Presence

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A post on MFP:

I honestly don’t know how I found myself back here tonight.  I think it has to do with the power of Sundays over me to try and reset, improve, recalibrate and start anew.

I have been away for at least three months, probably, away mentally for five or six.

This has been, I believe, the hardest year of my life thus far.  My last post here on MFP referenced my grandfather’s passing which still leaves a wake of pain and this was directly followed with the loss of a family pet, very recently the loss of another, and my mother’s cancer diagnosis after 21 years of being in remission.  This has been on top of a strangling and depressing job and financial situation which has ended up with me taking on a second job, working six days a week, and having my anxiety flare up just as I had begun to get an arm around it.  I’ve had somebody fly into my life, a hummingbird in terms of weight and speed, only to fly right out of it doubly fast.  Most recently, I’ve been grinding my teeth to the point of severe pain.

I’ve been lonely, distracted, angry, put-upon and for the most part floating about five feet above my body.

I think, actually, I ought to have gained a hundred pounds.  I ought to be unable to sit in this chair.  I ought to have tumbled headlong into food and at the very least, I can say that I haven’t broken new records in terms of catastrophic consumption.  Perhaps this can only be attributed to the fact that I’ve been too broke to assuage my problems with all the french fries that the local fast food establishments can find deep fat to fry.

This is not to say that I haven’t gained weight, that I haven’t been mindless and destructive in my eating habits, that I haven’t scared myself with my outright refusals to take care of myself in a way that counts…in a way that is more important than buying a girly lotion or making sure I put a little rum in my Diet Coke to settle me down.

But I have thought about how good a walk might feel (once I got past the sense that I might have some sort of panic attack), I have thought about how good a plate of green apples and cold water and something nutrient rich and steadying like spinach and hardboiled eggs might be.  I have thought from time to time about if I could have some energy again, I might find myself in a different position.

I don’t want to say that tomorrow I will track anything because I don’t know what I’m having for breakfast.  Starbucks is the first thought I’m having and I don’t want to say what isn’t the right answer, but I honestly don’t know the way from here to the shining city of not needing food for emotional succor.

What I know is that getting there…getting anywhere…it will be a fight.  I have a lot of briars to machete, a lot of walls where the mortar has set brick upon brick between me and the simple idea of giving a damn again.

But my mom is doing okay – great, at least in terms of what is visible and knowable to us here on the outside.  Even going back to work tomorrow for a few hours.  I have a whole two day streak of not drinking soda.  I have people in my corner.  I have all these ideas about maybe, and if we, and shall we, and oh, lets that are piquing my interest.

I just thought…I could do something for this body that scares me so much.  I could do something more than nothing.

 

And I’ll be damned if I’ll be found there

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Every Laura Marling lyric sounds like it’s about Brexit.  She probably didn’t have that in mind when she wrote the songs.  I don’t know why it feels like such a punch to the gut. Too much Anglophilia. I find it actually deeply…bothersome.  Angering?  Maybe?  I suppose the financial impact will have its own sway on the matter.  I have things to say, but I’ve bleated them out on Twitter.  Enough of my opinions on that, none of which will shift the world any further than it’s shifted itself.

Between this and all the other delights that 2016 thus far has had to offer (my grandpa, whatever’s going on with my mom’s health, the fact that we even are considering Donald Trump for anything but a late-night infomercial shill), I’m feeling a bit panicky and high-strung after a day of being way, way, way too chill about everything.  Numb and distracted and yes yes yes to everything just to make it go away.   And then feeling guilt about that.  I keep having flashbacks to the old job, possibly because I’m now working within walking distance of old job and continually have conversations relating to old job.  I was always freaking out like this, always exhausted and running and upset.  I left that because of this.  I wanted, even if it meant not having the same amount of pay, to just feel steady and calm and have order.  The absence of stress was worth this to me.  Now, with far less pay and triple the stress, I..it seems as though this is a bad way to go through life, I must tell you. We’re swinging on a very long rope.   The power went out at precisely 4:58p.m.  There are signs everywhere, for everything.  For right now, however, I am taking my four day weekend of working at the retail job where I am blobby and awkward but negligible rather than the job where I am essential and negligible all at once.

I wrote exceptionally well yesterday.  Words came slipping and a’sliding out of me with ease.  It’s easy to do, I find, when you’re writing to someone, for someone, when you have their attention to keep and not just the pathless noodling of one’s own thought to try and follow along.  It was nice.  Less nice to not have the applause at the end of all that, to have to be very patient and assume nothing and wait to hear on its reception.  I have no say in so many things, so I have to just enjoy the work. This way it can’t be for naught because I’m at least getting my words written and stretching different writerly muscles while I do it.  Let the giddy things be giddy and not worry about the rest.

I don’t know where else to drag myself today.  I’ve put on Grace Under Fire, thinking that there can’t be too much there to raise the ol’ blood pressure.

We can look ahead.  We can look ahead.  But we don’t have to look.

un peu de charbon du blé

I kinda knew today was going to be a write-off as soon as I woke up.

So I forgot to mention yesterday the inexplicable incident that occurred where a gentleman – that’s not the correct term, but I’m using it – I mentioned maybe a year and half or two years ago (it may be hopeless to even pretend I could go back and find that page now) came in in some sort of furor with a flash drive.  We were about to go to walk to lunch, my boss was outside having a smoke, and I was just locking up the office when I heard him asking the septuagenarian volunteers if he could print something.  At this point, I didn’t recognize him at all and thought he was just another guy who wanted to use our office as though it were a free Kinko’s.   He then walked past them and when down to my closed office door and was knocking on it and feeling my rather more assertive oats, I followed down after him and asked him what it was he wanted.  He didn’t answer, just waved the flash drive around, mentioned my boss’s name (shit-tons of people know my boss’ name) and said he had to print it.  I said no, we couldn’t.  And he, muttered clearly before turning back down the hallway, though under his breath, gestapo.  Which.

Kinda left me a bit off-kilter and jarred.  I mean…what the fuck is that even about?  At that point, I kind of remembered him as the guy who used to work upstairs, a guy who seemed at some point to show some kind of interest in me before I found out he was married, a guy who I remember assessing at the end was probably nuts.

But he left and immediately went and talked to my boss, who being the kind of person he is, just waved him to come back inside and get me to print it.  He followed him in and I couldn’t explain, so I took the flash drive and told my boss as pointedly as I could, that I would do what *he* was asking.

Then, dude followed me back to my office where I put the flash drive in, and his expression was entirely changed, and he earnestly apologized.  And I softly, and without assertiveness, told him it was alright.

And apparently, he gave the paperwork – some set of bylaws for an organization to my boss and left.  And I went to lunch and stewed about the whole thing for a while and, I thought, forgot it.

My subconscious, however, did not.  I had a warm dream about him.  A dream that is tactile and akin to lucidity.  There was clothing askew, limbs akimbo, lips bruised, everything in this sweaty, heady, throbbing fog.  I kept pulling away, and being sort of drawn back in, angry and needful and trying to maintain some decorum.  I kept saying this was wrong.  He wouldn’t quite let me go.  I didn’t quite want to go.  I woke up, as I said, a mess.

Apparently, since I’m curious about the people who are settling into this landscape of emotional dead-ends, if Facebook is to be any guide, he’s not right in the head.  Crazy confirmed. There’s nothing to pursue, thank fuck, but it reminded me of things I didn’t need or want to provide resurrection to.  I don’t have time for a goddamned libido.

The Gamble

Well, fuck.

I would really rather just sit quietly and feel this burn my edges off than have to turn on the white blank page and try and verbalize it.

But that’s not the promise I made.  I suppose I could write about nearly anything else, but I have a feeling that it all would bleed through.  Besides which, this is the public record that I exist, I am here, I feel, and an omission of this magnitude would no doubt be regretted later down the road.

I will be more vague, though, than might be necessary.

But shit. I am attracted to the Correspondent.

Who I think it would be quite fair to say looks uncomfortably like Richard Armitage.  Perhaps it is the vision of someone who was incredibly keen to feel anything in the basement of her heart, that makes me think this, rather than reality, but honestly, it was the most disorienting feeling.  Because, I find Richard Armitage like…painfully handsome.

I know I’m skipping the step of saying how it went (How’d it go?! How’d it go!?) but that’s mostly because I don’t know.  I really don’t.   We talked the whole time.  About work, about family, about travel, about school about who we think we’re supposed to be as people.  But we didn’t lapse into some state where all time slipped away and suddenly they were closing the coffeehouse doors on us.   There was a single real silence and a cough, and that sort of signaled the end, I guess.    Then some sort of awkward handshake/hug thing…with a very loose promise to email/talk again.  I cannot gauge this.  For me, totally par for the course, but for the rest of humanity, possibly a lame escape for both of us.

But there was smiling and laughing and me doing my absolute damndest to both follow the conversation and stop staring at him and not freak myself out by the fact we were here together and talking and I didn’t feel of service at all.  Not at all.  I just felt like it was happening.  And I was alright.  I didn’t feel like I was going to die of panic or have a nervous tic in my eye (though now that I think of those things, I’m sure if I’d been aware enough to think of them they would have.

Now that I’ve had a couple hours to marinate on it, and have gone through the emotions one does when they let themselves be pretty vulnerable, I think it’ll take a few days to get to the point where I’m completely fine with the really open-ended ending and the likeliest scenario where I maybe get an email – if that – and then don’t hear from him again and it wouldn’t bug me.

I felt okay about my face.  I didn’t feel like loose or sliding or inappropriate. I didn’t feel like a complete fool being there.  All of that has come into question now, of course, as I try and come to grips with the fact that the world has neither ended, nor has some new, Disney-movie-songified life begun.   And that I, like every other human being on the planet am just desperate to know what my fellow human beings are thinking about me at the exact moment we are paralyzed by whatever that thought might be.

I really should do myself a favor and just put it all in a box and throw the box out the airlock.

Bayleaf

A groove, a rut, a comfort.

It is good to have converted my Saturday into a chance to get my bearings again.  My weight is not way up after all this kinda sorta/not really at all low carb of the past week since the snow storm and I lost all my momentum.  I feel a little less ravenous and a little more sure, though I couldn’t possibly claim to be wholly back on track.  I’m still a little bit chafed for whatever reason that I can’t get through some of this new stress in old ways.   Kind of annoying when an active part of you doesn’t care about your ambition.  Or is bafflingly petrified at it and is dragging its heels in the dirt without remorse.   I have to calm myself down throughout the day and remember to be present with the whole thing.  Not let the, ahem, weight of the whole thing and the baggage of trying to do this my whole life drive me berserk.

So I put the chicken carcass of the rotisserie chicken in the crock pot with a bunch of water and cooked it with some onion and some different sorts of salt.  I assume that’s how you make chicken stock.  It’s all in the fridge now, letting the aforetitled chicken fat rise to the top so I can make Egg Drop Soup tomorrow.  My mother offered me some canned, and she has extra, but I wanted to try and do it myself so we’ll see if this little kitchen experiment will be bearable tomorrow.  I also cooked all sorts of other things, turkey burgers, some garlic marinated chicken.   I am turning my nose up at vegetables which is a terrible sign, so I’m going to do what I can to get some swallowed tomorrow and fill me up.

I also made myself go to Target today.  It’s part of the whole driving regularly thing I need to do, and even if I was stuck behind this melodramatic cunt in line who made the poor old man who was our cashier feel like crap because she had to wait in line behind a credit application customer AND there were two hats and he only rang up one, it was worthwhile.  Sorry for the long aside, it just got under my skin.  I wanted to say that there wasn’t anything so important it was worth stamping about and making yourself look like a moron in a Target on a Saturday afternoon, but…alas, no point to that, either.   And I got my shakes and my bars ahead of the snowstorm.  There’s something to taking care of yourself in advance instead of by triage.

And you, sir, who kindly wrote me back.  You aren’t revealing your heart, except you are, and even that small tear in the veil bothers me tremendously.  I see how I choose to turn away and then wonder why you’re all behind me.   You’ve hardly done anything and Mildred knows what you are and Mildred has decided you’re not her Prince, her best beloved one man who never was or will be, and she wishes you would go away.  But I don’t.  I’m glad we’re corresponding.  I’m sorry for trafficking in bullshit.  At least it’s only in my head and what I’ve given you thus far has been meant and real and not in secret code.

 

The Threshold or the Thresher

Alright, so here’s the thing:  none of this has anything to do with them.

Not one nth or one iota.

Much as I would like to claim the reason I went flailing home, swallowing tears, bag of un-eaten bean dip and chips in hand was about the people at the reunion barbeque, I wasn’t upset because of them.  Nor the fact that I was the only single, childless person there.  Nor the fact that I was typically  alone and awkward sitting there at the picnic table, observing exactly as it happened day in and day out during high school.

It was completely and utterly about me.  It’s about the way I just keep waiting for something to happen.  The way I relive what was, warm the milk of memory and escape in its sugar structures to this place that never really was.  This knife-blade’s width place where I was writing and reading and full of potential and every year that place gets more real and my real life becomes harder and harder to bear.

I don’t want kids.  Or necessarily someone there with me at all.  I don’t not want that either, but  what it really is, the nutshell: I just want to finish something.  I just want to reach some goal that is so much bigger than just breathing and eating and waiting for death.

I knew it would be like this, but somehow, I thought that maybe some of the invented magic, that concentrated blood orange, was real.  And what was bitter could turn sweet in time.   As I sat there, smiling, checking my phone, I think that ten years gone isn’t bitter, it isn’t sweet, it is strangers meeting and parting.

I find the way the sky looks right now so beautiful, such a fierce and heavy blue as the dusky sunset pumps in cracks of red veined light which break it like a creme brulee.  I didn’t give in when I felt so sore and so deserving of food.  I have a mother who calls me back six times when I don’t answer to see if I’m alright and then makes me eggs and lets me think my way out of the morass I swear is my new party dress.  I can leave all of that behind.  I have a party with rock stars to go to.  My hair looks beautiful.   I have a story that needs me.  I have two legs.  I have plane tickets.  I am sincere in my hopes for love and peace and adventure.  I am a decent person.  I don’t live under the overpass.  I have a personal fan.  I have aspirin for my headaches and time for my heart.

The scale says I’m losing.  Then I swear I’m gaining.  I don’t know.  I’m wearing the fitbit.  I just crave the discipline, the doing of things.  I crave purpose, identity, friendship, being known, producing, a good haircut, music, dancing, and most of all, I want to get my hands on the next ten years.

This isn’t about you, my high school acquaintances, but I do thank you for being kind.

 

Gabriel Sounds the Car Alarm

Apologies.  I’m just having a moment.

I’m just having this strong feeling of needing to do the exact opposite of everything I’m doing and it’s almost crushing me.   So I have to let it pass or let it shift.  This kidney stone of reality.

I am pretty sure this has something to do with a thing that if I were a proper sort of girl I’d know for certain that it was unacceptable to talk about here, but as I am as I am, I’ll just outright say it.  I am not on the rag at the moment, but I am in that ten-day spread where I know my inexplicable rage is unkind and unfair, but it is present nonetheless.  I’m slouching, extra-imaginary cigarette on my lip, towards Scarlet Town.  It’s not fair, but it’s the way of the world.  And it’s got to stop.

I’m grumpy under the sway of this aggressively sarcastic moon because I’m thinking thoughts that address realities like oh, hey, 10 year reunion, I don’t know if I want to go because I’m not  in the catbird seat of my life.  I’m not financially settled, married, published, kid in tow, deeply in love, verging on perfect like I casually but permanently assumed I would be right now.   That all, I think, would be fine because that is the state of things for most people: divergent from post-graduation expectations, however, they’ve moved the location of the reunion itself and now driving to it seems impossible and getting a ride seems repugnant and all of a sudden, I have this blossoming field of self-hatred ready to harvest.  I didn’t even know if I wanted to go. If I wanted to see these people again who in the best case scenario are entirely ambivalent about my decision to attend.  If I wanted to go tickle the dragon who so long had me in its clutches of adolescent, limerent, attachment by hoping that someone I cared about briefly, one-sidedly, manically, uselessly (the model for most of my other relationships to follow) would attend.  When he probably wouldn’t.  Or worse yet, would turn up happily and with a family, or at the least, a wedding ring.  Which I could crow to all the heavens wouldn’t bother me, but it would, at least for the next day or two and another ship in a bottle busted and gone aground.

I don’t feel grown-up at all.  I don’t feel anything but the jack-booted heel of a future that doesn’t give a shit about my particular endeavors.  What are you doing with your life?  What occupies your time? Are you published?  Are you writing?  Are you happy with your work?  Are you anything at all?

I will wake up and resolve myself entirely to all of this, but tonight, for now, I feel like, Jesus fuck.  I should have done drugs.  I should have run with the wolves.

No.  I…I don’t think that’s right either.

I just feel like all this time has passed since high school and the emergence of this sort of teflon shield that enveloped me then and has become part of the atmosphere now, as unnoticeable as newly washed glass.  The thing that hurts is that I still don’t get why it’s there.   Still haven’t found a hammer.