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.

Bette Davis Eyes

I think my hesitation is that nobody cares.  Nobody cared before, but now that I’m in this great white and mostly empty box everyday, it’s very easy to feel yourself lost in the shuffle of thousands.

How strangely vivid and swiftly arriving is my sense of the grass forever being greener on the other side of the fence.  Suddenly, I think about the negative side of being a cog in a very big machine where people don’t look at you and instantly see a story that you’ve cultivated.  They are interested in forming their own opinions and you have every ability to help them arrive at whatever story you wish.  Shy, brave, bold, smart, whatever adjectives you crave to be applied to your life can be newly affixed.  You aren’t the product of small-town mythologies. You aren’t anyone’s sweet young employee wrangling the challenges of street fairs and remembering to bring the big scissors to cut the ribbons.  You aren’t their pet or their mirror.  You’re just an employee.  Do your job.  If you want to go home and you’re done for the day, clock out and go.  You are hungry, go and eat.  You need to buy something to make your job easier, go buy it.  Don’t engage us with the minutiae of your being, we’re making big things happen here.

That is colder, by multitudes, than the truth, but at some stages, you wonder how on earth do you handle a world that doesn’t know your story.  Who doesn’t give you that handicap of knowing your dad or mom from somewhere way back.  Who you didn’t help pull their Billy out of the well.  Who you didn’t chirp kindly to on some unimportant phone call somewhere along the line.  It makes you feel a bit naked, a bit on square one.

I had ought to be so much more grateful than I am for the fact that I craved an exit from my former situation and friends coalesced around me to get me to this opportunity.  Yes, it was my abilities and resume that got me there, but it was so many forces along the way that made it possible for me to make the shift.  I keep forgetting the frustrations of the past and instead of glorying in this moment of satisfying, quiet, safe, regular work, I am focusing on the negative.  I am replicating patterns, incubating old diseases, bringing the same nonsense forward instead of leaving it behind.  Ideas of I can’t.  I’m going to mess it up.  I can’t do it perfectly so let’s wait five minutes?  Living my life pushing things off instead of taking the smaller spoonful and starting now.

For example, I want, very much, to watch The Handmaid’s Tale, but I have this idea in my mind that I’m not in the right spot for it.  I’m not present enough, open enough, good enough right now to watch it.  No.  I will either be good enough now or I will never be.

So we press play.

Byzantine Rumors

I was getting out of my car, facing the short jaunt between the car and the house I’m not allowed to park in front of for some arbitrary reason the HOA has decided upon, and I said, wow, I have a lot to say tonight.

Now, fingers a’flying, and the impacts of the seriously unhealthy food I’ve eaten, I feel sort of in a Friday haze.  I don’t know how to get back to that point of honest confession that was starting to foment as I drove home through a thick darkness after watching Rachel Maddow’s program at my parents.

Still no computer at work which put me right off today.  At least I was informed that I would be getting it back on Monday with no data loss.  I wish I had even the faintest idea what would cause a random corruption of the hal.dll file.   I’m really glad that it didn’t fry the hard drive.  That would be a nightmare of gargantuan proportions that I couldn’t begin to fathom how to fix.  There was some scrambling about today, but I got access to email and that helped get a few things done that were necessary.  After that, I could hardly be arsed to do anything and dressed in gray from head to foot, I was practically cosplaying Bartleby.  I definitely would rather not.  My boss fell asleep at his desk.  We all just need an incredibly long nap.   We need to acknowledge every now and then that we are deeply, deeply, into our marrow tired.

Currently defragging the computer.  Can’t remember the last time I did that.


I think I’m ready for my screed.

I think I’m frustrated that people only seem to invest in me when I commit to some sort of lifestyle change.  People only seem to want to hear my thoughts or feelings or deal with me in some way when I’ve promised them that I am undergoing some sort of process.   Especially my mother.  She gets nervous about the prospect of me being okay with who I am.  She gets antsy about the idea that I’d just be like I was for the rest of my life.  And who I am is, in greater part than either of us know, an empath.  So her antsy, nervous, distrustful feeling towards me gets wicked up into my skin and bones like a sheet of Brawny finds a pool of Fruit Punch on a countertop.  It just draws it all in.   And so I start telling myself, always, within an hour of spending time with her that first thing tomorrow, I’m going to be this better person.  She keeps asking me if I’m getting back on the wagon.

I feel…so frustrated.  So sad.  And angry, too, really, because I don’t have people to take my burdens consistently.  Food is nothing if not consistent.  It  will turn up.  And feeling like I’m always in this personal limbo, waiting for myself to just gather up the effort to be perfect and then a degree more worthy, constantly tearing myself down for not being able to manage it, and then back to thinking I should just try again.  On top of being constantly fucking up and flaking out and freaking out at work, I don’t know…it sucks to feel like you’re constantly in the loading zone in everyone else’s life.  Like yeah, you can stop here, but you gotta be gone in 30 minutes and you have to take your crap with you.

This is Fred talking.


Thanks, genetic errors!


Does this have to do with the mythical power of oak?  Oh,, I love you wildly.

I’m dealing with an issue at work that I can’t explain here but is giving me a lot of stress.  Stress, you know is liable to make your hair fall out and and make you eat things you shouldn’t and in this case, there’s absolutely nothing to be done about it and I am doing all I can to set it aside and remember that I both need to and can write my words without, you know, dying?

Life is remarkable.  I’m trying to keep my peripheral vision open to strangeness and let it seek out new aesthetic terrain, let it feed on images and kindness and unexpected connection.  My boss has returned home from vacation and brought us little bud vases with blue glazing on the rim and that cobalt color, tripped a string of memories of the old house we used to live in – one I drive past most days – and the kitchen my father installed and the little island where they put in ceramic tiles.  They were mostly white except for a couple where this cobalt blue.  And then I think of that kitchen and running through it as a child, waiting for supper, flying in and heading outside and there were summer evenings there when school was out when the light would come in from the west so gold and gentle and light up the trellises and that little stage that was really the wooden coverings for the unused well and you’d turn the corner and there was the snowball bush beneath my parents’ window and then the crabapple tree by our window and the compost heap we’d put eggshells and coffee grounds and grass clippings in and we would stir every now and then stir it up and a big waft of steam would rise up from all the hot decay taking place at its center.  Everything breaking down into delicious, ripe, life that would break up the red clay that my mother had to fight through and roto-till to make the garden take root.  But she did and there were stargazer lilies and Nellie Moser clematises and nasturtiums for my grandmother and roses and California poppies and peaches and cream verbena and daffodils by the glass house and dianthus and grape hyacinth and little pansies with their faces that I would name and talk to quite importantly and make a part of all the stories I acted out when I thought no one was watching.

I don’t know why I remember that just now, but it was a beautiful place.  We took care of it when we lived there – a far cry from its current owner’s take – and it’s sad to see it so overgrown and unkempt.  It feels like an absence of love.   So unfair a fate for a place that carried so many dreams for so long, that was so long a home.

All I can do is love what I do have, where I am now.

The Duel

Probably should start writing the post before I worry too much about the picture.

I am far too chipper for the late hour.  I’ve gotten the wanderlust again and I don’t know if it’s because we’ve had weeks now of miserable weather with only a few broken hours of weak sunlight or if it’s just become a natural part of my rhythms, but I’m planning trips for the coming year like it’s going out of style.  Minneapolis for my cousin’s wedding in June, now it looks like DragonCon in September and possibly going to New Orleans in October.  This extra week of vacation plus the icy temperature and fields and fields of blow that seem to have transformed the parking lot outside of our condo has me dreaming of airplanes and airport security lines and the wonderful process of going.   Hopefully, all the plans will come together and the money can be set aside and it won’t all be the gleeful fannish dream it feels like right now.  Someday, somehow, we’ll add up all these little half-escapes and find a door right out of all our troubles.

I’ve gone just enough today to be quite pleased with myself.  I have not yet succumbed to all cravings and excuses and little sidesteps that are settled just above my head.  All the ideas that I let destroy my diets in the past, they’re just outside my peripheral vision but I know exactly what they are, how they feel with then they swing towards me with this angelically demonic tone just syruped over everything they whisper.  They hope to get my attention and they hope to put the breaks on what is starting to become a fairly visible difference.   A physical difference that I can physically detect.  These ideas, these failed motivations, these fears all are hoping that one of these days I will trip up and fall out of my groove and my life will become predictable again.

I am becoming one of those people who could just up and do anything.   This is very scary.

Scarier yet is how this is coming about.  I find today that I like doing push-ups.  Even if they’re modified pushups from your knees.   I remember being told to do those in high school gym and no one ever properly explained how to do them and I sort of half did them just enough to get by. They felt impossible and awkward.  Now I’ve got enough strength going in my arms and I understand how my arms need to go to support the weight and it feels good to feel that I can do them.  Not a thousand.  Not single-armedly (hear that, Miss Grammar Nazi 1994, I know it’s not a word.  It is poetic license, though).  I can do a push-up or two, though.

I ate in the limits, rode on the bike with the seat so hard it’s akin to medieval torture until the calories were up, did the strength exercises and I don’t feel remotely brutalized by the effort. Not a drop mistreated.  So, terrors, fears, cravings, and whatever else is battering around inside the Pandora’s Box of my brain, you’re going to have to make me far more miserable than this to make me consider going back to what was.   This is my glove on the ground.  This is a challenge.


Gah, darlings, gah.

I am ridiculously tired.

The formula to not feel like a piece of ground-up shit is a simple one: food + sleep + water + exercise.  I’m feeling myself disassociate from my decisions.  I’m doing it more and more and in a wider and wider variety of situations.  Work is deeply frustrating right now.  I’m feeling like three people are playing me against each other and everyone’s got a different face depending on who they talk to and they’re snotty and self-involved and they turn around and they’re seemingly genuine and frankly, I just am over it.  I don’t know what I need to do about them, but I do know what I need to do about me.

Tomorrow night is likely – potentially – not going to be that spectacular.  It involves a smallish party with Mr. Rochester and numerous other people I know and don’t know and probably I will be ignored for much of it and feel awkward and leave.  Nevertheless, I’m going to try to do the chore that the sister assigned (though her note is leaving me puzzled and a bit grossed-out) and take a bath and read and in that process, feel human enough to go to bed early and sleep deeply so I can get up and look fancy.  Curl my hair, fake up my eyelashes, distort my reality, all that good stuff.   It makes me feel okay or at least worthy of trying on a deeper level than the lip service and end of year hijinks I’m managing right now.  This disjointed, autonomous hand-to-mouth behavior where my stomach isn’t telling me anything about satiety or even boredom.  Where I just eat and eat and stop and eat and I can almost observe all the chaotic and unresolved feelings translating into the desire, demand, and act of eating.

Just wicked loss of control.  I’m not a super big fan, guys.  It’s not as freeing as you’d hope to black out and have done something.  Not that I’m comparing my situation to black-out drinking or disassociating and murdering someone.  That would be frightening.  It’s just I have such a hard-on for control in pretty much every aspect of my life, you’d think that I would realize that this release I think I have in food is undermining that.  That would be logical.  Yet.  Every Christmas, last Christmas, in fact, I crash so hard that January and New Year’s Resolution Time is welcome and needed and natural like spring rising out of the icy, hellish chasm of winter.  It’s no burden, no struggle when you’re just along for the ride.

I wish I didn’t have to drive my bus into the maw of hell to catch a little updraft.  I’m staring at a Health magazine which tells me to eat, drink, and shrink.   Kind of want to pitch it across the room.  But…I didn’t.  I swept, like I was asked and I’m throwing out my trash.

I may not be able to get a grip, but I can at least not be a complete jerk about it.  That’s right.

…I would really like a stupid little compliment tomorrow.

But if not, I will have an episode of Supernatural to look forward to.

Thank you and goodnight.