I woke up this morning with a gasp, as if surprised that consciousness had returned. I wish I could remember what I had been dreaming.
Given that my recent job interviews have all fizzled, my relationship has horrifically dissolved, and my birthday is fast approaching, I have decided it’s finally perfect timing to use up my plane ticket to visit Van Sise in New York city*.
I am going to miss Rafael’s Folklife and a few other things, (my original birthday plan was to set up a Whole Beast Feast, hit up the 40th Annual Folklife for a day, then hitch-hike with some strangers to the 10th Annual Sasquatch Festival for the rest of the long weekend), but given my present circumstances as a connoisseur of sad situations, it just seems like a better idea to be gone. Every night my dreams ache, my body wrenches with unhappiness, yet in the morning, I can’t seem to find reasons to be awake. I lie there motionless, wrapped up in nothingness, unable to conjure any appetite for life, any thread of grace, any desire at all for my bland, banal hopes or disembodied future. If I had a job or were in school, I’m sure it would be different, I would feel that my life was moving forward instead of slipping away, but as it currently is, a lonely narrative of inevitable failure after inevitable failure, all I want is to be away from here, all I want is escape.
*Originally we were going to wander around the southern states, visiting Atlanta and New Orleans, rounding off the trip, if we were lucky and it was delayed, with the last Space Shuttle Launch. Instead his work got in the way and the already-purchased plane ticket was cashed in for credit and put aside for a visit with him later.
I am left by the side of the road, a fugitive leaning silently against a wall as I listen to his truck drive away. I’m tired, he said, of being the one who always has to be strong, and in that moment it was like he had wrapped me the most beautiful gift even as I crumpled, destroyed by the echo of those words leaving my own mouth, over and over again. I wanted wings, then, to furl around him, great feathery things, mythical and incredible, powerful enough to erase pain, the better to protect him from the world. Pinions that scraped the ceiling. Instead my arms found him, found him and held him, while a part of me shattered, horrified, against the promise that I would never be that person, as I resisted the sour memory of times that should never have been.
And so, standing in the street, solitude, the desire to howl down the moon. Anger at myself, at the past that robbed me of what this could be. Such a gift should mean more to me, I should be thrilled, yet here I am, incapable of carrying it, too weak to shout, too weak to even speak, too beaten down. Years of inequality choking me, I rest against the wet cement blocks of an anonymous warehouse office and try not to hate. If such a treasure had been presented to me a few months ago, I would have been beyond grateful, filled to the edges with joy, a flower in bloom. It was the only thing I wanted, just for myself. I would have been able to cradle it, this admired jewel made of fire, but now feels too late. Instead I have been broken. The devastating distance I tried so hard to survive has finally claimed me for its own.
“Some people reflect light, some deflect it, you by some miracle, seem to collect it.” —House of Leaves
Though set lovingly adrift in a cotton sea of comfortable bedsheets, in the best of all possible company, I didn’t sleep enough last night. To my disgrace, I took Arron along with me, waking him as I tried to creep out of bed, the better to pace outside, dressed in rain, and walk out my stress, the painful squeeze in my chest. We spoke in the dark until the attic of morning, that interstitial breath of night which claims “too early” as well as “too late”. (Stars not quite beginning to fade.) Today I’m left feeling as if I’ve worn out something essential, like the catch to the spring that lives inside my ribs, as well as incredibly grateful.
I just bought a white topped IKEA table desk at a very steep discount off Craigslist to replace the desk I sold several years ago. This, for a multitude of reasons, is far more exciting than it has any right to be. Lung helped me bring it home and wrestle it upstairs to my apartment and even into my room, for which I am deeply grateful. The desk, more of a table, really, is not very big, but my room is smallish, so almost every piece of bedroom furniture had to be moved to accommodate it. My entire body hurt from how much work it took, but it’s so amazing to finally have a workspace again that all the hassle was completely worth it. (Even the bizarro Trial Of The Talking Computer, which apparently complains out loud of overclocking failure when it needs a new BIOS battery.)
My next big step will be to get my website up and running again, this time with a focus on photography, with a page, too, devoted to the various Thread of Grace projects. I am slow with websites, though. I begin to have a general design figured out, then find myself lost among the apparently endless methods of developing a gallery backend. Realistically, I don’t much care what it looks like, as long as what I end up with is easy to update and allows people to link to each image. Simple, understated, a bit of text with each picture. Uncomplicated. (I’ve started looking for that pop up gallery everyone’s been using for the last couple of years, where the image slides up over the page, and there’s tiny little > and < for right and left). In the world of fanciful imaginary land, however, I'd also like an automatic flickr feed widgety thing in a sidebar somewhere, thumbnails that offer a preview when a mouse hovers over them, and a significantly prettier interface than most templates offer. An overnight degree in graphic design, plane tickets to somewhere tropical and warm, and an oceanside horsie ride wouldn't hurt, either.
The world has left me by myself this evening. My brain is stumbling, wanting to be placed in the hands of someone warm who would curl up with me, knot their hands with mine and drowse into grounding sleep. I feel so incredibly detached, as if I were to know the trick of it, I could lift up my body and float into the ice-cream cold sky. The wind would be unbelievable, the chill worse than a bad piano recital. I don’t want that tonight. I want to murmur, “where are you going?” on the edge of sleep and have someone reach over and comfort me. It’s becoming a stretch into years, that feeling. I’m so bad living in only half marriages. It’s like a sickness, this not having certainty. I enjoy the pauses, but I need something stable. It took so many years of clawing back into an emotional world that I feel as if I’m squandering when I’m trying to be satisfied with small print contracts.
I’ve been mentioning in conversation lately my traveling approximation of childhood. I’ve clarified there was trauma. I was a girl, they were an older boy. My mother was young, my father a violent man. I’ve almost shown the carried scars on my body, graveyards of happy memories I never got to have, but somehow, it just wasn’t the time. In a very strong way they don’t matter. To my mind, I didn’t properly begin until I was seventeen. Before that I was running around on automatic, a seed in a field that never got any water. There were no genuine feelings, only faked approximations because if I didn’t keep up with people, they began to let on that I was too much of a problem. What I want to explain somehow is that past all the months of living in the back of a truck, all those accumulated years in hotel rooms and blank transitory hallways, I can forgive myself for leaving the world alone when I was younger, but not any longer. What I’ve finally gathered is too precious. See? I hold out these hands in spite of everyone. It’s simple. Interaction is the way to stand in front of time and take the force of the blow.
I’m living close to the line right now. I’m got less than a hundred dollars to live off until I find myself employment, and I get back on the twenty-fourth. It was a matter of keeping my job or going to Montreal. To me there was no question. With the little I was making, there was no feasible way to Save Against A Good Time. Damn the basic idiocy of leaving with as little as I do. If I’m going to go, it’s going to be now. If nothing else, the cold will be a deterrent against staying.
I haven’t found anyone who’s willing to take my ferret and I only have one day left. It’s kind of Ryan to try and make it back here every day to top up his food and water, but I’m not sure I can rely on him to remember. Are there any volunteers in the audience? He’s very sweet and won’t hide anything in a place impossible to find. There’s an issue with him getting into dangerously exciting places like Beneath The Fridge and you’ll have to get used to checking under things before you sit on them, but overall, he’s really quite easy to take care of. Food, water, a twice a week sink bath with dishsoap or shampoo, and he’ll sleep with you at night if you let him, especially if there’s a draught.
I stepped outside with no direction except away from the fear. Years long, it lay unjustified until tonight. Solid, it destroys, shreds. My feet stopped at the edge of the street and I watched my hands gather snow into a little ball. This runs deep. I’m beginning to feel my lack of sleep like a knife. Every hour I laid awake in the past week is now a weight tied to a vice that’s seizing my throat closed. I didn’t look away when my body stood and began to walk. I was too busy locking my joys away in logical conclusions that describe why I should always know better. Who am I to ascribe worth to my self? This is the argument. This is the cause and self-hatred. Hope should never be let into my house. It has keys and is cruel. The piece of snow my body heat turned into ice became a metaphor and I threw it violently down, away, and didn’t look when it shattered.
I did not ask to be let in to their room, but I was welcomed. My coat was told to come off, my scarf and shoes as well. The hat was to live on the back of the couch, come stay. It’s cold outside and we’ve made things with chocolate. My sad suspicions told me this was a bad idea, this was a moral test I would fail, but I stayed because the welcome was genuine and it is not their fault that I am wary and wounded. I sit pointed away, a puzzle composed of elbows and knees that fold into themselves and touch nothing else, and I am hesitant to speak, to intrude upon these people who were not planning for me, who do not know me except as an accessory, but I am handed a cat and expected to be at ease. Expectations and cats are fabulous pieces of social control. Peer pressure, peer pressure, watch some of our television and learn to be a little more real to our eyes.
I should have left when my trust kicked in. Comfort isn’t allowed right now. I should know this more thoroughly than anyone. It hasn’t been at all this year. Instead my lessons require stronger aversion therapy, because look – I’ve made the same mistake twice. When he came in, I put down my dignity, the very little I’m left to scrape together, and invented gods to pray to, so that it might rate some significance to another human being. I never should have come without being called. It was a very cold walk home, long because I couldn’t see through my salt stinging pretence of integrity. There are no angels, only people with wings. A woman stopped me half way when she said, “Hey honey, don’t look like that. If they see you’re broken, they won’t want you.” My feet gave out and she kept walking. Tomorrow I’ll find out if I bruised my knees, all I know now is that I can barely feel my fingers.
There is no distinction in writing this down, but it allows me to communicate with the ether. The vast formless place that language came from. I have been realizing this is my spirit guide, this is my starving on top of the mountains. I try to make here worthwhile with information dissemination, as if every link were an apology to the possibly hypothetical reader. Of course everything here is public. No matter how useless or sacrificial I am to my needs, no matter how exasperated I am at myself for pretending to worth, if it weren’t, this would be the equivalent to screaming into an empty box, closing it, then expecting to hear echoes the next time it’s opened.
I was taken care of in every way that never matters to me. That’s why I forget, you see, because needs and desires are different ripples on the dance floor and my body can twist without me. Bread is nothing, but oh, holding my breathe for me. (‘?o baby i wouldn’t like Death if Death were good:for when(instead of stopping to think)you begin to feel of it’). The heart, that’s what insists on guiding me, that’s what needs to be fed when it complains. There was a warmth in my hips when he sat with me. I remembered how suddenly his hands had defined the curves of my memories, but I knew by the tilt of his laughter that I wasn’t going to be let in where I’ve needed to be. Out(in)side is still starving, there is more than an empty two days. There’s a few years backed up, complaining, waiting for me to address them in some grand speech. Last week I whispered to them. “Remember that name you’ve always kept secret? It’s talking to me.” Last week I forgot who I am, and persisted as who I used to be. See, last year I knew how to smile.
I’m a velvet encased palace today. Bottle green pants, a black tank top, a pale pink tongue. The world is full of girls like me, I just haven’t met any yet. It’s such a shame. Kiss me sky, please kiss me. Tell me that I can learn not to be haunted by that devil smile, that ragtime pair of whispering lips. Desire has been lying to me, telling me that I’m beautiful and I don’t need that right now. This week is set aside for young reactions. The ember burning boy knows I’m the sea and stars, and the memory of that dizzying reaction shall be enough for me. My cup of human kindness was quietly laid to waste with my lover touching someone else’s skin, so now I need to find the will to make another. I’m getting better. It feels superficial, but I don’t know enough yet. I’m still learning. Maybe it will turn out to be easy to rebuild. I can feel focus accruing on me, meshing with my skin. It feels top-heavy, hollow, but I suspect that’s just who I’m going to be right now. A pop song princess, simple, lyrical and confident if shallow from the inside out.