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 Add in one or two historical references.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.

Hanging on

Communication is a two way process. You can talk and talk and talk, but if you’re not communicating, nothing’s going to change.

I’ve been accused of being a poor communicator because sometimes (oh, goddess forbid!) I use uncommon words. Which means I dig below the surface layer of the average vocabulary and pull out a word that fits my definition perfectly rather than being a half-assed synonym.

Okay. I get that. If I use an unfamiliar term with no supporting language, it could be difficult to figure out what I’m driving at.

And that statement should hold true for everyone.

But, alas! In my household, it’s not. I am held accountable for my ‘high language’ as well as not understanding ‘common slang that everyone uses’.

This is coming from my brother, and it’s something I really hate about his communication style. Don’t know if he can accept he’s blaming me both ways, or at least that the words and facial expressions he chooses to use make me feel that way. I’ve done my best to say that. He doesn’t hear it, no matter what words I use.

And herein lies my problem, people. I’m damned well aware this is NOT a healthy communication style and it’s not good for me or my damaged self. Every time we come to loggerheads over something along this line I’m left feeling angry and unheard. Dissed. And of course my damaged brain goes that step further – it must be because he just tolerates me, he really doesn’t care, he’d rather I leave, etc., etc.

I hold onto something else, though. The idea that he does care, that this is just a left-over from our poor upbringing. My brother has seen me through some terrible times. Physically and emotionally. He’s watched me break, cried by my side for my unending self-hate, bolstered up my ego as much as humanly possible – all these actions say he does care, that my brain is turning on me, that I must keep my faith.

It’s difficult. Difficult to have my feeling conflict with the evidence at hand. Am I not being petty? Should I not call this what it is – a learned behavior of poor communication and blame? Is it not on me to rise above it, find a new way? He’s probably just as frustrated by these disagreements as I am.

Where do you draw the line?

They say you can’t fight every fight, and that’s an adage that holds true. You can’t. It’s exhausting.

But how does someone like me, who knows they’ve got issues and triggers, find that balance? Can I honestly say I’m reacting to all of this in a balanced and well rounded manner? Hell no! I’m being triggered by a billion things, including a lot of very old family shit. So am I doing that knee jerk reaction when I shouldn’t be? Or am I justified in my feelings?

Round and round with this question. I can never make up my mind.

Maybe it’s a bit of both. He’s wrong AND I’m wrong. He’s right AND I’m right. We both have valid points. And perhaps I never feel my point of view is acknowledged by him because he never feels I acknowledge his point of view. That’s what I’d expect a therapist to say. If you want to be listened to, listen to other people.

I just don’t know how so many things can get turned around to feel like it’s my fault no matter what I do or say.

Speaking of my fault, I grumbled the other night over my dental hygiene routine. Takes a long time every day, especially after some of the problems I’ve had. Heard this reply: “Well, maybe if you’d taken care of your teeth like this from the start you would’t have had all those problems.”

My brother was quick to follow up with all the advances in dental hygiene, how the tools we commoners can access are so much better…. All I heard was it’s my fault. My fault, I deserve it. All of it.

Made me wonder if I’d hear something similar, lying in hospital battling cancer. My fear says yes.

I don’t want to be blind-sided by that kind of thing.

The worst of all of it is my powerlessness. I have zero control. I’m only here under the graces of my brother, who’s basically supporting me right now. Chances of getting and holding a real job are very slim. I’m old, and my health is bad. I have no income, no savings, nothing of value to offer or sell.

I don’t think often on that part of reality, because it throws me into panic. But…and…this is why I say it’s better for me to just check out.

My brother, however, weaseled a promise out of me at one point. A promise to hang on, no matter what. To not voluntarily check out early.

When everything else goes haywire, that’s my rock. I sling a rope around that idea and hang on for dear life.

I’m hanging on now.

There’s already enough

Heavy sigh.

If I were to take as long healing from all the crap I got growing up as it took to brainwash me into thinking I was a piece of shit, I’d be 76 and counting before I got over it. That’s the thought that elicited the heavy sigh, a depressed feeling, and anger over time never fucking being on my side.

I hate my family.

Gods…I know I look awful when I’m at the gym. Catch myself too often too deep into emotion. I tear up, my face turns red – I’m sure I look either like I’m about to have a heart attack or a nervous breakdown. Or both. It’s what happens. My body moves, stuff shifts and suddenly I am overwhelmed by memories and emotions. Therapists really should think about doing sessions during work-outs. At least in my case.

Gotta go through it. Free up whatever got blocked. Breathe. Fucking breathe. That’s the only thing I can think of, when it hits me. My feet move, time ticks on, but I’m unaware of any of it. Just stuck somewhere deep in a half hidden memory that’s full of old, built up muck. I’ve only impressions left over. Impressions of regret, and anger. Why did it go down that way? Why couldn’t I have been one of the lucky ones born into a family that cared?

Don’t talk to me about fate. I’ve always felt like I’m paying forward in this life, and it sucks. I was never a kid who enjoyed frying ants or ripping off the wings of flies. I don’t have that mean streak in me. If I’d been a shit in a previous life, wouldn’t it have shown up early on? I think so. But I was that weird kid who’d get up at 4 am to sing the sun up. I talked to trees, and cried over injustices.

And if the secret to reaching zen is dealing with people shitting on you all the time, I must be some freaking holy zen master.

So why do I find all of this so fucking difficult?

Haven’t I learned anything?

But, hey. I don’t have social niceties. Was never taught them. Don’t get hidden agendas, or most faux pas (what IS the plural on that, anyway?). And if I had a nickel for every time I heard about how ‘different’ I was…well, I still wouldn’t be rich. But I could buy a cheap meal for myself.

So what’s stuck in my craw today?

Other than the welling up of old memories and feelings, I guess I’d have to say it was what happened at my language lesson. Yeesh. You know, questioning any of this makes me wonder if I’m not just some drama queen timing things out and demanding my fair share of attention. Nonetheless, I noticed a definite difference between how I am treated and how my fellow student is treated. The effect was heightened for me because we had another new volunteer teacher sit in with us, to learn how a lesson might be. I think she looked at me twice. The remainder of her eye contact was reserved for my fellow student. And rightly so; the majority of conversation took place between my teacher, the newbie, and the other student. I was not included. I was not asked questions. I searched for things to say, to include myself…didn’t feel it was well received. They turned, they listened, but they didn’t follow up with statements or questions. Am I being paranoid? So difficult to tell. The other student is not as far along as me, and both instructors might have felt she needed more practice speaking. That’s logical. Still. I’ve an undeniable feeling that something else is going on, something I’m not catching onto. I hate that.

Mm. That’s the second thing I’ve said I hate.

Decided something. Had a weird few minutes during the script read through. I was outside with the director and someone the director knew was leaving. The guy asked me – twice – if I was the director’s wife. My reaction: laughter. I’ve thought a lot about that, and realized it might have sounded derisive to the director. Like I was laughing at the idea that we could be married because I found him unattractive or whatever. I wasn’t; I was laughing over the idea of anyone even conceiving ME of being capable of marrying someone. I’m just a bit worried that my hilarity will be taken the wrong way, and I don’t want any misunderstandings over my lack of social skills. So I’m gonna bring it up to him. Remind him of that moment and explain myself because I didn’t at the time. And I don’t need anyone else thinking I’m a shit.

There’s already enough.

The Dame’s Still Got Game

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It’s good to know I still gots da touch. The blueberry muffins I baked and took to the comic shop did a magic trick and disappeared before my eyes. And there were only two guys at the store! I’d been there once before, and met one of the owners. Yesterday I finally met the second owner. Good thing, too! Oh, I’ve heard so much about you! Yes, my partner said he had a chance to meet you before! I guess the first guy I met has been lording it over his partner; I got to meet her and you didn’t. Now the second partner has something to crow about: she brought me blueberry muffins! Did you get any? My brother laughed, and said now there’s no way I can go back without baking more. Happy to do it, too. For one, they always give T good deals on the comics he wants. For another, once again I was given free comics, this time in Dutch, because they’re just nice guys. And finally, what more could a baker ask than to see her baked goods fly off the plate to be devoured with ecstatic eye rolls and muffled exclamations of oh my god, these are so good?

Who knows? Maybe that small bakery everyone has told me I should open will become reality. I don’t know where my life is headed.

I do know where my day is headed: catch-up work. The house needs cleaning, I have even more Dutch to read now, and my body isn’t getting any thinner with me sitting around eating blueberry muffins. Everything is twice as hard as it was before I got sick. The house is twice as dirty as usual, I’ve found no way out of my muddle with the language yet, and I’m so fat and lazy at this point it’s hard to not just sit around playing computer games all day. Just getting motivated to begin work is tough and seems to take half the day.

*sigh* And J, the comic store owner I met yesterday, made a comment that’s nagging at me. He said, ‘In my experience, you don’t ask parents, you tell them’. My reply was that had I done that, I’d be in a very different place right now. That’s true. It’s also true that J didn’t have my experiences and had he gone through them, he might have done the same as I. But I’ve been feeling bad about it, and it’s showing no signs of going away.

I’m guessing I needed something to beat myself up over.

And hey! I’d love to stop blaming myself. I’d love to do the impossible, and just not think about that kind of stuff. I’d love to have the confidence to be want I want to be. I don’t. Not one bit. I’m not sure how, exactly, my mother managed to convey to me that I was worthless, but she did. And as with most things my mother did, she did it impeccably well. Just as my mother would rise half an hour early to tidy up the house before everyone else woke up, making it “magically” appear neat each and every day, she somehow slipped in under the surface of the perfect mother enough derogatory language to make sure I knew just what a total loser I was.

That’s living with a narcissist. I’ve read up on narcissism. How you…How I may never fully ‘get over it’. I don’t know that I’m ready to face up to that. Hasn’t a pill been made for this shit yet? C’mon! You’re telling me they’ve got virtual reality game play but can’t help people drop the crap that got programmed in from childhood? And no, going through CBT is NOT gonna do what I ask. I want something easy. Why do I have to work so hard? I’ve been working twice as hard most of my life: trying to please everyone else so they’ll at least tolerate my presence plus accomplish one or two things that are important to me. Now I’m told that to shed what my mother drilled into me will take more years of hard work – and it’s all on me. CBT. What a fucking load! The damned therapist sits there, never sharing anything to make him or her vulnerable, while the patient does all the work. I mean, really! If I walked into any other doctor’s office and was told I had to get over a sinus infection or cancerous growth by myself I’d sue for incompetence. But with therapy, it’s a given.

Christ! I don’t want fucking therapy. I just want to feel better.

I guess it’s kind of a good thing that no matter how I feel, life goes on. Happy or sad, angry or blissful, things like grocery shopping and dishes always need to be done. Dust always needs wiping up. The floor could always use a good cleaning. Somehow between my feelings and all those normal chores, I’ve been living my life. I’m not entirely unhappy with my choices. But it’s not what I would have chosen for myself long ago, either.

It’s just that every once in a while, I’m granted a vision of what could have been, and that makes me sad. That always makes me sad. Deeply sorrowful to never have experienced a supportive family growing up. Deeply sorrowful over what I imagine I might have been, had I had the courage.

I feel small, and insignificant.

But that’s me looking back.

Time to turn my head around. I’ve enough on my plate right NOW without adding yesterday’s regrets to the pile. A new year is right around the corner. A fresh page, to start my story anew. There is no rulebook that disqualifies me because I’m over 50.

And the dame’s still got game, baby.

Good Sound

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Okay. I’ve had 24 hours to adjust to the fact I’m insane. Not really happy about it but okay. I mean, what the fuck else am I gonna say?

I am wrong, my memory is wrong, I’ve been speaking like an ass for a goddamn year. Confirmation came thru this morning in the form of an email from my previous teacher. And I swear it was he who told me! But okay. Down the rabbit hole, lost the mind.

Now I can’t trust myself.

And that makes me sad.

Been having this sitting lump in my stomach. That sorrow/depression feeling I know all too well. The thing that will allow me, once in a while and only for appearances’ sake, to emit a laugh now and then while I watch tv with my bro. But the laugh comes from nowhere and goes nowhere. It doesn’t stay in my body, buzzing and humming and making me feel good. It doesn’t linger on my face, showing the world that yes, I AM actually happy. It dissipates. Disappears. Melts back into that lump and returns to my stomach.

I feel very alone. What the fuck am I supposed to do? Hi, doc, my brain is now telling me things that aren’t real and giving me memories that never happened. Got a pill for that? That’s pretty much a straight to the looney bin do not pass go scenario, isn’t it? All I can do right now is start again. Assume I’ve made other mistakes, because if I make such a big mistake in verbs I must be making similar mistakes elsewhere. A, B, C.

What I really want to do is crawl under a rock somewhere and just ignore it all. Everything. The language, exercise, my writing, my music, people – even my brother – everything. Fuck it all. I feel wounded in a way that doesn’t show and it seems no one else understands. And I can’t make people understand this, I guess. I try. No one gets it.

Days like this and I do wonder if I don’t suffer a touch of autism. I get so frustrated and upset and it seems the more I try to make myself understood the further I get from any sort of understanding. All I can do – and I do mean the only thing I can do – is get myself under control. That could take days. Weeks. I never know. I’m sad and angry and I can’t communicate it at all IRL. But I do know from experience that if I continue to bang my head against the wall I’ll just wind myself up more. I HAVE to walk away.

And yes, in the past when I’ve walked away I’ve been called all sorts of names. I’ve been told I’m a quitter, a slacker, a loser for doing it. Even a stuck up princess that expects the world to turn on her desires. Doesn’t matter if I get myself under control and come back to it; the fact that I must walk away at some point has always garnered me shame. So I’m ashamed to walk away, even tho I know if I don’t things will get worse. Double bind. Got a lot of those in my life.

I fucking hate people sometimes. How they are so callous and mean. Never had anyone say to me Yeah, Beeps, it’s okay. Take ten minutes or a day or whatever you need. It’ll still be here. A little break won’t hurt anything. No. It’s always shame you for this, shame you for that. Peer pressure to make you say and do things you don’t want to say and do. Push, push, push. I push myself enough, thank you. Don’t need YOUR hand on my ass, too. Now I got people looking at me like I’ve really lost it – what do you mean you got such a basic thing wrong? What do you mean you don’t want to participate now? What do you mean? Why? Why? And I tell them and they STILL look at me that way.

I feel I got no one on this. Nobody. Even my home doesn’t feel safe; my only option seems to be to curl up inside myself, to become that leaden thing down in my stomach.

Don’t want to. Really fighting it. Think I might need the release of a good cry, but I’m afraid if I start I won’t be able to stop.

Now, I know (intellectually) all I’m trying to do. I realize everything is coming to a head – lowered calorie intake, increased activity, withdrawal from smoking, sustained pressure on the language front. I know this is one of those times I need to take a few things in stride. Cut myself some slack. Be okay with fucking up because I’ve put myself physiologically in a topsy turvy situation. Yeah. I’ve got just enough clarity I can occasionally lift my head out of the shit and see that. Can’t see the other side of this, tho. Can’t see a shore or a boat or anything. Feels like I’m gonna be here forever. That adds to my panic and anxiety. Calmly laying everything out for me to examine helps for a few minutes. It doesn’t get me through the day.

Gonna go out and take a walk. It’s not my walk day. It is, in fact, a down day for exercise. Doesn’t matter. Thought I was getting up around 7, too, only to find that no, I forgot about Daylight Savings time and it was really only 6. Shit happens. Besides, what the fuck am I supposed to do today? I don’t want to do language – I still feel too burned and unsure of myself. I don’t want to sit and play games; feels stupid and time wasting to me. Don’t really want to do anything. If I could become a rock today, I would. Just a rock. No thoughts, no feelings, no nothing. Just sit there. For fucking ever.

Birds would shit on me. Rain would wash me clean. I’d take the feet of all that walked over me and never break. Everything would just pass over me, and I’d still remain intact.

Sounds good. Guess I’m looking for a place called Good Sound.

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.

Again

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Maybe I’m just not cut out to be a nice person. Snappishness has ruled my world the past 24 hours. I keep catching myself doing it, then breathe and try to let it go. But take my mind off it for two minutes and suddenly I find myself doing it again: making my voice harsher than it needs to be, my words more insistent, my brows more furrowed.

Why? I ask. While there are many things in the world to make me angry, there’s nothing in my face at the moment. No harsh reality is buggering up my nose, demanding my attention. I have not been attacked or suffered some slur I couldn’t counter. Nothing has changed. Yet here I am, struggling just days after feeling so good.

Damn it.

Got my shoes adjusted yesterday. Finally the toes on my right foot can wriggle. Thought all was well, and headed out for some shopping. Three hours later and I’m sporting some blisters. *sigh* I don’t know if it’s just the leather that needs breaking in or if I need yet more adjustments. I’ve never had leather shoes, much less shoes that were made to fit me. I don’t know how they’re supposed to feel. What I do know is that my feet are ripped up for now, and I’m staying off them for a day or two, at least until the blisters on my feet stop looking like puffed up water balloons ready to break.

Shopping was semi-successful. I managed to find some new underwear that fits and isn’t some woven white stretch old lady panties. I also walked away with a new pair of harem-style slacks, very light and comfortable for summer, plus four new t-shirts. Everything was on sale, of course. I couldn’t have walked away with that much if I’d paid top dollar. But it was an unsettling experience. I was on a body hate binge, and had clearly complained about being too fat to find anything decent even before I’d set off on my adventure. The mirror in the changing booth only seemed to emphasize everything I hate about the way I look. I seemed as wide as I was tall, with jagged, towering cellulite marching up both my thighs. My fat hung over my bra, my tummy sagged. I FILLED the mirror, and then some. Nothing looked good on me. I sweated and fretted and felt pretty damned lousy about myself the entire time. Some part of me knew I was seeing my image skewed, which is why I managed to buy a few things despite feeling that everything looked like a large sack hanging on a fat potato.

Today I’m not displeased with my choices, though I DO wonder at myself: every t-shirt I bought is at least one size too big, and DOES hang on me. I probably could have bought medium sized shirts and worn them just fine. Instead I have a batch of extra large shirts. No matter; I’ve already decided if I feel too tent-like I’ll just gather the excess and tie it in a knot at the side old school 80s style. Old is new, and I haven’t seen that particular fashion trend come back yet. It’s due.

My body issues disturb me. The way I see my body disturbs me. I can look at any other woman – ANY other woman – and appreciate their curves, whether those curves are proportionate or not. But not on myself. On myself it is horrid, it is ugly, it is awful. And I’ve been “thin” and still felt this way.

It’s not my body. It’s me. I know that. I just can’t seem to get past it.

Bleh. I can puke this shit up for the rest of my life. It would be nice to know why I vacillate so much in this department. Why sometimes I see myself as wide as a house and others I can see myself as I truly am: a little overweight but not as bad as I often make out. It seems to defy any logic. In the past I’ve been accused of being anorexic (possible) and wanting to be a boy (…?). I admit to skipping meals and starving myself to attain a certain size. Food is…a love/hate thing. Much like myself.

Right now it feels like I’m in hate mode. And I’m trying really hard to not be here.

Goddamn it, that’s probably the most fitting epithet I could have: she tried really hard. How sad is that!

There I go, being angry and persnickety again.

Maybe I just need a nap. Put the cranky baby down and let it rest. Am I doing ANY of this right? Is there anybody out there who cares?

Yeah, I’m there. Soul-sick. Right down to my blistered toes. If I’m questioning if anyone out there cares after the last couple of days I’ve obviously got something wrong with me. Some illness has crept in. Don’t know where or when I caught it, but it seems to be at a fevered pitch right now. As with any illness, I need to take care of myself. Find things to nurture my spirit which is so down and sad… That’s what it is, isn’t it? It’s sadness down there, underneath all that anger.

Yes, the tears in my eyes tell me. It’s sadness.

Time, I guess, to delve in and confront it. If sorrow were like a cancer, I’d go and have it cut out. But it’s not a cancer; sorrow is a common cold. It keeps coming back, whipping your ass no matter how well you’ve been doing. So hunker down, drink fluids, watch tv. Sort it out, whatever IT is.

Again.

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.

Body Baggage and Fucking Empathy until I’m Raw

Unfettered tits. My brother thinks it would be a great name for a new band. I was just commenting on how happy I was to get out of the Iron Maiden (old sense as in torture, not the band) wonder fucking bra I was wearing.

I have never been a well endowed woman. At my heaviest I could barely fill a B cup. At home I never wear a bra. Why? I may be almost 50 but a pencil STILL won’t stay under my boob if I take my hand away (uh, Phyllis Diller, people). So let your tits fly free, baby! New research is coming out stating that bras do NOT help a woman’s posture or prevent sagging breasts. Geez, so fucking glad research is catching up with what any woman could have told them years ago – bras are uncomfortable bastards at best. Sorry; I don’t give a damn how much stuffing or soft edges you put on them, they’re designed to strap you in and squeeze your breasts together for cleavage. You don’t see men wearing them, tho there’s plenty that NEED bras! They’re not fucking brainwashed into believing this or that about their tits….

And the saddest part of all this is that I’m embarrassed to go out in public without a bra. There. I’ve admitted it. I get all weird when men come on to me at ALL. Going braless just feels like an invitation for more unwanted attention. So I strap ’em in like the rest of you and deal with it while out amongst the masses.

My mind’s been contemplating the changes in my body lately. The swimming is showing up with less inches on the measuring tape, more room in my clothes, and more definition in my muscles. Unfortunately, the cellulite on my thighs is ugly with a capital UGH. Doing my best to moisturize, praying for a miracle cure, knowing I’ll have to live with it. Yuck. I will still find many ways to hate my body even after I’ve lost the extra weight I’m carrying. I see my reasons everywhere: the cellulite, the wrinkles, the stretch marks, the sun damage. Body un-beautiful. Yes, when I’ve lost the extra weight I can pimp up and hide all the shit I complain about but that’s no less a lie than wearing a body slimming girdle now and claiming I’m 10 pounds less than I am.

I have no appetite. I eat my breakfast and dinner because I know I should, not because my stomach is growling. I don’t eat lunch. Ever. 2 meals a day is all I can handle. And they’re small. Here’s yesterday, which is very typical:

Morning: 1 1/2 cups oatmeal made with goat’s milk, 3 cups of coffee.

Evening: 1 1/2 bowls of lemon rice soup, 1 small ham sandwich, 2 cups of coffee, 1 low calorie ice cream bar (79 calories).

Other than that, it’s water all day long. On rare occasions I’ll have a vitamin drink or an extra energy drink in the afternoon as a boost.

If only I could have felt this way about food when I was 12!!! Oh, what a different world it might be then! I may never have developed the stretch marks and cellulite that haunt me so today.

Moot point, of course. I am here, I am me, complete with the stretch marks and cellulite and all the bad feelings I still carry from growing up overweight. Sometimes I think of my sister. She carries twice to three times the weight I do. Saying she’s just fat is a real compliment. She’s obese. And if I carry this much body baggage around at the size I am, she must carry much, much more. Either that, or she’s a complete idiot (NOT outside the realm of possibility).

*sigh* I am NOT discussing my emotions here. Have you noticed? cause I sure have! I have a tight spot in my chest and stomach and I’m not even BEGINNING to address that.

…….I’m gonna turn OFF today. I’ve taken too much in recently; I feel too exposed and vulnerable. I need to wrap myself up in protective care for 24-48 hours and heal a little. I can’t stop feeling, can’t stop getting involved and wound up. Time for a mental holiday. I will not watch news until Monday, no matter what. I will be slothful and lazy and indulgent and petulant. I will eat fatty foods if I want. I will soak in a tub if I need. I will make music. I will watch movies and cartoons. I will stay in my jammie-jams as long as I want to. I will play.

I almost added I will not blog to that list. Had to erase it. I feel that would be running and I don’t want to run. I just need to get some distance and perspective on the world. My brother keeps telling me to not get so involved but HOW? How can I turn off my emotions like that? I can’t, and these empathy feelings flow from me so fast and thick that I feel like I’m fucking DYING over here just from the pain of the world. Don’t ask me how I can feel this and still attack the world as morons; even I can’t justify that flip right now tho I know it’s in me. It just IS and I wish people would stop asking me how or why. I can no more explain it than I can chaotic mathematic theory.

Fucking shitty ambivalence. Fucking HATE this; would rather hate the world than feel this pain. Here I am crying again and I don’t know if it’s for me or for you or for him or for her or for them or for fucking all of us.

Fuck i feel so fucking RAW right now I don’t know how i can pull it together for the day.