In response to an Isabel prompt : some of that quote that brought me to my knees last time, what is in your margins, baby? what’re you constantly underlining, again and again, like new every time?
Colors, always colors. I’m downright a.d.d. when it comes to distraction by beauty. Color, shape, the painting I no longer do, the detraction of value from myself for that. Oh. So much. Slight miss, peeled off, scraped off, value gone, value gone. Not creating, not. Scrape, peel, scrape peel, bare walls left. And more, peeled, scraped down to studs. And then what? Where then? Shelter gone. Zero. And wind. The wind blows through. Again. That’s my underline, right there. the biggest one. over and over. manic. manic. manic.
I keep finding these men, these men who really cannot fit a woman into their lives, and I keep thinking of their loss, to lose me, this valueless non-creator, and then I see again that I am so uncertain I can do this all again and I know I use them to distract, like pretty shiny pennies.
Can I live on macaroni and cheese with an occasional tomato thrown in? Is rickets a thing for me now, on this pirate ship of a pandemic house? Am I at sea now, for months at a time, while the kids take their boats out again and again and I am home… rocking in my chair on the waves.
I’m not there anymore, I’m not there anymore, my chant when I wake from the bad dreams. Still, five years out. Anxieties about something so far gone. This brain, and where she roams when I sleep. Poor thing.
I stick my head in the plants. I run my hand through the rice. I light the tree until I feel the itch for space and emptiness . and it itches. And I return to dreaming of painting.
I woke up at four today. I feel pleasure in this, though I acknowledge that my evening will be affected. I have added another thousand words to the work writing and I am so glad and also, sad that there is still so much more to go and I’m running down my timeclock. Sometimes I think I deserve this, this halfass pride in work that I don’t want anyone to read. You know those cheapass romances that you buy for .99 on amazon? That’s me. I write that shit. sometimes. Welcome to the ambivalence. And return.
The potato bugs have moved in, must be the season of… what? Mate? Coldness? They are everywhere. Slow moving creature of prehistory. I love how peacefully we coexist. I’m not sure when we decided we could, but we did.
I keep meeting addicts. I keep finding them, the sharp, the intelligent, the weak, the traumatized. I find them, I love them. I have shifted away from taking them in, housing them, and that’s the change in the margins. Just a color change, same words, but progress. Big.
I understand how deeply I need winter. This return of the cold, the dark. The stay home. Pandemic or no. this is the acorn buried deep. This is the time I understand how to protect my children. Stay. Warm. Socks. Hats. Lights. This is the time I understand.
“The pleasure of abiding. The pleasure of insistence, of persistence. The pleasure of obligation, the pleasure of dependency. The pleasures of ordinary devotion. The pleasure of recognizing that one may have to undergo the same realizations, write the same notes in the margin, return to the same themes in one’s work, relearn the same emotional truths, write the same book over and over again – not because one is stupid or obstinate or incapable of change, but because such revisitations constitute a life.” – Maggie Nelson
This quote. This thing settled down on me like a net, slicing through me in geometries.
Its not, repeat and repeat until you finally learn the lesson, its not ‘cycle after cycle of the same lesson’ because you just cannot get it, you are so thick you fell for another addict…it is the revisitation that constitutes a life.
i’m not stupid, i’m just living.
JESUS. Pleasure, not trial.
I mix my hedonism with practicality, i do. but i wish more people could lighten up. get earthy with themselves.
there is so much in there, and i don’t even know how to begin to dig it up, to unearth it for you.
go find some.
i’m going to organize another raised bed for myself this spring. I might go wild and plant all flowers again. my kids don’t flipping eat vegetables, so what is the point of spinach? Maybe a pepper or two? I’ll have lavender to sell this year, barring pestilence.
Pleasure. run your hands through a bowl of rice if you have to. climb under the weighted blanket, or lover, or dog. whatever you got.
that quote. man, i am sliced.
there’s nothing wrong with you. you’re just living.
I miss being able to go to a diner and have someone pour me questionable coffee in a white ceramic mug that I want to steal, each time.
I miss smiling at people with my whole face at the grocery store.
I miss putting my hands on my mother.
I miss LM, but I think its still right, because I missed myself, too, and hadn’t realized the depths to which I had gone missing, again…
I miss not feeling sad sometime each day.
I miss not worrying about the health of my kids, in a death-fixation way.
I miss browsing tangible things, and buying something I can’t assess from a practicality perspective.
I miss being lazy about food.
I miss school busses.
I miss editing and proofreading other people’s stuff. in quietude. in a timely fashion. without interruption.
I miss being able to not go to a yoga class when the kids are away. I miss the choices I didn’t make.
I miss the potential of meetings, to offer more choices in writing, in expansion of subjects, in simple conversations.
I miss coffee rolls.
I miss spontaneous visits.
I miss opening the door to let someone into the kitchen.
The world is going to be different, for quite a while. and I miss the old one, with all its problems, because at least I knew it. Now I’m missing something I don’t even know. and that gets complicated, this not-knowing of the world.
into this space please insert all the things i cannot and willnot leave behind for posterity about the many things i feel about the man who I divorced. let that be as powerful as saying I married him. why should i keep valuing one over the other?
i’ve got pizza sitting next to me that crisped up in the oven and i’m debating very seriously whether burning the roof of my mouth is worth it.
i’m planting things but have zero faith that i will ever get them into the ground because they are so spindly. and i am thrilled that the word ‘spindly’ is still around.
plus, how many carrots will my kids eat, realistically?
i wish i really drank, like on the regular, so that it was part of my life. isn’t that an absurd wish? now, when stressed or emotionally stretched out, i don’t have an easy fix… or if i do have a glass of wine, i have a headache before i even feel a buzz. so. that seems a miss. but i miss it, that brain shutdown, what we call the fall of ‘inhibitions’ but are really just normally healthy boundaries? i want to shed them more often and still manage to watch out for my kids, as a functioning fucked up adult. Does that make sense?
I am worried that i’m not going to regain my proofreading clients when this is done, and that i’ll be back to a square i don’t want to be on.
I am aware that if I were isolated like this and still married like I was, that I would be one of the people you should be worried about, the isolation and the misery combining to unsafe.
The mental health of all of us in my house right now is becoming my ringadembells item, and i’m just as unhinged as they are, but am the grownup. I am reminding them that all the feelings are okay and that they all will pass, with time, and that nobody has a ‘right’ way to be. its all i can do, that and feed them.
my kids have too much screen time. i’ll care later. i obviously care now, but see item previous item, and include ‘screentime guilt’ on the list of feelings that moms are allowed to have and to let pass.
my eyes constantly fill with tears for and of these kids and these times… sometimes it is overwhelm, and disbelief, and sometimes it is laughter and those are the best times.
what’re you up to now that the world has shut down?
in truth, so far, about once a week I have a complete sobbing meltdown. the fear, the anxiety, the worry for the kids, for LM, for my mom and for everysingleperson.
LM is here, as he has severely compromised lungs and my place is best for not being full of germshare.
my kids dad doesn’t believe in the benefits of social isolation, so gave them to friends for a sleepover a little over a week ago. he does not have much respect for my being an informed adult and seems to think i am a hysteric who gets her news from gossip.
so i am doing all that i can when i can and cursing his soul. i hope he feels it. and yes, i am a little kidding, and some of me is not kidding at all.
and then there is hope. because, as hard as it is for me to believe, beneath all the layers of fear, anxiety, cynicism, despair, niggling worries, fear of schooling my children and deep betrayal lies a golden molten core of beauty and brilliant LIGHT that, evidently, cannot be dimmed.
and so she SHINES.
sometimes. when the night is dark and dreary, she flashes. and i’m seeking her out, and holding hands, and
SEEKING HER OUT.
and i think it is saving me, and so there is that.
and i’m hoping to re-enter this world here more often. but lets not hold our breaths.