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.

This Day

I have to talk on the phone to everyone today. I’m already running late but I didn’t want to not post anything. My parents are about to arrive. I am worried there’s going to be some kind of interrogation about my mental health. I just want to be able to respond with the generosity and calmness and reassurance that will make them less anxious. But maybe they don’t care. Maybe I’m just projecting onto them.

The dog seems to be getting this whole “come when he’s called” thing and, best of all, he seems to really enjoy it. I know it can’t last or be counted on, but I’m enjoying it.

Also, I love this afghan so much. I feel very fortunate to have hit a string of afghans that give me great pleasure.

Jessi Zazu has cancer. The hits just keep on coming this year, I tell you what. I was watching her video where she talks about her diagnosis and shaves her head for her next round of chemo and I couldn’t help but feel like this is offensive, this cancer. Zazu is really trying to make the world a better place. She works so hard for her community. Her music is amazing. And she’s so young. There are so many old sacks of shit in this world. Let cancer take them.

I know I’m not alone in feeling this way about this year, but I feel like the things that are supposed to make us happy–a very wanted baby, for instance, or our friends and mentors–have been shown to be so easily stripped away. And that we’ve lost many of the people I would have turned to in order to make sense of our current moment as a nation and as a world. We’re going into this next year, these next four years, without the people I’ve counted on to make sense of this stuff.

To find beauty and meaning even in very dark days.

I feel like all these massive floodlights have burned out or are burning out and it’s just left to those of us who still have matches to light the way. As the song says, this little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine, but fuck if I know which way to shine it. Or if anyone can see it. Or if all I’m doing is giving away my position.


I love the word “cross.” Not the object, but the feeling. As in, “I’m feeling cross today.” Feeling cross implies that your brows are knit and that you, while not looking for a fight, will happily get in one if one should cross my… I mean your path.

I’m feeling cross today, mostly because I have a doctor’s appointment on Thursday and managed to lose my insurance card but BCBS’s website is down, so I can’t print out something to take with me. Even though I will be able to do so long before Thursday. It just set a tone for the day. Because it took twenty minutes to navigate the website and then the phone tree to finally get to someone who could help me. Ugh.

Also, I feel like I write the same story over and over again.

Which ugh.

Also, this morning I read some bullshit about how women just naturally love their children more than men do and it irks me. Not just because “naturally” is such a bullshit word, but because there are two things hidden in it.

One is the idea that if a man doesn’t show his love for his children exactly how a woman would, she then feels free to diagnose him as not having the same strong feelings for their children. No, actually, all we can tell is not that you love the kids more, but that you have this weird expectation that love and concern must look just like what you do in order to count.

The other is this idea that there’s always been mothers and children in one pile and men out in the world in a separate pile and men were just never a part of the household the same way women were, so there’s something more tragic–if necessary–about women’s lives changing so that we have to work outside the home and can’t be with our kids. But having the majority of men working outside the home is less than 150 years old. And even when men had careers that kept them away from home for long periods of time–like say fishing or whaling–they often brought a kid or two in order to teach them the trade.

I mean, my god, what the fuck do people think this ongoing nostalgia for rural life is rooted in? It’s not that the country is that great in reality–we all do drugs and get pregnant and cheat welfare and beat our kids and carry on like life is short, brutal, and stupid. But farming used to involve the whole family. Fathers spent a tremendous amount of time with their children because they all worked together to have enough to eat and to sell.

I mean, hell yes, being a mom is important. But it’s weird how often it gets framed as a matter of men just naturally not really being that into being parents.

Desire and Grief

One thing about this rewrite that stands out to me is just how close for me desire and grief are, like two notes in a chord where I’m not quiet sure what the third note is yet. I guess because both are a kind of longing.

The rewriting is going more quickly than I’d anticipated. Of course, I haven’t gotten to very many of the parts that have to be massively rewritten because of the narrator change. Mostly I’m just fleshing out some details. and adding some bits about John’s early life. As I get further in, I imagine it will get stickier.

The thing I wonder is how a man like John can be redeemed. If, indeed, he can. I mean, I’m not sure I even believe in redemption, exactly, but what I mean is, if your first act is as a serial killer who doesn’t face legal consequences–because in one time you don’t really exist and in the other time, your victims are already dead–but you regret it, kind of, what is your second act? In that regard, it’s good that he’s run into Ed, who feels such a grave responsibility for each one of his men who didn’t come home.

But it troubles me a little how fleshing John out, giving him a more adult voice as a man with absolutely no boundaries and very little morality in the conventional sense, makes him attractive to me. Charisma and brains are really almost enough to make me not care if a person is a monster. That’s not a trait that’s good for one’s well-being.

On the other hand, fiction is a safe place to explore said feelings, right?

I guess what I’m saying here, folks, is that Han Solo has a lot to answer for. Ha ha ha ha ha..

Friday Night Panic Attacks

Lord almighty, shit is fucked up in my head. I’ve been printing press releases and polishing the lists of addresses where books will go and thus looking up zip codes and getting email lists together. I made a to-do list and checked stuff off it.

I should be feeling proud but I feel light-headed and my heart is pounding in my throat. I am utterly convinced that the book sucks, that it’s not really real, because I don’t have a publisher, and that telling people other than y’all that I wrote it is going to make them feel bad for me, like “Oh, that poor Betsy, doesn’t she know we don’t give a shit about her fake book?”

But all that I kind of expected. I have lived with this fucked up brain for a while now. I know most of its tricks for undermining me.

But it has a new one. One that it’s probably been reciting for a while, very quietly, behind the noise of “you have a fake book everyone will hate.” And that is “You’re going to get in trouble.”

I don’t even know what it means, exactly. I think it’s an old, old piece of bullshit, just floating up to see if it still has any bang left, you know?

But it does! Weirdly. It does.

I mean, I know it’s bullshit, because there’s nothing to get in trouble for. I took out the few words from “Sweet Leilani” and “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” is long in the public domain. I’ve got some stories that mention country music stars but I don’t think I’m violating anyone’s personality rights. Ricky Skaggs sings. Jim Reeves stands around in a parking lot. Lefty Frizzell has breakfast. Those seem like things people do and nothing a family member will get mad about or be embarrassed by. I hope anyway.

But I am completely plagued by this feeling that this will blow up in my face in some terrible, life-destroying way, because I put it in writing, the very thing generations of my family are strictly warned against.

Though how one might be a writer and never put anything in writing is a mystery for the ages, I guess.

But then, writing through it helps.

At least I don’t feel like I’m going to throw up now.

And I got a shit-ton accomplished tonight. And I have good folks helping me with the rest. Still…

Anyway, Chris Jackson is over there talking about women writers and he says, “Anyway, there are ways that our reading is shaped and limited by the biases of the dominant literary gatekeepers” among which he must certainly number himself. Something about that sentence made me wonder if he’s not thinking about the public necessity of his role in ways similar to how I am.

If I Believed in Astrology…

I’d believe that Mercury being in retrograde explains everything about how weird and grueling these last two days have been.

Instead, dear friends, I believe I’m going to have to suck it up and talk with someone about my panic attacks, which have become so terrible I about can’t stand it.  I missed a meeting last week, couldn’t get out of the building yesterday, and missed a meeting today.

And then I feel shaky and run-down after I have them, so that shoots the rest of the afternoon.

I am concerned, to put it mildly, since they seem to be happening more frequently and, in this case, in places I’ve been able to easily navigate before.

But, three cheers for the Professor for coming and rescuing me yesterday.

I don’t know.  It’s weird.  I find them humiliating.  Which, frankly, makes it harder for me to do anything about it.

Yes, I think I told y’all all that before, but it calms me to repeat it, so, sorry, bear with me.

I promise, later, I’ll have some thoughts that actually have something to do with something.

Just Tell Me Now So I know

Do the ways you’re screwed up get worse as you get older or will they eventually start to mellow?

I had a bad bit this afternoon, then drank too much to recuperate, and I still feel weird about it.

This whole heights thing has for sure gotten worse as I’ve gotten older and it interferes with my life in ways that deeply trouble me.

I Cannot Do Your Meme

Sometimes, you read to open your soul up to that Something so much larger and older than you, that Something that you feel like you share with everyone else who has ever curled up on a soft seat to read that book, too.

And sometimes you read to escape, to give yourself a break from what’s going on around you.

And sometimes you read for inspiration, to catch a glimpse of the lives that could be yours, if only you were more daring.

I have a hard time reading when I’m unhappy.  Tonight, I have a hard time thinking about books.  I feel cheated by words.

I made my mom cry this afternoon, not me, by my words, just the truth as I knew it.  Not the half truths we tell each other to get through. Not the lies we tell to protect each other.  Just the truth, and it made her cry, imagining her son in jail, unreachable.

I think of Frigg, begging everything on earth to spare her son, knowing, though, that even the gods can’t escape their fates, knowing that her pleading for just one more break had to be hopeless.

When they discovered he was invincible, they made a game of trying to destroy him.

We don’t hear what Frigg thinks of this.  I suppose she could not bear to watch, but that’s just my guess.  I just think she knew it was inevitable.

Maybe she did watch, hoping that it would happen sooner, rather than later, and maybe that guilt was hard for her to live with–a woman powerful enough that her words could keep even the Old Man safe, who couldn’t keep her baby boy out of harm’s way.

I wish we had those stories, too.  I feel a little cheated without them.

My dad and the men in his family can turn any family tribulation into some echo of Biblical tragedy.  It makes them feel that there’s order, meaning to the random, meaningless shit that happens.

It’s hard for me to think of stories at a time like this.  I want to think about books I love, but I’m not sure at the moment that I love books.  I mean, I know there is some girl who lives here who loves them, the feel of the shape of words in her mouth, the smell of fresh ink on wood pulp.  But I feel cut off from her.

Like I have to shut the door on her for a while in order to make it through this next week.

Lady Macbeth, standing on the edge of the world, a mad sea and Vikings as much a threat as her conscience, says, “Unsex me here,” Let me go of the things that make me weak so that I can do what must be done.

I have no desire to kill kings.

I can’t remember what my point was.  Just that I feel cut off from th familiar things I love.  And thinking about books makes me cry.

Let the Unfocused Fretting Begin

Among many, one of the reasons I was glad to go to Boston is just to be remined that I do actually like to travel.  When most of my travelling is for work, I forget that.  Because I really don’t like this part of travelling for work.

When I get to the airport, I’ll be fine.

But right now, I have to do laundry, pack, make sure I have my passport and some good reading materails in my bag, as well as my wallet.  I need to go deposit some checks.  I also need to do some dishes and make sure that the stuff that didn’t get in the boxes of stuff sent from work gets in my suitcase.

The truth is that there’s not that much to do, actually, and I will be able to do it all just fine.

Right now, though, I feel kind of paralyzed by it.

The Butcher is supposed to be getting me a new Ipod today, to replace the one he washed (Ipods–not waterproof, who knew?), so I will have that to take with me.  My flight to Montreal is all kinds of stupid.  I’m flying to Dallas to fly to Canada.  I booked my trip, so I have no one but me to blame, but I can’t for the life of me remember why I thought that would be a good idea.

I’m nervous about the money thing.  I know I’ll be able to pay by credit card for almost everything, but what about the cab from the airport to the hotel?  I guess I do need to get some cash exchanged.  I’ve never done that before, either.

The Professor and I were out looking at houses yesterday, just for kicks.  She goes out of couriosity.  I go just to feel justifiably angry at my lot in life.  Anyway, we were talking about how one of our mutual friends is really interested in understanding “class” not just as in how much money you make, but class in terms of culture.

In other words, it is a difference, not just in terms of income, but in terms of expectations and understandings of how the world works that you would spend ten thousand dollars on a purse because you found it more aesthecially pleasing than the five thousand dollar purse while I would decide that a purse ought to cost $20-$25 and I go to Target and get a purse that costs that much.

The Professor was saying how weird it is because when she’s at home, she feels like she knows more about music and art and movies than just about anyone in her family (so to them, she is “cultured” in some way that they are not), but within her own department, she feels like people, at the least, think it’s peculiar that she seems to really like movies instead of having a proper appreciation of cinema.

And I was talking to Martin Kennedy a little about this, too, about how you cannot underestimate the importance of knowing how to fit–who to go to in order to hear about jobs, who to listen to for financial advice, even how to best present yourself to get into college.  It’s not knowledge everyone had or has access to or is even aware that they’re lacking it.

In other words, sometimes it embarrasses me to sit here and say “Oh, gosh, wow.  I’m leaving the country for the first time in my adult life and I’m excited and nervous and a little scared and also thrilled” even though I know I’m not even going to be out of driving distance of my loved ones.  If something goes wrong, they can always come and get me.  In other words, I’m just going to Canada.  It hardly counts as international travel.

But I am excited and nervous and I want to share that with you, at the same time I know it marks me.  It tells you more about me than I might otherwise be comfortable sharing with you.

And I don’t really know why it embarrasses me.  Maybe for the same reason it pisses me off to drive clear down to Nolensville and see them selling houses for $300,000.  It makes me feel like I don’t belong–both things, that I haven’t ever left the country as an adult and that I’ll be lucky if there’s any place I can afford to live in Nashville by the time I can afford to buy a house, make me feel like the rube who doesn’t get how the world works in ways that are utterly obvious to everyone else.

I can’t help it.  If I’m not going to fit in, I want it to be because I’m a rebel, not because I’m a bumpkin.  I could play the game, but fuck your game, not there’s a game?  What game?

I want to be cool, what can I say?

I’m all the time bringing Mack music that I love and forcing him to listen to it and he always waits patiently through song after song that’s meaningful to me and hurrying to turn it off as quickly as he can afterwards.

It hurts my heart that Mack doesn’t like my music.  (He’s a little disdainful of my choice in movies, as well, but I figure, “I don’t really watch movies,” sounds sufficiently snobby as to not reveal that my bad taste spreads across genres.)  Of course I want the cool kid to think I’m cool, too.

But alas, folks, in the hours of music I’ve brought him to listen to, he’s only ever once said, “Hey! I love this.” (“Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Whithers, if you’re keeping score at home.)  Mostly he’s all about how it’s too noisy or lacking in talent or whatever.

The other day, though, he said, “All your songs sound like hymns.”

Boy has that stuck with me and boy do I like it.  All my songs sound like hymns.

I love the idea of revealing, by way of my song choice, that I’m interested in finding the sacred in the profain, and that I’m still comforted and challenged and moved by the structures my parents instilled in me as a child.

Now I cannot wait for the arrival of my Ipod so that I can sit in airplanes and in airports listening to hymns I didn’t quite recognize as being such.

Is It Too Much to Ask?

I want a cabinet like this.  I thought it might be easy enough to build one, but I think I might have been dissuaded from that.  But here’s the thing.  This is a hundred and fifty bucks and it doesn’t come assembled, which means, I’d still have to put it together.

I couldn’t do better putting one together from scratch?

I really only want to spend fifty dollars.

Is that so wrong?

With My Luck, I Will Catch the Black Plague


I have fleas.  Well, technically, I’m covered in flea bites, but I’m guessing that means something in the house has fleas.  The animals are all Frontlined (I believe.  The Butcher and I may have to have a talk about whether he’s been keeping the cats up to date.), but I am still riddled in little red bumps.

My fear is that my beloved computer chair may be infested.

On the plus side, my right foot, which has more bites that my left foot, is no longer swelling like a loaf of bread.  I wonder if I can use leeches to reduce the swelling on my left foot, then. I mean, I wonder if it’s a loss of blood from the flea bites that has helped the right foot.  And, if so, can I get some blood-letting done on the left?

Do barbers still do that?  Hmm.

Ha, you know, I had this idea that I would write a post about the undo influence The Addams Family television show had on me as a child, but I couldn’t really think of anything to say other than how much I loved Gomez Addams and how I couldn’t possibly pick between John Astin and Raul Julia as my favorites.

Raul Julia… See, now that’s a name a woman can whisper to her lover.  Well, if her lover is Raul Julia, I guess.  I just think those are some nice syllables.  Raaaahhhh oooooollllll hooooolllllllllleeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh.  Shoot, drag that out just right and it’ll do you for the whole act.  Ra-ah-ah-ah-ah–oooo-ooolll-hoo-ooo-ooo-lllllllllllleeeeeeeeeeeeee-ahhh.

Ha, I tickle me.

You know, the Addamses would have found something delightful about being covered in little red spots.  So, I think this ended up being a fitting post all together anyway.

Birthday, A Recap

The Great:

Breakfast at the Mason Jar.  Have y’all ever been there?  I swear, I had eggs, bacon, home fries, biscuits and gravy, and a drink for like four dollars.  And it was so much food I almost couldn’t eat it.  An amazing amount of food.

Giving Little Pasture a Guatamalen baby.  God bless Brittney Gilbert for being up for anything.  We called her to tell her we were coming and that woman was in on the plan instantly.  And boy did she sell that she’d found something weird.

Brownies and ice cream.  Mack’s people made me brownies and ice cream for my birthday.

The kid who was peeking under the dressing room doors at the Goodwill, who, when he got caught, would not talk to anyone or do anything except stand there staring at his shoes as hard as he could.  So cute.

How I was trying to talk to my dad on the phone and Mack and his kids were all, at various points, also trying to talk to my dad on the phone.

When I called the Man from GM to ask him about how much more money I should put into my car, he said “About five dollars.  I think you can get a good ‘for sale’ sign for five dollars.”

The look on Mack’s face when I asked the Man from GM what kind of car he really likes and thinks a person should get and he said, “A Town & Country.”  Mack’s whole face scrunched up like he’d just tasted poo.  Pooh?  I guess Pooh probably tastes like honey.  So, it must be poo.

The Sucky:

My car.  It’s as aligned as it can be because I’ve got some other front end problem I can’t afford to get fixed.  And when I asked the guys at the dealership how I can tell if putting another five hundred dollars into it would fix the car to the point where I could at least drive it until it was paid off or if this was just the start of it being a never-ending money pit, the one guy said, well, to get your oil leak fixed is bound to be another $400, so, really you’re probably looking at $900 to bring it up to good condition, but you don’t have to do that right away.

And here’s the thing.  I love my car.  I don’t mean that I love my car as some tool that helps me in my day to day life.  I mean, when I turned it on last night and the dashboard lights flickered on and off a few times like they couldn’t decide if they were going to come on and stay on, I talked as sweet to that car as I’ve talked to lovers resting on my breast, coaxing it to just keep going, a little more, to get me home.

Having a car makes me feel free.

There’s that.

Then there’s the fact that I am not used to and have a hard time accepting when there’s just something I don’t know about.

Mack’s all “We’ll just get you a new car.  I can work a deal.  Blah blah blah fix-it-cakes.” and I’m standing there getting more and more frustrated and, frankly, scared because it makes no sense to me, none at all, that you can get a car when you still owe money on the car you have, which is, apparently, falling apart as fast as I can come up with the money to keep putting it back together.

I see Mack’s mouth moving.  I hear the words coming out.  I talk to the Man from GM.  He also seems to think this would be a reasonable course, considering the circumstances.

And I cannot wrap my brain around it.  It makes no sense to me. 

Mack and the Man from GM might as well be saying, “Purple buzzards lick red flowers.”  The words are words I recognize.  I get that that’s a sentence, but it has no meaning to me; it just sounds like nonsense.

I find that sensation really scary–this feeling like I have to make a decision about a subject I know nothing about.  And reading up is not going to help me because I cannot understand the basic concepts that underlie whatever it is I’m reading about.

I don’t get this at some elementary level.

And I really, really need to.

Justifing Myself

Blegh, y’all. It’s been a hard lunch hour. I feel like a shitty friend. It’s not important why except to note that I don’t normally feel like the most fucked up person on the block and then something will happen, like someone will be all “Why don’t we have peanut butter and jelly for lunch?” and I’m all “My grandma did too love me” and… I don’t know… it’s just hard.

I know we all drag our shit around behind us;–speaking of Scrooge–we wear the chains we forged in life. But I find those moments really hard. I explain myself. The person clearly wants to move on. I feel compelled to explain myself again. They clearly, more than ever, want to move on. And I want… I don’t know what I want. I guess to feel like the choices I’ve made are the best choices I could have made, given the circumstances.

And I get really difficult to deal with when I feel that that’s threatened–my belief that I’m making the best choices I can.

And I feel bad about inflicting that on people.

I don’t know.

It’s fine. It’s just some shit I’ve got to work through.

Edited to add: See?!  Even now.  I’m still upset about it and am trying to justify to myself why I’m upset about it.  It’s like never-ending circular stupidity.

Have I No Heart?

All right, America, I have to ask you the kind of question that, just by me asking, reveals me as some kind of thoughtless, horrible person.

I’ve listened to the tape of Alec Baldwin yelling at his daughter and I just have to ask, “What the the fuck is so outrageous about this?”

I mean, don’t get me wrong. I get that you’re not supposed to call your kid names and you’re not supposed to talk to them in a vaguely menacing tone. But I swear to god, last night on MSNBC, they were analyzing this thing like he was threatening to fly to L.A. and beat the shit out of her.

You see what I’m saying? I get why what he’s doing is wrong; I just don’t get why it’s outrageous.

He sounds pissed off and hurt and he executed very, very poor judgment in calling her a pig.

And I don’t want to sound dismissive of that, but please. I’m related to people whose dad knocked them down the stairs for fun. Anyone who knows kids in the foster system can tell you horror stories about what parents do to their kids.

Those things rarely make the news.

And yet, Baldwin loses his temper with a kid who’s across the country from him, who won’t even talk to him, and we’re all supposed to sit around and tut tut over how he’s doing irreparable damage to her?

Maybe this just tells you something about how I was raised, but I cannot for the life of me figure out why the news thinks I should find his behavior worth gasping in shock over.

Do people really have families where the parents never majorly fuck up?  Where this kind of behavior is utterly foreign to them?

My Constant Companion

I just got off the phone with the Professor, which I highly recommend to everyone who’s feeling out of sorts. I, of course, was feeling quite out of sorts after being called a narcissistic princess by a man whose praises I spent all Tuesday singing, but I chose not to burden the Professor with that.

Instead, I was telling her about my exciting trip to the counsellor. I won’t bore you with the details except to say that I’ve been told I need to get a reign on my inner child and possibly some medication for my mildly moderate depression.

It is this mildly moderate depression I’d like to mull over.  It’s not that I doubt that I’m fucked up.  Clearly, I’m fucked up.  I’m not an idiot.  But I don’t feel depressed.  Except for the thing that shall not be named, I feel pretty good about my life.  Exciting things are happening; we’re more financially secure than we’ve ever been (knock on wood); I’ve got good friends who love me; and I’ve got the cutest dog who delights me.

I don’t feel depressed.

I feel anxious.

And that’s kind of two-pronged what the Professor and I were talking about, how I have a ton of anxiety and that, even though it seems to have manifest itself more acutely recently, that’s also because I’ve been doing a lot of new things that are incredibly scary and great sources of anxiety for me.

In the past, I just would not have done those things and so I probably appeared less anxious, but basically just because I stayed in my comfort zone and never did things that would cause me any anxiety.  But now, as I’m doing more things that freak me the fuck out, lo and behold, I am often freaked right the fuck out.

So, it’s kind of a self-perpetuating problem–doing new things makes me anxious but I want to do new things so that I can get over being freaked right the fuck out by doing them.  I mean, folks, I have every intention of making Don Coyote put me back on that fucking four-wheeler and listening to me bitch and cry again until I finally just get the fuck over it, if I can.  I’d like that, anyway.

I hadn’t ever been to a counsellor of any sort before.  It’s not what I expected.  And I felt like I was spending a lot of time just bringing her up to speed so that she could understand me.  I don’t think anything during the session helped me understand me.

But the work I did afterwards, to try to understand what she was saying and to judge it against my own understanding of myself has been amazingly useful.

I don’t mean to make it sound like I’m discounting her diagnosis.  It’s just that I don’t feel depressed and I rely a great deal on my emotions and intuition to guide me.  I’d be really freaked out to discover that I was so out of touch with the tools I so heavily rely on that I couldn’t tell when I was depressed.

On the other hand, I always feel a little anxious.  Anxiety is a constant companion and one that does get in the way sometimes of me being in touch with my own self–as evidenced by the anxiety attacks and my freaked out response to them.

And the other thing is that I don’t want to patch myself together just so I can continue to do the thing we won’t talk about.  If it takes drugs and counselling to make it so I can continue to bear the thing we won’t mention, it seems to me that I need to find some thing other than the thing we won’t mention to spend my time on.

Is that myopic?

Fish nor Fowl

I had lunch with Mack today.  It was nice and I had a good time, but I didn’t like it.

That’s not Mack’s fault–I adore him–, which is why I’m filing this under “Ways I’m Fucked Up.”  He asked me a question and it was a good one, hard to answer, and it’s left me feeling all day like he caught me with my skirt tucked into my pantyhose.   

I don’t know.  It’s stupid.  I probably shouldn’t bring it up, but I still feel upset about it, like I’m transparently… I don’t know what… something… I guess if I could call it something that would help.

But here it is.  I feel like  everyone can see that I’m [something I guess I hoped wasn’t obvious] and only Mack has had the courtesy to tell me.

But I can’t figure out how to articulate what that something is.  And that’s really upsetting me.

I don’t know.

Sheltered.  That’s almost right.  He just inadvertently reminded me that I was raised up to flourish in a way of life I’ve walked away from and I’m not above my raising.  And I don’t know why that’s upsetting to me, but it is. 

Rigid Vs. Strong

I was thinking about this on my walk yesterday with Mrs. Wigglebottom, mulling it over after a rather grueling day at work on Friday, and I wonder if there’s some distinction between rigid and strong that I don’t make very well.

Here’s how I work, in general, “No, I’m not going to do that.  No, because I won’t like it. No.  God damn it.  Fine.  Oh, hey, you have to try this awesome thing I do all the time.”  Or, “I will make the right decision.  I will weigh all the factors and mull over everything and come to the correct conclusion, even if it takes me all year.  Even if it holds everything else up.  Even if there might be some easier way or outside help to be had.”

See, I’m rigid.

I think I’ve gotten better about it, but I think I’ve gotten better about it in part because I’ve become more confident and stronger.  I haven’t had to rely on rigidness to the same extent, because I’ve been strong instead.

But what I need to do is to learn to become supple.  And that’s hard for me, I think, because I’m not clear on the ways I’m being rigid instead of strong and decisive.

I don’t know.  Probably this doesn’t make any sense.  I’m trying to articulate something I only have a loose grasp of. 

Anyway, I also wanted to say that, it took me a few days, but I’ve decided that the last picture of my second boob freckle is actually kind of hot.  Hmm.  

 That tickles me.

The Freckle I Never See

When I was in college, I got sick. I don’t remember if it was the time I had pneumonia or some other time. It makes sense that it would have been when I had pneumonia, but it also could have been the year I spent drunk. Anyway, I was very sick, like I hadn’t been since I was a kid.

And I spent all night in the dark feeling like deathly shit until it got light. And then, I looked down at my body and scared the shit out of myself. I was way, way too big. I looked like a mountain range.


Yep, just for a second, I was imagining myself at six again, and the sight of my grown-up body disconcerted me to the point I almost screamed.


Not that my everyday relationship with my body is much better.

Look here. Brittney has this fabulous picture of herself. You will never see a picture of me like that, ever. I will never be that at ease around one, that trusting that what it shows is worth looking at.


Or look here at Plimco, having her naked superhero contest.

Is that brave? I don’t think either of them would say that it is and yet…

From the outside, it looks like fun. That’s why it bothers me that I can’t do it.

I keep thinking, what if it wasn’t me? If these bits and pieces belonged to someone else, say a friend of mine, would I accept this bullshit behavior from her–never looking at herself and enjoying what she sees?


I would not. I’d be furious.

Fuck it. I would rather do anything than write this post.


I want to see myself as beautiful and worth loving and believe it to be true. When does that happen?


Does it come when you finally make peace with the ordinary or do you begin to see yourself in some new way?


Into a Corner

I’ve gotten myself into a corner with this Plimco thing and I’ve got no idea how to get out.  Everybody is well-meaning and everyone is doing what it seems like they inevitably must and I am stuck.  I think that means someone isn’t being forthright about what she wants and I’m just not seeing it.

Plus, I think I’ve decided that “Lovesick Blues” is indeed the quintessential American song.  But I could be unconvinced. 

The Mind Wanders Where It Will

Plimco has suggested something to me–I’m not going to mention right now what it is for fear of jinxing myself and thus not being able to complete it–but it is awesome and I am excited, which means that all I can do is mull it over.  I try to work, but the brain wanders right back to this thing.  I try to blog, same thing.  I tried to eat lunch, nope, no good.

Now, I’m trying to figure out how I can kick the Butcher out of the house for the evening in order to have dedicated time to this.

See, even when I’m not thinking about it, I’m contemplating how to find time to think about it. 

Blue Monday

The Butcher has decided that he might start looking for a new job in a couple of months.  My dad has started a subtle, yet effective, campaign to get us up to Illinois to see their new house. 

I get tired of how easily the same old shit sneaks up on me.

Today, I stumbled across something that had my name and “Age: 32” on it and I was like, my god, maybe I’m too old to be still living like this, like I’m still waiting for things to start.

You know what I hate most about me, aside from the crippling insecurity?  It’s that I think I feel terrible things much more thoroughly than I feel the good things.  I’m terrible about good things.  I tuck them away, like one might put a beautiful butterfly in a box, only to take it out later and find that it crumbles to dust when you touch it.

Last year, I worked on something that meant a lot to me.  I worked my ass off on it and when the time for accolades came, I didn’t get any.  Which is fine, in some regards; it’s the nature of my job.  And I don’t know how to graciously accept accolades anyway.

I don’t know where I’m going with this.

To speak in vague terms, something else good is happening with this project and I had to set aside some time recently and draw together the materials so that the person who’s facilitating this good thing–getting some shit you’d think would be on the national historical places list already on there where it belongs–could have some maps and photos she needed for her presentation.

I invisibly facilitate other people’s successes.  I’m good at it because I like to see people succeed and I have no ability to imagine myself as successful in their place; I don’t get in the way of the work I do.  I’m good at my job because I accept my place as being invisible.

Sometimes I have these moments that feel like I feel when I’m up too high.  When I’m up too high, I literally cannot make my body move.  I can’t hear anything; it’s like the noise of the world just turns off.  It’s like the terror makes me deaf.

Ha, it’s funny.  Sometimes I get so mad I can’t hear either.  I wonder if that’s a form of synesthesia?

Anyway, I have these moments where I just want to go ahead and fling myself into fear and doubt.  I’m suspicious that, if I could just give myself over to it and let myself work through it, I could get over it and get on with things.

But there’s no one here but me to keep things moving.  And so I don’t.

I do wonder if I could learn to start invisibly facilitating my own successes.

Here’s what’s bugging me.  I don’t feel different than you.  I never have.  I feel like I must be just like everyone else, except less sure of myself.  I can remember when Shug’s cousin took me aside and said “We’ve never known anyone like you.  You’re not like anybody else here.”  The weight of that “we.”  Or when my grandpa told my cousin I was a very weird girl.

Maybe that’s why I never really rebelled–I was always on the outside, somehow.

I don’t know.  I say things aren’t different, but they are.  Writing makes them different.  I used to be able to write wallowing posts where I’d sit here and cry and exorcise all my demons and it’d be hard, but god damn, it’d feel better.

I don’t write like that any more.  I don’t know if there aren’t any big demons left to slay or what.  Or if we’re just beyond the things I recognize as being problems and kind of drifting out into uncharted territory.

I’m afraid I’m too weird for you.

I’m afraid I’m not good enough for you.

And I’m afraid in saying that that you’re all going to rush in and say nice and supportive things and I won’t know how to respond both because I don’t know how to experience the full weight of good things and also because what’s fucked up in me you can’t fix, even though I really wish you could, and so kindness from others is kind of beside the point.

I didn’t like the cathartic posts, but I liked how they helped me feel better once they were out–like cutting out something rotted.  This is more like trying to stab at bugs with a fork.  There’s no great revelations, no catharsis, just me and this anxious feeling that I’m doing it wrong.

And I worry that doing it publicly makes it less likely that you will love me.  But I worry that, if I don’t do it publicly, I won’t have the guts to do it at all.

So, there you go.

I should probably get a hobby, like drinking myself into a stupor or pressing flowers.

This Year, I am Not Going to Get Freaked Out about Renewing the Lease

I try to take small steps on the road to non-fucked-up-ness.  Possibly, this means that I will never actually achieve non-fucked-up-ness.  This is fine.  I’m merely attempting to reach, “Easy for me to live with.”

I think the biggest step I took on this path was going to the bank this time last year and consolidating all of my credit card debt into one big pile of debt and one tiny pile of debt.  The tiny pile of debt will be paid off this month, which mean that next month I can take the money that was going to the tiny pile of debt and put it towards the big pile of debt on top of the money that is already earmarked for it.

This feels like such a grown-up thing to do that I fear I’ve overlooked something important and it’s really going to turn out that I also owe $2500 to the Russian mob, which they’re going to make me pay off by scooping horse shit on some farm down in Williamson County.

Anyway, so I have my “fear of never getting out from under mound of crippling high-interest rate debt” managed.  I am going to get out from under it, if I stick to my plan.

Another paralyzing fear I have is that our landlord will not want to renew our lease and we will be forced to move.  Writing it out like that makes it seem like a stupid fear.  We pay our rent on time and without complaint every month.  We take care of our own issues, so we don’t trouble him with stuff to do.  And, though the place is messy, it’s not filled with bugs or rats or other vermin.  Why would he not renew our lease?

And, if he doesn’t, I’ve been putting money in savings every month so that we have money to move on, and I’m cruelly not letting the Butcher make any birthday travel plans until I know if we’re going to need that money, too.

The moving thing is just a hang-up I have.  It’s hugely traumatic for me and I just can’t stand it.  I want to live in this place until I can afford to buy a place and then I want to live in that house for the next million years.  I don’t want to move from Nashville.  I don’t even want to move from this neighborhood.  I want to put down roots.  I want to make friends and know that we will be friends until we just naturally drift apart.  I want to know the people in my neighborhood and know that they know me.  I want to be recognized at the grocery store because I go in there so often, not because folks have been gossiping about me.

I want to have a hometown.

I want this to be it.

If the landlord wants us to move, it doesn’t actually affect all that other stuff, but in my mind, they are so closely linked that moving one causes the whole rest of the mess to shift.

But this year, I’m not going to get freaked out about it.  I will allow myself to be unreasonably nervous, but I’m not going to be paralyzed with fear.

That’s my goal.

It’s Dark Out!

My landlord is still mowing our lawn.  I don’t know why, but it irritates me so much I got up from my nap, refrained from throwing chairs at him, and came over here to complain to y’all.

Who mows the lawn in the dark?

Sure, he can mow our lawn in the dark because the grass is over three feet high in some places, which means it’s easy enough to see where you need to put the mower, even in the dead of night, but come on!

I could mow our lawn in twenty minutes and I’m a big fat baby who hates physical labor, if I mowed our lawn once a week.

It takes him two hours to mow our lawn, though, because, bless his heart, he’s out there with an old crappy push-mower trying to tame the wild prairie.

Shoot, he’d have an easier time of it if he just staged a controlled burn.