Chekov’s Vase: Day 17

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.

Sober History

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Having one of those old-times evenings where we aren’t thinking about the day, or tomorrow, or anything but the meta. The big picture.  The idea of change.  The compelling issue that things are not as they might be, but there is a dog barking somewhere out in the parking lot, issuing this sounding cry, and it echoes out the open window next to me as cars rev and pass out into the big wide world and summer is on the horizon.   People murmur and I feel a hundred summers at once, both those I’ve lived and those I thought of living and those that I lived through movies.  Limoncello in Rome. Radio Free Roscoe.  The ride on Eldridge when I first realized I would be an independent person at some point, an expectation that has been both realized and foiled.

Of course I still think about you.  Of course, I’m frustrated as hell about it.  I might have teared up the other day in a spare moment when I let a fingernail loose from the wheel.  I don’t understand why you would decide to gaze upon my green-tinged face months later if you had broken us apart with some sort of vitriolic vow, a vow made solemn with silence.  Never to speak to me again, so offended or bothered or bored or bemused as you must have been.  What motivates any of this?

There is some part of me that thinks about the premise between As Time Goes By.  Judi Dench’s Jean Pargetter and Geoffrey Palmer’s Lionel So-and-So, a soldier and a nurse in love in the onset of World War II.  They are parted by that war and send letters to continue the romance until the letters stop being exchanged, both of them believing the other to no longer be interested or even alive to reply.  Lifetimes later, they meet again, and rekindle this passion they had for one another, changed by the lives they lead, forged in unique, ways great and small, but yet, still in love.

I don’t love him.  I didn’t, but on a night like this when you’re just twisting in the windless air, just spinning in the noose, you think, what the hell happened?  Like am I supposed to be bolder or braver or smarter, or just more willing to walk into the spinning blades to get this? Everyone I’ve half-explained this to, has said, oh no, honey, it’s been long enough.  He has my email.  I wrote this extensive, half-flirtatious, half-musing on the “winds of solitude roaring at the edge of infinity” sort of screed, checked back in…said life was happening, but writing back to me would be the reward.  Wrote another such letter, and nothing.  And yet, I get the notification that I should never have known and I feel like…what did I do?

This is the part in the romantic comedy where Rosie O’Donnell assures me that it’s not me, it’s all men, and we should have some pasta and watch another movie because there is no escape from the simulated realities that make up this one.

I held the dust of a soul once, held it far too long.  Now I am that dust and, windless, airless, settle on the surface of everything there is.

Miz Louisa Bunch

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Ah, well,

The men that came to the rescue today.  Finally, after a hundred thousand attempts to figure it out ourselves and to ask others for help, a nice smelling chap came from the IT firm to fix our machines up.  I didn’t make eyes.  I was cheerful and professional, but I did think, rather than allow the usual flow of quashing thoughts that surge to swallow these sort of impulses that I liked him.  I did  not think “I feel nothing, I feel nothing, I feel nothing.”  I thought, even if it was worthless, nebulous and of no long duration, that I did feel something.  The sort of aimless thrill that people feel when making new acquaintance. I’m hoping to give up the security blanket of that phrase, to give up the immediate neutering of potent situations.  I do feel, friends, this heart still beats beneath these steel sheets. Later, there was the usual office comments on this nice, nerdy, hero and if, with amusement, one of us were going to do something about it.  I’m not, of course, but I would like to.  I can’t, but I would like to, and that, I have to think, is some sort of step.

The second man did not have any allure of a sexual nature, latent or dormant or half-felt on my part.  He was a hunk of something politically incorrect, with some sort of strain of a Highwayman, of gentleman, marbleized through the soul that perched right front and center and peered out through his leathery hermitage.   For some reason, some untold reason, that perhaps only had to do with the impossibly unfair irony that we tried to get the car serviced only moments before, but the car decided to stop working in the middle of the road.  It sputtered and seemed to have no power, no speedometer, just another soul exhausted by having to ferry us about even more more inch less one more mile.  So we, or I should specify, my sister, called the insurance and got the complimentary tow that isn’t so complimentary given that we pay for it year after year and never until now have had to use it.  I am grateful, however, that we did because the weather has been so miserable.  So we waited for the driver to arrive and he was hardly even comprehensible when he turned up, nearly forty-five minutes early, in the grocery store parking lot where we’d decided to pull off in case there was something happening that continued driving would exacerbate.  He just set to getting the car on the truck, talking about the cops he distrusted, pulling my sister into an odd and entirely unexpected promenade around to the car, which had a Mountain Dew can half falling out of it and eventually taking us the mile to our house.

Certainly not worth it, but a silver lining when you spend all day with particular people and particular worries, a few guest stars and plot twists don’t go amiss.

Time to soak a girl’s feet.

Tomorrow

The Talkies

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So I am realizing that I really wish I still was going to my therapist or that I could figure out the insurance tout suite to get a new one, because there’s some stuff cropping up right now that I think I need that format to deal with.  I think I need an impartial sounding board to advise me.  I am really feeling my mental incapacities lately.  I’m really feeling, is the thing, and I don’t like it.

If I am a knot and I’m slowly picking at that knot as I lose this weight, I suddenly am aware that this knot was tied for a reason and maybe there’s some ballast at the other end and if I get rid of it, I might fly into the sun.

…the thing that I’ve been mentioning over the past few days. is nothing, but if I let it, I’ve been reliably informed, it would not be nothing.  That he is curious about whether or not it might, in fact, be something.  And oh, dear reader, I am of every sort of mind about this.  I am twelve years-old again and there is an existential threat to my spinsterhood that I can’t quash by going and eating a whole bunch of terrible things and deciding I am too ugly for such coy games as I am playing now.  That there is only pain and embarrassment for everyone this way that I’m going.

I’ve done this before, danced up to the edge.  And always danced myself back down by eating, making a mess, fucking up the diet, refusing to exercise, laying still and doing nothing about anything until the worries dimmed. In fact, even now I’m wondering if today is the day for this month’s cheat meal, but I know if I get a few things from the store, I could make it through to next week when we’re having our pizza party and just use that as the meal.  Of course, I’m thinking that doesn’t really count and I’d just have salad and a bit of the top of some pizza and not charge it against this monthly allowance.  But, my mind is off the prize, my mind is starting to recoil as though it doesn’t even recognize it as a prize anymore.

How frustrating that these things coincide.  I should be happy.  But I don’t even…want to be?  I want inaccessible guys who will never compliment me nor know I exist.  This throws me, stirs my solutes into my solvents, brings out really awful and disturbing parts of my character.  Because I don’t know what it all means and I don’t…

All of it becomes an excuse not to push forward.  All of it becomes more and more ballast to keep me on the ground.

In other news, my half-sister and her boyfriend (who was a high school boyfriend she lost touch with) are getting married. Due to the conflicting and compartmentalizing nature of my psyche, I’m pretty delighted for her.  This may or may not mean we’d be going to England for the wedding like she talked about last year.  Which is pretty exciting and wonderful.  I called and told my mother that this was happening and she mentioned how great it was, and how maybe this would inspire my sister and her long-term boyfriend to get hitched and of course, maybe I would join a gym.

It’s…it’s stupid.  I feel so damn stupid.

Bed Dancing (The Floor is Lava)

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Deep primal scream.  Happy day.  All sorts of random emotions are spilling out of me.  I’ve made some use of the time, even if some of that use was laying in bed chasing after this dream I had that had its birth very early in the morning and its death at my unnecessary alarm.  So I had to run after it, flailing with a bellows to keep a fire burning and keep it all aloft.  I failed utterly, and took hours too long to do it, but I don’t mind.

Here’s what I remember – there was a seller or maybe a thief of books.  In this realm, they were a secret currency, a magic, a gift, rarer as gold.  He was in trouble.  His hair was dark, but shoulder-length so it obscured his face.  He had a backpack, I think it was yellow, but so worn I am not sure.  He kept it as close to him as we met in a hotel lobby or perhaps a coffee shop, we were set back in some small corner.  I was a Queen, not of everything, not of people, but more of a Duchess which I think suits me better.  I don’t know how I knew him, but as he unzipped the backpack he held tightly between his ankles and pulled this backpack-sized book (with a binding thin enough it must have been a picture book) halfway out, just enough, I knew I knew him well.  I knew, in fact, that we were in love. Like legitimate, emotionally hamstrung, regrettably but genuinely in love. He was not, of course, the King. And as I smelled the overwhelming alcohol on his breath, I knew this was trouble for us both.

Somehow, I stumbled out, clutching the book in a brown paperbag-colored satchel when I come across this, golden tree-looking creature.  Thinner than an ent, but entish, I suppose.  And angry with me.  “I will tell him what you’ve done”, this magical creature threatened.”I will tell him you’ve been kissing me.”  And I knew I hadn’t, so I wondered why he was lying, but I knew that as queen, this would be disruptive, bad news.  I was running with my book, worrying about the book thief, as the alarm went off.

I am going to do what I can to recreate the circumstances and hope this particular world lets me in again if I bang at the door. Yes, today was spent doing the oddball things I love. This is what the shaman meant.  How I had to get right with me before there’s room in my head for anyone else.  So I tuned and played my ukulele.  Fingertips hurt, but a good hurt.  My memory came back faster than I thought.  I played Mass Effect for a bit.  Listened to the Basement Tapes and gleefully delighted in the seeming return of Mumford & Sons.  I ate low carb.  I judged myself for my imperfections, but let them go fairly quickly.  I missed you, you kaleidoscope man, you keeper of millions, you thiever of books.  I stretched for ten minutes against the aching scream of my neck, stretched every phalange and joint.  It made me feel peaceful and soft.  I listened to Ben Howard and bought his newest album with a gift card I had about.

I took care of me today.  I’m looking forward to tomorrow.  I am so imperfect, so failing, so

But my sister is right.  Who is They? They is Me.  And I am the one holding the reins on this carriage that so wants to run away.  Let it run away, let it capsize, let it run off the rails and off the edges of cliffs.  It’s only a dream, nothing can break while you’re playing.

Rootless Shrub

I had a post titled “Caramel Screamer” which I thought was funny at the time, but now the day has passed with all its vagaries in tow and suddenly, I’m unmoved so we start anew.

Tomorrow’s therapy.  Just gotta get there in one piece.

I will be brief about today because I need to do some more calling in the one and I don’t want to spend too long wasting words on what in the end can’t matter.  Just BITCHES WHO SAY THEY HAVE AN ORDER AND ARE GOING TO PROCESS THAT ORDER WHEN YOU SUBMIT IT TWO MONTHS EARLY ARE NOT ALLOW TO WHA WHA WHA OH GEEZ THAT IS GOING TO TAKE SOME TIME WHEN YOU CALL BACK TO SEE IF IT’S GOING TO SHIP AND YOU NEED IT FRIDAY HOLY FUCK!

That’s really all that mattered to me today…aside from my throbbing teeth and the toothbrush that’s meant to help it.

….

What beliefs did my father have about himself and/ or the world that I adopted?

I don’t talk about my father much here for the simple fact that he’s just not super present in my life right now.  Which is a weird way of putting it and implies something that isn’t the case.  He just works very weird hours, works too hard, and has always been devoted to whatever his work happens to be.   Some people would deny this, but when it comes to the expectations of others, from my parents, but especially my father, I have a really strong, maybe ironclad work ethic and sense of loyalty.   Even when it doesn’t make sense for me anymore, even when it comes at my own expense and when I lose the ability to make choices for myself.

But at the same time, inasmuch as he would break his back for the people who sign his paycheck, that same ferocity for privacy takes over once he’s home.

Leaving the house for anything other than grocery runs or simple trips to the store he finds an ordeal.  I definitely have that sense of an exhaustive and invasive outer life.  He and my other are very much alike and even as they pester us kids to be otherwise, only my little sister seems to have fully escaped it.

The sort of fatalistic turn he has.  The world has set a path about for him.  I love him so much and he loves all of us…but he can be frustrating sometimes, not only as he ages, but just because he doesn’t allow himself to trust the rest of us, or anything.  He still draws the curtains close so the neighbors can’t stare in.

Huh.

What do I make it mean about myself that I am single?
I want to make it mean nothing at all.  But I’ll talk to my little sister who makes it mean something that she’s not married and suddenly the status bears this negative space right in the middle.  I make it mean that I’ve been de-selected, unwanted, that society is trying to tell me something, but it’s this thing about myself that I feel suspiciously wouldn’t be changed even if I lost every pound of excess weight and gave up every vice and Stepford Wived myself into a seemingly perfect form.  It means that if they don’t reach out through Providence and choose me, I can’t move forward.  I can’t get on the team.  I can’t move fast enough to catch the ski lift, to merge into traffic.  And everyone else has figured it out and has found their pod and I can wander, I can survive, but I’ll always be peering in the window, half-miserable and wanting, craven, hungry for a feeling I’ve never known beyond its shadow passing over me.

I make it a very melodramatic, frightful thing.  But I also make it too private for public consumption.   I don’t talk about guys or dating.  I don’t want people to think about me, this warped little trollish thing (whoa, not editing that, but geez, Mildred), hoping she can get a boyfriend, hoping she could have one that wasn’t like her in kind.   I am trying to avoid the cliches, the pain, being hung out on the public clothesline with the rest of the dirty laundry – something that comes as part of my position as much if not more than any other small office job –  being sourced for.

At the same time, it pleases me whenever someone does bring it up.  A spark of hope that somehow I could carry that banner, the walking wounded, instead of peeping out from behind the curtains.

Six White Horses

I can’t wait until I can just not give a shit! Not a SHIT!

One can hardly fucking breathe for yet another task to be chucked at your head.  Every second I have to be triaging tasks and now Astrid doesn’t work anymore! Fuck! And Any.do is not filling up the gap.  I need a decent desktop version along with the mobile for it to work for me and these little to-do list extensions are too flimsy for me.  It just feels like I’m constantly wasting time just allowing myself to blink for two seconds about the idea of better organization.

And I have to give up ten of those precious minutes to explain how to add an attachment to an email.  I’ve been there 7 years.   Let that sink in and

And I consider complaining, but the protocol would be to complain to someone whose emails I send for him and would not find it possible to function if I demanded of him what I’d like to demand of her…but at the very least, after tonight’s post-work conversation where I probably was a bit too much of a rabble-rouser, we’re on the same page with the workload and not needing to be interrupted.   The plan is to shut the door all day tomorrow.  Sounds just fine by me.

….

The tiredness just hit me.  But just as doing these words has become an ingrained habit, I have to go through the process with other things…working even when I’d prefer to turn my brain back off.

CITO!

Well, I don’t want to retread the same ground, though I continually feel that for me to really address the problems the program is trying to have me address, I need to spend a lot more time marinating and really taking on-board the advice it’s giving me.   Making it my own.  And the hour at night isn’t enough, but for the moment, it’s all I have so if I backtrack, I’m sorry.  This isn’t really for you, anyway.

What beliefs did my mother have about herself and/ or the world that I adopted?

It’s weird.  My mother’s size, I feel, was always in contrast to mine as soon as I came of age to actually notice much of anything.

I don’t think my mother ever talked about being beautiful, though I did and do think she is.  She used to work at a makeup counter when she was younger and tried to tell us when we first started how to do it.

I think now about how probably that was much more about how she wanted to connect with us and share her knowledge.

But I think at the time, I took it in a negative way, like I wasn’t even able to contemplate that other side of it and treated it as though she thought I was ugly. I think in the absence of her affirmation in that regard, I assumed we all just agreed my younger sister was the pretty one and left it at that.  That I was serviceable.  Standard.  My features unremarkable.

She didn’t keep up with trends or try and spend money on clothes for herself.  She would occasionally spend a little bit on makeup, but I don’t remember that happening often.  I never looked at her and thought that she was dressing in order to be seen or impress anyone.  Not my father, not herself.  She always looked nice, to me, but mom-like.  Just unencumbered by the masculine gaze.

She did encourage me to dress better and stay covered up.  The whole puberty thing took me by…well, surprise would be the gentlest way of putting it.  All of a sudden, whatever cuteness I had in childhood was leaving me.  Before it was time.   And my mother never said I was ugly or fat, but she would talk about being worried and going to help me and getting me on the right path.  All of which, reinforced this notion I’d built up in the void of anyone paying me any attention whatsoever, that if I was not like my mother or sisters…or if I was not, like the thought I cleaved to: invisible, with an appearance that was Switzerland when it came to boys…I was…incorrect.  I was from some other line.  I was veering off course.  So on came the powdered weight loss drinks and me skulking laps around the yard, doing exercise tapes alone while my sisters were out with friends in my efforts to please her.

They told me I had my grandmother’s genes.  My grandmother was beautiful as a young girl, beautiful always, but when I came into her world, she was older, stocky, short, puffy and soft-skinned.  That’s my only memory of her physically, and  I remember always feeling like they were teasing me with that reference.  She being a woman I couldn’t  get my arms around.   I always inferred they were calling me fat.

Of course, it makes me sad that I could see such beauty in my parents and still, arbitrarily look at myself as though some sort of wormy fruit mouldering on the ground.

I just got rundown.  Unsure of everything.   Her direction granted me her tacit approval.  Now, making decisions on my own, I still hesitate that I’m slipping outside of her shadow…this invented shadow in the absence of her own.