The Vile Language: Day 13

I didn’t post while I was up in the mountains. I could have. I absolutely could have broken away and spent the forty-five minutes to add some scattered notes and that probably would have been the wiser option. But old vacation habits died quite hard. I didn’t think about anything but the very moment I was in. I worried ever so slightly about driving or more rightly, being transported to the mountains and if the elevation or any little thing at all whatsoever would have triggered.

I’m hopeful about going back to write about the excellent nature of what did transpire. Not only to fill out the deck, but to explore what is true: Which was the fact that I had an excellent and relaxing vacation – five days par exemplum when it comes to the idea of not being owned by my anxieties. Of properly enjoying a peaceful, mostly spontaneous, stretch of time not owned by my job or some man in some far distant land or of this exhaustive mess of things I have to haul about and care for in my house.  I was travelling light. It was marvelous.

This morning, waking up to see the view in the skylight at the Airbnb of a giant side of a mountain, we got up, got packed, cleaned the house up of all our water bottles, and bottles of booze, and with a warmed up car, drove home in the most glorious, sunny morning you can imagine down and around the side of the mountain.  I felt like I was showing my friends the absolute best of what Colorado can be.  A winter that is sight, but not pain.  No slick roads to contend with, just little gingerbread houses and Red Dead Redemptive scenery.  I was quite proud.

Then, our final meal together: tacos, the best version of them, then a shot to my sister and her boyfriend’s home where they could finally meet some of the most important people in my life.  Then, a ride home and a hard crack as we hit the wall of recalling all the work I was trying to do and the person I was trying to be before I left.  How I wanted to snap right back to work.  Trying to do that by being here and doing this.

But what I’m attracted to in my arrival home is adulthood. It’s enduring one’s own distracted, concerned mind and accepting that there are things that must be done.  Meeting the timelines of my own reality.  Bucking up, buckling down, not crying for someone else to find a way.   Monday – let’s do our damndest to keep this in mind.

Maybe along the way I was hopeful that I would have received some message from the RP’er. Some final moment where he might have reached out and written some kind and final farewell as I endeavored to do two years ago. When I felt the extreme burden of moral clarity and I acted upon it in a moment of absolutely murky logistics. At this point, the google-fu has made it equally morally clear that occurred in a window that is now entirely closed.

So back to the drawing board.  More to say, more to say. Best to stop mid-sentence, leave them all hungry for more.

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 Starcatcher

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Somehow, as a writer, my skill is supposed to come in handy on days like this.

Days when I’ve had these disparate experiences that impacted me and somehow, I should know what it all means.  Or have, I guess, a way to write them all together and distill a truth.

My grandfather’s not expected to recover now and is just resting comfortably under my dad and aunt’s watchful eyes.  He could, of course, get better, but it would not possibly be for anything that could be considered long-term.   He is on the soft and sunny side of this long hill we’re all crawling ourselves up and I have this vision that he’s walking, steadily and surely, down into this valley where my grandmother and uncle are waiting.  It’s comforting to me when I feel so useless.  Again, I have expectations for myself…how grief should look, how love should express itself, how I should be in this moment when my being is in no way part of the equation.  When there is no word I could say, no magical phrase that would make my grandfather as I see him in memory: solid, sharp, clever,  sitting in the chair next to me watching Megadeth up at the farm because both of us were trying to be kind to the other, both of us weirded out by the idea that the other wanted to watch that.  I feel his hand on my shoulder.  Those hugs.  The way he would insist on washing the dishes after every single meal.  The way my grandmother would say Sammy’s so good to me. Ever so good.  The way my dad would call up there and start with “Hello Pop!” The noises of his life. The quiet.  The little asides.  The steady love he gave everyone.  The farm that was his domain.  I feel all of it and it stays and goes.

This was happening today and I felt guilty, somehow, for this invitation to a dinner theatre matinee.  Tickets that would be gone to waste if we didn’t use them.  So I found myself sitting across the table from an elderly couple, not so unlike my grandparents at all.  Sharp in their minds, but ever gentle to one another.  And I making small talk and not knowing what to say – not being able to say that some part of it was my thoughts were elsewhere, another part that I was being rusty and out of practice with faking my way through those kinds of encounters.  Eventually, after the free meal that was excellent but entirely filled with calories I did not count regardless of whether I should, this rapid-fire, insanely creative production of Peter and the Starcatcher spilled out in front of my eyes.

The setting reminded of my story – 1885 British Empire on the seas, yet supernatural, players playing a hundred parts and at the center, a female hero the equal of Peter Pan.  Peter Pan’s heart and his light and his mother, his maker.  That, perhaps, was in the end why they had to be parted.  He wasn’t ready to grow up.  He needed and deserved that time to be innocent after what he had endured, to be childish, free of pain.  She knew that being a woman meant the essence of that great Cheryl Strayed quote, being brave enough to break your own heart.  She had to give him up.

That was really where my interest lied – the campiness, the creativity in making the whole thing work on a stage, the side stories…they all had charm.  But for me, of late, I care about the romance.  Even the romances that hurt.

From there, I flew down to the old stomping grounds and sat in my mentor’s living room for 30 minutes.  She had a fire going and her cat came up and approved of me. Suddenly, it was easy to talk about everything.  The struggle, such as it is, knowing I would be met with genuine empathy.  She suggested I could work for her if it would help in the summer.  That it would help her.  Weekends, retail, it doesn’t pay any more than a usual retail job.  I had thought, laughingly, that I could make something like that happen part-time.  That it would give me time to think.  To process.  I told her, possibly too earnestly, that I would think about it sincerely.  We hugged.  Her husband popped in.  It was nice to feel human, to spill the guts and not worry that the guts would be used against me.

30 minutes past and up I flew again to this Mexican restaurant to say goodbye to a dear friend who was intended to leave for Georgia this past October but the house didn’t sell until now and now she’s moving, homelessly to Savannah.  So the old gang was nearly all there.  It was lovely, for the most part, toxic for the rest.  The changes have rocked everyone.  Nobody’s happy, everything is broken when it comes to the thing that united us.   There was a lot of venting and lately, our get togethers center around the brokenness. It is hard not to feel like my leaving was pulling that first precarious piece out of the Jenga tower.  The nostalgia at once powerful and instantly corroded as soon as it breathed the free air. But it had to be.  I had to choose what I chose.  I had to be here now and you there now and time had to pass for my grandfather regardless of my regrets of how I spent it.

It couldn’t have been any way other than the way it was.   The day, my choice, and everything.

That’s it.

Bliss

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I don’t know.  I like to repeat and affirm that phrase, that truth, because so often I feel like I have been around enough to know.   I have been around enough to dangerously start to think I know something about something, and I have to remember, I am as clueless as anyone else as to the vagaries of the universe.

Last night, as I may have mentioned, we convened via Skype a group of friends.  We’re all sort of slouching or striving towards our own individual career Bethlehems.  There’s not only transition, there’s unguided and ungainly flailing out of one thing without it necessarily being into another.  In my case, I spend every day wondering what part of this is just me being frustrated about the situation and what part of it is the situation just being negative and bad news, Charlie.

Things we forget when we go into Freaking Out Ostrich Pose? Taking care of responsibilities is the most profound version of self-care.  This is so much of what bothers me is not doing things out of shame of having not done things or not being able to do them perfectly and letting all of that guilt and embarrassment accrue and culture and pearl until it fills my gut.

So whereas yesterday, it seemed 100% clear that new job was required.  Today, it feels less clear cut even though the positivity is based on one small piece of good news, but I think that’s because I was able to handle a few problems today.  I felt and took responsibility for one or two things even if I couldn’t fix the larger issues.  I felt managerial rather than completely adrift.

Maybe that’s a result of the dream I had where I thought my job was to wash very egotistical and rude women’s feet.  I should have gotten more sleep.

But our late night conversation still hung about my head as I came home from work today and watched a Victory Garden episode wherein a hospital chef talked about his passion for cooking healthy local food.   In all of this excitement of what our Seattle trip’s gonna be about and talking about our collective passions for cheese, and artisanal food and farmers markets, I remembered how much I loved our festival and farmers market.

That was a part of my job a few years ago where I felt responsible, a hub of information, integral.  I had it all in my head and felt valued, useful, creative, serving.  I was a piece of the core for this positive thing.  I had friends I could hang out while doing this, we had a mutual respect, and whatever hard work it was…it was FUN.

This is all a long and roundabout way of saying that I realized there is a relatively nascent art festival that happens a few blocks away.  They were asking for volunteer help and I…inquired.  Obviously, not a paying gig.  Not sure that there’s ever likely to be an avenue for working it into a paying gig.  Not sure if everyone involved is going to be crazy (which seems likelier than not) or if my experience of an art festival would translate to what they’re doing or if I might regret offering my time up or if there might be some single, wolfish, sarcastic gentleman involved who I can slowly drive insane with my loveliness (my main motivation for participating in anything, actually, probably as unlikely as a lightning strike going through the top of my head).  Not sure, but I did it.

I did go to their website and see the Joseph Campbell quote: “When you follow your bliss, you begin to meet people who are in the field of your bliss, and they open doors to you.”  Which had the weight of omen to it.   The festival is also attached to a Farmers Market.

I mean, for so long I wanted to pare away all the other components of the job and just do these two things.  So, who knows.  I don’t, but I’ve got some food in me and I feel like less distraught and there are more things to do even now so FARE WELL until tomorrow.

Happy Galentine’s Day

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Google search: Edward Somerset, 2nd Marquess of Worcester

Head-on collision with .4 pounds of imperfection.

You say you’re totally cool if the scale goes up.  You say that.  You say, you got this whole year to do this.  You feel, the night before, that you’re open to anything.  But then the scale goes up and the realities of now, the stress you’re under, the two nights of pizza in a row, the fact that you’re crossing the Red Sea are all forgotten.

God, I wanted in that moment to say what in the ever loving fuck is happening?   I have a plan.  The plan’s a pound a week and we can’t go backwards.  If I start to spin my wheels, I’ll give up! I always give up!

Which is true.  At the first instance of adversity, I feel as though stars aligned against me and that I may as well turn back.  Or that I’m rattling a safe and comfortable status quo (which I am) and that means I might feel something risky and new.  It’s 30 seconds on this platform and already I question the whole concept of tracking.  Suddenly, everything becomes unknowable.  Everything I’m doing feels loosey-goosey, without authority, as you like it.  Not this confirmable, one to one match with a plan outlined by God, put only this much in your mouth and run until you gasp and then, and only then will I, the god of belly fat, withdraw, mathematically, your pudgy stomach.

I want the failure to be clear as day.  (If it is a failure, it IS clear. It’s the two pizzas and the Blood Moon, and a couple apathetic exercise days.  I just don’t want those things to add up to failure, maybe?) And they don’t.  Maybe I built some muscles? But the “failure” also includes the success of having tracked those pizzas, having gotten on the bike and moved my body to the point of dancing yesterday, of having done twice as many situps, eating a 1000 times less than I would have at the Galentine’s Day party today because I was aware of what was going into my gob.

I am building those kind of habits.  That’s pretty great.

I wasn’t planning to stop.  I am not planning to stop.  But of course, I never PLAN to stop.  I never hit these moments of adversity and say, OH NO, I CANNOT! and throw a white flag.  It’s tiny, tiny slides.  It’s saying, I will start fresh tomorrow rather than I start fresh now.   It’s saying, I’ll just have this calorie-laden thing because it’s too much to handle right now. It’s saying, I’ll just guesstimate on MFP, because it’s too embarrassing to put down what I know I actually put in my mouth.

So I don’t know, precisement, how many calories are in the mimosa I drank or what the single cream cheese spinach wrapped thing contained, but I know enough to guess at it.  I can get pretty close.  I can do something more than nothing.  I can exercise through these cramps.

The party was nice.  Very nice to talk to a couple old friends and see them in a context free of the entanglements it used to have with work. Already there are pictures up on Facebook and I find myself having to settle myself down and say it’s okay to post this on your timeline.  No need to act like you weren’t there in the body you have.
Talking to my mentor, equally, but differently nice.  Feeling someone’s interest in my life without having to explain anything.

My feet feel about 50% better, too.  My driving panic  was held at bay, even going so far to try and reclaim a road this morning.  It helps with the time of the year, this deep dark shadow that wants me to lay down, very still, and wait for the last morning.  Valentine’s Day and the long rope it can go piss up.

I just feel real talkative about it all.  It’s early enough, the money is going to work out for Tuesday, I got done what needed to be got done and there’s some real time to relax.  So.  Yes. Yes.  Yes.

Come on, belly, let’s have another day of dancing.

When Bertha Mason Loved a Man

pexels-photo-38990I am well and truly in the grips of Saturday’s fugue state. It is snowing, sincerely, which is Colorado for you as I was traipsing around regretting my coat this afternoon. In the out of doors, in fact. Yes. We took a brisk walk with the dog who is always eager to join us and it was possibly seventy degrees. We went over hill and dale, or at least 2 miles out and back in the little suburban development that newly adjoins my parents’ now old growth suburban development, and my legs are noting the difference between stomping around to exercise videos and treading pavement. It was good. It’s one of those things where you feel really excited about having done it despite while you’re doing it, contemplating every few moments about stopping and laying down in the street.

I also left my phone charger in the car and I’ll have to figure out how much I want to have that tomorrow – is it worth braving the snow? It always has to be something idiotic. Just to keep my feet on the ground. Just so I don’t get ahead of myself.

After a questionable session with the scale this morning, I’ve deduced that I have lost 3 pounds. PROBABLY. I can feel those 3 pounds, but the feeling that this isn’t enough is certainly present. If I were doing low-carb it might be double that. But all I can do is be gracious to it, and say three is better than zero if I can sustain it. If it doesn’t rely on me having a specific shake, or making this specific OCD ritual of a two-week behavior that is unrelated to my actual life, maybe I can see it as actual change.

If I don’t feel deprived or relegated to specific layers of the food pyramid, maybe I can handle telling myself no when I want everything and everything now. Stopping myself in eating situations has been a bit easier, I’ve noticed. Like I could eat a certain amount of ice cream that I’ve budgeted for and I can, put the container back in the freezer fairly close to that point. Not perfect, but I can lay down my weapons of choice and bli I want to see what a year of doing this means to my body. Is it going to just be 3 pounds. I don’t don’t know, but I doubt it. This was also a month with birthday cake, pizza, restaurant food, unexpected calorific meals and me just seeing if this was even possible.

I think it is.

I’ve been good on the food. My chicken thigh ably fed me this evening with this little garlic butter sauce over rice with green beans and carrots. I think I’ve kept within the margins as best I can. I am earnestly trying.

Now I am doing what I can to relax into the few hours before some hairy, scary work days and the hairy, scary place my brain can sometimes choose to be. It’s okay. We’re talking on Twitter about negative self-image and it’s sort of amazing to be walking what feels like the most isolated path and it turns out we’re all headed somewhere together. We just have to decide where that’s going to be.

I’d like to suggest, scary and hairy though it is, that we aim for up.

Redlance and Nightfall

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I am home, unexpectedly.

An incident happened at the event and I was called in early to go sit at the event site while the boss was dealing with the incident.  Then, at 3 or so, I was let loose back in the world.  It felt as though the heavens were opened up because I accepted, however sourly, that I was going to have to work from 2-8, and so getting there at nearly noon was a goddamned drag.  Being set free felt almost, with the dark, malignant thoughts running about in my head, like being let loose from a literal cage.

I had thought I was due in to work at 2pm, anyway, so I would have shown up, having driven down there and ended up having to turn back around.  Or not, I might have been conscripted in an ah well sort of fashion.   It wouldn’t have been the end of the world, but I could have done with a couple more hours of laying here, not thinking about things I ought to think about.  Investing in the magic of

Today was one of those days where you realize your problems are really problems.  In that they do, in fact, impact your life and you are not just quirky in a charming, hapless sort of way.  I learned this when I met my college roommate who was volunteering for me and she was just as I recalled her, though it’s been many moons since we last crossed paths.   She looked festive and smiled genuinely at me and my imperfect, rushed face that I had intended to do up so that I looked quasi-in keeping with my role and the fact that we’re not slobbish college jerks anymore.  But I hadn’t gotten there before the Incident had my boss call me in and so I was there, in that college hoodie, one I realize has holes in it around the wrist, and a thin veneer of foundation that I splatted on before I left the house, and learning about her engagement.   They are buying a house together in a far-off suburb.  Life is good in her neck of the woods.  Her sister is pregnant with twins.

I am happy with myself that I am so wholly and utterly pleased for her that the idea that any of my petty jealousies is just vaporized as I think of it.  Her happiness inflates my own and I nearly teared up with the very real friendship I still feel for her.

All this and I realize, I can’t drive on the main road because it terrifies me into hysterical blindness and panic attacks.  I live in a genuinely messy condo.  I haven’t really had a long-term relationship in..well, yeah.  A while.  There is such work that requires such bravery ahead and I don’t even know where the room is where they’re holding the tests.  I just feel really inadequate, not in comparison with her, but just with the aggregate of friends and acquaintances and even beyond all that…

Beyond any other thing, is this: I want it.  I want it. I want it.  I want to be free.