17 July 2021

0 i feel miscalibrated

i got this emotions wheel magnet, to help me better pause and take stock. i found helpful for, like, A MINUTE, but now i keep finding myself wandering off wheel. 

it has so many words but, so often, i find they are inadequate. 

thursday's therapy session legit looked like this:

for two weeks now, when i lie down in bed to go to sleep, it is as though i have run a marathon. 

for three out of the last four days, my head has hurt. 

my shoulders are riding up by my ears again. 

i think we were about an hour into therapy when i said, i just feel responsible for so many people right now

on june 29th, the president of that biographers organization i used to be a part of sent me a message on facebook asking if i'd like to talk about what happened, why i left. 

no, no, i wouldn't. the 6th was coming around which meant the 16th was coming around which meant the fortnight every month when i go into survival mode was already back on the horizon. no. i didn't want to revisit a whole other trauma

i wrote her back that i would be willing to speak to her that afternoon. 

i cannot overstate how unexpected this was. 

i cannot overstate how odd it is to be bracing for all these other things and then suddenly to be whacked over the head with this other. 

i thought i was doing really well. i thought i was unaffected. it wasn't until i relayed this to k during our sunday walk last weekend and found myself entirely winded that i was like oh, we might have a problem

miscalibrated is the word for how i feel this week. 

i don't know that it's even a word. maybe wonky would be better. but there was a technical, engineeringy element to the sensation as well that miscalibrated seems to better capture. 

like when you pull the compass out and it throws itself all over the place trying to get its bearings. 

it me! 

no, no, i don't want to talk about this but i will. not because i want to but because i'm so very grateful to have your attention, to have your concern, thank you for this brief validating moment. starving for crumbs, i'll take it! 

i hate this place. 

i took her call. 

i told her what had happened. 

every time i tried to minimize it, downgrading it in some imaginary hierarchy of sexual violence, the president of this organization wouldn't let me. she'd say, no, it's a big deal. it's big

and i'd say oh, yeah, i guess it is. thank you for saying so

i hate how much i've thanked her in the last few weeks. i hate how grateful i feel that anyone cares. 

a few days later, cosby was released, and phylicia rashad-- who is in a position of power at the institution where i work-- released her tweet of support. 

i cannot overstate how shitty that felt. i cannot overstate how deeply worried i have already been that we have two classes of students-- approximately 5,500 18 and 19-year-olds-- about to hit our college campus for the first time. a college campus that, prior to this, already had a violent history of failing to protect students who have experienced sexual assault. 

i cannot overstate how unprotected for myself and for my students i felt reading that tweet and, subsequently, hearing my own colleagues brainstorming ways to engage rashad in our union fight. 

i'm not being eloquent here. just stating facts and feelings. 

i'm writing because my head hurts and i'm trying to get it to stop. 

no wonder you're feeling out of alignment, my therapist said. you had about nine triggers this week alone

i tried to clear the decks and take care of myself on the 16th, the 6 month mark of the recent date rape. instead, i popped out of bed with words at the ready, and spent 4 hours producing some of the best writing i've produced in months. 

i resent that my best writing now is being put towards private memos. 

i resent that some of the best writing i have done in all of my career is about horrible, awful men. 

when i posted "men have raped me," i told debo that rape wasn't going to become my brand. 

that's sounds awful and also glib and also i meant it. this is not what i do. 

but it maybe actually is and has been for awhile? 

writing is hard now because it isn't a release. it's my craft and my profession and a practice that is critical to my mental health. 

but also, even in my academic stuff, i write about horrible, awful things.

there is nowhere to go, it seems, nowhere to get away to. 

i talked to KBG this morning and she told me of her recent stay at the beach, and i was struck with so much envy. I NEED A BEACH!!! 

my therapist had me do some guided visualization. she asked me to think of myself in a safe place, which it was pretty clear, from the guidance, she assumed was tropical. 

hand on heart, i visualized myself as claude asleep in a sunbeam. 

the safest place i can envision right now is being my own cat, in my own home, in my own care. 

that is where we are. 

in the shape of a pocket, john berger writes…

The mouse enters the cage to take a bite. No sooner does he touch the morsel with his teeth, than the trip wire releases the door and it slams shut behind him, before he can turn his head.

It takes a mouse several hours to realise that he is a prisoner, unhurt, in a cage measuring 18cm. by 9cm. After that, something in him never stops trembling. 

i quote that a lot, because when i first read it, it encapsulated much of what i felt as an immigrant. the precarity. the complete collapse of any sense of stability and the lingering effects of that. 

but i don't know that i've ever felt these lines quite so deeply as i have in the last three weeks, as i lay awake at night, out of breath, the ceaseless fluttering just beneath my lower ribcage, as though i've just awakened from a nightmare, when really i've yet to even fall asleep. 

the katies are coming this week. i am so glad the katies are coming. because, if the trip to memphis and a late night walk with an old friend this week are any indicator, it seems with people of my past, people whose love and care for me i can take for granted, when they are around, the trembling stops, and even just that temporary reprieve is a reminder that it will not always be this way, it will get better, and i am ok. 

i am still here, as claude stretches himself out in the sunbeam, fuzzy stomach bared, vulnerable, to the sky. shaky, but still here, and, ultimately, all manner of things will be well, and we will all of us be ok. 

06 July 2021

0 i feel flat

the kennedys are like carbonated water, jackie said, allegedly, once. and all other families are flat. 

i feel flat.  

like, i'm ok. and, also, i feel flat. you know? 

it's probably because i feel we're in the middle rather than arrived at the end. and you can't really relax when you can't bring yourself to believe it's over. because then you're still waiting, still tensed. 

but, also, IT ISN'T OVER, right? right??!?! RIGHT???!?!? 

i've not believed in stability for awhile now, while also maybe being, at present, more stable than i've been in a long, long while. at least in terms of being rooted where i am, as opposed to flailing about in the wind. 

i own a home rather than renting. which basically just means i pay my money to a different entity-- a less stable one, so it seems, as they've changed twice now and i am still right here. i am still me. 

i took a "what's your relationship style?" quiz the other day and it shook me. i am possessive and loyal. 

they were not wrong. 

someone has left my life, a dear, dear friend who screamed at me for forty minutes a month ago. and it feels right, it feels ok, it feels-- if we're being honest here-- like something of a relief. 

at the same time, it feels like there is a window open somewhere. a breeze that flaps through but i cannot locate its origins. 

it is the best thing, the right thing. it is, i am coming to realize, not ok for men to scream at me. my guts, i am slowly coming to realize, are usually right. when i feel things in my body, it's my body trying to get me out of there. 

the other night, i dreamed i collapsed, sobbing, on lady gaga. 

the night before that, i dreamed something horrible about burvil. one of those dreams where you wake up convinced the person you just dreamed about has died in the night. 

joe showed up in the middle of it. joe always shows up to shut a bad dream down. but, here, he was clearly an automaton, so it was helpful so much as furtherly nightmarish. 

i feel flat. and i am writing and then this happens. 

and the family dog and i sing to each other for five minutes and i forget what i was going to say. 

and it's ok. not because what i wanted to say wasn't important but because shit happens, good shit, and you lose your way for a moment, and it's all alright. 

i feel flat. i feel the breeze from the open window somewhere. i feel my heart is bursting looking into roo's blue eye 868 miles away. but i am feeling. and that's progress. 

05 July 2021

0 dear people, fyi

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