Imago Fabulae


When I was a little girl, there were a few particular instances that let me know I was a bit of an outsider.  We all have them, of course, For me, tonight, I’m thinking

When you’re a young one, and you miss the universal fashion note that your sweatsuit, perfectly fine one summer before, was now embarrassingly gauche, and you hear yourself being made fun of, I wonder why that felt so painful.  It seems laughable that I can think about the encounter more than twenty years on and still feel taut and wounded and defensive.  I know I ran off after overhearing this on the playground and I knew something had changed.  There was a knowing that existed that I did not have access to.  A grapevine I had fallen off of and raisin-ed below in the suburban sun. I wish I had drawn on the moxie I would spend decades cultivating a tiny, artisanal crop of, but I did not ever confront these pre-teen jerks and I do not wonder that it was this way.

You can’t introduce yourself or offer a clever, genial self-description that includes the phrases: enjoys talking to flowers, creating infomercials for for invisible audiences or Reading Rainbow-ing to the same.  I knew that much, especially after that day.  Especially after the day, a bit later, that another girl, horse-faced and forgettable, asked me why I was the way I was.

I didn’t know how people were taking me, but every experience seemed to indicate that if they were taking me at all, it was as a writer. This Harriet the Spy figure, with a notebook and a disparaging eye.  No breasts, no body, and worst of all, not even the actual words that are a writer’s stock and trade.  I may have been projecting on them.  I may have not known how to reach inside their worlds, but I knew there was a distance that had to be crossed if I were to do it.  Entreaties were small, fumbling, and largely, failures.  I have shut down in the face of the smallest things and life has run like water around a stone.

Aloneness is not weakness or bravery.  It just is.  It is a state of self that exists in me regardless of how many people I share a room or a drink with.  It exists in me even when I share and recognize it in others.  Even beyond logic.  I often crave it even as I’m experiencing it.

Tonight I am thinking.  I am choosing to think, to feel, to dredge and troll the old waterways and draw up the worst.  A Saturday night special.  It is better though than refusing to let any of this touch me.  Perhaps it’s the fact that I finally got my next therapy appointment booked for a couple of weeks out.   I am getting the bigger ideas, I am hurting the bigger hurts, questioning the bigger assumptions.

What scares me is as easily as I chose that I can choose something else.

Taking Dictation

Oh, oh, oh!

That honestly counts as three words.  Perhaps, in essence, we have identified some failures in the system if interjections count the same as conceptual elements.  It’s all just words, I guess.

Time was I never gave a shit about anything and wrote as the spirit moved me, which wasn’t often, but when it did, was fierce and by manacles across a petrified landscape.   Scraped my ankles, broke my wrists, took me nevertheless.  Everything now is so much more calculated.  My time seemingly so much more precious, having picked up speed falling down this side of twenty-five.   So much more precious and no longer mine, not even in name.  I have sold off so much of myself for some idea, some cheap ring, some horizon I have yet to arrive at.   Promises, promises.

Sometimes you have to just let your eyes go hot to find the salt sea to float free.

While shopping for confectionary and fresh whims of the Devil, my mother told me she and my aunt thought I was brave.  Brave for having gotten my gums lasered and dealing with a problem head-on despite it being foreign and difficult for me.  After this endless day of avoiding problems and dwelling on agonies, and feeling pressure from all sides without thanks, I was just so crushed.  So boiled.  So down and out and not ready to make words out of it.  So she spoke earnestly and truthfully, the earnestness and kindness felt like acid.  I felt so enraged at myself for enormous, epic, stadium-sized regrets and failures.  It made me unfathomably sad to hear her try and wrangle the whole painful saga out in one pull over the phone.  To feel discomfitted by my discomfort.  When I stuttered and offered silence, she was bothered and I wanted to say Oh, oh, oh! Wait! Just give me a moment! I will unburden my heart upon you.  I wanted to make it better for her instantly, despite having no real interest in making it better for myself.  Knowing better, I suppose.  But I was in the shampoo aisle and the unwarranted and unrelated sarcasm of two customers who giggled and intoned about words like “Hypo-Allergenic” as though everything was an inside joke, made such a breakdown unsuitable.  So I told her I’d talk to her soon and sort of hung up abruptly.   And then, as if it was entirely unrelated, I got Starbucks and a giant calzone and ate myself into a stupor with Say Yes to the Dress as the soundtrack to the whole tragic affair.

It was a hard day.   They seem to be getting harder.  I seem to be losing my way.  I feel sometimes the darkness of this room and not the beauty of the things within.  I feel sometimes that I am rooted into the rot.  I am being drug somewhere, but it’s only to the cookpot where they’ll inch up the heat degree by degree until suddenly I recognize that I’ve been boiled right through this ugly armor.

Tonight the temperature is dropping.  When I’ll drop remains to be seen.


After the storm of sorts.

I am feeling infinitely better than yesterday.  Yesterday was not a particularly amazing or good day for me, so I suppose today had a wide berth to end up tolerable.  It did.  I did.

Things I figured out today:

I don’t really like Qdoba.  If I’m going to have a big, ricey, beany, gloppy burrito, I should have something I like, like Chipotle and for the time being, I don’t like any of it.  I just find Qdoba sorta extra dry and salty, somehow.  Extra gloppy.  An imposter perfume.  Of course, hindsight’s 20/20 and I never can tell how little I care for something until after I eat it.  But this is a fairly consistent reaction.

Tonight for dinner: little hamburger sliders, carrots, grapes, and some lemonade and maybe some sugar-free pudding.  Nobody’s calling it health food, but maybe that helps.  What feels good about it is that I made it myself at my house.  I was considering when it was exactly that I got so fucked up about food.  I’m sure it had something to do with my mom going back to work and we were alone in the house a lot of the time, and re-cemented in my head when she got sick and puberty had its way with me.  Food was and is omnipresent.  It’s necessary.  It can’t deny you or react in anyway to you other than complete acceptance.  And people were not really accepting me all that well then, which I was struggling to understand.  How there were groups of kids that you couldn’t belong to and they were doing things with each other and they were really excited by their lives.  My being excited by my stories and the things I was reading was not something I knew how to express to these people.  And the whole cycle of having cans of frosting or cake mixes and hiding them beside my bed (which was terrible and bizarre) was only terrible to me in my guilt that I would get in trouble for it.  Not because, hey, you don’t need to eat that.

I was alone, felt alone, and eating really massive amounts of terrible food every so often made me feel like I was satisfying or short-circuiting all these emotions and all this stuff happening around me.  That if there was a problem, I was fixing it, though after a while the reasons became really vague and obscure and the distance between the want arising and the need to answer the want immediately and with complete fanaticism was almost indivisible.   Jokes about being tubbier and my inherent shyness added to it.  That sense that I was weird.  Really weird.  Not just movie weird, but in some way socially broken, didn’t help.  And for a long time, still, really, I take pride in being on that other wavelength.  I wasn’t like a hipster.  I wasn’t doing anything and what I wasn’t doing, nobody was watching.  Reading Christopher Durang plays in the library for hours, waiting for a ride home, writing (sometimes), my few junior high friendships dissolving for reasons I never understood, nursing a Dr. Pepper, thinking about people as though they were conceptual, feeling funny and generally good but that everything that my classmates were experiencing was coming to me.  Just later.  When I had properly earned it or when they got down the special jar of futures.  It was ego, but I didn’t see it that way.  And food was just the way the days passed.   Meals marked time.  Snacks helped the time between meals speed up.  Whatever impulse I might have had to speak out about what I wanted or needed or my anxiety, food took care of that at the same time.  And then all of a sudden, this was my thing.   Not reading or creating or using my intelligence, just consuming and planning consumption.  Bitterness and joy and every emotional hangnail.  Until, random realization that this is my life: unacceptable, I want love and marriage and moving out and writing and happiness and not this one box staring down at a computer and a plate which leads to a random thrust towards not eating like a maniac, end up eating 10x worse.

It just…you want to say, well, don’t do that anymore.  And so far, that’s the only advice I know that works.  See what you don’t like and don’t do that any more.  See what you like and do that.  Don’t ever let it come back and don’t ever give it up.

So I asked myself when it was that I felt like I was eating healthfully and well and didn’t have these compulsions to eat outside of meal time, to gorge, to go nutty over food in an obsessive sort of way.  And obviously, it was way back when I had no say in what I was eating.  When I had breakfast provided, lunch served, dinner a great surprise and delight and we’d run outside and play again maybe we’d have a bit of popcorn before bed.

So here’s the plan at the moment.  Buy vegetables.  Make meals.  Eat them.  Go take a walk (we took a nice one today) and track it on SparkPeople.  Track the food, too, and water.  And let the tension go.  I’ve worked hard today, cleaning and getting rid of old things that used to mean things, but don’t anymore.  Old clippings about the Goo Goo Dolls, a whole tray full of random makeup, lots of strange papers I held onto as if I was someday going to back and take notes on my education.   Did tons of laundry.  Still tons more to do.

Self-care.  When you’re unable to do it, you just need to do it.  When you reject it, that’s when you have to do it.  You have to destroy any other option but stopping the processes that seem inherent and saying HEY! What do I really need and want not just right now, but tomorrow and later on and if I want a clean, restful house (I do.) and if I want to get over my driving phobia (I do.)  and if I want someone who will find all of this both silly and loveable and as important as I do (I do.),  I cannot play computer games and eat burritos and complain.

If these are my goals, I either work towards them or I don’t and I give them up.

I don’t want to be given up on, so goals, let’s just go.

A Collection of Awkward Analogies

On the horse.  Even if you’re just hanging upside down with your ankle stuck in the stirrup, hitting every cactus on the trail right in the face.  If you’ll forgive the awkward cowgirl analogy.  Living in the  American West, sometimes those just happen to you despite any intentions of a locationless lexicon.  As if such a thing is even possible.  Sometimes I just say y’all, y’all.

Not feeling well, but persevering regardless.  I need to drink some more water and

Tonight, I think I might make myself a gigantic, unholy salad.   Unholy in that my body seems to turn away from unadulterated vegetables like a vampire (in the pre-Twilight era when vampires were vampires and men were men) turns from the cross.

Okay, home and active and happy dappy dappy.  I like myself about 10000x better when I take care of myself even if that means there’s a full agenda morning from night.  The day ran through my fingers, but I ate what I intended to eat and didn’t fall in any direction into a repetition of yesterday.  I was tough in the way you can be tough when you have no opportunity to give in.  I might have done any number of troubling things if I’d had a spare moment to dream them up and another to act them out.  Luckily,  there was no time for thinking about heavy food.   My stomach felt the return of that “loco” burrito yesterday, which, I must be reporting only for the sake of the word count and not to assault anyone’s senses.   I think the unwarranted calories and emotional whiplash had to play out naturally on the body from this weekend and I felt pretty blegh this morning, but something in me wanted to scrape all of that away and in doing that, I got myself feeling pretty decent by the time I went to the store and came home.

I exercised right away, because that is the best policy for me and I know that this willpower of mine is sometimes held on with spirit gum and if I make trouble for myself, I’ll have…trouble for myself.

I didn’t have the giant salad, though I had salad with my thin breaded grilled cheese and organic chicken and tomatoes.  I am feeling quite full, in a precious, pleasant state.  I still get to eat more.  Which is ridiculous and nice.  I am not starving, by any means.  What would be nice is if the scale would reflect the good feeling and not swaying of the suspension bridge I’m believing myself on.  This hormontasia is subsiding.  I don’t feel at the end of a spiritual rope, and the bridge I’m on is sturdier and sturdier.    I look a little different, I feel a little different and that’s a Golden Gate Bridge between the past and the future I crave.

In other news, he’s sort of a client and I didn’t flirt, but it’s nice to have someone to be curious about again.  Nice to have a live reason to keep a shim in the shell, just enough room for a keyhole.

Crone, Maiden, and Agent Provocateur

Oh look, it’s 10pm and I haven’t even begun to write today’s entry.  That’s an odd feeling.  Another odd feeling is my apparent inability to wallow even when Lady Menarche would decree that it is time for all good women to rend their garments and dye their hair and walk about with a vicious expression on their faces.  I used to be an extraordinary wallower.  I could affect a pretty demolishing glare at fifty paces.  I probably still am, but for the moment, I don’t have the usual kindling for a good pout. A week out of the month it seemed like cause to burn down the world and to hell with everyone in it for every wrong done me and every snub and loss, especially those I’d forgotten for they must have been especially bad.   And there would be plenty of Starbucks and hamburgers that would certainly agree with everything I felt as well they should, given what I paid for them.   I think that sugar and fat go very well with wallowing in existential ennui.  It all feels horrible, but at least you’ve got chocolate to make it seem like you’re fighting it somehow.

Today was not like that, though. Today, I sort of just ran my tail off and ended up giving the emo the run-around, rather literally.   Once the day of filing and paying bills and dealing with my more and more obnoxious crispy septuagenarian volunteer who turns up out of the blue after a month and works for an hour and a half and toddles her bedazzled cowgirl boots back out to wherever she goes after spinning my world into frenzy was through, the day was darkening and cold.  Sort of got under my skin and though I’d eaten a good breakfast, a good lunch, I was going to go to the grocery store.  That was the plan.  The plan also included buying some kind of hair dye on a whim.  I told myself that it was my birthday (it’s Sunday, darling, Sunday!) and that I needed some kind of ass-kicking, TLC, makeover revamp – the kind you could buy at a drugstore, of course.  I sort of floated around the aisles like a little girl lost thinking about all the shitty self-dye jobs I’d perpetrated and maybe instead of fucking up my hair in the name of variety, I could just go to the hair salon tomorrow and get a decent cut and wax and that’d be the birthday treat.

With that in mind, I straightened up and I got some good food – some of which I really still should eat but I’m rather full and undecided on the matter – and I went home.  Didn’t buy pop or ice cream or anything untoward despite many pleas from the id to do just that.  Then, even though the plan says no cardio today, just strength exercise – I thought that probably yesterday I was so dead on my feet because I took a day off.  So I did a DVD and walked/jogged/spazzed for half an hour and did the strength exercises.

I just couldn’t stand that creepy little bineweed cropping up, that little smirk that sometimes has my sister’s face or this vlogger’s face or this celebrity’s face but more often than not it looks like me and it just knoooowwws that I can’t do what I’ve set out to do.  It just is so damn cocksure that I have to prove it wrong.

Gotta take this broken fire hydrant of emotions and use it to clean out the gutters.



It has been an interesting and valuable day two on the 2011 Great Hunt for New Beginnings Front, for one theatre of the Great Plan.  I have been good and have requirements that I’m pushing for to continue being good later today.  It has not been perfect – I have been grouchy and snippy and useless and negative and I’ve held back things and I’ve been non-communicative and downright unpleasant.  And that counts too, just as much as some of it may be justified, I’ve been unable to just get up and over that bullshit and I wish I had been.   I admire myself most when I am joyful in the world.
But I wasn’t and it just serves as a reminder to work on not being that way, not as some inveterate, systemic issue with me being a careless jerk.  I just enjoy being nicer and not sitting around punching the air and envisioning strangulations and defenestrations to all the people who I see as being a jerk to me.  Really, when you take a step back, whether the people you are in relationships want to hurt you or not, if you don’t treat their evaluations of your existence as the only right ones then it’s all just feedback to consider and discard as needed.
So I was a grouch, but we got our heater fixed and, hopefully, when they come back tomorrow for some final check, there isn’t some anvil thrown on us as far as it being too old for us to have in the house or something.  I don’t know, but it seems like life is always throwing something bizarre at us.
I also have eaten carefully and with consideration.  Not perfectly – all rice cakes and edamame – but carefully and with knowledge of what a buckwheat pancake has in it nutritionally and that Panera sandwiches are loaded with calories and if I’m full 3/4s of the way through one, stuffing the last bit in would add a ton more calories that I don’t have budgeted.  That felt good, leaving it behind, giving the chips I didn’t want away, marking it off and going on to think about other things for a bit.
Now, I have plans for dinner that involve food I already have in the freezer (VEGETABLES ALSO HOMG!) and that will, I assume, keep close to the SparkPeople guidelines and keep me rolling along for another day on this challenge.  I got the WiiActive 2 and have already done the first day’s exercise which wasn’t really bad at all since you don’t have to hang onto that remote and sweat all over it.  Also, we’ve gotten the front rooms of the house ridiculously clean (in relative terms) and despite the fact this was the reason I got so grumpy today – someone marching in and taking over the cleanup job and being critical – I’m delighted, de-fucking-lighted that we have space in here and it’s warm again and it feels like a new year is happening.
A real new year with last year’s hangups not so braided into my DNA, but choices instead, that I can make or choose not to make and consequences I can foresee and avoid.  Rad!

Social Scurvy

It is all a coincidence, of course, but there is something strange about the fact that I randomly selected tomorrow as a vacation day and tomorrow we expect a death of snow.  How much is a death?  However much it takes, I guess.  I will have to take some honest stock tomorrow.

The guy upstairs is very quiet and not so friendly lately.  I don’t know why that is.  I suppose he has problems of his own, one of which is having a daughter, a ten year-old daughter which one imagines is a situation fraught with problems.   This is not a situation I can imagine myself entangled in, so I observe from my chair at the end of the hallway and direct people into their respective bathrooms and acknowledge them and let them know there’s two stalls and not just the usual one and hope the guy is alright, that he’s getting by and that the miserable boss of his (not mine) treats him well enough to survive.

I thought that today.

Still no phone.  It’s on backorder with no date as to when it will arrive.  This is what you get when you delay – more delays. I have ordered a few christmas presents which is positive.  Step in the right direction.

Enough dithering, I want to not be fat.  I want to not be able to control myself among others and lose my mind when I’m sitting here alone, processing.  Eating with absolutely no physical reaction, no stopping point, no desire or delight.  Just madness.  I’m feeling gross and frustrated and thoughtless and I think…that’s terrible.   I know that I’m reacting to the stress of trying to pay bills with no money, trying to deal with feuding co-workers and exhausted bosses and this sexless, boring, creatively-neutered existence by eating.  I’m replacing all of these voices in my head, these cropped-up hopes and sequestered fantasies, these raging reconstitutions of my failures, with this orgy of fat.  I don’t want to not have done this right.  I don’t want to be found out as this flawed thing whose only secret inner life was the madness that tolerated nothing but its own existence.

So, I’m making a grocery list right here in the midst of my self-loathing and disappointment and the stink of frozen pizza on the table and the candy wrappers about me and my half-drunk soda bottle.

We begin not in the morning, not after a good bath, not just a second from now – but here, now.  I have time tomorrow to go to the store and get good food, but none of that matters if I don’t get good food when I’m there.  Tonight was all frustration and I got this stuff because this happen has taken root again and we have to drive it out.  Drive it and get it behind us, Satan! Or something equally dramatic but a little more secular.

This is how it works, guys, cold turkey.  Or maybe this is how it will work since we are at the outset, but I’m sick of being a whiny bitch about my life and instead, I’m going to do what I can to change it.