addition/subtraction

It’s Sunday night at 8:00 and I just realize I have not spoken a word in 29 hours. And if I subtracted the 1 hour I spent talking to my therapist yesterday, I have not spoken to a soul in about 52 hours. This is no way to live.

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My calling

I am stuck. Again. I want to get my writing out there. But I have no idea how to go about that. It takes a focus, assertiveness, aggressiveness and confidence that I am lacking. It’s a real problem.

Plus I hear that if you want to get your writing out there, you should probably write, which I have not been doing much of lately. That seems so unfair. Sometimes I think that the best writers have never written before. Maybe they don’t even know how to write or how to type. But there is something in them. And it deserves to be read.

I guess you can apply that to anything. The best people are the ones who go unnoticed and unseen. But they do not lack presence. It just doesn’t come across very well on online dating sites.

__________

The mirror has not been kind to me of late. Every time I look into it, I see this old, frowning face. I don’t look like the type of person I would want to say hello to. I guess my coldness, my numbness is reflected in the mirror. What do I look so cold and unfriendly? And old? How did that happen? The lines grow deeper. How does a person become this kind of person? How can I be different?

I want to be different. What I am is not who I am.

I’m trying to think of something notable to tell you. Something notable that happened to me.

I pet a dog.

I ride the elevator

I talk about the weather in the elevator

I text my friend

I stare at Facebook

I read the news

I drink coffee

I pay the person who serves the coffee before I drink it

I order a chicken salad sandwich

I thank the person who made it. I pay her too.

I ride the train.

I ride the subway

And later that day

I ride the subway

And then take the train

I take a nap on the bathroom floor, ignoring the people knocking upon it

I vape

I try to look busy

I worry

I am easily hurt by people I see everyday who never stop to say hello

I try to feel something unprotective

I fail

I apologize

I ask

I answer when called upon.

I am not called upon.

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Too much of nothing

My day at work began with oatmeal and a banana.

And then it continued until lunch (salmon salad, overly salted).

Plodded on until my nap on the bathroom floor.

Why do I sleep better on bathroom floors than on my own mattress?

And then there was a 3:30 snack (protein bar).

And a cancellation of the meeting I was supposed to lead, which was such a blessing, I stopped to thank the universe.

And finally made my way out of there. To the train.

And I feel absolutely nothing.

there is no shortage

Of absolutely nothing

Nothing I know of

Maybe if i close my eyes, I can summon something. But I would probably fall asleep before that occurs.

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A mole’s life

Trump is killing me. I am dying beneath the weight of him. Since November 8 2016, things are gradually leaving me. My creative spark: gone. Any other kind of spark: gone. Abstract thinking: gone. My ability to read anything other than the NY Times or the Washington Post: gone. I don’t even watch movies … I’m completely consumed by cable news, Or YouTube videos of any news I may have missed while I was deciding whether or not to watch a movie.

Swimming is my attempt to live in the moment, focus on breath and motion and the count of each lap. But the moment is only momentary. It doesn’t take long for Trump fears and anger and dread to rise to the surface and then I can’t breathe and I lose count of laps and forget what I am doing in the pool in the first place and then I get embarrassed by how I must look in a bathing suit.

Today as I was getting off the subway train, this guy whispered in my ears, “I saw you smiling at me.” Which kind of freaked me out. I said, “Dude, I haven’t smiled in 1086 days. What is there to smile about? I wouldn’t even know how.” Then he walked away.

I seem to be living a mole’s life. But I am no mole. I ain’t no mole. But sometimes I worry that I might become one. If I let my guard down. But I can’t let my guard down. There is nothing upon this earth that is not under threat of annihilation by Trump. Yet each morning, I awaken on a hopeful note, hopeful he will have died while I was asleep.

Is that really so much to hope for? So many people I love are gone forever. But Trump never dies. I can’t understand why.

Maybe the thing to do is not to think such thoughts and try to attain some level of acceptance.  Maybe the thing to do is to love Trump. Because if you love someone, you are far more likely to lose them. That might be the only way to get rid of him once and for all.

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Bobolink Trail

I took a late afternoon stroll into the forest, trying to find Sibley’s Farm. Walking on the Bobolink Trail, following the blue paint trail marks dotting the trees.      As I wandered deeper and deeper into the forest, I noticed that the farm was not nearly where I thought it should be.     And I was walking for a pretty long time.      Somehow, somewhere along the way, I must have wandered off the Bobolink Trail, onto the Otter Pond Trail I had no idea how that happened.  The blue dots on the trees were now yellow dots.   I checked the GPS on my phone, but there was no signal and my battery was down to 5%.       And the sun was beginning to set.      And I tried not to panic.       I tried not to think about the fact that I didn’t really know anybody in New England.       And I tried not to think about getting shot by deer hunters.      Or eaten by bears.      Or snakes.      And I tried not to think about how long it would take someone to discover my vulture-ravaged corpse.      And I tried not to notice that I seemed to be wandering in circles.     But maybe, if I walked exactly the right number of circles, I would get incredibly lucky and that a miracle would happen and the yellow dots on the trees would turn into blue dots and I would somehow find my way back to the parking lot where my car would be waiting for me and maybe I could then reward myself with dinner at a Thai restaurant because I probably would have earned it.       And somehow, moments before sundown, that miracle did occur.     I thanked the universe or whoever was listening for my good fortune.       When I returned to the car, I turned on the radio and someone was interviewing Sarah Huckabee Sanders.      She was ranting about the attempted coup by the Democrats, encouraged by liberal media, to take down the president.       And she would not stop talking.      On and on, she went. About treason.      And wiretapping.     And obstruction.    It was then that I realized that getting lost and not found in strange forest was probably the least of my worries.

 

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the narrator

how strange it is for me to assume that i don’t have a story.

how strange it is for me to assume that I don’t have a story simply because i don’t have a narrator.

I can’t tell you how strange.

Because my narrator is narrating all of the time. it doesn’t stop narrating. and feels compelled to narrate everything in such a ceaseless stream of narrating chatter that it just becomes a layer in the background that i forget is even there.

endlessly

endless endless narration

and the narrator is rarely narrating me. it doesn’t even use my voice. Who the hell are these characters anyway? I have no idea. It’s all so foreign to me and it doesn’t help that characters speak in foreign accents. When I pay attention to the voices, to these characters, its like watching a movie, but it’s hard to make sense of it,  because usually I have missed the beginning and i have no idea what these characters are up to or how they relate to each other and of course there are no subtitles. I don’t think they have much relationship with me.  i am incidental to the narrative, if i appear in it at all.

It’s not my movie (and I wouldn’t even pay to see it).

Or else the narrator is inescapable. Nothing I do escapes the narration. the narrator’s judgements, critique and analysis, the narrator’s predictions and foreshadowings and forebodings and conclusions and bygone conclusions.

If only the narrator could stop narrating, I might be able to get some sleep. And then perhaps I might be able to finally wake up and be present to the world outside the narrative. Assuming there is such a thing.

instead i live in a half dream that i sometimes wish was a full dream or better yet no dream at all. But I’m not in control here. The narrator does not yield control.

I try to tell the narrator there’s no need to be so controlling  because it’s not like I am going to do anything outside the narrative. I can’t even see that far. But I think this narrator has some sort of god complex.

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out of numbness

How does one awaken oneself out of numbness?

My first thought is to fall back asleep to enter the dream world where nothing is numb. But I think that would be cheating.

My second thought is to set oneself on fire, which would call way too much attention to myself which I absolutely would not want. So cross that one out.

My third thought is sex, but that requires a collaborator and I don’t see any around.

My fourth thought is sex again, maybe with a different collaborator, in case I can’t find the first.

My fifth thought is to do something I would not normally think of doing, but that’s a little vague and doesn’t give me the direction I so urgently need.

My sixth thought is just to pretend that one is not numb and maybe something real can eventually arise out of all of that pretend non-numbness.

My seventh thought cannabis.

The seventh thought has more potential than the previous 6.

 

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5780

Tonight is the night it became 5780. I have little idea of what that means. But hopefully in 5780 I will become a better human than I was in 5779. The kind of human I would want to be around. Not that I want to be around myself. But the kind of human who other humans like to be around. I am so out of practice with that. I need more discipline.

My mind was so scattered today. I was jumpy and unfocussed all day. All of this unused, unchanneled energy with nowhere to go. An oddly anxious day, although nothing in particular happened in it.

Even though it was a perfect day outside, I did not set foot out of the house until 8:30 pm which is when I drove the park on the waterfront to experiment with night photography. But even that was stressful. The police were out. I could not see very well in the dark. And could only hear distant and some not so distant voices shouting. It made me very nervous. But I did manage to take one photo. India Point Park

I’m listening to ocean sounds on my laptop, trying to calm my scattered mind. And strangely enough, I think it’s working. Especially if I close my eyes.

If I close my eyes, I have a better sense of who and what is here, including you.

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something beyond

I am trying to think of something that literally did not happen today. Or it happened, but not literally. And I’m coming up empty. It’s been an empty day. It’s been an empty year, an empty past 4 years. I have bottomed out of emptiness. Literally bottomed out. I didn’t think it would be possible.

The Sabbath is supposed to be the day of rest, but I am not sure if the rest is supposed to involve the vocal cords which have been resting unused all day.

How can I break out of this pattern? Almost 4 years of not breaking out may have done me in. I am at a loss. So lost at a loss. Perhaps if I change the name of this blog, everything will turn around for me. Maybe if I stop writing about loss and lostness, I regain what I have lost and find my way back again.

It’s sort of like the election. Trump has made us all so miserable that one pines to return to the lost world that existed before him. Even if that world was not our favorite. I would give anything to return there. Wouldn’t you?

I find myself sighing a lot. All of the time. I have probably produced more sighs in the past 4 years than I have in my entire almost extinguished life. Today alone, the number of sighs completely dwarf the number of words I have spoken.

Not THAT may have been the most depressing paragraph I have ever written. I don’t know if I could top that.

There’s got to be a way for me to break out this. There’s just got to be. But it’s going to take an intervention. Something beyond me. It may be difficult to find that something that is beyond me if I never leave this apartment.

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Misaligned

I just went through a flurry of job interviews in a short span of time. And came up empty. I was hoping upon hope, pleading, putting everything I had into getting this job in Minneapolis, but they went with a candidate whose qualifications more closely align with their needs… or however they phrased it. I don’t know how much more aligned I could have been. But I guess I must be a very mis-aligned person. I guess I must work on that.

But every time this happens, I cry out to the universe:

What am I doing wrong ?

Is it really my fate to be so unhappy and lonely and isolated until the earth is done with me? Has that been my fate from the very beginning?

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Tethered

My brain is running me ragged. It doesn’t stop churning. On and on it goes. On and on. It’s so monotonous. And it’s exhausting. And it doesn’t seem to care that it’s exhausting me.

One would think my brain would have the sense to think of someone else besides itself. One would think. But that kind of thought never enters this brain’s thinking. Not even for a splinter of a second.

And it keeps dragging me along. It won’t let go. No matter how hard I try to set myself loose, it simply won’t let me. It’s so unfair.

So then what is this brain thinking about? All of those what/if/then/that kinds of thoughts. What/if/then/that and then if/that/what/then/if. The content is irrelevant. The point of it is to exhaust me. And it is succeeding. I wonder if it feels a sense of pride in that kind of success.

But my brain does not feel success or failure or much of anything else. My brain does not believe that there’s no success like failure … or that failure’s no success at all. My brain does not know what to believe. My brain is not in the business of believing. Believing in something. In anything.

But it grinds away. Unremittingly. And I am tethered to it. It’s an unfortunate situation.

But I like to think there is hope. A flicker of hope. I hope for the day where one day my brain looks up and sees the sky. And looks around and sees the sky all around it. And begins to notice there is earth below. And upon there that earth there is me. And maybe at that moment, my brain will experience a realization of some sort. A realization about something and someone outside of it.

And perhaps then it will feel some sense of responsibility to others besides itself. Even if they are intangible. I wait for that moment to occur.

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Colleen

I’ve decided that it might be a good idea for me to spend more time in conversation with the dead, especially when I often cannot think of anything to say to the living. Tonight I was talking to this friend of my sister’s who I knew all too briefly, who I really think could have been a significant person in my life before her departure. I was just sort of talking to her and reminiscing about our fractal of time together, but I felt bad because I could not recall her name. You know that feeling you have when you’re talking to someone whose name you have no excuse for forgetting, but you are drawing a blank? I believe they call it Nominal Aphasia. Isn’t Aphasia a beautiful word? Sort of like Fantasia and Aphrodisia fused together.

But just when I had given up on my ability to rise above Nominal Aphasia, the name COLLEEN appeared out of nowhere.  In a flash. Of course, Colleen! Just like that Joanna Newsom song.

What an amazing spirit you were when you dwelled among us… artist, writer, English Channel swimmer, authentically beautiful human. I’m so glad I’ve reconnected with you. I feel so much better now.

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Longing

I long. I am longing. I am not lacking in longing. Longing is something I do. I cannot say for sure that I do it well. I just do. The days I am not longing are disconcerting. To me. I wonder if today is such a day. So far nobody has asked me about this. So far, at 4:30 on a Saturday afternoon, no one has asked me anything. So far, no one has spoken to me nor have I spoken all day. This does not feel like a very healthy way to live. My under-used vocal cords would probably agree, if they could speak, which they could if anyone addressed them. they are waiting. they are longing.

You may ask me, what is it like to long? I might say longing is the same thing as yearning. To which you might respond that this was not a very helpful answer. I would think about it for a moment or 2 and then I would probably agree. But I would probably need more time before I thought of answer.

And it might not even be the right answer. Longing is an acute awareness of what one is lacking in one’s life that is smushed together with a fervent desire to acquire what one is lacking.

You might say that this answer sounded so formal and academic.

Which is exactly not the response I was not looking for. I worry that this impression I give others of seeming formal and academic obscures all that I am capable of being. So maybe I should try a different answer. Like maybe I should say that longing is a feeling of great depth and passion that I have, even when there is no subject, no object to receive it.

That would probably be a better answer. Even if it were not entirely true.

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Follow Up?

I’m trying to figure out if I should send a follow-up text to my okc date from the other night. But what do I have to say, especially when the expectation that I will ever see this person again in what remains of my lifetime is so low?

I guess that is one of the purposes of a blog. It’s sort of a sandbox to try out things that I may or may not try in my life outside of the blog.

And I should feel especially unencumbered to try things out since, as far as I can tell, I am the sole reader of this blog.

Perhaps I could text her:

Hi _____! I hope you had a great time rock climbing this weekend. I spent most of my weekend waiting for your text, but something must have gone wrong with my phone. Would you mind re-sending?

Or

Hi _____! I hope you had a great time rock climbing this weekend. It must have been a great release, especially in light of the stress of meeting me the other night. Actually even though I have never climbed a single rock (but I have tripped over many) … and even though I am afraid of heights…. rock climbing is probably much less terrifying than asking you if you’d like to go on a 2nd date. Even climbing Mt. Everest would be less terrifying.

Or

Hi _____! I’ve been meaning to write to you to let you know that when we met, I was so consumed by self-consciousness and worries over how I came across to you that I barely remember you being there at all. I don’t know if I would even recognize you if we passed each other in the hallway. I have a vague image of someone with long hair wearing a black shirt and drinking a local IPA, but I am not convinced that was you. It could have been anyone. Would you like to meet up again and maybe this time, both of us will be present? I would like that.

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too much brown

now that I feel nothing except for a headache, I’ve decided that now might be an opportune moment to write. now that I’m numb and i’ve run out of time, I thought this moment is probably more opportune than any other moment that came before it.

i’ve been trying to distance myself from the heartache of another okcupid date. not even heartache. i’m not convinced my heart was all that invested in this person. I had not even considered whether or not that was true.

the hurt comes from just trying to be liked, regardless of who happens to be doing the liking. It could be Hitler or Stalin or Mussolini or Eva Braun or Tiffany Trump or Dick Cheney or Liz Cheney or… . i can barely even recall what I thought about you. you seemed nice. and authentic and curious. that is all I could have hoped for. But now, it’s looking like my fears might be realized. i don’t know if I’ll ever hear from you again.

And I’m trying to decode what could have possibly gone wrong.

Was it the fact that I am 10 pounds heavier than in my photos?

was it because I was not as fast and witty and engaging in-person as I am in text? Although I warned you, this would probably happen. the in-person me might take some time to catch up with the SMS version.

Was it my shirt? Maybe I was wearing too much brown.

Or sometimes people read things in my facial expressions that are completely divorced from however I am feeling at the moment. Maybe I looked too anguished or too pre-occupied, or too worried, or maybe my face is just responding to the right things at the right moment. But whatever it does, should not define who I am.

But tell that to this okcupid person. If you can find her. I have the feeling she’s vacated the premises.

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