Okay, So…

First of all, from the moment you get there, the folks at Third Man make you feel like a star. I walked in and immediately someone greeted me, double-checked that I was, indeed, me and then Chet came out and brought be into the back, which is this large part kitchen/part lounge space. There’s a giant buffalo head. They had pizza, but I’d already eaten, because I didn’t expect they would have pizza. Everyone was like “You can hang out and talk to us or sit on the couch or…”

But I just wanted to read through my story a few times. Chet offered me a quiet office, but I wanted to read through it with some distractions. So, I just sat on the couch. The band, Ornament(?–I think that’s singular), came backstage for pizza and a discussion in which one of them tried to argue that The Doors without Jim Morrison and fronted by Ray Manzarek was the superior iteration of The Doors, which caused me to die of outrage, come back to life, and die of outrage again.

The other authors showed up. They were amazing. So nice and interesting. Chet took them for a tour, but I’d already been on the tour a couple times, so I read through my story again.

Then we went out and took our seats. The Butcher and his family were there, so I went and sat next to them. Chet gave me this amazing introduction that made me sound all classy and important, but my story started, “It goes without saying you don’t want fifty crawdads up your cooter.” So… yeah. But people laughed in all the right spots and that made me happy.

When I came off stage, Alice Randall told me my story was fantastic.

Then I sat down with my nephew and listened to great stories while he slept, because he can sleep through anything but quiet, apparently.

And I had flowers and everyone was super excited.

I think that’s everything. It was lovely. But it reaffirmed for me what a bullshit word “deserves” is. I don’t deserve this more than someone else. It’s not happening because I deserve it. It’s strange and wonderful and I am lucky. I can’t imagine trying to explain to my high school self this life. And I wouldn’t have known–didn’t know–back then to strive for this life, to want this life, because I didn’t believe it was possible for me. I didn’t think I deserved it.

And I feel like there are so many people out there who are just as talented as me, but maybe they didn’t move to Nashville, so they couldn’t get lucky.

Anyway, “deserves” is a bullshit word. Weird and nice stuff happened and I’m just going to enjoy it. And wish for weird and nice stuff for all y’all.

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It Was Amazing

I’ll have more later, but I’m already kind of late for the Southern Festival of Books, in that, I need to leave here in a half an hour and I’m not in the shower.

But it was amazing. B and K sent me cool flowers. I got to see a bathroom I’d never seen before. S. showed up in her adorable glasses. My dress kept popping open every time I hugged someone. People laughed at the right points. And the Butcher’s family came! So, I got to spend some quality time with my nephew. And the stories and music were amazing. And the very young rock stars all hugged me. And Alice Randall liked my story, which is cool enough on its own, but it also means I’m now one-degree of separation from Harper Lee, so that’s weird and cool.

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Today’s the Day

We have to set up for the Southern Festival of Books this morning and do the festival all afternoon and then I have to come home, feed the dog and myself, then get ready and go back into town for the reading at Third Man tonight.

Argh!!!! These are all things that I love and am super excited about, but also, whew, am a little geared up about as well.

Did I tell you guys I need reading glasses? Worse than that, I don’t have enough eyeball slime, so I have to take fish oil. But not just “get it at the grocery store” fish oil. Prescription fish oil.

The burps.

Oh, dear readers, the burps.

It has once again confirmed for me that the set of the Fast and Furious movies must be a very stinky place.

Any Excuse to Talk about Festering Crotch Wounds

Y’all can listen to me talking about ghosts and history and the tiny-bit-odd trip to Cragfont we took this weekend here on the Something’s Not Right podcast.

I believe some strange things, I guess. And I have become more reticent in recent years to talk about them. So, I’m a little nervous to have y’all listen to this, because I’m afraid, maybe, I sound like a complete loon.

And yet, it’s October and I love to talk about spooky things and the spooky things I know best are the things that happened to me.

So, enjoy! I’m guessing by the length almost everything made it in but I haven’t listened to it myself yet.

Rug Yarn

I decided that, when I’m done with this current batch of afghans–this purple one, a baby blanket, two mermaid tails, and another afghan I don’t have a name for yet–I’m going to take a break and make something for me–a rug for the living room.

The thing is that I want some heavy-duty yarn, but I don’t know jack shit about rug yarn. Does it need to be wool to hold up to foot traffic? If I’m using cotton t-shirts for my core, could I use cotton yarn to hold it together? After all, it should wear at the same rate, right?

I’m really loving this purple afghan. It’s nice to be working on something simple and beautiful. So, each square is a solid shade of purple, but I have all the shades of purple I could find in worsted weight acrylic yarn at Joann’s. I’m trying to decide if I should do a random mix of purples or arrange them so they form a kind of gradient across the afghan.

I’m leaning toward just mixing it up because I want the afghan to have a kind of homey feel, but I may lay it out once from darkest to lightest to see if I change my mind.

Tortilla Soup

I made tortilla soup, like, not a fancy recipe. Everything except the onion and the green pepper was either from a can or a pouch, including the shredded chicken. It’s pretty dang good. But, like, you’re not going to come raid my fridge over it or anything.

But you guys. This dog! He sat intently by the stove the whole time I was cooking it. He drooled all over the couch while I was eating it. He did this weird stompy dance while I was putting half of it in the freezer and the other half in the fridge. And then, he stayed in the dark kitchen right by the fridge making weird lipsmacking noises.

He’s certainly liked some things before, but this was… I don’t even know. This was Sonnyboy’s jam, as the kids say.

Let’s all vow to love something the way that Sonnyboy loves tortilla soup–with surprise and delight and dancing.

Cragfont

I went to see my nephew yesterday and he is just so adorable. I can’t even tell you. He has one very light, but very bushy eyebrow. He may also have another, but where I was sitting and the lightness of the eyebrow made it hard to see the other. He makes cute little snores.

The Butcher’s Wife and I contemplated whether the Butcher can read minds or is just super empathetic and where the line is between those two things.

Then I went with some friends who have a podcast to Cragfont, a creepy old house up in Sumner County and it was delightfully and sufficiently spooky. I’ll link to the podcast when it goes live, because I was on it! Talking about festering crotch wounds and old Tennessee history and creepy things. All my favorites.

So, Cragfont was built by the Winchesters. General Winchester was a buddy of Andrew Jackson and he and Jackson and Judge Overton went and founded Memphis. Winchester’s son was Memphis’s first mayor. Jackson’s protege was Sam Houston. Sam Houston’s ex-wife, Eliza Allen (Houston Douglass) stayed with the Winchesters often enough that her silver tea cup is still in the house.

Winchester also owned a bunch of flatboats he hauled stuff back and forth to New Orleans on. One of his primary exports to New Orleans was bacon. And, I would imagine, other cured pig products.

This was also some of the early work of the Franklin family. And remember, the Franklins and the Douglasses were all intermarried. Also, Isaac Franklin’s mother was a Lauderdale and the Lauderdales were just east of the Winchesters.

I felt like I was hearing a story the Franklins figured into, but without hearing the Franklins properly figured in.

Anyway, we did have one strange experience in the house. I won’t spoil the podcast by telling you what it was, but I will note that one of the pictures in this bunch shows the location of the strangeness. Since it’s October, you should see if you get a spooky vibe off of any of them and give it a guess.

Seeing

I went to the eye doctor yesterday and our strategy continues to be me having the most sight I can for the longest time I can and drilling about what to do when my retinas finally tear. It makes me feel a little anxious about how creatively dry I feel lately, to think that there may come a time when I can’t see to do the things I enjoy.

I took the dog for a long walk this morning. We went over to the school and waved at a bunch of neighbors and both struggled up the hill. If you listen to the Another Round podcast, you will appreciate that I always say, “Rufus, we made it,” when we get to the top of the hill.  Now he’s laying on the floor and sleeping. Just a minute ago, he was snoring so hard that I could feel the floor rumbling through my feet.

But man, it’s beautiful out there. The tall grass in the neighbor’s yard is yellowing. There’s some plant right at the edge of the woods that grows these tiny red berries and they’re doing that now. The trees all seem on the verge of turning.

I just love this time of year. Even when I’m out of sorts and feel kind of cut off from the mysterious. Even without ghosts, even without feeling the Universe whispering in my ear, this is still a special time.

This Dog

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I let the dog off leash probation and he had a day of doing the right thing and a day of doing the wrong thing and now he’s back on leash probation.

Last night, he apparently didn’t go pee when I put him out for the evening. I was suspicious because new kitty was on the steps and I know how afraid he is of her, but… well, he peed on the floor and then mopped it all up with his dog bed. Which I guess I appreciate.

But then! He almost bit me trying to get a can of wet cat food out of my hand! Like, not deliberately, more just “I’m being a doofus and not being careful and I really want that cat food.”

Can you put a dog on whole-life probation? I need to take him for a long, long walk tomorrow, I think.

In happier news, I finished my afghan. I went with a non-fancy border. The only tweak I made was to make the second round of it–even though it’s just a regular old granny square stitch–going the other way. That’s the one thing about these two-color granny squares–you don’t just work them in the round. You flip them over and go the other way. So, many of the squares have front and back sides of stitches visible. So, I did the same with the border.

Also, the whole house smells like cat piss and I can’t locate a source. It’s one of those cases where I can’t tell if I’m just not finding it, if maybe a change in the weather has caused old smells to reemerge, or if the cat may be just leaking a little bit, which, god, I hope not, because that would indicate the end of him.

I really, really want that cat to just go in his sleep one fine sunny afternoon. Or in a knife fight. Something that would be sad, but I could live with.

Come Together, Right Now, Over Me

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I’ve just got to put a border on this bad boy and tuck in my ends. I’d also like to find a place I can spread it out completely and get a picture of the whole thing. I think it’d be interesting to do this afghan solely with variegated yarn or self-striping yarn, or both. I love that middle square so much.

But, yeah, definitely, if I do this again, I’m going to do each square with three rounds instead of four. I mean, this is practically a bed spread. I like big afghans. I want you to be able to wrap yourself in them when you’re sick. But this is a tad ridiculous.

Nothing fancy for the border. Just  few more granny rounds.

Jesus, Crawdad, Death

So, here’s what I know. It’ll be out early next year. It’s a chapbook–part of Third Man Book’s new chapbook series–containing three stories. The title is also, therefore, a loose table of contents. “Jesus Has Forgiven Me. Why Can’t You?” about Jesus and professional wrestling which originally ran in F&SF, “Mother of Crawdads” about a woman who gives birth to some crawdads at Walmart, and “Little Sister Death” about dogs and sadness and literary influence and St. Francis and stuff.

The chapbooks are inexpensive. The first two are both $7. They’re available at Third Man’s stores and on their website. So, that’s all exciting.

I’m toying with the idea of doing a book trailer that would be just me singing the death verse of “All Creatures of Our God and King” while dropping a luchador mask and a crawdad on the ground. Like, so the video would be shot at floor level. You hear singing, then feet enter the frame. The mask drops into the frame and then, oops, the crawdad.

I have to figure out where to get a stunt crawdad, though…

The Thing Below

So, yeah, that’s happening. Me on the same bill as Kiini Ibura Salaam and Pinckney Benedict. That distant noise you hear is me laughing for a million years.

Why would Third Man put me on the same bill as those two? I think it’s okay for me to say that there is a reason and that reason is the exciting thing I haven’t yet told you about, but which you may now have enough information to give a good guess at, and which will become public knowledge very soon.

It’s weird to have good things when everything is so shitty. I mean, I know everything is always so shitty, but sometimes we’re able to meet the shittiness with grace and love and sometimes, like now, we stand here looking at each other in horror not sure what to do.

I’d like to get back to feeling like I can act and my actions make a difference. I’m tired of not reading fiction and not writing fiction, because I’m overwhelmed by the need to know facts and state facts loudly and clearly and repeatedly hoping someone will hear them and know what to do with them.

I would like to tell you a story or a bunch of stories, like I do every year in October, but I’m going to be honest with you. I don’t have them.

I’m just here, nodding when people ask me to tell them old stories, hoping that, if I do that, someday, the new stories will come back.

Edited to add: Oh shit! They announce it in the press release. The news is loose.

Today’s the Day

I have all the squares done. I just need to lay them out and stick them together.

I dreamed I traveled to LA on vacation and I got caught up in an orgy at the hotel and, oops, ended up pregnant with Tom Cruise’s babies. Twins. And my whole dream was about me lumbering around, pregnant with twins, while his dream-wife fixed up my house and turned the Butcher’s room into a nursery. Also, I had to sign a non-disclosure agreement like you wouldn’t believe.

I just think it’s funny in the wake of our emotional labor discussion from the other day, that my brain is like, “If you got in a jam, it would be nice to have Tom Cruise’s money and a woman come over to take care of you.”

 

Have I Complained About Making this Afghan Yet?

It’s just taking a long time and I’m not sure how I’m going to put it together when the time comes. I feel like, in order to make sure the colors don’t clump together, I need to lay it out and then tie it together in some way so that I can stitch it together. But I’m not sure.

And I’m still not done with all the squares. And it’s so big as to be unwieldy. If I ever do something like this again, I’m doing it with a three round granny, not four.

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On the other hand, it’s so fucking gorgeous I can’t stand it. I got the pattern off Etsy and it’s well worth the $5, just for the proper counts of the squares and the scheme that shows you how to lay out the squares. But, again, if you were going to do this and you didn’t want a monster, the easiest fix is to just go down to three rounds in each square.

I did this as a stash-buster, but you could also make something gorgeous with more intentional color decisions. I’m hoping to get the squares finished tonight and get it “basted” (not exactly basted, but put it together in some temporary way until I figure out how to tackle it permanently) this weekend.

The Listener

The Professor’s kind of long-term academic interest is in the role of the listener in speech issues. I guess the common scholarly approach is to assume that the listening role is less interesting because you’re either listening or you’re not. And there might be some meat on the bone for why you’re not listening, but not that much.

The Professor’s interest has been in how listening is an activity, like speaking, where one has power and understanding the power(s) of the listener can help us better understand and then hopefully fix problems of injustice.

So, last night she sent me a paper about how there’s a growing, but loving, critique of objectification as the explanation for what’s going on when people do shitty things to each other. Like, it has been this incredibly useful concept, but now that it’s so ubiquitous, the ways it doesn’t always quite get at what’s wrong in a situation is becoming clearer.

In the paper, she talks about derivatization, which is this concept that is kind of catching on in scholarly circles, which she thinks is much more specific about what’s going on in certain situations. Basically, as you might have guessed from the word, it means viewing a person not as an autonomous being, but as a derivative of you.

So, if I’m understanding her correctly, I think it’s like, say I want to have sex with you. If I’m not derivatizing you, I might say “Hey, want to fuck?” and you might say “Nope.” and then I might be bummed, at least until you say, “But hey, I brought you this puppy to play with.” I respect and listen to your answer and, even if I’m disappointed, I’m operating under the assumption that you have your own reasons for doing things that I should respect since we are two equally valuable people in the world. Or three, I guess, depending on if you brought someone with you to help you wrangle the puppy.

But if I have a derivatizing mindset, then I am imagining you as a subordinate, derivative of me. In that case, I can only imagine your purpose is for me, not for yourself. So, you have a certain amount of freedom to do and act autonomously as long as that doesn’t challenge my view that I am the main point and you are the supporting argument that helps make the main point (whereas, when you objectify someone, you’re saying that you’re the subject, the one who can act, and the other person is the object to be acted upon. You can see how they’re similar ideas, but that derivatizing is trying to get at something a little more complicated where the person in the traditional “object” role is also acting.).

So, if I believe I should have sex with you and I derivatize you, then the cues I will recognize from you are the cues that indicate to me that you want to have sex with me–how you’re dressed, that you agreed to spend time with me, that you don’t physically stop me from having sex with you–while I don’t recognize the cues, because I don’t recognize you as someone with an agenda different than mine which needs to be considered, that say you don’t want to have sex with me, such as you saying “No.”

I spent my walk this morning thinking about how this concept would be useful to me in understanding these bombings. And it is really helpful. This is, after all, what White Nashville wanted–for Black Nashville to accept the agenda of White Nashville and the view White Nashville had of Black Nashville as its own. And when you look at the history of racist violence against black people in Nashville, it’s happening at moments when White Nashville is forced to see that Black Nashville doesn’t see itself only as a supporting argument for life revolving around White Nashville.

It also helps me think about what’s going on in abusive situations–that the violence is directly working to replace the agenda of the victim with the agenda of the abuser in the victim’s head.

So, in other words, the purpose of violence–or at least a purpose–is to break down the victim psychologically in order to replace the victim’s self-agenda with the perpetrator’s agenda.

It’s really brilliant and I may not be explaining it one hundred percent clearly here, since, unlike The Professor who read a bunch of stuff and then wrote a paper, I just read a paper and wrote a blog post. But I love how much it’s given me to think about.

A Loose Woman

Yesterday, I had an interaction with a man who was upset about something I wrote over at Pith in which I was enraged at Hulk-like levels. The thing that pissed me off is that, after criticizing my writing–not the grammar of it, but the approach I was taking–he demanded that I appease him, make him feel better about me or what I wrote.

I’m not even a pretty woman and I am tired, so tired, of people expecting me to be pleasing to them and being angry when I’m not. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have an appearance (beyond just that of generally female) that men felt was for them and thus compelled that woman to have to give a shit about maintaining the pleasant feelings of those men.

And I still go back to my suspicion that (some) men think that, if you’ve done something–intentionally or not–to get their attention, you have taken something from them and thus you owe them. Whereas, I believe that where you put your attention is your own business and your responsibility to manage. And the feelings you have about where you put your attention are also on you to manage.

The other thing I resent is that, as a woman, I’ve been brought up to believe that being a whore is one of the worst things you can be. But what is a whore? A woman who does intimate things whether or not she feels the emotion behind those intimate things for pay. I give you a blow job because I love you or at least find you desirable. A whore gives you a blowjob for fifty bucks. She may like you or find you desirable. She may not.

I, as a woman, am constantly policed (often by other women) for whether I am too whore-ish while at the same time, men constantly demand I do intimate emotional work for them regardless of how I feel about them in exchange for them not hurting me.

In other words, women are under constant pressure to not be whores at the same time we’re pressured to be whores.

There is no virgin/whore dichotomy. There’s just whether you’re a whore who’s bossed around by others or a whore who’s her own boss.

We denigrate sex workers and other “loose” women in order to fool women into thinking that there is a “good girl” category you can get into, but there’s really not.

I mean, even look at that term, “loose women.” I know, when I’ve heard it, I’ve thought it meant they had big, over-used vaginas (ha ha, talk about internalized misogyny) or that they were too free with their bodies, but really, it just means they’re running loose. Like a loose horse or loose cattle or a dog that’s gotten loose–it’s not clear who, if anyone, bosses her around.

And I guess, for the most part, I’m a loose woman and I resent the fuck out of anyone who comes along and demands I work for him.

But I also resent that I’m supposed to understand “whore” as a bad thing while at the same time being pressured to do intimate work for others as if that’s my purpose. If whores are bad, stop demanding women be whores for you all the fucking time. And if whores aren’t bad, stop using the term to hurt women.

Weekend of Not Doing Chores

Sorry I didn’t post anything here yesterday, I was scrambling to write stuff for paid gigs because I spent Sunday lollygagging around and hanging out with friends. It was marvelous.

I now see why the dog loves to gallivant (though spare a thought for him today as he is suffering from the confusion of having to have his leash put on in the house and walked a whole walk with no ability to run around the neighborhood like a yahoo).

At one stop, I was talking to an acquaintance about her awesome project which I love and she reached out with both hands and touched my belly. It was weird, but she did it in such a way that I’m not even one hundred percent sure she realized she was doing it. And she seemed not at all malicious.

It reminded me of the way that old ladies like to squeeze me. Which I also find weird but not entirely unpleasant. I guess the thing I find weird about it is that I’ve been told–as all women have, I’m sure–that fat bodies are gross and disgusting and, sure, maybe some people will seem not to mind, but they’re just being extra super good by being willing to overlook your massive flaw.

And yet, my experience is that a lot of people like it. And they like it like little kids reaching for candy in a bin in the store–where they know they shouldn’t touch, but the compulsion to touch is so great that their impulses outweigh their conscious brain.

And I feel like I should be clear that, in general, you should not touch people without permission and truly not touch fat people on their fat just out of the blue. Also, please never come up behind me and touch me for old PTSD reasons. But general rules and guidelines aside, in these very rare circumstances, which I still find very weird, it teaches me something I can’t quite put into words that I appreciate knowing.

Seen or Invisible?

I spent yesterday with my nephew or preparing to arrange my life so I could get up to my nephew.

Friday, though, I went to the therapist.

I wanted her to help me figure out how to take compliments without deflecting or downplaying or being an awkward mess.

We talked about it for a while and she asked me if I wanted to be seen or invisible. I said that my first instinct is to say “invisible,” but I keep doing things that make me very seen.

And she pointed out that I don’t have any problem being seen by crowds, even when those crowds are full of people I know. I have problems being seen, really seen, by individuals.

She said I have to come to accept that I have bad qualities I may not be able to hide, bad qualities I may not even notice, and that people can still like me. Even knowing those things.

I’m still mulling that over, let me tell you.

How It Went

First of all, I SLEPT THROUGH MY ALARM!!! You want to know panic? Panic is waking up the morning you have to testify before a legislative committee and realizing you slept through your alarm.

But I got there mostly on-time and I got to see the inside of one of the big lawfirms in town which was beautiful. It’s one of those buildings where the elevator in the lobby doesn’t drop you off until the 16th floor. Like, I don’t know what’s happening on 2-15, but the elevator does not go there. And I was amazed at how quickly it takes you up to the 16th floor. Like only slightly longer than it takes the elevator at work to take me up one floor.

Anyway, so the testimony. I went last. They had an FBI agent and a judge and then a bunch of family members of victims of racial terrorism speak. I was really nervous beforehand, but I felt calm and collected saying my stuff.

I was trying to understand why, when I’m speaking in public, (and knock on wood this continues) I don’t feel nervous or fraudulent or whatever. All the stuff that makes it hard for me to function in my everyday life, when I sit down in the chair, in front of the microphone, or take that last step in front of the crowd, I know it will be fine. It all falls away.

And I don’t really have a good answer for it. I think it’s that, by the point where the thing is happening, it’s too late to do anything but that thing. It’s too late to be prettier or more prepared or whatever.

And it also helps that I’m not there to be me. I’m there to deliver information or read a story or introduce someone else or whatever. So whether or not I’m perfect, the task is the task and I know what the task is and that I can do it.

I need that calm confidence in the rest of my life!

Testify

Tomorrow I’m going to testify before the Unsolved Civil Rights Crimes Special Committee of the Tennessee State Legislature to tell what I know about the Looby bombing because there isn’t anyone else to do it.

I am both very excited and scared.

I also feel a kind of mix of pride and sorrow that I can say what I know and that I know things probably no one else in the state knows. It’s a strange thing to be sitting underneath the only brain who knows a big, important thing.

It’s also such bullshit. Why did it take 60 years for anyone to look into this? Why should I be alone in knowing this stuff? It’s not right.

Someone tried to kill that man, that hero, and then no one gave a shit. And he had to live in this community knowing that no one gave a shit enough to solve his assassination attempt. That sucks.

Anyway, I’m not the best person to do this, but Fate has made me the only person who can and so I will try my best and try to tell Looby’s story in a way that maybe will spur someone to give him some measure of justice.

Can You Fistfight a Dog? Should You?

This morning… okay, first, what you need to know is that, unless you check and make sure it has latched, there’s a 50/50 chance the kitchen door is not latched. It’s just shut. Since I walk the dog at the buttcrack of dawn and I’m not always 100% completely awake, sometimes, it’s not latched. I try hard, but I am also mostly asleep.

So, this morning, Señor Asshole bounds off as usual into the neighbor’s yard. And then, because it’s dark, he promptly vanishes, even though I talked to him again today about the importance of being a good boy.

Off I tromp through neighbors’ yards, looking through their garbage for him. No fucking sign.

I decide my only hope is to go to where we normally start our walks, out by the creek, and see if he shows up. I turn around to head back that way and who comes bounding from behind me? And then who trips over something in the neighbor’s yard and does a full front roll?

Yes, Señor Asshole.

But where has that motherfucker been? I’ve been in everyone’s back yards. I saw no sign of him.

So, we go for our walk. We get back. The orange cat is outside, which is… not where he was when we went for our walk. We get into the garage. There’s the kitchen door standing wide open.

So, I think that asshole came back to the house. INTO THE HOUSE. And left me wandering around the neighborhood for fifteen minutes, calling for him.

I’m going to have to start leashing him up before I even open the door, which I hate, because back when he behaved, the moments where he was in my back yard, near the door, doing his first pee of the day, gave me a chance to get the elderly orange cat situated with breakfast without the dog or the other cat bullying him out of it.

Still, it must be done. This is the third neighborhood gallivant of the week and it’s only Wednesday. That’s one day gallivant-free and I need like 95% gallivant-free walks.

Doctor

So, this thing has a name–viral sinus infection. There isn’t much to do for it other than what I’ve been doing. Just suffer and drink lots of liquids.

Now I want to talk about something hard and weird. Since I last went to the doctor, I’ve lost twenty pounds. Before that, I lost twelve. So, since the Butcher moved out, but also since I’ve got my meds straight, I’ve lost thirty two pounds.

My whole life I have tried so hard to lose weight. I have starved myself. I have exercised like a fiend. I have tried this crazy thing and that crazy thing. I have been called a liar by doctors. I have had symptoms of serious conditions ignored because the “obvious” solution was that I needed to lose weight.

I have loathed my body. I have felt utterly unlovable and unworthy of love because this is my body. I have felt crazy because all the “just”s people say–just eat less, just exercise more, it’s just physics, etc.–never worked for me. And when I said they didn’t work for me, the fault was mine. I was doing something wrong or lying.

I wouldn’t say I’ve ever had an eating disorder, but I’ve had very disordered eating over the course of my life. And it was only when I was like “okay, fuck it. I just can’t hate myself any more. I can’t punish myself all the time. I just don’t have the energy for it.” that I started eating in less fucked-up ways and finding doctors who would, even as they nagged about the weight, would also take my symptoms seriously.

Here’s the thing. I’m not doing anything. I’m not trying to lose weight. I don’t walk Sonnyboy more or farther than I walked Mrs. Wigglebottom. I eat a little differently than I did when the Butcher lived here, but I eat what I want–cookies regularly included.

Okay, here’s the thing that concerns me. Last night, before dinner, I had the thought, “Well, if I’ve done this well without trying, what would happen if I skipped dinner?”

And I hate every part of that. I haven’t “done” anything. “Well” is a shitty word there, like being thinner is intrinsically better than being fatter. And, obviously, “what would happen if I skipped dinner?” is not healthy.

Thankfully, I’m on drugs, so my brain forms destructive thoughts more slowly which gives me an opportunity to head them off at the pass.

But my body is just doing a new weird thing that, frankly, goes with all the old weird things it’s done in the past. I’m not causing this. I’m going to try very hard to not put a lot of faith in it, because it seems to me very unlikely that I’m going to continue to lose weight or not find myself back at my normal weight in the future.

And I feel weird about it because I don’t have some great success story. I haven’t done anything. My body is just doing a thing.

The thing that concerns me is how easily I am ready to accept suffering if I think it will work.

Also, just as a last stupid thing, while we’re playing True Confessions on the Internet, I’m still really fucking fat. My clothes all fit the same. I still look exactly the same. All this vanity and self-undermining bullshit literally over a number.

I hate it.

Unsick

I’m still sick, but still going to the doctor and going to work. Last night, I went to bed at 8:30 and got up at my normal time and feel rested, so maybe that will just be part of the strategy until I’m completely well.

The dog’s day of being a good boy was followed by two days of him running around being a yahoo not listening.

The Butcher did come over and get my TV working again, which I appreciate. I listened to a lot of podcasts while I was sick, but I could have used a Law & Order marathon or two.

I’m just very grumpy. I wish I felt better. I mean, I do feel better than I did, but I wish I felt better than I do.

I fell in love with this pattern I saw on Etsy for a sawtooth star quilt pattern afghan and I decided to make one for my friends who just got married. So, I’ve been learning a new way to do granny squares. I’m a little concerned about how to piece it together in the end. I think I’m going to have to lay it out, get the color distribution how I want, and then… I don’t know. Tie it together? That’s my plan at the moment–tie it together and then put it together normally. Otherwise, it just feels like the chances of getting squares turned the wrong way is just to great.

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Also, I made a couple of other baby blankets:

Poor Dog

My two goals for today are to go outside and to take a shower. I took the dog for a brief walk. You’d have thought he’d been freed from prison. He ran everywhere. He ran to the end of the driveway. He ran over to the neighbor’s. He ran to the peonies. He ran the whole length of the back yard. He ran across the bridge. He ran back to me to get his leash on.

I told him before we went that I still wasn’t feeling great and I needed him to be a good boy, and I swear to God, he tried so hard to be a good boy. He sat when I put his harness on him. He came when I called him. He came right over to me so I could easily put his leash on. He made sure I got over the log okay.

It was so sweet! And he remembered the whole walk that I needed him to be a good boy.

Now, I know he has a whole repertoire of behaviors he thinks are “good boy” behaviors. Now, I know he’s put his brain to it and come up with his own list of things that make him a good boy. Which I also think makes him a very smart boy.

Literally my second favorite thing about him after “has a giant heart,” is watching him figure out how to be smart, how to know things. And he never was a stupid dog. He was a dog with an untreated medical issue who didn’t have enough stimulation. Get him on thyroid medication and give him some shit to learn and by god, he will teach himself how to learn to do it.

I now really want a shower, but I’m recovering from all this good-boy-ness.