Neither Brave Nor Unflappable

Tuesday night when I got home from work, it appeared that the neighbor’s shed was on fire. I went over to look more closely before calling 911 and it was just a fire in a barrel right next to the shed, which, considering that the shed has ordinary shingles, seemed like a bad idea. But I didn’t call the fire department because that would have meant interacting with the neighbor and, if it jacked him up? Well, he lives right next door.

But when I came home last night, there was a big moving truck in the driveway and he was going back and forth with a lantern on his head. It was too dark for me to make out if he was taking things out of the truck or putting them in.

But if he’s moved away, who will shoot my creek?

Maybe y’all saw that picture that went viral of the target against a fence with a house clearly behind it and the girl with the rifle about to go shoot? My neighbor’s propensity for shooting at my creek was not quite that level of stupid, but it was still stupider than I’d care for a person with a gun to be.

If you’re standing in the creek, which for some dumb reason is lined with concrete, shooting away from our houses, there’s a low hill in the pasture behind us and then a house, the roof of which you can see when the leaves are down.

Unless you’re a sniper, I guess I have a hard time seeing how you could hit something in the house, but it certainly seems possible to me that, if you got startled or, oh, I don’t know, slipped on the slick concrete bottom of the creek, right as you fired, the bullet could easily end up in those people’s back yard. And what if they or their dog were in that back yard?

Also, if the bullet hit the concrete sides of the creek, isn’t there a chance of ricochet?

The whole thing was just so stupid. But he was also very scary (or may still be, but I’m hoping the truck was a good sign) so I chickened out.

Plus, once he knew I knew he was shooting in the creek, he seemed to stop. Or become more stealthy about it.

I had a meltdown at work yesterday. I knew as I was doing it that nothing good could come of it and that, in fact, it would only lead to movement away from my goals instead of a hastening toward my goals, but I did it anyway, because I was tired of feeling like I was the only person actually worried about the thing going wrong.

I’m not proud of that. But also, I kind of am.

Do y’all still have an active fantasy life? Not a sexy fantasy life. I’m going to go ahead and assume you do. But I mean where you practice your Oscar speech in the car on your way home from work or where you go over all the ways you will let the dude you loved who didn’t love you back know what an awesome person you’ve become.

I have a fantasy that I come back to in various iterations, but the gist of the fantasy is that there are large forces working against me–like say the FBI and MI6 both want me dead because of my international terrorist deeds–and just at the moment when they think they’re going to reveal to me just how fucked I am, I instead reveal to them how all this time I have been playing them against each other and it would be far better for them to just let me go about my business–because, of course, in my fantasy, I am a good-hearted international terrorist just trying to bring some justice to the people–than to take me out and have all their various misdeeds come to light.

I think part of the reason this fantasy is so attractive to me is, sure, yes, I get to be powerful in it, but also I get to be very, very smart, the kind of smart that can think five steps ahead and place herself in a seeming position of weakness temporarily in order to have the upper hand in the long-term.

In my fantasy, nothing is mysterious to me. I am unflappable and cool. I know what needs to be done and I know how to do it.

In real life, I’m a tiny rowboat trying to get to shore fighting a storm coming in. In my fantasies, I’m a warship.

 

Advertisements

Tofu

Last night, for the first time in my life, I cooked with tofu. And it was easy and wonderful and yummy. And I wonder why I never did that before. People have complaints about tofu, but I like the texture. I like how it holds sauces.

I really hate how all the cooking videos on Facebook that stroll through my timeline seem to be about making cooking as hard and ridiculous as possible. Make this cake that is a pile of rainbow colored crepes! First of all, it’s a lot more work to make a huge pile of crepes than just a cake, but second, if that does sound delicious to you, the food coloring is just color. You could make a big pile of crepe cake without it, without dirtying up a million more bowls.

I don’t know. I’m just being grouchy because I have to do this thing for one person next week that requires me to not be available for another person and this other person is already being weird and upset about it and came very close yesterday to asking me not to do the thing.

I’m overly sensitive to it, but I get very tired of people assuming that I ought to be available to them whenever they need, while they’re often busy playing when I need them. You want me to put your priorities first? Then at the least, I need to see you putting your priorities that involve me before your priorities that make my life harder.

Anxiety, I am on to You

This morning, as I was walking the dog in the cold rain, I became convinced that, if we tried to go over the hill, we would slip. But I immediately recognized this as anxiety and not real.

Over Christmas, when I was sitting in my parents’ van, I caught sight of some crepe-y-ness on my neck. This weekend, I saw it in my regular mirror. Also, an old boyfriend of mine is about to become a grandfather.

And it just made me think about all the things I haven’t done. And whether I want to do them.

For so long, I wanted to write fiction. I haven’t done that meaningfully in a year. But also, I’ve done that. So… I don’t know if that’s a success or I’m failing. Duotrope wants me to reup my membership and I’m just like “Do I do this anymore?” Is it worth the money if I’m not writing?

Am I succeeding or failing? And, if so, at what?

For the first time in a long time, I turned my TV on last night to something other than Law & Order repeats. The Golden Globes were on, but I watched the last hour of Spy instead.

Worked some on the afghan. It’s not quite as fast as it was in baby size, but it’s still going pretty quickly.

IMG_3364

I’ll be honest, I think a lot of my free-floating anxiety revolves around whether I deserve to be loved. And the hard part about it is that I want to believe that, if someone so awesome came along and loved me, then it would prove to myself that I deserve it. But I also know that I have pushed people away, awesome people, or held it against them for being stupid enough to love me. I think I’m better about that in my crepe-neck old age, but maybe not as better about it as I’d like to be.

But, obviously, the outside validation isn’t the issue. I have to figure out how to accept and love myself. And I guess this is bugging me so much because I felt like I had kind of come to a frail truce with my body. I had gotten used to it, even if I can’t always see anything so great about it. And now it’s like “Love me with this skin, too” or “Love me with these weird bumps” or “Love me with a hair that sprouts here.”

And I just don’t know if I can. I was already doing as much as I could, which was not enough.

There’s a moment in Spy when she’s going into the casino and she kind of puts on a Mae West “kill them with charm and audacity” thing and it’s very attractive. And I guess I need to figure out how to strike myself as charming and audacious.

Anyway, that may be too much honesty for a Monday morning.

Fun History Stuff

I wrote about an ax murder! It still remains my favorite thing about living here that you can read about stuff and the just go see where it happened. Not that there’s much to be discerned from going to see where this ax murder happened, but whatever.

On the Scene‘s facebook page, someone complained about the graphic image, which made me laugh, because I thought there was never a more chocolate-syrup-y looking bit of blood in the history of stage make-up.

Also, a reporter from the Washington Post is working on a piece about Isaac Franklin. I know this because a Franklin relative told me and the reporter contacted my editor to ask where the portrait of Franklin we used came from. I then contacted the expert on Franklin to see if she had contacted him. She had.

So, this isn’t about her. I’m looking forward to reading her story and it sounds like she’s contacting the right people. It’s really about my own ego, because y’all, I was so butt-hurt yesterday that she didn’t contact me. Like I’m some Franklin expert or have ownership of his story.

And the thing is, I want more people to be interested in history. I want more people to talk about the ways the past still influences the present. I want people to feel like history is available to them without them needing to go through gatekeepers.

And yet, my feelings were still deeply hurt and I was mad and insulted.

There’s no lesson to be learned from that, I suppose, except one we already know–which is that wanting to be recognized and valued and important are some of the wants that most easily cause you to get in the way of your own better impulses.

Laundry Day

Today I attempt to do all the laundry. All the laundry. I’m literally in pajamas. Nothing else clean is left.

It’s kind of hilarious. But also maybe sad.

I hung out with the Butcher, his wife, and my nephew yesterday. Aside from accidentally seeing a man taking dick pics in a public bathroom, which was hilarious, it was nice and uneventful. The baby was cranky. But he slept a while.

I’m just savoring nice times. And, frankly, I guess spending all day in your pajamas is a type of nice time.

Another Reason I Would Not Care to Sell Crocheted Items

I’m making a couple of mermaid tails–one for a little girl who asked for one and one that actually fits my niece. And they’re not that fun. I’ve already made mermaid tails before.

I’ll do it, because I know the kids and I know they’ll like them, but in general, I wouldn’t want to have to do stuff I’m not excited about anymore just because that’s what’s selling.

I was talking to my therapist about my weeks-long panic attack and she talked to me at length about how to life your life while you’re having an ongoing panic attack. One of the important things is to do things that make you happy, at least one thing a day. Not for anyone else. Just for yourself. A good thing that doesn’t have a web of expectations or implications or justifications. Just “I’d like this.”

I was thinking about how my resolution for 2017 was to just like things, without feeling self-conscious about it or like it was necessary to couch it in sarcasm or irony or apologize for it or say things like “I know this may be stupid but…” and to share that like.

My goal for 2018 is to do more things I like just because I like them. I feel like I’ve been conditioned to believe that happiness is suspect, that orienting your life toward it is frivolous at best and dangerously hedonistic at worst. You can be happy, but only as a side-effect of doing shit for others.

I’ve had charity and obligation weaponized against me.

“Put others first” is a lovely sentiment and an important personal philosophy that I support if one has chosen that discipline. But it’s also damn convenient for some of those others, who aren’t doing the same.

So, I’m going to try to figure out what things make me happy to do. And I’m going to do more of them.

Bad

So, I wanted to say some things about my trip to the therapist, but I’m also not sure what I want to say. Sometimes I feel like the point is to just say some stuff, absorb some stuff, and let it work on me.

I told her about my unstoppable panic attack and she checked to make sure that I was still doing the things I needed to be doing in life and she gave me a hand-out to use to guide me through this stuff when it happens.

And then we talked a lot about the importance of happiness. How important it is to cultivate a habit of doing things that make me happy. Like, those aren’t just indulgences or spoiling myself, but making an effort, a habit, out of doing things I enjoy is crucial for my mental health.

Also, a thing I’ve been thinking a lot about is how we talked about how it’s okay for me to be bad at stuff and to not like stuff and to not have mastery of it. She said it can be very hard for people who have accomplished a lot (and lord, did I cringe when she said that, but also I’m working on accepting positive things people say about me) to have things they’re not good at, because the feeling is that if I set my mind to it, I should be able to do it and, if I can’t do it, then I’m a failure. Across the board. When really, we all have strengths and weaknesses and things we do well and things we don’t do well and it’s just normal.

Having weaknesses isn’t failing. It’s just being a person.

I’m trying to wrap my head around what it would mean to make a deliberate habit of doing things that make me happy. Not just stumble across them by accident or save it up for special occasions, but add it to the list of things in a day that have to happen, like lunch or pooping.

And I also wonder what it would be like to find something I enjoy that I’m not very good at and what it would be like to detangle mastery of it from enjoyment.

Happiness

I have a theory that, as we age, we distill down to our essence. So, if you’re a miserable person who just fakes being okay, as you get older, you’ll be less willing or able to fake being okay and your misery will come out.

One of the main reasons I’ve been trying so hard to get my shit together is that I want to be happy at my core. I want, when life has knocked all the extraneous shit off me, for me to be someone I can live with. Want to live with.

The Stairs

Yesterday the elevator was being serviced, so I used the stairs. I did not have a panic attack. I did not need anyone to hold my hand.

I can’t really describe to you how it makes me feel, to have lost the ability to do something and then, maybe (I’m going to take the stairs again today) regained it.

Also, because his collar is too big for him, the dog slipped off his tether last night. Moments later, I found him at the back door. And it made me so happy. Because I really want him to understand that, if something happens, he should come back here.

I ordered some new yarn for an upcoming afghan and the place I ordered it from had to send me part of the order from their UK warehouse. It arrived before the US part, so I went to talk to Angela at the Whites Creek Post Office about it and she had my yarn! The package had been damaged so she made me take pictures and then open it to see if anything was missing.

It contained three extra skeins of yarn. So… that was weird and nice. Oh, my package tore open and someone stuffed more yarn into it?

I’m loving this pattern I’m learning for the baby blanket so much, I have pretty much decided that I’m going to just use it for the big blanket, too. I mean, why go to the trouble of learning how to use two different hooks on the same square if you don’t do it at least twice?

Baby Growth Spurts are Nothing to Joke About

Y’all, I just saw this child on Friday and last night, he seemed a third again as big as he was on Friday.

Also, on Friday, he was still like “Eyes? Yuck, why do I have to see things? I will just shut these and hope for the best.”

And last night he was all “I will kind of look at you! Oops, my eyes slid over to this other thing to look at! Whoa, here’s another thing to look at.”

His mom said that he smiles at the tassel on the curtain by the changing table. She doesn’t know if that’s because the tassel is his friend or if he’s just pleased he recognizes something.

It’s weird when you think of how sight must happen. That at some point, you have to make the connection that you’re seeing actual things out there in the world that you can predictably see again, that the things you’re seeing are something and so looking at them is worthwhile.

IMG_2971

I’m also… ugh… this is stupid and uncomfortable, but I’m trying to get more used to how I look, to just be neutral to slightly pleased with it. So, that sucks and is weird, but I just can’t run around being all “I hate this meat sack.” I don’t need to love it, but I have to make some peace with it.

Anyway, look at those adorable tiny jeans!

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.

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.

IMG_2924

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.”

 

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!

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.

Confessions

I think it’s time to admit that I am genuinely, for real, sick. Not just allergies, but a genuine cold.

I’m working on a story! I don’t know if it’s very good, but I am happy to be writing fiction again.

I need a nap.

I Have Become Boring

Worse, I don’t mind it. Last night, I sat around listening to podcasts and working on this blanket. Tonight I will listen to podcasts and finish it up.

I don’t even feel bad about it. I think it’s curious to see how boring I can be and still be content, but I don’t feel like it signals anything’s wrong with me.

This morning, the dog and I walked through the most beautiful fog. It was very thick and dark gray, but it left a large area of visibility in any direction. So, like, clear for fifty feet around us but then almost impenetrable beyond that. So, it had the effect of being the only real things in a bubble of unreal nothingness.

Perhaps there’s a metaphor in there for how things are now.

I have moved from not being able to imagine the grace it would take to say “I am with you in Rockland,” to understanding that I am in Rockland and not sure what can be done in here.

Do you have to know and accept your circumstances in order to provide comfort to others, or is just being there, with someone, enough?

Inception

This past week, I’ve been having really vivid dreams that seemed utterly real. I dreamed, for instance, that I was told by the editor of the Scene to come to a Scene editorial meeting in the new coffee shop downtown before I went into my actual work. When I got to the coffee shop and stood around waiting for my coffee, I realized that no one was showing up for this editorial meeting. Then I realized, I hadn’t talked to the editor in person the day before, that I had, in fact, dreamed our talk and the existence of this meeting.

I got my coffee, went to my car, headed toward work.

My alarm went off. I woke up. There is no coffee shop in the place I dreamed it was. I still felt a nagging fear I was late for work.

I’m hoping that this is just my brain slowly rewiring itself for narrative. I miss writing.

I’m getting some good afghans out of my hiatus, though, I guess.

IMG_2667

Soft

One thing I can’t get over is how soft my new clothes are. This may be why rich people are so happy. It’s not the money itself. It’s that every time your hand brushes your thigh, whew! I mean, I could legit rent myself out to people who just want to touch soft things.

So… um… babies, mostly. And you can’t let babies carry money, because they’ll put it in their mouths. So, maybe not the brilliant idea it seemed at the beginning of this post.

But my point is that I’m enjoying the fuck out of my new clothes.

Sitting Around, Thinking Thoughts

I spent yesterday sitting around waiting for the chimney guys, sitting around while they decided if the chance of rain was too great for them to do what they needed to do, and then sitting around after they left.

Later, there was a car accident out front. No one was hurt. My poor neighbors’ beautiful truck was destroyed. I called 911 and it felt like it took forever for the police to arrive, but I’m sure it was just ten minutes or so.

So, here’s the thing. It doesn’t have anything to do with those things, I just wanted there to be some words on my screen before I got started. I bought some new clothes. In a perfect world, there’d be some kind of office uniform and I’d just wear the same thing every day and not worry about it. But in this world, it is the individual’s responsibility to try to figure out what the fuck to wear every day.

I was pretty much like “I will wear this t-shirt and this skirt and if anyone at work looks askance at it, I’ll say that it’s summer time.” But then I feel like I only have two outfits that are genuinely work appropriate.

Anyway, this is a long way of saying I bought some grown-up clothes. But I bought some grown-up clothes.

I think they look nice. But since my strategy has previously been to dress like a bland tent, looking in the mirror, I just felt like I was looking at my belly, my enormous, round belly swathed in different, nice clothes.

I feel like there is no moment where my feminism and my trying to accept myself and my desire to be a happy person fails so utterly as when I’m trying on new clothes.

The thing about having been all different kinds of fat is that I know, from personal experience, that there is no size at which I feel happy and confident in my body, no way it looks where I feel aesthetically pleasing and desirable.

Still, I look in the mirror and just feel like, ugh, fuck. And then I feel bad because I don’t feel fine and happy with what I see there. And then I feel bad because I feel so fucked up that the mirror has never shown me something I felt fine and happy with. In other words, I know from experience that being thinner wouldn’t make that moment in front of the mirror any less grueling. The thing that would seem to promise an end to it is just another way to feel bad and failing.

Usually, what I end up asking myself is, “Fine, but what am I supposed to do in the meantime?” In other words, if I’m going to feel more confident or more socially acceptable when I “internalize my self-worth” or if I magically loose a bunch of weight or somehow stumble upon clothes that make me look so awesome that the bad thoughts are kept at bay, that’s great. Bring on that future day. But today I have to leave the house and I have to wear clothes and I have to go by reflective surfaces. So, I have to have something now or I have to do something now or I just have to accept that this is what it is right now.

This is life, right now.

So, anyway, I bought some great new clothes which I love, and I feel bad about it, but admitting it makes it suck less.

Chewed on by a Baby

Yesterday I went to a baby shower where there was a baby. She showed me how she can pull herself up and lower herself back down. She squished my belly and she chewed on my fingers.

I think babies like me because I’m easy to see and soft. I have dark eyebrows and blue eyes, so there’s contrast. And I have a very expressive face, so, again, there’s stuff going on to look at.

But here’s the thing. I was driving home from the shower thinking about how obvious it was that the baby thought I was awesome. This looks like a good finger to chew on. This looks like a good lap to climb in. And I realized, I don’t think I ever otherwise experience my body as good.

I’m trying really hard to just have neutral feelings about it, so that I can live in the world without constant despair. But I so rarely feel like this is great.

And you can’t argue with a baby or question its judgement, because they’re not really developed enough to have discernment or wrong opinions. If a baby experiences your body as pleasant, well, in some inarguable way, your body is pleasant. A baby isn’t out here trying to improve your self esteem.

I would like to be able to hold onto that.

Frustrations

I’m ready for this red afghan to be done. These last squares just take a while to make. They’re not hard, but they don’t go fast. I’m trying to make sure I do two a night just to keep moving forward on it. I think it’s going to be gorgeous, though.

I read this terrific book for Chapter 16. My review is due Friday and I’m just having a really hard time pulling anything coherent out of my head about it.

We’re still flea-riddled, even with everyone being treated. I’m going to have to bomb the house.

I don’t think my Roomba is broken. I think the wall outlet has a short. The house should be rewired. I don’t even want to think about how that would go with the quarter inch of sidewalk on the walls. But at least, when I plugged it into a different outlet, it came back to life.

Also, my chimney is fucked up and I have to get that taken care of.

I’m going to feel much better as things start getting done, but I feel like I’m doing an exceptionally bad job of getting them done.

Therapy

Hard day at therapy yesterday. But one thing I really like about this form of therapy is that it’s not so much focused on talking about feelings until there’s some catharsis, because, frankly, I know how to do that. Welcome to my blog, for instance.

But it’s a lot of “here’s how I feel. Here’s how I’d like to feel. How do I get there?” It gives me shit to do. Steps to take.

 

I Have Good Friends

One thing that I hate most about anxiety is that, even when good things are happening, I don’t always appreciate them. I feel like good things are happening to me right now, but they just seem so inconsequential.

I’m an anxious mess about, in no order, getting the lawn mowed, getting the kitchen ready for the guy to come in and fix the floor and the steps, coordinating getting to the therapist with getting the guy fixing the floor paid, how little progress I’ve made on the bombing story in recent weeks, whether I’m supposed to be doing something but just don’t know it with the secret project.

And there’s madness at work. Most frustratingly, me trying to pay people who won’t return my calls and emails so they can get paid.

I was supposed to have lunch with a friend today and I just had to cancel because I was feeling so overwhelmed and anxious–like, if I work through lunch, maybe I can leave early and get the house in order. The dude comes at 7 in the morning!

I’m just ranting here.

I feel helpless, like the country is going to shit and there’s nothing to be done about it. I have so much I need to do in my private life, but everything is anxiety producing. I need to get the kitchen floor fixed, but what if the economy tanks and I lose my job and then I don’t have that money because I chose to fix the floor?

So, anyway, that’s my headspace today.

On the other hand, I think I may have solved the dog’s flea problem.