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.

The Earliest Moon of Wintertime

As in so many places, for so many people, I am really mad at my family and it’s Christmas Eve.  I shouldn’t feel what I feel.  But I do.

My plan is to just eat until I am sick again.  I want to not be here.   I want to not be here at all.  I’m frustrated with the Broncos, I’m frustrated with the way my family’s celebrating, the very noises they’re making, I’m frustrated with a thousand things I have absolutely no ability to change and commenting on will be met with screams.  I tell my sister to let things roll off her back because anything she finds wanting is always responded to with RAGING, eardrum-bleeding capslock and I just need to breathe through this.  Hypocritical me is finding this difficult.

I’m caring about things I don’t care about and I have no idea why.

I just feel without meaning on a day that feels altered, broken free from tradition and reason, awkward and present as a matter of habit.  Lonely for anything to be kind in my direction.

Alright.  Quiet.  Quiet.  Quiet.

I’m overly sugared.  Overly wild.  I just want to control things.

I don’t want to talk to you, that’s for sure.


Sorry.  After all this time, all these words, I still haven’t figured one thing out for sure.

I am blessed.  I don’t want to be, but I am.  I want to be in a boxcar, eating wormy cat food.  I want to be friendless and alone.  I want to be on the keen edge of everything, surviving.  I want to feel this sorrow cleanly.

But I have a car.  I have a room.  I have a guitar.  I have people who know where my heart lies and nudge me there when I sink into woe.  I have food in the cupboards and a feast tonight.  I have heat.  I have clean water.  I have stories to invent.  I have things to learn.  I have days to spend.  I have memories.  I have a heart that heaves, eyes that see wonder in small beings with good intent, a soul that has words for grace in its language, a language it sometimes shares with me.   I have  abundance and my worries fade in view of my reasons for joy.

Let love bring more to my life and let its absence subtract nothing.

Let it happen.  Let us slip and slide.  Let us break free of our anger on this day of forgiveness.  Let us not want anything more than what we have and let everything else be a blessing.  Let us stop trying to micromanage the experience of being joyful and be joyful.  Joyful and wrong and the wrong times with the wrong food with the wrong music on and the wrong people at home.  Let it all be unexpectedly perfect.  This day that we have spent the year racing towards, us terrible, unloved wretches.  Let us face the Christmas morning as we want to be.  Let us choose, not the day, not the season, not the culture.  Let us choose and remember we can choose this every day from now on.

Time to cook.

Wind Turns the Tree Into Bone

I keep waiting for the giant red patent leather shoe to drop.  The crimson stiletto of Valentine’s Day Single Girl decompensation.  I keep waiting for a big, obvious reason to start bawling.  I don’t feel like that sounds all that fun, really, though.  I basically would be outright abusing myself to demand that I have “a good cry” for the sake of having one; unpacking and shitkicking all my emotional garbage about the room isn’t going to free me at all.  It doesn’t make a knock on the door happen and cause some magical stranger appear to fall head over heels for me on Valentine’s Day.  Beating my head against the wall has never so much as made someone on the other side beat back, so what I’m achieving is a sore head and that’s about it.

Also, I’m ignoring all the histrionics I’m hearing (which I guess, is only from one person and it’s kind of what I expected so..) and I’m not watching TV.  I’m just not buying in.   This year, it actually made me laugh, the swarm of men in sweatpants, kids trailing behind them, eyes obviously agog and reeling with sugar highs, determinedly seeking the floral department at the grocery store trying to buy the last wilted bouquets of roses in the case. Someone walked out with a vase full of white roses, which I have to imagine is not going to be as effective as he hopes, or maybe there’s some unfortunate funeral.  Of a virgin nun. White roses?

They all just know they have to do something and they’re mentally gauging their bank accounts and what the woman will be pissed over and they’re rumbling about how she never fucking gives them anything and she’ll probably complain anyway, but it’s Valentine’s Day and that’s the law and so they shell out the money for some flowers that’ll be dead in a week.

For the first time, I feel honest when I say if that’s what this holiday is conventionally about, if that’s the most we can expect, opting out doesn’t feel so deflating.  I’d much prefer celebrating radical self-love.  Which I can fearlessly say involves all definitions of that word.  I have healthy, good food (as well as a breakfast cupcake provided by work) for dinner, I’ve got exercise to do and some laundry which I may or may not feel super into, I’ve got my words and my friends and I’m on track right now.  I got a full larder and a clear, if tired, head.

I just don’t see the use in acting out, I’ve spent years doing that and it hasn’t shifted the playing field at all for me.  Pizza and cake and gummi bears do not bear impact on the goals for this year, if anything they set the timetable back.  It just doesn’t honor this spirit to coat it, bread it, dump it in hot oil and leave it to settle.

We’re moving on.

I’m just saying that you are still today what you were yesterday and will be tomorrow: a worthwhile person.


Light Up My Room (Insensate)

This song has a pleasant melancholy to it that matches the mood of the evening.  It’s a Sunday after-Christmas, this little bridge of a day between the holiday and the Dead Week that sits so awkwardly between Christmas and New Year’s.  I am worn down, but I’m worn down from physical activity and not really worn, per se.  I’m just in a nice state of exertion fading into a desire for rest.  I made myself get up and about and help my parents get their house back together after our celebration and I made myself go with them to walk the dog and I made myself finish my laundry and haul all my things that I brought and got (save a set of dishes which I’ll bring up tomorrow since it was already about five trips) and I made myself walk away from the cupcakes and candy.  I have to be able to do that on a dime.  I want to be able to pull the reins and respond because the goal is in mind.  I will not eat what I don’t actively want to eat.

So I’ve been home for an hour or so after having a scare that my car wouldn’t start and I’ve hopped to it instead of trying to set up the XBox and pretend like the house will resolve itself in the interim.  So I sorted my laundry and put it away, I emptied the dishwasher and loaded it, and once we clear all the counters and make it smart and neat, I’ll add in all the dishes, pots and pans and kitchen supplies I got and in a bit here, I’ll go get dinner.  I also washed out my makeup sponges and will be doing my brushes here in a bit and I’ll be changing my bedding out and fluffing it up with my new pretty blanket.

Order is feeling a lot better than disorder and I’m feeling interested in focusing on creative writing, namely The Novel, and plugging along at making the house feel homey and lovely and pretty and clean feels like a good engine for other steps I’d like to take.  If I get overwhelmed, I stop, I don’t give up.

Insensate is the word of the day, not the feeling or lack thereof.  I’ve been trying to learn new words, play word games where I just get my brain functioning on a more academic level.  I want more complex, fully-fleshed writing that cuts to the semantic quick with scalpel-like precision. Insensate popped into my head today.  Necrotic. Semiotic. Turnstile.  Obligatory. Exemplum. Lapsarian. Genuflect.  Riotous.  Environs.

We all have gifts, I believe, that because they’re not conducive to daily practice and attention, turn to rot.  I have a facility with words, a trademark of sorts for being able come up with a pithy turn of phrase, for spinning emotion into a block of text, sending you willfully into a shared dream.  Not much call for that in business emails when you’re just hoping to get the typos out of other people’s work.  But I don’t want to let it go, nor do I want to let go any of my dreams – having a nice house, a big, aggressively imaginative mind, a healthy body, and to write for a living.

Maybe a fingernail’s all I’ve got to hang on to those nebulous, storybook fantasies but I believe that if I believe the energy creates itself.


What does Christmas mean this year?  This year, which is the first I’ve ever completely documented, every last crummy, giddy day, has been hard, but it hasn’t been impossible.   I don’t come to this Christmas feeling like a complete failure or in need of an escape.  I don’t come sliding in on scabby palms and knees, eyes red, shoulders bowing around my ribcage. I am not a woeful wretch.  I can face what 2010 was without the powerful urge to punch myself in the head for all that wasted time.  It’s nice.  Sure makes for a change.

What Christmas really is about this year is excitement for 2011.   I’m looking forward to what I can achieve in the new year, given all that I’ve managed this year.  That I’ve proven to myself.   I don’t mean to put myself on any sort of pedestal simply for keeping one promise, particularly in light of the fact that I started out with a plan to blog daily about weight loss and in so doing, lose weight.   That hasn’t exactly come together and I’ll admit it wholly and entirely. It’s my fault.  I balked.  I had my reasons every time – but they were always short-term, stopgap reasons.  I haven’t rooted out the deep, all the way to China fear yet.   I haven’t written to the raw point yet or even opened the medicine cabinet.  I am completely afraid of what will happen to my life if I do what I want to do: all the upset I will cause, all the balances I’ll upset, all the difficulty I will place on other people’s already bowed shoulders.  But I’ve never thought about all the burden I could ease for others if I was confident and changed in the way I want to change.  Or I’ve thought about it and instead focused on the milky-warm security of impossibility. 

You can’t move forward if you believe you’re standing still.  Or something.  Let’s ix-nay on the riteness-tay.

In 2011:
I will be dating someone.
I will have lost twenty pounds.
I will have published my poems.
I will be noticeably more organized at work and at home.
I will not drink pop anymore. (Oh, I waver on this.)
I will have blogged 500 words everyday.
I will have stopped putting my chin in my hands all day.

These are big things to try and do.  More than one person really should find herself attempting in a lifetime, but still.  It is a relief to have them written down, a relief and it makes me nervous, too, so I know it’s right. 

I’ve got Pandora on in my office, with Irish Christmas carols on the channel, planning Christmas Eve in my head.  What rises in the mist rolling off our beloved mountain, is a sense of blessing.  Honest blessing and not just what you say because it’s Christmas and you’re not dead.  Things could be so otherwise than they are.  There are so many in the world who do not have the luxuries that I have been able to afford this year.  And these are not foreign, invisible people.  This has been a hard year for people in America who twelve months ago would have considered themselves in my same boat.  Yesterday, we tried to help a very kind man from Indiana try and find a job here. 

Nothing is promised us in this life.  But sometimes, you can get something by realizing you want it and asking for it.  That is, after all, how Santa Claus works.