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.