Day 1: A Fumbling Start

Day 1

From where I’m sitting, in my chair by my bedroom window, I can see my back yard, although the nice view is obscured by the fact that my mom has parked a car and a trailer in the back yard directly in my line of sight. It’s currently dusk, it will be night very soon. I was listening to music before I started writing this but I stopped, and now the things I can hear are the fan I’ve placed in my window because it’s finally starting to cool off outside, the faint hum of my ceiling fan (which will drive me crazy if I notice it, to the point that I usually have to turn it off), and the distant echo of crickets outside, a sound I’ve heard all my life because my family has always lived in or near the woods. When crickets sing there’s a kind of breath to it, their sound goes in and out like air passing through lungs, it’s cyclical and that’s probably why people find it so soothing. I don’t know if I find it particularly soothing.

I do find rain soothing, though. I remember the first time I realized that I actually LIKED rain, it was kind of a surprise. It was in sixth grade and I was walking home after getting off the school bus, and it was an overcast, dreary day, and the street was slick and fog hung in the air. And all of a sudden I realized that I LIKED this, that I felt calm and safe, and it struck me how unusual that is. It might have been my first “I’m not like other people” moment, except that I know I had those thoughts a lot as a kid.

We view that whole “I’m not like the others” thing as a cringeworthy affectation of adolescence but I’m starting to think that the things we look back on from youth and cringe at are actually precious things that we should cherish the memory of. So much of my life in the past two years has become about looking backward. I don’t know if I CAN look forward. I was having trouble with that BEFORE the world was plunged into a chaos that seems to be only getting worse, so I certainly can’t say that I’m any more capable now.

The one skill I’ve cultivated throughout my life – hunkering down and passing time idly – seems to be suddenly useful in this new quarantine lifestyle we’re all living through. Of course, I live in America, so most of us don’t have the luxury of being quarantined. That includes me. I went on voluntary leave from my job in April, and for the past five months I’ve been trying to make money doing Uber Eats, which has been steadily paying less and less while doing a lot of damage to my car. I’ve been in several scrapes, a deer broke one of my headlights, and my engine is having troubles despite just recently getting an oil and filter change. Fixing all of those things costs a lot of money. And I’ve spent months now just trying to keep my bank account above $50 on any given day.

The truth is, I’ve felt lately as thought things are coming to an end. It’s something I’ve spoken with my therapist about (and yes, I have started therapy, but I’ll get to that). I can’t explain it, but it feels like I’m standing at the end of my life and looking back, taking stock on everything that’s happened. It’s a combination of things that makes me feel that way.

The first is that I turned thirty in May. I was prepared for it, because I spent my entire twenty-ninth year having an existential crisis about my age. Along with another crisis I’ll come to. But now that it’s actually here, well… maybe it’s because the circumstances of the world have so drastically changed since my twenty-ninth birthday, but it doesn’t seem so CLIMACTIC and as big of a deal. I mean, I’m still anxious about it, and I still feel aimless and tired and listless all at once. But my problems don’t seem so big anymore. That’s helpful, I think.

There’s so much to talk about that I don’t know where to begin, and actually I’ve learned that it’s important NOT to try and talk about everything all at once. That’s part of why I’m starting this project.

My goal is to write every day. About my thoughts, what I did that day, what I accomplished, no matter how small. If I’m sad, I want to express it. I had an emotional breakdown about a month ago that despite being very difficult, would have made for an excellent blog post, and I’d started writing it already in my mind. But a difficult lesson I’ve learned is that writing ideas slip through your fingers if you don’t sit down and write them. Sometimes the idea has a shelf life of a few days, sometimes it’s gone when you go to sleep. I have note documents full of hundreds of blog ideas that I never ever came back to. All you can write is what it’s in your mind and your heart right now. At least that’s how it is for me.

There are two big things that have been on my mind in the past two years. The first has been aging, getting older, and the existential crisis of realizing I’m now incredibly nostalgic for a time I didn’t even love that much when it was happening (that time being the 2000s). That whole emotional breakdown is something I still plan to write about, but it was all sparked by the stupidest thing: an Avril Lavigne song. I didn’t even LIKE Avril Lavigne when I was a teenager! But the floodgates opened anyway.

The other big thing is too personal to talk openly about right now. I actually wrote several paragraphs about it but I’ve decided it’s something I’m not ready to share yet. Although I hope someday to be in a better place where I’m able to talk about it. I’m a very open person, so not being able to talk about something is difficult for me.

I’ve always been very open, and very honest on this blog. Because this is, and has always been, for me, and not really for anyone else. I appreciate that other people sometimes read it, I appreciate that other people sometimes enjoy it, but this is my journal, my record, at times it feels that this blog is my only legacy, the only thing I have to leave behind. If I die suddenly and unexpectedly, someone please save a copy of this blog. I don’t care what you do with it just save it somewhere.

Earlier this year, when quarantine started, I started therapy. I found a therapist online, made sure they took my insurance, and he gave me a call. After the initial consultation over the phone, which lasted maybe only five or ten minutes, I found myself weeping with relief in my car. The pressure valve had been opened. I hadn’t even TOLD him everything yet but I felt unburdened. I was doing SOMETHING about these cancerous thoughts that had been lingering in my head.

This is not my most beautiful writing, but it is where I am today. I made myself a list of things I wanted to talk about: the fact I’ve been trying to cram the entire Kingdom Hearts series for the past week to try and deepen my appreciation of replaying Kingdom Hearts III, which ironically now I’ve almost lost interest in doing because I’m so overloaded on Kingdom Hearts. The fact that I went jogging today, and plan to do some form of walking or physical exercise every day. The fact that my memory has been total shit lately. I can’t even REMEMBER the fact that my memory has been bad. That I improvised something pretty good earlier, and I wanted to upload it to soundcloud and share it. Maybe I can do that tomorrow.

But today I went jogging, and I didn’t do much, but I did enough. For twenty-five minutes, I walked or jogged or ran. I was moving. And I was struggling to breathe, and I was a bit scared because we live in the woods and even in the day time it can be creepy to walk alone on a dirt road in the woods. And I guess my blog is going to be like that too: I could erase everything I’ve written and try again tomorrow, but tomorrow I won’t have the same thing to say that I have to say today. And I also know if I put something off till tomorrow I’ll probably never do it.

So here’s the imperfect beginning of a project where I write a little every day. Not every day will be a masterpiece, but it’s something, it’s mine, and it’s honest.

That’s all for today. Maybe I should come up with some kind of sign off? I could say “blessed be” like I used to in the early blog posts in 2010. Except those are uncomfortable to read now because of how clearly forced my enthusiasm was and how I was pretending to feel more positive than I did.

Well, this is something. It may not be articulate, it may be a fumbling start, but it’s something.

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My heart is warm and pumping
Calling out for him
It loves him and it needs him
And he doesn’t know
But I hope he hears it’s call
Stranger in the world
Wondering where I’ve been
And when he finds me he’ll wonder
How we fell out of touch for so long
Having never met before

 

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And I’ll learn to live with it if I have to
Because I have no other choice
But it’s such a shame to live like this
Singing to strangers in someone else’s voice

 

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I stopped growing when I was eighteen
I was raised by a television screen
I skipped the bus and stayed at home
Grinding my body into a black hole
And I’ve spent so much time doing nothing at all

Wings With Leaves

Once upon a time, I woke up in bed with my boyfriend, and I kissed him and snuggled with him and I probably sucked him off, I don’t really remember the exact details of this particular day.

But as time wore on and I rolled around in bed or walked around the house, it became clear that I needed to take a shower. I didn’t smell great, my hair was a greasy mess, and it was time to get clean. But I kept putting it off. This is not a problem I’ve had my whole life, just something that’s developed over the last few years, where I keep procrastinating about taking a shower for so long that I go a few days without one.

Finally, my boyfriend told me he wasn’t going to kiss me anymore until I took a shower. I tried pouting and acting cute, but finally he said that’s enough, and with both of us laughing, he marched me over to the bathroom, opened the door, dragged me inside, and took me fully clothed and put me in the tub, then closed the shower curtain and said don’t come out until you’re clean.

It’s a really sweet memory, and it’s one that I love.

Writing is a little bit like taking a shower. It is utterly essential for me, and if I go more than a few days without doing it, my brain gets all foggy and unfocused and lethargic, and I just keep saying things like “I’ll do it tonight,” or “I’ll do it tomorrow morning, right now I’m going to play Pokemon.”

I came to the realization a couple days ago that there has probably not been a single day at least in the past few years that I haven’t thought about what I should write that day. There have been times when I sit down to write and I’m just not feeling it, so nothing happens. But more often what happens is I just jot down the central idea of whatever it is I’m thinking about in my notes, and never get around to writing in my blog.

This blog is my journal, as well as my notebook for stories, poetry, and everything else. It’s my home. If I died tomorrow, this blog would be the thing I consider to be my legacy. As such, I really ought to fill it with more stuff. There are plenty of poems I’ve never shared, pieces of stories I’ve never posted.

This month is November, and every year something called NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, takes place. Anyone can participate. All you have to do is challenge yourself to write a novel by the end of the month, at whatever pace you’re comfortable with. Usually you can set yourself a word count to write every day (fun fact, the current word count of this blog post is 482 words), but people do different things. Every year I consider participating. After all, I’ve been working on a novel, mostly in my head but sometimes in my notes or on “paper,” for several years now. But my novel isn’t the kind of thing that I could write in a month. At least, not that one anyway. But there are other ideas banging around my head, ideas about boys falling in love, about sex gods who go around causing mischief, about a modern world where magic exists, or even just about telling the story of my life.

A big problem for me is the constant feeling of not having achieved anything. I’m twenty-seven now, and I’ll be twenty-eight in another six months. My life is still not where I want it to be. There are things that worry me, things that haunt me, things that I want to say out loud or write about but I can’t, other things that I need to write about that I’m not ready to. There are so many things to say. What I always wished is that I’d written more over the years, so I could go back and read about what I was thinking on a particular day.

And that’s what this is. I realized the little story about my boyfriend putting me in the shower would be a good way to start a blog entry, and here it is. I brought up NaNoWriMo because I’d considered the idea of kind of half-participating by writing, not a novel, but in my blog at least once a day. I don’t know if I want to do that yet, but I do know that I need to start writing regularly again.

A common piece of very important artistic advice I like to repeat comes from Kesha, “You have to give yourself permission to suck.” And I think what that means is that sometimes you’re going to feel inspiration, and you’re going to sit down and try to turn that inspiration into something beautiful. Sometimes you are successful on your first try. What is likely to happen in my case is that I feel inspiration and I sit down and try to turn it into something beautiful, and I find that I’m too rusty, I haven’t been practicing enough, I don’t know HOW to express that inspiration in a good way. I sit down at the piano to try and channel my inspiration into a beautiful song, but I’m still stuck on the last song I was playing, I haven’t been practicing how to move around the piano and play something new, and I’m stuck, and I can’t get my inspiration out in the way I want it.

So sometimes you have to write disjointed stream-of-consciousness blog posts like this, so that when inspiration strikes, you can sit down and write something REALLY good. You have to keep exercising your muscles, otherwise you won’t be able to… wait, there was an athletics metaphor but it got away from me. See what I did there, I pretended I’m so dorky that I don’t get athletics. Well actually I don’t but that’s not the point.

I’m fat. I’m creative. I’m pretty. I’m scared. I want to adventure. There are so many things about me that I want to express, but I have to keep writing if I want to be able to write anything decent. And maybe this is as good as a first step as any. Maybe I’ll write more tonight, or maybe I’ll wait until tomorrow, but as of this moment I’ve written something today, and now my day off isn’t wasted.

Maybe I can keep pushing myself, and keep creating, every day, something little, until a moment of lightning strikes me and I create something big and magnificent and beautiful. And then people can see that I’m worthwhile, that my mind and my heart are worthwhile, that there is something in me that is worth loving and appreciating. Because I think what’s we all want, especially writers. Writers want their ideas to be loved.

Here is something I created today that I’m proud of: every day, I write down something in my notes on my phone. Usually it’s just a line of dialogue, or an idea, or something to remember later. Yesterday’s line in my notes was “wings made of leaves.” That means someone having wings where the bones are like tree limbs, and the feathers are like leaves. Today’s note hasn’t actually been written down yet, but it’s a quote, a quote from a character I don’t know yet. In the little scene that played out in my head today when I thought of it, I was speaking with the voice of River Song from Doctor Who, but I don’t know if and when this line will appear in my own writing. The line was this: “A grown man trying to fight death is like a child trying to fight growing up.” It means that death is a natural and beautiful part of life. At least from one perspective it is. I’m still afraid of death. But this is something that a character might say, to argue with another character. No, actually, it would be to argue with me. I think writer’s have characters just so they can argue with themselves. And I think that’s beautiful.

So those are today’s contributions to my future work, today’s small ideas that can be planted and blossom later. A wingspan made of wood and wings, and a voice speaking about death. Today isn’t wasted. It never is, but this way I have a record, this way I have something concrete, this way I’ve done something, this way I’m taking a step toward the life I want to have, one where I’m a writer and a musician and I’m surrounded by love and support and I’m not afraid of where I am or where I’m going. A life that I can love and believe in again. A life as good as anything I’ve felt before, but much, much better.

The Father, The Son, The Broken Chair

The Father, The Son, The Broken Chair

So listen, dad, to what I say
Allow me to be perfectly clear
Lean in close and kiss my lips
And I will whisper in your ear
Can you hear the pain behind my teeth
Can you feel the heat between my legs
Can you touch the place you bruised and beat
Can you kiss the spot you never left
Can you heal the bruise you left inside
On a bed with the curtains closed real tight
In a room entirely made of white
In a memory that still beats in this light

Where are your convenient excuses
Where are your threats when you need them
Let me rape you the way you raped me
Ask me later if you’re forgiven
Kill this monster you left inside me
Growing from your seed within
The man who made me found a haven
But I’ve been in the wild since then
It’s time, at last, to get revenge
It’s time we made this even
Do you hear the church bells chiming, dad?
I’m outside and I’m listening
He comes into your room at night
He stays and never goes away
And still he lies inside your mind
If you listen you can hear him say

Alone, alone, abandoned boys
Embrace the man you made me
And listen for my little voice
“It tastes like raisins, daddy.”
So come, come in, let’s talk it through
The chair you left is waiting
Let’s walk back to that living room
Let’s try again and maybe
The lights will break, the boy you made
Has come now to collect you
Let’s finish this where it began
There’s no one to protect you

I’m stronger now, and you’ve gone old
But I have lived and you have not
And you’ve been sitting in that chair
And I have loved and you’ve been lost
And I will light a candle here
And set this chair on fire
And I will breathe you in the air
And let you float on higher
I’ll walk down to the river side
I’ll skip the glass along the way
I’ll sit there in the water, dad
And live to love another day
And as your ashes float above me
I will cry my tears for you
I cannot be the man you made me
I have better things to do

It hurts too much to keep on hating
It’s only killing me too soon
I’d rather be the son you lost
Than the nightmare you left in that room
And I don’t need your reasons, dad
I don’t care if you have found them
I have to live despite your efforts
I have to find a way around them

The father, the son, the broken chair
The night the devil found me
It’s more than I can ever bare
But still I cross the boundary
You watched a baby sound asleep
And said you wanted to hurt him
The way your father held your feet
The way your father burned them

It’s not my job to heal the burns
It’s not my place to touch your bruises
A son is not a bandage
And a father should not make excuses
I don’t want a kiss goodbye
I don’t want to kiss your bruises
The son you murdered did not die
And he can love the way he chooses