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.

Allemande Left

  • make bed
  • do laundry
  • grocery list
  • bathroom
  • charge phone
  • talk at some point to ser dude again
  • hope the washing machine did not break.  (Did not)

It is so strange to me that when you are journaling daily, you become hyper-aware of how the actions of the day will convert into text.  What you can get words out of, what has absorbed thought like a sponge and will provide a shower if you just twist a bit.  And what is dry as a bone and best left as forgotten as things half-remembered can be.  Now, not writing down the daily activities mean that this awareness comes with a burden attached.  I know when a happening is full of story and you can’t, not without physical pain, just mark down co-worker quit and leave it be at that.

Because I was not expecting that.  I was hoping for an exit that did not demand my awareness of yet another stratum on this tiramisu of drama.  But it makes sense that if I needed to go, everyone really does.  And it feels like Pisa is at a 45 degree angle now and nobody has the strings to pull it all the way aright.  So tomorrow requires just seven hours of…what, I don’t precisely know, because we’re not pulling a magnificent edifice back onto its foundations in seven hours, so I don’t know what lies between that and just throwing up my hands.

This is my parents’ work ethic – even if they’ve long said, just go – I am, so wildly grateful that I have a place to just go to.  Of course, there are other elements to this, other layers of mascarpone to dig through that I am not willing to share as they’re not mine to do so, but I am just glad that I am able to walk and not have myself in a blind panic about what is next.

So, yeah, I am grateful.  For so many things.   For the desire to write flowing through me, for how J. sounds when he says chicanery so casually there’s not even a chance to comment on it, for tacos that taste like those tacos do, for a spongy mind.

Off we go.

Mad Magic

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Better!

So, I’ve been thinking, fancy that, about what do.  I say this every year and yet, here we are mid-September after 6 years of nigh-on daily blogging.  And as much as I love this – and believe me if you believe me about anything when I say that I do love it – I wonder at times about how it is helping me.  I also ponder lately if there’s something deleterious about elevating the random happenstance of my life into language as if it matters so very much.  The false equality of this page.

Let me explain.  I had a good day overall, uneventful, and I even found myself capable of staying calm and not going into any sort of panicky spiral.  There really is not much more to say than that.  I could recount the reheated Monte Cristo sandwich I had for a very late lunch, how heavy and oil-laden, how pleasantly filling as my first meal of the day, how it stunk up the whole back room.  But, overall, it was not a day of any real literary worthiness or self-revelation.  I managed myself sufficiently.

However, the drive home was slightly…panic-stricken.  I was having this internal dialogue with myself as to whether or not, as the night got dark at 7pm, my eyes functioned.  This dialogue kicked in the whole array of panic functions which, as you may be aware, raises one’s heart rate and widens one’s pupils to let in more light.   For the purposes of survival against the terrors of the unknown woods, monsters and bears and whatnot.  Not to secure me on the street I always drive home.

After reading about a driving anxiety program last night that detailed specific experiences people like me have, and that I have, it was on my mind.  I said I’d be as cool and reserved as I’d carefully relaxed my way into throughout the day and…in fact, whammo, I was very much freaked out because of this minor transition.

So that happened.  I felt the clenchy, gasping, going to black-out, going to lose control, everything tight as if I had a blood pressure testing bracelet around my whole body.  I hated it as anyone would.

But…I still got home, you  know?  I still managed to make the turns and press the pedal and not hit anyone and I still…did it.

So I guess, making a post about oh my god, this happened to me and let’s always remember how I’ve got this issue and isn’t it so true that with every up there’s a down and…I can collect hundreds of these posts and not clue into the fact that life does go on if every single post is meant to feel like this encapsulation of the totality of my being.  It’s just a still frame, though.  A single snapshot.

It just feels like it would be a lot better to accept that hey, I have to drive that way home tomorrow, too.  So let’s talk instead about Edwardian spy societies and alternate realities and immortal father figures and corsetry and mad sciences and mad magic and…

I am contemplating requiring 500 words of fiction of myself.  This is the muscle that is meant to be worked.  That means I may not end up feeling like writing a post about the fact that I had trouble with my driving anxiety.  Or about the innocuous quality of my day.  Or whatever.  I feel like maybe I would lose something by doing that after six years, but I’d also be making a radical change towards accepting that not every hiccup is worth the linguistic engine of my brain.  I want the stories that I’m building to blow you away, and that is going to take time and energy.  Maybe I can’t spend it this way as much.

I am thinking.

When Something Got Said

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It’s all I can do not to fall into cliches, but perhaps I might as well. Because if it ain’t one thing, it is assuredly another.

The mouth/jaw thing is not unbearable, but it has not, thus far improved.  Doesn’t hurt at all to chew, or talk, just mostly to close and clamp my teeth together.  Which you don’t think about doing until you realize that when you do it, your jaws feel all numb and sore at the same time and the teeth don’t like it.  So need desperately to do it and it feels all kinds of nope.

So another night of careful care.  Maybe dig out that night guard I got a jillion years ago and never used because it’s awful.

While all of that has been on my mind and has punctured a bit of a delightful day, I continue to think as positively as the hormones and hypochondriacal panic will allow.

It was not delightful in that we had cakes and pedicures and went shopping today, it was delightful in that I had an honest conversation with the boss and I know what her intentions are.  And mostly, she doesn’t know what she intends, but as a part of that, she doesn’t anticipate full-time being a viable possibility in October.

It was sort of not what I expected and exactly what I expected at the same time.  I had kind of been dreading it because I wasn’t sure what clarity I would get or if I’d feel coerced on some level into offering up something I didn’t want to offer in terms of my own plans and goals  And I didn’t have to do that because it was clear.  I can’t anticipate actually getting back to where I was financially, hours-wise in my position any time soon.   We all wish it were otherwise, but it’s not and nobody pretended it was.  I told her it was okay, but I just needed to know and I hadn’t made any plans or decisions, but I had been talking with retail boss and in general and I just had to see how my time needed to go because right now, it’s just not working.  I actually said that the status quo wasn’t enough.  And she, really, patently, truly said, and I want so much more for you.  Then we talked about social media writing and freelance writing and that she hears about those work-from-home opportunities to write and she thinks of me.  I talked about perhaps other things are best for the organization, a part-time bookkeeper.  That, I hadn’t been looking, but the experiences I’d been having lately – borrowing money from my parents (as I do intend to pay the money I was given back) – had made me think. I was firm and clear and said I just wanted to keep the conversation open.  She agreed.

I sort of thought as I was walking home, carefully not grinding my teeth and managing a whole rainbow of mood swings, that maybe she didn’t mean it.  Maybe she was grinding her teeth and hating my guts for thinking about walking away.  But that’s her business and nothing she said actually indicated that and I am way too tired and achey for subtext.  Right now it feels freer and more productive just to openly contemplate moving on.

If only the rest of my body would hear this good news.

But I’ve cleaned the kitchen and wrote this post and am now not going to belong to anything for a good eight to twelve hours.

Devil in the Blue Dress

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I have a reward coming when I finish this post.  The reward is a secret, but it rhymes with schmalcohol.

The days are getting cooler.  It seems like a season changes every time I sit down to write.

My mother has both positive and negative cancer types at the same time which never happens or rarely does.  It’s complicated and weird and she’s being advised by someone at the Mayo Clinic. She’s taking pills and feels guilty that it feels like she’s just taking aspirin.  There’s a list of fifty side effects and she’s not feeling any of them.  She is trying to tell herself it is working.  I affirm that it is.  But what do I know?  Doctors don’t even know.

I was told once that part of my purpose in life was to observe the Void.  Not to try to fill it, like so many do, but to acknowledge it, define it, become its High Priestess.  This, I must report, is a Void. It is this space between what is now and what we will eventually come to know and there is no way to bridge or ford or otherwise traverse this emptiness.  We are just inside it now until we are not.  Inside, all of our great artifice of controlled environments and self-made destinies and pretensions at foresight and preparedness and self-protection are burnt away.  And we just wait, we just wait and just wait and just wait and just wait.  Where are we now?  Here.  What are we doing here?  We are just waiting. What are we waiting for?  When we know here is there.  How will we know?  We will be there and not here.

I wore a blue dress today, the one I bought yesterday.  It had the softest lace, I didn’t realize that it was just so soft as it is.  I wore it and my necklace and had my face made up and I felt warmly embraced all day long.   I felt like I was filling the role of shopgirl relatively well by encouraging and talking to customers in a chirpy, pleasant way.  You look so cute.  It comes out now like a muscle memory.  A woman holds a garment up to her chest, reviewing herself for flaws, performing cost-benefit analysis in an instant and before that instant is up, I have to blurt out “It’s cute on you.” and reset the entire process.  It isn’t a lie.  Everything looks cute on everyone to me.  They were drawn to the fabric for a reason, they had an idea it could fulfill something about them, make them feel cute.   It was their idea, their impulse, if it can go either way, just thought experiment it into truth.

I suspect most women don’t look at clothes shopping the way I’ve come to.

But now, my legs are tired.  I want to hear from you and I won’t.  I’ve watched the Olympics and sat alone in the house for a while, hearing the night noises, I’ve listened to Dear Sugar, thought about skipping visiting my mother tomorrow.   There’s a Void in me that I want to fill with thought, but I think that will only spread it wider.  The day has curdled in retrospect.

Now, of course, I think back at all of the people who ignored me when I greeted them, the husbands and boyfriends I smiled my most milquetoast, desexualized and inert expression of delight in servitude at so that no one would think I was seeing them as anything other than knotted entirely, as further sexless supplicants, to these women who were hunting and gathering poly-cotton blends and shiny baubles to feather their nests.  The blankness they offered back at me.  The rush in and the rush out to be hidden away, ensconced on this second floor, tucked behind the evergreens.  A loneliness perpetuated by isolation.

I see some of my feelings reflected in my friends, some of them not.  I am alright.  I just, there’s a lot swirling that needs to be released rather than pickling me one more day.

 

Time to go get pickled in a different way.

Come On, Eileen: Day Seventy-Three

Okay, you were waiting for the fuck-uppery, this is the broken record day.

But I’ve already forgiven it, like it or not, and I’m not worried about it really, so I guess there’s no reason for me to project your disapproval back on myself.

I ate carbs.  I had blackened chicken tacos, including the tortilla, because I went too far and too long without eating and felt even more legitimately dizzy and because I used my lunch hour to go to therapy  and had packed nothing after staying over at my parents, I felt like I had to take corrective action.   I felt like maybe going about a month without carbs was somehow fucking me over.  And I thought somehow that this was what I wanted and it was easy for me to get that and get back to the office before my writing group.

So, yeah, I have to call this for what it is and say I didn’t make ideal choices.  My legs felt like they were locking up, falling asleep, it just…it’s just me and it’s just Mildred making a play, so I came home and ate something low carb to make sure there’s no going to bed hungry around here.  And while I know tomorrow may require eating non-low-carb food, it may well not require that.  So if I can make better choices, I will feel better overall.  But I do feel like something the therapist said was really relevant to me about the “shoulds” I give my life over to don’t actually exist.   So berating myself over the fact that I shouldn’t have eaten what I ate isn’t all that helpful.  Isn’t helpful at all as though I have some fiat that I must meet in every detail to satisfy the diet gods. Just like my thoughts, the day just comes and goes.  This is a long game I’m playing.  So the pattern does have to reassert itself.  I have to do the situps (I didn’t miss them last night, but I have to do them this might, too) and write up the board.

Today did have lots of good bits in it – circumstances required me to open up to a couple groups of strangers and I made them laugh.  I was gregarious and liked, but still myself.  That was nice.  I also paid enough attention to what I needed and gave that some attention today even if other people’s needs may have lost out while I was taking care of me.  Like when I finish this post, I’m getting myself into the bathtub.  Luckily, the boss has said I don’t need to be in until 11:00a.m., so I can get the sleep I need again and maybe watch another episode of Mr. Selfridge.  It’s a treat of time where I can keep my head together on this, on the reasons, on the places I want to go with all of this.

All of this is a long game, a curious negotiation I have to make every day.

So we can’t get bogged down in the crazy.

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The Evening

So.  Yeah.  I will need to report about tomorrow  (report is a weirdly loaded word as if this were some kind of pass/fail exam) tomorrow.  I don’t have the plan clear yet…

Well, maybe.  I have a place and a time.  And a paranoia seeping in two diverging rivulets.  Fear that it won’t happen at all since I can’t tell remotely what the subtext is here since we’re suddenly off-script and fear that oh, shit, this is happening, like, tomorrow and I suddenly realized I don’t know how to use my arms and legs.  I knock over mannequins on a regular basis.

It is exhausting.  It is work worrying about this.

It was ever so much easier with you because you were not a moving target and it never mattered what I wanted because what I wanted was the slowest moving molasses flood to kill me.  I wanted to be sucked under, inch by sugared inch.  I wanted to be utterly aware and yet taken wholly by surprise.  I was getting that even as you set my head on fire and you (no, not really) broke my heart (I broke it for myself, if in your name).  You and I could tango with our own private miseries and make eyes across the ballroom.  None would be the wiser, certainly neither of us.  And I could build Everests out of mole hills.  I could write paeans to the unsaid between us, aubades, elegies.  I could fixate on the great feast of maybe you laid out and feel quite loved somehow.  As much love as such circumstances could distill.  And you, you could take my banter and my pregnant pauses and my long, slow deliberations and feel like the feudal lord you were.  Until the serfs and the king banded together to hoist ye on your own petard.  And it is until this very moment that I realize that I should be grateful that you didn’t look to me for solace, for succor, for solutions.  Because it is until this very moment that I so wanted to give you all three…as best as I could, stuck to the floor as the molasses waves came across my shoreline.  Now, I see that, impossible as it may seem, I am feeling kindly toward another soul who may or may not deserve it and may or may not reciprocate it and I could only be in a very dark place if I’d done something rash and tried to save you from yourself.  Or insinuate myself in your disaster.

I am so grateful to you, Mr. Rochester, for getting the fuck away from me.  Because I would never have been fast enough to escape the molasses flood.

I feel insecure right now.  I’m rarely in this spot, as you all know.  I feel like it’s all a house of cards.  I feel like I don’t have any idea where I am right now.  No script, no map, no plot.  Just a goal to be of service in some way.

I’ll let you know, I guess.