The Thing With Feathers

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Ah, all my lovely friends and blog readers.   It is Friday, Good Friday for some, Great Friday for others, and just today for some of the rest of us.

I wanted to talk about the fact that while I am not losing my job…I am being given the all-clear to look for another job.   This is a complicated thing that I’ve been talking about with the people involved – some of them and wrestling with for a while now.  A thing that’s causing a certain amount of stress in my brain.  It’s made me feel a bit like I am floating, it’s made me want to be told point blank what is to be done, it’s made me want to not do anything – read, write, exercise – that even yesterday made me feel good.  Like a flash flood of depression.

But.

What the hell.

The impulse to whine about having to deal with this doesn’t get me anywhere.  I have a weekend.  I have plans and things to do.  I have a story to work on.  And I have a story to let go.

I so often use this blog for the reiteration, the focus, the underlining of things I tell myself I can’t do.  I can’t, I can’t, I can’t.   It is walking water torture.  It is a little beastling that runs ahead down every hallway and locks doors and windows.  It pulls down shades, turns out lights.  And for the longest time, I have just wandered along as though I turn corner after corner in these darkened rooms and just have to turn back out again.  Telling the story of my life and casting myself as the Little Match Girl is a profound addiction for me.

So, we climb out of that shell.  I am a thousand different women, a different one every day, but there’s a ribbon that runs through us all and knots us together.  This soul that exists without a name, a fire that burns for no witness, this river that feeds itself.  It is metaphysical, but it matters.  I matter in my own life.  Imagine that.

What does all of this mean?  It means I have to do some shit I don’t want to do.  Own up to things I don’t want to own up to in terms of food and negativity and my own flatout destructive laziness.  The damage I do by behaving like I don’t matter.  Because there is a very real cost to stress hiding, to living with an aim to stay invisible.  I pay it in health, I pay it in peace, I pay it financially, of course, when things get left undone because there’s emotional pain tagged to it – oftentimes, deeply irrational levels of emotional pain bound up in stories nobody knows but me.

Totally had go back and edit out the 2nd person there – POV matters, too.  I live in this floaty, 2nd person stance here.  As if the shit that hurts is just happening, not necessarily happening to me.  The woman who does this in writing group (she uses this rather aggressive form of 1st person that somehow requires her to refuse to use articles) kills me.

I am alive and in this body.  I have real desires.  I am not just my words written to meet a quota.  I have to deal with paper.  I have to deal with phone calls.  I have to goddamn grow up about this because laying back and wishing has not served me well.

So, more truth, less chatter.  Throw open windows, light candles, bust through doors.  Level up.

It is never so terribly impossible once we I begin.

 

Oddity Armada

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It’s nearly eight and I haven’t eaten and I don’t give a shit.  I will in a minute.  I’m wondering if the way my teeth feel is a result of my recent decision to just grind and press them together all the time, or something else.  I don’t know the answer because my dentist’s office couldn’t get my insurance called in before the hygienist had to go or some nonsense, despite leaving work early to get there early and worry about it so it’s the 3rd time I’ve had to reschedule and frankly, right now, I feel a bit like screaming.  Like fighting.  Like arguing.  Like crying.  Like this itch inside of me to act up and out and be a willful, aggressive bitch is not going to be pacified.

It will, of course, because there’s no where to go but other people who don’t deserve my vitriol, but fuck if I don’t have some…in these irritated, throbbing gums, in these efforts that fritter into nothingness, in these days of stress and worry. Things are better, things are good, and I’m motivated, and I’m working on more and better.  I did my twenty minutes of cleaning. I ate what I needed to eat.  I did what was on the agenda.

….

I’ve eaten.  I’ve read.  I’ve relaxed a bit, though I think I’m going to be agitated for a while.  However long your standard while lasts for.

I don’t know how to do this without leaving my body and watching it happen to some other person.  I honestly don’t know how to stay and lean into the discomfort.   There’s motion in my legs even while I sit still.

More, I guess, on tomorrow’s broadcast.

Of course, this is about vulnerability.  I’m hanging here, waiting, frustrated, unsure, wanting two very different yet somehow equally inaccessible things.  I finally get to the point of risk, of dealing, of saying, so fucking what and the big sign comes down, contest over, we’re taking our situation back and going home.  Of course, vulnerability means you run out in the snow and you yell into the heavens that this is your own situation and these are your own rules and you’re going to stand there until something remarkable happens and the bodies celestial concur that you were willing.  You were out there, irrespective of the fact that nobody gives one earthly shit about what you do or don’t do.

They have their head down, they have their heart down, they have their row to hoe.  Unless you’re standing in there way, what are you to them?  And in this great vast forest of solitude where I have been Walden-ing for a thousand years….

And in the space of an ellipses, the chance to be more vulnerable slams itself down in front of me, a bull in my china shop and I have a few moments to avert my eyes and decide if I wish to make a scene and save the pretty delicacies or just be gored.  Mauled, moved to bits, cast into the void of space.  Well, perhaps the last is a bit hyperbolic.

Fence-Jumper

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I’m reading Amanda Palmer’s Art of Asking and it is, naturally, bringing up all sorts of emotions for myself.  I’m going through a bit of an emotional purge in my life. I started generating an idea for a really weepy, vulnerable post.  I still want to do it.  I probably still should, I just want to keep myself in a good, working mood.  It’s just reminding me how much I want to be a writer and I want to share my work, and I get in the way of letting that happen to protect myself from the possibility.

Mainly, I want it to be perfect and as a mortal, and someone out of practice with personal essays that aren’t just paintballing against a white wall, it ain’t gonna be.

I also remind myself that I face that reality everyday when I post.  When you can’t help secretly hoping that some post will arbitrarily connect and take off and somehow the person I am or that I’m trying to be can get seen, can be chosen and selected and pulled out of obscurity and therefore, loved.  Even if you know you didn’t try all that hard, or didn’t edit, or didn’t write anything that means anything other than a factual account of a deeply introverted person’s deeply uneventful life, you kind of hope that might happen.

…okay, so maybe I am going to write this.

Like, I hesitate to tag, because there’s this sense of trumpeting – come in, come visit, aren’t I clever?  I put this odd amount of self into it.  It’s this weird notion that sure, I can write this, sure, I can post it, but if it’s wrong?  What if I screwed something up? What if my opinions aren’t everyone’s opinions? What if people actively DISlike it? (And really, they should, because the imperfection in it is mind-boggling). And if I invited them to look at it, I crowed it was good enough to look at, spend their precious time on… I think that bullshit all the while riding along with this hope of love and delight and flower crowns and victory.

I remember when I was a very little girl and I would get in trouble or would have a crying jag ( as a sensitive sort, this was often. I cried at earnest people in commercials, at a dog’s bark across the street at shifts in light I found beautiful,) I would be sent to my room.  Once there, I would tantrum for a bit.  Thrust myself around, pluck at my skin, sneer in my little girl mirror, howl and rage.  Typically, though, I’d end up on the bed, huddled rather small, willing myself invisible.

If you would just come in, I’d think to myself, if you would just come in and comfort me.  If you would just come and hug me. See the hurt I just saw or felt or took on.  If you would just some in and soothe me, then I wouldn’t have to take all this on my own. The hurt would be acknowledged and it could leave me.

I could never vocalize this request.  Already a whiner, asking for this level of cosseting and attention that no one else seemed to want or need or get, felt very risky.  Also, I felt I knew my parents’ reaction after a few feeble attempts of trying to explain the empathetic response I was having.  Impatience with that felt like judgement, felt like I wasn’t getting it right, like the narrative was fucked up.  All of this is not to say they didn’t care.  Didn’t love me 100% with no caveats.  I just wanted them to be different than they were and I wanted them to know this without having to say it.  On rare occasions, I’d stomp out to the living room.  Mostly, I was ignored, or worse asked, “why are you crying again?”  This brought out the most powerful wave of anger when I felt as though I was radiating the pain of the universe.  It felt like I was being mocked for my empathy. I’ve since been given a name for what I felt.  Alain de Botton calls this the “paradox of the sulk.”  He writes: ‘If I have to spell this out to you, you’re not someone I want to be understood by.”

I just had this obstinate sense that if someone cared, like in the storybooks I read, they’d show they cared. They’d wordlessly know in the same way I knew.  In the same way I’d, even as that young girl, rub my mother’s shoulders or brush her hair when she was sad.  So I’d stay in the room, shaking and screaming inside my own head, fire behind my own eyes.

And eventually, I would exhaust my own ability to dwell on whatever petty wrong caused all this and the optimistic and buoyant parts of my creativity would rush in, characters of their own, and they would settle around me and cheer me up.  Or at least quell the upset so that I could distract myself with books, or tv, daydreams, food, of course, or from time to time, actual writing of my own which offered me the opportunity to be as selfish as I dared.  Where there was endless time to worry over my feelings, endless souls that could be conscripted to the task.

So I figured out, okay, so no one’s coming in. And if you go out, you’ve failed the test.  If you explain, you’ve failed it.  You’re waiting, Godot-style, for someone who will think you’re worthy of  “coming in for.” and will know, behind closed doors, that you’re there.  Well, good fucking luck with that one, sweetheart.  And I got less bothered and less willing to break down over tiny things and less willing to expect emotional interaction with anyone.  Over time, this has played out in its own sharp, sad saga that I have hinted at here, but I’m certain I’ve never addressed head-on.   I don’t know if today’s the day for that one, either.

I have grown up (a bit) since then, but making art (writing), seeking an audience for that is like setting up one of these emotional tests.  There’s this huge opportunity buried in it, but it’s weighed down by this incredibly unhealthy belief that nobody’s going to be able to overcome. That has nothing to do with wanting and everything to do with not knowing.  Because I don’t ask.  I don’t invite.  I shrug my shoulders and so you never have to fail the test you didn’t know that interacting with me entails.  There is no connection or disconnection.  There are just ships passing in the night.

When Amanda writes about wanting to be believed, to be real.  I’m right there, in that space, in that room, wanting just that. What I needed to know then was how to be vulnerable and ask rather than…well, angry I didn’t get what I wanted. The book has reminded me what it feels like not to ask for that connection, and, the risk you can minimize when you’re not hinged on the result of asking, acknowledging that people are checking in on me and do care, and the glory of taking the offered flower.

….

I really feel like this year is, in part, about seeing and taking the flower.

……………………………

on another note (because this is what I started to write before I let myself write the other business.)

…I still really like you.  Like a lot.  I make it crystal clear to myself that this is a self-indulgent fantasy.  So none of the psychic interrogators can rap my knuckles for the things I think about you.  But there’s some kernel of hope for myself that is at the center of it.  Like you’re the pro forma, the concept art, of someone who could be in my life and make me not linger at doorways anymore.  But I’m trying to stop worrying about it and like myself first.  Doesn’t seem to be a reason to play at outlandish stratagems when I still harbor such negativity about my body, my mind, my worth as a person, when I still struggle and fret and twist in the wind.  That, I imagine, and it’s a good sign that I can go so far as to imagine, is where the bravery needed to send an earnest hello will come from.

Wiht Wicht Wight: Day One Hundred Twenty-One


I think it is okay to say that it is just too much.  For one girl, for one day, for one moment, the camel’s back is broken.

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I am eating pie from Village Inn, contemplating dieting, feeling deeply alone, lonely, frustrated, isolated, and singular, like nothing.

There is a guy at Chipotle who keeps calling me miss (well, three times, two of which were today) and smiles.  I am mentioning this not to ascribe it to a new love hung on the stars in the heavens, but to say, jesus fucking christ, I need someone to say something more to me than Miss if Miss makes me feel like I’m not a wight wandering the moors.

There’s things I love, am grateful for, and hoping for, but all of it seems like a terrible distraction, fan dance around the loneliness, the need to be cared for.  The thing I can’t buy or find or steal or grab or emulate.

This is food talking.  This is exhaustion speaking.  This is not adulting.  This is me wanting to cry, but no tears coming.  This is all the stuff I can’t say or…

At the very beginning today, I felt like I wanted everyone to back the fuck up.  Soon as I hit the office door, I was caught up in other people’s maelstroms.  Their needs, their demands, and the pressure of my own about bugged my eyes right out of their sockets.   Then, there was too much attention at my silence, at my delay in acquiescence, could I, too, be frustrated about something?  Oh, god, they clamped their fists to their teeth, and then swallowed me up in bosom-crushing embraces, “Don’t blow up!” They insisted.  You are having a bad day, they stated.  I can see it in your face.  Oh, god, she’s upset!  And I gritted out, No, I’m fine.  There’s just a lot of work to do.  But that in no way impeded their questions, their needs, their demands.  You need to go home, but first, I just need this printed.  This one thing.

Then, transitional drama as new boss figures out further problems which need solving which we didn’t cause and that’s emotional, so emotional, that I stay at my desk and skip lunch rather than poke the hornet’s nest.  This fucks my head over and I fly to the aforementioned Chipotle, where the cute guy asks how I am, twice, and I, blearily, feel as though that’s nice, to be talked to, and I ask him how he is and he seems cheerful enough that I have to tell myself to calm the fuck down because not for one second does he mean anything more than a courteous thing to say to a customer and I go home and think a nap will help, but I wake up over full and grumpier than ever, thinking about work and getting up early and blah!

Okay, okay, okay.

Breathe.

This is a short dose of unhelpful crazy.

Tomorrow is a new day.

Damnit.

 

Opulent Hombre: Day Sixty-Three

Can’t quite tonight.  Can’t quite relax.  Can’t quite fill up.  Can’t quite finish my work.  Can’t quite make the pieces connect.

Still, we carry on as though we can.

I’ve eaten two more scotch eggs.  That makes 3 for today and officially two too many, but it was there and it was made and it was good.  Very writerly word choice there, dear.  Alright, so it was succulent, drizzled with hot sauce and chopped up cauliflower with this creme fraiche I got at the store on a whim.  I want to ride the bike tonight, get the blood flowing, and fill up my board.  I also want to huddle somewhere and make strange noises in the dark, mewl and scritch and hiss.  There probably isn’t time for both.

Another dream a bit further deferred.

I could do with a long shuffle behind the bookcases.  A sigh from deep within.  An old friend’s call.

I shouldn’t write about you, not when I should be conquering the reasons I’m not and haven’t been writing about someone else.  But I was in your old place today, casually, trying to bring you up in conversation when it’s clear that all the world has moved on.  It should be a lesson I should take to heart, but I can’t see the harm in thinking about you every now and then, with all the gauzy soft-focus I can muster, because the idea of you still gives me motivation to speak and think about myself.  I know this whole place is a palace to ego, to solipsism, but when you were around I felt that I had an antidote to staying inside my own head.   You cared, at least, seemingly, about my run-down spirit, about the girl behind this much taller facade.  All my little ideas, the stance of the outsider we shared, the person I wasn’t quite, but might have been had you found some way to stick it out and stay.  You thought we should laugh at all of this artifice.  This girl I was, in your old space, remodeled in garish, bubblegum colors you would have despised.   As though I was the woman in charge, as though I could account for every moment in my certain, straight-forward life.  As though I did not know the shadow that goes in and out with me.  You would have laughed at her, or, perhaps not.  You said I should be bolder and nowadays, I do ridiculous things boldly and cower mostly be accident.  I feel like if I could have your approval now, I’d feel surer about everything I’m attempting.  I’d want it more, beyond it being the thing it seems I have to do – to grow up, to take care of my duties, to make myself sharp as my potential once implied.    I can’t, though. Not one word of snark, not one unobtrusive glance, not one sense that things were starting to hitch together.  Not beyond imaginings.

And tonight it’s not quite enough.  Close, but not quite.

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A Wild Thing: Day Nineteen

When you find yourself watching a movie with Jon Stewart in a romantic lead, followed by a movie with Julia Stiles as a romantic lead…god help me, it’s time to go find something else to do.  I love him, and as much as I’m not fond of her, she’s fine…but these are old movies and I’m watching them and dredging up mountains of rhetorical questions about the state of my reality.

It’s a very strange form of ETEWAF, though, that means I can flip out on the couch, decide enough is enough and then crawl into bed in this darkened room and turn on Netflix so I can watch the end of Carolina even though I’m irritated by maybe everything about it except Alessandro Nivola.  Yes, I am as shallow as a sheet pan.  I can watch it and mute it when I find it super embarrassing and turn my attention towards you, ever faithful and devoted disciple of the great blehhhhhhhhhh we chronicle here.

The days are getting shorter and I am running in the rain more and more in my ill-fitting red coat.  Ill-fitting at the moment because it’s too loose.  It’s leaving room for a lot of sadness, I think was taken up by honeypies and sugared violets, the giddy blur of summer, and just not having to think about it.  Used to be I was a bit stuffed in that coat.  I feel, sitting here, being confessional with you, that I will be again.  Because it is fall, and cold, and who gives a shit how I fit in one coat or another and it all slips so readily from my hand in this gray.

As I asked once, this gray follows.  Tell me, Nanshe, what have I done to tempt it?

But no goddesses of oneiromancy seem interested in returning my calls.  And all the fear and anxiety and anguish pull at me, but the diurnal wins out in the end.  I go to work, I work, I return.  I usually find that comforting.  Today, I don’t know what I find.

I woke up this morning when the alarm struck at 6:00am.  Technically an hour and a half before I usually do, an hour and a half more than the 30 minutes I give myself to get ready and fall out of the door onto the pavement.  I could have gotten on the bike now shrouded in a brick of darkness and exercised with that time.  I could have walked outside or something.  But at least I didn’t go back to sleep, I drank my shake, took the internet methadone and calmed down.

I need something I don’t have.  Something I can’t get.  Something important.

Maybe it’s that it felt like I couldn’t pretend that it was going to be sunny days forever today that makes it hard.  Maybe it’s hormones or hunger or…empathy or just resistance to long-term solutions.

I feel weepy and lonesome and in want of a harmonica.

I just want the goddamn hint about when to get off this hamster wheel and run off with my person.

Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.

The Water Sustains Me Without Even Trying

I ….

I have to hesitate because I wanted to use you.   I wanted to open up all your windows and bust them open with a baseball bat.  I wanted to piss in your zinnias.  I wanted to crayon all over your symbolistic white walls.  I wanted to spend all five hundred words venting and vengeful and to end up aglow with catharsis.  Oh, blog, I wanted to put you up on the rack.

But I cried in a dark bathroom, stared around into the mirror, said Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, trying to make out something, make out nothing, trying to ignore the helpful spirit that made itself known to me.

I am angry, still.  I’m mad at how much is thrown on me.  How I leave so little room for my own sorrow that when I give myself an inch of it, swarms of everyone else’s falls down to fill that vacuum and I am pressed in with the blocks of concrete and this worm of disdain, of rage.

Nobody gives a fuck.  I got it.  I got it cold.

There’s a deadline.  I got that, too.

I’m shutting the door.  I’m shutting it over and over again until I can get the hell away from everybody’s demands.   Everybody’s expectant gimme fingers.  Everybody’s cooing “Oh, you’re so good.  You’re so good to us.”

Fuck you.

When the only response that anyone has to your sorrow is to tell you how they have it worse, I don’t know how to deal with that.  I don’t know where this one-upsmanship can go.   I have empathized myself into a pit.

I ache to distract myself.  I had bread.  I had one slice of pizza.  I had to willfully go home and stop eating anything so as not to justify eating even more.   So now I am so tired, and I have to get on the bike, and do the situps and this makes me feel bad and upset instead of inspired and good.   My sinuses clogged with the snot of an overwrought monster of the mind.

I want to be better than how I’m feeling right now.  But most of me wants to feel what I feel right now more.  To not just let it be swiped away.  Every choice is the wrong choice.

I was just…nothing went my way today, nothing, and I had to smile and drop things to make things nice for others.  And it seems like I do that a lot.  So much that I feel the ugliness of martyrdom upon my shoulders and that’s not what I want either.  I just want to vent.  I just want to keep going.

Why won’t the weight come off?  Why do I spend so many hours alone?  Why won’t I read more?  Why do I miss my viola?

….

It’ll be alright.  It’ll be fine.  I will take care of it.  I’ll tamp it down.  They’ll take a little more.  I’ll care a little less.

At least, I take solace in the fact that last bit isn’t true.  It’ll never, ever be true.

And you.  This shadow burnt on the pavement of this heart.   Hard to take solace in a shadow, but I’ll take off the martyrdom and wear your gossamer over my bare shoulders instead.