20 January 2022

0 omg, you guys

it feels so different. i mean, i'm still the same, we are all the same, we are still here. but there are actual cameras on. there is actual discussion. it's like we used that whole month to get older and more confident and locate better wifi. 

i always forget the difference between fall and spring is that they are, if not refreshed, more accustomed to what it is we are doing. they return ready to think. also they get to choose my class, so when they arrive in it, it's actually something about which they care rather than a rando thing in which they were autoenrolled.

it makes me sad because i'm aware this is what last semester could've been like too, were it not for the cyberattack and the chaos. this is where it felt, after the first two weeks of last semester, we were headed and then we just never got there because we were clinging onto the face of the cliff with our stubby little nails. 

but here we are now. new year, same us, but better, somewhat, at least for now. 

today, true story, a student unmuted to compliment the snazzy owl mug.

the one year anniversary of the date rape has passed. i spent it standing in a park with four friends, freezing our asses off in a blizzard, literally huddled around a tin of fresh-from-the-oven butter cookies for warmth. 

i now know what some of the people i know would look like as extras in titanic

legit, at one point, there was a sheet of ice coating my left cheek. 

but it was lovely and it was perfect, as was the chinese and the pot brownie i had later. as was the feeling the next morning that i'd made it through-- the day, the year, the night, who even knows. all of it. i am getting through. 

the jackiebook is careening towards something. the publisher sent over hands down the most comically awful title. 

truly. you couldn't craft a stupider one. even if you tried really really hard. well. actually. i'm remembering how some biographers in the past put their two heads together and came up with jackie: after and before, which was, let's be real, pretty dreadful.  

but this one, they snuck it in there, in a draft of the publication announcement, without ever discussing it with me. and, first, i laughed out loud. and then i called my agent to say HELL NO. 

we'll see what happens. 

it's nice having an agent though. to do your dirty work and stand firm for you. i'm so tired of doing all of that myself. nice not to be imperiled by my own impulses to immediately bend, nor to have to put forth the emotional energy of not. 

i have hopes of seeing my parents in the coming weeks. i have hopes of keeping the cats alive. i have hopes. that's a vast improvement. 

N is having a rough week so we facetimed this morning, and i put the camera on marcel playing with his octopus wand, and N and her kid crowded around her phone watching me play with this tigery cat for at least a solid five minutes in total delight. and i was reminded of that video from an ex's family, of one of the grandkids napping in the 1980s. and by the end of the afternoon, it feels like that moment was from a whole other day. but what a lovely moment. 

win (the kid) kept calling marcel bingley and N kept correcting him, reminding him that bingley has died. but what i felt in the moment was OUCH, but also such love that bing is remembered. claude, dick that he is, has obviously forgotten and maybe never even cared, so it often feels that i mourn alone.   

i left classes on tuesday feeling exhilarated, and reminded of how fun teaching can be. wednesday hit me like a bus. but today, again, it was exciting. it wasn't exciting last semester. last semester felt like my hair was on fire the whole time. last spring, jesus christ LAST SPRING. last spring felt like i was being burned inside out. 

harm was done. improvements are occurring. 

things are going to happen. things are, in fact, already happening. 

i feel blessed to have been able to write throughout all of this. i feel terribly blessed that words are a thing i have. 

i hesitate to say i am grateful. for any of this. because, so often, in violence, it feels like there's an imperative to be grateful for the trauma. to slot it into one's life in such a way that it has been productive or contributed productively to who you are today. 

if anything, i am here in spite of all of that has happened. if anything, i have, so often, barely even been here. so, no, i am not grateful. blessed, but ungrateful, that is where i am. and that is ok. because it is good to be somewhere. 

remember: wherever you go, there you are? a thing the eaton family once found so profound that we ironed it onto multiple sweatshirts

god, how young i was when i wrote about that all the way back then, in 2009, when the world came crashing down on me in ways i did not understand. i actually am grateful for that, for the freedom of being let go and the resulting course correction of my whole life. 

so maybe the gratitude will come with time or maybe the gratitude is unessential. time will tell. 

it is exciting to see faces. it is exciting to talk about my book. it is exciting to feel excitement. 

that is where i am. 

i am there. 

i am here. 

i am. 

and that's enough. it sounds like a fucking ridiculous affirmation, but it's true. being here, it is enough. 

12 January 2022

0 lol


i got myself out of the piece of writing and then today they wrote and offered me a massive extension because they understand bereavement and grief because one of their husband's died and they went right back to work, and i now i feel like a horrible fucking ass. 

even though i don't think i was wrong. these things hurt and they last. i am, indeed, bereaved. for bingley. for donovan. for my own younger self. 

it is a pile upon pile of griefs. and also i feel maybe just done with jackie. which is hysterical because the whole next year, if things go well, is going to be completely dominated by her. 

i'm learning how not to reply immediately. 

it's funny, people who know me know i take awhile to process. and yet i will respond to an email hot off the press. 

the sunset was gorgeous tonight. 

i've been cleaning out my closets. 

because the 16th is coming and the 16th feels like the start of a new year. 

there was a time when i could not handle the movement of time away from the event. this time, in this moment at least, i welcome it. 

it feels right to be a year away. neither too much nor too little. for once, the time feels right. whatever that means. 

08 January 2022

0 i got myself out of a bit of writing today


a book chapter that was originally a conference paper then a book chapter, all pre-pandemic. i signed a contract. i had a doc named "pres legs." three years in, it contained-- LITERALLY-- 327 words. 

people, it sparked NO JOY. yes, i could have done it but it would have been a soulless drudge of a dusty thing, and who even needs that? life is hard enough as is. 

in getting out of this thing that clearly was not going to happen, i plead bereavement. which felt like a lie at the time but now i think of it, bingley died. we are bereaved. 

marcel has been here eight days and already fits in with claude in a way that bing never did. maybe because he was smaller, gentler, sweeter, less alpha. claude is a bossyboots and so i guess felt he could beat on bing at will. 

marcel is older, bigger, sweet too but also demanding, and he busted out of the bathroom hissing and spitting and tossing blows. 

i confess, i'm a little bitter on bingley's behalf. he deserved better. we all did. 

i should be writing more. in particular, i should be writing about victim blaming, but i just cannot seem to. maybe, i'm realizing, because i still, in so many ways, blame myself for the things that happen. maybe because i am still very, very angry with myself for what has happened. 

hard to attach words to feelings you cannot locate. 

still, my sentences involve constructions like "i imagine i would be feeling..." because i am mostly numb. 

and it's not that i want to be. just that i am. 

i do wonder if the semester will help. 

i anticipate nothing but a shitshow from beginning to end with possibly the occasional personal victory thrown in here and there. that seems like an atmosphere in which one could pry open one's hearts and thoughts and peer deeply, darkly in, non? 

maybe i'll get to see my parents. maybe i'll keep all of the cats alive for more than 4 months. maybe i'll have multiple sheet cakes. maybe the jackiebook will, at long last, sell, for a sum however paltry. 

maybe it won't be so bad. 

actually. that may be the attitude with which to go about the new year: maybe it won't be so bad. 

my resolutions are to actively seek joy and have fewer breakups with the egyptian. 

and, you know, maybe get a book or two under contract. 

who knows? nobody knows. this is the thing about life. we never ever know and yet we throw ourselves into some murky future in hope, that something will happen, and maybe it won't be so bad. 

01 January 2022

0 the time between christmas and new year is the worst

every year, i want it to be something more, something important, something valuable, a time that matters. instead, it's just .... time. 

mostly spent alone. mostly spent waiting for... something. the something mostly being for this time to be over. 

and there i go again, wishing for whole parts of the one life i have to live to be over asap. 

i brought marcel home on new years eve. suffice to say, he was being fostered in gray gardens. had he been a female cat, 100% he would've been named big edie. 

but, as it was, he didn't strike me as a marcel. nor a tito. nor a felix. nor an oscar. nor an arnold. nor any of the other names i batted about for the last 24 hours, even though marcel was already engraved on the pink heart. 

bingley was supposed to be marcel and then he just wasn't. 

on the 30th, i finally found the words to email the vet who worked with us that sunday morning. this morning she replied. yesterday, a sympathy card from the hospital arrived along with a heart that, if i plant it in my garden, will apparently provide flowers for years to come so i can remember my beloved pet. 

with each of the cats, there has been a moment of panic in the adoption process. that moment, i think, where the heart is on the cusp of being cleaved open and letting this thing in, and the whole of your brain screams nooooooooooo!!!! 

i didn't feel that this time, with this guy, maybe because my heart, having been so recently cleaved, my brain having been so battered in this last year, it was all ready. 

but i couldn't find a name. a name, i'm newly aware, that will be shouted across the apartment during teaching, a name that rolls off the tongue, a name that fits the named. 

everything sat uneasy, which maybe speaks more to my own mental state than the nature of this animal. 

i felt no panic. what i felt was the violence of naming him. in part, maybe because it's hard to get a sense of the character of an animal who won't leave your closet. 

she wasn't ready when we arrived, the foster. there were so many cats. ya'll, i cannot even. i'm pretty sure i made eye contact with him several times, as he fled and hid under the bed. there were five of them, just under the bed. 14 all together. 

and i felt bad, because i just kept thinking this would be so much less traumatic for him if she'd only thought to have him in a bathroom alone before i got there. instead, we spent thirty minutes chasing him around the whole house. shining lights under furniture only to be greeted by other animals, friendly enough, who were not him. 

when we got him in a bathroom, i knelt on the floor, waiting. he stood in the shower. stood on the vanity. stood in the space between the shower curtains. 

i don't remember how long it took but it wasn't long before he did the thing we always look for in my family. when he approached me and butted his head against my hand so i'd pet him. 

that's the sign that the cat has chosen you. and let me tell you, i tiptoed out and got the space bag and came back in and scooped him up and we got out of that place real fast and we went home.

kristina picked me up from the hospital after bingley's death and she drove me to pick up this guy. on the ride home, we tried different names on him, but nothing seemed to fit. and he peered through the plexiglass with big big eyes. 

he's king of the bathroom now, hiding among the hems of my dresses. but when i go in there, he comes out and stands up on his hind legs so that his head can make contact with my hand. 

i miss bingley horribly, if i'm being honest. when we facetimed the other day, nanette wanted to honor my loss while my primary concern was that i not be bawling in the middle of a conversation with her kid so, while i appreciated her attempt to honor my loss, i also had to shut that shit down. 

he looked so confused when she took him away. i'm trying not to think about it, but what an awful thing to have to do, seriously. to end the life of someone you love. it was the right thing. it was the only option. but still, how fucking awful. 

and garebear and debo were immediately all like there are so many cats who need homes, now you can help another, and i leaned into that and it provided a lot of relief but also, still. you have to sit with it every now and again. i am so grateful to have had him for those four months, i am so grateful to have each of them for however long we have, and also how fucking awful. how incredibly fucking awful. 

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. 

18 November 2021

0 the weather was as good as it's going to get

today, until like march or maybe even may, depending upon the type of winter we wind up with. 

and so i popped bingley in his spacebag and marched him over to the vet to get a tutorial on how to do his nails. then i called up the egyptian and we went for a walk. 

the banana trees are gone indoors, because winter is coming. 

the christmas ornaments are out at miss pixie's. when we entered the store, i went straight to a pale blue-green pink and silver striped one. 

apparently, i said this one's pretty, because after circling the whole store and winding back up at the beginning, i went to that same box i'd completely forgotten about, picked up the same ornament and said this one's pretty yet again. to which the egyptian, watching me do this a second time, said, i think that's the one that's yours

time is so strange. as is communication. as is memory. as is life. 

on wednesday (WHICH WAS YESTERDAY??!!), i had the longest therapy session of my life. 

texting N, saying i'm assuming we're having our traditional chat on thanksgiving, i realized it's not yet been a week since our last chat. 

when i teach all the classes, by noon, it seems entirely inconceivable that i taught NYU earlier that same day. 

i have one week of HU teaching left. a few more weeks of NYU after that, but it's ending. winter is coming and we're putting fall 2021 to bed. 

good riddance, i say, whilst also quaking a bit over what fresh hell may await us for spring. 

we never know what we're going to get, and last spring was so unrelentingly awful. 

but i am breaking patterns. i'm engaged in a seemingly unending game of trauma wack-a-mole, but i am breaking patterns. 

time's passage is boggling, but maybe also a gift, in that, if today really is thursday and wednesday was only 24 hours ago, it somehow feels like i'm managing to cram nine years of living into each day at present. 

not writing, mind you, but living. living beyond surviving, which is progress. 

bingley got his nails did. when they clipped them, little tufts of the surrounding hair puffed off with each slice of the scissors. 

he was a good sport. 

when we returned, claude was in exactly the same place as when we'd left. clearly we'd not been missed whilst out on our adventure. claude staring us down from the sofa, it was like we'd only been gone a moment, nothing moved.  

11 November 2021

0 what even are we doing here?

i need to be writing things that will be published and, yo, i got nothing. 

today, i randomly ran into the romanian on the street, and i gestured towards the horizon and said, well, as you know, howard is on fire..... 

it is hard to communicate the extent of the disaster, whilst also feeling like there is no disaster? they keep saying there isn't! they keep saying everything is fine! and i'm like, is it though? IS IT THOUGH? 

i cannot believe how much has happened since last friday, a colleague texts me, and i ignore the text, because i actually haven't the emotional bandwidth to even entertain the reality of how much has happened since last friday. 

i went on some dates and went to a movie. but i know that's not what she means. 

my to do list is as long as a CVS receipt. 

learning is happening, teaching is occurring (kinda), grading isn't even sort of. 

today, i went to eliza's and we pretended we were in paris and ate all of the breads on offer. and i feel like there are more days like this in my future, and debo and garebear are coming to town next month, and the cats pile into bed with me every night, and things are mostly ok, which is a big, albeit subtle, upgrade from "pretty ok," but also howard is on fire and i can do nothing about it and i cannot protect my kids and, though it's like an electrical fence over which my brain occasionally glances, materially, i can do nothing about it beyond showing up and listening and reading and giving them the space to take care of themselves. 

it is not enough. 

but claude slaps bingley way less, so progress is possible. we are moving forward. this horrific, impossible semester is crawling towards its inevitable end. 

and i'm sad i've not seen their face. i'm sad i do not really know who they are. i feel i'm failing because i'm struggling so much. but still they seem to be getting something. still, they tell me, they're feeling their writing is improving. still, they are taking something away from our time together. 

i've been thinking for years about lost time. 

i've been thinking, especially since january, since first encountering this sign:

on my first date with the man who, two dates later, would rape me, about the loss of time over time. 

when we met, it was on zero. 

how bizarre yet apt to have to encounter a countdown from that moment every time i go to target! 

but i appreciate it. really, i do. 

time is passing. 

we are here. 

we are surviving. 

eliza says she wants to have a cocktail party on the 3rd. KBG mentions some potential plans for summer 2022. i can't picture either of those moments in the future but i am glad to be surrounded by people who are looking forward. 

my vision is cloudy. i have an astigmatism. 

the other evening, when i rendezvoused with the egyptian-- who was HORRIFYINGLY wearing sandals with socks-- he looked through my glasses and said, oh your vision isn't so bad. and he's correct: basically everyone just has perfect skin and the lights are way too enthusiastic. 

but it's all ok. as the egyptian always says, after listing his litany, no complaints, no complaints. 

we are all well. we are all here. learning is happening. survival is happening. and we are, all of us, still writing, or at least trying to. 

05 November 2021

0 i do not even know what to say

our students have been protesting for 24 days. today, we faculty go and stand with them. 

the semester has been chaos. in ways that are often super wonky but also, because WE ARE STILL IN IT, hard to put words to. because it feels like the whole thing will collapse if words are put to it, and we've still three weeks left. 

three classes left. because there's a holiday, an asychronous day, and then the last week is only one day. 

three classes. 

which doesn't feel like enough and feels like entirely too much. 

then we have three weeks to scramble and three weeks to decompress and we're right back into it. 

there is never enough time while also being too much. 

learning is happening. 

teaching is happening. 

writing is happening. 

i second-guess everything i do, but the rants are suggesting i've done the right thing. the rants tell me they are discovering things about themselves as writers, that they are getting things from the texts, that the theme is helping them. the rants suggest that we were not wasting our time here. 

and i do not feel that we have, but i also just cannot even begin to understand what has happened to us this semester. the levels of abuse that have occurred around us. 

i thought the spring 2021 semester would be the worst of my life. and, personally and psychologically, i think that's probably still the case. 

but this semester has been something else. crushing in way that the others during the pandemic weren't. 

this semester, everything has been impossible. and i feel i've done ok in finding things that are possible within that and we've somehow, miraculously, done all of the work i'd set out for us to do in the beginning in a manner that has been minimally harmful to us all. 

but whew lord. let's not do this again. 

14 October 2021

0 i spend the whole day performing to my own face


i'm sure this does something to a person, but i don't know what. 

today, i cancelled class, because it's midterms and there's a pandemic and the students are protesting and we already had a "recovery week" scheduled anyway so i didn't feel so deeply that they would feel they were throwing their money to the wind. 

i went to the portrait gallery. 

because i love portraiture but, more precisely, because i wanted to see faces. i wanted to be surrounded by faces. 

already, in my home, i am surrounded by faces, but i needed new faces, to make up for the deprivation of faces i've been enduring. 

it's been cloudy and gray all week. today was blue and beautiful and borderline summerish. 

burvil is in the hospital.

she went in yesterday. 

a single sentence that tells you nothing of how she sat alone from 10 am to 7 pm in the hallway of the ER waiting to be admitted. 

we're all laughing and lighthearted and cracking jokes about how she's going to outlive us all (something that, truly, does not seem unlikely at this point). 

debo told me some weeks ago, when we were having a more serious conversation about this, that she believes burvil stayed on the farm in order to die. 

burvil thought god would have mercy and take her there. 

well, mercy was not had. 

maybe that's why she was so angry for those two weeks she spent with us. maybe that's why she screamed at us that she just wanted to die. 

i continue to fight to reconcile the pieces. the woman who yelled at us, who held a house of three other adults captive for two weeks, held us in some sort of psychological vice so that we stopped breathing at the sound of her walker on the wood floor. 

the woman who yelled at me, in my grandfather's van, in that awful november 2017. the woman who made me cry and did not care and demanded i back a vehicle out of the garage. 

there was maybe always a streak of anger? it maybe always frightened me? the way she'd grip my wrist instead of hold my hand. it was, she said, because i'd wriggle out and get away. it was out of loved. 

she loved me deeply. that i believe and know. 

what i cannot reconcile is the fact that, though she loved me deeply, she hurt me deeply too. 

there was this summer, right after i just started menstruating. i was so embarrassed. i didn't know how to pack or plan. i didn't have anything i needed. 

my period showed up when i was staying with her and joe for a few weeks that summer. ashamed, i improvised makeshift pads out of toilet paper and masking tape. because i didn't not feel i could ask her for help. maybe? or because i did not want her to know i was growing up?

we were already lying about santa claus because, after sarah odom relieved me of my illusions, my mother assured me that we needed to continue to pretend because "burvil and joe still believe."

i was, during this time, profoundly uncomfortable in my body. i stopped hugging my family because i did not want to be made aware of my own breasts. 

(a period of time that surfaces in the acknowledgement out loud, whenever friends and i hug full on, that we were "breast-to-breast.")

i've so many sensory memories of my grandmother. 

she's not dead yet. i'm not meaning to write like she is. 

but she's also not here with us in the way she once was. 

i think she knew who i was when i last saw her. at the very least, she knew i mattered. it took a few minutes, but eventually she did smile. 

when i would stay with her and joe in the house on inverness, she'd come lie in the bed next to me while i fell asleep. not touching. but in the bed on the other side. and the lamp on that side would be on and she'd lay there reading a book until i'd fall asleep. 

and sometimes i'd close my eyes and jolt back awake, afraid she'd left me, and i'd turn to look, but the light was still on and she was still there next to me, reading.

i've had these nights where i have dreams and i wake up convinced she is gone. 

and, still, she's here. 

and it feels like she is, in fact, going, albeit slowly. like she's already half slipped away, as she used to do in the night, so i'd wake up in the sunshine and roll over expecting to find her, only to find that after however long, she'd left me to sleep. 

08 October 2021

0 i do this thing

where i go back and reconstruct the timeline. 

i've such a vivid memory of blowing J and A's minds in a bar in chicago on division in 2011, when i knew the PRECISE date of every time we'd met in the preceding eight months.  

my therapist knows this about me. 

in our session the other day, i gestured towards it and said something like "you know i love a solid timeline." 

i've always assumed this is because i'm a biographer. maybe it's just because i'm me. maybe i've always loved a solid timeline? 

on wednesday, we held an event at howard that has been sitting in my head since february 26, 2021. 

i went back. 

i searched my gmail. 

i know february 26th was when i emailed a man i work with about it. so it had been in my head before that. 

i feel like this is maybe why i like yoga. the precision. knee over the ankle. hand in line with the foot. left foot at a 45 degree angle towards the left edge of the mat.

thursday afternoon was the first time i fully flummoxed my therapist. multiple times, she said "i think i'm just a little confused."

i rather more prefer it when she says, "that seems........... healthy?"

it's just so helpful to have the timeline. 

with the memories, it's like an... i do not have the word but they are such a tangled knot that when we talk about what is triggering we wind up talking about at least three to five different men in order to excavate one moment. 

clusterfuck. that is probably the word, but i'm unwilling to fully commit to it today.

the dates, finding the specific dates, feels like i'm stapling the story down. like, physically, there is a feeling of the staple puncturing the paper and going into the cork.

the specific dates are a restoration of some control. 

but, really, do i have any control here? do we ever? this is also maybe a reason for believing in god, but i struggle with that too, excepting for the moments when i walk over the ledge into writing something i do not yet know. 

AM I EVEN HERE?! i wonder that often, i'll be honest. whilst also feeling somewhat grounded by all of the time spent on zoom and all of the friendships and the haze of care that surrounds me and the words on the page and the concrete detail of all of the dates in my brain. 

things have happened. knowing precisely when helps. for whatever reason.

and maybe the reason doesn't matter. 

maybe it makes me feel realer?

ya'll know by now i do not do endings. because we're never really done here, right? this mess is ongoing. 

i write about kim kardashian, trauma, time, and uncertainty. the dates of everything we ever did are seared upon my brain for whatever stupid reason. 

i assume there is a reason. i assume there is a point to all of this. most days. as i wait for the words to come.

16 September 2021

0 today was big

i did not leave my home even once, but it felt significant. 

not my not leaving my home, but the day, more generally. in that way that teaching on zoom feels significant but you also never really can be confident that you've had a real interaction. you've given a performance, yes, but you never quite really feel seen. 

so much drama happens at home now. 

my interior life has always been exceptionally rich, but now my public life occurs within my own interiors and it feels a bit ridiculous. 

the proposal is finalized. the agent is submitting it. 

i keep sending him nudges because all of my prior agents have ghosted me. and i appreciate that he has never shamed me for nudging him while also being annoyed at myself for feeling grateful. 

"i don't want to sound ungrateful." that was the talk i delivered on kim kardashian this morning. a talk during which i disclosed that i was in an abusive relationship in college. something i know i would not be capable of doing in from of a room full of strangers in real life, but there are things that are possible on zoom that wouldn't otherwise be. and i am grateful. truly. 

my essay grading scheme rewards risks, even if they aren't entirely successful. on zoom, i am able to take those risks myself, in my scholarship. and i am grateful for that. i fear it will soon go away. though i hope not. 

today, tonight really, it will have been eight months since the date rape. i texted him early this morning, because i was awake and thinking about it and i needed to remind him. because i assume he has the luxury to forget. 

screech is dead. do you ever think about that? screech died. 

lindear found out the husband of the sister of someone we went to high school with died of covid a few weeks ago. 

shane died of covid

donovan died nine years ago of i don't even quite remember what. 

all these men, all these boys of all our youths. 

i think turning 40 threw me, maybe not just because it feels very grown up, but because it hit me that a full 20 years of my life, fully half of my life, has been spent dealing with the repercussions of abuse. 

and here's to the next 20 years, should i be so lucky as to have them, being better because i'm doing the work now. but fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck. 

i vacillate between anger and sadness and often conflate them. 

06 September 2021

0 i am writing about kim kardashian everywhere this weekend, so it seems

in all of the available venues. on the professional blog. in a draft of a talk i'm giving in two weeks. in the powerpoint for that talk. in a draft of a journal article i think i'm going to submit at the end of the month. in the dumpster fire word doc where i've been dumping for the last five years, working over all of the pieces that are spilling out everywhere else now. 

and yet it still isn't enough. 

i know i need to be writing about victim blaming. 

writing about how what it is that i am actually talking about at this point isn't just how kardashian grabbed the narratives available to her after the assault in paris in october 2016. but how those narratives blamed her and how her recounting of her own experience was shaped by that blame. 

to the extent that, in april 2017, she told ellen degeneres she was grateful for the experience. 

talking to debo earlier today, i complained that there were no documentaries or books on the william kennedy smith rape trial. 

maybe that's my next book, i said and even as the words came out of my mouth i felt that sensation settling in my guts. the sensation of having just had an idea from which it will not be easy to escape. 

the sensation of the story sinking its teeth into your brain matter. 

even over the phone, debo's horror was palpable. 

earlier today, canvasing the internet for photos to use for my kardashian powerpoint, i found an image of a halloween costume from october 2016. it was eventually pulled from the market so maybe there's hope for humanity. but while it lasted, for $69, you could get a costume that would enable you to pay homage to the violence kim kardashian experienced in paris on 3 october 2016. 

i cannot stop thinking about the nastiness of this, the cruelty. 

i do not have the words for what i need to say.