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.

 

Gleam of a Paua Shell

I’ve just watched a video of a spoken word poet who writes and recites and lives out a story of unwanted touch.

I, for my part, am trying to re-understand what it is now for me.  What it is to have your touch and not, to want it and not and want it again and not be able to get it because of inescapable truths about both of us.   That you suffer.  That I suffer to wait.

So strange to be walking this path and really have no idea where we’re going.  I have an idea of what I want to happen, but I can’t just go and buy a ticket and do it.  It has to be the right time and moods and time zones and availabilities have to collide and in the absence of that collision – I still feel a bit…frustrated.  But then he’ll talk about maybe me visiting him.  In a roundabout, adorable sort of way that doesn’t bear a sudden prod of, “Oh, should I pull out my calendar and look up flights?”  It’s this fragile ghost of an intention.  And then I remember that he’s not six months away from his divorce.  That life is complicated.  And I have no doubt of his feelings.

I am just selfishly desirous of a world in which we’re physically together.  One I don’t even know if I could handle especially on top of everything else happening now.

I have just completed all of the paperwork – all done digitally now – for the new job.  The new job that will lift me out of poverty and into a corporate universe.  A universe that I either will sink or swim in.  As part of the corporate onboarding (a term I’ll use now because that’s the kind of person I am aiming to be), there’s a website and as an aside on this website, a video of corporate values.  I wonder if, after today, I will mention work or what I will mention or where or if some additional layer of secrecy will be demanded upon my venting.  I have resources, but this is…home for all of that.  It’s just, maybe someday, some measure of the meat on the massive bones of this place will become known and attached to me and if there would be trouble if I’m ever anything other than utterly pleased.

Right now, there’s no reason to be anything other than utterly pleased.  It’s all done without a phone call.  I’ve passed the tests and all I have to do is agree not to act as though other people’s business is my own and to write out exactly how I’d like my pecuniary dispensation sent to me. But there is a video of the people who work at the company.  A very nice video, and I am pondering, how I cannot imagine being show in this video.

But then I imagine these techs, these corporate-looking bodies draped in suitedness, all of them go home and have their own weird lives and circumstances.  And I start to see myself, suited. Sitting at the same desks surrounded by the same dry-erase white boards and speaking in legalese as though I know anything.  I won’t know, but I can see myself capable of faking it until maybe the faking isn’t everything.  I can let myself visualize myself taking this on as a role, and not suddenly mutating into some sort of corporate husk.  Or, necessarily, falling on my face because I’m such an obscure and esoteric free spirit.

It is, in the end, just marketing.

The video, shot in the summer, where everything looks green and clean and enormous, has no words, but an obvious subtext: you will be happy here.  I want to fight against that, as I lay in bed, feeling the pudding in my brain.

But who is to say that I won’t?

And now I begin to think of losing weight.   With a pizza party tomorrow to celebrate the job, I’m wondering about how I gather the reins.  I am wondering how vital it is to break the chain Day One or if I’m setting myself up for failure.

Tomorrow, looking forward to getting some order around here.

 

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.

Reminders

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Snow misery is setting in.  I just escaped it this evening, but it has dumped.  And for the first time, the eminently flexible shop job is not so flexible.  There will be 4 of us staring at one another tomorrow providing I can get myself in a vehicle and arrive there at 10a.m., to wait until such time as it no longer is tenable to wait and then drive home.  This is fine.  I can’t bear to sit about worrying on it when there are links to click and much preferable and quite insane little mental trails to skip down.

It was a very quiet day – they seem to be more often than not on days when I am at the shop.  It’s just easy, simple work.  Using the massive ceramic hand to tie ribbon rosettes and wrap packages, sitting on the chair as though it were some sort of chaise longue in some sort of French salon and watching customers through narrowed eyes, amusing myself with their stories and gauging how much longer it would be before the sun went down.  I forgot my phone and that only added to the perception of silence today.  We weren’t overloaded with customers, just a steady flow of people looking for cards and scarves and those “last-minute” gifts as they say.  There just isn’t a story to share, however, there was a nice moment.

I popped out for lunch to the chic-ish restaurant a door down from ours, the tavern where they’re open for lunch, but nobody’s figured that out yet but me and five or six far chic-er people than I.   I was hungry, distracted without my phone for the conventional form of distraction, and with no interest in losing my parking spot, so even though the food is somewhat more expensive than is necessary in these trying financial times of mine, I went there.

And there, with my notebook, I sat and ordered the hot dog of the day from the server there who looks, I have to say, like a much butcher, way less forced Lance Bass.  Cute, in a way, that probably clashes significantly with the image I just put in your head.  I don’t know why.  It sounded good at the time, rather than another french dip.  But firstly, as soon as I sat down, he smiled warmly, like he was happy to see me and said, wait, I have a present for you!

Now, believe me when I tell you that I completely understand that there’s a basket or something in back that has these packages prepared en masse for every customer (even if as I furtively glanced around, I didn’t see anyone else with one) and it was nothing to do with me at all.  But, it was oddly warm with the light pouring in as it does through the amber glass and being set next to a Christmas tree, a little package of trail mix, felt completely charming and…dare I say it, special.

Then, he was quite kind and nice to me, after I asked for his pen as I walk around this world with everything in my Mary Poppins bag save a writing implement.  And then, as never, ever, happens and only, I’m sure, happened out of good ol’ customer service, I caught him looking at me as I left.

So.  That was the day.  Dinner.  Computing, and writing this to you before the clock strikes twelve.

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?

Historical Footnote

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It is impossible for me to finish this post without first writing one hundred words.  It is impossible for me to call it done without first beginning it.  So I am here, ill and in bed, with a sore jaw and headache and a body that aches for succor of all stripes, writing to you.

I should get in the bath and try and sleep, but I don’t expect it to happen so easily as that.

Chinese Food Picnic…my coworkers sent me home early today, or my boss, I suppose at the shop.  I have caught the great whatever, a sickness that has worn me down, and I was so relieved to be able to drive home in the light of day and not the dark of night, but before all that my co-worker bought me egg drop soup and we ate at a table in the middle of the store, just for fun.  She also made me a jar of baileys and vodka and chocolate something and I forgot it in a mad rush to get home and cry on the couch.

The I Don’t Want A Christmas Tree I Can Trip On Christmas…my mother doesn’t want me to put up the big Christmas tree.  And if I love her, I will hear her and not do it.  But I do want to put up the big Christmas tree.  Not necessarily there, not necessarily the family one, but mine, dotted with ornaments that have the meaning of the life I would be celebrating.  My own stars and little birds and apples and stained glass Seven Swans a’Swimming and my own stories.  I wish I had an easy way to do that.

Crying in the dark…today, I sat on the couch and cried in the dark. The little kitten came up and swirled around on my lap, disturbed and restless about it.  I didn’t mind.

The Handmaid’s Tale…I am intrigued by the adaptation that Hulu’s putting out.  That book is, of course, a hugely relevant consideration of a dystopian direction that nobody can say we’re NOT pushing as a country right now.  I remember reading it in a Women’s Lit class (oh, you know damn well I took Women’s Lit classes, honestly) and I found it so striking, so blood-curdling, so horrific.  But also, naturally, just scifi.  Just out there in terms of anything that I believed the government would allow to happen.  Now, I don’t believe it will happen, but I don’t believe some aspects of it won’t subtly encroach further and deeper than any sane and rational person would allow if they knew they were coming down the pike.  I hope it is a conversation starter.  I hope it is so revolting and horrifying that people pay some sort of attention.

Pizza Terminator…oh, why couldn’t Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese had a few years together raising their crazy Skynet-destroying son together before he got hit, inexplicably and tragically by a car or a falling computer or something.  It would be so much more ironic.  But, alas, that’s probably not what they were going for.  It just makes sense to me.

That is postmodernism for you, though.

Fever…do I have one?  Can we tell if we touch our forehead with a feverish hand?  Probably not.   I did take the one baby aspirin so I do feel covered.  I just have to sleep.  I will, at some point, probably at gunpoint, make that happen.

Life…this is how it’s looking these days.