Two-Minute Conviction

I am in it for the titles, baby.  The titles and the glory.

If I didn’t have this impulse that I wanted you to read this, perhaps I would find myself breaking away at top speed to write about all the goings-on of now.  How we have leapt forward into some place new and how this means something I am nervous to decipher.

I won’t let you read it, though.  That’s a silly idea.  Not all the things I think are meant for direct transmission.

What a fumbling, stumbling, space I am in.  My equilibrium is gone.  We now have not only spoken, we’ve seen each other whilst speaking through the marvels of video-to-video simultaneous broadcast.  This has been a generally pleasing development.  But it drops a veil.  It raises a portcullis.  I am known in a way I cannot be unknown, not with him, or anyone.  We smiled, giddily, at each other.  I became, in some ways, a real person. At least for him.  He has always been realer than anything I am used to, but nevertheless, I imagine J. will not actually become a human being until I hold his hand for myself.

I am not complaining that this has happened. I am just mindful that these things – romantic connection, delight in another human soul, caring about someone’s well-being so deeply you shudder with the weight of it – things I have so pondered for so long and been drawn to since I were aware they existed in this wide and often heartless universe are happening.  They are unfurling their crimson sails and the ship is sailing where it is steered.  Straight into the mists where lie rocky shoals or else some far distant land of milk and honey or else just more waves and water until we all run out of food and look thirstily at the salt-sea that surrounds us.

And now, today, I feel softened and urgent and needful.  I put on makeup and set my hair just so in order to face this new reality of being visibly available, not just via voice.  I have let go of security blankets I have clung to for eons.   Negative and sour milk beliefs, deep sincere faith in my absence of worth, shackles of self-doubt to let this little engine that could, do have been poured out and run haphazardly down the gutters and gullies.  All away and not towards me. If I can be honest and analyze this choice that hardly felt like a choice at all when it was posed to me, this is a Tower crumbling to the ground.

This is a level of vulnerability that is profound, visceral, and truly, one I never reckoned I could find a way to evoke.  Now, regardless of what ends up happening in this relationship, this relationship I’m in, I’ve crossed this border.  I’ve set foot here and I can find my way back. Mildred has just been silent, face agog, as I have marched along without her towards a life that can’t allow for her to be in charge.

This is not in alignment with you today.  You want to not be solely these people who hit this pleasure button over and over again.  You want us to have conversations.  Be  edifying and surprising.  Give each other knowledge, tell each other about arenas and universes that are new, that we can be enlightened by, that we can be illuminated.

It is our remit and suddenly, he’s the raconteur with all the cards pre-filled with esoteric knowledge of grand cinematic or epicurean or psychological or miscellany and I hardly know how to take a breath.  The absence of an easy, pat answer frightens me.  I blank so hard I feel dictionaries crack against the front of my skull and break into individual letters.

I know about surrealism.  I know about gardening. Trillium, delphinium, rhubarb, nasturtium.  I know some French.  Je sais un peu de Francais.  Un petit peu.  I know about…the sound my dryer makes as it tumbles on a Sunday night.  I know about the route I take to work that snatches tires with its teeth.  I know about panic, hot air hanging where it shouldn’t in your chest and ballooning until you lift your mind out of position.  I know about feminism or the feminist lens as presented by academia ten years ago.  Cixous.  Rich.  Valerie Solanas.  A bit. I know about the red and the white, Emily Dickinson peering down through history at us.  I know about the sestina, the villanelle, the haiku, the heroic couplet.  I know about the saga and the fabliau.  I know about Wyf of Bathe.  I know about how to read a palm.  I know about David Eddings (only about Sparhawk and the Elenium and Sephrenia, and once I recall the spelling of her name).  I know about the river in the morning when you are the only one awake.  I know about riding with relative strangers through downtown Los Angeles in the middle of the night, falling asleep at four am.   Yet, he asks me for something interesting and I stutter.

I say. I don’t know.  I’m not the kind of person who can talk about things.

Which is such a baldfaced lie and yet it comes to hand so quickly I have to try and swallow the last of it back before I think I mean it.

I like listening to him think aloud.  I like drifting off under the melodic tones of his voice.  I like the trust that means I can luxuriate in his presence.

But there is more to me than that.  And more is needed to sustain us both.  A bore who doesn’t think for herself is a depressing self-definition.  What a grasping, anxious pit gets centered in my chest when I think about myself trying to be a lover who has no opinion but yes.  please.  okay.  Not one of being beautiful enough, but of smart enough and that is a shock to the system.  A piece I’ve taken for granted so long that suddenly my bluff has been called and I’m sweating.

How much has deserted me in this effort to keep myself away from the danger of being known?  How much has been paid to an internet with no vested interest in insuring my intellect is exercised?  How much of a quicksilver facility for fact and fiction has been mortgaged for a silence I did not want after the first day?

More than is fair.

Time to read up, fill this well, and let the awe of being changeable yet still, find the words that match its feeling.

The Body Is A Robot: Elsewhere

I am waiting on the stoop for a sunrise to appear.  I hardly know what to say these nights when I aim to be so occupied that the words in me dry up.  My thoughts are singular, not kaleidoscopic as the work demands.

Where does the need to write go when it goes, if it goes?

It goes in a scrap heap, with every other sort of faith and belief in intangible things.  Go to work, press the start button, buy the coffee even if no one particularly likes the coffee – it’s too bitter, type the emails, remember to check the mailbox, follow the steps, twitch and snort when out of view, taste the salted flesh preserved and simple, and constrain your metal heart.

If it goes, you go, really, with it to the scrap heap.  And the robot runs the work, while you nestle without pain into the witch jar of rusted nails and half-broken thumb tacks and sharp memories claimed to be forgotten.  You dream in the lemonade, you start floating around with the chili pepper, you burn and reformulate.

We do not say I love you afterwards, but it hardly matters when everything is kind and soft and urgent and sincere.  Sometimes I almost do, and I stop myself. We do not say the name so we do not conform with casings and shells and polymers and masks.  But we are somewhere while the body is the robot.  We are somewhere and we are there together.

I find it difficult to remember because I am trying so hard to recall everything about it.  Every breath and the way the voices sound as I make them, the one I lapse into without trying, this coquette, this flirt, this woman I never knew I knew so well.   I want to name her, this persona so casually undertaken, but already she feels like dream dust.  All of this feels like the sort of thing I would make up, with the bends in it to make it seem real even though it’s all a blue caravan trundling through the dark trees along the mountain pass.  Steady and not stopping, no matter your curiosity as to the nature of its contents.  It whirls in my head, that this is happening, and it’s heady like a drink first feels when the alcohol sets in.  It is chemicals, the scientists say, and I say, but the body is a robot. This is me and I am elsewhere.

Today has been marked down as Friday and perhaps the world will end soon.  Terrible things are happening – hate is just spilling out like so much acrid, poisonous sulfur bubbling up from caverns we had long held to be sealed.  So sealed as to be forgettable, paths forsworn, unnecessary for any travel reasonable souls would undertake.   Terrible things and as one of those things, we are given to watch from our robot eyes and these arms so new with such shoddy articulation that we have yet to finesse our grip.

Meanwhile, we are not there at all.

 

 

 

 

How Curious

the silence that is broken by a stream of sincere compliments.

How curious the place that such a stream meets its source.

The things you say when I least expect them.  When I’ve sorted it all out and you come along and flip the apple cart. My voice is the most beautiful voice. Warm, bubbly, no, not bubbly.

Effervescent, you clarify.  That’s what it is.

And whatever agenda I had resolved over pancake and egg is lost.   If I hadn’t been halfway into another story  – one I was sharing with friends, a bit of time travel I was taking part in with them – I would have been putty in your hand.

We talk about ethereal and astral planes and formian creatures and bestiaries inaccessible.  I say I can’t keep you.

We need to get together.  We need to figure it out, you say.

We should talk more about that then,  I reply, encouraged by how endlessly earnest he is, and hopeful that sleep doesn’t make all this a memory.

 

 

 

Moonache

The bad habits.  The bad, bad, bad habits.  You give one inch to one of them and down the hill you roll with them all.

Now, I have some ice water.   It seems to be a medicine and I can think again.

Tomorrow: brunch.  And then, we have an order of groceries that does not give a centimeter to the plots of bad habits.  Back on track because failing this has been boring and bothersome.  A sugary slurp, a salty grind, a belly ache and a delirious desire to pay a ridiculous fee for the opportunity.  I feel the reasons out quick as ever as to why a woman who eats out for her meals at every opportunity might feel ill and ungainly.  I lose one wagon, but I know where I can find another one to climb upon.  The path I chose is the only one that will improve my lot.  Out, out, damned spots.  Let me have the future I desire.  Some slice of it, the parts I have my will to alter.

And I hope to find the words tomorrow.  Tell me what we are.  Tell me what you guess we are.  Tell me that this is not the most painful sort of game.  You call yourself single.  Outright.  For all the world.  While an hour later, you say, stay with me.  Just stay with me.   And I do, because where else would I go, and you hardly mean anything more than stay on the line.  Stay attached to this very long strand that clutches around my throat, the one you’ve tied to some bedroom door so that every time you enter I feel a gentle choke.

Because it can’t be real.  Me here, you there.  And as soon as I am the one who begins to believe it possible, as soon as I swear on stones that there’s some grander scheme at work, you go and say, I am single and things are hard being alone.

So I, not wishing to look a fool, say, with delicate darts to keep the truth hemmed up, pinned in, I, too, am looking for the sort of man who…the kind of man who is…the wistful dreams of my heart have yet to be requited in any mortal form and I am amongst ye, oh, walking and wakeful damned who have found your hearts cleaved in full from that of any others.  I share your fate.  I have no answers.  I have no claims.  But no, none of you dare approach me for succor or support, because if you do I shall be forced to drive you out of my presence.  For what manner of villainy would allow for me to idle for hours in some communal, if imaginary bed, and reciting any manner of romantic assertions, cooing and giggling and playing the part and then, wordlessly, doing the same with someone else?  How profaned would I be to learn that he might afflict such an act upon me?

So I have nothing.

Give me the strength to take my nothing in one lump, one gasp, one shot.

 

 

 

Sparkle

Watching:  Tried Ripper Street and it was a bit too straightforward for me.  Fell in and out of a couple of MST3Ks and Rifftrax episodes which I love but don’t require anything from me beyond that.  Have wound up watching Edwardian Country House/Manor House which I watched when it was originally out on PBS and probably have watched again and mentioned here at some point or another.

Doing:  Not so very much doing today. I do need to sort out how to get myself exercising – I’m getting to that point in the dieting cycle where there’s been a bit of weight loss.  Just enough that I can feel a difference in some places,  while not in others.  Just enough where I see a trajectory.  The way to work on this belly is to get myself moving enough that there’s any hope of it melting a bit.  Right now, I don’t have anything happening that is intended for that purpose.

Thinking: We talked three times today.   Once whilst laying in my childhood bedroom. Strange how he can say a thing like how he misses me and I can feel it at so many different layers and points of meaning at the same time.  He misses me and I miss him and it is a patent fact given our closeness, given everything we’ve shared over the now going on eight months.  He misses me and I miss him and neither of us has any real, specific clue as to what exactly we are missing.   How can we, living so far apart, a photo here, a video there.  He misses me and I don’t know yet about what missing entails, what that longing that comes coupled to knowing.  I’ve been through the painful stretching process of missing things that were half-invented anyway.  I’m only just learning what is to connect to someone deeply.  There are no watermarks, no tracing lines.  We just do what we do as we do it.  Still, I thought with yesterday…I’m afraid I have to be vague here for my own sense of propriety…that we could just sail along being in that delirium.  That particular brand of delirium that I seem to crave of late. And today, there was kindness and sweetness and being called beautiful even without makeup, and I am glad of all of that…but…well, I suppose it would get old in its way if you just…

Still.  It is all these things at once.

Eating:  the low-carb continues.  I thought that there might have been some pizza thrown in my path this weekend, but there was not.  So I now have kept going, and I do feel endlessly better when I am eating this way.  It’s situated enough now to be able to tell the significant difference in just…brain function.  I feel more able to sit down and write a page up, I must say, than I do when I’m swirling through sucrose overdose.  I’ve felt alright, and I don’t want to give that up, so the hunt for the next two or three pounds of this weight loss continues.

 

The Raven Took My Eyes

Watching A Very British Romance documentary with the adorable and quite capable presenter Lucy Worsley and this is impacting my mind as you will see below.   I learned about Pamela (or Virtue Rewarded), which I had certainly heard of, but not how much it had changed the landscape of literature.  I never fully grasped Samuel Richardson as a key player in the same way that Austen was, so it was interesting to see it framed so.  Completely enjoyable and I shall be putting the third one on – modern romance – once I finish up my holy obligations here.

Feeling a bit winded and worn in the sort of way that one sleep might not improve.  Feeling a bit exhausted in the bones.  The day was okay.   The weight I lost is not truly lost yet. I am petrified about forgetting shit, but here we are, facing Wednesday, and the fact that things are going to have to be alright regardless of whether or not we know how to make them so.

I am also a bit keen to have my conversation.  I need just a bit of a moment to understand this.   I can’t…wait forever.  Everyone reminds me I can’t wait forever.  All of the historical romance documentary tells me so.  And if the hold up is simply not being understood, well, that’s something I can effectuate change around (there’s the corporate world beginning to slip into my vocabulary.)

Because I am thinking about the RP’er again. I can’t help it.  I’ve glanced back at those final, closing emails. The ones that said the door was open.  A door I’ve shut because I thought that I was starting something legitimate and and tangible and sincere.  And it is those things – in one sense.  On some days.  I can’t help but wonder if regardless of what either J. or I want, there’s no feasible way for us to have this happen.  The distance too great, the issues too large.  The height distance notwithstanding.  If he doesn’t want to figure out how to see me, if he doesn’t want to say it, if he doesn’t want this to check that box.  If that’s how he sees it, then why am I not available to other people even in limited ways?

I don’t know.  I am so willing, but I lean forward and he pulls back. Then I have thoughts like this, thoughts that question whether or not I am just some Mary Haskell-type figure, worrying over and wanting to help him and support him rather than a true fount of flourishing romance.  Though, who am I to say what Mary Haskell and Khalil Gibran were really truly all about.

Still.  I…this halfway ain’t enough.  But is it halfway forever or just halfway and all I have to do or say is that I need more and I’d have more?  But I’ve asked and the feeling was quash it, kill it, suffocate it. Maybe that’s not what was intended.  That’s what I’m supposed to do – find out what was intended.

 

 

 

 

How to Make a Mental Leap

It’s the title I’m putting on this post and I don’t know how to do it, but maybe if I assert that I already do know, I’ll figure it out.

I know that I have to suddenly become prepossessing.  I have to be able to be in charge.  I can’t dither, or dally, or leave a comma where it need not be.  I have to move mountains and light years and I’ve been given the direction that I should really have already pulled Fuji a few feet to the left.  Bare minimum.

I know this and I know I do not know how to do it.  I have been given kindly words by kind souls who believe or purport to believe in my skills, but I don’t know that those skills actually exist.  Maybe all of the lead-up to being in this job has been some sort of fever dream and I am awoke, ass on the pavement, blinking myself awake as though I’ve just been born.

What I thought was simple is not simple.  What I think is complex is meant to be the mental calculation of a moment.  It is humbling.

So I sat in a room and described how I felt I could do things better and one of those things is improving my connection to this level of work by improving my wardrobe and getting my hair cut.  I said I would do that, so I trotted out and spent a lot of money to have hair I like (though not the sort of hair that were I financially free I would choose.) Tomorrow, because the places I went today seemed to have inadequate quality fabric (though the sort of things I’d be perfectly happy to wear were I not shopping to look like I wanted to be employed where I am currently employed), we will go out into the world and buy something that upgrades some bit of old awful that I used to wear.

In the middle of this, J. is drifting in and out of consciousness on the phone with me as I encourage him to both sleep and eat at the same time because he hasn’t been doing either in a consistent way.  And he sounds pitiful and endearing and maybe a few hours earlier he’d told me I was beautiful so I think this is a good time to ask him to Thanksgiving.

I’d been thinking about this a while, but I still couched it in tentative terms.  Like, I know it’s forever away, and it’s so unlikely and dumb, but I wanted you to know that…like, the holidays are awful and hard and I don’t even know on the getting…but you’re invited to Thanksgiving.

An immediate thank you returns my volley.  An immediate “But I have to work the day after Thanksgiving.”  I say oh, okay.  There’s a few more encouraging blurts before I hang up the phone to go find the confident clothes that are going to transform my life.

I end up finding nothing.