Eye, Day 2

Imagine yesterday’s picture, but with my eye swelled shit and a nifty rash on my face and a different nifty rash on my hands. I got in to work early and went over to the employee clinic. The doctor was suitably appalled, but she doesn’t see any sign of infection and there’s nothing still in my eye, if it is indeed a sting. She couldn’t tell if it was a bite or if it’s just some allergy. The rashes are just what my body does when something is going wrong–secondary rashes. My body’s way of saying “something bad is happening.” Thanks, body. As if I didn’t notice.

So, now I’m hopped up on steroids and Claratin. Fingers crossed.

Swing

Our front porch kind of sucks because it doesn’t have a roof. It’s more, in fairness, like a small front patio. So, you can’t really sit out on it without being blinded by the afternoon sun. I’m sure when the 50 year old hackberry was full sized, this was less noticeable, but it’s pretty unfortunate now.

So, I’m asking every member of my family to go in on a porch swing with an awning as a birthday present for me. They haven’t said whether they’re willing to do this, but there have been secretive phone calls.

I’m crossing my fingers. Because, if we ever have nice weather again, I’m kind of dreaming of sitting on my front porch, making afghans and watching the world go by.

I Do Not Have Enough Yarn for the Hill House Afghan

Which, obviously, I kind of knew this weekend, but I did nothing about it. And now I’m a little aggravated with myself. I’m really nervous about this Isaac Franklin piece. And I have a rash all over my hands, on my neck, on my stomach, and my feet itch so much I can only assume it’s about to pop up there.

But my seeds are planted (except the hollyhocks) and my plants are in. And I spent a bunch of time out in the glorious sun. So, I think it’s worth it.

Things Happening

1. As previously noted, The Wolf’s Bane is out May 22nd and there will be some kind of party and I would love to see you there.

2. I also have a story in this anthology, and though I don’t know a lot of people with $100 to throw around, if you are and this looks like fun, here you go.

3. I have a big non-fiction thing in the works. I just found out last night that my pitch was accepted and it’s due next Wednesday. I am really excited and also kind of want to throw up. But woo!

I’m the Man

I always have such mixed feelings about going back to Illinois. The Butcher was telling me about how he was poking fun at a girl from Gallatin recently for her claims that she’s a country girl. And then he had a list of things that make a girl a country girl and I scoffed at his list because, by his standards, I was a country girl. And he said, “Yeah, you are a country girl.”

I don’t feel like a country girl. But I kind of blame that on “Nashville.” I remember standing around this guy’s shed while he worked on his car and he probably had a Confederate flag with Bocephus’s face on it. I know he played Junior’s music loudly. And I remember listening to “Country Boy Can Survive” and feeling like it was saying something about me, about my people, even if they were my people only uneasily. But moving here, I’ve learned the hard way that the flag was right–“country” and “Southern” are the same thing to people like Hank Jr. So, all that music I thought was for me, because I did want to spit some chew in that dude’s eye, really wasn’t. I wasn’t, as it turns out, from the right “country.” I still like country music, of course, but I never don’t feel like an interloper now.

Back before that, when I was in junior high, my friend C., lived near a kid who was a year older than us, who had an older brother who was in high school. I am positive we were in junior high, though we may have been freshmen. The guys lived with their dad, who I guess was an asshole, but I never remember him being around.

This one time, we went down there and they were listening to Anthrax, the “I’m the Man” EP. The boys were smoking cigarettes and drinking their dads’ beer. I don’t think they have this genre of kid now, but they were kind of gangly and underfed looking, with longish hair that might have looked “surfer-dude”-ish in other circumstances, but at that time just meant that they wanted to head-bang but too long hair would have caused them trouble with their dad. They always wore black t-shirts and jeans–almost always Metallica, Anthrax, Megadeth, or Slayer. Sometimes Dio.

Guys like this were often my friends, often my secret, unrequited crushes. They seemed to have this way of slouching through life that suggested that, even if everyone else was willing to act like everything was okay, they knew it sucked and they wouldn’t pretend otherwise, which made me feel less alone and crazy. Other than C., I don’t think I knew a girl who was willing to say that we were living in a hellhole and, mild as it may be, it wasn’t a place a girl ought to live. I missed her when she left. Her mom begged me to make her to come back, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it (if I could have done it).

Anyway, there we were, all sitting around listening to the same song over and over. They offered us beer. I declined. I can’t remember if C. did or not. They offered us cigarettes. We said yes. I think C. had smoked before. I hadn’t. The older brother sat right next to me and helped me light it. He smelled like stale beer, but pleasantly, and smoke, obviously. And, more than anything, I wanted him to kiss me. But his hair hanged in his face and I couldn’t read his expression.

The Drawback to this Weather

The Butcher’s been sick. I’m feeling a kind of grogginess that makes me wonder if I’m getting sick.

I miss walking in the mornings so much. But who knows how long it will be again until the backyard isn’t utter mush. I wonder if the neighbors would mind/notice if I put in a paved walking path back there?

The Kind of Day I’m Having

I have a long day and I won’t get home until late. At some point, I have to go pick up my prescriptions. I am bummed because I forgot my pills and, if I don’t take them with dinner, I feel shitty when I take them without food.

Just now.

I mean, just fucking now, four hours into my day, I realize–I have to go pick up my prescriptions. I just take pills from the new bottle with dinner.

Ta da.

Ever Onward

Well, yesterday was kind of an existential low point. But, as they say in The Crow, it can’t rain all the time.

And tonight I’m going to make the Butcher a scarf. Then I will finish up the hexagon afghan.

Grr

I made it into work, but the phone is out and the internet is spotty. I’m staying just a couple more hours and then I’m going home. And probably not coming back until Monday.

This is How The Shining Went, Right?

I was cooped up in the house for three days writing. Now I’ve been cooped up in the house for two days because we’re iced in. I’m going to try to get to work today just so I can have a change of scenery. I don’t know why something that is so awesome when you elect to do it–sit around on the couch, snuggling with the dog–is oppressive when there’s no other option.

But it is.

I have gotten a lot of work done on my afghan, though.

One Thing I Wonder about

It has been… not exactly comforting, but maybe a little bit comforting, to be approaching the age my parents were when I was stalked. The question I have has the hardest time making peace with is “How could you let this happen?” and now I see how this is all the amount they knew about how the world worked. These are all the skills for coping they had.

I was thinking about coming into math class and the teacher telling me that my stalker had left his notebook. She said, “Your boyfriend left his notebook. Why don’t you go bring it to him?”

And I flipped out. I stood up and sent my desk skidding across the floor. “He’s not my boyfriend.”

I remember her looking at me in utter confusion and annoyance. “Well, he says he is.”

Like that settled the matter. The dog had peed on me. I was his tree.

I wonder if she has any regrets. I wonder if she ever realized something was wrong.

To me, even now, the most upsetting part of it was the utter loss of control over the narrative of your own life. The feeling of knowing you have one life–where you hang out with this group of people and you aren’t dating anyone, even though you’d like to–and a lot of people believing you have a different life–where this guy, who you’re terrified of, is your boyfriend–just because he says so.

I felt, often, like I was suffocating under the weight of his fantasy of me. Like the longer it went on, the harder it was for me to have my very basic understanding of myself respected by other people.

I guess that’s why the bystander stuff in the Vandy case bothers me so much. A lot of people saw what was happening to me and either didn’t recognize it for something they needed to worry about or actively sided with his version of events. As if it was just “he said/she said” and not “he’s doing things/she said.”

Why am I Here?

I did something stupid the other day. I stumbled across the Facebook page of the guy who stalked me. Part of it was accident, but the part where I recognized the name and clicked through is on me.

He lives, generally, in the same place he did when I knew him. He has the same kind of job he had in high school.

Now that I’ve been around the block a few times, it’s obvious to me that he was mentally ill. I don’t want to brush off the stalking, which pretty well fucked me up from there on out, as just him being “crazy.” I think he would have always been the kind of guy who thought the world owed him the woman of his choosing, regardless of her wishes. But I imagine he would have been more on the “women only like jerks and not me” end of things, not on the “Breaking into your house to leave you a different brand of grape pop, because I don’t like the brand you drink” end.

I guess I’m making light of things. I thought he was going to kill me. I think he thought he was going to kill me. It wasn’t just silly home break-ins. He kidnapped the Butcher, briefly.

But the point is that I think the entitlement helped organize his thoughts, gave him something clear to work for and to do with himself, even when nothing else in his mind was clear.

So, I do have sympathy for him at that level. I can believe that he was suffering, too.

Anyway, that’s a long preamble to the point I wanted to make. He’s still working the same kind of job he had in high school. Everything else about him aside, he was one of the smartest people I ever met (though the Butcher says that, at 17, I may have been mistaking “loud” for “smart”).

I always thought that, if I somehow discovered that this was his life, I’d feel like some kind of justice had been served. But the truth is that I’m not sure why that’s not my life. Maybe this goes back to why I just get so frustrated with this idea that talent is somehow uncommon and thus talented people, no matter what else they do, have to be tolerated. Everyone is talented.

Why is this my life and that his?

I don’t know. I really don’t. The Butcher says it’s because I try things. But I experience myself as being terrified of almost everything and just doing the things I’m less terrified of doing than I am of not doing. I don’t feel like I’m motivated by any positive goals. I don’t want anything. I don’t want to get married. I don’t want to have kids. I don’t want some ideal career. I have no goals.

I just don’t want to be stuck back there.

My whole life is just me saying “no” and learning to make it stick.

Ha, honestly, that’s why this whole writing thing is so tough for me. It is the exception. It’s the one thing I do want. I want to write a book someone else publishes. I want to write something that makes people say “Whoa.” I want to fucking crack myself open against the mystery of the universe and see if anyone else thinks what comes pouring out is cool.

But why am I here and not there? Just fear? I don’t think fear can propel a person through a whole life.

I get why people settle on “Well, I deserve it” or “Well, that’s just God’s plan.” Because the world being a confusing place that makes no sense, where some people get really lucky and others don’t, is not very comforting.

I’m Having “An Incipient Event”

I’m putting “Getting a giant Q-tip repeatedly poked in my eye” near the top of my list of unpleasant, though not terrible, experiences. My poor eye today feels like… well, like someone spent an afternoon poking a giant Q-tip around in it.

But the long and short of it is that “something” is happening. You don’t see blue flashes for no reason. But my retina is attached as of right now. So, they’re going to see me again in six weeks, and I’m supposed to come in before then if I see more flashes or something strange and different other than that.

I didn’t see the guy I saw last year (though I’ll see him at the next appointment), but this guy said that, even in a “special case” like mine–really thin retinas with scarring–he thought I was young to have a tear yet. So, from his mouth to my retina’s ear.

I am bummed. Not horribly depressed or anything, but it just feels like it’s been a long time of one medical thing after another, which have all turned out to be nothing. But still going through them is pretty grueling.

Flashing Blue Lights

Well, this afternoon, I’m having an emergency appointment with a retinologist. Never have I been so grateful that my eye doctor made me go last year to see him so that they’d have a baseline for the day when my retina inevitably tears. Which, hopefully, is not today?

I mean, the upside to it tearing is that, when it tears, they think they may be able to fix the blind spot, which is unaddressable until then.

The downside is that it’s kind of terrifying.

So, anyway, last night before I went to bed, I saw this really bright blue flash, like a cop car, but not followed by any other flashes. I didn’t immediately think anything of it, because, at that point, I was like, well, maybe a cop car did go by just once and flash his lights. Then, this morning, in the dark of the living room, there was another bigger flash and I was like “Oh, shit, that’s not right.” But I talked myself into it being maybe the precursor to a migraine.

But I don’t have a headache. So, when there was another one right before ten, I called the eye doctor who told me to immediately call the retina specialist. And now I have my emergency appointment.

Here’s the thing–and maybe it says something fucked up about me–but because there’s no pain and because I feel 100% confident they can fix whatever’s wrong–I’m more curious than scared.

And this time the Butcher is coming with me, so I won’t be stuck wandering around barely able to see by myself.

Boo-oor-ing

You guys, I’m having such a nice day that I’m afraid I’m really boring. Nothing perturbs me. No deadlines weigh heavily on me. No one has annoyed me. I have nothing to blog about, except that blogging also makes me happy, so why not continue the awesomeness of my day?

It’s funny how you can just have a down day and not thing anything of it, but I’m having an up day, just in a good mood, and there’s no reason. Still, I’m going to roll with it.

I Can See It!

I’m wearing my new contacts today and the very first thing I noticed is that I can see my blind spot! It’s not as bad as I’d feared, but it’s basically like a small, dark crescent in my line of vision. I can still see the things that are there, they’re just dimmer than the surrounding stuff. I don’t know if this means that the vision isn’t 100% gone or if my eye just darts around enough to compensate.

But it’s cool.

Well, and upsetting, but mostly cool.

Progress

The bathroom is clean. The kitchen is clean. The short story is almost just right. The afghan is very close to having all its squares completed.  The dog is napping.

And it’s the solstice!

I Have Hopes

I hope the Butcher is spending the last day of his vacation doing some cleaning or I’m going to end up spending the first day of my vacation doing all the cleaning. That will not make me happy.

But, in related news, I’m about to have a week off.

In unrelated news, I ate too much for lunch and now I am full and happy.

I don’t quite like how my short story has shaped up, but at least it has a shape. It’s funny. This writing stuff never gets easier. Like, you never just spit out a story that is wholly perfect. Each one, at least in the first draft, fails in some new and spectacular way.

My writing lately even has me wondering if now might be the time when I go make my peace with Hemingway. My sentences have become so ungodly, just full of commas and parenthetical asides and dashes and, well, anyway, I could use some practice writing simple, straightforward sentences that pack a punch.

Every Damn Year

I feel so low right about now and every damn year I’m surprised by it. I can’t believe it’s only Thursday. This week has been so long. I’m having lunch with a friend of my mom’s tomorrow. I don’t know why. I don’t know her and she doesn’t know me. She knew my mom in grade school.

But I guess she’s in town for some medical tests and who wants to come to a strange city alone for medial tests and have no one to have lunch with? I sure as fuck wouldn’t.

So, that’s why I said yes.

I just feel like this time of year is the time of year when the things we want from each other and the things we’re capable of actually doing for each other stand in stark contrast, bleak contrast, to each other and it makes me sad.

Either This is a Migraine, the Eyes, or I’m Dying

I have been slightly light-headed and dizzy all week. At first, I thought it was stress, since I didn’t feel that way over the weekend. Then I became convinced that it might have to do with the weirdness with my eye, like maybe my depth perception is off and it’s making me a little vertiginous (I think that’s the right word–feeling like I have vertigo). Then yesterday, I became convinced that I was having either a stroke or a heart attack.

But last night, I had this weird kind of crawly sensation around my head and I thought “Could this be a weird migraine?” Because I’ve had some weird migraines in the past. So, I took some migraine medicine and I slept like a baby.

I’m still feeling a little out of it this morning. But I don’t think I’m having a stroke. At least I hope not, because I have a lot to do.

I’m Going to Tell You a Secret

I’m having more and more trouble seeing to drive at night. If it’s raining, I can’t drive. For at least a year, I’ve been avoiding socializing with people on rainy evenings because I don’t feel safe driving home.

It’s finally bad enough–meaning I’m starting not to feel safe after dark period–that I’m seeing the doctor. Here in a minute.

I wonder if I can put a chauffeur on my insurance. I wonder if I could get Diggle… Hmm… A driver who can do the salmon ladder.

How Pleasant It is to Touch a Boob

This is a search term that brought someone to Tiny Cat Pants this morning. I can’t decide if this is a question–a person who has never touched a boob wondering about its general pleasantness or perhaps a poet, wondering if anyone else has ever started a poem “How pleasant it is to touch a boob.”

I am curious about how such a poem might go.

How pleasant it is to touch a boob.

I would know, of course.

I’m not a n00b.

A long time ago I liked a guy who liked me back but nothing ever really came of it except that he gave me a poem about awesome boobs, written, of course, by Lord Byron. Writing it down like that makes it sound tacky, but I found it charming and funny.

He has a wife now, and some adorable kids. Sometimes, I see their photos and I wonder if I should have tried harder to… I don’t even know, really… I’ve become someone since then that wouldn’t be a good fit for him. It’s hard to imagine the person I am now making the person he is now happy. But he made me happy once-upon-a-time and I hope the feeling is mutual.