The Eke: Day 5

If you don’t do the things you say you’re going to do, there is no reasonable, logical, feasible way for you to end up the places you say you’re going to be.

I need to get a new mattress, because sleeping as I do, laying here as I do causes such a violent and terrible response, one that I am surely experiencing in my teeth as well, that I really lose functionality.  This is my day to get stuff done and I can’t fathom doing anything but laying there just on the softer edge of agony, waiting for something to physically kick me out of bed.  Reading about the state of the world is no great help, you just want to pull up more and more covers to quash all the noise of that.

So somehow, we’ve peeled ourselves out of bed, the bed/iron maiden, long after we ought to have emerged.  We’ve logged the mini-breakfast, but need to pour some water. A small thing, but I can feel myself shying away from it today.  I just want to be still and think my way around the headache rather than taking some aspirin, drinking a cup of the clear stuff and moving.

The haircut will help.  Force me to get up and put something of a face on and be in public.

Shortly, we will need to investigate lunch.  A house lunch, not a wandering out and spending too much on things we don’t know we are eating.  See, the magical mental shifts sometimes happen deep underground.

….

My hair smells like the oil from the pizza.  I ate it, but I ate it ensuring it was allotted and measured and I hardly ate anything else to let me eat it.  And I enjoyed it, so I suppose that’s how this is meant to work.  Still need to get some nutrients in with this method and damn if it wasn’t chock full of the sodium.  Things I would likely never choose to be aware of it was I wasn’t tracking. It should have told me I needed to bring some water with me to the show, but no, I didn’t realize until I got there, and it was BYOB how shitty an idea that was.

The concert was nice – a Sofar show where people are expected to, and largely do, be quiet while the performers are singing.  Got a couple new artists, one in particular who I enjoyed, and I know I enjoyed it because I started crying within ten seconds of her beginning her first song.   Totally like being beaten emotionally raw while I sat under a metal stool surrounded by man-bun sporting hipsters.

I antagonized my sister with my Leftist propaganda.  We took a picture I should hate but I’m too tired to care about it being shared online.  We discussed things and vented about the respective stalled out relationships in our lives.  We didn’t decide anything.  We didn’t do anything but be and for a while that felt pretty okay.

 

The Sapidity of Thou: Day 4

Well, water only gets you so far.  And a weirdo lunch does not always suffice when you’re looking down the wand length at a 5 hour D&D game.  So my thought is at this particular moment, we just go ahead and get something for lunch when I leave here and track it down to the screwiest last calorie.  Just to get myself good and proper full and then we don’t eat post 7.  Sounds doable.  Maybe.  I think there will be stuff floating about to eat, but I am at that stage of fog and clutching, desperate, disorganization where I can’t feel very much control.  So I don’t know.  I’m going to try and go to the store and find something feasible for my purposes.

When you’re hungry like this and distracted by worries and incomplete tasks, it is a huge fight not to let yourself just wild if you can just say it’s only for today.   It is a matter of some small account to realize that I at least kept the leash and kept going.  Paid attention to portion sizes and stopped when I intended to stop.  Even though that meant sitting with lots of barely touched things in bags while I talked to J about anything other than the things we need to talk about.  Mostly D&D.
Naturally, I go to the game and have a grand ol’ time.  There were only three of us. Well, two relatively tender men and then, the wounded, with the brazen, sometimes Falstaffian GM.  And me, oblivious to the arch, comic romantic attentions of some random NPC oarsman, given that fact that some tentacled, flying sorts of fish nearly killed me.
It does go to make me re-realize that so many things we don’t want to do – we kind of do want to do them.  We kind of do want to experience them and we can endure some low-level resistance internally to get there.  Lately, I’ve had to stop asking myself certain questions because I know what the answer will be and the answer will never be anything helpful.  It will be a verbal obstacle to the positive benefits of reality.  Don’t turn there.  Don’t stay here.  Don’t breathe the air around you.  Sometimes, we have to act in our own benefit because the rest of us doesn’t have a clue.
This did, however, make today’s paperwork and diet go a bit awry.   But only a bit.  I still cut the factory off at 7pm, but I did probably go over a bit in an attempt to correct a very strict and austere breakfast and lunch situation.  I wanted to be able to concentrate on the game, to not be offered pizza and be ravenous enough to eat it, and to not freak out about driving there at a weird time with a lot of things on my mind.  So many things I’d forgotten until many hours later that today is my mother’s chemo day.
Tomorrow, tomorrow we see her and complete paperwork.

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.

Papancha

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I don’t know how I feel about this stock photo site.  Have I mentioned this before?  Everything is a little too evocative.  A little too composed and processed.  The old site would just have a slightly out of focus picture of a pencil and I’d think, YES, that’s my life.  My life is that pencil in this moment – it is the single most compelling, yet absurd, yet complete metaphor for who and what I am at this very moment and if it’s not, it’s a perfect tool for which to create dissonance and surreality.

A really nice shot of a beautiful rural scene sort of makes me paler in comparison.  Maybe it’s better this way.  If I don’t say anything of note or value or tickle your narrative bones in my posts, at least they’ll have some aesthetic value.  Even if it’s sort of regurgitated, culturally-approved aesthetics, processed through photoshop and cropped to within an inch of its life, it’ll have that.

It is Sunday night and the syndrome threatens.  Anxiety about the new work week, anxiety even about happy things like going out to eat on Tuesday (in a nano-second, I have considered: wearing that dress that draws attention to my legs, doing my hair and makeup which always turns out poorly when I actually try and not just half-ass it, do we have time to go to the movie and eat?,  what theatre would we go to, she won’t want to go to the movie, will I eat the right things?, that place has really delicious items with unknowable calorie counts, will I totally blow my diet?, when will I exercise, I will blow off exercising that day and I can’t and don’t want to do that).  It all feels like a treadmill floating above of pit of fire.

So.  I am aware I do this.  Today has been nice in that even though it’s been a quiet day, the Broncos are going to a Super Bowl – a fact I care about just enough to mention it here and very little more than that – but it will make people generally more pleasant to deal with this week. I have also read.  I have also read an interesting On Being article about thought proliferation which you see in action here all the time if you’re the one lucky person on this earth who doesn’t experience it themselves.   Essentially, the way one negative thought or an physical action or experience that leads to a single negative thought can suddenly sour your mindset for hours, or even days and beyond.  The Buddhist concept of papancha. How we torment ourselves for the thoughts we do have and our reactions to them.  I dunno, I’d recommend it.  I also read more of Big Magic, nearly finished with that one.  It’s not Bird by Bird, but then, what is?

I am really wanting and hoping to kick that wanting into deciding I will get up tomorrow and get on the bike before work.  It does make me feel good and I have earbuds so I could blast music and not upset anyone.  I did it today and felt outrageously good – the soreness is fine, present, but fine.

Enough thingnesses happened that I didn’t get too het up about the demands of the Universe that I dreamed up somewhere between yesterday and today of myself.  Wherein dudes write back or dudes are polite or dudes are in any way under my control.  They’re not.  But other thingnesses are like thighs

What do you think, sirs?

The Tiniest of the Tiny Miracles

vintage-2-1418279I did not collapse over the weekend or die or get sucked up a drain pipe or any other such worries you or I may have had about crossing the imaginary temporal threshold between 2015 and 2016.  I am here, changed because every day changes you, but not changed because I have fully come to terms with my issues and resolved them as sometimes I have imagined in the past this passage would provide or make me capable of doing.  It, as the lady says, doesn’t have to be that way anymore, either.

Instead, I have a lot of hard, hard, back-breaking work to do.   So we can’t get overly hyper about January 1st.  January 4th and the return to work, relatively visionless and deeply concerned, are both on their way so, my friends, instead we get grateful of the last stretch of time to get quiet.  And from that comes a desire to be glad and to use this blog to refocus.

I have done lists of gratefulness before – I don’t think you can get too much gratitude. It centers you amidst your own universe, so you don’t get too far ahead or behind yourself.

    • I am grateful for this time, however poorly or grandly I spent it.   It, like every other 10-day stretch, went too fast regardless.
    • I am grateful as hell for the desire to work on the novel again.  Even if it takes a cheap reason like the cut of a character’s jib to get my rhetorical wheelhouse turning – it’s yet another example of the reason not bearing much on the result.  It is the work that matters and getting this strange and important part of my life together.
    • I am grateful I was willing to get on the scale today.  I am grateful because that was quite a scare it gave me. Like shit, howdy.  You can’t eat like you do, darling and expect to stay at the same not good but not scary spot forever.  Things do shift even if you aren’t watching them move. It makes sense out of a lot of odd body things I’ve been experiencing.  It also makes sense because I started tracking today.  I need to rearrange things here, but I need to share that every day because I SO don’t want you to know.  I live for your approval and eating shittily and saying, “yes, I did have four doughnut holes to match four garlic knots and a piece of pizza and some popcorn and I don’t feel bad about it” does have a strange power over me to actually make me feel – not bad – just alert to what I can do to look good for you.  Again, bad reasons, fine results.
    • Just about getting on my bike.  Don’t care that it’s 10:45p.m.  Gonna be that way a ton this year.
    • I am grateful for old Liz Phair songs, the Pharos Gate,  Lucille Clifton, the limbic system.
    • I am grateful for this meditation video and being able to relate to it.   And the School of Life in general.

Shillelagh Sue

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I spent longer than I’d care to admit sussing out the correct spelling for shillelagh.

Feeling pretty okay for a variety of reasons.

I am getting stronger even when I feel ridiculously weak in nearly every area.  This strength comes, for the most part, from being willing to open my eyes and take stock.  I have spent, I would say, the past 3-9 months, waiting for the kick forward.  Waiting for the barrel to release the bullet, the sign to drop from the heavens, the little voice to get loud.  But the voice has screamed itself hoarse, I’ve had signs attached to anvils and anvils attached to signs, I’m swiss cheese from all the starting pistols pointed my way.  Now, all we have is the power of the calendar to start drawing this line in the sand.

The things you want don’t exist without you moving towards them.  Even if it’s just opening your eyes in their direction, you have to do that much.  But more than that, I am coming to terms with the fact that there is significantly more than just opened eyes.  My body is unhappy, my mind is unhappy, and both have idled away the time that might have shifted that unhappiness.  Instead, we have cemented it.

So 2016, despite all the effort that has been expended thus far to change jobs, to travel, to go to therapy and make some driving possible, has to be the year of the jackhammer.  Exercise, eating vegetables, losing weight, reading 52 books, writing aggressively, staying away from computer games and excessive TV numbing, more travel, not spending evenings stressing about things at work that are worthy of stress but do not get solved with stress, working towards the larger goal of writing to support myself, getting my personal finances in order, start working on saving some money for the future, start working on making myself emotionally available to some nerd guy who probably has really strong feelings about Star Wars but is cute and clever and good on a pub trivia team, talking with my friends about life and making them laugh, hanging out with my mom and dad a bit more, maybe getting a bike.

That’s stuff I want for myself.  I might have to write it out every day.  I am thinking I want a whole year of change, but that only happens if I have a Monday of change and a Monday morning of change and a waking up change.  And that’s a lot to expect of yourself.   There has to be both trajectory and plans and processes that promote success and a general understanding that people shouldn’t live at 0 and they can’t live at 60.  They have to ebb and flow and deal.

I know that I want to take some pictures at the end of the year.  I have a prop I want to use for these pictures.  You most likely won’t be seeing these pictures, but it is possible, if I get my shit together, that you would.  I want to see change and confidence and weight loss and bravery.  I can only make this visible by changing, losing weight, and developing some confidence.   And all of that, when you know life is just as easily a straight line, requires bravery.

So that’s where I’m at tonight.

Ever Elsewhen

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Get back in that body.  Get back down in that body.   Come out of the clouds, the air, the houses you maintain in the places where you are not.

Get back out the ice pick and start swinging at this fortress of solitude, these walls of glass and ice, these vines, these briars, thorns and all.

Get back on that horse even if it’s eyeing you ruefully and aiming for its feed bag (this is probably awful advice because the last time I did it I got clocked on the forehead when the horse decided she’d rather eat than have little me on her back for a walk – I think was probably incidental to anything the horse wanted).  Get back on the wagon.  Get back on the Sunday Night Express.  Tell the same story but mean the words more this time, don’t leave anything out.  Don’t let it fester.  Pour the bleach, dig the weeds, bend down and rattle the solipsism where it lives.  Detoxify the shame of past failure, throw everything out into the fresh air.

Push back on the poison that calms, what pacifies, what stirs up all the doubts oxidizing below the surface, brings their sharp and rusty edges and drags them down my throat.   Say no, no thank you to the idea that things simply are.  What bullshit.

Turn back on that clock.  Set it right in front of you.  Listen to the metronome and know that your life is in every tick and every tock regardless of a noise or movement.   It is spending even now.

It is always impossible.  Laying in bed, slipping in and out of one plane to fall through another, never quite or total.  Always elsewhen. Waiting for someone to turn around the corner and say, you, yes, you, I have snuck into the locked places of your heart and I have seen that you are my one and only.  And none of any of this matters.

The Faithful Light says, without judgment, that will never happen.  That cannot logically be.  So, she lays her palms flat, and faces you, “What do you want to do?”  Avoiding elsewhen’s clutches, its always grasping reach, I say, I want to do.   And she nods.  It is a shared approval, a shared self-knowledge, and we start with five minutes and we leave the realms of possibility and nail down five moments of productive action.

Not writing does not produce better writing.  Not driving does not produce reduced fear of driving.  Not talking about my worries does not eliminate my worries.  Not putting things out of reach does not ease my addictions.

The thing that must be recalled is that I am the common denominator, that the change I seek can only be reflected in the changes I make.  Everything else is a fool’s errand.  For the first time, in a while, I thought about you and what you could offer me on an evening like last night and I felt your absence profoundly, achingly, physically.  I thought I needed your distraction and not the computer’s soporifics.  So, today, tomorrow, more.