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A perfectly miserable day. My head feels like a balloon filled with a mixture of sandpaper and snot. I sound horrible. I can't breathe. I am locked out of my home until Saturday. I cleaned and moved last night and slept badly in the lumpy sofa bed of a generous friend hoping that my cat didn't wear out our welcome. I must wake up early tomorrow for the stupid meeting in Tacoma. I spent nearly $30 on cold remedies, leaving me $10 in the bank until Friday, if I've done my math right. Someone please tell me why I'm happy.
Feeling a bit better today. Head unstuffy, but raucous cough has taken over. Even that's subsiding a bit. I'm at that restless phase—wanting activity that I know I don't have the energy for. My book isn't trashy enough, there's no tv, drinking is too stupid to consider, and the hacking cough is not so acceptable in a movie theater. This boredom is actually a good sign. I know I will sleep well tonight and tomorrow my energy may be more than superficial. Wanting to wear myself out instead of actually doing so is a step in the right direction.
How is it that here, in my isolated semi-cubicle fashioned work station located on the one spot on this floor with no view of natural light no matter how I turn my head, I can tell the difference between a gray and a sunny day? There is a quality of florescence that permeates, no matter the kinder light of the desk lamp, or the bright light I use on the bulletin board while editing. Every color seems tinged with government issue gun metal drab so that the sight of any brightness is a mockery, perverse, unkind. It hurts my eyes.
There are things that feel like a ritual even when you do them for the first time. I'm normally a coffee drinker but today, because of the cold, I ordered green jasmine tea. It comes loose, in a small teapot with cup, saucer, and strainer, all arranged on an old metal tray painted with flowers, now chipped and faded. I'm normally impatient with this sort of thing, but all these props do serve a practical purpose, keeping everything hot or cool enough. Still, I think that tea drinkers just like the intricate process of handling all these small pretty things.
One week later and it's the same story in a new place. Or rather, the same point on a new circle. Empty space echoing. Cat crawling over boxes. This time the walls are newly painted. The floor newly installed, not yet complete. I have a ritual whenever I move to a new place, of spending time lying on the floor and staring at the ceiling, to listen to my new home. I'm not quite ready to do that yet. I'm too tired. There are too many pieces missing. This is going to be home, but it isn't yet. Not quite.
The emptiness here feels more final than it is. I almost like it, even as I am scheming to fill all this glorious space. The boxes to move in and contents to put away and then the acquisition of stuff needed to live. A floor lamp or two. A couple of comfortable chairs, maybe even a sofa. A dresser. A kitchen cart. Eventually I'll need more bookshelves. I'm going to want a table. As overwhelmed I've been the past couple weeks with the volume of stuff I own, nearly all of it is small, mostly in the form of paper.
I've been trying to write this for an hour now and all I can come up with are pukey metaphors of circles and seasons and harvest. I think that I'm trying to reassure myself that I'm going to be ok, because the truth is that I am back at the beginning of everything right now and I'm unsettled and frightened. It's not my first love or my first play or my first home and I'm at a place in my life where I really need everything I do to matter and I don't want to screw any of this up.
I remember the moment I first learned how to live. I was a freshman in college, depressed, and I'd been living in a fog for several days, you know that numb feeling you get sometimes that the air around you has turned to cotton, and I was sitting in front of the student union in the sun and in a moment of clarity realized that I wanted never to be numb like that again, and that my capacity for hurt only meant an equal capacity for joy. That's it. That's how to live. Feel deeply. Make it count. Be alive.
I have an odd relationship with strength. People tell me that I'm strong all the time because I moved here all alone, maybe, or because I still pursue theater, or because of how I cope with loss. I can't argue with those things, but when I try to think of myself as strong, I can only consider the places where I'm weak: my inability to control my weight, my fear about having to sell myself, my social awkwardness with strangers. Those other things are just are imperative. Necessary. Not easy, but the only way that I know how to live.
Everything at work exploded this morning but I left only 15 minutes later than the intended half day, with tasks to finish rationed among the other admin types. Someone drew a line down the middle of this week: not enough to do Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday morning, and nothing but five alarm emergencies after Wednesday noon. For once I was glad for my Thursday commute to Tacoma. I can handle the pace, but the panic is getting on my nerves. I can only hope that the weekend will be more of a welcome than an audition. My patience is shot.
I want to ask him if he wants kids of his own. There is a perfect opening in conversation, but I let it go. I know that he loves them and that building a haunted house in the garage with them today was his idea of a perfect day. We're alone in the hot tub, a romantic oasis, and I want to know if that's enough or if he needs the whole enchilada. Because I've just spent the day meeting his family and we're
and we're two months old and I'm afraid of the answer.
I'm slowly moving out of the storage locker into my apartment. I can see a couple of things left undone, but it's close and I'm starting to construct my living space here. Each step is done by necessity more than inspiration right now. Ben is coming over later with leftover lasagna and a movie, so I better unpack the plates. I've invited "the girls" over on Wednesday for a low-key bachelorette night for Jana, so I'll need to find the wine glasses. We'll sit on pillows, and there will still be boxes in the corner, but my priorities are straight.
Never mind that I covered for your lazy ass for an entire week while I was not only sick but moving into a new apartment. I sent an e-mail on Friday asking you to make one follow up phone call for me so I could take a lousy half day off—which considering the hours I worked this week amounted to less than two hours of vacation time. But not only can you not be bothered to make the phone call—you never even read the fucking e-mail. And you wonder why I never ask for your help. Clueless fucker.
A day of milestones. The work is finally done on my apartment. I have finally moved my stuff out of storage and into my home. And when I called my sister tonight, I had my first phone conversation with my two year old nephew, who told me that he went to the pumpkin farm with his friend Nick. Despite of all this I feel vaguely dissatisfied. All of this has been so much work and I want to finally, finally, finally feel like there is some peace in my life. The energy needed to cross the finish line seems impossible.
Sometimes, I seriously consider winning the lottery as plan for my future. You always hear about those people who win and swear that they'll just buy a house for their mother and continue their humble job as some kind of grunt for a major corporation. Not me, baby! I would know how to spend that money right. Sure, there would be some luxuries, extravagant gifts, the starving artists' foundation, the theater, but most importantly, there would be time. Time to write and create. Time to learn languages and travel. Blissful, beautiful time! Not that I'm actually buying tickets or anything.
The differences are small. Glass stars affixed to my bathroom wall. A few floor pillows thrown around the coffee table. Candles glowing. Until this moment, this was just an empty echo-y place to collapse at the end of the day. But now I am sitting on my floor listening to KEXP enjoying the windstorm raging outside, cat crawling over or curled next to me. Sure, there are still boxes in the corner to unpack. The room is still curiously bare, all bright ceiling and walls and floor. But now, for the first time in recent memory, I am finally home.
Not a bad night, but odd. We took a walk, ate deli food from the co-op, and saw a movie, holding hands and making small talk about our difficult weeks. I invite him to stay, but his cat isn't fed yet and he wants to get up early to swim. I'm a disappointed, but not much, because we're both clearly just a little too tired to make it happen. Then the phone rings and he says that the cat is fed and can he come back. He still wants to sleep next to me, even on a night like this.
Spoken on the bus today by one 13 year old hipster: "That's ok, I got a bus pizass!"
I have a little soft spot for these suburban baby dudes. So self conscious in their hipness, bodies not yet caught up with their ideas of self, so that when we passed a buff hipster man doing pull ups on the wall by one bus stop they couldn't decide whether to be scornful or in awe. But for all of the energetic poseur talk, there wasn't a speck of meanness in them. They were just trying to figure out who they were.
Went to sleep laughing and I slept well. Woke up with love and I woke alive. We both had work to do in our respective lives, but first we escaped, walked in the sunshine and leaves hiding from the city outside holding hands following paths watching grown up boys (in costume!) playing in the woods. Greeted one in a werewolf mask, "Hello, Werewolf!" Arm around my shoulder, he stumbles, trying to tell me, "I'm not very good at talking about feelings…" but he's so good at showing me that he doesn't have to tell me anything at all. I know.
Real life illustrations of common clichés.
The best thing that happened to me today was that my alarm didn't go off. That extra 90 minutes of sleep was something I've needed for a very long time. I can't remember the last time I got to work in such a good mood.
Other the other hand: I love garlic, but there was too much in my pasta salad at lunch. Now the smell's wafting from the trash and I have that yucky over-garlicky soapy taste in my mouth.
So take happiness where you can find it, friends, but don't go overboard.
I'm depressed. Not really depressed, but more like a slight undertone, a pinch of depression, because really I'm content. Content, but maybe I shouldn't be, because restlessness must be right around the corner. Pre-restless and anticipating the inevitable shower of ennui. Ennui that paralyzes and leaves me wallowing in introspection and self pity. And—oh!—self pity can only lead to guilt. After all look at the terrible state of world and I have a home and a job and an imagination and people who love me and can't I just get over my whiny ass self. Now, that's depression!
Oh, please, Ms. Fairy Godmother ma'am, I don't need your help finding me a prince or a dress or a ride to the ball. Any of that I don't got covered, I don't really need anyway. Most of the stuff I think I want seems silly when I look at people with real problems, like they don't have enough to eat or there's someone dangerous looking at them with that mean glint in their eye. Tell you what, why don't you and I just get us a cup of coffee and sit down and catch up? It's been too long.
The previous tenant of my apartment left several things behind. Some are practical, like a bottle of witch hazel I imagine she didn't want to pack and drag to San Francisco. Another is a braided hemp and bead bracelet tied to a kitchen drawer handle that I can only think of as a sign of friendship. The best is the cotton candy pink rotary dial telephone. I feel like I know her well. She didn't want to keep it but loved it so much at one time that she couldn't throw it out. And now I can't either; I'm intrigued.
Two men, one with his arm around the other's shoulder, are leaning over a newspaper box and in resonant preacher-man rhythm they chant prayers. "Lord have mercy!" I'm not sure if they are praying for the newspaper or for each other or for the rest of us running to our buses who don't stop. It's Friday afternoon and it's time to shed our jobs and sink into our drinks or families or lovers or bed…whatever helps us feel human after five days of earning our keep. For me it's a bonfire and stars on the beach with my sweetie. Amen.
Went to the pumpkin farm today, something since I haven't done since I was seven on a class fieldtrip bringing a sack lunch with a soda wrapped in tinfoil to stay cold and a pillowcase to carry the pumpkin home in. When I was seven I mean. We walked a corn maze, which for some unfathomable reason we never did growing up in Wisconsin, and I brought home one white pumpkin and one half orange half green. Saw pigs and horses. Ate corn on the cob and pumpkin pie. Ben asked Spencer, age 5, what he liked best. "The playground."
It was a late sleeping, bed snuggling, messing around, showering together, pancake making Sunday. I mixed the batter while he read and then we alternated cooking them up. He showed me his boy scout trick of flipping them in the pan without a spatula. Then he did the dishes while I got ready for my audition and reading that afternoon. Out the door and a kiss when he dropped me off. Some relaxed artist time and coffee with friends. Good audition. Sunshine and quick trip to the co-op. Mexican tempeh from the deli for dinner, yum, and two organic oranges.
Woke up AWAKE this morning, despite staying up late to watch a Buffy rerun last night. Left for work early and got coffee and ran into two friends on my way to work. The day was actually productive, although would have been more so if I could figure out how to be invisible at work, and if my computer didn't keep freezing and shutting down everything that I tried to do. Instead of Monday collapsing, I went to the artist benefit performance of a friend's play tonight. The cat and I chatted with one of the neighbors outside for awhile.
Damn. Damn. DAMN my hormonal female body. Oh, how I enjoy being a girl! Or woman. Ok, I'm in my 30's, so woman. But I like that I can wear lipstick and glitter if I want or no makeup at all if I want. I like that I can smell like flowers or fruit or patchouli or sweat if I'm in the mood. That I can devote my free time to a face mask or to refinishing garage sale junk. That my body can have multiple orgasms and babies, if I want them. But only after the Advil kicks in.
Today is both my sister's and my mom's birthday. It's amazing to me how much I love these two women, who are so unlike me but not, so like each other but not. I often say that I know how to handle Scorpio temperaments from growing up with two of them in the house. Not that they are interchangeable; they are both very different strong personalities. But they fought the same way, especially with each other, and had the same fierce resentments. They are charming, bright, beautiful, and absolute. They are women that you want on your side. Happy birthday!
I assembled a low budget killer bee costume tonight, entirely made from drugstore purchases and stuff lying around the house. I'm concerned that the yellow stripes of masking tape won't stay on my black shirt and that my wrapping paper wings will suffer in the wind. I'm really proud of the antenna, though, jewelry wire twisted in a spiral and attached to a headband with black and yellow glitter balls that I ripped off of these ugly 99 cent Halloween earrings and can recycle as cat toys on Saturday. Ben's bringing a plastic meat cleaver for the "killer" part. Genius.
I just read my first batch of 100 words, from last October. I was in a dark exhausted place and gave myself that one small challenge to keep myself communicating with the world, even if it was just via computer. Then my grandfather died, and in giving into grief and my absolute inability to do anything, everything changed and it got better. I still get depressed sometimes, but it's different now, not as absolute, as physical. I'm not entirely sure what happened to me last year, but I don't think that I'll ever be in that dark useless place again.
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