Kitchen Martyr: Day 14

Strange days back.  Things I thought would happen didn’t, tasks surprised me with their incredibly efficient incisions into my spirit.  The pile-on piled on.  I endured.

Small thing:  something nobody save the therapist will be all that delighted in: I fought an irrational thought and won today.   Letting yourself recall the advice you intended to take before you stopped letting yourself absorb external stimuli…helpful, you know?  Oh, I don’t have to blow off the idea that I drive this way because I’ve got these thoughts that don’t make any actual sense.  I can let the reality sink in and not be overcome and panicked.  I can deal just a little bit.  Even if I don’t make the turn and take that road today, I can push a little bit.

And, I thought about my friends and their freedom and willingness to drive.  How we’re such similar people in so many regards and while they may – or may not – be weighed down with psychic pain that lives somewhere else in their heads…they find joy in driving.  They’re not in constant, irrational fear.  So with them in mind, with the peace of the weekend running through me, I made the turn and I saved 20 minutes of driving into the Hinterlands for the sole purpose of avoiding a feeling that I didn’t actually have when I took that road today.

So that was a good thing.

I also – I know you can’t possibly know this because I haven’t properly said it here – but I’m alone this week.  Alone with the cats and my cookery and my TV shows.  And it’s so relaxing and marvelous to experience a deeper quiet of the soul.  To not feel like you’re on stage in any way whatsoever.   It drives a desire to be domestic, to be organized, to be still and whole.  I hope I get to move some of that desire into actual housework tomorrow.

More than that, I suppose I need to talk about l’affaires du coeur.  Which is to say the things that used to thrill me about long-distance relationships (or two people being in psychic orbit without any plans about it) now…they wear me down a bit.  The excitement of being emotionally servile…servile is not the word, but it’s not not the word.  It’s sort of the stage past the courting when everyone’s gotten comfortable and in that comfort, they’ve decided to open the cupboards and let the unmentionables get mentioned.  It’s hard to feel the romantic whirlwind when, instead, with top billing with have a very modern take on the whole 2 people thing.  You can get dark with me, I don’t mind, but I need to not feel like we’re only ever two to three sentences away from the things that you like and we’re a whole Jane Austen novel away from my fantasies.

I don’t know how I feel about the place we are now.  I don’t know how I’ll feel at the end of the week.  What the connection means.  But it’s on my mind.






I want to say that I’m a post-panic attack mess, but the thing about panic attacks is that when you’re over them, you’re out of the zone of panic, you’re fine.  Or I am, typically. It feels ludicrous after the fact, except, there’s no way in hell you’d want to go right back and face it again.  Today, however, I had multiple incidents of JUST NO GODDAMNIT.

I was fine driving to the parking garage.  I parked, and looked around and realized I had driven to the opposite side of the freeway from where my bus would pick up.  This meant, if I had any interest in not missing the bus, taking the walkover bridge.   This, for most people, is not a thing. But my mind slipped its gear and suddenly, tunnel vision, heart racing, the usual effects. I paced about trying to not appear completely insane as people walked casually, strode earnestly across the bridge.  I was feeling light-headed.  The solution was right there.  Eventually, the necessity of the thing somehow kicked in and I thought, I can see the buses over there.  I can’t not get on the bus.  The only busses I need are over there.  I will do it.  I will cross this evil looking unholy bridge.

And running my hand over the railing, my heart feeling as though it were a glob of coal furiously twitching out its last dying beats, walking like some sort of clomping psychopath, I crossed the bridge.  And nobody knew that it felt as though I had defeated some sort of boss battle.  Nobody knew how incredibly hard it was.  Nobody cared as I bought my bus fare and calmly went to the downtown station and then took a lyft to the new job because I didn’t want to have to worry about finding the place on my first day.

Nobody cared as I sat quietly at my desk in our new space which is just a cubicle.  There are people around, but we’re so tense, and feel, to my mind a bit like refugees trying to make our own space in this established country that it’s…well, it’s nothing like the shop.  It’s sterile and claustrophobic and it’s nothing I want to experience, really, ever again, but I will.  Even if I…well, eventually, it became time to go home.

And I laughed internally about what if I have some problem, wouldn’t that be awful.  That joyful anxiety-based what if probe that never finds anything but blows up half my brain anyway.  I shrugged it off, but then the lyft driver to the bus station was a mess once I finally got there and my initial start time to catch the bus back kept getting pushed back so that it had been nearly an hour since I left the office until I even got on the bus.  Then, upon arriving at the station and getting in my car, I have this odd thought about how this place doesn’t look like any place I could ever be.  My muscle memory won’t stop recalling how it felt to cross the walkover bridge even if I know I don’t have to do it.

It won’t stop cycling over and over as I leave the parking garage realizing I don’t want to be on this side, that I can’t be on this side, what road is this, it’s dark, I can see things I recognize right over the freeway, but I can’t move to get there…and then, full-blown meltdown.

I think my brain just realized that I was pushing it job change/life change/knuckle-down and bear it reaction  right through and whatever calm I had before was gone.  I pulled over and shook and cried and did the whole thing.  Couldn’t get a hold of my sister, so I called my other sister and she was quite kind about it.  Until she suggested I call my father, call uber or lyft and I was able to take a breath and manuever the car over to where I had intended to be.

And then, I sat and breathed through it and thought and twinged and flipped for about an hour in the parking lot.  Stared at the cars as though they were weaponized.

Finally, FINALLY, time was time and the prospect of having anyone come and get me felt both deliriously right and tremendously wrong at the same time.  Like, sure, it would in the instant relax and get rid of the panic, but then, I’d have to stave off the guilt.  And if there’s anything in the world worse than panic (aside from the actual horrors of war, the actual traumas that exist), it is feeling guilty because you panic.

So, I rolled up this little ball of energy, the radio played a Paramore song.  I thought I have power, I have an incredible superpower to fight through this now, I can do it, I can do it, I can do it.  A mantra that would brook no opposition.  And suddenly, I found myself at the  taco place getting tacos and gasping because, well, it was easy, of course.  So close.  So simple.

Hah, oh, fuck.

I can’t express how much I hated that.  Or how relieved I am I get a day away from it.  I don’t think I can share with you what it felt like to know you can’t go home.  Or how suddenly, you could.

But, it was a day.  And the fight goes on.

In Triplicate


It is nice to be mouthless.  Something I could never have reckoned with as a girl who wanted Hello Kitty to be free to speak her Hello Kitty thoughts.  But it is nice not to have to tell you stories of distemper and distaste, not to have to show up and look weak, not to have to…

Sometimes I sit still and I feel as though I have got the whole nation, the whole world’s despair not only over their choice (willing or otherwise) of leader, but of every last little discomfort in their lives.  Every last thing going wrong shuffling about in your head, oh cripes, it’s here in mine. It’s not right.  It’s killing us.  It’s too much.

It’s not yours, something like the Faithful Light will remind me, you only have that slag heap over there.  That’s it.  All the rest of it is not yours.  But, I think, I see it.  I know that it exists – hungry babies, pissed-off fathers, the snow in the morning, this grinding in my skull, that any day something horrible will happen – it will, it’s unavoidable – the inevitable brokenness of every last thing. I have just been ignoring it for a while, but it’s true.  It’s true how terrible it is.

But.  I sit longer and it is also true that I have ice in the freezer which makes the water better to drink and which makes me feel full.  I have a mentor who texts me to come in later, to feel better, to get my spunk back.  I have a mind that reads spunk and still laughs.  I have a mother sleeping soundly in her bed surrounded by my father who loves her and a dog that believes she is the closest thing there is to God.  I have kind friends who multiply the thin wisps of kindness I deign to blow hither and thither.  I have a dear maniac and a dear brick of a cat.  I am not so terribly sick as I might be.

I also had my card today so I was able to buy gas and lunch.  That felt entirely luxurious.  That and despite the panic attacks, the ones that keep ramping up because I feel so down about my ability to quash them and the insurance shit and the money shit and the other shit, I was able to get home before the snow fell.   That’s good.

I did a few things today.  I did what I was asked and a sliver more.


So I am going to run off and try and write a few things before this computer crumbles beneath my fingertips.  There’s always Fallen London and some DAI to chase around.  I am okay.  A few hours here and I feel better even if I’m having the neck/shoulders/teeth grinding thing which upsets everything terribly.  I am alright.  Eventually, maybe we’ll stretch our legs and try and climb up to that next rung on the ladder.  But tonight, alright’s alright, alright?

The Title That Allows Her Dinner


Would you care to be alerted that this post is going to be emotional? Rather than a summarily dry report of the days events, I feel…fucking…f…

That cry I wanted came.  It has not been a torrent.  It has not drowned a desert.  But I have the sticky, post-tear rings settling below my eyes and the feeling that something has shifted, if only a burr becoming further embedded in my chest.

The job, the job that has caused me such infinite consternation, that was meant to be a safe haven and instead has impacted me negatively in almost every possible sphere, is moving.  It is moving much further away from home along roads I do not know.  It is moving next to the downtown corridor’s thick knot of highways.  To take a bus from here would take 2 hours a day, each way: impossible.  Stupid.

The sister says this is the time to get over this driving thing.  This feels on the level of someone suggesting that I get over my gravity thing. It’s a thought.  I can be fine, and then, suddenly, my body decides I am about to die and we must auto-eject.  It’s not right, but it is.  And I can’t make myself get up five minutes early for a cup of coffee these days.  I can’t make myself put foundation on my face for fear I’ll have to look at it in the mirror. I can hardly make myself bother to brush my hair for fear that I’ll end up without any to brush.

Last night I dreamed that everyone I knew had died or was gone.  This is it, I thought, this is how it is to be alone.  I was wearing a dark blue sweater and I touched my arms, to be sure they were still there, that my body hadn’t slipped out with the rest of them.  Okay, I said, okay.

And then I watched this: //
Which feels keenly close to home tonight.  A step behind. I find myself just waiting and waiting and waiting to say what needs to be said right now for it to be of any use.

I don’t want to do any of this anymore.  Not life, of course, I always want to do life.  Always intend to be the last girl standing.  However, the job racket is wearing me down to the bone.  This search to find some local place that will pay me decently and fairly and on-time to do work I am willing and capable of doing seems to be impossible right now. All the help in the world doesn’t pull rabbits from hats.

I want to be stable.  I want to be stable.  I want to be stable so I can grow.  I was doing so well, but I feel like if I stop clenching I’ll let go of the side of the pool.  I feel so life and death.  I feel so siphoned down to the dregs.  I feel.  Which is good.

Two years ago, someone I’ll never meet smashed my car in the middle of the night while I was sleeping.  It was irritating, frightening, made me vulnerable against my will.   But it ended up being a financial boon.  It ended up being positive and productive.  Maybe this period of shit and head-fuckery and shame and failure is building me up for something.  Maybe there’s a message.  Maybe I’m a writer if only just to know that much.


Mad Magic



So, I’ve been thinking, fancy that, about what do.  I say this every year and yet, here we are mid-September after 6 years of nigh-on daily blogging.  And as much as I love this – and believe me if you believe me about anything when I say that I do love it – I wonder at times about how it is helping me.  I also ponder lately if there’s something deleterious about elevating the random happenstance of my life into language as if it matters so very much.  The false equality of this page.

Let me explain.  I had a good day overall, uneventful, and I even found myself capable of staying calm and not going into any sort of panicky spiral.  There really is not much more to say than that.  I could recount the reheated Monte Cristo sandwich I had for a very late lunch, how heavy and oil-laden, how pleasantly filling as my first meal of the day, how it stunk up the whole back room.  But, overall, it was not a day of any real literary worthiness or self-revelation.  I managed myself sufficiently.

However, the drive home was slightly…panic-stricken.  I was having this internal dialogue with myself as to whether or not, as the night got dark at 7pm, my eyes functioned.  This dialogue kicked in the whole array of panic functions which, as you may be aware, raises one’s heart rate and widens one’s pupils to let in more light.   For the purposes of survival against the terrors of the unknown woods, monsters and bears and whatnot.  Not to secure me on the street I always drive home.

After reading about a driving anxiety program last night that detailed specific experiences people like me have, and that I have, it was on my mind.  I said I’d be as cool and reserved as I’d carefully relaxed my way into throughout the day and…in fact, whammo, I was very much freaked out because of this minor transition.

So that happened.  I felt the clenchy, gasping, going to black-out, going to lose control, everything tight as if I had a blood pressure testing bracelet around my whole body.  I hated it as anyone would.

But…I still got home, you  know?  I still managed to make the turns and press the pedal and not hit anyone and I still…did it.

So I guess, making a post about oh my god, this happened to me and let’s always remember how I’ve got this issue and isn’t it so true that with every up there’s a down and…I can collect hundreds of these posts and not clue into the fact that life does go on if every single post is meant to feel like this encapsulation of the totality of my being.  It’s just a still frame, though.  A single snapshot.

It just feels like it would be a lot better to accept that hey, I have to drive that way home tomorrow, too.  So let’s talk instead about Edwardian spy societies and alternate realities and immortal father figures and corsetry and mad sciences and mad magic and…

I am contemplating requiring 500 words of fiction of myself.  This is the muscle that is meant to be worked.  That means I may not end up feeling like writing a post about the fact that I had trouble with my driving anxiety.  Or about the innocuous quality of my day.  Or whatever.  I feel like maybe I would lose something by doing that after six years, but I’d also be making a radical change towards accepting that not every hiccup is worth the linguistic engine of my brain.  I want the stories that I’m building to blow you away, and that is going to take time and energy.  Maybe I can’t spend it this way as much.

I am thinking.

We asked the electric Company




Where did the power come from?

My teeth are not, after being reviewed, x-rayed, and cleaned by knowledgeable and pleasant dental technicians, broken beyond repair.  My gums are not garish, slit cherry compote studded with shards of dissolving antacids for teeth.  They look good.  They are not shocking, they do not cause onlookers to shriek out in fright.  I don’t have wisdom teeth to pull.

I did not have any sort of panic about the fact that I have just enough money to do this as part and parcel of the larger financial issues (that I did not cause and I cannot rectify until I leave my position), that I had to rush out of work in the middle of the day to check this.  That I had to get x-rays which always pulls my trigger.  I did not spaz out even though the route to the dentist’s office was all detours and delays.  It was, as it always is, more doable than it seemed at the outset.  This does give me a sense of peace I was not expecting to have this evening.

Another surprise was that as I continue to at least let my fingers brush over the MyFitnessPal app, I felt the need to weigh myself this morning.  I was quite surprised to see that according to that fickle beast, I have not gained any weight since my last weigh-in.  In fact, I’ve lost another pound so I’m down 15 lbs since January.  The sister noted that it’s probably due to the second job where I am on my feet quite a bit.  Frankly, I don’t know how this is possible.  But here it is.  And I am not going to cast it aside even if I’m not sure how to improve it at the moment.  It’s a piece of good news and I will rub it till it gleams.

I have decided not to work on my application tonight for the new job.  I’m too emotional, too scattershot, too in my own head about a few things and I’m liable to dash it off without thinking and I’m at the point where this particular job sounds like it’s a good thing and I’d like to give it my best shot rather than pretend I don’t care.   It will be okay not to get it, but it would also be very good if I had something stable, full-time and satisfactory money-wise to be shifting into.  Because right now, my brain is shifting even if it has nowhere to go.

Today was a good day, however, I am also really frustrated about the whole lesson I’m being given while being in this singles community, that if you’re not dating anyone, and you don’t immediately leap at the chance to date the person who knocks on your message box, well, you’re manipulating the situation to wait for someone better to come along.

It’s one thing if I were to be hanging out with you, complimenting you, building anything more than chatter, and also trying to flirt wildly with everyone else.  But I’m just here in the group and now I feel like I can’t even comment to anyone else or it’s like I’m saying I’m picking that dude.  When I’m not picking anyone! There’s nobody at the moment I want to pick! Pick for what? Ugh!

I suppose it does come down to saying, sorry, Charlie, you’re not the one for me.  Can’t some other girl just do me a solid and fall in love with him like has always happened in the past?  Come on geeky ladieeeesz.

The Waiting


I feel off.   Off in the sort of way that ebbs and flows out of my life.  It has a real quality of a tradewind, a current, a pull rather than some inherent quality of me.  And right now the wind is blowing a might bit panicky and depressed.   I want to do what I can to correct it or at least throw up a sail.

This is food.  This is money.  This is stuff put in pots and set to boil over in the back of my mind.  Nebulous chattering, dumb and distracting insinuations that frighten me into believing asinine statements as true.  We can’t make it to the next stoplight.  I am going to fall down.  I can’t absorb that.  I can’t answer the phone.  I know the truth, I know what’s going to happen and it is AWFUL.  It is terrible and it can be easily avoided just by avoiding this trigger.

It’s bullshit.  It’s not the place or time of day or the thought that denies me my senses, it is my regular capitulation to the unquestioned mind.

Earlier this morning, when I first woke up – woke up an hour before I needed to be up, I lingered there with the fan on the single sheet, just breathing.  I read a few things, including Sara Benincasa’s brilliant essay on how she, and how we, live our lives and (if you’re an asshole jerk that needs to fixate on this), sometimes gain weight along the way.  Then I fell back asleep and dreamed about a freakish suburban cannibal.

The bad mojo: I am drafting off the energy voids and vacuums of others.  I am absorbing their anguish and uncertainty.  Or, perhaps, I am seeing anguished and uncertain faces surrounding me because I need to address my crap.

This is a hard place.  This is a place to work and I am already smiling a bit and already thinking about how much more helpful it will be to try and flub and fail than to

My mother mentioned that someone she knew who applied for a job at the post office before I applied for that Fed job I was looking at just now heard.  I’d essentially written off the exercise and was trying to adjust myself to the lay of the land as it currently stands so I was worrying about what would happen if I got an email right now about it.  It would throw everything into tumult.  My boss who is so angry at the position she’s been left in with the recent departures at work would only have more to deal with.  It would be hard and everyone would think there was something wrong with us  – regardless of whether or not there actually is – and, and, and.

There is no email one way or the other.  But I have felt panicked and upset all day, not entirely about that, but it’s fed the sense that I am not okay.  I also went without caffeine today.  Day one of the zero soda challenge I have suddenly embarked upon as of yesterday.  Tomorrow – whether or not it’s better – I’m excited to see it.  I’m excited to try and excavate a bit more.  It will be okay.