I could knock this out easily. Nobody in this massive office is here. Well, a few folks, sure. But nobody, REALLY. Nobody in the cubes around me. I can type away, giddily, to my heart’s content. Maybe it’s the caffeine, maybe it’s the Friday, maybe it’s the half-day broken up by a dentist appointment…it’s definitely the caffeine. Damn.
I think, briefly, I capitulated to the great despair. I am not sure if I am still on my knees before it, but I think, perhaps, I will not be long down.
I gave myself an inch and that inch became a hundred miles. I feel tired and bad and like a devil just has been awoken from the tranquilizer dart I thought would see me through to safety.
I was thinking about Valentine’s Day and how nicely nebulous the dark space is where my heart is seated in my chest. I was thinking about my mother and how I don’t like how the chemo seems to be using her in the way you would imagine the cancer would if it had its way. Exhausting, wizening, enervating. She’s upbeat, she knows what’s up, but I have to overwrite the story in my head. I am not seeing her enough so every time feels a bit surprising. I’m not seeing her because I want to hold everything at status quo in my mind. I want everything to push forward for me without doing a dang thing, and I want everything to stay steady for her without doing a dang thing.
Meanwhile, at work, we learn about a little boy who has benefited from the things we make. A bajillion heart defects and issues and surgeries and problems and finally – we do a thing and he is free to be a little boy. I mean, I don’t do it, but I answer phones for people who make ads for people who do it. Or something inexactly, but legitimately related.
So I haven’t lost any weight, despite a non-zero effort. The kitchen’s a nightmare, I don’t want to cook in it. My car suddenly turned on a low tire pressure sign halfway through the drive this morning, causing an inadvertent panic. They’re asking me to do things I don’t know how to do. It’s fine, but I’m unsure. Tired. The activation energy over the past few days – I know what I need to do. I just do not do it.
So I ordered a pizza and have sickened myself on it and it’s here next to me and I’m contemplating which is the greater evil – to eat it and swallow the shame of having bought it and blown yet more money on one-off food fixes, or to toss it and blow that money and risk constantly daydreaming about wasted pizza and use that to justify another wave of carb-tasia.
It’s not good. It’s just not. I am thinking about how I didn’t even think or care about my goals. How I didn’t feel qualms about breaking the plan. How I know how this feels and I know how it feels to string yourself out on guilt aftershocks after the initial binge. I know and I know that I don’t know if anything is going to be different even though there’s a thousand and one reasons to make this time the time.
Why can’t we make this time the time?
I am feeling positive this morning. Not entirely sure why given the fact that right behind me is a veritable whiteout situation. I don’t have to immediately leave work, which is the only way that I think I’m not flipping out. I will, I suppose, have to eventually leave work. I’m deciding on the bus, but it’s a matter of whether or not I’m driving myself to the bus station or no. I’ve got boots in the car, at least. There is an element of peace working here where I know, on these days like this, crap flying from the heavens upon us, I don’t have to necessarily find the huge well of resources within to sort out how I’m going to sleep at my house tonight. How, in this 1-3 inches, I will endure?
Maybe it’s the activation energy! Which I announced with an exclamation point as I got myself upright relatively quickly this morning for an early meeting. Up I rose, careening into the heavy, extensive fog. It didn’t feel impossible. Days with an hour later start and I am on the constant edge of death.
Start early. Get the window rocking in its pane, just ever so slightly, so you can pop through it when you must.
I would like to write on what I would like to write on. Just mark it down under the long, long, interminable list of things that are out of my hands.
A long time ago, I had a friend with a celestial last name. It’s her birthday today. Just thinking about that as I pour out a toast and contemplate a week of birthday, D&D, body image, surfeit, and surely other things.
So, last night, was another fun night of D&D. Me and a bunch of nerdy boys. Boys and men. Boy-shaped men. Man-shaped boys. I really only get comfortable and remember what’s going on once it’s about done. But there’s always that one moment where you go OH THIS IS GENIUS, I AM GENIUS, EVERYTHING IS FUCKING GREAT! And then it rolls into you being unable to tie your metaphorical D&D shoes. The highs and the lows – as anyone with any experience will surely tell you.
The dangerous thing I’m coming to realize is I have a crush. A crush on tin whistlin’, very tall, charismatic and unbothered guy at D&D. Guy with a girlfriend who also plays D&D. Guy who is pleasant, sociable, but I refer you to the aforementioned exceedingly unbothered about me. Times being what they were, this once would have been the sort of mental drink I thrill to just nurse for ages. I would spend a great deal of time despairing over the reality of the situation (and probably still will, though I think it will of much shorter duration and intensity), but I would, as an ultimately rational being, accept the facts as they are.
However, I have been told I am single recently. Even if this information has been followed by an inverse desire to speak with me and pat my head and flirt and behave as before – as someone might cling to a life preserver. Sure, life preserver, if you’d be happier floating adrift at sea, I’m fine with that. But if you’re not doing anything, keeping me from drowning seems like a noble way to spend your time. Sigh.
So I’m letting myself scan the world around me for a boyfriend who wants to be my boyfriend. I mean, I guess. That’s awful forward of me, but death dances close and brushes my hems with her own. No harm in looking, single girl that I am. And I go to D&D and suddenly I’m surrounded by wry, clever boys making dick jokes. It’s that one silly slice of high school life that I deserved more of and never really got. And suddenly, I think of that girl that I hated so who had all of the goths and nerds and offbeat guys in as much love with her as I knew existed at the time – because she played Magic: The Gathering. How they would swirl around her and her piercings and go out to the Pit and probably had a lot of other pain and issues going on in her life that I was mentally incapable of seeing because I was this sensitive ball of hot wires that was constantly rolling away from anyone to keep them from getting electrocuted and me from losing the one thing I had – that useless circulating power. I was outside of all of that, but I always believed that’s where I belonged.
Now, somehow, at the table, I’m the only feminine force. Now I’m the one that makes them at least cognizant of the dick jokes…after the 3rd or 4th time. I’m the unattached single girl who is both trying and not trying to be the cliche I cast my high school nemesis. I want the tall D&D guy to see me and approve somehow. I want validation and to rewrite those years. Damn, it’s ridiculous and bizarre and The Onion headline-worthy and far too much pressure to put on myself, but it feels like if I just stay in the awkwardness long enough, something’s got to happen, somehow. Maybe. As of last night, there was already wry, sardonic, clever boy #2 who may or may not be dating anyone but does have a “last girlfriend” who lived in New York with him and may or may not now be in a freezer. This is America. Never assume.
So, given the fact that I am this explosion of bad ideas lately, I am trying very hard to use my dead-end crush to a good end. I am trying to convert it, rather than into whinging posts and mournful emotional exfoliation, into motivating myself into becoming the sort of woman who would have the option, were she immoral enough to take it, of breaking his heart. I wouldn’t, of course. I have boxes of evidence to prove I wouldn’t. But I want my self-esteem and regard to be at the level where I would be pretty sure that were I to press the issue, there would be an issue to press. I want that sort of slow-boil ego. Not spilling out on the stove narcissism, just steady, constant faith that your shit is together enough that he should want a bit of it. It’s a much nicer idea than rolling up in your rumpled sweater and sitting there stiffly in worry and fear and wondering how terrible you’re doing and how shitty you’re RP’ing and being shaped in the shape of garbage in the world. In both worlds.
It’s funny how you begin even to think about how much you need to act in a bit of self-regard, how you let one dream, one person, one thing that is no longer…sparking joy, ahem…go and the energy shifts around you. Marie Kondo is on to something. Suddenly, J wants to do some writing with me which feels like a far more productive thing to do together than where we are right now. Suddenly, a couple other writing opportunities are opening up – personal things I that I want to do – suddenly, rather than clinging to the life preserver in J – I feel like, maybe, metaphorically, I know how to swim.
And painted in the background is the siren song of eating shit. Sugar and salt and shit. Tomorrow, after heading to a restaurant to visit with m cousin and ordering the wrong thing today, a nice tasting but overich croque madame heavy with bechamel sauce, I’ve been invited to invent a quasi-birthday meal out. Everyone’s sick. After just wave upon wave of dining out in a, damn, if I don’t want to stop and just have a piece of celery and walk calmly for 1-2 miles. But my brain won’t allow it. There will be tiramisu and maybe waffles and I’ll submit to the unknown calories and draw a line. So I’m hopeful that we eat early, I get home, and I can just begin the hard work of getting out of my own way here.
I have not, as of this writing, been to Chipotle this year…which is the hill of guacamole I’ve chosen to die on, I guess.
And I’m finding myself too irritating to stand, and publish…
So yesterday, though nobody would know it to look at me, nobody would know it without going after me with a needle and a fine-toothed comb, was a hard, heartbreaking sort of day. I’m not dating anyone, though, naturally, I kinda sorta thought I was. And I kinda sorta am. Still. But not really. I can’t claim the title. Wouldn’t hold up in court. And that’s as much clarity as anyone can give me on the situation. Wait it out until you don’t feel like waiting anymore. Like, what, what does that actually mean? Care about me until it becomes a problem for you. What’s it actually require of me? A woman with broader shoulders and some sense would say, okay, halfway is not enough, we’re just going to hurt ourselves on the sharp edges of this. But I’ve pecked at crumbs and ash my whole life when it comes to affairs of the heart, so this understanding that the porch light is going to be left on for me, always a dish of food and water at the door doesn’t trigger the negative reaction that it should. Even if it’s clear I’m never getting in the house. I think, well, there’s food here. That’s not nothing. And nothing ties me down. I can keep my own devices as it pleases me. It’s what I wanted, right? It’s everything I’ve ever believed, that’s all. The best relationships are those conducted entirely by post?
And I thought I took it in stride, accepting the ambiguity of it all, the inevitability of my hope being broken down into a sticky sort of powder, until I realized, about halfway through the evening that I was acting like a teenage maniac. A stupid, stupid maniac who is going to regret her choices when they spin around and smack her in the face. Emailing the RP’er like some kind of ridiculous swanning princess who thinks she can set a world down for two years and pick it back up and find it entirely as it was. That was never going to happen and I knew that. But still, I was free! I was uncommitted. I was not on a path towards anything or anyone. I was officially and am officially single. Sort of. Only nothing’s changed. And it was only ever going to be about me.
I don’t really feel comfortable writing it out, this thing in medias res which might well be speculated upon and swiftly deciphered if anyone were of a mind. I suspect they’re not, but nevertheless, I feel bad enough about it that I want the shame shield to hang up like a Great Wall of China (and not some evil, orange-hued paltry attempt at nothing) between us. Sit down with me and a cup of coffee, glass of wine, and I’ll tell the rest. Suffice it to say that it all had to be entirely as it was, but my own good intentions done effed me again. The world has changed much since all these trains hit the station at the same time, and I am certainly not the soul to demand anything of anyone, certainly not punctuality.
It’s just going to be disappointing is all. Not evil. It’s not evil. Not yet.
Given these truish facts, I am endeavoring to continue on something I know is benefiting me – my small, paltry attempt at getting this body on the same page as my mind.
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.