Words I Made

On the left are some words from the bombing manuscript. I printed those! Like, that paper was blank and now it has my words on it because I wiggled my fingers and moved my arms.

I set the type for my name, put all the letters in order backwards.

I’m going to make some paper, next. Put words that I wrote on paper I made.

Then I’m going to have all kinds of feelings about it.

Me and Some Letters

Y’all, I spent the afternoon farting around printing things on a letter press printer and it was so much fun and cool.

I typeset my name and the press makes this incredibly satisfying series of “ka-chunk” sounds.

And there was a plate (I guess? I don’t know what this shit is called) of my own words. Words from the bombing book.

And it made me feel a way I don’t know how to articulate. A kind of existential wideness. Or something.

Stuff I'm Mulling Over

My friend is going to be a dad. He’s colorblind and I wanted him to have something for the baby that he could know he was seeing as it is. Maybe this is just my hangup because of the headspace I’m in, but the idea that everything in the baby’s life is going to leave you out in a way you can’t do anything about just bugged the shit out of me.

I just wanted there to be something he could know he sees as the baby sees.

I have a bunch of leftover yarn, too, so I’m going to make two or three for them.

I talked to the Butcher. It helped a lot and I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the necessity of drawing boundaries and whether and how I’m able to do so. And I’m trying to think of this time as painful because I’m repairing.

But I talked to my therapist about how I believe Life will make you eat crow from time to time and how I used to think that multiple personality disorder was a con to get you on Donahue. But now that I’m living through my brain doing this weird shit? Like, obviously, I’m not developing multiple personalities. But I’m in a room at one end of a long hall, metaphorically, with folks dealing with that at the other end of the hall.

And now I know the hall is real. So, I also see their room is real. And it makes me cringe about how I was a jerk about it earlier.

But she explained, too, that disassociation (and I guess multiple personality disorder now is considered some kind of dissociative disorder?) is a protective mechanism. The problem isn’t the dissociation. It’s when that protective mechanism malfunctions.

And that also made me feel better. Me and my brain. We’re trying. We’re both hoping for what’s best for me. And sometimes we know how to do that and sometimes we don’t. But it’s still coming from a place of caring about myself and wanting myself to feel safe and loved.

And I feel like that’s a good thing to know about myself.

Turning into the Skid

They teach you–or they taught me, anyway–that when your car loses contact with the road, because you’re hydroplaning or sliding on ice, you should take your foot off the gas and keep your steering wheel turning in the direction you want to be going.

So, if you start sliding through an intersection you’re trying to go straight at and your car starts to go left, you turn your wheel right. If you start to go too far right, you turn your wheel left. You’re still going to slide, no matter what, but the point is to try to make it through the skid without an accident.

I guess this metaphor is too on the nose.

I’ve been sliding sideways since Thanksgiving. I think I realized in time that I needed to take my foot off the gas. But I’ve really only taken the steps I need to turn in the right direction in the last couple of weeks.

I’m still sliding, though, and I wish there was some visual representation–some color I could wear or a hat or something–that would let people know my brain is not working correctly and that I need time and space and gentleness.

I talked to my friend. We’re okay. I still feel super fucked up about it, though.

Stuff

On the good side:

I went to see my editor’s band. It was fantastic and, with the exception of having to be in a crowd where multiple strangers touched me, I had a great time.

My editor’s wife wants me to make some flowers for her spring collection. Bwah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

A friend introduced me to Robbie Basho and I love it.

I’m going to have an excerpt from my book in the Scene in April.

My book will have a cover by then! Maybe sooner.

I got a lot of good coverage in Publishers Weekly: here and here.

I’m making a baby blanket for my color-blind friend and I’m loving how it’s turning out:

On the bad side:

Shit’s fucked up. I’m fucked up. I’m crying a lot and I’m so tired.

And I think my craziness has ruined a friendship that was important to me and I’m bummed and stressed out about it. And mad.

The anger feels like not a good thing.

Injury

One of the reasons I’m glad my therapist called this an assault is that it makes sense for me of why I’m still off-kilter even though I’m home and everything’s now fine.

I’m injured.

Take today, which was a good day. I put my afghan on display at the Frist Museum:

I had the delightful experience of handing the afghan to my co-worker and watching his utter confusion when he realized I was handing it to him to take home to his wife.

Then I threw a three minute dance party for my coworker and she laughed so wonderfully that I thought my heart would burst.

And then I went straight into a two hour funk. I needed to ask my other coworker to help me with a thing and I just couldn’t do it. I had such anxiety about it.

I sent him part of what I needed and apologized and told him I had to go home, eat, and pet my dog and then try again to give him the rest.

I’m very thankful that I can just be completely nuts to my coworkers and they’re so kind and understanding. But Christ.

But as I was thinking about being bummed about how my anxiety has made me into a weirdo, I thought about that word, “assault.” Because what happens when you’re assaulted? You get injured.

It’s like when you sprain your ankle and you get so bored just resting it so you decide you can, I don’t know, dance all evening and at some point your ankle is just like “No, I was not ready for this much activity yet.”

And that’s where my brain is. I am feeling better. So much better.

But I’m not ready for this much activity yet. I still need to take it easy.

How It Continues to Go

I had coffee with S. yesterday. She said some wise things. Made me assure her I’d talk to my therapist about other things.

I told my therapist that I am mildly sympathetic to my parents’ perspective on my life–that I have no one and nothing and my life is small and boring and I am unhappy–because that’s what I show them.

I don’t want them to meet my friends. I don’t want them to be here for things that are important to me if they can’t be supportive. I’m convinced that there’s nothing good of mine they won’t ruin and I don’t want them to have access to my good things. To people I care about.

But also, a thing I said to S. that I hadn’t quite articulated to myself is that it really pisses me off that I’m broken right along lines they put in me–the belief that I’m unlovable because I’m fat, that no one will ever love me for various reasons, that people must just pity me and not really like me, etc. etc. etc. And then they’re pissed at me that I’m broken RIGHT WHERE THEY BROKE ME.

The things I’m responsible for? They work okay. I have good friends and an interesting life I like. I like my job. I feel very, very lucky in so many ways. I have built myself this good thing.

The stress fractures in my foundation aren’t because I’m “too” anything–too smart, too ambitious, too weird. They’re there from them.

And I feel like they’re angry both that I couldn’t survive them in one piece and that I’m surviving them.

How It Went

Well, I came back to my office, did the phone call I needed to do, then shut my door and listened to The Wall until it was just impractical to hide from people.

I told my therapist everything I could think to tell her. She said, “So, you were repeatedly assaulted. Repeatedly verbally assaulted. And then they wanted you to do nice things for them.”

She asked me if I had any food in my fridge.

She asked me if I was leaving the house.

She asked me if I was fantasizing about being dead.

She asked me if I tried to kill myself.

Was I doing drugs?

Was it interfering with my ability to go to work and function?

I asked her if psychologically defensive narcolepsy was a thing and she said not really, but most likely my brain had just shut down in order to protect me and, if it only happened once, I shouldn’t worry about it happening again.

I told her how I feel like my coping mechanism for dealing with my parents–just going with the flow, being a leaf upon the river of their ridiculousness–contributed to me feeling unreal the longer I hang around them.

She said that repeatedly having your boundaries disregarded will make you feel unreal. And I’ve been thinking so hard about that, how we are who we are because we can firmly say “This is where I start. This is where I end. These things are me. These things are not me.”

But if you can’t enforce those lines? If you can’t keep others from rushing in and taking over, then, fuck yeah, you start to feel unreal. You’re missing your outside edge.

I also talked to the youngest member of the League of Publishing Gentlemen about this, too, about how my strategy between Thanksgiving and Christmas had just been that I could deal if I was not in my right mind.

And he said, “So, you could handle it if you were someone else.”

Which, ouch, but yes.

So, yeah, I’m back in therapy.

Also, listening to a lot of Pink Floyd.

Oh, and I finished this afghan except for the tail-tucking.

Where's My Bounce-Back?

I go to the therapist tomorrow. I’m most frustrated that I still feel like I need to talk to her, even though it’s been a week.

All the bad shit is over. Why do I still feel so shaky and anxious?

Never mind that the bad shit started in November and just now ended. I want to bounce back immediately. And yet, here I am, still being a doofus.

Lord

My goal is to return to Phoenix as a tourist, instead of a chaperone for two angry toddlers in 75 year old bodies.

It was not the worst, but easily in the bottom three quarters of the worst.

But I took my nephew–who now calls me Aunt Beppi–to the playground and there was an orange tree. I reached up and scratched my arm all up, because I didn’t know orange trees had thorns.

But that orange was the best orange I ever ate.

Keep Your Ass on the Other Side of the Fence

A little while ago we had a meeting with some people who weren’t on their best behavior. I thought it would be nice to have a necklace that conveyed a level of hostility that I could wear in future meetings with them.

I bought some barbed wire.

Also, let’s try not to notice that I’m “crepe paper neck” years old now.

My Inner Responsible Dorky Sweetheart Who Doesn't Want Me to Suffer

Yesterday was objectively really good. In here, it was a disaster. I cried at my desk for a while. Then I went home early. Some other shit that’s going to be embarrassing today went down.

My goal was to be unconscious as quickly as possible. But I also walked the dog and answered work emails and sent reassuring texts to my coworkers so that no one would be inconvenienced by my losing my damn mind. Then I made sure I had a little something to eat, even though I wasn’t hungry. And I took my medicine. Then I tried to self-destruct, but I got tired and went to bed instead. But apparently I also set an alarm so I’d get up and let the dog out before our normal bedtime.

And this morning, I found a large glass of water on the sink that I must have left for myself.

I don’t know what to make of the fact that I have this inner responsible dorky sweetheart who doesn’t want me to suffer. I don’t know where or when I developed a part of me that is sweet to myself, but here she is.

Anyway, I made the therapy appointment. I got that done, too. At least. The Wednesday after I get back from Phoenix.

Continued Flowers

Half the rows are complete! I either need 18 or 28 hexagons to finish. I think 28, because I don’t want to have the top be a long row and the bottom be a short row. I think I want two long rows.

God, I love this so much.

I sent an email to S. last night telling her that, if she doesn’t hear from me that I have a therapist’s appointment scheduled by the time I get back from Phoenix I need her to force me to do it.

Things at work are really great. My job is kind of morphing into my dream job. I still cried last night for reasons I can’t really articulate.

I’m so angry. And I’m kind of angry that this is my life. Like, I feel this kind of outrage that my coworkers are lovely and I like the shit out of them. I’m super pissed that I’m supposed to now go do this stuff I love to do.

It makes me feel insane. Things I know, objectively, I should be excited about and delighted by instead make me feel mad and over-burdened.

Which, truly, is why I need to be back in therapy.

I mean, y’all, I sent S. an email asking her to help me get this done. She sent me back an email saying “Yes, I will do this for you. Here’s my plan for how to get it done” and my very first thought was “Hey, back off. You don’t tell me what to do.” I didn’t write that to her, because I caught that it was a nuts response. But now I’m snapping at help I asked for?

WTF?

More Flowers

I love this point, where I start to see it come together and I get a feel for how the finished afghan is going to look and I know I’m going to like it.

I’m flying with my folks to Phoenix next week. They haven’t been on a plane since I was a little girl, but now the Butcher lives out there and they want to learn to do it.

So, I told them I’d chaperone them.

I’m not sure if that’s wise or not, but it’s what I’m doing.

I'm Here

Whew, I don’t think I’ve ever gone that long without blogging for no reason before, but new year, new me, I guess.

I’m kind of thinking I should just start blogging at night instead of trying to cram it in in the morning.

I’m here, anyway. I think I’m okay. I’m kind of enraged that I’m so super awesome and I still feel like shit about myself, which, frankly, is pretty funny.

It’s just like what is all this for if it doesn’t make me happy and it doesn’t impress anyone else? I don’t know.

I need to go back to therapy.

Organization

It’s hard to judge, but I think I’m about 3/4 done with the flowers. I’m just going to go until I’m out of colored yarn and then frame my flower pile in grey hexagons.

I’m trying to make a few decisions, though. One, do I want the bulk of the flowers to be in the middle of the afghan, spilling out in every direction–like the middle picture? Or do I want them all at one end and then petering out toward the other end–like the right picture?

And then, do I want the colors to be random or organized by color? AND, if I want them organized by color, doesn’t this mean I need some green flowers?

Another Bit of the Heart of the Matter

I had lunch with C & M yesterday and told them everything. But as I was telling it, I had a realization about another aspect of why this whole situation bugs me.

My life is great. I have a job I love. I have friends I love. I’m having weird-ass unbelievable experiences that, even though they happen, still seem impossible. I have a working level of luck and whimsy and magic in my life that, in general, makes my life incredibly fun for me to live.

And I’m a slut about it. I’ll share it with anyone who shows even the tiniest bit of interest in it. I’ll haul anyone along on any adventure. What weird thing can we make happen? Okay, let’s try it.

Because it’s awesome.

But you can’t fuck it up. If you’re going to join me in this cool weird thing, you have to be open to it and gentle with it.

And my parents can’t/won’t do that. They would rather be miserable. They would rather understand me as miserable and unfulfilled than to be open and vulnerable to delight. To share in delight with me.

And that pisses me off and makes me feel rejected. I have worked so hard to have this amazing life and you’d rather shit on it than share it.

That sucks.

Crying, But Different

I left my parents and the Butcher before dinner. Everything was fine, I guess. I just wasn’t hungry and I wanted to be home. And then I cried all the way home.

I spent some time trying to name it, in complicated ways. Do I feel guilty? Do I feel inadequate? Do I feel like a coward?

And the truth is that those are all too complex. I feel sad. And I feel this longing for the good man my dad often is. And then I feel sad again that I’m losing my dad and I’m losing any hope that some day things will be different.

My mom says he’s a bully. And that I just have to stand up to him. Be mean right back to him.

But holy fuck do I not want to do that. I don’t want to hurt him.

And I don’t want to let him win by becoming the bitch he thinks I am.

And I don’t want to be mean, period. I don’t want to be the kind of person who is mean to her father, regardless of who her father is.

If I have to become that person in order to spend time with them… I mean, that’s the thing. I’d rather not spend time with them.

If that’s the ask–that I not only tolerate this, but that I lean into it and let it transform me in ways I don’t like (or different ways I don’t like)–then fuck that. It’s too much.

It’s all so fucked up.

At the Bottom

My parents are back, on their way home. The Butcher wants them to move in with him. They don’t want to move to Arizona.

I feel completely burned out about it. Like I know I should be having all sorts of feelings about this, but I’ve just for the moment felt all I can feel in regards to them.

I'm here

I’m here. I’m doing okay.

Found a dead dog in a garbage bag this morning. Felt like whatever an omen is, but for when it’s just telling you how things are right now.

Finished a bunch of stuff:

And now I’m working on some flowers for my flower afghan. I’m super, super proud of my magnolia blossom.

Love

I woke up this morning feeling this kind of bone-deep anger and jealousy at… I don’t even know. And I wasn’t quite awake, either, because I had this notion that this feeling made me shut down when really, if I want to be remade, I have to lean into it.

If the point is transformation, then I have to let my old self be broken apart.

I have to stop hiding from it.

And I need to love myself the way I love others.

And then I was wide awake, because whether that vision/dream/directive came from someone/something outside me or if it came from my subconscious trying to kick me in the ass, it rang true and I felt very seen.

Which also was uncomfortable, but I’m trying to be open to it, anyway.

Pleasant Solstice Hangover

Yesterday I went to a solstice gathering. We walked around a cemetery. We had wine and snacks. There was a bit of eat this, drink that, Alice-in-Wonderland style. Then we read tarot cards and talked about mystical things. Then we ate Indian food.

I only knew the host, but I think everyone else was at least fond acquaintances of each other.

It was so lovely to hang out with a bunch of women who admire and love the shit out of each other. The vibe was just so nice and cool and open and supportive.

And everyone liked the shit out of me, too. Just unabashedly, with no hidden agendas or anyone being uncareful.

It felt so good. Like, if this is what being a witch is–having a group of women you can talk about deep things with and who all love each other and don’t feel in competition with each other and who will be open to each other–fuck, no wonder that’s still so threatening.

Day 3

Mom said Dad’s been a whole new person since they’ve been down here–nicer, more willing to take it easy, less grouchy. Jesus Christ. That’s all I have to say about that. Jesus Christ.

She thinks they will move and that they’ll move here, because he trusts my judgement. I appreciate that it must be terrifying to have the most faith in the child you in some ways like the least.

It’s just going to be hard. I think that’s what I’m trying to learn how to accept. From here on out, until he’s dead, there will be no decision that’s not hard and won’t leave me feeling like we’ve made the wrong one.

This is who we are. These are the tools and skills we have. It’s too late to change. So, it’s these broken, fucked up people who don’t understand how to be good to each other trying at long last to figure it out and it’s too late for a good solution to come.

You go to war with the army you have, as they say. You try to figure out how to make it work. Sometimes you lose.