A Coterie of Whirlygigs: Day 3

So many things going on.  Task upon task upon task.  I used to fear and crave this sort of life.  That my creative self would be broken upon its rocky shores, that my life could be pulled up out of its primordial ooze and spun into an elegant vase by the forces of just being busy.  Being full of purpose and absent of time to worry and suffer and build up anxiety within. Being a vessel void of anxiety seemed always like a good way to be.  Daydreaming of adult life as a girl, I always imagined silver cars up steep hills, making the hairpin turns out of a harried, glittering city, into the mountains, the highest mountain to some massive estate.  Sweeping into a room that overlooked the city skyline, a glass of wine in hand, silver stilettos tossed aside to clatter on the marble floor, I would collapse onto some white chaise longue, or even some simple kitchen table and I’d watch the sun set.  I would, I always imagined, feel safe and secure, fully funded, free, and yet, I always imagined myself entirely alone in those moments.

Here I am, grown-uppish, striving for something better for myself than an unhealthy future or capitulating to the belief that I can’t have anything just because that person driving those switchbacks to that hideaway mansion feels so far away from my hopes and dreams as they are today.  I’m actually counting the old calories.  I’m actually drinking water and not eating late into the evening.  I’m actually doing the things I’m asking of myself.  Weird. Who knows what this means?  Who knows what 365 days of this will bring? But it would be something.  It would be something.

So I am trying on the third day to continue.  Not perfect.  Teeth still irritated as hell and they’re begging for help and the best I can mentally say to them is that there is an appointment and it’s 12 days away and unless there’s blood or things falling outta my head, that’s what it is.  I wish they’d call and let me know, I’d love to not have this impede my fun this weekend and next, but I can only do what I can do.  I am just human.  Sorry, gums.  Sorry, I lived a life of dental fear and immoral and indecent dental behaviors, but I can’t undo it now except by being brave and calling…which I did.

So J.  So that talk that seems ongoing and strained and strange.  I mean, suddenly, there’s a slew of compliments…good ones, meaningful ones that only come from someone who’s actually paid genuine attention to you.  But I’ve haven’t been able to say the parts of this that are the hard parts.  The…thank you, but you need to know that if we don’t move on from the nebulous nature of this…that the pull to figure out how to be with someone here, someone local, is going to just get stronger.  It’s going to just be harder to bear and I don’t want us to suffer through that, suffer worse if it comes as a surprise to either of us when we don’t want to suffer anymore.  Not being able to properly call a thing a thing is its own sort of pain.

When I say “Oh, I don’t know” what I mean is, I know exactly, but it would hurt you so I won’t say it.  That’s a deeply disappointing thought.

No disappointment.  We’re on target. We’re on track.

Campestral

Fascinating how the presence of a single word – a word altogether new to me, a word I can’t recall ever having seen written anywhere before just now – can thrill me and change my mood so entirely that I can’t even imagine naming this post what my first impulse was:  The Drop-Off.  Campestral is much prettier, suddenly I’m painting in mental greens and everything is English and brookside and summery and far away from an icy mountain at which I’m flailing about at its bottom.

Day 2 is always hard after a generally good Day 1.  This is why all these business coaches started writing about what happens after you have a great start or launch in your company.  How do you do more better at the same time maintaining and not slipping from where you were? (These are my references these days, sorry, it’s all Blue Ocean Strategy from this point on.)  All of which is compounded by the fact that this whole rig is piloted by me, a girl, a lady who generally forgets to come in out the rain.  I have so much hopes and energy and sometimes there’s just reach way exceeding grasp.  Doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea or a good plan.  I just need a breath to make sure that everything breakable stays on the cart I’m careening around.

I cooked food last night that was good.  I tracked it and was exorbitantly pleased with myself for my organizing and following the materials I’d put together to help me and check, check, check, day 1 in the can, suddenly, I’m going to be slender.  Not precisely?  But close enough.  Then I wake up this morning with a blistering headache and feeling like I’d been running through fields of molasses all night and I come to the kitchen to collect my perfectly portioned brussel sprouts and delicious butternut squash and parmesan ravioli and fuck me if they aren’t sitting there in their containers waiting to be put away like I promised I would last night.  DAMN, I was pissed.  Well, I was as irritated as I get these days about it.  Day 2! The glorious triumph, crushed.  Then, everything felt pear-shaped and slow and if anyone at work cared where I was or wasn’t, it might have
Still, we do some important things.  I called a new dentist and have an appointment in two weeks and I even went so far as to ask to be put on the waitlist.  Bit irritated that I’d have to feel this shittiness while I’m on vacation, but I needed to do something and as my therapist says, this is hard for you, so it’s great when you find the strength to try.  So, yeah, I’m a bit proud of that.
I also had a challenge today to work on an old story.  Still going to try and pull it out if I can.  Only so much in a day, but I’m feeling far more positive now that I’ve eaten and I’m locked down into not eating again until morning – nothing to prowl for.
I need the time back, to write and read and put away dishes, so off I go, but thank you, day 2, for linking me to the future where I’ve done this.  For pushing me out, safe and secure, into the impossible dream.

Your Favorite Cliche: Day 1

Well, here I am.  Day one of 2019.  Locked and loaded.  Imperfect in my plans and desires but missing you all dreadfully.  Every one of you my favorite voice in the Void.  Me not writing last year had reasons, I suppose, but none of them ever seemed very reasonable.  I just didn’t want to deal and I see now, the results of not dealing.  You gain weight.  You stress out.  You lose hair.  Your gums ache.  Your heart is powdered.  You exist but only on the terms of the unforgiving universe.

I would like to think we can do better than that.

So here at the start of the year, I’m not afraid of a useless five hundred a day.  I’m not afraid of repetitive posts, of a whining, broken record telling me the same hopes and draining me of the same fears three hundred and sixty-five times in a row.  Because somewhere in all of my nonsense, there are granules of the good stuff.  Clarity and freedom and mental security where I know what I want because it’s on virtual paper.

I have grand plans for 2019 and I’m not afraid of that, either.  I’m not afraid of the piping, shrill, nasal inner voice that indicates “She always has plans! And all of them go to shit!”  Sure, dear critic, I have plans and want things, things that my circumstances do not warrant, things I am not trained or prepared for, things that I don’t have any way of getting – especially, when I refuse to acknowledge that I want them.  I’m human.  It’s okay.

And I’ve done work in 2018 to clear some paths.  I’m in therapy again.  I’ve got every kind of tracker imaginable and I’m joining boards and teams and taking before shots and measuring myself the way it’s suggested so I have that baseline.  I’m not making any decisions on doing low-carb until after my birthday.  I’m going to try and practice careful tracking and exercise and loosely reducing sugar and starch in the meantime, but I know that I am going to hit those dates and judge myself based on my behavior and I want to give myself the best chance I have.   My friends are coming in a few days – 10 days – and I care more about figuring out some supportive habits that I can keep going through that than showing everyone I can be perfect.  When nobody knows what I think perfect is anyway, nobody cares in that regard at all.  I have what I need to do mapped out.  I have things beyond just dieting and exercise that are important to me to get back into and they’re a part of this movement forward.  I am here.  I will be here, writing my shit out instead of leaving it somewhere lost in a fog in my brain.

J.  Well, there, at least I can say that I am growing myself up.  We had an adult conversation that didn’t go superlatively well.   I cried a lot. He said I was wonderful, marvelous, all the things any girl would like to hear.  But wouldn’t commit to the fact that we’re single, only to say that he is not in any position to meet anyone.  He doesn’t want things to change.  I don’t want things to change, but I know that they have to – I know that I have to have his understanding that I need a person in my life who is here.  The therapist kept reiterating that’s what I need and at first, I felt frustrated, thinking that was something she thought I needed.  But I can’t live a thousand years on a string.  I’ve lived so long that way and it’s what I know, but it isn’t fair.  It isn’t enough.

So that’s going to be a place where work has to be done.

But not today.  Not everything today.  Today is showing up.  Cheering myself for showing up instead of being down and dire about another restart.  Let’s have a lifetime of restarts and caring for myself enough to give a shit about not letting myself go to shit.  Let’s have a lifetime of being a dork about it.  Let’s be cliches, baby!

Snitch

Give up on the words and you give up on your soul.

There is a bump on my face that is likely the latest in an aggressive campaign to reclaim my teenage years by covering the entire expanse with zits.  That or a massive face cancer.  One or the other.

……………..

She folded her hands, hand he now saw for the first time, even through the lace of the gloves.  He, this time with no care or consequence for the touch, peeled the gloves away and saw the burns that their first test had marked her with.  The acid produced in this break between worlds, a snapping of an aloe stalk, where in this world, it soothed, in theirs, it bled pain.   Amelia saw the line of suffering trace down her fingertips, move through him and settle, with force, behind his eyes.

“I am so very sorry.
“They do not hurt now.”
“They should never…”

“I do not understand, Ammon.”

“The falcon is not mine, only a sign sent from their side that I would recognize.  A device, I have now come to see that could only have ever been from your father.  It is nothing like the marks they make on their own.  It danced before my eyes at the Manor you’ve learned so much about, drew me away in the middle of my lesson.  I imagine young William must have been…no, I do not recall anything but following it, a sign and sometimes a bird, as it moved through the halls, up the stairs and out the front door.   Places I was never to be, but I didn’t think…I just chased it into the woods.  A day later, they found me, surrounded by…well, it burnt the wild grasses just as well as your fair skin.  It had seemed a dream.  A madness.”

Amelia gazed as this reverie overtook the Professor, and her thoughts travelled with him, seeing the blue ring that had opened above the table on some Midland afternoon, sun pleasantly moving through the trees exactly matching the horrors.

“That night I passed through against my will.  When last I saw you, it was by choice, a choice I…I have learned so much now, now that we are close that I wish at moments, I had flung myself into sea rather than come to bring you back to…”

“I had to mastermind this plot without his aid, thinking I was protecting Mr. Willoughby, Laurence, though

“As I belong to my father, as you belong to yours, so too, does Laurence belong to the King of these…cannibal people, indeed, he is something of their prince.  Though this King, if one could deign to call him such, has no love for his son.  Whatever loyalty remains to Laurence, what awaits him upon his return is something worse than death.”

“Worse than death, good sir, you’re positively shaking…”

“There is no time.”
“If I am to return, I am to return with a sacrifice.  And the Tormented peoples believe that the strongest magic is to be found in what a man has made.  The king hungers…he can no longer be appeased by invention, by charm, by kaleidoscopes and toys.  We cannot distract him with anything but the return of his own blood.”

 

Prayer Hours at the Temple of Love (2/365)

January 2nd.  We’ve come back again just like that Backstreet Boys song.  That’s my era, my friends, perhaps I’ve evaded saying so for eight years of blogging, but that’s music I grew up with.  Along with The Smithereens and Liz Phair and Goo Goo Dolls (especially, now, their pre-Superstar Carwash albums) and a host of others I should write about some time.

Anything to not stand before you with my five hundred words about intention again.  I’m not bored with doing it.  Certainly not on day two of this segment of my life, this year arc of experimenting with what happens when you just don’t do the shit that always fucks you up.  You just don’t do it, touch it, come near it, allow it space in your life.  I’m not bored already with trying.  Just framing the language of YES, I AM TRYING TO BETTER MY LIFE in such a way that we both feel like I mean it and that I’m not overworking every single sentence to get us there.  Just to enjoy this as the opportunity it is – to rebuild my journal and do right by myself.

I ate low-carb today.  I got up and walked a smidge, took some recycling to the bin that needed to go, got low-carb groceries.  Pro Tip: order your groceries if your grocery store provides this service.  It means I can’t wander the aisles contemplating carb counts and squeaking by with eating something quasi-justified, or saying fuck it, and asserting I will start tomorrow, and filling the cart with pizza and candy bars.  Not that I have ever done anything like that.

The above means I left the house for something other than work.  Got outside.  Immediately felt rrefreshed and energized and everything as advertised.  This needs to be done.  Working my brain into a tizzy about doing it and never doing it is…a gross result.  It’s icky to swirl around in the same thoughts for too long.  It’s like using the same bathwater for a month.

I need to find a book.  If there were many of you, I’d poll you.  I just need to pull a book and get it read.  There’s surely a couple here I haven’t read, hell, I could even read The Ship of Theseus again and let my brain swell up with possibilities.

I will find one and put it in my bag tonight before my head hits the pillow.

I’ve been playing Mass Effect; Andromeda, not exclusively, but nearly.  I have my opinions – mostly I like it but there is a certain rush job quality that Bioware can be so much better than.  You see the edges here.  Sometimes you get stuck in them and hope for a recent save.  Not to be excessively metaphorical.  I am just working out months and months of not posting like this, friends.

Eventually…no…I and this will always be weird in this particular fashion.  It’s okay if you don’t like it.

No particular beginning that you can discern happening for a week.  This is just…the in-between.

Soft Boiled Egg

Time enough to write today?
I think there must be.
I am feeling decent.  Sufficient.  Improved.  Supported.  Free.  Slightly masterful.  Lots of disparate concepts, but overall: good.
I got in early to help with a meeting where I did not need to help which I have decided means I can leave a bit earlier.  I paid my credit card bill.
I got requests to help from a few counterparts who really appreciated it and which I had time to focus intently upon because I am mildly without tasks, as I’ve mentioned.  One of whom always said hi to me in the hallways and I would smile back and it is only at this point that I realize what her name and department is.  Now, I hear she thinks I am great which is the thing that is said about someone who smiles at you when you pass in the hallway.  Apparently, they need help and they don’t have help.  And I can provide help and have oodles of time.  I am hopeful that in some way a few well-placed favors with a few people might save my skin around here.  That is the sense here, that in the end, like any society, it just works best if you go ahead and scratch someone’s back based solely on the tacit understanding that someone’s going to decide to scratch yours.  Eventually.  Work your nails down to the nubs and never tell anyone you’re feeling itchy.  Nobody wants a job, everyone will offer a favor, so scoot along little cowgirl and try and make friends.
Trying to make friends and not just endlessly curt and awkward circuitous conversations.  That’s the philosophy right now.  Just befriend everyone and say yes to the grunt work because, frankly, you can handle grunt work.  This higher-level tarantella everyone else seems to be able to accomplish in their high heels and pearls is not liable to be your dance.  Not ever, not after years upon years of knowledge being foisted upon you and experiences to teach you better than you know right now.  There will be no graceful flamenco.  You just try and do-si-do and promenade, do whatever the caller asks you do and hope no one pulls out the hook while you’re on stage.  I need to enjoy this time.  It is awkward to try and nose about, forage for the truffle of a task to keep me from seeming like I sit at my desk and write blog posts all day.  But somehow, I will end up in some spot that will demand more of me than this and I will look back and sigh that I didn’t keep it a secret so I could sit and spin on the company dime.
No.  That’s not in my blood.  The guilt, my friends, the unholy guilt of just trying to type this up before I go, oooh.   Still, the feeling of knowing the post is done is worth a twinge or two.  I like that I have that time.  Having the food there is so valuable, too.  So much easier just to let the refrigerator contain the wide expanse of possibilities and know that in just a few days, I’m going to restock and can make a whole fresh batch of choices so I don’t have to panic.  I can already tell that when I do have another meal out, it will be something that I look forward to, that will actually contain some element of celebration and achievement in it rather than an almost burdensome excess.  A demand to fill up on salt and fat and smile.  Quality vs. Quantity.
In the same vein, I’ve started making some lists – looking ahead to the holidays – realizing that if I can get a few stitches in now, how much more enjoyable it would be to have
If I can figure out who needs a gift, who needs a card, well, maybe I can print the addresses on labels, maybe I can draft a general Christmassy letter that people will be pleased to read, and I can actually take care of what I always want to – which is to make people feel joyful at Christmas.  I always run out of time, and in the past been embittered with the retail holiday gloom, but now, there’s a chance to both have the money and energy to be smiley and bake cookies and feel cheerful for more than just Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Of course, this does make me mildly irritated that J is too anxious about things to come and see me and eat turkey at my table.  This means I will have to be constantly pulled over those days to check in on him, mid-meal, even.  I will feel a compulsion to keep one foot in each world when I am so craving the silence of my own imagination, the quietude of being untethered to a computer desk, to making jokes with the family, to the congenial world that we make when we are all together at Thanksgiving.  A place he doesn’t know, and much as he would like to know it, it’s far too far a trip to consider.  It seems thus.  Not on a whim.  But this is well past a whim, past a favor, this is…the job.  The job of being together that neither of us wants to concede we’re employed at, despite finding ourselves clocking in and out everyday.
Eventually, I think I’m going to get stretched too far to come back together and I’ve never chosen this unknown world instead of my own mind to save me from being split.  Really, King Solomon’s never concerned himself with my heres and theres.  He is fine if I am bisected along my spine and useless everywhere they lug me.

Reify

I have no idea what it means.  Not the word, I know that one, just the newness around my life these days.  The thing that needs reification inside of my brain.  Where am I? What is my value-add? Why am I talking and thinking and being the way that I am?
I think lately I’ve been scaring myself.  Testing my memory and freaking out when I can’t remember, worrying about driving at night with bright lights, feeling flighty and panicky.  Stressing about stairs and heart attacks and bodies in motion rather than, as they ought be, in perpetual rest.
If I give myself this moment to contemplate, an opportunity I’ve experienced a certain dearth of these days, I can understand the paths that converge to bring me here.  The unresolved status I hold right now after the departure of my reason for being hired.  The unending eating out to salve and reassure myself that there’s money in the bank account and everything is okay because we can go to the burger place, the pizza place, the other burger place, the Mexican place, the Chinese place and on and on and on – to the point, the surfeit that I revisited the other day in my title, that I can’t even stomach it. At the end of September, I was just wasting food and burning cash. Ordering in meal after meal, despite not being much more than mildly hungry on any given occasion. Bringing home bag after bag, box after box. It almost was painful, but this compulsion remained because of the salutary idea of eating out that is affixed in my mind.  This sense of biochemical succor that overtakes me. Even now, the idea of a hot, prepared, aluminum-wrapped meal with all the accoutrements included in little plastic two tablespoon cups alongside it set in front of me has this magical, mirage-like appeal.  Like a smoker must contemplate a cigarette, I know it really would quell the yapping, roiling, confused sea inside me, even if the method requires a giant cannonball of heedlessly salted carbs.
But, for two and a half days, I have found some method of subduing this beast without having to get the deck wet.  Already, it’s Tuesday, yes.  The plan, thus far, is working. I have actual supplies on hand now so that I can circumvent the mental process of constantly interrogating myself for the answer to where do we want to go for food today?  It’s home.  Or I have it.  I don’t have to go strolling to the cafeteria for an inescapable Rice Krispie treat (or two) because I have to get something in my mouth so I am sustained.  I brought it and I can eat it and then this massive space opens up of…odd security.  I didn’t have to spend the money.  I didn’t have to go out in world and stumble about.  I can just do as I intended to do.
So it’s not low carb.  It’s not low fat.  It’s not really controlled portions.  It’s not dieting.  It’s just not letting myself go mad on guacamole and unprocessed stress.
And I have plenty of food set for the rest of the week – things I am interested and willing to eat and won’t throw over the plan for.  This is a good, good thing.  That I hope will lead to a sense of control again where I can plan out something legitimately healthy that I can stick to.
There’s just a lot of quiet here and not enough to do and it’s the nature of the calendar that it is logical for me to not be overburdened with tasks while everyone’s getting ready to head out on a business trip, so I can’t caterwaul and beg for activity and things to be thrown on my plate.  Might regret doing that anyway, but that’s the plan for when everyone is settled.  Today has just been a taste of what it’s like to be unoccupied. To find yourself deleting old emails, remembering ancient times, the importance of people who have since drifted into the background. To have fallow fields in your brain pan, an agenda absent of agenda items.  To float with achey muscles.  Maybe I’m getting sick.  I wonder if it isn’t just another layer of sabotage.  Can’t be distracted by a massive tray of tortilla chips, the brain has to rush ahead and think of things that might be broken .
Just give me some water, put me in bed, let me play, let me read, let me dream a bit.  Let me trace back the road to the Faithful Light, not to Mildred but to the child Mildred once was, to a crimson turning of the season.  To full-on autumn and not just a prelude to winter.