stagnant

I’ve said a thousand times that I only get back into blogging when my mental health begins to falter…well, my mental health seems rather delicate, if this is to be true.

Right now, however, I’m feeling rather stagnant. Treading water.

It was a full moon last night–not the night before this is published, but the night before I wrote this. I’m writing this on June 27. There was a more eloquent way to combine those two thoughts but I’m too burnt out to play with words at the moment.

I like full moons. I like how bright everything seems. How still everything feels. It is like you can hear everything from your heart to the mountains.

I can pack my entire life into a suitcase and a half. I know, I’ve tried. Everything I need, every sentimental token, all into a suitcase and a half.

I’m sorry. I know I’ve been writing poorly, and I know I’ve been being negative. I just feel bad burdening my loved ones with my nonsense. It’s easier to pile it up here, where at least if you’re reading it you’re reading it voluntarily.

i have overwhelmed myself again

and so i prep for a job i am under qualified for, using not enough time to do something too far out of reach.

i edit the novel months away from completion, i read the book a hundred pages from the end, i lounge to the sound of birds and coyotes, dozing to dreams of unfinished stories half watched or half imagined.

i listen to music halfheartedly, the hour-long compilations set to a mood, the pleading piano and weeping violin, my face wet and swollen, my hands clammy and too big for their weak wrists.

i am out of my wits.

i feel again as if i am walking down the plank, hot summer air whipping my clothes with the force of icy sea mist. i am voluntary. i am sacrifice. i am martyr for the cause of myself.

the greater good.

i leave things lowercase here. i leave my ring finger blank. it’s easier to think in grammerless terms when my mind, too, is riddled with run-on sentences. nothing in my head is in capital letters except my own voice.

i build a fortress out of phone books. i cry ink onto pages made of skin. i sit alone in a room painted green and feel locked in. i smell chlorine. it reminds me not of summer pools but of formaldehyde.

freckles and wrinkles

They hate their imperfections, those which I have always wanted. i wanted my normal brown hair, a bushy sheet like untamed wool, to curl, to frizz, to turn burnt orange or a pithy black.

i wanted my face to look like spilled paprika. i wanted my shoulders to pucker and pink in the sun. i wanted my eyes to be twinkling peridots, ringed with lines like cracked mud, crinkling up like a shriveling leaf with every laugh.

i like that smiles, too, scar you. i’ve always liked scars. i’ve always liked asking where they came from. oh, these cracks by my eyes? i smiled too hard, too long, too often.

i want my face to look lived in. i am tired of looking young, which may be naive to say, but it is how i feel. i wish to look old. i wish to look like an adult. i want people to see how much i smile but looking at my temples. i want to be scarred by joy, a monument of laughter.

blackheads pepper my nose where my freckles should be. wrinkles choose to appear between my eyebrows and across my forehead instead of at the corners of my eyes. i become a memorial of sadness.

things i never told you

Basically, here’s a little tip about blogging–we don’t do it every day.

Haha, right?

I used to, back in the golden days, but now I write ten blog posts at once and schedule them a month in advance. I’m writing this on June 22 and it goes up July 15.

I don’t know why I’m breaking the glass for you like this. I have learned that sometimes it is best not to see the man behind the curtain. Sometimes it is best to not research clouds and flowers. Some things are better left a mystery.

Whatever.

By the time you read this, I have come home from Ireland, a trip I haven’t written about here at all, and have started teaching summer school, something else I haven’t written about. I’m a summer school teacher now. I’m home from Ireland, now.

What will things be like when this gets published, in 23 days? My life, once again, will have completely changed. It does that a lot, nowadays. Perhaps, though, I am due for some consistency. I have been offered a job: to long-term substitute an English class while a teacher is on maternity leave.

I’m so excited. I’m so terrified.

Before I have time to be scared of that, though, I have to be scared of teaching summer school…but, by the time you read this, I will have already taught half a week, so. Maybe it’s not so bad after all. I mean, I’ve already done it.

 

I want Ireland to change me like Norway did. Norway healed me in ways I didn’t know I could be healed. I want Ireland to not just help me heal, but help me thrive. I want to be able to fill my lungs with Irish air and fill my stomach with Irish beer and feel a sense of comfort and adventure and peace.

Why is it when I most want peace, I throw myself into a maelstrom?

Calming down is nerve wracking

I’m meant to be meditating, keeping mindful, breathing deep whenever I start to feel overwhelmed or nervous. But meditating only makes it worse.

When I start trying to relax my body, I hit a point where I feel adrenaline start pumping and soon I’m breathing too quickly and then it’s all ruined.

I think it’s because I don’t like feeling vulnerable, and that’s a big part of relaxing to that extent. And yes, I do usually have a bit of tension–I’m always sore in my shoulders, my jaw, my lower back.

Stress is hard to will away. It’s hard to get rid of that thought, “I could be doing something more productive.” And everything seems more productive than listening to wave sounds for ten minutes.

Sometimes it works out. I’m okay at some of the ones that remind me of dance classes, stretching your muscles and all, but when it gets up to relaxing my chest and head it get uncomfortable and I start jittering around.

________________________________________________

All that written above I wrote about 2 years ago. It was sitting in my “drafts” all this time.

I still have trouble meditating alone, with nothing, but I’ve found a few solutions. Music helps, or other white noise. It helps to have something to look at, like burning incense or candles or plants or something else pretty. It also helps to hold something. A crystal, if you’re like me and half insane. A baby blanket, whatever. It helps to imagine it giving you strength by soaking your worries away, like a sponge.

It helps with visualization to have something real.

Just my two cents.

deeper

suck me down deeper, i want to be enveloped

i want to drown in blankets and pillows and dark

i want to be buried in oceans and sandbars

i want to go deaf from music too pretty

i want to go blind from bright solar light

i want to lose myself to magic delusion

i want to love others until it’s all that i am

 

i never feared poison or men with sharp daggers

i never feared darkness or what’s in the night

i only feared long days with nothing to fill them

i only feared waking to hating my life

 

self portrait

I feel like the sort of person who would have gotten much help out of this blog, in the old days. It was so cheery and positive. So helpful. Conversation Starters and Short-Fic Fridays. I’ll let them stay published. I can’t say the same for this 2018 drivel.

I wonder how long I’ll be in this rut. I feel as if I am watching my life from behind stained glass. I can sense things, but vaguely, distant. I hear things as if from a dream. I see things as if through a cloud. I feel things as if under a heavy winter coat. Pressure, no sensation.

I’m exaggerating. I’ve said before, I think, that this blog has become nothing but the glorified diary of a depressed person trying to accept the fact that 22 is a harder year than was promised. I’m exaggerating. I have bad moments and good moments. Both come on like nausea, sudden and unavoidable.

Sometimes I feel bright and rosy. I like watching the teenage lovebirds in class, drawing on each other’s arms in permanent marker, making each other laugh with silly noises and light bops on the nose. I love how they look at each other. At least I still have love.

That’s the thing. My love life is in order, it has been for years. It’s my everything else that’s gone awry. My career and my future, my emotions, my novel, my living situation. Living at home again is like willfully locking myself back in a prison. And then leaving, and then locking myself back up at night. I have freedom, but it’s a privilege, it’s temporary, and the prison hangs over my head, the way Monday taints Sunday night.

I really got to erase all of my name off this blog. It becomes more and more of a diary every day.

drivel

Is anyone I know reading this drivel? I sort of am afraid someone is. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone I know finds it, calls the suicide hotline for me. I’m not going to kill myself. I just know I’m not, however easy it would be, however nice it would be to have a doorway past which there is zero chance of suffering.

I’m here, as long as I can be, thinking too much and writing too little. I should write a bit a day. I really should. I don’t. Sometimes I do. Not really, though.

What do you think of it? I used to get lots of stars, lots of comments. I have 800 followers. I did so much work just to abandon this blog, then return years later to spit out unreadable drivel. Drivel! Can you even make sense of it? I can’t. I probably sound insane. Maybe I am, whatever.

Sometimes I talk myself in circles. Sometimes I talk so much I get confused and my own thoughts don’t make any sense, and I have to retreat and go to my plants and candles and sit in silence and meditate and chill and try to be happy alone.

I’ve been swirling around a sink drain, clawing out not because I’m afraid of the U bend but because I want to be okay. I want to get out of the sink and onto the counter, bury myself in the bowl of fruit and breathe in sugar.

Is this poetry? Is this anything?

I just need to go home. I’ve been in this chair for hours. I would never survive in an office, I’d go incredibly mad, even worse than I am now.

I wish I had curly hair, wavy hair. My hair is bland and flat.

I’m fine, but that’s hard to gauge. What is it like to be fine? Am I fine? How depressed am I? I know I should go back to my therapist, but compared to my old self—the only thing I have to compare to, truly—I am much better. My bad days aren’t as bad, my good days are far better.

I keep saying “I.”

This blog probably comes off as a bit scary.

What would an “Introvert Playground” even look like? A library, probably. A quiet room with a big fireplace. Playground, hell. I used to love playgrounds. They always became pirate ships. I would hold onto one of those poles, up top by that big castle roof, let the wind blow around my hair and the sweatshirt I wrapped around my waist, look off to the forest and see nothing but a wall of seawater. I would smell in the woodchips brine and wet wood. I would see the new world in the cracked pavement of the parking lot.

healing?

You know what’s like, incredibly ironic?

I think I heal from overwork by…doing work.

Is that absolutely insane?

The only thing that seems to cure my stress is getting rid of my stressors. Maybe this is healthy, maybe not. I should really go back to therapy.

I’ve realized I get more stressed when I don’t do things than when I do. So I’ve been keeping busy, but not biting off more than I can chew. Doing tasks I can finish after starting.

Avoiding my unfinished novel…gah, see? Even this isn’t without guilt, without stress. I’m always not doing something.

I think it’s from growing up in such a stressful environment, pertaining to grades and expectations. Maybe it’s just because I have high expectations for myself. I don’t know. Maybe I’m a realist in an optimist world. Maybe I’m a real downer most of the time.

 

 

religion

I grew up Catholic, then met a boy two years older who was smart and tall and loved me like I was his last breath. He was an atheist, but he called me his angel.

I have to give him credit, because I never questioned things before him. He made me skeptical. Later, cynical. I questioned the anxiety I felt at home, and why my family injected into my heart more fear than love. I questioned my future in “some sort of science” and realized my hands couldn’t stand to spend their energy with numbers and figures but chose art instead. I questioned even that: my writing was so frivolous and childish compared to his–his made me feel emotions I never thought about when writing my silly science fiction and high-octane adventure. Eventually, I even questioned our relationship. We broke it off after maybe half a year or so.

I was an atheist. Then an agnostic. I used science and logic above all else, and when others touted faith I labelled them as ignorant.

That lasted awhile. It’s hard to be an atheist when you’re afraid of ghosts. Not necessarily that I believe in ghosts, but long hallways and creaks in the night do frighten me more than they ever would an atheist. Perhaps an atheist would be afraid of these sounds but first think of burglars, you argue. True, I say. But I don’t think of burglars, I think of ghosts.

Spirits, maybe. Spirits would probably be more politically correct.

Thanks to that first love of mine, I also stopped performing so much of my life. I had told him it would be hard for him to meet my friends, as I acted so differently around him than I did them. I told him everything, you see. He knew me better than I did, myself. He found this confusing.

Aren’t you yourself, with me?

Yes.

Then why aren’t you yourself with them?

Again, it was something I had never questioned before.

With this loss of performance, I stopped performing atheism as well. There are mysteries in the world we can’t explain, I said to myself but never out loud. I was afraid to out myself as a faltering academic to my scientific friends. They’d say I was going off the rails. Drama kids and their yoga bullshit. They’re getting to her, they’d say. Or not. I was so worried about what they’d say.

In any case, I was a secret agnostic, hiding both from my religious family and vehemently anti-regilious friends. And I stayed that way for quite some time.

Then I graduated college.

They say God comes to you in times of need. I turned instead to Wicca. Don’t people always? I feel like Wicca wouldn’t still exist if not for college kids experiencing some sort of crisis.

I put off job applications to learn tarot cards. I swept off the top of a bookcase to make my little alter and burned candles at midnight. I meditated with crystals clutched deep in the pit of my palms.

I don’t really believe in it. But what it has been doing is calming my anxiety–ah, did you notice the tense change? I’m still in this phase of life.

The thing about Wicca is it’s kind of silly, but isn’t all religion? What’s the difference, between praying on your knees or meditating in a lotus position? Eating Jesus’s bread and body versus lighting a handful of candles? Eh. Maybe it’s because Catholicism is so pagan, honestly. So many crazy traditions ripped from local religions. Maybe it’s me getting back to my roots after all, but roots that extend deeper than just the Christian ones.

It’s silly. It’s silly, and I know it’s a phase. And I don’t believe in the gods, and the goddesses, and that the elements are blessing me, or whatever…but I do believe in the calming power of meditation. And sitting in front of a candle with some pretty stones and plants and dried roses is like sitting before a gorgeous altar in a church. It makes things feel sacred and calm. It makes things feel right.

I need some ritual in my life of turbulence. It’s been so insane. I disappeared into the mountains to teach ski lessons after graduation, then decided to teach high school English and get my masters, and now I’m in limbo waiting for someone to give ol’underqualified me a job. Of course I turn to something for certainty.

Bottom line is that I don’t know why I’m doing this, or anything else. And you, metaphorical “you” who still reads this blog: you know I only come back to this place when I’m depressed. Maybe it’s manifested itself in strange customs and rituals this time instead of slicing open my thighs with a pocket knife. So this is probably healthier.

All I know is, it’s making me less anxious. And I’m not scared of creaks in the hallway at night any more. So. Who knows. Whatever.