High Blood

A long time ago, I read a book about rootworkers in Detroit. Don’t quote me on this, but I think it was called Walking Over Medicine. But in it the author talked about how a problem with getting people healthcare can come when people who practice folk medicine and recognize folk ailments talk in those terms to people who went to med school.

One such folk ailment was “high blood,” which, when people complained about having high blood led the doctors to be very confused because often the people didn’t have high blood pressure at all. But “high blood” was a folk ailment. (I tried to look up “high blood” on Google, but it still seems like most scholars are linking it to blood pressure and I remember this author talking about high blood, low blood, thick blood, and thin blood and other types of blood. It wasn’t some cutesy way of talking about blood pressure.)

I’m fascinated by folk ailments, some of which seem completely social–like, if you don’t live in that community, you will never have this ailment–but others seems like a name for a constellation of symptoms that otherwise might not have a name. We talked about this before with having a cold in your eye or a cold in your back.

I don’t remember what the symptoms of high blood were. But I woke up in the middle of the night because the sound of my pulse in my ear was so loud. I don’t know if it was the front bringing rain pushing through or a minor cold or what, but my ear is stuffed up. Eventually, I found a way to lay that let it drain and the sound lessened. I went back to sleep.

But, when I woke up, there in the middle of the night to that loud sound, my very first thought was “This must be high blood.” It’s right there, in my head, high up.

But since I never understood what high blood was, I don’t know if I have it now. But I did think it was funny that that’s what came to mind, rather than, “Oh, shit, I better not be getting a cold.”

Nothing

I didn’t do anything all weekend. I mean, I finished that afghan and I did dishes forever and some laundry and walked the dog and wrote a Pith post. But I saw no one and had no real deadlines and slept a lot.

And I’m feeling pretty good this morning. It’s definitely not as bad as when I started the medication, but I’m feeling the change in medication. No use in denying that. And it was nice to have a weekend where I could just be all “I will be a weird ugly tired mess in my own home” and I was!

I’ve been trying to write stories about aliens, to expand my repertoire to include “sci-fi,” but I had to admit to myself this morning that I just don’t find them very interesting. I don’t know if this is a lack of imagination on my part, but we barely understand cephalopods. It took us a long time to recognize how intelligent they are because their intelligence is so different from ours. And those are carbon-based life forms distantly related to us.

I’m not convinced we would recognize aliens if they got here. And as for communicating with them, I just don’t believe we’d have a whole lot of success at it.

So, it’s hard for me to figure out what I would find compelling about unrecognizable things passing unnoticed among us having either no effect on us or no effect we ever noticed. Like, how often does an ant contemplate an eagle, you know?

Anyway, so that’s something I learned about myself: eh, aliens. Don’t want to write about them.

Which is weird because I like to read other people’s stories about aliens. But whatever, the brain is a weird place.

The Last Post!

Argh, this was so much fun. And I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders being done with them.

Also, I have been fretting about whether it’s too flip to call the drugs I’m on “crazy pills,” so I just want to reiterate that this is all about me. I am deeply self-conscious about this and am really glad for the improvements, but also feeling not quite like myself while changing doses and saying the thing I’m nervous about hearing is just my way of feeling some control over it, like I can show myself that it doesn’t hurt or feel like a terrible judgment, that it’s okay.

The Second Thing

My second thing went up for the Post!

I’ve got my third thing mostly written, I just need to clean it up this weekend. And at least I know what I’m doing for my fourth thing, I think, assuming it comes together quickly.

I went back to the doctor yesterday for my crazy pills check up and she’s upping my dosage. I wonder if I’ll go through another period of sleeping a great deal or what. But she seemed pleased by how things were going and agreed that we can see what the medication is helping and what I need to see someone over at this point and so I have to find a cognitive behavioral therapist.

Will I be non-fucked-up by Christmas? We shall see.

I’m still somewhat frustrated with my brain’s ability to pop up this bullshit that ruins my day. Today the Butcher told me this awesome news about a friend of ours who got this amazing job offer, basically a huge promotion at this place she’s only been working a year. So, it’s super great, even if she decides not to take it, I think, because it means she’s doing a really stand-out job and is working some place where they recognize her talent.

But I swear, my first thought was “Wow, that’s really great.” And my second thought was, and this is funny, so it’s okay to laugh, but also not funny, “I have done nothing with my life. I’m not even married to Jason Statham.” And I felt it, this wave of crushing failure and disappointment.

Which, yes, it’s funny. But come the fuck on, brain. I watch a couple of movies with an actor I enjoy over the course of a couple of months and now it’s proof of my failures as a person that I’m not married to him?!

Like, just what the fuck is my brain trying to do to me here?

But it’s also funny and curious to me because before I was medicated, usually when something funky with the anxiety would happen, I would feel this massive disconnect between my brain and my body and my sense of self would be in my mind with the alarm coming from the fact that even though I was having all kinds of rational thoughts about how ridiculous this panic attack was, my body did not give a shit and was going to just act like an animal without my input.

But this morning, I instantly knew my brain was being ridiculous and that here in my body, things were fine.

I’m also cutting myself a little slack here because I think I’m just having big feelings this week. I’m really happy about how the Post is going and I also feel a lot of pressure to try to make sure each post is good and that Alyssa didn’t misplace her trust in me when she asked me to do this. And I still feel some big unnameable feelings about Mr. X sniffing around–some mix of anger and sadness and longing and missing how nice it felt and then anger and rejection again.

But I also think that, no matter how fucked my brain is, it wasn’t going to just toss out, “I’ve done nothing with my life and I wasn’t good enough for Mr. X,” because my brain and I would have had a huge fight, if that had happened.

But I can’t help but suspect that was the asshole thing my brain was implying.

Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit

It’s really real. It’s happening. Remember yesterday when I was all “I have two things completely done for the Post. I am super awesome. Now’s the time to make Jason Statham jokes. Maybe contemplate cocktapusses.”?

Today I am all “Oh, fuck, I only have half the things I’m supposed to have for the Post done and the only things I have any opinions about are Jason Statham and cocktapusses.”

Anyway, I’ll just be sitting over here, freaked the fuck out.

Scandinavia, if you ever loved me, you need to release a weird movie that doesn’t involve putting Madds Mikkleson in a cage for eight hours right now.

Knights of the Round Table

This morning I was thinking about how the fundamental flaw with our country–and granted, it’s a general human flaw, but I write from where I can see–is that, though we live in a capitalist society, which should mean that everything has a price and, if you want the thing, you have to pay the price, we’ve always wanted other people’s stuff for free.

We’ve come up with justifications for why some of us should give free stuff (land, labor, etc.)–black people aren’t as good as white people; Native Americans don’t have souls, God says women are under men and so on–and we have embedded those beliefs in our very core because, when it works for the people it’s supposed to work for, it’s super awesome.

But it’s a theft and it’s a theft that requires a massive amount of violence to maintain. And the ongoing violence is necessary because the theft is ongoing.

(I’m kind of just understanding this on the fly. I haven’t thought it over a lot, but it’s interesting to think of family abuse as the deliberate means by which something of value from the victim is being stolen.)

As are the narratives that excuse the theft. Not just excuse. Justify.

A really core, fundamental desire is being soothed in the thieves–we are getting something. And our greed and covetousness drives us to justify why our theft is okay–hence racism and sexism and so on. We get something really pleasurable in a lizard-brain way out of propagating those oppressions.

My guess, and again, I was just thinking this shit this morning, is that the core subconscious thing that’s being fulfilled is “someone is taking care of me and all my needs and I don’t owe them anything in return.” Like, racism and sexism and so on are the ways through which we are destructively trying to force the world to be our mommies, forcing the world to make us feel safe and cared for and taken care of. (Which might explain why it was so important to whites to report that their slaves loved them.)

Anyway, I was thinking about the violence at the core of this and I was thinking back to how I learned in school that King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table represented this huge change in our understanding of governance because it was a change from “Might makes right” to “Let’s talk this stuff out as equals and try to come to mutually beneficial understandings of what is right.” Like, first we had “an eye for an eye” and then we had King Arthur and then we had democracy.

Motherfuckers, I learned in middle school that King Arthur was a real person on par in importance with Hammurabi. And I never realized until today, January Thirty-First, Two-Thousand and Seventeen, how fucked up that is. Christ. No wonder America is so fucked.

Are kids going to learn in a thousand years that Captain America was a real person?

 

Talking and Talking

I have gotten nothing done on the afghans since Monday. The Butcher’s been busy in the evenings all week so I’ve been using my time to get ahead on my Post stuff. Transcribing interviews is no-joke time consuming work. I’ve got two written (rough drafts, obviously) and one I feel pretty certain I can knock out fairly easily and one that is more tentative and I’m depending on an old guy with a wife I know has been in poor health (and knock on wood isn’t dead) with a job he works only half the year to check his work email during the half of the year when he isn’t at work. I don’t know if I’m going to be lucky enough to swing it. Fingers crossed, though.

I had lunch with a brilliant acquaintance and I got to show him a map the TSLA recently digitized and he was hugely excited to see it. But talking to him always makes me sad because it makes me realize how much we lose of our past all the time and how unimportant it is to people that we’re losing it.

I’m taking S. out on Saturday to do some exploring based on that map, though, and I’m very excited. I’m going to write it up for Pith, I think.

I have been trying to evaluate whether the drugs are working. I feel like this month has been a good test, since I had to do lots of new things and hear things I maybe didn’t want to hear and such. And I definitely feel a difference. I’m not obsessed with worry that people might shoot me. I don’t have to pee at least five times before any high-stress activity like, say, interviewing a congressperson. I haven’t had any anxiety issues on foot, but I haven’t needed to take the kind of stairs that do it to me or been in a high open space.

There’s still a thing that happens when I’m driving, though, that I dislike and terrifies me. Definitely, on the meds, it doesn’t spiral into “Oh my god. Stop the car. Stop the car. You’re going to die. Stop the fucking car. Okay, the car is stopped. Never get back in that fucking deathtrap.” But instead I’m having these moments more like “Oh shit! You’re going to die. Stop the car or at least move left! Do something. Oh, cool. You didn’t die. Carry on.” And it happens so suddenly that I am instinctively jerking the car or moving my foot toward the brake until a half-second later I get what’s happening and recorrect.

And so far, it’s been fine. Like, I haven’t been a danger to others. I’m not even sure it’s noticeable to others. And I’m able to realize what’s happening and diffuse it. But, okay, this is what it’s like. Say you are driving on a road and your passenger shouts “No! A dog!” You don’t see the dog but your passenger’s obvious distress tells you there is something you need to do. But what, since you don’t see the dog? Maybe at the last second you think you see something right at the right edge of the road. You might both brake and move left.

And that’s fine, if there isn’t a car on your left.

But my brain is still tossing that level of panicked alarm at me over culverts and narrow shoulders which I see coming a long way off (though my brain doesn’t care until we’re right on top of them). And I’m reacting. And someday, if my brain doesn’t immediately kick in with “Oh, wait, just a steep drop-off, no worries” I am worried I could have an accident.

So, when I go back to the doctor for my check-in, I am going to ask her about recommending a shrink who can help rewire my brain so I’m not all “Culvert! Culvert that I totally saw coming but now am anxious about” in the first place.

Strange Days

It’s been a strange couple of days. I’m trying to pull some stuff together for my Washington Post stint, so I’ve been interviewing people and pitching ideas and such. Before I got sick I interviewed a local author and it was really interesting and fun.

Listening to my voice to transcribe the interview, though, ugh. I kind of wonder if I could hire someone from our public radio station to teach me to talk in a less nasally manner? But I do love my laugh and I like the way I can hear the places I’ve lived in my voice.

It’s a weird thing, to be raised to loathe yourself and find everything about yourself falling short of how you “should” be, and also to be raised with people you love so much, who, yes, also loathe themselves. But so many of them are gone now and the most immediate way I have to still see and hear them is in the traits I have that resemble theirs. I’m supposed to hate my fatness because it marks me as lazy and unhealthy. But what other way do I have to feel the soft side of my grandmother I snuggled against as a small child?

There’s something about the pressure society puts on us to all look a certain way–and it’s beyond dieting. Carve up your face. Paint yourself to “minimize” “problem” areas. Try to look like some version of yourself untouched by history and experience–that as I get older feels like pressure to not have a history, to not feel connected to your people.

Anyway, I got to interview the mayor and our congressman and, yes, sure, at some level, they’re politicians and they know how to play those games. But I was asking them about Nashville and I have to tell you, I found it really moving how much they love the city and like to talk about it.

And on the one hand, it’s weird to interview the mayor of Nashville, but on the other hand, it’s weird because I’ve known her for a million years. Not a million, but a long time. And I guess, you live long enough and your acquaintances start running shit, but it’s still weird. I didn’t know if I should call her Megan or Mayor Barry or what. Still, I have a way to make sense of that. I knew a person. She became mayor. Her press secretary is an old Nashville blogger. It’s not weird that I should talk to them.

But sitting in the waiting area of Cooper’s office? It’s surreal. It will never not be surreal.

In my head, no matter what, I’m a nobody from rural Illinois. I have good friends and a happy life, but don’t aim too high. Don’t expect too much. If something really good happens, it’s either a trap or a mistake. Don’t trust good fortune. Maybe, maybe, if you work really hard and endure a lot of hardship, something okay could happen to you. But the big wide world is a scary place and it’s not for you.

And now this? Writing for the Post? Interviewing national politicians? It just feels like I’m getting away with something, like, whoa boy, they don’t let people like me do things like this. I wonder how long it’s going to take them to notice I’m a people like me?

I’m doing it anyway. I’m not going to decline based on the fact that it’s ludicrous on its face that a person like me should be doing these things. Like, I’m going to make them tell me I’m not in the right place. I’m not going to do that work for them. And so, until someone asks me who the fuck do I think I am and tells me to get out, I’m just going to keep going and see where it leads.

Still, weird as fuck. So, so fucking weird. And amazing. Really amazing.

 

The Strange Architecture of Dreams

I think we’ve talked before about this. I dream, sometimes, of a house we lived in when I was in kindergarten, except that, always, in the dream, it has many more floors than it did in real life and staircases that go non-Euclidean places and endless halls and even when I’m dreaming of being in that home, I know that though something is telling me this is that childhood home, I am in the dream-version of that home, not the real version.

Weirdly enough, I sometimes dream of my Grandma Phillips’s house there on Bradley Street and it is architecturally just as it was in life, always. No strange additions. And yet, I sometimes have the knowledge, even in my dream, that this is a dream home.

It’s hard to explain because it’s not quite lucid dreaming. I never make the connection that, if this is the dream version of these houses, it must be because I am dreaming. It’s just the explanation my brain needs for why I don’t recognize aspects of these places I should know in and out. (Though, I think in the case of my grandma’s home, my brain just needs an explanation for how I’m in the home of a woman who’s been dead over a decade that she sold many years before she died.)

The other night, I realized that I now often dream of a neighborhood in Nashville that does not exist in real life. It’s there on the high ground in Metro Center, where the Starbucks and the gas station is and across the street where the Maxwell House hotel is. Instead of all that commercial stuff, there’s a neighborhood full of Victorian row houses and in my dreams, my friends live there and they often invite me over to see how they’ve remodeled and renovated. So, clearly, they don’t just look Victorian. That’s the era in which they were built.

That neighborhood has never existed in real life in Nashville. Not like I dream it. Definitely not in that spot. But I go there, sometimes, anyway.

Walk to the One You Love the Best

I went for a walk this morning, by myself, since the dog was at the park with his real friend. I didn’t go the whole way. I’m not quite 100%.

But I could have gone the whole way. I wasn’t that far from my turn-around spot. But I felt really crappy and just wanted to go home.

And I said something to myself that I realize I say quite often to myself: “This isn’t a punishment.” Like, I am not obliged to go the whole way out of some sense that the misery going the whole way would cause me is what I deserve. I can turn around. I can try again tomorrow. I walk because I like it. It’s okay to not do it.

I get caught up in this sometimes about crocheting, too, that I can’t take an evening off because I have to get this done. And then I have to remind myself that I crochet because I enjoy it, not because it’s a punishment. I don’t have to keep going through unhappiness. It will be fun again tomorrow.

I’m a middle-aged woman, who didn’t decide I deserved to be happy until I was well into adulthood. And I’m only now–now that I’ve decided that wanting a baseline of pleasant comfort with myself and the world is not some decadent sinful evidence of a kind of moral gluttony–realizing just how often I do things–even things I enjoy–to the point that they make me miserable. I am having to develop or perhaps redevelop a sense of “okay, that’s enough for today” that uses the arrival of unpleasantness as a cue that I can stop.

Even now, admitting this, I feel a desire to explain that I’m not suggesting that everything be fun all the time and that one should never have to struggle. Even as I know that, for my own well-being, I have to learn to say, “Okay, that’s enough for now,” even with things I really enjoy, I feel this overwhelming pressure to assure you that I know we all must suffer and that I’m not trying to get out of my share.

I mean, I haven’t even gotten my internal indicator recalibrated to accept that its resting state should be at “let’s do things we like while we feel like doing them” and I’m already worried that I’m a hare’s breath away from “let’s only do things we like, ever and let the world go to shit around us.”

I guess that’s one way to keep myself on the Puritan misery path.

The Cold Was Not Weird. It Was Terrible.

I’m still sick. Feeling better today, to the extent that I’m at least upright. And my right eye opens again, which I always appreciate.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my folk understanding of colds. Like, I’m experiencing this cold as being both a head cold (in that my symptoms are mostly in my head and the little coughing I do is because of sinus drainage. Other than being tired and having to pee all the time, my body feels fine.) and a cold in my eye (my right eye). The symptoms of a “cold in my eye” are that it’s red and watery and there’s some yellow gloop in it. It might feel hot or itch. The lids are swollen.

You can have a cold in your eye without having any other cold. I also recall my older relatives having colds elsewhere in their bodies. You could have a cold in your back, which I believe I have had once, though I can’t really describe it. It’s like a back pain, but different. Like back pain is pain in a spot and a cold in your back is kind of strange pain on a spot?

And I think I remember my older relatives having colds in their joints, which is different that being cold in your bones. Being cold in your bones is just a kind of way you feel unable to get warm in such a fundamental way that it feels like even your bones are cold. I think you get cold in your bones most frequently when it’s a clammy cold.

But I’m not sure what a cold in your joints might be and I haven’t heard anyone use it since I moved to the South.

Anyway, I don’t know that these even are real colds. I think they’re just folk understandings of something else going on. I’m not sure what my doctor would do if I told her I had a cold in my wrist, for instance. Would she think I just meant that my wrist was an uncomfortable temperature or would she know that I was having some kind of discomfort that was different from the usual discomfort joints have?

Stupid Cold

I have the weirdest cold. On Monday I was kind of spacey and felt like I might get a headache (but then never did). Otherwise, I felt fine. Yesterday, I was a sneezing machine. Otherwise, I felt fine. Today, I feel fine except that I’m all stuffed up.

It’s like I’m having each individual cold symptom one at a time.

I can’t decide if it’s more or less annoying than a regular cold.

Run

This morning the dog went to the park, so I was on my own for walking. And I was trying to remember the last time I ran. I have no fucking idea. Possibly years. And since I was alone in the dark, I ran, like a little kid, just full out for as long as it felt fun (which, granted, was not very long) and then I did it again.

And since I was alone in the dark, I didn’t have to think about how slow I was or how stupid I looked. I just felt happy. And not “happy because my body can do this” or “happy because this is good for me” or “happy for some other reason that justifies and excuses my happiness.” Just happy.

And yet, when I sit here to tell you about it, I find it curious how overwhelming the urge to justify it is, to attach some reason to it other than that it seemed like it might be fun and silly and make me happy and it was those things and did that thing.

Sleep Tight

I had been super impressed with the fact that my medication wasn’t fucking with me too much during this joyful/stressful time.

Last night I went to bed at 10:30 and rolled over this morning to see if I could afford to sleep for a little while longer and it was 8:00!!! Ha ha ha. Lord.

Our other brother got engaged yesterday. I really like his fiancee. I hope she is eyes-open about what she’s getting into.

I’m just about done with this afghan. I have a couple of people waiting on specific things in line, but I think I’m going to make another one of these for a friend who’s been having a hard year first because I want to and this afghan makes me really happy and I need to get my stash way down before I bring more yarn into this house.

Bwah ha ha ha ha

Lord almighty, I took some cold medicine and that was pretty much it for me. So, let’s put “medicines will hit you differently” on the list of things they don’t tell you about going on this shit.

I had weird dreams. One of which is that I was on some dangerous adventure and I kept thinking I’d forgotten to take my birth control pills, but, like the adventure was a crawling through some dangerous undergrowth near some lava alone adventure, not a James Bond adventure, so I kept popping them like candy and at some point in my dream, I look down and it’s clear I’ve just been eating them all day, not even in any order.

My subconsciousness is both “must not forget to take medicine” and “must definitely not get pregnant while crawling near lava.” Which, you know, both good things.

In related news, the Butcher introduced me to Uber Eats, which has made being sick a whole lot less annoying, though I feel like such a capitalist pig every time I use it.

In unrelated news, I love this afghan I’m working on so much. It’s just so beautiful. It is a perfect scrap afghan, though I have to admit, I’d also love to try it with a color scheme.

Anyway, here’s a picture of the interior part and a picture of the octagon part. I didn’t lay out the triangles or the weird shapes, because I’m not sure how they’re all going to work. It’s going to involve math, though, and I’m already pissed about it.

 

WaPo, Round Two

Here is my second thing for the Post. I’m really pleased with how it turned out. I want to be funny and charming and knowledgeable and I think I pulled that off.

I think I have a better idea of why this is happening and what the trajectory could look like and, even though I would appreciate all fingers crossed, I think this will be a somewhat irregular opportunity that falls into my lap from time to time. Which is very lovely. And more may come of it. We’ll see.

In other news, my friend’s baby died yesterday. And, when I was at KFC picking the Butcher up dinner, there were kittens under a truck and I tried to coax them out, but they wouldn’t come and I came home knowing it was going to get down below freezing last night, with me having left those kittens behind.

I don’t mean to sound flip about my friend’s tragedy. There are things people can write about and things they can’t. When I try to wrap my mind around this, it feels like this terrible thing and then a blast zone around it of, like, twenty miles and words fail in the blast zone.

So, you end up trying to talk about the thing without talking about the thing. There are those kittens. There is that small boy. There is Jim’s death. There are a million other heartaches, piling one upon the other, and how do you go on, except to go on?

I don’t know what I’m getting at here except to say that I am so happy and so sad and I don’t really know how to reconcile the two.

 

 

Confidence

I have been thinking about how my parents, as Midwesterners, have discouraged us from feeling too high and mighty. M. and I were trying to explain this to C. the other day, the kind of innate pessimism of Midwesterners. Don’t hope for too much. Don’t think this is going to work out. Work hard and rise to the middle.

One thing that has always confounded and delighted me about living in Nashville is how, with just the luck of being where an editor could see me, I’m now in a position where U.S. Representatives know and read me. I just don’t think that would have happened if I had stayed in Illinois and I can’t quite say why except for, in Illinois, I just wasn’t one of the people that could happen for and down here, there’s not that same barrier, whatever that barrier is.

And yet, still, the idea that I have written something that’s appeared in the Washington Post is ridiculous to me.

I sent my piece in early and told them it was so I had time to rewrite it if they didn’t like it. They told me it was great and I needed to have more confidence in my writing.

I kind of joked it off by saying that all my critics who think I suck can’t be wrong. But I was more put in a mind of that conversation with C. and M. Some people are raised to believe that the world is for them, that they can fail and not have missed their one shot, and that they can do whatever they set their minds to, because why not?

But a lot of us were not. And I have always felt like I am getting away with something here, every step of the way. I know I say all the time that talent is ubiquitous. And I believe that. But I also think that a lot of talented people are trained to not take the shot, lest someone more deserving not get the chance to play. And I think a lot of us believe that we must not be that talented, really, because we see so many other talented people.

In other words, really, we’re trained to self-stack the deck against us so that our “betters” don’t have to waste time doing it.

And I certainly have that tendency, myself, ingrained in me since birth, passed off as “pragmatic” and “realistic.” But I’m trying to not let it stand in my way too much.

Anyway, I don’t really know how long this gig will last or what it will become. I’m taking it one piece at a time. But if they ask me, I’m going to say yes.

Tired

Yesterday I was a human being for most the day. I mailed some crap and walked the dog and ate lunch out and saw a baby and did some Christmas shopping and watched Dirk Gently and today I am supposed to write my Pith post and clean the bathroom and do some laundry. I just now finished up one of those things and not the one that brings me clean underwear.

And I need a nap. I may take a nap. It’s getting better. It’s just a slow climb.

Slowly, Slowly

I had a dream I thwarted a bank robbery with my mad shooting skills. I have no mad shooting skills in real life, of course (that I know of), but in the dream I disarmed one of the robbers and shot the others and was the hero.

And it got me thinking that one of the appeals of action movies is the unbridled confidence. Your body can do these things. You will hurt the right people. You can keep going. A certain kind of swagger that signals “I know what’s going on and have control of the situation.”

I don’t think I’ve ever had that swagger.

I am slowly feeling more myself. I find the whole thing embarrassing. I was explaining to S. earlier that it’s both the embarrassment of finally admitting I’m not heading in the direction I want to be heading and the embarrassment that it’s taking this much to try to get me back on track. And I don’t know why I can’t be the same level of kind and understanding to myself as I would be if this were a friend going through this.

I mean, I do have friends on these same medications and I don’t really think of it at all. I mean, I do now because I have questions and they have answers (turns out the drymouth is totally normal). But in general, I think it’s good that they…

Oh shit. Okay, I think I just realized part of it, too. I find it embarrassing that my friends all realized there was a problem and had the guts to go get help. I am embarrassed that I suffered for so long, with it slowly getting worse, because I was chicken. And I guess, too, that I feel like this is a lot to go through if it doesn’t work. I’m afraid, too, of it not working.

God, this is depressing. Please tell me your thoughts on cockapusses…oh, shit, or was it octacocks? below.

Naaapppiiing

Lord, I want to nap all the time. Slip myself under a warm blanket and just sleep. And this is better than it was! Now I just want to nap. I am not napping.

No, instead, I’m going to turn myself to Walt Whitman this evening. I will report back if I learn anything hopeful.

Mysteries

Yesterday was the first day in two weeks that I haven’t felt the gentle cocoon of a nap wrapping around me every single second of the day. I still feel like my mind is very still in ways that I feel uncertain about. I mostly experience my head as this storm of ideas that, when I need to write, I just surf down, seeing what connections are being made. I trust that something is always happening in there.

I have spent a lot of time lately staring off into space, waiting for those connections to get made and they’re not quite happening or not happening very quickly. I can also sense that is changing, so I’m not yet worried that I’ve lost my mojo or something. But it’s quieter in here, like the nap cocoon has receded physically, but maybe not mentally.

So, I haven’t told my parents and I don’t know why. I mean, on the one hand, it’s not their business, so it’s not a big deal. But I have now lied to them about it and let the lie go two conversations. My dad asked me if I’d read his Christmas letter and I lied and said I haven’t been getting on the computer at night lately and then when he called last night and asked if my cutting off of electronic devices had helped my sleep, I said I hadn’t been doing it long enough to tell. But really, I’m just napping on the couch under the afghan I’m trying to crochet.

I’m not opposed to lying to my parents, for many reasons, but I am not sure why I’m lying now. Which goes back to the cloud in my head. Certainly, way down in my brain somewhere is the reason, but I can’t get to it.

Though now that I’ve slowly written this all out, I think that it’s because, in part, I don’t want to hear that I just didn’t try hard enough. It’s amazing, when you think about it, that I have a master’s degree, a good job in a field I love, a side hustle writing for the Scene, and enough short-story sales under my belt to qualify me for the SFWA, plus a bunch of friends I adore, a bunch of afghans that make me happy, and my hobby of going around looking at things AND YET everything wrong with me is supposedly because I don’t try hard enough. If I just tried harder, I could be thin and pretty and married and not be afraid of heights and open stairwells and so on. I’m just kind of embarrassingly lazy and unwilling to work on my problems, as identified by others.

I think, fundamentally, I can’t do this part–where it’s weird and uncomfortable and I’m kind of uncertain about what’s going on in my brain–while also having to ward off the usual bullshit.

And my parents aren’t monsters. There’s a good chance that, if I told them, they’d not chastise me for not trying hard enough to fix this through sheer force of will. But I’m still protecting myself.

How Can I Keep from Singing?

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The ripples are killing me! I think they might somewhat resolve in the wash, but I blame those three rounds of back-post-double-crochet, where you can see the afghan already not taking on a square shape. But I think the weight of it will eventually pull those rows straight. We’ll see. If it were wool. I’d figure blocking would fix it. But one drawback to acrylic is that you have to live with a certain amount of “I do what I want!”

I’m liking it, though and I think I’m almost done. I mean it’s for a kid. It doesn’t have to be huge.

So, on the other matter, the crazy-pants matter, I have decided I do notice a difference, aside from the fact that, if I sit down for too long, especially in a sunny spot, like right here on the couch, all I can think about is napping. No, also, I feel like singing again in the mornings. I’ve made up a song for the dog. I tried out a Lana Del Ray-ish version of “Wild Rover.” I realized I knew all the words to Liz Phair’s “Polyester Bride.” I have thoughts about All Them Witches.

That’s nice. I missed that.

My Excuse

Sometimes this week, I’ve felt guilty or like I wasn’t doing my part because I just can’t spend all day thinking about all the ways this is going to be terrible and then railing against them on social media. But I can’t do that and function in the world.

And I realize that may be “normalizing” but…I don’t know. I don’t really have any good conclusion. I am afraid. And the dog needs to be walked. So, what do you do, but walk the dog? Laugh with friends? Go on?

Slowly Rewiring

So, the doctor says that the drug works differently on different people. If you find it keeps you awake, you should take it in the morning. If it makes you sleepy, you should take it with dinner. Okay, but when then is the safest time to try to take it the first time?

I picked evening, figuring both that anxiety is a kind of weird alertness and that it’s an easier thing to recover from if you can’t sleep at night than it is if you’re falling asleep during the day.

And whoa, I have been sleeping. I think I could easily sleep ten hours a night. But I’m having vivid, crazy dreams. Like just jumbles of random semi-connected things. When I compare them to the dreams I had been having lately that were so literal and so real I mistook them for reality, I feel like my mind is resuming a kind of lightness.

Maybe I’m being overly hopeful because I just really want this to work. I still had problems in the convention center yesterday, with the big open balconies, so yeah. I mean, I know it’s not even been a week and that’s not enough time. But I’m just saying. I may be noticing things that aren’t actually happening yet.

In unrelated news, this kid’s afghan is hard as heck! I messed up the third square so bad I’m just going to have to abandon it and do a new one. I have set myself a hard task.