Never quite whole again

Went to the gym. Did dishes, made my bed. All that stuff I promised I’d get back to – I did it. Even opened up my script and wrote 2000 words.

And it felt right to get back to the day to day. Solid, real. Reminded myself where I am. When I am. Who I am.

But I am still mourning, and it’s a private grief. There is not one person in my life today who met L, so for them it’s like saying a celebrity died – distant and cerebral. Even heard from someone I shared my sob story with, who said just that, which is why I bring it up…because the statement felt cold. Really? You’ll compare my losing someone I spent every day of my 20s with the death of a celebrity? You think that compares? Cold.

Maybe I’m just being a bitch. Maybe the person who said that really did get shaken down to their bones. Maybe, in secret, they flew off to the UK and spent many long afternoons and evenings with their hero, David Bowie. Maybe they remember Bowie shooting pool with them. Being at their side when their parents died. Maybe they spent hours on the phone, all hours of the day or night, talking. Just like I did with L.

Or maybe not.

No one says ‘I love you’ to me. Not even in writing. I do. I tell people I love them at the end of my letters. That is, I tell them I love them if I truly do love them. I don’t just write it for everyone. It’s a select bunch, I’ll give you that. Not many I’d say it to. And I know not everyone is comfortable saying it. Not everyone can say it, even in the written word. There are several people in my life who aren’t in the habit of saying it, yet I know they care about me because of how they treat me. They are there for me, consistently. To talk, to help, to console. They never say ‘why are we talking about this again’ or ‘gee, I just don’t have time to deal with your crises anymore’.

Still. I’d like to hear the words echoed back to me.

Writing has become a thing. A real thing in my life. Not something I do when the mood strikes me, but something I sit and do regardless of my mood. And thank you, Goddess, for it! Hours typing away, creating dialogue and story lines…hours I don’t think about myself, or my sorrow, or the (possible) lack of love in my life.

I think I could finally write for a living now. Punch in the hours, type in the words.

The script is going well. Strong. Strong characters, strong statements. I need to modify a few things in Act 1. Add in one or two historical references. Make sure I’m not using contractions (I know I have to comb over the beginning for those). But I don’t want to modify Act 1 yet. Keep moving forward. Get through the whole thing. Otherwise, I run the risk of spending the rest of the week editing Act 1 – which is truly silly, since I haven’t written the end yet. Finish it off, THEN go back and tinker with the beginning. You know that!

Go! Write! Forget!

Forget.

Strange how I bury my sorrow in words that remember.

Today is another gym day. Get my ass over there and sweat. Regret, after 7 minutes, getting on the cross trainer. Feel I’m gonna vomit after 20 minutes on said cross trainer. Then over that hump. Into the endorphins. Smile, when my legs burn. Laugh at the sweat dripping off me. I wonder if L kept up on exercise. Is this the reason I’m living longer than my mates? Because I get off on it? Do I have an addictive side that’s so hung up on exercise highs I return to physical activity throughout my life in order to feed my need?

Fucking hell. Can I finally turn that weakness into a strength?

Find my soul a little more forgiving. My urge to grasp happiness a bit more conscious and aware. My weaknesses are not insurmountable mountains in my path, hampering my every move, but flat spaces of nothingness I can build on.

If the value of a person lies in the lessons they teach us, L was valued very highly, indeed.

No wonder they say growing old is scary. It sure as fuck is! Hearing about or, worse yet, seeing the people you know and care about die – fucking die – is terrifying.

…People want to talk so much about money and finances these days. What’s your 401K look like? How much is in your portfolio? But no one ever talks about our emotional investments. How we invest so much in the people in our lives. Not just the big memories, but the day to day stuff. The dreams, even. Dreams of them, of seeing them again. And when we lose someone, we go bankrupt. Immediately. All of that is lost. The comfortable chit-chat and grousing over our routines. The irritating habits we snap at each other for, then later regret mentioning. The things we think we’d like to be rid of, and the things we think we can’t live without. Gone, in an instant.

We are left in an open wound of love and sorrow, and facing the huge obstacle of putting our lives back together again. But we are missing a piece.

And while working a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle maybe be fun even if a piece is missing, the picture is never complete.

We are never quite whole again.

I knew her

I called the number I found for L. There was a pause, while the lines made the long connections across the Atlantic. And then – a ring. My heart jumped. Two rings. What was it I was going to say? Three rings. I was ready to hear my old friend’s voice.

When a Midwestern drawl answered, I barely comprehended what was said. I kept on the line, listening as a pre-recorded message read off a list of extensions.

It was a company line.

Which means, of course, that the number’s been recycled. No one ever tells you that. That the new phone number you feel all shiny and happy about in your brand new home is probably from someone who died. Goddess! We pick the electronic bones of the dead.

Found a handful of photos. All of them were from one trip: our infamous Grand Canyon/birthday bash in Arizona. Most are too distant. L along the handrail by a huge backdrop. A few were taken at night, when we rented a limo to take us out to the clubs. I had a lousy camera at the time, and all of the nighttime pics are overexposed from the flash. But there’s one. One picture that shows the L I remember. We were in the car, taking some back roads to an out of the way hot spring we heard about. She’s driving, with sun glasses on. I must have told her to look at me for the pic; she turned, and in typical fashion of L at that time, she stuck her tongue out at me. That’s the picture. Not the ones of her and I trying to look grown up as we stood by the limo. Not the ones in the hats. That one, with her tongue sticking out. That’s the one that made me cry.

My brother was gone all afternoon; he’s found a band to work with and he was at his first rehearsal. When he came home, he was full of energy, full of stories about the day. I kept quiet, my responses limited to short exclamations of happiness on his behalf. It kept on that way all thru the evening: me wanting to bring all this up, yet saying nothing.

11 p.m. The last episode watched for the evening, I muted the tv. And in that heartbeat of silence, I told my brother what happened.

Not just about the phone call. About all of it. This obsession that came over me the last 48 hours. How, while waiting to make that phone call, I googled other things. Pictures and videos of my old home town. Walked the google street views from my old high school through the local village and up the hill to my dad’s house. Took a car trip along Lake Michigan. Places I’d travelled thousands of times in my youth. Places I could have driven blindfolded when I was 21.

There was little I recognized.

Buildings downtown, large skyscrapers – they’re still there. Still look the same. The lake is still there. Fair grounds: just as I remember.

But the trees were all different. Many were too tall, and now obstruct the view I grew to know as a young woman. Streets were widened. Shops had changed hands.

The more I looked, the more nostalgic I grew. It was a strange nostalgia, though. A ‘member-berry nostalgia. Because it wasn’t real. I knew that even as I felt those tugs at my heartstrings. These pictures didn’t include the heat, the humidity, the insects. The audio didn’t include the crassness, the ignorance, the bigotry. And even as I felt I’ve missed so much! I knew I hadn’t. I left because nothing ever happened.

Ended by searching my eldest brother. Figured I needed to see what info was available on him, someone I knew, before I could make a judgement on the info I had on L. Odd thing. I found a sales record of the family home in 2005. And a new address for my brother. He never mentioned selling the house or moving.

…You know, some idioms are like onions: so many layers, it takes a lot of peeling to get down to the core. You can’t go home is an idiom heavy on my mind today. Thought I fully grasped that one years ago. Turns out there was a whole other layer to it that I didn’t even know existed until it was ripped away.

I’m leaving the past behind. Letting it go. My brother agreed that, when we have a bit of extra cash, I can pay for a death certificate search for L through the state records. Just don’t know if I’ll ever hear anything from her daughter. For all I know, I was demonized in her eyes. The bad girl that led her mother astray. So I’ll rely on that cold confirmation of public records. But for me – I don’t want to lose today because I’m caught in memories of the past. So I’m snapping myself out of it. When I’m done with this post, it’s dishes and bed making, then off to the gym. Gonna run my lines for the play, and get some writing done. I’ll listen fully to my brother, engage in real conversation. Later in the week, I’ll take the metro downtown and just walk around, window shopping. Remind myself of where and when I am.

I could get that picture of L reproduced in a larger size. Get it framed, put it up on my wall. And maybe I will. But more than that, I want to write her. I don’t know that I’ll ever capture the person or entity I remember. I feel it my duty to try, though. She was and will always be someone who had a great influence over me.

And I have no doubt that I will see her again. Not in the same form, obviously. But I know we will meet again. Our friendship was one of those strange old soul things; we knew each other the moment we met in this life. It’s strange to say that, because I can’t honestly say I know that much about her physical life here. Who were her friends, other than me? I don’t know. What happened all those years we didn’t speak? I don’t know. But that…that’s surface stuff.

I knew her.

Small flies of annoyance

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About 5 in the evening yesterday my ‘not as tough as the swimming pool’ workout put me down. It was like a creeper bud: took a long time after the initial incident before I felt what I put my body through. By 9 I said goodnight, brushed my teeth, and don’t even remember falling asleep because it happened so damned fast.

I did get out for errands in the afternoon, too. Down to the market to buy stuff for dinner, back up to make the sauce. Down to the next shopping area over to buy some coffee on safe, lug it back to the apartment. Didn’t do the stairs – at all. I was concerned I may have injured my knee with some of the movements in the gym; it was a bit painful (just exercise; better today). Even stuck to my commitment and did my language lessons.

Saw only 4 stubs in the ashtrays this morning. No wonder I feel a little headachy.

My FB comment has, of course, drawn comments. Most people who know me know it’s one of those small explosions I do once in a while. That burst of anger that comes out fast and is, to the unobservant, uncalled for. My uncle has questioned me on it – again, of course. I’m trying to think of something that is (1) clear, (2) calm, and (3) unquestionable as a reply. Frankly, if you have to question why a woman fears Trump getting into office, well, I think your IQ must be somewhere around 80 then, right? And I’m gonna be completely un-PC right now: if you support Trump, you can’t call yourself a woman. You may have a vagina, but you’re not a woman. You’re a dude. Not even a guy, but a dude. No sane woman would stand up and say ‘Yes! Yes, please pay me less than a man even though I have the same qualifications. Please grab my pussy; it makes me excited. Please call me a dog and a whore – I like it and I call women dogs and whores myself. And of course if a woman claims she’s been sexually assaulted she’s a liar and to blame for the whole incident herself.’ No. You’re insane. Certifiable. Go seek help. And stay the fuck away from me.

And speaking of un-PC, I’m gonna share another very un-PC thought. I’m damned angry over people like Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner. I don’t care if they want to fork out money to have their dicks cut off. What I’m angry about is that they support gender bias through they’re “portrayal” of womanhood – primped, pushed up, and padded. I mean, if one of them – ONE OF THEM – when through the surgery and became anything close to a real woman – meaning no make-up, no push-ups, no this or that because that shit is fucking EXHAUSTING, just be a PERSON – I wouldn’t be on a tirade. But they don’t. Look at what society thinks a woman is: she must wear a dress, she must wear make-up, she must wear high heels, she must show cleavage, she must try to look sexy at all costs. Excuse me, but that shit’s got NOTHING to do with being a woman. That narrowed, bigoted, biased view – that stereotype – is proven out every time someone goes through sex identity surgery and comes out looking like a magazine cover.

How fucking dare you!

Goddamn it.

Am I the only one seeing this shit?

Society’s fucked, the planet is fucked, and none of us have to worry about going to hell because we’re already there. Give me one good reason – a good one, mind you – for any of these lines we’re drawing in the sand. Because I sure as fuck can’t figure one out.

So glad I’m going in the water today. Might sit on the bottom of the pool, holding my breath. Think for a moment or two about breathing in liquid because why, why, why go on when there’s so much shit piled up?

Goddess, I hate my family. Hate them to the core of me. Hate them beyond redemption. No wonder I have such a screwed up idea about “love”. I was made to say that word to all these people I can’t stand. I love you. Every holiday. Didn’t matter what they did or said; I had to always say that.

I can’t love someone who tells me in no uncertain terms that they think I’m less than. Put whatever you want in that comparison; I’ve heard them all. And I’ve always come out wanting in the judgmental eyes of my family.

Ach! Shoulda just stayed off Fuckbook. Shoulda just kept quiet – again. Shoulda, shoulda, shoulda.

In this maelstrom, I’ve been trying to breathe. Find that calm spot. You might have noticed I’ve got a bit of anger coming up. I’ve noticed that, too. And yes, I’m doing my damnedest to not bite everyone’s head off but it’s getting fucking difficult. Real difficult.

I guess this is the wall. There’s always a wall. In everything. A time when everything feels too much. A time when you so desperately want to give in. The wall. Christ, I’m fucking tired of facing these.

Didn’t take long to hit it, did it?

…No. No, it didn’t.

Right. Temporary set-backs. Small flies of annoyance. Things trying to distract me. Ohm. I don’t have to respond. Ohm. I have the luxury of staying off social media and not opening my email. Ohm. No one is gonna force me to talk to anyone I don’t want to. Ohm.

And as for small flies of annoyance, I need to remember this: flies are born in shit. They live one fucking day and then they die and return to shit.

Ohm.

For Ulla: Because You Believed In Me

10 September 2016.

The following contains quotes from Ulla, aka Blah from Blahpolar Diaries, in italics. I have no hope of reaching the locutions I feel are needed to remember her, so I used quotes. She wouldn’t want anyone putting words into her mouth anyway.


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Beautiful, beautiful Ulla

Her death tastes like a handful of her medications: bitter. I gobble it down *gulp, gulp* in one bite but it chokes me and makes me sick.

“I believe that our tears honour our dead, but it’s got to be real.”

Oh, it’s real. Too fucking real. My brother suggested twice that the news may be some sort of sick joke. However much I hope to see an email from Ulla telling me that rumors of her death are largely exaggerated, I know I won’t see it. I knew it the moment I read the news: Blah is gone…

Are you still there? 5 September 2016, 06:53 a.m. That was my last message to her. I try to not think that the message came through too late. That I should have written it 24 hours earlier. I try not to think that it was there on time. That she saw it, and that her reply was her suicide: no, I’m not there.

“I’ve lost myself along the way and I’d like to find myself again, even if it’s just to say goodbye.”

Ulla may have felt lost, but she helped me find my way. She helped a lot of people. Through her ups and downs, her crazed periods and her vomiting, she kept us updated with her sharp observations and raw honesty.

“True compassion is rare and horribly underrated.”

Yes. And she had it in spades. She was always there when I cried help. She gave and gave, so much. If only she could have given as much to herself, I think. If only..

“Chief amongst the things I’m never going to write about in the memoir I’m never going to write, is a chapter I won’t be calling ‘Grandiose Schemes and Ensuing Fuck Ups’. Because ja….. If selective memory deletion ever becomes a thing, I’ll be trampling people on my way to the head of the queue.”

And I would say no, no, Ulla. Your memories make you who you are. I like who you are. And she would tell me she doesn’t but she loves me for saying it.

“So, tribe, how are you doing? We might be the only people who can ask each other that and just tell the truth. No pretence, no sinking feeling, no feelings of guilt when the truthful answer is, “up to shit” more often than not. Here we all are, intense and extreme people, people who other people often think have our heads up our asses, but here we are and we’re so fucking compassionate.There are days when this tribe – you – get me through it without me melting down completely. There’s a lot more I could say, but I won’t, because I’d fuck up my reputation for grouchiness. Seriously though, thank you.”

In the two years since she began her blog, we climbed on the Fuck Bipolar Train with Blah at the controls. Her acerbic wit drove us on as she stoked the fires with her dragon breath. But she never kidded anyone. Ulla didn’t want to die; she just didn’t want to keep living.

“I feel the need to preface my answer by telling you that this isn’t a threat, just a statement (a weather report, if you will) – I don’t want to be alive. Oh dear, I shouldn’t have said that, I should never say that. Yes I hear you…. It freaks you right out, it’s unfair on you, it breaks your heart, it’s not a rational conclusion, it’s selfish, it’s… It’s all of that and more and now you’re hurting too. Ah I’m sorry, I’m sorry. You care because you love me and I open up because I love you, but this particular conversation only ever has one conclusion. It causes you distress and me loneliness.”

It was – is – hard to read. I wonder if she left a note, but why? She left hundreds of pages of notes right here. How could she be more eloquent at the end, when it was so obvious that the deeper she sank into depression the less she wrote?

“I get very silent when I’m feeling very fucked.”

And silent she went.

“So I swallow the pills, keep regular hours, get some exercise and basically live (mostly) like a model fucking bipolar patient. All I can see of the future is a dim road to an unhappy death. I have one dream and that is to go quietly very fucking soon after my dog does.”

My uninformed mind is playing tricks on me now and imagining all sorts of horrible scenarios. The unexpected death of her dog, Solo, that drove her over the edge. Giving up on that dream and leaving Solo alone. Even taking Solo with her.

Who found her? How did she do it? Where will she be buried? All things I may never know.

“I don’t believe that the dead suffer, I strongly believe that the living dead suffer every single moment of their lives.”

A paradox, then. I love her enough to not want her to suffer, tho that means I suffer myself. I’m not sure I give that willingly. I hold it out with one hand, full of love, and snatch it back with the other, full of loss. She is right; I have become the living dead.

“Everybody dies and there’s no way of thinking about it without being sad, and we should be sad when someone we love dies, because they’re worth being sad about.”

Yes, you are worth it.

“I haven’t learned not to rail against the very concept of death forever. It’s inevitable and personally, I think I will welcome mine when it comes. I’m not remotely interested in immortality.”

You are immortal, Ulla, in what you gave me and each person you touched. Knowing I will never read another post from you, another message, another joke, is one of the most horrible truths I’ve had to face. But I aim to live up to what you said to me: “you’re stronger than I am”. Not because the universe needs some proof that you were right.

But because you believed in me.

Just me, and Ulla

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I must sound pretty damned bad to all of you. On top of every friend checking in with me three times a day, I’ve just received an invitation to like a psychiatric clinic’s blog. Someone sent that to ME. Found my email and specifically sent it to me. Like an anonymous card saying hey I know you’re nuts; let’s make pecan pie it was there. More welcome was an e card from my uncle. He’s got those things set for just about every holiday imaginable. But this one he did special for me in my grief. For every six times that man says something that makes me crazy, he does something like this that touches me deeply. But it’s my eldest brother, still living the the states, who takes my prize for Narcissistic Asshole Comment of the Year. I’ve made a few small posts on FB to get what support I could. He left a comment that yes, death is so sad because it makes us contemplate our own mortality. Our own mortality? Like I give a fuck if I drop over right now. I had to explain, like you would to a child, that no, what bothered me was trying to continue to get through this SHIT called life without my friend because the world is a slightly less loving place without her in it.

What an asshole.

When I read it, Ulla spoke up over my shoulder: he’s related to you? Yes, I replied, and this comment is nothing compared to what my sister would write. I wasn’t exaggerating, was I? And her ghost voice says no, you weren’t exaggerating.

I talk to her when no one’s around. Out loud. I know that’s crazy. If death is the end I’m talking to empty space and if it isn’t the end she doesn’t need to hear me say anything out loud, she just gets it. I know it’s nuts and I’m doing it anyway because it gives me a thin sheet of comfort for a short time.

She complains every time I turn on the jazz station, even if it’s Ella Fitzgerald singing. I told you I don’t like jazz, she says. Even Ella? I ask. C’mon, everybody loves Ella. I hear a groan in my head, her only reply to me. Yesterday we searched through my smart tv system looking for a film to watch. Anything she suggested I had already seen or didn’t want to see. Finally we stumbled across Mr. Nobbs and both of us settled down to watch. It was a beautiful film, and made me think of Ulla all the more. So much does. From the hazy morning sunrise to song lyrics; everything carries an extra poignancy right now. Everything is that bit more complex – the beauty of a sunrise marred by knowing her eyes haven’t seen it, song lyrics I wonder if she would have liked, films I’d like to know what she thought of.

Caught myself laughing last night at a comedy show. A good, hearty laugh. One that started because I forgot, then trailed off as I remembered…That first laugh is the hardest. You feel like you’re cheating death it’s due, like you’re disrespecting the person who’s gone. But you also know that the person you loved wouldn’t want you to mope around forever. They’d want you to laugh. So you let the laughter come, and it feels good to laugh, and when you’re done that hollow place inside you has a little less soul sucking ability.

Tomorrow is our day of remembrance. I’ve cobbled together something, a eulogy of my own – for lack of a better word. Not that I expect tomorrow to be my last post about Blah. You may hear that theme from me for quite a while and I make no apologies for it. I loved her. If you want to twist that into something it’s not, go ahead. I don’t care what you think. When I let people into my life, I let them all the way in. And I love them fiercely. I loved Ulla fiercely. Didn’t take long; the first time I was feeling angry and helpless and she wrote to me ‘So, who are we going to kill?’ probably cemented it. For as little as she wanted to share with most people, when she took you under her dragon’s wing you found that yes, she loved fiercely, too. Enemies were to be destroyed via sessions with syphilis dipped barbed wire dildos and you were always gently cared for, nurtured, petted, and given succor to face another day.

Such a beautiful dragon.

Such a beautiful person.

I can feel the deep wound of her loss beginning to heal. By next week I’ll be able to try going out in public. Still I may tear up, now and again. Still you may see the pain flash across my face when the sun strikes my eyes or a song hits its peak, and that may be something you see for some time to come. When asked what’s wrong I will shake my head and smile and say ‘Ulla’ and that will say it all for me. Leave the muggles in the dark; perhaps they don’t deserve to know what treasures lurk beneath their haughty gaze. Or perhaps, as I hope, I’ll be able to capture her essence in a piece of work. Something I’ll make public. No one will get it, of course. No one will know the references.

Just me, and Ulla.

Let It Be

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Erasing J’s holiday info off my desktop – info including dates, hotel, and flight numbers – brought tears to my eyes. As did a number of things this morning; everything from J’s final posts on FB to random memories of the last week popping into my brain. All this heavy duty emotion inspired some sappy song lyrics which I can’t read through without triggering a waterfall. It may take some time to record that one.

Seeing someone for a short holiday after years apart is a little bit like being by someone’s deathbed. You try to squeeze in everything in a short span. You say ‘I love you’ more often than usual. You reach out to hold the other person’s hand every other minute. And you tear up even when you try not to, because thinking of life without that person breaks your heart in two.

It’s bittersweet.

Been thinking of my defense mechanisms. How I’ve told myself for years that not seeing J or other people I care about is okay. They have their lives and I have mine. How I’ve convinced myself that online communication is the same as being there.

How I’ve fooled myself into thinking I don’t care so much.

Part of me wants to fall back into that: to focus on the future, to ignore the years between passing, to overlook the lines in J’s face and my own. Another part is unwilling to do that. To sleep through another decade before I see J again. That’s what it feels like; like part of me has slept for years and only woke up when J and I first hugged. She doesn’t want to be mollified. She wants to mourn.

So I’m yo-yoing. Making plans to take a walk in the beautiful sunshine today and crying my eyes out that I have to do it alone.

And smoking. To yes, numb it out a bit. Straight up avoidance. Let the wound scab over a bit before we pick at it too much.

My sorrow doesn’t taint my memories of the last week. It makes those memories sweeter, and the pain deeper in contrast. Catch 22. Between a rock and a hard place. Whatever. It’s ambivalence personified. And it’s sitting smack in the middle of my lap. That’s where I feel it: deep in my core. Happy to have seen J and so very sad, too. It’s a stone in my stomach. And it’s too achingly beautiful to smash. J’s name is etched on it, and it resides in sunshine land filled with happy memories.

It’s almost a shrine. Holy ground.

Makes me wonder how many other shrines like that I carry around in me. How many other people I’ve lost along the way that would trigger this type of reaction.

How deep it goes.

There’s probably an underwater labyrinth in my brain filled with that type of thing. I’ve had to leave a lot of people, a lot of places.

It’s nothing I want to map out.

*sigh* I’d better get my shoes on soon and out into the sunshine. TRY to lighten my mood. A brisk walk is what’s called for. Get my blood pumping, my heart rate jumping. Half my sorrow is getting stuck in time, and that’s what’s happening. I’m imagining a future of not seeing J. My brain isn’t focused on the now. It’s dithering off in some maybe time, and it’s a negative maybe time, to boot. Wrenching my brain from negative to positive seems too large a task, so all I can do is bring myself back to NOW. It’s not happening NOW. It may never happen. Calm down and stop putting energy into it.

Break the cycle.

…..There’s one sure fire way to avoid every negative thing my brain wants to throw at me. Create in the now what I’ll need in the future to sidestep it all. Tricksey. But not impossible. Good Goddess! That means taking up the balls and juggling again. Spinning some magic. Dancing fast enough to create a solid foundation. Projecting movement while standing still. Finding that groove , grabbing hold, and letting it pull you.

I get the sense I’m making this harder than it should be.

Try to hold a handful of sand. You’ve got to cup it lightly, just allowing it to sit in your palm. Apply too much pressure and the sand slips away. Same principle. If I try too hard, I’ll fail. I have to walk this one lightly.

The flowers I bought for J’s visit have faded and died, like our brief time together. I purchased new flowers to take their place. These new flowers…have to say the bouquet I made is one of the ugliest I’ve ever seen. I bought two batches of blooms. One was a bunch of stiff, paper-like flowers and the other was a bunch of floppy-headed flowers. They don’t mix well in my vase. The floppy flowers flop, and the stiff flowers stand like frozen soldiers keeping watch over the table. And yet..my eye is drawn to them. Because for all the haphazard mixing of the two types of blooms, for all the crudeness of my attempts to ‘arrange’ flowers, they’re still flowers, and beautiful just as they are.

Can I transfer that sense of beauty to myself, my art? Can I hold it lightly enough to really capture what I see and taste and smell and feel and hear? Can I mix opposites, make a mess of things, and still see beauty?

I’ve had a lifetime to master this and I still feel like I’ve barely made any progress. That’s so disheartening. But that is past talk, past regret.

….I’m asking myself if I’m really up to this. Staying focused, staying in the now. Working towards a future, not immediate gratification. Because every DAY I’ve had the opportunity to do things differently. And so far, I’ve not been able to follow through very well.

No tight fisted vows will pass my lips. No promises that from this day forward such and such will be different.

I’ll just let this be.

Come Out, Come Out!

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Cold, wet, and dark. Welcome to Spring.

Yeesh!

Having a bit of a difficult time today. Spent time with me yesterday; let myself write and chatter and say whatever came to mind. I talked to myself about shoes, and found the girl doesn’t want sneakers, she wants ankle boots. Badly, like a jones you can’t rid yourself of. She even turned the tables on me and became the hard hitting therapist for a bit.

When did this flip around? You’ve become the therapist.

Does that matter? A false illusion is a false illusion. Doesn’t matter if you hold it or if I hold it.

So my problem comes from sharing my desire for ankle boots with my brother who, goddess love him, thinks differently. He thinks I should go for sneakers first, that they’ll end up being more useful to me. And he reminded me of all the great sneakers I’ve worn – Chuckies, VANS – all the shoes that made me strut and put on attitude. I’m back on the fence. In fact, I’ve let myself be swayed more to the sneaker side again EVEN THOUGH I found a very deep desire in me for ankle boots.

The girl isn’t happy. This needs to be rectified.

Let me butt in here. First, you’re talking like I’m not here, and I am. I’m always here, even when I don’t talk to you. Second, we’ve worn sneakers for twenty years because that’s all we could afford and generally sneakers hurt our feet the least. Yes, we’ve dug some pairs. We’ve HAD to. Like your sneakers or die; that’s what it was for a long goddamn time. Can we PLEASE do things MY way – for ONCE? Third, your brother is arguing to get sneakers first and ankle boots in three months, when you can get another pair made. He keeps telling you those ankle boots aren’t that far off. Then why not swap that? Get the ankle boots first and the sneakers second. And if you wear the first pair into disrepute then you KNOW I was right for asking for them and just get a second pair of ankle boots to keep in better condition! It’s a win/win situation! Ankle boots do everything. Dress ’em up; dress ’em down. Skirts to jeans, ankle boots got you covered. Why are we arguing about this?

*sigh* She’s right. Again. [And DAMN! She’s far more persevering than I am.]

She also taught me a thing or two about sex and love:

But how do you combine that safety and friendship with sex? I don’t get it. Sex is always predatory.

Sex isn’t about love?

No. It’s about getting off. Endorphin rush.

So boyfriends or long term partners are just people you like to get off with time and time again?

Yeah, primarily. It helps to like the guy, but it’s sure not necessary.

Okay. So what does love look like?

Caring. Standing by a person. Being with them day in and day out. Laughing together. Struggling against the world together. Hugging each other no matter what. Knowing your life would be poorer and less if that other person wasn’t in it. Wanting to make them happy. Supporting them.

But not sex.

No. Sex is physical, like exercise.

Yep. ‘Making love’ is just a euphemism to me. Never did it; never even came close. And a bit of hypersexuality, anyone?

THINK about it. Your brain used to focus on sex all the time. Who you might have it with, when you’d get it next. Every night out was an attempt to get fucked, not find love. Right?

I think I wanted more.

No. What you wanted was a full time fuck who could always make you cum. Someone you could stand being around, someone your family approved of. Someone who made a decent living so you could have the house and the car and the vacations. I know…Mom and dad were a fairy tale couple. We always said that, and that’s what we truly thought. But look at your siblings. You’re not the only one who’s had problems making a connection with people. You’re just the only one to admit to it.

She’s pretty ruthless in her opinions.

And she’s dead on.

NOW she feels validated. We just had to go that extra step and air our dirty laundry!

I guess a very grown up conversation awaits me today. I’ve got to tell my brother to back off on the sneaker idea and ask him to support my choice. Tell him how much I want what I want, how important it is to me to get precisely what I want, not what I’m told I SHOULD want. Hope his listening ears are on this morning.

My plan is to go mall walking later on. It’s scheduled to rain and rain hard for the next few days. I can kill a couple of birds with one stone by walking in the mall: keep pushing my trial shoes AND window shop for cool shoes and (gasp!) cool summer gear. If ankle boots are in, shorts are out and skirts are making a comeback. That means I need a slip…if they still make slips these days. Do they? Damned if I know right now. Anyway, tra-la and all that shit. I’ll be looking at girly things today, strictly for girls. No boy’s stuff at all. [If I haven’t ever said, a lot of clothes I’ve worn over the past twenty years are guys clothes. They’re cheaper and larger cut.] I think my brother is NOT invited to come with me today. I want to really look, not feel like he’s standing by doing nothing and just WAITING for me to make a choice. That doesn’t help me, especially when it comes to girly things. Boys’ stuff I’ll just grab and put on. Nothing to think about except is it roomy enough in the hips. But stuff for girls…for women..THAT I’m picky about.

A-HAAAAAAAA! I get it!! The girl is thinking about coming out again. THAT’S what this big fashion hang up is all about. She wants to make an entrance, her style. Let’s lay down the red carpet. Come out, come out, wherever you are!