20 January 2022

1 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.