20 December 2021

0 we none of us ever know


bingley died. he was very sick. 

thinking it was nothing, thinking i was overreacting, i took him to the vet. and it was very very serious for like a day, during which i cried all of my eyeballs out, and then it was less serious and then he threw up some vile looking worms on a saturday night, and i took him to the hospital on a sunday morning, before daylight, and it was extremely serious and he was gone by 11:15 am.  

i was not overreacting. 

never ever do i trust myself. which is unfortunate because i am usually almost always right. 

my guts, i never believe them, and yet they have never lied. 

in youth group, we always took these spiritual gift tests. mine was always discernment. funny then, but also typical, that this is the ability i most often question. it's, allegedly, my strength. and yet i am filled with doubt. 

they swept us off to a little room by ourselves. because he was reported to have a respiratory infection. when the vet first came in, she was all suited up, like we were in ET

the next time she came in, she was just in scrubs. 

the thing is so much has happened this year (i almost wrote this semester, but that is not even the extent of it, lol), so much has happened and so much of what has happened has been dealt with alone. not alone as in unsupported, because that is inaccurate. i have so terribly much support.

rather, so much of it has been dealt with physically alone. which is maybe why that visceral moment of debo and my's bodies coming unstuck sticks with me. because, in the experience of this past year, it was so singular. to share emotion with someone in person, embodied. (the egyptian being the only other person with whom i have openly wept this year IRL.)

the thing that struck me about the veterinarian, whose name i did not know at that point, was her candor, her kindness, and her generosity with her time. 

the kleenex box was severely understocked for a room filled with such grief. but she brought me water, if not coffee. and she sat with me. and she listened to me. and she acknowledged that my own mental health mattered in the decision i had to make. 

she set me up to leave that room, having had to make an awful choice, with no guilt. 

that is a lovely, lovely gift to give someone. i've not yet written her an email of thanks but i will. and it's a gift for which i have spent the last week and a half feeling incredibly grateful. 

when, after a date with a dude who-- halfway through dinner-- confessed a love of jordan peterson, left me with a possible exposure covid, thus resulting in the cancellation of my parents' pre-christmas visit, there was nothing to do but laugh. 

because it has, undoubtedly, already been the worst year of my life. 

the egyptian was shocked when i said this. i was shocked by his shock. surely this was not a surprise. 

but i hide things well. i give the appearance of going on. even as i feel i am at once entirely my full self whilst also being wholly numb. i do not know how that is possible but it is where we are. 

i do not know that i know how anger feels, i tell my therapist. 

in speaking about so many things, i am aware of a reliance upon the sentence construction of i imagine i would have felt.... and the elision of actual feeling that that represents. 

the memory i keep coming back to is when i left the yacht in chatham. i'd walked there, up a ridiculous vertical incline in driving rain, peed at the m&s, and then wandered the boat under cloud cover. but when i walked back to the train, the sun had come out and the skies were blue, the air brisk. and i felt nothing but joy. 

i prayed as i walked, i was so grateful to be where i was. i was so grateful for the story i knew i was in the middle of. 

when i try to remember the last time i felt joy, that is the moment that pops to mind. 

undoubtedly, it was not the last. it was so terribly long ago. surely, there must've been others. but look at all the convoluted verbs there. there must have been. nothing is immediately at hand, at the moment. everything arrives at a remove. 

i hunger for closeness. i long for immediacy. and yet all of my sentences mediate themselves. the distance is there, in the expression of the feeling, in all of the words I supply to separate the subject from the object, all of the space i impose.  

no wonder sitting three feet away from someone who legitimized my emotion and grief felt like a treasure, like a fucking semi-precious gem, even as she handed me a kleenex box that held, i kid you not, TWO kleenex-- a sum total nowhere near adequate for the amount of snot yielded by my outpouring of emotion. 

but that's the one that sticks out, that moment post-yacht and intra-blue sky, entangled as it was in jackie and writing and hope and living and adventure. 

my to do list for winter break is colossal-- a word that always makes me think of felicity porter's father. 11 things, and yet already i've whittled it down to 4. 

when i went to meet bing for the first time, way back, a mere four months ago, in august, there was this moment of sheer panic while i was sitting upstairs with the fosters. the feeling wasn't new. i recognized it from when claude first came to live with me. i think it's the terror of love. the terror of opening up a compartment for feeling which carries with it the threat of so much hurt, so much devastation. 

i'm aware of feeling this with animals, less so with people. which isn't to say that i just fling open the doors of my heart for people, but rather that it is perhaps a slower entry. with an animal, with an adoption, the commitment is, very quickly, total. 

bingley swatted at me. that gave me pause. later, after the moment of private panic upstairs, i went back down to say goodbye to him. and he ran over with that weird, jaunty high step he had that i could never get on film. and he bumped his head into my palm like a dog. and i knew he was mine. i thought it would be for longer, but we take what we can get. all of it, for however long, is a blessing. 

what i remember about my first date with the egyptian is that i demonstrated, on his hand, how bingley did that. and, as i did so, we looked into each others eyes. 

and yes, it hurts, yes, it is devastating. and, yes, i would do nothing differently. 

i went to pick up a peace lily from a dude the other day. he took 25 minutes to bring it down. he handed it to me with a warning that it was a delicate plant and that it was far too cold out for it so i'd better hope the bus came soon. 

the bus i'd missed by three minutes due to his delay. 

she was intensely interesting, she carried a lot of weather. i saw this quote about carolyn bessette the other day and i thought, good for her

here's to carrying a lot of weather. here's to owning it. 

i'm torn between knowing i should probably be cautious, and plunging ahead, throwing open the doors of my heart. 

because life is so terribly fragile, so very short. and we only get the one. 

and we none of us ever know what will happen next. this is the theme of all my writing, in part because it initially seemed like a weirdly original idea for something so obvious. now, because it's truth is inescapable. with covid. with donovan. with burvil. with living. 

in living, we do not know what will happen next. everything we ever do is informed by our ignorance and the decisions we make based upon it. 

how bold, the effort in going on. how wild, the ways in which we plunge forward, into all manner of things, hearts in various states of damage and disrepair, as the world crumbles and burns and melts around us. 

she was intensely interesting, she carried a lot of weather

what a fucking brilliant legacy. 

may we all be so lucky to own our weather and move forward, into love, with it. 

09 December 2021

0 i worry i make it all up

i fundamentally do not trust myself. 

i fundamentally do not think i deserve what i want. 

i felt a moment of peace for a hot second. because the acupuncturist took my pulse and looked at my tongue and was like i think really what is happening is that you're angry and nina was like anger is a part of depression and i reflected on my whole life since senior year of high school and was like yeah, that checks out. 

and then for like 24 hours, bingley had FIP and was dying and i thought omg the cat who overtly loves me is going to leave me, and it's not that but it remains unclear and i do not know where that leaves us. 

my jackie book is about to sell and i feel nothing. 

i'm in therapy talking about how i feel nothing. 

i go to the acupuncture place and i'm able to breathe more deeply than in yoga, but still i feel nothing. 

it would've been entirely in keeping with 2021 for bingley to have sparked joy for four months and then to have died. 

and yet that did not happen. 

for 24 hours i thought that was what was about to happen. reader, i prepared myself. i cried in the shower. i cried from 2 am until i had to teach at 7 and then i cried from the walk to and from target after that. 

i do not have words for how hard this year has been. 

i tell the egyptian it's been the worst year of my life and i'm surprised by the surprise in his voice. i thought having told him, on our second date, that a man raped me in january, would've clarified that fact, but apparently not. 

i do not know what to say. there are no words. the men, dear people, when you find the words, they do not listen. 

it's all very bleak, i'll be honest. 

but i went to church irl last week. i struggle to believe in god these days, i do not take communion, but there was a feeling there as everyone, in their masks, waved across the room to pass the peace. 

there was a feeling. 

i love wearing a mask because the thing is you can weep openly and no one will ever see your mouth scrunched up and the effort involved in trying not to. you can just cry, in public, and it's all ok. it's all going to be ok. 


05 December 2021

0 what even the fuck

k and i are walking on saturday and i ask, how's our depression? and then somehow i wind up asking, do you think i'm depressed, and she's like what huh, OF COURSE

and it sounds so obvious and i feel so stupid, but it also makes so much sense of what's been happening and how i've been feeling since august that i don't know how i've not seriously considered this before. 

since august i've felt this way. since before the on and off and on and off and on again and off again with the egyptian and the dalliance, in between all that, with the music man. 

in therapy, i talk about men a lot. i talk about me in there too, but the men are the focal point. 

i think i'm far more comfortable with the men being the cause rather than a symptom. 

i think i'm far more comfortable talking about them and my relationships with them than i am in talking about myself. and my relationship with myself. and how deeply painful i find my own company these days. 

towards the end of the massage the other day, zana asked if i've lost weight. and i said maybe, because i've not had much of an appetite this week. nor this month really. but this week, in particular, i've not had the energy to eat when not hungry-- which is what i've managed to do in the weeks preceding. 

it would be nice to feel hunger. 

it would be nice to feel something. 

the jackiebook seems to be slowly careering towards a book deal. 

i should be so excited. 

i should be so proud. 

i should be.... something. 

and yet, i am nothing. 

if anything i am only disappointed, because the advance is laughable. the advance is the equivalent of teaching two classes. the advance will not free me. 

i should be so happy and yet our circumstances are such that it seems very likely i'll be publishing a book about jackie's life in greece without ever having been there. and so what i feel isn't so much pride as shame, and embarrassment. that i have not managed to get there. that i have not seen it for myself. that like all those men who never went to the new world but wrote about it, i'm over here describing the waters of the adriatic, like i have any fucking clue. 

i booked a trip to nyc. it took me five solid months to build the nerve, to find the bandwidth, to imagine a future in which i could go to new york city for a single night. 

that's not nothing. but, damn, it sure is meager. 

the confusing thing is that, throughout all of this, i have been writing. in the past, i could not write. but hey, things change. if teaching in a pandemic has taught me anything, it's that the universe can always find new ways to fuck you up.