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Well.

So.

Fuck.

I want to say that I’m a post-panic attack mess, but the thing about panic attacks is that when you’re over them, you’re out of the zone of panic, you’re fine.  Or I am, typically. It feels ludicrous after the fact, except, there’s no way in hell you’d want to go right back and face it again.  Today, however, I had multiple incidents of JUST NO GODDAMNIT.

I was fine driving to the parking garage.  I parked, and looked around and realized I had driven to the opposite side of the freeway from where my bus would pick up.  This meant, if I had any interest in not missing the bus, taking the walkover bridge.   This, for most people, is not a thing. But my mind slipped its gear and suddenly, tunnel vision, heart racing, the usual effects. I paced about trying to not appear completely insane as people walked casually, strode earnestly across the bridge.  I was feeling light-headed.  The solution was right there.  Eventually, the necessity of the thing somehow kicked in and I thought, I can see the buses over there.  I can’t not get on the bus.  The only busses I need are over there.  I will do it.  I will cross this evil looking unholy bridge.

And running my hand over the railing, my heart feeling as though it were a glob of coal furiously twitching out its last dying beats, walking like some sort of clomping psychopath, I crossed the bridge.  And nobody knew that it felt as though I had defeated some sort of boss battle.  Nobody knew how incredibly hard it was.  Nobody cared as I bought my bus fare and calmly went to the downtown station and then took a lyft to the new job because I didn’t want to have to worry about finding the place on my first day.

Nobody cared as I sat quietly at my desk in our new space which is just a cubicle.  There are people around, but we’re so tense, and feel, to my mind a bit like refugees trying to make our own space in this established country that it’s…well, it’s nothing like the shop.  It’s sterile and claustrophobic and it’s nothing I want to experience, really, ever again, but I will.  Even if I…well, eventually, it became time to go home.

And I laughed internally about what if I have some problem, wouldn’t that be awful.  That joyful anxiety-based what if probe that never finds anything but blows up half my brain anyway.  I shrugged it off, but then the lyft driver to the bus station was a mess once I finally got there and my initial start time to catch the bus back kept getting pushed back so that it had been nearly an hour since I left the office until I even got on the bus.  Then, upon arriving at the station and getting in my car, I have this odd thought about how this place doesn’t look like any place I could ever be.  My muscle memory won’t stop recalling how it felt to cross the walkover bridge even if I know I don’t have to do it.

It won’t stop cycling over and over as I leave the parking garage realizing I don’t want to be on this side, that I can’t be on this side, what road is this, it’s dark, I can see things I recognize right over the freeway, but I can’t move to get there…and then, full-blown meltdown.

I think my brain just realized that I was pushing it job change/life change/knuckle-down and bear it reaction  right through and whatever calm I had before was gone.  I pulled over and shook and cried and did the whole thing.  Couldn’t get a hold of my sister, so I called my other sister and she was quite kind about it.  Until she suggested I call my father, call uber or lyft and I was able to take a breath and manuever the car over to where I had intended to be.

And then, I sat and breathed through it and thought and twinged and flipped for about an hour in the parking lot.  Stared at the cars as though they were weaponized.

Finally, FINALLY, time was time and the prospect of having anyone come and get me felt both deliriously right and tremendously wrong at the same time.  Like, sure, it would in the instant relax and get rid of the panic, but then, I’d have to stave off the guilt.  And if there’s anything in the world worse than panic (aside from the actual horrors of war, the actual traumas that exist), it is feeling guilty because you panic.

So, I rolled up this little ball of energy, the radio played a Paramore song.  I thought I have power, I have an incredible superpower to fight through this now, I can do it, I can do it, I can do it.  A mantra that would brook no opposition.  And suddenly, I found myself at the  taco place getting tacos and gasping because, well, it was easy, of course.  So close.  So simple.

Hah, oh, fuck.

I can’t express how much I hated that.  Or how relieved I am I get a day away from it.  I don’t think I can share with you what it felt like to know you can’t go home.  Or how suddenly, you could.

But, it was a day.  And the fight goes on.

100 Proof

into-spaceship-earth-1235302 (1)If the meme ain’t facile, we don’t want the meme.

It’s getting to the point where I need a food change.  Where the food that is supposed to get me through is tasting gross and slowing my system.  It’s adding to my stress.  I’ve got a few plans cooking that start on Sunday afternoon, but I don’t know if that should also be one of them.  Maybe it would just be okay to force down a salad.  Fake it until you make it?

As I was pulling into the parking lot, we got a text about the cat.  She had gone missing.  She’s a cat that was found on the railroad tracks, a ball of fur and vinegar who by some good grace was put in our path, we of a cat-loving nature.  I can’t say that she’d have had an easier life with anyone else in charge of her comings and goings.  Chessie, the railroad kitten, was at my parents’ house and my father was the one texting.  Then came the sister’s facebook message.  Okay, I said to myself after reading it, okay.  I don’t know if I meant it, but I said okay.   She’s not my cat, but the idea of her lost out there on the mean streets of idyllic, sunset suburbia isn’t great to have to ponder.

It has been a long day of striving again, of being relieved and then sucker punched, relieved, sucker punched.  I’ve heard about Nice, but only tangentially, only in headlines.  I feel like I’m only capable of processing headlines, even if they’re the most stringent and dangerous part of the news.  A distillation, 100 proof.  And I’ve been so drunk on it lately, bashed about with the ceiling for the floor and the floor for the ceiling with fucking shitty news.  Every generation has its paranoia, every generation peering down on the next thinks it’s the end of civilization as we know it, but the truth of it is that eventually one of them will be right. You can read that a crazy fanatic person filled with hate drove into a crowd of celebrating people and your eyes can slowly close to let the picture come in, fuzzy and without sound effects, only a soundtrack that is just this song.

The song ends and you can open your eyes, feel your own body against the familiar air, the familiar ground, the familiar impulse to live.  Say Okay.  Nobody thinks you mean it.

Tomorrow is my mom’s next appointment.  An appointment where they are to explain options and status and treatment.  Okay, I say, without meaning it at all.  Okay. Let me know.

Not an hour later, the message comes through on all fronts.  The cat’s been found.  Was just hiding from the dog, her enemy and was just biding her time and sleeping.  Was surprised that there was a hubbub and secretly pleased.  She looks at you, a ball of fur and Okay.  She wouldn’t know to be otherwise.

Do have my good wishes.

The Fever

This is not the blog you’re looking for.

Bad day.  Reacted in predictable ways.  Knew I was doing it.  Didn’t care at the time.   Frustrated, ugly and scary emotions.  Tried to reason with them, but they felt bigger than I knew how to cope.  Still stressed about work, not sure how to stop being stressed, not sure if anyone cares.  Know a few people do.   Find that unnerving.

I’m over at my parents’ watching the house while they do various things so that the dog doesn’t whine and make a mess.   It is eerie and quiet just like being in Atlanta on my own, but somehow, worse in that there I had time restrictions and there was not choice to leave the room.  It was vacation, after all.   This is even more liminal.  Even more random and bizarre.  It feels like I’m always on my own.

When I’m on my own, I make questionable choices.  Not only with regard to food, but, in general.  Like writing a message on a postcard with a website address, just a random, keening cry of loneliness out to the universe and then, when I was driving over here, I left it slip out of my fingers into the air.  I fucking littered my anguish.  I expect the street sweepers will be the ones who wrangle my ennui and chuck it into the waste where it belongs, but I hold out this sliver of hope that some man of the right age, right length of beard, right intent would be the one who plucks it from the gutter and finds his curiosity piqued.

We think somehow this means we’re trying.

I looked so cute today, too.  Such a waste.  The dress and this little jacket looked kind of regency and I had my honey bee amber necklace and there was a group out on the patio and they were playing beautiful, Middle-Eastern inspired music and I felt really positive.  I really wish that everything had gone differently.  I really wish that I knew how to fix things even as I watch myself make them worse.  I know this is vague.  I know that you can’t be expected to care about things that don’t mean anything to you.  I know, too, that I can’t produce an explanation.

It’s all bullshit, anyway.  We make our choices.   We pay our prices.  We tell the story we want someone to hear, even if we hope they hear the story underneath it first.

I got tickets for a concert which seems to be one of the few things that motivates me.  What with all these untallied barriers I have against me.  Positive.  Positive.  Go go go.  That’s at the end of October, so I think I will carry on dancing at least until then.

I’m working on my poems, my stories, my beauty, my fear, my faith.  I’m working on not trailing off.  I feel very small and stupid, but I know I’m not.  I know I’m better at least than my worst thoughts.