Wednesday, September 19, 2012

On Reflection

I find myself staring at the sky a lot lately.

I'm so grateful that I know what it feels like, falling through clouds at a scary-as-hell velocity.

I look up, and all I can think of is: how soon before I can get back? After the helluva adrenaline rush, I felt alive and tranquil. The earth was safely tucked away in its miniature proportions of fields & roads. For a few minutes, I didn't have to deal with any of that. Sadness. Car rides. The whole logistics of my new life. 

Was this what birds feel constantly? The peace of in-between? I wanted to stay there forever.
When I landed, I couldn't stop smiling. I felt serenely happy, but joltish too, the way I feel after a really long tattoo session. All those endorphins swimming around, bumping into my insides ... 

And then my jump instructor kissed my hand, and I felt goofishly happy about that too. It's nice to be acknowledged in that red-blooded way. 

I wrote a poem about the whole experience and workshopped it for class last night. My fellow poetesses used words like "sensual" and "awakening." They encouraged me to go deeper, pull the physicality and eroticism through the images, like a bright red yarn pulled through a pale-hued sweater.

More goofy smiling. And then this morning, a co-worker pulled out her iphone and said: Look. Half off skydiving. Do you want me to send you the link?

I was just ending my hellish shift of midnight to eight (stretching on to nine), but the glassy surface of her iphone made me break into an impromptu dance.

Oh my God, how much I love the sky.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What Happens Now

So next week, J is moving out. He signed a year's lease for a studio apartment. Coincidentally, my birthday is also next week.

There's a lot to think about. Every since late February, my brain has been working overtime, trying to process what has happened to me, and by extension, to us. To the me+him part that used to be such a central part of my life. 

Last year, I never went out with J. It was simply unthinkable. The only things I did alone was go to the gym and the grocery store. Every time we hung out with friends, or saw a movie, or went to a concert, we went together.

Now I'm learning who I am without the him. I admit, sometimes it is a bit of a steep learning curve. Other times, it feels revelatory. Even freeing. There are some people I know socially who has not yet met J. They have no concept of the me+him part, just the me. 

Girl awakens from life coma, and finds out that she does have feet to stand on. A mouth to speak up with. An opinion that matters. Her body occupies a space that belongs rightfully to her. There is no shame in owning that space.

It's just saddens me that there has to be collateral damage.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Part Two

White flag: in drawer. 

I'm coming to the realization that the things that I would love to do if they didn't scare me a lot (but *probably* won't physically injure me or others), are exactly the sort of activities I should be doing. 

So -- I will be skydiving in two weeks. And less impressive, yet equally frightening (at least for me), I challenged myself in a social situation that, a year or even four months ago, I would have never pushed myself to do. When I mentioned it to my co-worker today, she was impressed. :) Sorry that is vague. But let's just say, it ended up being a bit awkward (as expected), but I left feeling so goddamned proud of myself. 

Tonight I went to a book club meeting. Yesterday I vigorously played board games at a coffee shop for four and a half hours. Every day I'm going out and meeting people. It's starting to get, let's dare say ... fun. 

For a self-proclaimed shy person, this is gigantic. 

And I've signed up for a poetry workshop in the fall. I think it'll be good to keep connected with fellow writers, even if I did swear for years I'd never take a formal poetry class ... ahh, the way things change.

To review: 
- If I want to do something, I'm going to try not to let fear get in my way.  Case in points: tattoos, skydiving, awkward social events. 
- Book clubs are lovely, but don't sign up for too many, because then you'll end up reading books while walking down the street, cooking, and walking the dog. I have four books to read in the next month. When writing regularly, going to work, and trying to be social, this is a bit of a feat.
- Listening to really loud rap music is like putting on a bunch of clothes and feeling invulnerable. Not actually a review item, just something I'd like to point out. I'm discovering rap music, cause all my indie rock/folk/Tori Amos/PJ Harvey/Bright Eyes stuff makes me weepy.

That about wraps it up.

Saturday, August 18, 2012


Do I wave the white flag? It's in my hand. Next month will be autumn. Fall is a really nice time to burrow away, watch a lot of TV, try not to think or create or learn or grow. I can do this very easily. Fade away from the people/places/scenes/mindset I'm trying to be a part of. Step backwards into invisible girl land. Stay there indefinitely.

I'm just so tired. So very tired.

I keep getting out of bed. Making an effort. Interacting with people in genuine ways, even if it leaves me vulnerable. Staying connected to the world. Writing. But it's exhausting, and this morning I'm wondering: how much good is it actually doing? Crazy is not the same as good. Neither is complicated, stressful, or confusing. There used to a healthy sprinkling of bedazzlement, but I'm not feeling it anymore. 

I was talking to a friend at work about my tattoo, the Enda Walsh quote (newly souped up with Disneyesque Van Gogh stars):
the woods no more and only this mountain to climb
And her comment was, "Yeah, but ever notice how sometimes you think you're out of the woods, and then you end up right back there again?"

Or perhaps it's more like this: you're out of the woods, but the open space is just so immense and overwhelming, you head straight back for the shelter of the trees. Knowing fully that you're only hurting yourself in the long run.

You're lost there, but it's a good kind of lost. And so you decide to stay.  

I could do a lot of things in the great open bewildering space of the world. Watch the worst/best movie at the theatre, eat cheesecake, see a punk band, write until I bleed words. And that's just today. 

Or I could just sleep, white flag waving from my bed post. 
My choice. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

What I've Learned

Life is complicated. The more folks I meet, the more complicated my life becomes. (Un)fortunately(?), I find that I actually like people. It's the strangest thing, especially for a recovering shy girl. It's also a bit dizzying, because a writer by nature needs to have a certain amount of solitude. I need a few hours every night at the kitchen table with just my ipod and a notepad, or my laptop. Staring off in space. Writing a sentence. And then off I go. 

How did the writers of yore balance themselves? The Henry Millers and Virginia Woolfs and F. Scott Fitzgeralds. Okay, I realize that at least two of those examples had tragic lives that ended early, and F. Scott, at least, had a significant problem balancing the social with the writing life. Not to mention Zelda. Poor Zelda! But you get my gist. 

Even when I am at home, there is no solitude. It is like being adrift in a vast and terrible sea. On a hostile pirate ship. Without a sword, or even a parrot. It's not actually funny, but I find myself unable to talk about "the home situation" without making some kind of joke, or smiling in a wry way. 

It's actually pretty tragic. 

To tell you the truth, there's not one aspect of my life that isn't completely f%cked up right now. The 8:30 to 5 job is the least torturous. In 2011, I would have told you the reverse. In 2011, everything was cats and Doctor Who and endless hypnotic evenings spent knitting cardigans/hats/socks. With some Etsy splurges mixed in. I certainly wasn't exorcising/traumatizing myself by writing. 

Writing saves and drowns at the same time. It's like peeling layers of myself open, examining myself, and thinking simultaneously: oh Jesus/how pretty.

So that's the current state of my world.
How pretty.
Oh Jesus. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

But That Christian Bale Is Kinda Sexy, Yeah?

One Batman-theme potluck ('Bane of my existence' pasta salad, anyone?) and the second viewing of The Dark Knight Rises later, and I feel a bit overindulgent. I do want to revisit The Dark Knight at some point, and start reading the Detective Comic series. Anyone out there with pointers about where to start? Pre or post the New 52? Also, I wonder if there are any non-skeezy archs with Catwoman out there. I read all the complaints about the New 52 reboot. Hmm, I suppose I should take these questions to the nice men and women behind the counter at the Phantom of the Attic ...

It was nice to geek out tonight, though. Good to know there are folks out there who care passionately about comic books and sci-fi and anime, and even that scary board game business, of which I was briefly exposed to, and might want to learn more about. He he. 

It's also nice to hang out with people whose paths don't usually cross mine. No writers in the bunch, or MFA-ers, or anyone with advanced degrees in the creative arts. I love my writerly, teacherly friends, but sometimes it feels good to break away for a bit. I wonder what other little subsets of Pittsburgh culture I can discover? I have no interest in sports-fanaticism, and am frightened of the hipsters ... is there some fringe crafty community out there? People who are a bit out of the demographic for yarn store culture, but who still knit/crochet cowls like speed fiends? Hmm, I wonder. 

There is a scene in TDKR that brings tears to my eyes. Both times I watched the movie. I don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen it yet, but let's just say: it seems especially apt right now. Searing cinematography, simple, beautiful. I felt it on a very personal level. It resonated in my bones. 

Anyway. There's cookie baking, hair cuts, thrift store rummaging, running, writing, agent-searching, and more generalized socializing on the horizon for tomorrow. If I can scrounge the time, I may even break out the mason jars and can a few bottles of cherry-strawberry preserves. Anything's possible at this point. Right? 

Friday, July 27, 2012


I overheard a conversation I wasn't supposed to hear today, having to do with myself. Overheard gossip is normally cringe-worthy, but this one was nice. Really nice. 

Basically, it was about how I had made a total 180 in my attitude, appearance, and personality, and started embracing life. The women having this conversation agreed that it was great that I had done this. Am continuing to do this. How it's fear that holds most people back. 

It was the best compliment I've received in a long time. 

And they're absolutely right. Fear is what holds people back. Fear is what held me back for as many years that I was cognitive.

Fear still has an insidious way of creeping in, now and then. It's that little voice, telling me I'm not good enough/smart enough/pretty enough, so I shouldn't even try. The same voice encouraging me to stay at home and watch TV. Why bother going out, meeting new people, strengthening the relationships I already have, experiencing new things? I can shop on Etsy instead. Or just lie in bed and read. And every time I hear it, I have to make a conscious effort to blast it back out. 

So it frightens me, being physically too sick to go out tonight. Yesterday, I pushed myself despite my low-grade fever and scratchy throat. I went out, attended a meeting, had a late dinner in good company. And I'm glad I did. But today, all I could manage was a brief trip to the store for girly supplies (face mask, shampoo, mascara). I almost thought I was going to pass out in the middle of the shiny-floored store. 

So -- apartment bound. I've decided to give it a nice spin. It's a home spa night. I'm dyeing my hair a cheerful color, painting my nails a pink that might not survive the week (we'll see how nauseating it becomes by Monday), watching ridiculous movies, and reading short stories in my pajamas. I may even pop some popcorn. Because I have a crapload of interesting things to do tomorrow. And staying at home does not mean that I'm waving the white flag, giving up, or burrowing myself in.