If I Knew You From Adam

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The state of affairs is interesting.  Nothing has changed today from yesterday, nor from tomorrow, and there is no revelatory experience to peel apart, I’m just saying…I’m aware of the gap between what I am now and what I want.  I am aware instead of putting my head in the sand and sighing.

I’ve just now come across a Elizabeth Gilbert quote that rings true, even if it also hangs heavy on my shoulders, which I’ll paraphrase here “If you find yourself stuck in life, you can be sure it’s because of a fear you haven’t faced yet.”

This is true in many areas, deflating, but true.  So the depressive part, the tired part, the worn down, underemployed, insecure, freaked out, hypochondriac part can get better, but it has to wobble upright, and as slow or as quick as it can, do something in the face of the belief that it absolutely cannot produce or act at all.  It just has to do something.  Anything.  Use gravity to fall from dead center.   Despite the impossible physics, the bumblebee has to go ahead and fly.

These are the battles you can retreat from every day of your life.  Nobody will mind if you do.  Nobody will cheer you if you don’t.  It’s your life.  Your end result.

You can go on OKCupid.  You can flip through page after page of earnest men’s faces.  Read their best opinion on how best to sell themselves to the pool of available women, even if you are certain that just as you have this idea in your head of who you want to cull you from the herd, they have this idea of the woman who is meant to rise out of the ocean on the clam shell and anoint them with their love.  You can look around at the mess that you drag with you, the veritable flotsam and jetsam and streaky, slimy seaweed that tinsels your hull, and say, fuck, I wouldn’t choose this, why would they? You can look at these men who say they don’t care about reading, they’re real big on weed and exploring moon caves on their jet-powered mountain bikes, men who want to put a slug of coffee in you while they size you up and hurry back to the primordial ooze in case Botticelli picks them out a good one.  You can look at them and feel deeply disconnected.  Angry, even. That life has its rhythm and you want to play along, but all you have is this broken kazoo.  That what you want does not want you and what wants you, what tells you it wants you in its bed, provokes revulsion, never desire.

You can look and realize how far the roots of suspicion grow.  That you may have to lose limbs to save the body when it comes to false beliefs held tightly round the throat.

A true belief: there is a place of alignment between who you want to spend time with and who wants to spend time with you.  But you have to take your slugs and smile because you care.  You want to have someone to talk to.  You want a warm hand in the darkness.  You want to travel to that set of coordinates.  You want to figure this one out.

The Dull Blade Cuts

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I’m sitting on the floor of my bedroom.  I am still at stage one of Japanese tidying, but I am not at stage zero.  I am getting everything in massive piles.  It was in massive piles before, but now they’ll be separated massive piles with tops, and pants, and skirts rather than a giant mishmash of everything everywhere.

This makes me feel better.  It is more than could ever hope to be accomplished in a single evening on a single whim, but, it is something more than nothing.  It’s non-zero progress.

Also, non-zero? Nail polish.  Been staring at my naked nails for ages, having done nothing about it, staring so long that the nail polish I intended to use was all dried out.  Which was depressing given it was a $13 bottle.  But I tried to fix it with the directives from the internet, adding a little nailpolish remover into it.  But it’s all pasty and dry and I think it might be a lost cause.

Instead, I’ve a matte red and found in the box of nail polish the bright matte red lipstick that would work well with it and that navy blue dress that’s in the wash and all of this makes me feel a bit more grown up than a girl who watched TV and ate 5-day old pad thai for dinner.

This is, I think, due in part to having watched Grav3yard Girl.  She’ll forgive me, I’m sure for not necessary spelling that perfectly.  She had a recent video talking about people who were commenting that they liked her better before and she essentially expounds on the value of youtubing, self-expression and change as positive elements to beating back her anxiety and depression.  Doing something you love can lead to all these other possibilities.  Just by walking the path.

Just by starting.  I don’t know how to remagic myself into just always knowing when I get lost how to get found.  It is always the process of stepping towards rationality, of stepping towards organization, of stepping towards the visions I have for myself rather than a giving up of failed policies.  Eventually, that shit falls away, but you get so clingy for it that you get scared to pull away from it.

Old lessons, old messages, re-stated for these, our so very modern times.

I am wishing I had a day tomorrow to here, on my own, to cement these thoughts in my head. It’s odd to be stressed about the job, but to have this idea that there’s only eight hours of it to face tomorrow and then I’m not there.  I wonder…I just wonder on some levels if that messes me up in both places. I feel bound to both masters and yet, really, to neither.  Forgetful and focused on myself.  I suppose, that’s just what has to be right now.

So.  Yes.  The girl begins with herself yet again.  All the hopes and dreams for this year that seemed dashed when my granddad died, when my mom got her diagnosis, when the kitty had to be put down when my work hours and salary got slashed, when I didn’t hear the things I needed to hear.

Well, they didn’t splatter on the rocks, they floated there and waited for the water to rise.  And perhaps their patience is now rewarded.

 

A Constituency of Dunces

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There’s never enough time.

Here’s me.  Here’s the page.  We’re trying to align ourselves.  I’m trying to listen to what the noises are and what they mean.  The noises of the Great Whatever – a whatever that remains great despite your presence to bear witness to it, sir.   I hear the clack of the dryer turning over once more and its insistent beep.  I should have finished my laundry today but I’ve run the washer and dryer to the point that my empathy extends to their Italian-made mechanics.  I don’t want to bust the thing.  I just find it highly effective to deal with a mess in laundry loads.  Putting it in, transferring it up, and putting just that much away.  This is how we end up with a room that has a clear floor (save for the last few lumps of cotton and polyester and wool and faux-leather that remain under the desk, waiting for their glorious log ride back to suitability and an attempt at being hung in some sort of order in the closet.)   Everything, regardless of whether it needs it, into the washer.   Let the soap sort it out.   This is my new philosophy.

Another new philosophy.  June 1.  It’s the day after tomorrow.  This date is the starting of my going back to MyFitnessPal and tracking my food intake and exercising 10 minutes a day, even if it requires figuring out how to get the squeak out of this stationary bike, and essentially, not wasting the second half of the year.  It’s just happening.   Mentioning it here bears no impact on the doing of it or the not doing of it so I won’t hesitate to mention it.  Like the pile of extraordinarily earnest Japanese girls who made/make up idol band creation thing Sakura Gakuin – the ones I’ve been watching videos of to the point that their high-pitched voices speaking a tongue I have zero comprehension of make perfect sense.  They’re constantly saying “I will do my best!”  “I will commit!  I will increase my effort!”  Push-button sincerity.   I just know that my best is better than the way I feel at this particular moment.   Unwell, jolted, caffeinated, all of the things I started the year excited to break away from.

Let’s just…yeah.

Oh, the thing I wanted to talk about yesterday and didn’t was the fact that I got a small advance on my…god, it feels gross to use this word, but inheritance.  And by small, I mean, small enough that it will in no way alter my life at all, but large enough to both be noteworthy and to be really helpful and important right now.   It feels extremely weird that the efforts of someone’s life has a dollar value and I, because I was blood of that blood, now get to spend it.  I wish I was in a position to honor it and save it and push it forward.  But right now, I am grateful that it’s…in my hands.

I just have to go give it my best effort and let the rest go.

Unpacking

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We can begin here with the list. I continue to have some sort of hypochondriac fit that is dancing around with all of these anxious, depressed thoughts in my head.

I have to say, darling, consider this: your grandfather just passed away. You have to travel with the whole family to say goodbye to him and this is always stressful and out of control. Everyone gets hyper under good circumstances and you’re not likely to be able to behave in a way that makes everyone happy with you. It’s been a while since you’ve flown anywhere so you feel as though now there is room for something, mathematically, to go wrong. You’re trying to predetermine how to behave and how to react and worrying about things that would never happen (your throat swelling up because you’re on the airplane, your body going out of whack and passing out, the obvious and essential crashing). You’re trying to protect yourself from all of this by pre-processing it and pre-living it so it becomes fearless. You’re forgetting that you’ll have your family around you in case anything goes wrong. You’re forgetting it’s just a two hour flight. You’re forgetting that your thoughts have no power to impact anything in the physical realm unless your body gets up and acts them out. Letting them pass is exactly the same as holding on, petrified to each one, in terms of their power.

Then, when you return, you’re going straight back to the airport and back on another plane to see your marvelous friends. You’re going on a big trip to a place you’ve never been before. You’re irritated with your job and the reduced hours means you’re not thinking about it as much as you have always obsessed in the past so that, too, is making you worried. Money is scaring you. You had to spend all day fake smiling at people and trying to sell raffle tickets. You sold 3, two of which were to you, at your table which smelled of the giant truck which was blowing its exhaust at you and faintly of cat piss. You would feel slightly good about this except for having been told that everyone should shoot for 100 a week. You’re unsure of your writing. You feel lonely even while hanging out in this group of like-minded nerds. Everyone feels like they’re there for a reason. You just want to ride the draft of a couple compliments (and also find true love.) You feel stress about your dieting. You told your mother how much weight you lost and instantly (although this coincides with your grandfather’s passing) starting fucking around with your plan. You’re frustrated that perhaps trying to eat better and lose weight has triggered some sort of physical issue, like you’re damned if you do and if you don’t. You’ve been driving on your own all week – managing it well enough, but you’re worried about suddenly being sent to have to deal with a new location you’ve never had to go to before. This has not happened, but you feel certain it might. You are not doing well at all about talking back to the irrational thoughts around driving today, but you’ve forgotten the past four days where you did it just fine. You don’t want to move in such a way that will make you think something is wrong.

And the internet is not working! And Prince died! And other, valuable people in this world. And you want to take on the tone of the world today as though that were a life sentence.

You have a lot on your mind. There is no need to torment yourself for not being at chipper kitty status right now. You can be sad and grouchy and introspective and itchy in your own skin. You’re at some crossed roads right now. You don’t need to gaslight yourself and say you’re not feeling it because you’re scared of how deep you could feel it. You’re a bright girl and you’re going to get the help you need as you need it. You are going to look up.

And The Sun Burns Into Your Eyes

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I write to you today as a doer of deeds.   Some less ably than others, but all of them noble enough.

There was a list and I look around and I know that I worked hard with the time I was given.  I did not throw it away heartlessly and blearily stare into my screen.  I want to do that, and usually do.  But I think that perhaps relaxing in the security of the middle distance would be more satisfying if I wasn’t too petrified to look around and see the odd, stilted creatures that make it their home.  Not looking is not easing your eyes.  Not looking squinches other muscles: the inner eye is lidless so there is considerable effort required to draw one’s self around it and blot out its sight.

I have been waiting for signs, omens, help, lighted walkways, arrows, marquee listings, maps and miracles to divine my way.  I’ve been waiting for someone to walk first or walk with me or yank my wrist and pull me into the street.  Now, I’ve been waiting to hear, it must be now!  And every now and then, nowadays, I hear, it should have been then.  It should have been and if it wasn’t, it won’t.

It is enough to make you stand stock-still, and let your eyes peel and turn, as if you’ll get that message you’ve been looking for and not risk getting hit by the everything that has already decided its time is now.   This, I have come to believe, is only one philosophy.  And the rightness or wrongness of it is only measured in whether or not you are satisfied with the standing and the seeing.

I am no longer satisfied with what I can see from this bed frame.  From this hallway.  From this solitary plot I happened to happen upon.

Those hopes to exist without risk, without presence or engagement, or bearing the weight of being the object in the lesson, they’re actually as unhelpful as a bathing suit in a blizzard. Because this isn’t that kind of life.  As painful as the change thus far has been, it is not even the beginning of it.

So I realize now that the plans I used to make on my own, I need to make again.  The closing around myself, swaddling myself with stillness, looking past what looks at me so that we don’t connect – there is no story there.  The heroine has to look the villain right in the face and know his weakness and how to break it.

Today, I’ve done things I didn’t want to do.  Made 30 phone calls to strangers who all had opinions of me that I will never know.  I let the caffeine get to me and then drank some more.  I exercised and tracked my food.  I looked at myself in the mirror, sighed, and then used that body to load the dishwasher, to type this report, to flip the pages of a book that thrills me.

Tomorrow, I demand the same.

You didn’t love me and I will never know why.

Instead, I walk off the mark and love the trees budding a lime-bright green, the stem bent that bears a daffodil cup full of dew and honey, the air that lifts a seed up into the air and twirls it as far as it needs to go to find an open space to live as it was meant to live.

 

Come a Cropper

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+200 story words.

HEY YOU.  I THINK I NEED TO YELL A BIT SO YOU GET ME IN CAPSLOCK TONIGHT, MY DEARS AND MY DARLINGS.  BECAUSE YOU’VE HAD A HECK OF A WEEK AND I KNOW THE REASON THAT YOU LOST YOUR WAY IS BECAUSE YOU COULDN’T BUY FOOD AND SO YOU MADE OBSCURE AND RANDOM LEFTOVERS AND JUST TRIED TO EAT ENOUGH TO FILL THE PIT IN YOUR STOMACH, MOSTLY IN ONE BIG PILE ONLY ONCE A DAY.  AND ALSO YOU FELT STRESSED FROM BEING SICK AND FALLING OFF THE TRACKING WAGON AND EMBARRASSED THAT EVERYTHING WAS SO OUT OF CONTROL THAT YOU DIDN’T WANT TO PUT IT DOWN.   YOU ALSO DIDN’T WANT TO EXERCISE BECAUSE YOU HAD NO ENERGY AND YOU THOUGHT YOU WEREN’T EVEN GETTING 1200 CALORIES SO EXERCISING SEEMED LIKE TRYING TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE FACT THAT YOU WERE POOR AS FUCK AND MAYBE YOUR BODY COULDN’T TAKE THAT STRAIN.  WHEN REALLY, YOU WERE JUST LAZY AND THE LAZY SNOWBALLED INTO THE OLD STORY OF I CAN’T.  IT’S IMPOSSIBLE.  I DID IT BEFORE BUT IT IS IMPOSSIBLE NOW.

RIDICULOUS.  IRRITATING.  WE ARE ON THE BRINK.  THE WEIGHT LOSS HAS BEEN MAINTAINED BUT IF WE DON’T CONTINUE FORWARD WITH THESE GOOD MEASURES, IT WILL GO BACK TO WHAT IT WAS.  THIS BOULDER OF ALL OF THOSE TIMES WE DID GET ON THE BIKE OR TOOK A LONG WALK WILL JUST ROLL BACK DOWN AND CRUSH US.

NOT HAVING IT.  NOT HAVING IT FOR ONE GODDAMNED MOMENT.   SO TOMORROW, WE GET TO PUT THIS MONEY IN THE BANK.  WE GET TO BUY SOME GROCERIES – SOME OF WHICH WILL BE HONEST TO GOODNESS VEGETABLES.  WE’RE GONNA DRINK ICE WATER.  WE MAY EVEN HAVE TACOS.  WE ARE ALSO ON THE BIKE, AND WALKING OR SOME OTHER THING AND LAYING DOWN TO DO THE SITUPS.  THERE IS NO REASON ON EARTH NOT TO GET BACK UP AND START SWINGING.

FLALALALALAH.

The Shape of Crazy

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Some days you have to just say that, well, okay, putting back the pint of ice cream a couple spoonfuls after you felt like you were losing control is a victory.

Going over and feeding the animals who needed you despite being lost in a video game is a victory.

Replying to an email you’d half-forgotten about for two days rather than feeling guilty you didn’t immediately answer it and blocking it out of your memory is a victory.

Knowing you needed some protein and getting up to cook a filling meal for yourself to keep yourself on an even keel even if you probably had less care over the calorie counts than usual is a victory.

Letting yourself be open to crying, mindfully checking your brain and giving yourself quiet time, even if you couldn’t actually break down and turn on the waterworks.  Realizing you couldn’t because you didn’t need to.  Because you are in the very midst of resolving the problem you would be crying about.  All of that is a victory.

Being not exactly when everything in you wants you on lockdown, wants you at quota, wants to take the knife and measure you flat against the lip of the cup is a victory.

Going through and putting in your calories even if it means you’re over.  Recognizing that even if you never put in your calories again, be it in this app or another, you are still eating them.  Not despairing over this is a real victory.

Accepting that this is that time of the month when you get extra hungry and you get extra angsty and you get extra low and you get extra extra about everything and you can’t change it.  You can let it go by and not change your behavior based on these few days.  Doing that is a big victory because the impulse to say, no, I am this shitty and failing and ravenous and out of control is strong.  That I am at all able to call upon the impulse to say I am an unassailable fortress of light and an indestructible obelisk of cardio exercise is a victory.

Cluing into the fact that the reason your face goes numb is because you crush it into your palm for hours on end whilst playing video games.  You are not suddenly developing bells palsy.  I am giving you this victory, but I do hope you’ll be a little bit more chill next time.

Looking at Sunday night without a violent fright about the Monday morning that follows is a glowing, smoking, white-hot victory.

Looking at OKC and seeing Mr. Confusion’s mug unexpectedly and feeling less strongly than I might is a victory of the good.

Being willing to forge ahead with all my big plans even if they feel impossible and deflated and imperfect and basically made of embers and not the fire they sparked.   It is my focus on them that makes them real, not their inherent worthiness.  Writing this story happens with me writing it.  Practicing driving happens with me putting myself behind the wheel.  Not giving up is my biggest possible victory.