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The tick-tock of the clock is louder even than the hum of my hard drive. When I notice it, it's almost maddening; then I forget to pay attention and it ceases to exist. A metaphor, perhaps, for larger things in life. Or maybe not.
I should be sleeping. Morning comes all too soon, even after nights with many more hours logged than this one will have. Sleeping in has become a long-lost fantasy, along with having a social life and going out to restaurants for dinner. It's a whole different game once kids are part of the picture.
An online acquaintance is participating in an upcoming Multiple Sclerosis walk. She, too, deals with this sharp-edged, dark question mark. I donated some money and now only want to cry. It seems so little, so empty, so insignificant.
She suffers more frequently and more intensely than I ever have. I can't actually say that I suffer at all, as my day-to-day life is rather unaffected and I've been able to modify simple things like diet in order to avoid medication.
On some days, I wonder what I have done to deserve this. Today, I feel undeserving of this light sentence.
I don't pretend to understand the guilt that I carry in my back pocket. It has resided there for as long as I can remember-- always lingering, never explaining why.
There's a term for it, which I now fail to remember, and it describes the affliction with complete accuraccy. I wish I could recall it; this will wake me at 5am with an unfounded urgency.
It seems that a lot of women shoulder this guilt. Perhaps the multi-threaded brain of a woman is simply more apt to be aware of everything she is either avoiding or doing half-heartedly.
Today I noticed two boys on my way back from Max's school. One was perhaps 12 years old, with strawberry-blonde shaggy hair, tall and lanky. I smiled, wondering if Khai would look something like that in another ten years. Then, a bit later, I saw another boy, not more than 12. This boy was on a bike, his shorts pulled so far down that his boxers were completely exposed. Completely. He was smoking and scowling. I had a fleeting fear that perhaps THIS is what one of my boys would look like in ten years.
No. Not ever my boys.
One of my biggest faults is getting overwhelmed too easily. I take on too many tasks (always a yes-girl from day one) and then start to crumble under the weight of it all. The walls start closing in; I feel panicky, short of breath, anxious, angry, avoidant and incompetent.
It's not a happy place to reside.
After seeing this same pattern again and again, you'd think I'd stop doing this to myself. That, or just skip straight ahead to the "whew, I'm done" stage and bypass the trauma of the inevitible panic attack. I always finish in the end. Always.
It occurs to me that no one really knows me. I suppose that's true of everyone-- there's only so much of ourselves that can be conveyed to another.
Does everyone feel this loneliness? I won't call it desperate; it's simply hopeless.
I don't aspire to hope that anyone will ever 'get me' -- facets of me, perhaps, but not much more.
To you, I am only the simulation that resides in your head; however, I can't be angry because that's all you are to me.
I pretend that you won't reject me if you understand me. I want to feel safe.
No words want to come this evening. I'm so tired, and not at all myself. Things are askew lately, and I don't have the energy nor the wherewithal to set them sraight. So I sit in it, feeling more numb than I'd like to admit. I know better; you have to feel deeply or not at all.
I kind of feel like I'm on the edge of self-destructing, but I can't because there are two beautiful boys asleep in the other room who need their mommy. I can't because there are too many things I still want to do here.
This halo of curls,
this crown of
atop my head--
testament to the wind
the drops of rain
that kissed me
on this Sunday afternoon.
I have this wish
for spindly arms and legs
because if I have
then you won't notice
the ones that are broken,
with promises and glue
Perfection is a lie,
is a myth;
if I measure up
or even worse,
to my own.
I remember sitting,
chairs arranged in
what hoped to be an oval.
She at the front,
who was real,
golden and sharp.
the intimidation of
hearing those words,
knowing they were better
than my own;
more delicately crafted,
more artfully chosen,
to rip myself open
and pull out
the taste of failure,
on my tongue,
in my heart.
the heft of that
how words became
I have known flight, now a lifetime ago;
I was younger, stronger, less jaded, less faded.
A countdown to calmness--
muscles tight, mind focused on
that blessed image of perfection,
of arched back and bent knees, eyes closed,
heart open wide.
Doubt weighs you down; put even the dreams aside
and allow the sky to take over.
Breathe flight, breathe sky, breathe solitude and life;
breathe light, breathe love, breathe an eternity of memory,
lost only to time.
I would fill you with this, let you draw strength
from this lovely, lonely, hallowed place--
I have known flight.
Just now, I found out that my Great-Aunt Ruth has cancer. My dad forwarded me an email from her in which she says her doctor has found cancer in one of her lungs; she'll have surgery on Tuesday to remove it. She's eighty-five years old.
This brings back feelings from when Granddad died (her brother), and of when Gram passed. It makes my body feel heavy. If I feel helpless, I can't imagine what she feels.
I don't know her that well. She seems very kind, calming and reassuring. I want so much for her to make it through this.
I want you to entertain me;
distract me from myself.
Dull me such that I don't feel
anything at all
and my focus is shifted
to anything but
I want you to provide life for me
nicely packaged with a bow,
let me pick and choose,
seeing you only as I want to see you,
steeped in sickly-sweet perfection
like a 50s t.v. show.
Dance for me, your words nothing but show,
but don't care
as long as this world you've made
continues to be a less painful reality
than my own.
Spin this web for me.
What is it about rejection that touches each of us so deeply? It is the basis for so many fears, psychoses, nervous twitches and defense mechanisms. Why can't we see that we're all afraid of the same thing?
Fear of rejection fuels nearly all of my depressive fits, rules my self-esteem problems and dominates my social phobia. What the hell am I so afraid of? I've been rejected before. Certainly, there must be better things to build my life around.
Rejection could be the thing that brings us all together, in the end. If only we'd open our eyes.
When I die, please don't put me into the ground. I've always thought that to be a horrible end to something so glorious as life. Cremation seems much more natural to me-- burn the body that is no longer needed, and return what's left to the Earth. The energy is being returned, being mixed back into the ethereal soup, why should the physical be any different?
Really, I wouldn't even be offended if I were put into a fried chicken bucket, like in The Big Lebowski. Just return the ashes to the Earth, and be sure there's plenty of laughter.
This evening I went to a bar for the first time in many years. We met friends there, and while we had a good time, it was also a reminder of why we weren't ever really into the bar scene in the first place. Afterwards, the smoke, the haze, the thick stares of too many passers-by-- it was all heavy on our skin, in our hair, permeating our clothes. A hot shower worked nicely to dissolve the evening.
Somehow, in the little cocoon of my life, I've become quite happy. Having friends over seems like a much nicer social outlet.
They say passion fades, that being in love changes to comfort and routine. They say interest will be lost, that life will become dull as the excitement drips away, day by day.
They don't know anything at all.
Love can be a constant; not for some people, but for a chosen few. The state of love is ever-changing, ever-growing. Peaks and valleys, a mountain range-- interest, passion, love, excitement. Plateaus are boring.
Give me love in bursts, an excited frenzy every now and then is enough. Passion would become commonplace in a 24/7 tense; interest would exhaust itself without variety.
I feel sometimes like I'm settling into myself. It has taken much time and many tears to get used to this new life, but I'm becoming more comfortable in this skin and caring less about the judgments people make about me. In the end, it's all inconsequential; it has taken so long for me to begin to grasp that.
The me inside has not changed. The ways I express myself, measure myself and motivate myself have shifted dramatically. Maybe this comes with age; maybe it just comes with self-acceptance. Either way, I welcome it. Freedom from self-imposed expectation is relief.
There is no preparing oneself for the volume levels of parenthood. Truly, I had no idea how sound-sensitive I was until having children. The noise literally hurts my ears and my head on a regular basis. Maybe I just have loud kids? I don't remember shouting, screaming and yelling at the top of my lungs when I was a child, though at some point I must have.
They have no inner volume control at all, and even requests for quiet fall upon blank stares, followed by continued loudness. Earplugs help tone down the shrillness, but the chaos still seeps through.
Slipping so easily between lost and found
Not knowing from one moment to the next
which extreme to embrace
Loosen the laces that hold so tight;
Control is an illusion
and this line we tiptoe along
is only shadow,
fickle and fleeting,
no light of it's own.
I don't know if it's me
or the world
that is spinning so
like it's a magic word
a last-ditch effort to gather
the threads of my sanity
and hold them to my chest,
curl myself around them
protect them with this shell.
Ten til midnight
sky and chocolate
I wonder why
I never persued music
I never will-
Too many things to balance
and the tightrope is ticklish.
The proverbial glass:
half-empty or half-full?
I take the overgrown path
with earth-worn ruts
and waist-high weeds:
an empty glass in my left hand,
a full one in my right.
I will force my fingers into the earth
find a place
to plant my words
keep them safe;
light, love, water, hope
break a twig, kick a stump, turn around twice
continue down the path,
all is as it ever was.
These once-ordered thoughts,
now shuffled, dogeared and worn,
don't seem like my own anymore.
Once upon a time, rational ideas
and ambitious dreams
lined these halls,
doorways upon doorways
of stories unwritten,
dramas unplayed, scores unsung.
Possibilities like stars in a sky
holding true to the image of self
and the She
I sought to become.
Papers, ruffling in the wind,
scattered to the tattered corners
of a sometimes-conscious mind--
each a page ripped from
the sketchbook of self;
each a realization, a
of truth, beauty, life, death.
Each, my own.
Each, longing to be found.
I'm too tired to pull words out of nowhere, to invent them in pairs, match them like socks, deconstruct phrases only to stitch them back together with contrasting trim. Mine eyes have seen the glory, and it consists of my head on a pillow, sleep overtaking all thought and replacing it with lovely, disjointed dreams.
Reflections of this day become just a glimmer in my periphery; so much awaits in the tall stack of tomorrows that lie ahead. How dare the calendar have such straight lines, such crisp corners? Life is amorphous and not containable within these dainty, numbered squares.
It turns my insides sour
to think of 1979,
I don't want to pretend that;
it seems wrong
but I don't want to lose a friend
my vulnerable heart--
these two boys.
One, almost the age I was
but did not know).
This rage fear screaming inside
it could happen
and I can't offer
My love is not
a shield, though I would
use everything in my heart
to lift them
out of harm's way, even
Nearly every night I put this off until I'm almost too tired to write anything at all. Self-sabotage, perhaps. Most likely. We are old friends.
Some would ask what I'm afraid of, and then ask if it is success. Success doesn't scare me; failure seems a much worse fate. There is usually some amount of frustration, which sends me running into the open arms of distraction. It's nice there, though the air is thick with guilt.
I am a writer. I have been a writer for more years than I can remember. Why do I back myself into impossible corners?
It was the seventh of May, a warm and windy Friday. I was supposed to have driven to Oklahoma City the day before to cheer my brother to a second State high jump victory. The stomach flu had other plans for me; instead, I ended up at home on the couch with a sleeve of saltines and a room-temperature bottle of Sprite.
There was a party slated for Friday night; I'd just met several friends of friends, and it seemed important to be there. The worst of the illness had already passed, so why not?
I made the right decision.
A flurry of instant messaging followed as people coordinated and plans were hatched. It was determined that the apartment Laura and I shared would be the meetup place for carpoolers and the party-bound caravan.
Around 6pm, the first group arrived-- I'd met Matt a couple of times before, but not Josh or Emily. I'd been told a dozen times that I "need to meet Josh" -- so I was intrigued from the beginning. We hugged our hellos (it did not go unnoticed that the tall one with the long hair gave a great hug) and sat down to await the stragglers.
It seems that we must have waited an hour or more, and conversation drifted all over the place. Somewhere in there, the word "transceiver" left my lips, and that moment is when he took notice of me. Not only did I use the word, but I seemed to know what it meant-- and thus the wheels were set into motion.
At last, the final partygoer arrived. Not only was she Matt's ex-girlfriend, but Josh's as well! There was a slight amount of tension, but we left quickly for Dallas so there wasn't much time for the awkwardness to set in.
We made our way to a seedy bar in Deep Ellum, threading ourselves through the crowd to the nearly-hidden stairs at the back. Up on the rooftop there were still too many people, but the sky is a much more forgiving ceiling. The DJ successfully overcame the thump seeping upward from below, and upon finding the rest of our group, we danced, talked, watched and bounced for a good four hours.
Once we'd had our fill, the caravan moved on to Joel's house. People coming and going, quiet and loud, animated groups and corner-withdrawn couples-- it was quite a mix.
Wandering from group to group, I ended up out front by myself in search of a quiet reprieve. After a bit, Josh peeked his head out to see if I was all right. He'd noticed that I was gone; I was happy to see him. The initial brain-synch engaged, and we talked for several hours. Others wandered by intermittently, but didn't stay long-- we were absorbed in one another.
We bonded over Silva Mind Control's 'cancel-cancel' mantra; he was the first person I'd met who had even heard it. This solidified the feeling that a kindred spirit had been found.
Sunrise. We traded business cards, complete with ICQ, phone, and email information. Several from the group ended up back at our apartment, where we napped and then stayed up much of the next night. Following that weekend, I don't think Josh and I spent more than a couple of days apart at a time, though we'd decided a relationship was the last thing either of us needed. We'd intended upon just friends, but fortunately, that didn't work out. He was and is more than I knew I wanted or needed; six years and two kids later, I'm still in love.
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