Before You Say No


I have felt what I would call depressed this past week.  Low-energy, depleted, deflated, self-abnegating, overwhelmed, trapped, thwarted, so thwarted, and scared out of my wits.  I am not sure that many people who have interacted with me would be able to tell, but I have.

It is this wet, heavy coat.  I have not taken it off, but I have let it fall off my shoulders for a bit.

I was surprised today.

It is a curious thing how as negative as you care to be, the world will sometimes extend an arm around you and gather you up if only for a moment in a gesture of warmth and caring.   Sometimes this happens just as you are realizing that there is a life beyond your panic, that you’re a sunny-side up girl at your core, that okay, eventually, you will get your teeth handled and eventually your neck won’t hurt and as spazzy as you are in this instant, you will be alright.

Sometimes this happens when your boss and mentor decides that the necklace you’ve put on layaway (the one you secretly think bears your soul in the facets of its vintage glass that can turn five colors when you hold it towards the light) should be yours.  Your boss/mentor and her husband who you adore and respect up and decide that you are doing a good job and you just deserve it.   You just get to have it.

I don’t know, precisely, how to deal with things like this.  My dad giving me money (which in turn lets me give money back to my sister that I owe her).   My other sister saying Let’s go to this show you love.  My mother making me lunch.  People doing these kind things that say that you have been on their minds.  You exist, if only as an idea, to them.  When you are away, they think about how to make you happy or happier.  This is odd to me.  The people I have love me, they just love me.  And that just is, but this is an act of love and support.  Makes me want to be a better person.  To be thoughtful for others.

In that vein, I put my writers group on hiatus.  It’s just not fair to show up there without really having shown up – without really doing the work that I’m asking everyone else to do.  To not be interested, to be around people who are less interested, it just becomes a drain.  I will see if the new year will find me in a better position to do it, but right now…I look at things like that in terms of gas money and just driving that far to hear one person’s fanfic is not something I am into right now.

It’s not in service of building me up.

I am thinking too big right now as far as that goes.  Right now, getting myself into the bath is as big as the dream is stretched.  That’s okay.

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.