Under normal circumstances, I would be pissed about the amount of applique I’m ending up doing. But in these times, it feels more like creative problem-solving than tedious sewing.
I spent time this weekend looking at friends’ faces. That boosted my spirits a lot and I need to remember that when things get rough.
The weather is gorgeous. I’m trying to decide if I should work on the porch this morning. I probably will.
My therapist wonders if this crisis is showing me that I would like some companionship. I laughed at that, because it would be just like me to decide now, during an apocalypse, is the time for love.
I finished this afghan. I haven’t washed or blocked it yet but I’m really pleased with how it turned out. I even ended up liking the big flowers, even though I thought at first they would annoy me.
The afghan I’m working on now is delightfully ridiculous. We had this design for our subject catalogs that I loved that we didn’t end up using and I decided I would try and see if I could make it into an afghan.
So, I took the design (left) and cut it up into squares (right) and I dyed up a bunch of fiber and now I’m making it. I really love the contrast of the super modernist design with the rustic crochet and handspun yarn. It just makes me laugh.
I went to the therapist yesterday. I thought i was feeling pretty good, but I cried almost immediately when I saw her. And just kept crying.
She said a lot of really helpful things. But a thing I’m dwelling on and trying to take to heart is that there’s a kind of connection I make with people that makes me unhappy, but I keep searching it out because it feels intense and thus real. And instead I need to put more time into cultivating relationships that make me happy, even if they don’t carry the same intensity of feeling.
She said it was like scratching at a scab. It feels good, but it keeps the wound from healing.
I guess that’s why she’s the therapist.
The Butcher is going to lose his job.
One of my dearest friends is going to have to give birth alone.
The person who first published my fiction has Covid-19 and it’s very likely she will die.
Fuck yes, I’m keeping a list. And fuck yes, I will burn with rage about it for the rest of my life. These evil dumb fucks did this to us. They wanted to hurt us as bad as they could and they did. And I will never forgive them.
Last night I finished piecing this all together. Now I have to decide on a border. I really love this part, though, where all the squares are put together but they don’t yet belong to one another.
Everything’s still trying to maintain its own shape and size and elbow its neighbors out of its way. It’ll be different after it’s washed. Everyone will lie together how they should. They’ll work more like one piece of fabric.
But things are still a bit unsettled at this stage.
I’ve been working on my afghan!
This picture represents the moment when I realized the pattern had an error in it and was a square short. This is for Angela at the post office. She likes pastels and a “Monet” feel, but she also really likes turquoise.
In real life, turquoise has more green in it but, oh well, she’s getting blue.
I’ve also started dyeing for my next afghan. Did I already tell y’all about this?
It’s going to be so hard! I can’t wait. I want a challenge that’s difficult but where the stakes are low.
Step one was getting the base color right.
The definition of nerve-wracking is having someone’s Pantone swatches to try to match a color when they’ve told you they paid almost a thousand dollars for them. I’M MESSY! Don’t give me valuable shit to borrow.
But it worked out.
Well, for the first time since Sunday, I have to go out. The dog needs to go to the vet (I got six long texts on the protocol for when I get there and I’m still not sure if I’m allowed in the building with him, but it’s fine. He likes them, so either way.) and I have to find toilet paper or a reasonable substitute.
So, I’m also trying to figure out what else I need to do while I’m out so that I can refrain from going out again for a while.
I found that Washington Post graphic with all the bouncy dots really useful for envisioning the best way to stay safe–basically, don’t be out where the dots are bouncing around.
But I’m still not entirely sure–other than just staying way far away from people–how to reduce my chances when I have to be out in the mix.
Should I be wearing a bandana like an old timey bank robber?
Yesterday I just got a little sad and scared. I don’t know how to do my job if people don’t have money to buy things. Libraries don’t need books if there aren’t any libraries.
And what do I do if I don’t do this?
I can’t sell my house and move into someplace cheaper. No one is buying and selling houses.
I can’t go move in with family and fuck the house because everyone is so far away.
I don’t know, y’all. It’s hard. And I think about us all living in an economy where the less sick deliver shit to the more sick until we are the more sick, but even that depends on the more sick having money.
Working from home yesterday was pretty fine. I was surprised at how much I got done. Today I’m in a little panic because I’m running low on Diet Dr Pepper and toilet paper, but I’m going to try to hold off going to the store for as long as possible.
But other than that bit of glitchy weirdness, I’m so far doing okay.
I’m working on an afghan, again, as always.
I’ve got some plain squares, too.
I really love making my own yarn. It’s so satisfying to have something beautiful and unique.
We’re home for the next two weeks. I’m kind of excited, kind of nervous, about having that much time to just let my brain concentrate on things other than personal interactions.
I still will never forgive the people who voted for this incompetent monster.
There’s something about having the world go to shit as you feel like shit that is a little okay. Like, finally, the outside matches my insides. These feelings I have are appropriate to the situation.
Yesterday was the first day in months I felt like things were okay. I’m trying to cultivate that feeling and help it grow.
But, I admit, it’s hard. I worry a lot even when I’m feeling great. I worry when I’m feeling bad in order to feel safe about being able to anticipate more worse shit.
But, if I want to cultivate okayness, I have to stop making worry such a major part of what my brain does all day.
It’s a small thing, but I’ll take it. I tried for something very hard this weekend. Yesterday, I found out I didn’t get it. And I briefly felt like I’d fucked my life, so I cried in the bathroom.
And then I pulled my shit together and thought about it some and I don’t feel bad about it.
It’s not dragging down my whole life.
That feels like a big improvement.
I finished this afghan! I really love how it turned out.
I didn’t get all my tasks done yesterday. And I felt a little slow all day, but more like being wrapped in a nice blanket than moving through Jello, so that feels like an improvement.
As part of my duties as a history person, I went down to help salvage a historic building that had been destroyed by the tornado. The woman who ran the business in the building was there.
After a while I went to talk to her, to just check on her, and to apologize. I mean, yes, we’re saving stuff from the building, but we can’t save her business. And she had to stand there watching us look at the rubble of her life and decide what’s valuable and what’s not.
It breaks my heart.
Also, I’m just about finished with this afghan.
All it needs is a border. I had to make some yarn last night to be the border, but as soon as it’s dry, I can finish this puppy right up.
We decided not to change my meds, just up the dosage. But, if this doesn’t do the trick, then I’m going to a psychiatrist.
A part that’s hard is how ingrained in me it is to downplay my own discomfort, to just assume I should suck it up and “deal” with it, whatever that means.
So, like, when the doctor asked me if I had missed work over this–even though I had just left work early on Monday to come home and go to bed–my first instinct was to say “no,” because I didn’t want to bother her with my problems.
I told her I was crying every day, but I tried to downplay it by saying, “but for no reason. Nothing bad is happening to me everyday. Obviously.”
I told her that I think my therapist is concerned I might be suicidal. “I’m not suicidal, but I wouldn’t mind if I died.”
See? All is well. I’m not actively harming myself. I’m just passively laying around hoping my suffering will end.
A thing I can’t explain, though,–and maybe it’s just a sign of how desperate I am to feel better or maybe it is because I do still have some self-preservation instinct–is that I’m not outright lying to her. That I’m there at all instead of just being at home not bothering anyone. And that I am making my thought processes clear to her, even when, as I say them out loud, I see how fucked up they are.
Anyway, I started my new dosage last night. I felt tired and nauseous. I also felt like I should write C. a long letter about how awesome he is, but I just sent a short text instead.
I dreamed about this grouchy guy I know laughing.
Today I feel weird. Like, obviously, this is the most I’ve wanted to write here in a long time, but it’s also taken me a long time to write it. I keep getting distracted by nothing. But, unlike usual, where I’d just get distracted and stop or distracted and not start, I keep drifting back here.
I feel super tired, but I tried to sleep in and couldn’t. And I feel this kind of weird… not a tingle… but like a pre-tingle… across my shoulders.
So, I don’t know. That’s where I am. I would say that I’m going to take it easy this weekend but my dog needs me and I’ve got to do some saving history stuff. But maybe that’s just today. Maybe tomorrow I take it easy.
I left work early yesterday because I just kind of gave up on the day, which is not a great state to be in. I slept until dinner and then I slept after dinner until it was time to let the dog out and then I slept until the storm.
The tornado went south of here. The devastation is hard to talk about in any meaningful way. It’s just really bad.
I go to the doctor on Friday. I really hope she can help.
I wrote 4,000 words this weekend. I’m a little tired and frazzled about it, but happy.
C, M, and I went out to a different cemetery looking for Edmondsons. We found them. Here’s a cool one:
Also, after much trying, I found the Mt. Pisgah cemetery and saw this for myself:
The people Edmondson made stones for seem to fall into two categories: people in his neighborhood (even people in his neighborhood who were taken to Franklin to be buried) and a few folks in Mt. Pisgah.
Mt. Pisgah is an old black farming community off Edmondson Pike and, though I haven’t been able to show it, I deeply wonder if Edmondson’s people had ties to the area.
Well, it turns out that you can’t tell your therapist that you’re too tired to fake being a person all the time without her becoming very concerned.
I didn’t even get around to telling her about the massive panic attack I had on Tuesday.
So, she’s going to talk to my doctor. I’m going to see my doctor in a week.
I guess shit will happen.
Feels like a particularly bad time to lose my mind, but maybe it’s just a particularly bad time to have waited so long to get help.
Anyway, the podcast recording went great. I’m going to have a story in the Nashville Retrospective and in the Nashville Scene in April about the Looby bombing. I’m pondering pitching something to some bigger outlets.
This is the blanket I’m working on right now. The yarn is pretty inconsistent, but I like how it’s looking worked up.
It has these cool wiggles.
Sorry for the silence. I used to feel like I had a lot to say, but I don’t so much anymore. I assume it will come back.
I did make paper, but it wasn’t dry before I left my friend’s place, so we didn’t print on it.
I’m working on an afghan that I really like and I’ll put up pictures later.
And today I’m going to record a podcast, which I’m pretty stoked about.
My parents have decided, at least for now, that they’re not going to move. They might think about it again in five years. I’d like to tell you that I have complicated feelings about this, but I don’t. I just feel relief.
And, frankly, anger. I just realized this as I’m typing this, so I’m not sure why this pisses me off, but it pisses me off.
I think maybe a little it pisses me off that I fucking broke this winter. I wanted to die. I laid on the ground in my back yard hoping the earth would swallow me up or I’d get hit by a meteor or something in this goddamn world would make sense. I splayed open emotionally and I wasn’t sure I was going to make it through.
And for what? For nothing. For things to be exactly how they were. For them to chicken out.
Which feels dumb to be mad about because I don’t want them here.
But it just also feels like this is how reckless and careless they are when it comes to me. That they would cause all this for no reason.
Also, I’m pissed about how cool I am and yet no one wants to date me. And I’m also super pissed about being pissed because I don’t want to date anyone right now. Which makes me feel like, even though I’m feeling better, my anxiety brain is still trying to find a way to make me feel like I’m fundamentally unloveable.
When maybe the world is just filled with dumbasses?
Ha ha ha. Lord. God. I’m so tired of feeling like shit.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’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.
Today was not a good day. Everything feels fucked up and awkward and I hate it.