The Heartsick

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It is of note…if this blog is useful for anything, it must be useful for noting a happenstance when it happens…that despite my wooly and overgrown driving fears right now, I took to the roads today and did not die.  Despite trying a single time to finagle a ride from my father who was going to the same spot, albeit two hours later, I did not cry and sob and shake myself into a far greater sense of woe.  Instead, I got out there and started it and started swiping as far as my little arms would allow to get off as much snow as I could reach.  Then, once that was done, I had no real excuse not to try and go.  So, go I went, down the backest back roads to avoid the pressure of honking drivers from whom I could never get any compassion even if I could pull over and talk to them about the whole panic situation.  Instead of thinking about the thing, I did the thing. I did not slide.  I did not speed.  I did not risk or hurry to appease the drivers behind me.  I did not do anything reasonable or unreasonable and I parted the waves of the White Sea and made my way to the Frozen Babylon of the little shop.

Where people did come out, even at 2 degrees above zero, to buy presents at a far greater rate than I would have anticipated.  I had thought in my mind that somehow, a cold day, a foot of snow, people would just lay off shopping for a while.  But no.  I stayed busy all the way up until the evening’s end when the kind co-worker who lives within walking distance sent me home.

And from there, we did it again, slowly picking my way across the landscape, going very slow, but not allowing the panic to rise to any sort of noteworthy level.  It was a bit like being in a trance, driving through the foothills in the dark, watching the road that seemed clear but was actually just snow-packed, not thinking that at any moment I might fishtail to my doom, but just being aware of it needing to take care.  So after an hour of this fugue state, I got to the parking lot, and ended up taking a left turn and bringing myself to Old Chicago.

It was odd.  There’s something validating to me about being in public alone, something that re-affirms and defines the fact that if I am single and/or alone, I can be fearless about it.  Or at least, it’s nothing that requires fear.  It felt like I didnt want the magic of self-sufficiency to die on the frozen vine.

But now, quite loaded with calzone for bear, I am giddy for the fact that the morning will bring with it no demands for travel.  I can stay warm and play video games and plot presents (some of which I actually have bought now.)  I can, briefly, think that there is a holiday coming with something other than considerable blankness.

This is a good night.

Nominative Determinism Quicksilver

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I am in the interim.  Sister is still asleep.  I am up because I thought there was a breakfast meeting my boss was coming to pick me up to go to, but the roads are so terrible that she’s just going on her own and suggesting that we, on our own recognizance, decide about coming in.  I have some things that need paid today – not to mention the fact that payday is tomorrow and there may be more snow coming and I don’t think I can get access to all the pieces of information I need to pay them without physically going into the office, but at the very least, it seems we have some breathing room between trying to get there at nine and sweat and worry about it.  Because even if we left right now, it sounds like getting there is going to take some time.

But until we get this decided, I will be a bit knotted and anxious because it is morning and a work day and despite the fact that schools all over are having a snow day and things are closed everywhere, I have this internal dialogue that imagines I should find some kind of dog sled and Iditarod my way in.  That’s what a good worker would do.  When my car, the one with 4WD, only has one wiper and the sister’s tires on her car are dicey, I still feel this guilt about sitting here in bed with my socks on and a blanket and a cat blinking at me, considering if I could put on Dragon Age: Inquisition.  Or how much cleaning I could get done if this turns out to be a snow day.  I would much rather be told: yes, you must or no, we’re all not. This up to you stuff, you always wonder if it’s being tallied somewhere, even if just subconsciously.

So yeah, I got an email.  Another epic, knotty, (knotty, not naughty) email and I should have waited to reply.  I would have been more considered.  Less vulnerable, I guess.  I just responded really empathetically and wanted him to know that. That I cared, I guess, about his troubles.  That I understood.  Which, I don’t know.  I said some awkward things .  I should have waited at least a day for polish, but it’s much too late now.

Fuck, I, just, yeah. I know you can’t help me. I keep thinking that someone could help me, but they can’t.  I know the advice that can be given.  I should meet him, get it all made up of real things, let it live or die on its own lungs, knowing I’ll have to kill it once it starts walking.  I just have to stand here, feeling shit, and arbitrarily responding to what I feel and ending up where I end up.  I’m starting to get too comfortable in this bed. I’ve set an alarm so I will get up and make some decisive decisions, but I keep hitting the snooze button.  It’s like a metaphor or something.

Vox Populi: Day Thirty-One

I am somewhat sure that in the archives is a post called Vox Populi.  I checked and…apparently not.  Perhaps another blog, another time.  Which fits, I think with the game from which I’ve filched the title, my dear new (only to me) Bioshock Infinite.  I’ve done my best to take breaks today and clean counters and re-apply blankets to couches and empty the dishwasher, etc.  Also, I’ve been distracted by the snowtide which has seemed to come in and out on our shores and what had melted off and left black asphalt has now returned and coated nearly everything in white again. However, now I’ve been pulled pretty deeply into the magic of the game world so I have to be mindful of the time and my hunger and caring for myself.

I told myself, self, I said, dear self, if you’re going to pause the game, then you’d ought to take a moment and write a hundred words or so and then go back to playing so that the job will be done sooner rather than later and you’ll be back to devoting your full attention to this compelling universe.  Better that than raging at yourself for not being able to make a storm pattern move out of the sky.

I suppose of note is I think today is the 1500th post on this blog.  I have been blogging daily essentially since January 1, 2010, though there were thirteen or so posts that were written in 2008 and 2009 before I had the epiphany that demanded this task of me.  It has helped, or at least it has never hurt, though some nights I’ve been sick and some nights I’ve been miserable with pains not of the flesh.  It has been a constant and it’s important, in my estimation, to now and again put down in words the value of being somewhere, on paper, every day.  That I’m doing something – something that feels right to me even if it isn’t curing cancer or fighting terrorists or travelling to the moon.

My confidence is the thing it gives me.  

And so with confidence, I can report that this diet thing is happening at the moment.  I cannot speak to forevers, forevers are a mighty long time away from now, and I can say that I have done it imperfectly, with diet aids and salted meats, but I feel better.  In most ways.  When you sit in one spot stewing in your own anxieties, the spoilage is fairly unavoidable, but I’m more than ready to cut out the oxidized bits and continue tomorrow with these good thoughts in mind.  Got another whole day of weekend, got a Super Bowl party, got more to do and play and be and feel.  So yeah, it isn’t as sour as it felt an hour ago as I was sitting in the dark, gaming away.

Since I’m going to Italy and there may be the tiniest chance that I’ll have an excuse to tack on going to England for that trip, any and all of this is going to pay off.  It’s not just for some boy or for some future I keep shunning, it’s for a real situation where everything will be benefited by a strong body, an open heart, and lots of this confidence coming from all sides.

Boo meet yah?

Okay, that’s the worst.  I’m going now.  For REAL.

Vermillion Cotillion

I don’t think it’s healthy to spend all day berate yourself for the small, weird habits you’ve no doubt accumulated over a lifetime of compensating for a less than satisfactory environment, but I do think I should stop closing Tumblr and immediately, without thought, open a tab and type it in the address again.  Like obsessively.  Like three times in a row. I think I should avoid doing that.

Distraction, distraction, distraction.

Today was one of the most beautiful days on record in my little town.  My hometown-worktown, not the place I currently live though it was beautiful here, too.  I got out a little bit and enjoyed it for a few minutes walk to lunch and back.  We talked about the best places to see the trees change color locally and we sat around the table for the “smoke break” and I remembered that I liked these people, for the most part.  It was nice, particularly in light of the harsh reality that is coming to pass tomorrow night.  Snow is coming in some form or another and this would be alright, especially given that my boss has already offered me a ride in on Wednesday morning for our full-day meeting (not that we’d cancel it or anything sensible), but because I’m pretty much in a DEFCON 5 situation level regarding slick roads.  Like I cannot.  You think I could and I could last year.  After the accident, though, I’ve been driving the furthest, backest, roundaboutest roads there are – roads that are not ideal during iffy weather.  And I know I cannot drive the main roads because I know I will lose it while driving.  This is not a maybe.  It’s completely horrible, but it’s like at this point, a gray sky is all it takes to trigger the anxiety and I haven’t had to deal with that until they started talking about it today.

I know that my panic is already without sense and without limit.

It’s getting to be that season.  I wish I was brave.  I made it through last year and I’ll make it through again.  But this time, I am going to rely on the bus if I don’t want to drive.  The route will suck and be stupid and slow, but I cannot have that feeling rattling around in my head: that anxious reliving of the car sliding into the bank, of not having control, of the brakes not working, of being trapped inside this metal cage that now has free-will as well as enormous fucking mass and has absolutely no regard for my life within.   I don’t need it.  I have enough real stress without prophetic stress.

Well, this isn’t really where I intended to go today.  Wanted to talk about Barbara Sher and her impact on me and watching her videos, but I’ll let that go.  Time now to wrap up, pull down the shades, pull up the covers, get the laundry in the oven, start the pushing and the shovin’ and turn off the lights on this rodeo.

Laughter Check

I am bad at snow driving.  Driving in general, but definitely snow driving.  This is not only due to the fact that I genuinely have a bad car for conditions (no 4WD, I’m shocked I’m able to keep a scraper in it, and tires that are pretty much as smooth as a baby’s bottom), but because I make bad snow decisions.

This morning the sky was gray and it was snowing at the lightest intensity it could before you could no longer call it snow and just refer to the precipitation as a heavy mist, and even though I certainly wasn’t jumping up and down about it, it was doable.  And it was doable all the way until about five or six minutes from work when the snow started to suddenly get thick and heavy and I pressed my brakes and skidded and wiggled a bit.   As a result, I decided, to just go the back way, and of course, the snow worsens and I just want to get to work, so, I despite that I’m on a big wide road with no real traffic, I manage to fishtail about and come within 6 inches of hitting the curb.  Oh, clever, clever girl.

Okay, that’s important, blah, blah, blah, life is very strange and ridiculous and I survive it and I do alright.  I didn’t break my car or my face, and that’s really the main thing.  Went to lunch with the office people and the snow slowly dissipated and I was able to drive home and get dinner completely unscathed so that’s all good.

What IS important is that I am achieving one of my weekend goals of awesomeness:  laughter. Laughing like death is an alternative to keeping on laughing but going ahead and keeping on laughing anyway.  Supernatural tonight was probably one of its best episodes ever which is something that you’d really only understand if you’d been watching it for a while if not since its inception.  I was pretty sure that my innards were going to spontaneously explode or combust or slaughter me with joy.  It was just perfection and after last week’s disappointment, I was pretty fucking delighted.  Meta beyond meta beyond meta.

And now, on top of that, I get to chat with my friends and they are so wonderful.  No, seriously, I know people say that (particularly when they’re drunk) but my friends are tremendous people and good people and more than that they make me laugh so hard.  I haven’t had that kind of unbound deep psychic release in…a while.   Where you don’t have to be any particular kind of person but who you are and who you are is funny and okay.  I love that.  I need that.  I miss that.  All the work laughter lately feels forced and followed by hidden eye rolling.

And now, we’re going to watch Birdemic and that’s pretty much the end of any humor dysfunction I might be suffering from.

Holy, holy hallelujah.  We are children of little sorrow and great joy.

 

My Heart Beats Summertime

I am shaking in my boots over tomorrow’s drive in.  I shouldn’t be.  I’ve been expressly told that the roads are good.  That they’re practically dry.  But I’ve done my usual cave dance today and basically curled my spine up around the laptop and played the last bits of Dragon Age I’ve left undone and stared out the window into the unplowed parking lot.  A whole day of feeling protected and at ease and with my cupboards full and no pressure upon me is suddenly ratcheting into a minor anxiety attack.

Well.  I’ve had those.  I’ve had panic attacks and they’ve almost always been related to driving.  I’ve had panic attacks while driving which was lovely.   The light-headed, hard to breathe, everything’s pressing on your chest feeling?  I can best compare it to the camera shot in Lord of the Rings where Frodo has that first eerie feeling of being followed and the camera kind of pulls the center of the shot, the furthest point in the perspective towards you like you’re suddenly being sucked into a vortex.  Yes, that’s very geeky, but I can think of no other way to describe this terrible, odd nerve-wracking experience.  It doesn’t happen much anymore, because most of the time the roads are fine and driving to work is actually sort of restive.  It doesn’t take a lot out of me.  But the loss of control that comes with the idea of having to drive into skids, of just letting your giant metal casing float wherever it cares to float on the ice beneath your tires, my face gets hot just thinking about it.  I hear the car crash sound, the CRONCH.  The helpless spinning.  I go through the whole thing and what I want more than anything as I press myself into the mold of the terrified victim is for someone to tell me that I don’t have to go.  They’ll take me.  They’ll take this burden on.

But more and more I come to understand, I come to live and recognize, that isn’t always possible.  That person doesn’t exist and if they did, I would still want to be a person for them who could drive in the snow when necessary.  It is Colorado, for fuck’s sake.

So the little voice has to be calmed, Vienna Teng helps in that regard, and the we have to square ourselves.  We’ll get up and give ourselves plenty of time to warm the car up.  We’ll have our phone.  We’ll only have to get as far as my parents’ house if I have to give up (I won’t, but if I HAVE to.)  We’ll just go as slow as we need to in order to feel secure on the road.  We’ll make it there.  Making it back at 9:00pm tomorrow night is another issue.  But one thing at a time.

I so didn’t plan to write about my snow driving anxiety as the entry today, but that’s what we got.  Thems the brakes, as it were.

Now excuse me while I go pack my head in ice and let sleep defang the terror.

Firewall

I don’t know if it’s just because the house is quieter at night, but holy frijoles, this new washer is a little noisy.  And by a little I mean eardrum-bleeding  and it makes me so nervous.  I don’t want to be responsible for a rogue appliance tapdancing on someone’s ceiling.  That was kind of the problem to begin with.   It makes me nervous that maybe we have a rocket taking off in our closet.  But I’m not complaining.  It’s our washer and we’ll love it whatever it’s flaws.

I did my strength training tonight and marveled at how different the snow looks and feels when you don’t have to worry about venturing out in it.  It doesn’t seem like any impediment at all.  Just an element of the winter shedding its skin, working through its phases, exerting its power and on me, it doesn’t have its usual gravity.  Its usual horror.

Oh, I am still deathly terrified, but my boss is an amazingly kind and socially astute man.   My co-workers do what they can, out of their own senses of kindness, to make me aware of the oncoming weather so that I can try and get ahead of it.  The thing is, they’re so hyper about it that even if I wasn’t an empath at all, it would transfer into me.  He’s noticed this and finally told them, in so many words, that it’s nothing and they need to shush and go back to work.  He didn’t use the word shush and really, it was much more calculated than even I can detail here without making myself feel a bit exposed, but he told me that it was for their benefit that he said all that and if I ever needed a ride, to not be afraid to ask, and he made me feel completely cool about the whole thing.

Sure, I’d love to conquer the snow driving.  Sure, I know I need to living in a state that six months out of the year can get snow in substantial quantities and sure, I know that sometimes my inability to handle this can cause difficulties and burdens on other people.  But right now, I’m running at about capacity in terms of revolution and personal growth.  I’m kicking the ass of this dieting thing and eating in the range and giving the exercise my all and cleaning up the house and working on making sure my finances make sense and I’m saving and paying what needs doing and I’m busting that same ass at work and I’m trying to carve out another little sliver to help the sister with our novel which is something that sounds really wonderful despite how distractedly I deal with her about it.  I’m really doing this all right now.  Not trying, not half-heartedly, pathless journeying.  No, I’m marching towards my goal of 130 and I’m laying out my clothes and being excited to getting to wear old ones that don’t fit anymore and Sparkpeople and doing laundry and being domestic and self-caring and all of this is orbitting around my skull and this fear…this fear.  It’s all I can do to just not let it root deeper, but there isn’t a pinch left of strength in me to pull it out.