I lost a day somewhere in the ether where beer, getting old, and christian holidays mix together in a stew of oh, I don’t know, maybe a lot of bullshit?
I was thinking today about how I want to be liked by strangers. Not loved, not desired. Liked. As if my wellbeing depends on what some random piece of shit says to me. I feel guilty when slights occur, as if I have some kind of power over someone else to feel a certain way. I thought about this when a friend of mine got dragged very harshly by some people and I wanted to defend her, but short of saying that they were scum sucking sociopaths, I was stumped. Years ago, someone browbeat me in an online conversation that I was blindsided by and had no answer for, so I shut down. What I really wanted to do was go after the person with both fists and as many insults as I could hurl, but I didn’t.
It came to me that I was raised to be nice. Be nice. Be nice, put others first. Be nice, your wants don’t matter. Be nice, don’t hurt others’ feelings. Be nice, excuse others’ behavior.
I turned into a doormat. I turned into a pile of mush. I was weak-willed because of the constant admonition to be nice. I sincerely regret that I took that to heart. It caused me no end of trouble my whole life. I became someone I am not. Be nice.
I admired in a limited way, people who spoke for themselves, ever mindful when they would fall off the “nice” track. They were then bad, and therefore unworthy of my time or attention.
I see all this with a keen hindsight and no small amount of anger, but-no, I’m done being nice. I’m done excusing my shitty upbringing. I’m done dealing with other people’s arrogance because for sure, I’m not storing jewels for my crown in heaven. There is no passing grade. This is it.
This thing called life is it.
“It’s not looking too good to be me today, and tomorrow doesn’t look any better.”
Day one: wrangling this damned depression. It’s not going away. I cannot wish it away from me any more than I can wish to sprout wings. The idea is good, the desire is there, but the laws of reality are as immutable as gravity. So. I have taken my fish oil, krill oil, vitamins, and drunk some wonderful green tea left over from yesterday. In the past, I took pharmaceuticals and I found the side effects to be more debilitating than effective.
Next: coming to grips with the fact that I no longer have a part-time job. This is a funny one–not ha ha funny, but strange funny. I was getting bored with it anyway, and it was taking up more time than I wanted to give to it, so I was relieved when I received word that my services were no longer needed. My time was at last my own again. I ordered new art supplies, cleared off my work table, and set about doing what I really want to do. Well, that table stands in judgement as we speak, waiting for me to do something. Anything.
So, there’s a big ball of unrelieved anxiety that shouldn’t even exist. And it’s about money and self-worth.
All my life, I equated my job with my worth. I’ve had wonderful, unsuitable jobs that paid well. I’ve had crappy jobs that I kept because that’s what you do. Along the way, my body has broken down, my mind has shut itself off from the hell I was in, and here we are.
I’ve set goals for this month. They are modest and attainable. One goal is to write every day, even if it’s just an exercise for a half hour or so. I will post on here every day. My next goal is to work on my art pieces every day. I have enough of them in various stages of completion that I could always have something on the table. My art website is next. Even if I just look at it every day, I will have it in my mind.
This is my job and I am going to treat it as such, instead of an interesting hobby. This is what I love. I’m not a writer or an artist for mercenary reasons.
That voice says, Hey, why waste time doing something that may not bring you money?
Holy crap. That’s it. That’s the whole reason I’ve turned away from regular writing, regular craft work. It’s not considered “worthy” without money. I wonder where I got that notion? I wonder why I’ve held on to it for so long? That thought has to go. It has to disappear.
I went out between rain showers to stock up for the next few days
and my guy was in there, doing his thing, selling the booze, chatting up the customers
I got my stuff, he showed me a stash of a rare minibottle that I covet
He said he saved it just for me, and you know, just for a minute, I thought that we are more than just customer and clerk. He thought of me when I wasn’t there. In my pathetic isolation, I believed that.
But it was ok in the end. I told him I needed to write today, and he said, today is a good day to make some great poetry, what with the rain, the grey skies, and a couple of pops of liquor to lubricate the wheels, I mean, that’s what I do when I want to create.
And in that moment, we connected. He said, your eyes are twinkling today. I said, you look about sixteen with your new glasses. He said, write about it! It’s a good day to write!
In the half dark, I write. The rain falls soft, then hard. The tv murmurs in a back room. And I write. I write. The booze sits untouched, waiting for a celebration or maybe a wake, but the words come
strong and sharp and cut me to the quick.
keeps the kitties in kibble and me in tacos
You wanna know what’s sad? I’ll tell you what’s sad.
It’s sad knowing that your cosmic twin, thirty years younger and fifty pounds lighter, is
sitting in an apartment in a giant, never sleeping city
feeling just as alone and isolated as you are, but she
still has hope. She thinks she’s jaded, but she’s not. She thinks she’s weary, but
she doesn’t know yet of the soul-crushing exhaustion of chronic empty bank accounts and crummy lovers and shitty food
She has no idea what despair is, and that’s a good thing because her still pure soul would disappear with the realization that nobody cares. Not really.
Imma tell that girl, my cosmic twin, to make friends with her isolation because it’s gonna be there for good. Imma tell her that despair isn’t so bad when it’s a catalyst. Broken dreams pave the way to reality. Imma tell her to drink the good booze when she’s flush and the shitty stuff when she’s broke.
I know she won’t listen, because she holds out hope that it gets better. She has to believe it gets better, otherwise, she will shatter into a million pieces, maybe end up pushing a grocery cart and feeding pigeons with the crumbs in her homemade dreads, drinking buzzballs, collapsing into a heap in the park.
keeps the kitties in kibble and me in tacos
Wondering where the dream went.
If she’s lucky, she will claw her way out to the other side and sit under a bare bulb over the kitchen table, thinking about her younger cosmic twin just starting out, sipping a fine microbrew and sending not good vibes but survival vibes.
keeps the kitties in kibble and me in tacos
There are certain foods that can cause vivid, lucid dreams and nightmares. I have a wild time with tomatoes.
The acid rewires my brain and causes some of the strangest dreams I’ve ever had. Tonight was no exception.
After four homemade tacos, my body wanted to lie down for just a bit. As my body is getting older and thus deserves all the respect, I acceded to its wishes.
In that ninety minute nap, I dreamed of electrodes fastened to my body while I entertained that weightless feeling one gets when the plane descends for a landing. I was dredging up memories for a therapist, which I obliged, recounting happy times, sad times, all flashing like a newsreel with missing frames. I was narrating, of course. The therapist gave me a hug, and I felt warm and safe, sharing all these secrets with her. I have no idea what these memories actually were, but they didn’t feel nearly as devastating as waking memories do. Small thing to be grateful for, nevertheless.
At some point, I started talking. Out loud. For several minutes. I woke myself up.
I got up, rubbed my face, noticed both cats staring at me, and the little one had her patented wide-eyed “you gonna eat me?” look.
Jane called from her room. “You OK?”
“You were talking away in there.”
“What was I saying?”
“I don’t know. It was gibberish. Lots of it.”
“I guess the cats understood. They are right here.”
At that, I landed with a thump, gathered my mythical baggage and trudged off to reclaim life.
The aching blue mountain sky rips out my heart and wraps me in a cold cocoon of despair that cleanses the palate of platitudes and uncomfortably warm enclosed spaces because I loved you and I left you.
I left you in the orange sunset of a fall Sunday when your pain hard as plaque in my veins moved me to remove the source of your pain.
You surprised me. You moved in circles, you searched for yourself. You found yourself.
I am distantly happy that you found your place. As for me, I will move along like a lone pinball, ringing some bells and causing upheaval. I gave away my compass, my true north. I rejected the notion that love conquers all to find a misplaced noble sacrifice. Perhaps it was a coward that set you free. Perhaps it was not a martyr.
The veneer of adulthood wears thin after a few decades. There’s a pause that sounds like a hiccup in the middle of a weather forecast. It resets thoughts. It rearranges beliefs.
Maybe it’s overwhelming, contemplating the vastness of life and realizing that my significance has no more weight than the dot at the end of this sentence. Maybe I shrink at some visceral level to keep claim to “me”.
I am a stranger who may or may not exist without the largesse of other strangers who believe that I, in fact, am here, in all my crazy, continually failing glory.
A terrible sadness overwhelms me at times when reverence and serene solitude are the expected emotional states. That muddy and dark grief is a lonely blacktop that unrolls as far as my eye comprehends. It always appears like a faithful mourner that shows up to every funeral because it’s supposed to show up.
Where it comes from–who knows? I have determined that I must make friends with it, hold it close to my heart and no longer treat it as an adversary to be conquered but a worthy opponent deserving of vigilant respect.
Writing is easy–when you’re not doing any
Ideas come out of nowhere like hitchhikers that materialize on a shimmering highway, trudging along, waiting to be transported to new places
I pass them by because hey, I’m going somewhere, but I’ll swing back by in a couple of hours.
Damn. Gone, the whole lot of them.
Must have been a mirage. Maybe someone else picked them up and carried them to an exotic destination
I’ll see some more. I’ll keep watching. Next time, I will stop wherever I’m going and give them all the respect and attention they deserve.
Where is the middle ground between my loving altogether in the whole sense
and walking an ascetic life?
It’s no accident gurus and crones are long in the tooth
It takes decades to learn anything in this life
Anything that is worth a damn, anyway
Those of us who claim to be forever youthful and therefore excused from
learning lessons and little grievings of maturity, mortality
whistle through the day with a jaunty tip of the cap and a nod in toasting
We, the orphaned children of Pan, we winking curmudgeons,
for us, there is no middle ground for anything
and I’m fucking grateful for that