mumford and Sons put out this beautiful new song along with Baaba Maal, the Very Best, and Beatenberg and I love it.  Love it.  The lyrics are amazing, pertinent, healing as those boys always find a way to make.

You don’t wanna turn away this time
Then why don’t you take a different line
Don’t have to be cruel to be kind
You don’t have to lose your mind
You don’t wanna suffer for your art
You don’t wanna vivisect your heart
And then if you’re falling apart
You’re probably trying too hard

 

Creative Non-Fiction

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I did not buy the shiny necklace.  Even though I get a special and impressive discount on jewelry.  Even though it shines at least five colors depending on what direction you tilt it.  Even though I could hardly pull my eyes away from it.

The thing I didn’t count on about working at a woman’s clothing boutique – even casually, even as I am attempting to work and not absorb anything –  is how fiercely and immediately it would force me to confront my own body issues.

It is, apparently, a staff activity to peruse the racks and try things on and model for the rest.   These are all supportive, experienced women who know how to provide gentle and helpful feedback and not just nod their heads and say great.  Or the  alternative…a hyper and upsetting “Take that off right now!”  They’re good at this and I want to play along.  I don’t want to be a tall poppy.  I thought I looked tolerable in what I was wearing, but I got five or six things and put them on and thought…oh, dear.  Like.  I am unhappy and if I think about this, I will get real unhappy and the whole goal of this is to get women in this satin curtained dressing room to feel relaxed and positive so they’ll buy $400 dollars worth of clothing, as one woman did today.

But already I can’t be spending as much as I make in a day to buy things right now.  The other women who work there are married.  Some with children my age.  They have discretionary funds to keep themselves in kit and keep up with trends.  They can giddily assess each shipment and take home treasures as soon as they’re put on sale. If things had progressed as I had intended, well, I’d be much more able to shop freely.  Though, if things had progressed as intended, I probably wouldn’t have thought about coming back to this town to shop.

Suddenly, inside that dressing room, nothing looked right.  My body, the body of defeat, in that full-length mirror seemed to justify every frustration, every piece of that of outsider identity I’ve ever clung to.  I’ve had minor meltdowns in dressing rooms before.  I’ve felt physical torture in them.  And I could certainly fit into the clothes I picked out.  I can only imagine if that wasn’t always possible.  Not that I think my complaints are unique or particularly worthy of explicating in long form, I just…felt like real gross, real hot shit.

Still.  I strolled out, finally, at their request in a couple skirts, feeling like this bloated, monstrous version of myself.  I went a mile a minute in my brain about how fraudulent this whole caper had become.  I…me…am supposed to advise stylish women on what to put on their body.  I who have never felt confident for a full day in my own skin?  They were, as expected, kind about it.  Unbothered.  They look at and now I, too, look at bodies all day long.  I started blabbing about foundational garments.  Silly, but I wanted to somehow reflect what I assumed they were thinking, to say, in some way, I know, I know…and I wouldn’t just walk around thinking I was okay.  Which, sheesh.  It’s an exhausting way to exist in the world.  Constantly self-abnegating before anyone can even have a negative breath in your direction.

But then, I tried some dresses and even me being me, I thought that they looked nice.  They were really comfortable.  I only wore one out.  I can’t buy them just yet, but maybe I will eventually. It just doesn’t…delight me to try on clothes.  I’ve owned barbie dolls, and dressing them up was a chore.  I don’t, though my earnest heart has tried to convince me otherwise, really give all that much of a shit what people choose to wear.

It’s only a single summer.  It’s just a stopgap measure.  I am writing.  I am starting again.  This is the story I tell.  This is the story that has to be true.

Suivez Le Singe!

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 Why did you sell yourself to the illuminati, Ane?  Or didn’t you have any choice?

Had a curious thought today: what if instead of worrying that we never would get the room organized after pulling to all the summer clothes to pack, we just knew that eventually, we’d get it cleaned up?

If we just stopped hoping to be Mary Poppins and pulled down what we needed?  Trusted that we wouldn’t let the room be a mess forever, that things are going on now, and it’s not pass/fail question.

And a weight lifted.  We will get it packed.  I will keep on plugging with my diet.  I did my situps.  I will get on the bike for ten minutes.

2500

Lord.

Okay.  In case you missed the news, it was Sunday, all day.

I did some things like making a couple pancakes in the morning, and buying Chipotle (which I have to admit gave me a stomachache directly after I secretly rolled my eyes at the overzealous, smirky father in the line in front of me made a sly comment on their “issues.”) and I didn’t precisely track it.  I knew what it was, I thought about the calories.  I bought some cauliflower.  These things do not add up to weight loss.

I had half-decided that because of the trip, the nature of this dual trip…of grief and joy and me slingshotting around the map by both impulses, and the absolute absence of control regarding where my food will be coming from and what, precisely and exactly will be measured out and put into it, that I couldn’t do much in the way of dieting.  I also had these incredibly loose pants which one would think would make a girl excited as all hell, but just made me feel dread and peer in the mirror at myself as to how such a thing could occur and yet I would feel like such a lump.

But, I don’t know.  I am kind of into it today.  Now,  11:23p.m., the birthing hour, I am kind of into the idea of the fact that I’m trying to get my body a bit sharper, a bit more together.  I feel kind of like, okay, I can figure out that this is the loose pants OMG let’s eat burritos and die in a garbage fire moment.  This is a pre-set date on the calendar of my success.  This is a proscribed part of the way we get there.  If I turn back, I will see it again. I have seen it so many times before.  It’s the first boss fight, really, in this whole game I’m trying to play.  I will be here every time until I do something different about it.  There is no other script.

So. I am going to do more about it.  Better about it.  I am going to acknowledge this journey while I’m gone and not lock it up until I can perfectly handle it on my return home.  That will have its own vibes and stresses.  This is life.  So.  Yeah.

I have my reasons which I intended to elaborate on, but words got soaked up in the telling and so maybe tomorrow.  Maybe when there’s more to say because there’s not anything right now except pixie dust and a monkey to follow.