Complete and Total Meltdown: Day 42

I think, briefly, I capitulated to the great despair.   I am not sure if I am still on my knees before it, but I think, perhaps, I will not be long down.

I gave myself an inch and that inch became a hundred miles.  I feel tired and bad and like a devil just has been awoken from the tranquilizer dart I thought would see me through to safety.

I was thinking about Valentine’s Day and how nicely nebulous the dark space is where my heart is seated in my chest.  I was thinking about my mother and how I don’t like how the chemo seems to be using her in the way you would imagine the cancer would if it had its way.  Exhausting, wizening, enervating.  She’s upbeat, she knows what’s up, but I have to overwrite the story in my head.  I am not seeing her enough so every time feels a bit surprising.  I’m not seeing her because I want to hold everything at status quo in my mind.   I want everything to push forward for me without doing a dang thing, and I want everything to stay steady for her without doing a dang thing.

Meanwhile, at work, we learn about a little boy who has benefited from the things we make.  A bajillion heart defects and issues and surgeries and problems and finally – we do a thing and he is free to be a little boy.    I mean, I don’t do it, but I answer phones for people who make ads for people who do it.   Or something inexactly, but legitimately related.

So I haven’t lost any weight, despite a non-zero effort.  The kitchen’s a nightmare, I don’t want to cook in it.  My car suddenly turned on a low tire pressure sign halfway through the drive this morning, causing an inadvertent panic.  They’re asking me to do things I don’t know how to do.  It’s fine, but I’m unsure.  Tired.  The activation energy over the past few days – I know what I need to do. I just do not do it.

So I ordered a pizza and have sickened myself on it and it’s here next to me and I’m contemplating which is the greater evil – to eat it and swallow the shame of having bought it and blown yet more money on one-off food fixes, or to toss it and blow that money and risk constantly daydreaming about wasted pizza and use that to justify another wave of carb-tasia.

It’s not good.  It’s just not.  I am thinking about how I didn’t even think or care about my goals.  How I didn’t feel qualms about breaking the plan.  How I know how this feels and I know how it feels to string yourself out on guilt aftershocks after the initial binge.  I know and I know that I don’t know if anything is going to be different even though there’s a thousand and one reasons to make this time the time.

Why can’t we make this time the time?

For Best Results: Day 27

So yesterday was a longer post, I don’t know what tonight will bring when I really want to work on at least two other things and the thing I most want to work on is delayed until Tuesday at the earliest.

I have tasks I have to complete.  I’ve been arguing in some ways with J all day as our motivations and interests collide and diverge.  I need the time to think about and address my own stuff.  This morning we did not do breakfast.  No fancy final eggs benedict to swallow me up, however, the absence of breakfast lead to me holding firm on the idea of needing lunch.  So my birthday lunch ended up being my younger sister and I eating tacos quickly and splitting the bill so we could hurry and get my mother the pho she wanted.  This was important because she’s changing the chemo formula next week and things are continuing into a positive, but nebulous place.  A nebulous, but positive place?  One spot going away to reveal another spot.  The cancer in the bone holding steady.  Things not progressing, but the medicine not attacking like it should.  Somehow the new medicine will be less harsh.  Maybe her hair will grow back.  If she wants pho, or she wants the moon, we do what is required for her to have it.

You stop thinking about needing some grand party in moments like these.  You stop thinking that the day needs to hit some watermark of ego-stroking to matter.  They gave me a big gift card for Amazon.  They let me watch Critical Role for over an hour with nobody making too many comments.   That’s lovely.  If I can’t have them sitting there, engaged with something I care about, I’ll take being able to just enjoy it around them.  It’s nice to feel as though I could give myself 5 seconds of not being beholden to an idea I have and how much air is in the room when I do that.

I don’t have to be made to be a princess.  I have to make myself happy.

I’m doing that by writing, and slowly, painstakingly, taking care of one thing I need to take care of at a time.  I’m doing that by letting myself think about the plans I made and set out in the future, how day by day they’re moving toward me…but also, I can move towards them.  I can find the mechanized walkway they have in the airport and walk fast as I can on it and zoom by rather than lean on the side.  A labored metaphor, but yes.   I can think about what I want.  And another day of Starbucks and pizza and refusing to track and pay attention to your choices is not going to make for better posts.  Must lay your head down in new places to have better dreams.

Tonight before bed: find your bus pass, please.  Pick out some clothes that you can wear to survive the snow.  Buy the book. Charge your fitbit.  Check your email.  Take your hand off the stove.

Phone calls.  Other things to note.  I apparently leveled up in our game.  I’m excited about that, given that it’s never happened before.  I’m excited to be able to do more, to use the information I have.

That’s enough for you for today.

A Refusal to Be Vexed: Day 9

No head starts today.  I think I am almost there.  I don’t know.  I’ve got options for clothing for 3 and a half days like I was going on a 30-day cruise.  I’ve got all sorts of random things I somehow think my friends may be interested in.  I’ve been running madly for four days and now, now, I think I just need to hit this wall.

My font just changed for some reason I can’t determine.  It’s interesting.  Now that I know people are reading this – maybe people I care about, maybe not, I should be more motivated to speak broadly and boldly.  To write with verve and linguistic punch.  To speak of the project of self with power and hope and to pull all of us, collectively, out of the muck and mire that is this life with the piquancy of my wit, the sincerity of my vision.

But I’m fucking tired, y’all.  I don’t know what to say about that in a novel way.  You know what it is.  Everybody’s got sore shoulders from holding up the universe.

Tomorrow, tomorrow everything just relaxes.   And gets silly.   I hope so, anyway.  I’m looking up brunch places and hoping one of them won’t be so obnoxiously busy that we have to wait.

So let’s do this, my friends, as you may or may not know, these posts have to be five hundred words long.  I make the rules, unfortunately, and that one was carved into stone tablets long ago.  Let’s do the old game.

I am grateful for…my mother enduring her chemo so beautifully and keeping up her spirits and all the odd things that come with this – my father so earnestly telling me about the will, my sister taking it upon herself to supply my mother with cute caps now that her hair’s falling out – for the nice people at the treatment center that she so enjoys or at least fakes enjoying.  I’m grateful for the luxury of not having this an anvil in my heart right now.  I don’t know when that weight will fall, but I’m grateful that now for the moment, we can enjoy her spirit.  Her heart.  Her being her in the purest form.  She’s a good person.

I’m grateful that there is therapy tomorrow and some of the loose detritus floating about my brain pan will be filtered from my system and I’ll be set back in order again.  I’m grateful I had enough werewithal to put a few things in order and get what I think I need to m

I love the Black Phoenix Alchemy lab oils I’ve discovered hiding away even as I tore my place apart to pack.  I’m excited to wear them tomorrow, to wear jewelry, to have a nice,full face of jewelry on tomorrow.  I love that I don’t have to impress anyone, but I can try to impress myself.

Wouldn’t it be nice if I could stay calm and happy tomorrow and enjoy without trying to leave my head too much?  Wouldn’t it be grand?

The Whirling Fan

Don’t waste my magical writing time with nonsense.  Go to work.

It was a terrible day.  I screwed everything up. I forgot everything.  All my training evaded me.  All my plans fell to shit.  I got yelled at (or the disappointed, I told you, don’t do it again conversation with sternness enough that I am still quite quivery about the whole ordeal) and I am, ultimately, alone.

I mean, I have someone, but I can’t figure out how if this is the sort of having you have with someone who just happens to be taking the same bus you are.  A conversation that intimates nothing.  I want to know, to ask some authority, is this working or not working – what is real and what is just linguistic jiu-jitsu?  And are we all that safe either way?

Instead, I do what I do when I don’t know what to do.  I go and see my mother.  We don’t really talk about the events of the day because as soon as I come in the door after letting her know I needed to come for dinner because it had been a hard day and I had nothing really low-carb to eat, she says You Need to Be More Prepared!  And I won’t argue with the sentiment, because it’s true even if I find myself quite unable to knuckle down and open a laptop after a 10 hour day and face even one email with a questionably aggressive tone.  And they all feel a little bit aggressive these days.  Oh, gosh, it is just the wrong thing to say to a person after a day like this.

My mother.  I will not complain about her, but report this happening with more of a wry attitude rather than one of the usual frustration.   So of course, after feeding me the chicken and green chile and some jello with a heap of whipped cream and giving me her last two shakes in the whole of the world, she begins the quiz.

How long has it been for the diet?  How much weight so far? My answers: a week, and four pounds, six if you go back a bit, are satisfactory.  She gives me the rundown of how to do low-carb for the ninety-thousandth time.   This is not so much wry, is it?  I watch the news with her as we contemplate political eventualities.  I say I have to go.

She has no interest in J.  I have to bring him up if there’s to be any discussion and the discussion is more me venting about the surreal and frustrating nature of the thing.  She is both suspicious and entirely nonplussed.  Who he is and what he wants with me are of no import.  She’ll wait for me to sigh and offer something up, otherwise, it is entirely illegitimate and hell, she may be right.

Still, I leave, and the last thing I hear as I cross the threshold is “You’re getting your waist back again!”

Sigh.  I don’t know.

An Cat Dubh

black-cat-1389799-1599x1642

Hmmmm.

I am doing pretty okay, considering and am now trying to decide if my mouth has mutinied.  I had a discussion about my sister about jaw clenching and how I’d been feeling like I’d been doing it lately but was relaxing and it was going away.  Now the whole thing feels sore and there’s a big discomfort and pressure when I move my mouth a certain way and I feel panicked and stressed DEFCON 11.   It was demonstrably fine all day and now, oh my gosh, broken.

I have also freaked out once today that my tongue was broken so…I am kind of taking everything with a grain of salt.  Kind of.

This is, if we’re paying attention, and I am so trying to now, one of the hard places where I in the past have just thrown up my hands when facing its challenges. In this case, it’s a health thing and a money thing.  I’m freaked out because something doesn’t feel right, I’m thinking the insurance is all questionable, and I feel insecure about dealing with what I need to do to get that squared so that I can get in if it becomes essential (I’m due for my appointment in a month or so) (I think).

But I am going to see what I can do about that.   I am at least going to give them a proper going-over with the toothbrush and letting myself relax where I can.

Tonight, I’ve actually gotten some cleaning done.  Got my desk cleared off and cleaned up.  This has been a task I needed to do, but also, it’s me wanting to not think about our dear sweet Madi (I think of it as spelled Maddie, but I have long since been overruled on this point and she was not, in the final analysis, my cat.)   We had to put her to sleep today.  My sister nursed that poor thing in the last few months of her life when a throat tumor at 16 overwhelmed the little thing.  She was small, even on kitty cat terms, having been feral and trapped in a trailer in Oklahoma before turning up in a cat rescue where our friend worked.  We were visiting her and, if I recall, going to A-Kon in Dallas for my sister and her friend to appreciate anime and for me to go any new place I hadn’t been before.  On the way back, we or…perhaps, I, was not planning on having any unexpected travelling companions.  My sister decided to bring home this black cat who had been at the cat rescue for two years.  I thought there had to be something wrong with her if nobody wanted her and wasn’t clear on why we should be the people to change that.  I remember being faintly testy about the whole arrangement, while my sister was totally clear.

But still, there she was, in the back in a cat carrier, crying in a desperate, mechanical music box voice as we drove under a billowing storm somewhere around Limon.  I was studying Gaelic at the time.  Half-studying, a dilettante, really.  As a means of distraction against the idea that we might all be blown to bits in some unforeseen tornado, we were tossing around names for this displeased creature.  I said madra was Irish for cat so we could call her that and shorten it to Maddie.  Turns out, with the sort of check that Google would have taken care of were we getting her today, that madra means dog.  And cat’s just cat, pronounced with a lovely Irish inflection.

But things stuck.  The cat stuck.  And she became a loyal, pleasant, jealous, good little house cat.  She didn’t want anything, but to be loved and so she was.  Until we had to say goodbye.

So today had that rough bit in it.  But we knew it had to happen, and so, here we are.  I feel the energy gone in the house, the change.  There’s just the one cat, my Lilybean, remaining.  I feel there was a gift in the compassion and love she engendered in us, and now in the psychic space that has been stretched wider as she’s gone.

More to say, but we’ll find a way to say it later.

 

Put Words To It

locked-in-1224597-640x480

I dreamed last night I lived in Detroit and I dreamed last night, in the same dream, but separately that I escaped from a frightening Arby’s into a haunted house ride.

De-troit.  Dee-troit.  De-nver.

Did we want dessert?  At this dark, shadowy, film noir fast food restaurant, I wanted dessert, but it was so sweet…just frosted everything, like Cinnabon times a thousand and there was thunder and lightning clashing and crashing overhead so I gave up on that thought and found myself in this sort of open-concept haunted house ride.

It had various physical obstacles (ala Nickelodeon’s GUTS when I was a kid).  One of which was some sort of tunnel covered in snow.   This was entirely indoors as the lights flashed on and off in a way that mimicked the earlier lightning.

After crawling through the fake snow with fake, but still functional bits of broken barbed wire in it – caltrops, I guess, I arrived at a floating bar on the wall.  It was hidden, except to me, behind a painting.

Somehow I rode this elevator bar up as though I were Mario and realized, with real dream astonishment, that there was a hidden room upstairs.  I half-registered that this was where they must keep the props and half-believed it was exactly as it seemed, a haunted library. Immediately, I thought I needed to take something with me, that something here was mine.  There was a thin book, with gold-gilded pages, some of which seemed missing.  It had a long title and a latch like a diary.  I had to hide the book in my shirt.

I woke up when I took the floating elevator back down stairs and all of the lights were on, they said it was two years later and I was confused, but knew I still had to hide the book.  It was about 12:30 in the afternoon.  I…don’t know anything more except I needed that time.  That stillness, that struggle within relaxation.

I did get up, and we got over to my parents where…the stillness, oddly enough, somehow continued.   My mother had made BBQ ribs.  I ate myself full and then we worked on another puzzle, which seems to be a major form of comfort to all of us.  For that flowing in and out, to work on the project together.  It makes her happy and I sat there with an ice cream cone thinking to myself, but mostly not thinking because reality is the whole of the world on my shoulders.

Then, my father appeared with a check for $500.00.  I told him I didn’t want it.   Even after all of the Amanda Palmer and taking the doughnuts and accepting help when someone is able and wants to help you, oh, that felt like we were all agreeing that things have gone wrong somewhere somehow.  And I was just hoping to keep on pretending otherwise, in perpetuity.   He gave it to my sister to make me take it – it’s for both of us in that it will let me get things paid so I don’t have to lean on her.  But, wow.   The emotion that I feel attached to that.  I don’t want to be in this position.  I don’t want to be vulnerable like this.

But I am also…grateful.  Grateful that marching towards the abyss means having to pass through so many barriers and so many people reaching out their arms to me.  I mean, there are those in this world that don’t have the resources I have.

Trying to show that gratefulness by taking care of some stuff, getting myself more square, being active in the ways that I can that will improve the situation.  If only allowing me to be more creative and less bogged down with stress in my physical surroundings.

I have an idea for a post now, but it’s late so.  Yeah.

After all of this, I put on Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans.  Nobody seemed to find it as exquisite as I did, but my mother did watch along, riffing, laughing.  I didn’t mind because she was amused in one way or another.  They all said “Oh, it’s just one of her movies.”  In a gentle poke sort of way that, at one time, would have depressed me.  “She just walks to the beat of her own drum.”

I think, in some ways, that’s true.  A silent movie.

I wanted to touch the hard places, to get in there and understand why things are the way they are with me.  Things like the driving and doctor anxiety, the things I’m so unwilling to talk about like sex and love and romance and intimacy but that are so constantly on my mind, body image and weight and perfectionism and what it will take to be in a place where I can just write, be it for a living or for myself, and not get hung up on these other issues and stop in my tracks.

This is a piece.  I want to turn away.  I want to ignore it.  It’s been so many years of ignoring it.  I have to forge forward.  I have to go to the gangrene and the rot and pull things up.  Go down to the foundations and build it anew.

It is okay to have this money.  It’s not okay to pretend that things are going to improve via magical thinking or that I’m satisfied with where things are.  I’m not.  Not yet.  It’s in writing.  I need to know.

Even in the face of my sincere gratitude, I am willing to face this superego and say that I want more.

Track and Field

book-or-catalog-page-edges-1631792-640x480

I want to get past the cycle I am in.  I want to find every sore spot and work it out of me.  To improve.  To unshackle. To do this means going through hard things I have always avoided.  I don’t ever go through hard things.  And yet.

When I sat down with my cousin at lunch today, I had specifically told myself we would not discuss which was most readily on my mind.  We have come to be able to talk about anything, just about, and yet, I systematically rejected the idea of talking about the message my sister had just sent me on Facebook.  There wasn’t a need, internally, to qualify why.  We just weren’t going to do that.

So, naturally, naturally, one of the first things that extemporaneously is expressed out was how I felt about this message.

I know my sister will read this.  If not tonight, then some point relatively soon.  I thought sincerely about writing something else or even possibly not posting at all.  But, that’s a whole part of this and maybe the organization of what I need to express is not the entirety of what I have to do…maybe I have to actually let it be read.

She sent me a message that was about a CD that she’s been looking for for a long time and which she found in my room.  The details beyond that are not so important, but suffice to say, at some point I took it and ripped the songs off of it and carelessly tossed it somewhere and forgot about it.  Like I do with about 90% of the things I own.  She was, in a way she very rarely is, mad with me.  Like MAD.  And a bit mean in letting me know.

However, in reading this message, I was aware that oh, sure, maybe I did have it.  And then, my whole body reacted to the ego shielding itself.  If she was mad, well, I was mad back because of all the things I’m going through and I have to…and I am…and how dare and…it was so many other half-started insistences rather than to get to the truth.  Yes, I think I took the CD and I had forgotten I had it and when questioned, I said no out of hand.  Just capitulating to the truth when there was negative emotion to follow it, felt and feels so impossible.  A path we can’t take.  But the why?

I know this matters to her.  I know that.  I said, I don’t know why it doesn’t absorb for me.  I don’t know why.  I don’t listen.  I am very much concerned by the way I am concerned about myself.  That perhaps there is this Void in me of loneliness that I am devoted to worshipping and it has made me really challenged at just being in the world with the people around me.  Also, if there’s going to be a fight, I just

In talking with my cousin, she talked about me being a person who derives worth from primarily from people.  My sister from process.  The other option is performance which is occasionally on the table, too.  Our values are inherently different. For me, while the importance of the CD is not something I can get my brain around…there is a reason I’ve yet to discover that I need to discover that these things I own literally do not matter to me.  The idea of them does, but not the actual things.  While being called an empath sarcastically feels like a hugely painful dig.  In that I feel discomfort, in that I feel recoil, in that I feel hurt and defensive and I obliterate the fact that I did something wrong.  That’s the thing about knowing someone as a sister knows a sister – you know the places that are tender and when you’re upset, those are the places you kick.

I did something wrong.  I screwed up.  And I get more and more separation and protection and relief from assuring myself that’s not the case rather than biting the bullet and saying it.  It is a mountain rather than a molehill.  I am aware of at least that much.

After talking about many things about modeling conflict resolution and She was starting to tell me about being gentler with myself and I had to reaffirm that I think I am too gentle, and what saves me, what actually helps me is the rare occasions that I go to the hard places. That I experience vulnerability and discomfort.

By way of explanation, I had the example of going to the bank today to get money for lunch.  I told myself, just ask for your balance, just ask for your balance.  The teller was in and out and she gave me my cash and said have a good weekend and I drove off, knowing I hadn’t done it. I was so frustrated with myself and I thought that was just because I was trying to be accommodating to the busy teller and get myself out of her way when if I sat in that moment for just half a second longer, there was a larger truth that I felt ashamed of how little money I have right now.  I don’t want to know my balance.  I don’t want to feel stressed and so I didn’t ask.  It was my choice not to go into the painful truth.  But from the outside, oh, busy teller and me, I’m just a failure who can’t even ask for the things she wants.  It adds to this whole myth of impotence.

Like maybe if I could sit and think about why I have such a disinterest in caring for the things I own I could root out where the impulse comes from.  There could be progress.

We started talking about Buddhist monk Pema Chodron and the Courage to Choose Something Different.  It being one of the Three Difficult Practices.  I can get the awareness bit, sometimes, which is the First Difficult Practice…but choosing not to do what I always do which cements the pain and exacerbates it…but to change the reaction.

After all of this, a customer at work today – maybe all of four foot tall and traveling with her two sisters to spread her father’s ashes – was quiet after I told her ponytail was sassy.  She said, insistently, knowingly. “You’re the kind of person who will just say anything.  I’m old, so I see how you are.”

Cut me to the core, but I asserted myself…”I think I’m bold enough to say what I think, and I think your ponytail is sassy.”  There was so much laughing and talking that I don’t think she even heard me.

So I apologized to my sister.  I wanted to have this whole conversation about all of the above, but after this long day at work, I didn’t want to tear myself apart.  I don’t think I knew all of this then.

I still should have, though, so I guess this is what I am trying to do now.