Goluptia

This is two weeks or so, maybe more, maybe less, of playing Wil E. Coyote, suspended in mid-air.
I don’t like the part of my brain that keeps clipping sentences.  That doesn’t want to sit and luxuriate in the possibilities of the white, blank page.  I don’t like the part that is mired in so many jutting, stuttered, action items that it can’t conceivably settle down and contemplate a wider world.
It feels safer just to not speak than to say something that might insist on being mentally accepted through the process of having said it.
Sure, I’m freaked out about the unknowable future.   The future that is reliant on me becoming more of this professional, be-yoked person with more of this tunnel-vision, more of this aggressively tight style of brainwork that I don’t like, that demands it else the bottom falls right out, but the future that presents me as a stronger person, a person who might have the strength of will to achieve some of the objectives that me, myself, and I have agonized over for millennia.
Essentially, they are keeping me on for now.  The for now of this for nowness is wildly fragile.  It’s ultralight glass.  I am to serve others, like some sort of chattel servant, until they find the next lord or lady where I may be installed as seneschal.  Or, deemed unworthy of service and shunted to the side, unceremoniously set out on my ear while some more polished and bold chambermaid takes over my duties.
A fellow from work was asking me about my future the other night at the party where we said the first of the long series of goodbyes to my current boss.  I said I didn’t honestly know.  He said, well, you should be fine, so long as you keep adding value.  And I nodded, lamely, subserviently, meekly, distractedly.  I nodded because what do you say to such an earnestly provided and frightfully mechanical statement as that?  Is my printing that email providing value?  Is my wiping down that white board value.  Yes.  On some level, it rolls up into the larger ability of the organization to function.  But the corporate speak, the sense of yourself as a unit, a cog, an ox at the mill, that’s so demoralizing.   Harder still to know how I once idly craved it.  Thought it would protect me from attempting to step out on my own as a writer, from walking against the storm. The storm comes with the fear and the fear comes with me.
But that’s not precisely right if we do care about the precision of language.  I am not a cog now, or I am not meant to be.  I am in the forefront of a lot of people who doubt me at the same instant they are required to trust me.  I am a name that is attached to other names, an engine of emails.  I warm a seat, but it is a well-known, important seat.
My boss hugged me at her party, after she’d had wine and there had been memorializing videos and technical difficulties on some of the videos and whispered “Thank you for everything.”   I said, “Thank you for everything.”  Meaning her basically not letting her doubt overtake her trust, at least so far as our short seven months together allowed.   Who will the next boss be?  What will they expect from me?  What will I provide them if my brain is half-hopeful that I can just write my way out of these places that I’ve always had to walk out of before.
So, one says, go follow thy passion, thy bliss.  Put your feet in the cold river, wander around in the dark, singing to the trees as you go.  Fear nothing, grasshopper girl,  Winter, as so many say, is coming. But winter only comes but once.
You’re supposed to have saved, one says, by 35, double what you’re making in salary.  That.  Will not happen.  That will not even be close.  We will be playing catch up to this benchmark until the end.  Greedy, fearful ants, burrowing in the heat of the lightless earth.
I say these things not to provide clarity of meaning, but to say…damn.
What a fretful, frightful time.

Go Quiet

Sometimes I am teased for my noises.

But it doesn’t matter, I have to make them anyway.

Another no good, very bad, what is going on with my juju these days? sort of workday.  I’m doubting everything including the color of the sky or if winter will ever, to coin the now ubiquitous phrase, come.  I feel wobbly and weak and there’s no place for wobbly and weak so out I will sweep it and draw in my wobbly and weak reserves of superpowered cojones and success tomorrow.

I don’t know that anything will do me any good.  You ever just know that things are in motion that are well beyond you and maybe it’s going to pick you up and carry you somewhere…maybe home, maybe hell, but you’re not going to expect to be there when you arrive.

I don’t know that they like me very much and today was a bad day with no J. in it and me just bobbing about after getting cracked up against the fact that you can call it a new start all you want, but if you still have the old poison in the barrel…it’s going to be hard to pull out a good apple.

I spent two hours working tonight and still have the sensation that somehow a knife is going to slide out of my screen and gouge me in the head.  Like today when I thought I had done well and I wrecked printers and forgot important meetings and tried and tried and tried and did not make it close to the summit.  I just get more curt emails that I have to swallow up all of my sentiment and smallness and attempts at being outsized and just reply to.  I want to be able to quit apologizing, but moving and not moving seem to be equally wrong.

So sometimes, when no one is around to hear, or I believe that no one is, I make a series of noises.

But what people don’t understand is that it is the sound of an idea running through me. The idea is sometimes one of venting the steam that seems to be about to burst my skull apart, ahisssssssssssh.

Sometimes the sound is one of delight, of giddy happiness to be thinking about something wonderful coming and it’s like a train, it has this plugging rhythm and I feel myself with it so it goes doo-chicka-doo-chicka-doo-chicka, like the soundtrack to an old black and white western, and my body will get real tight with excitement and my fingers will bend like weeping willow boughs, all twisted as I draw them skyward and contemplate while the sound goes how good it will be when whatever it is arrives full and intact.

Sometimes the sound is like it is tonight, sitting in bed with the fan on blast and the noise doesn’t have any rhythm or order and is both hsssssssssssssssssss and a series of intermittent clicks and it is the sound of me thinking about my mother’s cancer medicine working in her body, fighting against what is wrong and block-block-block-block-blocking it.

 

The Blindfolded Heroine

“She’s always blindfolded, otherwise she wouldn’t do anything.”

Integrity.

A day where I realize the new deep.  I knew this realization was coming.  The actual gasping sense of realizing you are in way over your head and you do not know how to begin to survive.

I have a plan.  I have a plan I have asserted I will do.  To survive.  I’ve smiled and earnestly said yes, oh boy oh boy oh boy, I’ll work so hard for you.  And I’ve meant every oh and every boy.  But part of the plan is me figuring out how to let myself shift into an adult mode.  Into knowing, oh, no, that’s not acceptable when someone suggests a change or states a fact.  Into being the gatekeeper.  Into doing exactly what it is they’ve hired me to do.

One must sink or one must swim.  I always thought if I just lay still, I could just float, safely on my own, but there’s been enough of a breeze these days that my tiny allotment of clever inflatables is no match and, bam, I keep hitting the wall.

And that wouldn’t be so bad, except these fancy, high-tech walls are equipped with klaxons that ring like Operation anytime you fuck-up or are adjacent to any sort of fuck-up-yet-to-be.  And that wouldn’t be so bad except you ring the bell, word gets around.  Word gets around fast, if people aren’t already with their glasses at the tip of their nose, watching you.

I got asked today what was going well and was hard-pressed to think of anything, as I was so aware of the bad feedback and needing to correct it.  So desirous to be perfect, gleaming.  Spotless.  And it used to be that my perfectionism was painful because it existed outside of reality – it was my own standards I couldn’t meet.  Now, it’s everybody else’s.

So I need to focus.  Take time and figure this out.  Get my hair cut and look more professional (I suggested this, but was not dissuaded from my view.)   Be willing to spend some portion of Sunday working and picking nits.  I have to lay down on the paperwork and let myself find the rhythm of it.  I have to build flash cards and flow charts and checklists and make notes to staple to my forehead and in the midst of all of that…

I realize how much of me is taken up with other things, other desires, to be writing, often, or to be connecting with J. is another,  or thinking about something to share with my friends, or just to be laying somewhere just not-ting for a while. and how I thought I had all of those curious, distracting thoughts locked down.  That I was working hard at work.  But there’s a lot of needing to not push through and instead, feel the soft touch of one of these kind places and I don’t know how to cut that cold turkey because it’s kind of where my soul is.

But like it or not – and I don’t – something’s got to be done.

Inanity

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It is so strange, the impulses we have.

Right now, I really don’t want to write today’s post here.  Not not write it at all, just not here.  I am not going share it with my Twitter, though if anyone there wanted to read it, I imagine they could figure out how to get back here.  It makes me feel really vulnerable to re-live it, but I also don’t want to let it drift into the background of my unconscious without being tagged with some words.  Maybe as I write it I will feel differently.

It was two things.  It was the guy and it was the panic.

My life is definitely spiraling in ways that are out of the bounds of any imaginable stretch of my comfort zone.  As I dealt as best I could with the work that needed to happen on the last day we are in the office for 2016, I also was conversing with the dude of yesterday’s post.  Real generally, real get to know you stuff spiked with this sort of testing the water sort of quasi-flirting business that was never uncomfortable, just, curious.  It had, like he had, a different sort of vibration than I was used to.  Someone who calls themselves weird and doesn’t have any pretense about covering it up or not being weird, but the weirdness all weirdness that I had reference for, that felt companionable to my own weirdness rather than self-protective.

So, having this pleasant conversation, I arrive as I did on Tuesday, at the bus stop and awaited my ride.  My sister called and said she was there.  On the opposite side of the whole freeway situation.  This meant the walkover bridge.  Fuuuuuuuuckaroonies.

The thought that I had done this on Tuesday had zero bearing.  The fact that I was hungry and tired and wanted to be cool and sangfroid and keep talking to this guy had no bearing.  The fact that a woman driving past saw me flipping my shit and asked me if I was okay had no bearing.  I thought what if the panic returned and it did.  It went for my throat. For 10 minutes, standing over the freeway. I was panic’s thrall.  It was…bad.

When I say it was bad, I mean…bad with zero hyperbole.   She was flipping out at me for not just going, I was flipping out because I physically could not go and I was getting screamed at for it.  It was 2 minutes of irrationality.  It was irrational, but in that moment, that premise doesn’t exist…the threat is as real, as unthinkyourselfouttable as if there was a gun to my head.  My body is telling me that I cannot physically cross the bridge in the same way that when you stand next to a skyscraper you know you can’t scale it.  It is not possible, and to try is to insist on  failure.  The symptoms were all there.

And my sister did not get it.  At all.  It was an irritation, when I asked her to drive over to my side rather than have me walk to her, and my refusal to do so was terrible to her.

She yanked on my arm and I felt my throat close up.    A pre-swoon adrenaline kick…as strong as she is, I pulled away.  I’m sure…it looked insane.

I couldn’t breathe the thought loop was supersonic at this point.  A cool gust hit me and I thought for just a moment that I wanted to go home.

Then.

I thought I could do it if I could crawl. I couldn’t crawl.  Then finally, she let me be for two seconds and I stopped thinking entirely.  Just as before, I found myself walking.  She was supposed to talk, to distract me and started counting the lights, but I fugued my whole way afraid to blink, because lights =  seizures when you lack rational perspective.  Out of the blue she stopped talking and my rubber legs screamed a HOLY HELL THIS IS IT but I had to get out of the danger I’d so recklessly put myself in by walking through the sky over a freeway and just kept walking until there was no more bridge.

And eventually, on the ground, it felt…like, oh, what a relief and it’s over.  I didn’t feel proud about it or angry about it or anything, just exhausted.  But it is wrong to say, I think, that it isn’t hard to cross that threshold and get through it.  It doesn’t just go away because of one time you handle it.  It’s nothing to do with the bridge itself, really.  It’s this trigger that goes off and being told to get over it or told to stop it or told it isn’t real….that does not work.  It does not work at all.  That’s not a great answer for the rest of my life, but that’s what I have right now.

After that, more talking with the guy, ending up possibly joining some D&D campaign.  We’ll see.

In Triplicate

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It is nice to be mouthless.  Something I could never have reckoned with as a girl who wanted Hello Kitty to be free to speak her Hello Kitty thoughts.  But it is nice not to have to tell you stories of distemper and distaste, not to have to show up and look weak, not to have to…

Sometimes I sit still and I feel as though I have got the whole nation, the whole world’s despair not only over their choice (willing or otherwise) of leader, but of every last little discomfort in their lives.  Every last thing going wrong shuffling about in your head, oh cripes, it’s here in mine. It’s not right.  It’s killing us.  It’s too much.

It’s not yours, something like the Faithful Light will remind me, you only have that slag heap over there.  That’s it.  All the rest of it is not yours.  But, I think, I see it.  I know that it exists – hungry babies, pissed-off fathers, the snow in the morning, this grinding in my skull, that any day something horrible will happen – it will, it’s unavoidable – the inevitable brokenness of every last thing. I have just been ignoring it for a while, but it’s true.  It’s true how terrible it is.

But.  I sit longer and it is also true that I have ice in the freezer which makes the water better to drink and which makes me feel full.  I have a mentor who texts me to come in later, to feel better, to get my spunk back.  I have a mind that reads spunk and still laughs.  I have a mother sleeping soundly in her bed surrounded by my father who loves her and a dog that believes she is the closest thing there is to God.  I have kind friends who multiply the thin wisps of kindness I deign to blow hither and thither.  I have a dear maniac and a dear brick of a cat.  I am not so terribly sick as I might be.

I also had my card today so I was able to buy gas and lunch.  That felt entirely luxurious.  That and despite the panic attacks, the ones that keep ramping up because I feel so down about my ability to quash them and the insurance shit and the money shit and the other shit, I was able to get home before the snow fell.   That’s good.

I did a few things today.  I did what I was asked and a sliver more.

…..

So I am going to run off and try and write a few things before this computer crumbles beneath my fingertips.  There’s always Fallen London and some DAI to chase around.  I am okay.  A few hours here and I feel better even if I’m having the neck/shoulders/teeth grinding thing which upsets everything terribly.  I am alright.  Eventually, maybe we’ll stretch our legs and try and climb up to that next rung on the ladder.  But tonight, alright’s alright, alright?

Time To Get Moving

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Trundle, crumple, bumble.  The cat is in the paper bag.

Stop the whirrrrrrrrl, stop the world!

I am currently more concerned about the drive tomorrow than the questions I’ll be asked and that’s no good.   It will be fine.

Time to take it all very slowly and be very clear.  My only intention is to get myself to get up to dress myself nicely for work tomorrow and after I am done for the day, I will drive to the interview and answer their questions as well as I can.  I will offer everything I can to express my sense that I can take part in their office and make a difference. Then, I’ll figure out how I want to drive home.

I know this driving part of it is suddenly real and under my skin, and the google maps did me no favors, but I can do it.  I can really, actually, do it.  It’s going to be alright.  I’ll be back here to prove it.

It’s just odd, if you come right down to it.  I have felt rather weepy and on the edge of things tonight.  In part because I went to the store with my mother and younger sister and they bought me things for this interview, regardless of whether or not it was easy for them to afford this, it bothers me.  It bothers me that my sister donated funds towards this cause of personal rehabilitation.  I…don’t like this at all. And of course, as part of this, I had to be pleasant and try on clothing and take a good look at myself in the mirror and I did not want to do this.  The result was…a cannonball of memories and deep, skin-peeling frustration about my appearance, and knowing that my moodiness would throw everyone into a tizzy and I needed something that looked professional and good, so I just mumbled quietly to myself while they brought me matronly looking sweaters and pants that didn’t fit until we settled on an outfit I can make work.

Between this and my brow wax, I feel somewhat better about how I will turn up tomorrow.  I will get my nails painted and nearly complete the superfecta.  My hair’s still a right mess.

Then, after all of this attempts internal and external to right my ship and get ready for this challenge, we visited with my half-sister and her fiance and kids.  My niece and nephew including my niece’s boyfriend.  I did sort of feel how depressed and deflated this whole situation makes me – for them, it is easy to make pronouncements and say that it’s completely clear.  Get this new job, get rid of the old ones, they’re screwing you, time to take care of yourself.  No muss, no fuss, just do it because you’re worth it.

It’s a painful thing, to see something fail, something that was supposed to be so wonderful.  And this leap is not just dependent on my wanting it.  I….okay.

But I have my assignment written and printed, I have my necklace that glows and shifts color in the light, and I have my best intentions in the world.

The Fortuneless Cookie

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I ate the ice cream tonight.  After spending the day assiduously avoiding caffeine after another evening of extreme sleep incompatibility, I ate the coffee ice cream.  I also put hot fudge on it.  I may regret it when I lay in bed tonight and my brain is doing the sort of overclocked magic tricks it did last night.  I am hoping to drink more water and…I don’t know, maybe come and do another turn on the couch which sometimes helps, and sometimes doesn’t.  It is, of course, as ever, a question of being afraid of it happening rather than any fear while it happens.  I’m building aversions that are based on nothing. The bed is not the cause of the sleeplessness.  The room is not.  It’s the stress in my head venting, fiendishly, mechanically, over my field of vision.

Eventually, I do sleep.  I just don’t know when.  It wasn’t at 1:30 or 2 when I felt like I could pop my eyeballs out and string them into a necklace, when I felt inescapably trapped in Willy Wonka’s nightmare gondola ride  Maybe at 3?  I should just get up and not lay there, watching the laser light show my brain puts on.  I half-regret forcing myself to submit to the clock rather than the circadian rhythm I’m experiencing – fucked up as it is, it just feels like I can’t let myself lock in this habit, this bad behavior.

I do regret the hiccups that are rocketing through me at the moment.  The TV is showing a Dead Like Me marathon, and every muscle in my body aches for relief.  We had to move more of those tubs full of Naugahyde and flannel and decapitated mannequin heads and for six hours straight, I worked like a dog, mostly I think because I have this interview and I have this whole idea of leaving now climbing over me.   I want to be good about it, even if as I know now, it can’t necessarily be good.

Two years ago, it was the same situation, but the emotions felt different.  End of October, I had the delineation of the trip to Italy between one job and the next.  After so much struggle, I was offered a doorway out of my problems and I was brave enough to take it.  I was farewell partied, twice…I was earnestly saluted and sent off to meet my future.  And my future turned out not to need or know what to do with me.  My future was having problems of its own.  My future and I did not get along.  My future gave up.

And now, there’s a compression of time and need.  If I get this new position (and I may get smacked in the face with a decline or a “that position has already been filled” note so no excitement yet), it’s just me trying to course correct. It’s just me trying to stabilize.  Not to say I don’t care and don’t want the job, just right now…I need a platform that isn’t shaking to stand on.

I need to sleep and I am not tired enough to do it.