On Being Chronically Late

I am feeling distracted today, but I’m also feeling destroyed.

I’ve been unable to get out of bed. The one thing that does tend to get me out of bed is to go to work, even though I do sometimes show up late, even though it’s not every day, I get up and go to work, and I put everything into it, even if it’s some shitty task, I take it with sincerity. I’ve made many friends, and well, I like my job. I really do. It has helped a lot to remind me that I am capable but also reminded me not to overestimate my own competency. I’ve met so many people that have been extremely kind to me, and I feel many of them genuinely care about me and I genuinely care about them. I have learned new skills and been open to hearing new stories and solving problems and trying new things and making friends with everyone I can.

Really, what does one do when they’re stuck staring at the ceiling all night and then told to get up in the morning and operate? I know other people do it. I know it’s the “way” of college students. So why can’t I? Why can I only operate at such a minimal level? I can never get to class after nights like that, but sometimes I do get to work. Sometimes, when it’s really bad, I don’t get to work either.

I started writing a percentage, but no matter how you quantify it, almost all of life is simply showing up. I truly believe that and I don’t practice it in the way that I do show up, but I have learned the hard way how important it is. I have learned how useless hard work and talent is if you are never there. Enthusiasm means nothing if you are not present to spread it. It is frankly quite rude to come in and speak, even if you have something worthwhile to say, when you’ve never been there before.

I have lost total faith in my ability to be punctual. Ever since I was in high school I have been told I am late. I am a late person. I am lectured by my dad all the time. It is my fault. Time seems to slow down at certain moments  but then I come out of the bubble only to find that time has been running normally, and it’s only I that slowed down. How can I so easily loose perception of the earth’s rotation around the sun? I don’t have an answer. How can I just stare at the clock sometimes and watch the digits change like they are meaningless numbers and not a measurement of something much more important? I don’t know what is wrong with me, but I am a tardy person, and I hold immense guilt for it. I carry it around with me everywhere.

So, why not just be on time then, writer? I don’t know! God, I wish I had a good answer, but I don’t. Maybe I’ll start getting ready and I get into this mindset of “fuck it, I’m a late person, this is who I am, I will never get better, just fuck it, let me be late.” I regret it the moment in walk into the classroom and have to stand by the door awkwardly for a moment just to find a seat, and then make a bunch of noise taking my coat on and off. I’m tired of making excuses, so I will tell people that I don’t have one. I don’t. I truly don’t. I am just late, habitually late. I have the power to control it but at the same time haven’t been able to. That doesn’t make any sense. People will ask for an excuse, why are you late? I honestly can’t always just say I don’t have an excuse. You would think I should be applauded for just being blunt and honest about it and not searching for some obvious lie, but they need one.

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You know what being late says? Being late says “I don’t value your time. I don’t think this is important. You are not important to me, consciously or subconsciously.” People say this because they believe there is a threshold in which someone can’t be late, for example, an important job interview or your wedding. Those things are important and everything else isn’t to you. I want to fight it and say it’s not true. I do value you. I didn’t mean this. I regret this, please forgive me, I will beg for your forgiveness (actually, I won’t—I’ve learned I can’t spend any more time than is needed letting us dwell on the fact that I am late). But it must be true to some extent. Maybe nothing is important to me. Nothing is important to me at all. Everything is worthless and a waste of time that could have been spent sleeping. So, I am late.

I am going to re-direct this post into this link from a blog called “wait but why.” In this post, Tim Urban talks about a post his friend sent him about how optimistic people have one thing in common—they’re all late!, which is a load of bullshit.

http://waitbutwhy.com/2015/07/why-im-always-late.html

He then goes on to say that he’s perpetually late because he’s insane. I can relate a lot to this short post. I feel that I am a Chronically Late Insane Person (CLIP), which he describes. 

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Wait But Why,” “The Instant Gratification Monkey,” and “The Panic Monster” are marks used by us, Wait But Why Inc, to uniquely identify them and I don’t own any of it and all credits go to them and hope this isn’t illegal!

However, there are a couple things I want to point out that Tim didn’t. I am a CLIP, but that is still not a great excuse. I am a CLIP, and that makes me rude and inconsiderate and disrespectful. I am CLIP, and I still get mad sometimes when I’M on time but others are late. I am late and it is a result of being egotistical and not giving a fuck sometimes, or reaching the point of not giving a fuck.

I used to feel terrible about myself when I was late and the impact I am having on other people, but lately the terror stems more toward what I have done to the other party. Even if it’s walking into class late I think about the times I’ve played the position of teacher, and that no matter how many years they may have over me, there is no way it can’t bring anxiety or distraction. I think about how it must affect my coworkers and the extra work they have no real responsibility to do that they are forced to. There are many times where people say “it’s okay” and I know they mean it, and I know they truly don’t mind, but I mind that they don’t mind too! Maybe I am waiting for someone to yell at me.**

In the meantime, the self loathing continues. I walk to class or work or out the door calculating seconds and at the same time just feeling like I not care, but the minute I arrive a pit drops to the bottom of my stomach. I feel afraid and wish for the attention to go away, go away, please please please.

So, how can I recognize all these things and still not feel better? I am a CLIP. CLIP, in Tim’s article, stands for Chronically Late Insane Person. I think I would rename it Chronically Late Insane Problem. I have a CLIP, in this case. I recognize all the difficultly it is causing me in my life. I see myself as a late person and can’t get over this perception of myself and believe I can change. The things about a CLIP is, it needs help to be solved. Yes, at the end of the day it is my own behavior that needs to change. But I need help. I need immense help. Thinking about this and thinking about my lateness—my ultimate achilles heel—is actually make me tear up as I write. I want so badly to conquer this but I’m afraid. I don’t know who to go to for help. I don’t know who to blame for this, because if I understand everything and am still unable to change, then could it be my depression? Is it my dad who instilled such deep seated guilt and shame in who I am as a tardy person rather than encouraging me and helping me?  Or is it just me? I believe the latter the most, and I know I can’t solve it on my own.

I have been at this point before. These aren’t new thoughts. This feeling that I need help isn’t with my insane problem is a new idea. I let this realization come to forefront back when I first read that WaitButWhy article, and for whatever reason, let it be filed away, but here I am writing about it again.

**Back to the part of waiting for someone to yell at me, and to my point about work. I am living in constant fear of losing my job because I am unable to get out of bed in the morning and so I come late and then I get ‘points’ for it. The policy is that 6 points will get you terminated, but at our location  not only does every manager not record points all the time depending on if they like the employee, we are severely understaffed and they overlook it where they need more people or when they have a good worker. It’s not fair. I have had one points meeting before, with one manager who knows I have a “clinical illness” (he’s not stupid and I could make an inference that he too has in the past struggled with similar health issues), and the conversation went about like this: give me a doctor’s note for when you had to go home after your seizure. I am trusting you. I am no longer working in close proximity with that manager. The station in my workplace I spend most of my time at has been passed on to another manager. He is a good guy but I am not willing to be open about shit that is going on with me. Nor do I think it should be used as an excuse, nor do I believe most people would take it as a reasonable one—I know I got lucky last time.

Anyway, I have 14 recorded points, so I had to have a meeting, with another manager, and to be quite honest, it scared me. He says after one more attendance point I will be moved out of this station, but they may give me another chance to work in the other spots. I don’t mind working in the other place. At the same time I would feel so ashamed to be kicked out. And if I am kicked out of there, isn’t it only a matter of time until I’m terminated for good? He’s so careful not to use the “f” word and I guess I appreciated it but at the same time wish he would have been more blunt.

I feel that I’m incapable of staying clean attendance wise. I think there is no way. I have no confidence in my own capability. I need help, but who to reach out to? Isn’t it too late? This leaves me with a question—quit or not? Of course I would rather quit than be fired, that is out of the question. But should I quit before something goes wrong or wait it out or just stay and be optimistic about myself getting better? I’m not optimistic, I’m really not. . I love my job. I said I liked it earlier, but no, I love it. It has been a very positive thing for me. I have gained a lot of friends and experiences and I do not want to give it up. I don’t want to quit. But I’d rather quit than be fired. Of course, the best option is to simply start being on time, right? I feel like that’s so hopeless. I’m terrified, and I know I will go to work constantly afraid now that I am going to be fired. Yes, I would get another chance at the other place, but I can’t imagine the guilt I would feel. I know that what I am doing is not fair. There is a line up of people that want to work in that station. I’m sure there are people that could do my job both better and with good attendance.

I am disposable, after all, and this is somewhat comforting. To believe that I am in a job where I am not disposable, to think that I’m somehow really good and important and needed, and then loose my job…that would be worse. I accepted recently the reality that in the American labor market, we are all easily disposable. It was scary at first but I’ve met people since who I know can be replaced in a minute that think they are important, and I can’t help but shake my head and feel relieved that I’ve already learned my lesson on that part. 

I didn’t tell any of my coworkers what I was thinking or that my manager had that meeting. They would tell me it was bluff, and that I wouldn’t be fired—the people higher up than me would even probably say that. But no matter how much confidence they have, I don’t know if they’ve been in this position and the anxiety that is coming with it all. They don’t know my private life and all my problems. I shouldn’t risk this kind of bluff. And I have that deep seated need to come out on top, as the stronger one who was the bigger person and let it go. 

I should add a few things to this post before I end it, in case I look back at it one day, and also to address all those people who say you should rather get fired than quit. I don’t need unemployment benefits, and if I get fired I am not going to look for a new job, besides an internship which will probably be some unpaid volunteer labor that they somehow classify as a job. If I quit I want to keep the connections of some of the managers—even if any of them mention I am late I have the upper hand in saying that I resigned to work on myself (maybe?!?!). I know I will probably have some job in my life where I’m fired, but I’m not ready for it yet. I have low self esteem. I have saved the money and I am supported by my parents. I should just concentrate on myself. Right? Right?! I’m not out of college yet. It’s a bloody part time job. I thought about that for a moment and did think, why am I putting so much of a deal of it then, but then I did realize that it’s important to me in this time and moment, so I shouldn’t withdraw any status of it’s importance. I get paid so shittily. I can get another job, and I have personal reasons to explain why I quit, and I can get a way better job—something a friend made me realize sometime last semester. I will be 21 soon and this will increase my chances if I really do wha to look around, and if I decide to, I will hold on to my current job until I get interviews. Thus ends the list of more justifications of why I should just leave then for why I should stay.

I think I’m going to order pizza and watch do homework and watch TV and read my book and it will be a night. But first, call mom and cry!

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How I Will Probably Commit Suicide

It’s 1:42 am, I’m done writing.

There is line that has continued to run through my head:

I can’t help but pull the earth around me to make my bed. 

Of course this comes from a Florence + The Machine song, “Ship to Wreck,” which is the most popular song off their new album–a powerful anthem of picking up the pieces you can find here.

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I feel my feelings personified in this image of Florence Welch

Usually when I think about suicide, I think of grotesque things. My guts laying on the ground, how my lifeless body will release it’s last fecal matter a little while later, my burial, and how meaningless it will all be. There are times, like many suicidal people, I do idealize it–imagining the pain that people around me would experience (or lack thereof), the easier things would be, and the beauty in dying in general, especially on your own terms. I think of the earth. Returning to the earth. That a true suicide for me could only succeed in nature, by nature, through nature. Any of my past attempts were moments of desperation. I should say, Reader, that I can’t imagine attempting suicide anytime in my present state and life circumstance, let’s make that clear.

I think that’s why I feel so at home outdoors, especially when in solitude. I remember once last year, I would often go sit by the trees in a graveyard, or on a pavilion by the wetlands near my school. I’d get the feeling I shouldn’t be left alone there, for whatever reason I couldn’t grasp until thinking about it tonight. I Here’s something I wrote a while back, when I was looking back at pictures from my Wyoming backpacking trip.

can you be homesick for something that wasn’t home? Or maybe it was home–if home is where the heart is, if home is the place where you belong, if home is the place where we came from and where we will return. is home whenever you were together? is home a place or is home a feeling? must a home have love, and if love is described as beauty all around, then wasn’t it home?

Yes, I felt home because I knew that’s where I had come from, and that’s where I will return, and that’s how I shall return. Maybe I felt I shouldn’t be alone because I knew I was close to death, but at the same time it was okay because I also was very close to life–the origin of mine, that is. It’s an indescribable sensation to feel so close to both life and death that so many people (like Florence) have attempted to describe better than I can. How can any of us attempt to explain that home? It is not housing in a house or tied to other people. A place of the placeless, a trace of the traceless.

I remember washing my feet in rivers in Wyoming, and there is something deeply spiritual and symbolic about washing your feet in a magical place that feels like your home. I would sing other Florence lyrics like hymns, such as:

Lay me down
Let the only sound
Be the overflow
Pockets full of stones 

From What the Water Gave Me

I can’t help but feel the need to pull the earth around me and bury myself in it, even though I don’t, even though I wish to be laid down gently into the river and with no intentions of rescue.

Maybe the appearance of that line in my head is a call that I need to go outdoors, even though it’s freezing cold out. I feel a desire to get naked and lie in the melting snow, and cry. I won’t let myself die, I think. I have no intentions of dying. I only want to be alone, close to the potential of death but even closer to life. The genius John Milton wrote, after all, that “solitude sometimes is best society.”
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Dictionary Definitions from a Fatigued Soldier

I can stay up and write all night, I really can, especially since I didn’t sleep at all last night and laid around for the former part of the day. But I must retire eventually, and I feel the need to split what I wrote into two parts.

These past few hours I’ve felt unsettled. Perhaps these two weeks were too good to be true. Productivity? A busy but fulfilling schedule? Classes I don’t hate? Being (kind of) on time? Being praised at work? Eating? Remembering my meds? Feeling like I have friends?

Who was I to believe I could keep up any of those things…to live any more than satisfactorily?

 

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I am so tired and exhausted, and I had a scary thought today. What if I’m not truly depressed anymore, I just am stuck in the habit of not brushing my teeth in the morning and laying in bed and skipping obligations and not eating? Although it makes me wonder why I would purposely sabotage myself, there could be a chance this is true, is it not? I have complete control over whether or not I get out of bed. I just have to break a habit. …Simple?

I made muffins but I can never get them perfect like my mum can. I burnt the bottom just a bit, and I’m making myself eat it for no real reason.

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The above is not a schedule any person who struggles with mental health should have, it is? I suppose even a regular person can’t technically be in several places at once as this graphic suggests I should be, and that I believe I can be. But hey Reader, please don’t tell me that though, okay? I’m not ready to accept it. Obvious things are not in this schedule, such as sleep, meal, friend time, shower time. The doctor. The therapist. Those things are also not listed, because not because I’m not doing them, but because I’ve cut them out. Perverse.

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Yet I can’t put a finger on what I feel. Is it anxiety? Spiritual unsettlement? Paranoia? Anger? I am often angry. I am an angry person. This doesn’t mean that I go around yelling at people with a throbbing temple on my head 24/7. There’s probably some pretty understandable reasons for the deep seated anger that sits like a tumor in my soul. My mind frame is crooked on the wall in a way only the homeowner can be bothered by. In the past couple days I’ll be in the middle of something and suddenly think: “what am I doing?” This can be in the middle of mixing a color on my painting palette to wiping down a table at work to while I’m actually speaking, like asking a question in class. I’ll feel afraid for a moment. 

Why don’t I listen to the doctor or go to the therapist? As I had mentioned before, I’ve gotten quite sick of it. But that has never been a good reason. Perhaps a real underlying cause is that I seem to believe this is how things will be. This is, at first face, sad. But, it is reasonable to get tired of war. I know I will end up with PTSD and battle scars anyway, so maybe it’s time to head home and retire this fight. I don’t feel like I’ve surrendered, but just that enough is enough with these endless, failing battles. I don’t feel as though I’ve surrendered to this illness. But if I did, so what? It’s strange how when we personify war, we talk about how we must keep fighting. But in the nature of real war, most can see the evil in putting people through these things, the inevitable loss, and the lack of any real winners in combat. Depression will never win, I won’t let it, but neither will I. I am the soldier in the jungle of Vietnam, a living zombie who is dragging his mullet behind him. Our legs are jello, and our commanders tell us to keep going, and we do, but what is the real point to it? There is no investment left in the fight.

 

 

 

The Political Cartoons of Puck

Reader, lover of artistry, history, creativity, and genius, indulge with me for a moment while I talk about Puck.

This is a kind of part two to a post I wrote earlier about Billy Ireland

Puck was a magazine, the first successful one of it’s time, to produce (mostly political) satire cartoons. It is much more than the black and white sketches we see today in The New Yorker (not to delegitimize those gems). Cartoonists for the magazine provided full colorful, detailed, illustrative prints. An opening of most introductory American History book (shoutout to the American Paegant!) will contain images of the most famous illustrations, like:

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John D. Rockefeller depicted as a Robber Baron
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Teddy Roosevelt looking standing patronizingly over the Constitution

 

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One of many illustrations that used the octopus as a representation of negative forces
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A depiction of James Blaine, the opponent of Grover Cleveland during the 1884 election which Puck had a large influence in

What made this magazine so different and influential? It wasn’t the first collection of political cartoons and caricatures. It was just much more successful than the last few. I don’t know enough to say why. I know that Puck was more influenced by European political cartoonists than previous American cartoonists, and that some of the best, most famous cartoonists in American history produced for Puck.

I can tell you what I saw when I got to look at collection of cartoons from Puck. Deep, astute symbolism like no other. Humor (although we, living in a different time, don’t understand it at first) that is deeply poignant. A quick glance won’t give you all of the secrets of that particular print. An examination helps us understand why certain colors were used, why certain objects were placed where they were, why a face was distorted into that particular structure. Each image was filled with so much intention. It wasn’t like anything I’d seen, and it wasn’t like anything I realized could have been accomplished then. I laughed, thankfully because I remember some the 19th century political situation from history classes, and because it was all so original.

Later in the magazine’s existence some of the cartoons were less political and more comical. Cartoons told a story. But I will admit I didn’t get a great look at their later works that were displayed. I was way too mesmerized by the earlier works. The way it was arranged in the gallery was so perfect. I walked along and saw the influence of their work. The outrage and finger pointing at some politicians and tycoons, and their satire of the games going on in Washington. I watched the results of those fights that Puck had depicted and what the reaction of the magazine was. I saw their commentary on presidents and popular opinions, and whether or not what they campaigned for succeeded.

Today, I have a bit of a personal love for political comedy. In fact, often, I feel like, with our current distored media situration, the real truth comes from the mouths of the likes of John Oliver, Jon Stewart, Colbert, Kimmel, Chris Rock, Tina, Amy, all of SNL, Aziz, Key and Peele, Youtubers like Vlogbrothers and even Bad Lip Reading, The god-damned Onion and why do I keep going when I can go on for so long? Basically, what I’m saying is, these political comedians do today what Puck did expertly decades ago: cut through all the current shit. As a writer, as an artist, and as a person, this is what I want to be able to do. It hard to find a niche/subject to dedicate myself to. I’m not saying every painter has to have one, but isn’t it, in some way, amazing to? I try to create art that is relevant to my life and experiences, so now, I wonder if I am capable of commenting on current society the way that Puck did (actually, I know I’m capable of it, I just now got the idea of finally trying).

One thing I also thought while looking through all those cartoons is “wow, if only Puck were around to illustrate the current shitshow that is the election of 2016.” Of course we have humorists and cartoonists and even more mediums to make fun of things than we did back then, yet I felt like Puck would have been able to do it in a way no one else right now is doing so. At the same time,I’m reminded that the current shitshow isn’t current at all–it’s always been there.

I mentioned in my earlier post that I saw all these things during a visit to a cartoon museum for a class and that I had to pick two pieces to write a response to. Here a response to a Puck piece I chose. It’s crazy that here I am posting an image below but I saw the real thing (!!!) in a museum. Let me tell you, these cartoons are pretty big. Anyway, if you’re interested in my analysis of a single piece, you can read on below for what I wrote for class. The image is a bit darker than depicted below.

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A caption underneath this print reads: Professor Sam of the Department of Physics: STOP! LOOK! LISTEN! Gentleman, we are about to witness what really happens when an irrestible force meets an immovable body. It was created by Joseph Keppler Jr. on Puck Vol 72, No 1830, which was published on March 27, 1912.

At the bottom is a small man in a cap and gown with a table behind him–presumably Professor Sam. He addressing the viewer. His arm is held up up like a teaching and his robe is blowing in the wind. The landscape shows a relatively clear day over an orbital horizon that shows beaches, oceans sand, mountains, and trees all at once (presumably, the subjects of this image are standing on top of America). The only freestanding building is the capital building, a small silhouette on the left side horizon. Next to it, sits President Taft–annoyed, fat, dumb, and dark looking. He is sitting on top of the white house and crushing it. Running at Taft from the right comes an angry and very animated T. Roosevelt. He has strong arms and legs that are in motion, and his hands are in fists. He is floating as he runs, which is suggested by the lines and bolts, at the speed of light. As I remember from history class, Taft was seen as passive compared to the last president, Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt and Taft had a feud and although Taft did call himself progressive, Roosevelt was much more aggressive in his stances and ran against Taft again during Taft’s re-election. Teddy Roosevelt has always been seen as a tough guy fighter willing to stand up for Americans. Clearly, the artist agreed with this sentiment. This was published during the 1912 Presidential election. It looks as though Taft is going to be pushed off from where he is sitting (as president on the White House). This image struck me because I remembered the historical context and because of the diverse and striking symbolism. We are reminded of the diverse landscape of America. Although the day seems clear, the color palette leans more dark and cool, reflecting the sentiment of current society. The physics professor is a silly additive and is probably used because during this time, there was a lot of discovery happening in the field of physics. It is intentional that the presidents are portrayed as giants. It took me a moment to even notice the professor, who seems like he is trying to explain some great natural phenomena. The detail in the faces of Taft and Roosevelt are amazing and the shadows on Taft’s body and on the White House are very ominous looking. Looking through the Puck cartoons made me think that although our current political climate in Washington seems crazy now, it is nothing particularly new. The same comedic storms were happening then too, and it’s only a shame we don’t have Puck around today to comment on the current election.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Because I Hate Crying

The week continues after taking a day off in remembrance of one of American history’s most beloved and controversial Civil Rights Leader. I’m not sure if it relates much to this post, but here is my favorite quote by MLK

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Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend. -MLK

A few moments ago I finished my second pint of ice cream in two days despite the bitter cold. My window has cracks in it and keeps me colder than I should be inside. I put Crayola Molding Clay in some of the cracks but I’m not sure if it’s really doing anything. I have my hair dryer on next to me, on medium, to provide heat, along with my heating pad. I’m wearing a sweatshirt and a robe and red socks, the ones I got from the hospital. I don’t know why I’m rambling, the point is, I ate a lot of ice cream. My stomach hurts. I don’t have a real, legitimate justification for my gorging. I haven’t eaten a real, good and satisfying meal in three days. Yes I’ve eaten. Mostly Lucky Charms and ice cream and granola bars though. I say I’m trying to gain weight, but is this really the right way? I’m sure it’s a good way to get diabetes. My energy is low and my mood is low and everything else is, well, low.

The past couple days I haven’t stop thinking about what happened to me on Saturday night, and wondering if I made a mistake, judged too harshly, had expectations that were too high, etc. I tell myself I only feel I should have done it because I crave sex, but if I had something sexual to satisfy, then I would want to masturbate, and I don’t, at all. If I can’t stop thinking about a person, does that mean I like them? Or did the experience just scar me that badly?

I should talk about my doctor. On Friday, before all of this, I went to the doctor. I have a new psychiatrist. My old psychiatrist sucked. But, as I have written earlier, I feel very much over therapists and psychs and counselors. I went in already as the little bitch shit I am, just wanting to get my prescriptions and get out.

The Dr. is male now, and the first thing I notice is that his office is plain compared to the other rooms with brighter colors or intentional lighting. I sit down and the next thing I notice is a prayer rug in the corner—a Muslim. But he’s a doctor first, so whatever. I didn’t try to guess his ethnicity. Not much of an accent anyway. He was here as a doctor so that’s the relationship we would have.

We began by going over my old psych’s notes, which SUCKED. Apparently I’d been taking all the wrong dosages and so much crap. “And you were being treated for, depression?” he says to me. I say yes, and then it starts. How is your depression doing? I had been doing well that week and 2015 had ended strong and my winter break was good and I felt optimistic, so I said I felt good now, but it was still there, in the backdrop. I know he knew what I meant, but he kept asking me to explain, and I hated it. Then of course, you will get asked what you want to work on, and so I say eating and depression and sleeping and shit, and he asks what keeps me up, so I have problems sleeping. I have always had problems sleeping in some form, and some nights are worse than others. But, what keeps me up?

I don’t really know, that’s the honest answer. I tell him about how I won’t be able to sleep so I will sometimes give up and get up and do something else because I feel like I am wasting time. But why? He pushes me. Racing thoughts, that’s a word I’m used to saying because that the term that’s used, but what racing thoughts?, he kept pushing. I tell him I have conversations with people, and he says what people, what conversations…I’m not really able to articulate myself. I tell him how it gets to the point where I want to keep myself awake, and he asks why, why, so you don’t value your sleep? I can’t explain. I talk about how I’m lonely so I guess it’s okay for me to sit there and think because I have so much to share that I share with no one else, and at least there is an outlet in these thoughts. But at the expense of my sleep? I can’t explain. I tell him I’d been sleeping well lately though. 

We are going back and forth. He is asking me a lot of questions about my health and my thoughts, and looking back, I understand it, he was using some kind of method of exposure to really find out what I needed to work on. Am I suicidal? No, no, I’m not suicidal, I just don’t want to be alive. He doesn’t get it. I explain my continuum of existing and not existing and wanting to die and wanting to be alive, and how I’m in the middle right now, I’m okay that I exist but would prefer not to. I make jokes about my death. He doesn’t laugh. I tell him how I’m on birth control. He asks how I got on it, and I tell him, and if I’m sexually active, and then I ask how he defines sexually active. And then I realize what the definition of sexually active is, and feel stupid for never knowing. He asks if I told the doctor that gave me the BC if I was sexually active, and I say no and how I wasn’t comfortable with my mom being there, I didn’t want to tell her to leave, they never asked her to step outside. Well, he asks me: why didn’t I? He can’t believe that I would have not told the doctor that! (To be fair, I can’t either) I think I try to defend myself and come up with something to deflect him, because he is pushing me hard, and it is getting to me. I knew it was going to get to me soon, at that point, that I would not be able to keep my composure. It was showing in my face, I knew it. I wanted him to understand who I was, I wanted him to stop pushing me around, and so I was harsh.

It continues. I am struggling to keep it straight, he keeps asking me why, what were the motivations for these things? I have problems eating. But why? Do I have body image problems? No, I say, I don’t, he asks and asks, and finally I say no, I just have some problems, not an ED (eating disorder). More questions. I don’t have good answers. I’m exasperated and I know he isn’t loving my attitude. I say I’m fine, I’ve been fine really. but then, he asks, why am I here? I don’t know. I really don’t.

He asks me if there were triggering events in my depression, so I talk about Bo and how I kept this relationship a secret, but why, he asks. Why keep it a secret? Why be in the relationship? But why did I have to keep my parents in the dark? He knew, he knew the answer to all of that, he knew the culture, and he pretended he didn’t, and it was upsetting me. He gets it then, he makes me cry, but I can talk through my tears, and I don’t want to reach for the tissue box but I do it anyway. I think he may have asked me why I’m resisting, or something, but I do know that my outburst was “because I hate crying!”

Woah, where did that come from? I didn’t hate crying, I thought. I embraced crying. I cried so much last semester that I would just walk outside and there were tears coming down my face, but whatever. Who cared who looked? Oh, look at me, I’m crying. It’s not a big deal that I cry. Don’t be concerned, other people!  I’m fine, I just cry. It just a thing that I do. I felt comfortable with that. Or at least I thought.

No, I hated crying, and this outburst had brought the truth out. I mean, no, I don’t hate crying, I say, I just hate to cry here. Why do you think we have tissues in every room, he says. I hated how right he was. I hated that he had made me cry. I hated that I thought I was doing fine and that I was wrong. My week was ruined. It was true that I didn’t like to cry in front of the doctors or therapists. But why? I don’t have a good reason. I guess there are two types of crying for me: controlled and uncontrolled. In my room or laying in bed I let myself cry. I let it flow through me. My crying is uncontrolled and makes it through okay. In front of these people, I feel crying coming so I begin controlling and managing the emotion, trying to bend it into something else, to blink it into the backs of my eyes. Oddly, I control cries because I fear most of losing control over myself. That’s so terrifying to me. My first reflex is to hold back the cry or let it fall out as just apparent water coming from my eyes, not anything filled with gasps or redness. Yet, when I cry this way, a controlled cry, I am drained of all the energy required to carry it out, and if I fail, then the chance of me gaining control over myself again is actually lower than if I would have let it run through me. That was a lot to understand, and I apologize, Reader, for the wordiness of it all. 

We start talking about my earlier panic attacks, especially the main significant one back last semester that happened at work. I say how I think I knew it was coming, things led up to it. What things? I tell him about confusion, stress, memory loss, and a metallic taste in my mouth. I admit that I wet the bed once. He seems concerned about this and bewildered that I didn’t go see a family doctor to get it checked, but I have no response. I once again felt l at a loss, like I was slowly losing my dignity. Yet, in the back of my mind, I thought to myself “this guy is good at his job. Damn it, he’s good at his job.” So many questions that I don’t know the answer too. So many things he wants me to explain and re-explain.

We go over everything, and for the first time in a long time, I feel like I’m getting some concrete answers, even though I deeply resent the way he achieved that.

The symptoms I’ve described make it sound like I may have had seizures. This is huge news to me, a new thing to consider. He thinks that in conjunction with my depression, I may actually have a sleep disorder. This would explain things. I need to see a family doctor about the urination, that is particularly concerning to him that I can’t do that simple thing, and he says I shouldn’t hold in my pee. I already know this. I had admitted I do. I get caught up in something and put it off, because I don’t want to stop the task to do something as intrusive and inconvenient as peeing. I was going to work on it, I tell him. I was to see a family doctor, he recommended, and a sleep specialist.

We go over my medicine and go back and forth on whether or not I should continue Welbutirin at the same dosage, since it’d apparently been so fucked up and I’d taken it wrong before. I say I’ve been on the Lexapro for a while, and that the Welburtirin was added later. I don’t know about the dosage (I’m not the fucking doctor, I want to say), but are there any other options that I can replace Welburtirin with. Yes, the Dr. says right away. What is it? More intensive therapy. We are quiet and stare. “You are really annoying me,” is what I say to break the momentary silence, and he says that, well, I’d asked. Fair. That’s fair, I say.

He went back to asking me if I was doing therapy, which he’d been harping on in the beginning. Had I seen, Ka, my counselor? Did I talk to Ka a lot about this Bo stuff? Yeah, but no, I didn’t like to. I don’t want to do therapy, I say, and the Dr. says I have to or I can’t see him. He says I should try the Intensive Outpatient Program, something that was pushed on me last semester, but I said I didn’t want to. He talked back over the benefits of it. I looked down at my lap while he talked. I can consider it, but I really didn’t want to. He says no one can force me to do something if I don’t want to. Then he tells me about something called TMS and another thing called ECT. Reader, here is a link to what this is. I don’t really feel like writing about it. The thought of doing this coupled with everything else makes me feel unable to write about what it is exactly: a last resort.

We schedule for the next appointment. He puts the blood pressure thing on me. I’ve always hated those things. The sensation makes me feel choked. As a child, I would prefer needles and shots over that thing. But I was always brave and I still am for it today. He reminds me that I have to see a therapist or he will not see me. In my head I think, whatever, fuck him anyway, why is he thinking this is a threat?, but I know in the back of my mind I appreciated him and thought he was doing his job well. I said Ka had emailed me, I just didn’t reply, because I didn’t want to go, and he was happy, he said, to refer me to other therapists, but I couldn’t see him if I did not have one. I do like Ka though. There’s no way I’m starting over. I said I would eventually, she had emailed me and I hadn’t replied and of course I had to see her because she would keep emailing me. 

He turns back around in his chair to face me, and checks my blood pressure. How am I feeling? I feel fine, I say. My blood pressure is kind of high. Of course, in my head. You pushed it up. I am disappointed in myself. I want to cry more but I control the feeling instead of letting it run. It hurts to do so, and it’s obvious I’m sure.

He addresses what I said about Ka and the email, and he has become softer. “Not everything has to be a battle” are the only exact words I remember, and I remember thinking “But what if you’re a soldier?” I didn’t say it. It is nice what he says. “What do you mean?” He says I should not say I want to see Ka just to get rid of her emails. Yeah, I didn’t mean that in my heart, but I am cranky, and I hope Ka doesn’t mind when he they exchange notes and he mentions that I said this. I want to say I can already see her concerned face, but I just realized, I don’t really remember her face that well. It’s meshing with others.

I leave and thank the doctor. I forgot to ask for a note, I had missed class for this. I didn’t know my spring schedule when I had made that appointment, and my professors and I are all mostly close so this was fine when I said to him I didn’t want to reschedule, so I’d bring a note. Now what to do, damn it.

I’m just in tears walking out of there. I’m in tears and I have no where to really sit and cry. When I find a spot, I know I should cry it out, but I can’t even really do this. I’m so mad this man made me cry and ruined this week, and reminded me I’m broken and depressed and I can’t run away from this reality. So, I call my sister, and we talk for a while. I tell her how the guy is a good doctor but he made me cry, and I tell him about the seizure thing, and I’m glad to hear her voice. The conversation I had with this man, my words—“because I hate crying!”—repeating over. My sister asks if I want to go back, I don’t have to go back to that doctor. I feel like I should though. I can’t really imagine quitting (I know it’s not quitting, but whatever) after the hour I spent in his office that I thought would be much shorter. It will be a month, anyway, until I see the Dr. again. Later, while still sitting in that same spot, in my ball of sadness and thought, my mom calls, and I’m happy to talk to her. She makes me happy.

The night sucks. I don’t sleep well. I’m angry. I cry some, I think. The scene comes up again, my outburst, his “not everything has to be a battle.” I thought I was fine up until then, I really did. But it’s clear I’m still fucked. I’m not better. I’m not. I’m very sick and I’m very depressed and it won’t leave me alone. Maybe I was being overdramatic, after all I was due for my period.

Last night I wrote about an experience I had the next day, with a man I thought was a decent person. Today, I still can’t stop thinking about all of it. As I said earlier, should I have left? What happened in that doctor’s office influenced me. I reminded me that I am depressed, and I came into his house as a, once more, depressed person.

The day, today? I took benzodiapenes in the morning for fear of having a panic attack (or fucking seizure!) at work because I couldn’t stop thinking about that stupid guy. Later, I was jumpy because of this, and danced around to Madhuri Dixit in my room. I thought about Aaron again and I thought about reaching out to him again, and my gut tells me to do it, and that I had missed something about him and wanted to know what. The following thought occurred to me: I miss being in love. I also thought about how I’m not grateful enough for so many people in my life, including you, Reader, if you are there.

Tonight, I’ll try to sleep. Since I’m not sure how the earlier quote fits in, I have added something that I came across a little while ago, by a motivational speaker named Zig Ziglar that I feel I should take to heart. 

failure

 Yesterday ended last night. -ZZ

Storytime: Sex On Fire, Time to Evacuate

Yes, it’s late, but there are too many things to write about that I spent all day not writing about. I wonder if I should go chronologically, but I also think that maybe I should write what’s on my mind first, so this will be a story. 

I haven’t had sex in a while, and I want to. There’s this boy that’s been flirting with me, it was quite obvious he wanted to sleep with me. I met him at work last semester and he is an international student from the country my parents are from, but he grew up in a very different, more privileged culture that contrasts the thoughts that come to my  mind when I think of my parent’s home. Is he cute? I can’t say anymore. I guess he has good arms and he wasn’t ugly, so I’m sure I thought so. He was a good worker, had a cute smile, and was fun to mess with—decent person.

I was pretty positive this guy had his eyes on me for quite a while, and then in the past couple months he made it really obvious, but I acted stupid. We don’t have any shifts together right now so I said we should catch up. We planned for last night, Saturday, to go out, and in my mind, if it all went well we would do it.

I honestly felt nervous, and I was excited too. I kept trying not to think about it to not give myself expectations, but I was really excited. So, on Saturday, I went about my day.  I slept in, and then I made an appointment to get my legs waxxed—I’d been meaning to do it and now it was urgent. Usually the way it works is after it’s done, the esthetician will leave you so you can put your pants back on. Usually most of the wax is gone (especially since I go to basically the best waxxing salon ever), but they’ll give you a cloth with oil of some sort to rub anything that feels sticky to you. The wax is a kind of bubble-gummy pink, and small dots of it will wear away, but in my head I needed it gone fast. I sat there scrubbing at any remaining wax so my legs looked flawless. I took rather long to come out and pay—I always feel extra sexy and a bit confident after I get my legs done.

I went to Target and Staples, did my shopping, returned back to my apartment, cleaned up, and asked him over text what the plan was. “Something special.” was the reply I got. I said I was hungry, but he needed a quick power nap. I knew he’d worked all day and didn’t get a lot of sleep so whatever. I had bought all my school supplies and was meticulously organizing stuff as I like to do, so I guess the time did pass. But 3 hours had passed. I had eaten a cookie and it became obvious we weren’t going out to get food. I think I ate something else but I was not very full nor did I eat properly. I texted him to wake up and he said to come over around 9. I was on Reddit so I procrastinated for a while, and then called my parents and we talked for a while, and then I headed over.  I cut through the park so it was only a moments walk. I felt really nervous. I had changed my clothes several times and spent too much time on trying to make my make-up seem like it was well done but not that I’d wanted to look special or anything and then I did the same thing with my hair. I was nervous. It was around 10pm.

I should add this part. I texted my best buddy* about what I was doing and that I felt kind of weird about it especially since he didn’t take me out but I did want to have sex, and he said if it was him he would still go, but that’s him, and not me. So after a good while I told him I was going and would update him later.

*I’m not saying I have only one best friend or any best friends at all besides my mom, but it seems that I’ve developed a pattern where whenever I write about this person, I refer to him as my best buddy. So, I won’t give him another name, I’ll just say that we went to high school together, he was my first gay friend, we grew apart through high school, grew back together afterward like we should have been the whole time.

Anyway, I was nervous, but then I tried to kick up my confidence. He opened the door, introduced me to his flatmate, and then we sat on the couch together and talked for a while about what we did over winter break and other miscellaneous things. I figured at some point he would move closer to me, but he didn’t do that. Had I misinterpreted? Whatever. It was nice to catch up. He asked if I wanted something to drink. I said no, but then he came back with a Smirnoff Lemonade, and I tasted it and liked it. He said he bought it for me because he thought I might not like alcohol, but the thought that he had specifically bought a drink for me was kind of rattling. I, unfortunately, shook it off within a millisecond.

I drink slowly. Somewhere in the conversation I look over and he’s downed the entire thing, so I say, “whoa, slow down,” and I’m replied with a “catch up!” Then, it kind of came out of nowhere. I knew it was happening. “You have something…There’s something on your face,” “what? get if off.” And the abrupt grabbing of my chin toward his, and the reflex that pushed him away.

I couldn’t even look. I couldn’t believe he actually used that line. “What you, do you not want to kiss?” I mumbled something. He might have said something that hinted to that he had wanted to sleep with me, and I said that I knew, I wasn’t stupid. He asked if I wanted to cuddle first, and I just mumbled something and we went to his room and sprawled out. Also, everything I’m writing here is verbatim. It’s tattooed on my brain.

He asked if I liked Coldplay so he put on the new Coldplay song and I’m not sure exactly how it went, but I said to him that I wasn’t stupid and of course I knew he wanted this, I knew for a long time, and his words were “I just want to make sure you know my intentions.” Then I told him he was really lame for what he had done a few minutes ago, I told him to never, ever use that line again, and he laughed. I asked him how he usually does his “game” and he was confused. It wasn’t a very confusing question. I tried to give him tips, you know, make her comfy, have conversation, lean over, turn on a movie that forces you to turn off the lights, etc. He kept saying things like “what?” I kind of laughed at him, but looking back I’m not sure if I thought it was funny. He asked if I wanted another drink, but I pointed out I hadn’t even finished the first one. So I say “You’re not trying to get me drunk? Because that’s illegal, you know.” “Off Smirnoff Lemonade?! No!” But he said something along the lines of he would rather be drunk though, but I told him not to be and to stay there. “I’m not cool when I’m sober.” “You don’t know that.” 

Literally this guy was making no moves, and then he tried to kiss me again but I wasn’t ready still, and his reaction is “what?! What do you want me to do.” Just talk, I guess that’s what I wanted. I signed into my Netflix and put on Master of None. The lights were off. “Do you want me to do this?” He put his arm around me and (I was lying stomach down), and reached underneath for my chest, and I wiggled away. He kind of laughed at himself. We talked. His arm was over my back but it felt off, like it wasn’t genuine. He put his hand up my shirt and I pushed him off, and once again, I got the same reaction. This happened several times. I told myself I could turn this around. I asked him about his dreams and his family and I won’t say it, but tbh, his dream sounded kind of stupid, but who am I to judge. It was another two sided conversation—I asked him questions but he didn’t return by asking me. I did grow the guts to say “you’re not gonna ask me how my semester is going?” “Oh, I’m sorry,” “No, it’s fine,” “No, really, how is your semester going.” I got into talking about my art supplies that I ordered for my painting class and how I’m so excited for it, and I started to feel good, but he ruined in. He lowered his hand way too far, at no point did I let go past the waist. I kind of turned over and he said how he likes me and he didn’t know what I wanted him to do, he pulled me back over. He kept saying he needed to be drunk, but I told him there was no reason and pulled him back when he tried to get up and get a drink.

Finally, he said he had to pee too, so he got up, and when he was in the bathroom I went back by the couch and snatched my phone from my purse and began texting my best buddy.

“This is gonna suck” (thinking about the sex). “I don’t know if I should stay”“God we have to talk about this later”

“That means you shouldn’t.”

“I don’t know”

“he’s kind of pushing me” (kind of?? I’m so stupid.)

“Leave, get up and leave.”

“I can’t do it (best buddy). he’s in the bathroom”

“Leave. Now”

“Don’t think about it. Just go while he’s gone.”

“he’s back.”

“Want me to call you and act like you have to go??”

“No I don’t know if I want to leave”

“If he’s pushing you I think you should”

“okay”

“Want me to call? Make sure you turn your volume down so he can’t hear me if you do”

I locked my phone because his attention was back on me. He had brought more drinks, and he was drinking again, and I didn’t like it. He said his flatmate was gone, and that was nice, and I thought maybe he had told his flatmate he was going to “get some.”  It had been a long time for me though. I wanted it, physically.

For a moment I did move closer into him, and my forehead was on his chin, and it felt fine. I wanted to get back to this word “like.” I asked him if he liked me or he just wanted to sleep with me,” and he said, “well, what answer do you want?” I asked what he liked about me, and I feel like this was the turning point of the night, the part that hurts most.

“Well, I mean, I like your hair but you know that, I’ve told you that.” “Okay, what else.” “What else do you WANT me to say?” That wasn’t sexy. I was pulling away, he was frustrated. “You’re pretty. You have nice hair.” “Nothing else?” “You’re smart.” “I know that.” I was started to feel hurt. He starts again. “I mean I like your hair, it’s really pretty. You have pretty eyes. You have a good body. You won’t really let me see it though.” His hand is back under my shirt. He keeps asking if I’m hot, I’ve got to be too warm. Moves back to trying to touch my chest. He’s pushed away again. He’s frustrated with me. I start talking. “How much do you like me, like on a scale of 1 to 10,” “I don’t know, (my name), what do you want me to say? Do you want me to marry you?” “No!” I literally just shoved him. Twice. He laughed at me for it. I felt sick. This was a kid who grew up in a similar culture and understood that culture, so what was the hint? He had fantasized about this? Just wanted to have sex with me? I was brought back to nightmares of my talks with Bo in high school, and our own naïveté. I lie down, he keeps pushing me to do it, he puts his hand back under my shirt and I just let it go, and then he gets to my bra clasp, and I freeze. I’m not even able to shake him off right away like before. I’m lucky guys have no idea how to to undo those things, especially with one hand, but it was a millisecond away from coming off until I click back together and say “Stop!” and push him off. He laughs.

Here are a few other bits and pieces of things he said I just can’t put in order.

  • “What’s so great about white girls?” -me. “Oh, where to start…”
  • “Let’s just sleep.” -me. I was tired. “You mean like, do this, and then sleep?” He puts his hand under my shirt but I push him away.
  • “I’ve liked you since the first day you came into work.” This was sweet for a short time, because I realized that no one can like someone at first sight, they can only like what they look like. This guy was carnal.
  • “I mean, back (in the country), it was hard to get anything…” (trying to make me feel pity. It kind of worked, because I stayed longer than I should have).
  • “You don’t really know me, you have no idea about me.” -me. “What is there to know?” “I’m fucked up, I don’t want to pull anyone in. You don’t understand how mad I am. I put on a face.” “We’re all a little fucked up, though.”
  • “What do you think about…my superman boxers!” I did not realize he took his pants off. I was not impressed.
  • “So, what do you want to do, do you want to date, do you just want to do this, I mean I have nothing against just having sex to have sex (this was the first time either of us, used the word sex all night—don’t know why I feel that’s significant) “Why don’t you tell me?”  -his answer. I am silent. “Was that the wrong answer?” “If we do it once you’ll want to do it again,” is what I said, I probably said some other words too. “Well, it’s what you want to do. And why do you say that? Are you good?” I had his back to him, I don’t do anything, and then he kind of grabs me and kisses my back, and I don’t like it at all. This is also bait for me, because, well, I am good, and I think about what I did today for this and how I was excited for this and how I most likely WOULD rock his world, but at this point, I’m not even turned on.

I get him to pay attention to Master of None again. 11 minutes had passed since I texted my friend. “call me in five minutes.”

He does exactly that. He’s perfect. I’m perfect, I thought I couldn’t pull it off, but my buddy does actually say things like “I need you,” and the instinct pulls in, back to me saying “I’m here, I’m here, do you need me? Do you need me to come there? Okay, yeah, I’m right here, I’ll come right now.”

And I’m getting up, I hang up, and he goes “what the fuck? Where are you going?” I told him my friend  needs me, and he says, “that was a guy on the phone!” It didn’t matter so I ignored this, I explained if my friends needed me I had to go, he couldn’t comprehend that. I have to go help him, and he says, “Fuck that guy.”

I am pissed.  “What the fuck is wrong with you? I can’t do that.”

More whys, “When are we gonna get another night? This was supposed to be our night, he’s not important, I don’t get it” and I say, “what if he kills himself?” And this fucker laughs.

I’m standing up, he’s still laying on the bed, and I walk over him and I say “you have no idea about me. These are the kind of people I hang out with, okay? And when a friend calls, you go, because they’ll do the same for you.” (I think that’s verbatim) “I have tried to kill myself 3 times.” I think he wants to say something but I don’t know if it’s going to be a laugh or that he’s surprised, he did look kind of surprised but it was dark. I’m not going to let him get a word in though. “3 times, I’ve been in the hospital twice for this shit, I’ve tried to drown myself. That’s the kind of person I am. I am fucked up. You have no idea. You have no clue.”

My phone is vibrating. My buddy has sent a “want me to call again???” and I text back yet quickly and then look back at this asshole in front of me. My buddy calls again, I tell him I’m coming, I’ll be right there.”

I walk out, he doesn’t even come after me, so in something stupid I say, you’re not even gonna say goodbye?” So he comes out, and says “but will you come back after. This was our night!” Shit like that. He’s angry. I feel kind of scared. “No, probably not, I really have to go. I’m sorry. Maybe another night. We’ll make plans another night.” I give him a hug.

“I can’t believe this…This is fucking stupid.” -him. I go to the door, and I can’t get it open, so I say “(his name), open the fucking door for me? Does this door pull out or in?” My phone is ringing again, and I’m saying on the phone, yes yes, I’ll be right there, hang in there.”

“What a great analogy,” is the last thing he says, and the door closes and I start down the steps and I’m running and I’m transitioning into saying in the phone “I’ll be there, I’ll be there, to “it’s over, it’s over! Oh my God, I’m so stupid.” And I just cry. I told him thank you so many times, that I was so stupid, how could I have done this, he kept pushing himself on me, he kept going when I said to stop.  I am so dumb, there were so many signs, I thought he was a decent person, I’m disgusting and thirsty and dumb.  I can’t tell you exactly what my friend said but it was sassy and comforting and I am very lucky to have him as a friend.

I tell him I’ve gotten back, he says he’s here for me, I get back into the apartment, and get on my bed and start hitting it, and cry again. I don’t ever bawl though. This is not worth crying over, something keeps telling.

My first thought, of course, is to send a message to the person I consider to be one of my best friends here, who probably doesn’t think of me as one of this best friends, but I’m very, very lucky to have him. I always hate bothering him. So I send him a message that says “Hi. What are you doing. Are you at home. Are you with friends. Are you at work. Are you with friends. Miss you.”

I was right with the work thing, so he says he’ll “ttyl gotta go.” I think about ordering cookies, since he works at Insomnia Cookies. I pace for a while, I want to break things, I feel angry and frustrated and disappointed. I eventually send a message to another friend, one who I met last year and I having been becoming closer to her and her roommate. I ask if she’s out, she says she’s home, I say I had a bad night, she invites me over and says I can pet their cat. The walk was needed—it’s a long walk there. She opens the door and hugs me. I sit down with the two of them (she and her roommate). Her roommate was playing Simms. We just kind of sit there, my friend is so nice to me and puts her arm around me, I feel so lucky, the cat doesn’t love me but he’s so fun to observe. She asks if I want to talk about it, and eventually I do. They were happy I evacuated. I think I should have done it earlier. Either way, I got the fuck out and I’m okay now. They were such friends for me. I feel very lucky. I sleep on their couch. In the morning, I talk to my mom. My friend drives me back. I hadn’t slept well.

I get back and eat cereal and sit back on my bed and sleep again, and get up and eat more cereal, and this is pretty much how the day passed. The height of my day was doing laundry which I haven’t taken out of the dryer and going to CVS, and moving objects around in my room, and not really eating properly. I felt pissed off all day and couldn’t get it off my mind. The guy did text me in the morning. “hey babes.” and then the emoji that’s licking something—I hate this emoji so much. I was harassed in the past online by someone who kept sending me this emoji. Honestly, he’s now dead for me simply for the emoji. It continues: 

“how are feeling” “on this fine morning”

I never replied. I thought a lot about my ex again, Bo, and this was the first time I was aching for him again in a while, but I will say it wasn’t the same, there wasn’t as much passion, I didn’t break and go online to spy on him. I thought about how he treated me like a queen, the center of the universe. I thought about the times I thought sex had ruined our relationship and how wrong I was and how I had no idea. I thought about how I had told him he sucked and that he had pushed me and that I knew it wasn’t true but how I had said it anyway. I thought about how I made him feel he was bad at sex when we were amazing—something I wrote about in an earlier piece. I thought about how I would never find that again. Never bawled. Just sobbed. I listened to a lot of music by Kings of Leon, and I felt the words screaming in me. I feel filled with flames.

Now, I lie here awake, feeling no better. It’s 2:30 am, and I have work in a few hours, and it won’t be good, because I feel panic. I feel that panic is coming for me.

Thank you, Reader, for getting this far.

I’ve been roaming around, always looking down, at all I see. 

Being Inspired by Ireland

Today I went to a cartoon museum. It was really for a class, but I love museums. We were asked to look at two pieces in particular, and do a write up about it, but then I thought, if you care enough you can write for much longer on a piece of art. I figured I could write my excess thoughts here.

Billy Ireland was a cartoon maker in the city of Columbus, Ohio. I spent a lot of time looking at all his work. Usually, I am able to admire cartoons, artistry, or books from the past that poke fun at society in a rather disconnected way. I didn’t live during that period or under those circumstances, so it’s hard for me to just burst our laughing or anything because I wouldn’t get it right away. To be fair, I guess that’s why an introduction is written. I should probably try reading it before my next Jane Austen novel.

During the early 20th century, Ireland was the architect of a feature in the Columbus Dispatch called “The Passing Show”–really a page of comics that make fun of everything from happenings of the city, the state, and the country. Since many of his work was published during The Great War, I felt like I understood it more. For whatever reason, I’ve been fascinated by the 2 world wars. I think this is because I really enjoyed history, but I didn’t really understand the concept of war. It seemed like going through the timeline of the world’s history, there was always a lot of war. But it was a word, an event–not something I got the dynamics of. When I began learning about WWI, I finally understood war for what it was: a grotesque display of violence that uses citizens to fight over problems that probably could have been solved earlier and otherwise. It is all consuming and takes away people and turns them into “casualties.” Interestingly, I don’t find many casual things about violent death. The revelation went like this: This shit really happened to actual people, didn’t it? Actual human beings lived through this, didn’t they? This isn’t just some story. This is real life. Later on my views were shaped by writings such as Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience. I won’t say I hold any opinion on past wars, because I don’t, and I won’t say I understand war or ever will. Part of the reason for that is because I never lived through it, so I grasp desperately at the artifacts of people who did.

It was probably the comics that satirized things like liberty bonds and seed saving that drew me to Ireland. I found and felt real irony and humor in those comics despite such a desperate time. Sure, I’ve seen other WWI comics, but Ireland’s have something more unique: lengthier captions that narrate what I’m seeing. Often political cartoons were just plain pictures/drawings. Maybe there would be a title underneath it and some word bubbles. At first it seemed like the couple extra lines of text he added made it seem like he was trying harder to explain what he drew, and therefore made it lousy, as a good cartoon could be understood just by looking at it. That’s totally wrong. Each cartoon created a story, surreal conversations that people wanted to have but didn’t out loud. I didn’t have to guess what anything was, he pointed it out. From then on I could enjoy the actual picture. The coolest part was the Ireland was actually in some of his comics, portrayed by a fat old janitor, who would sometimes speak epitaphs. The guy knew where he stood and used his drawings to show that and support good projects while criticizing other ones. “Us, we” were words that were used.

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The Passing Show

Later on Ireland did get into strip comics. I am interested in strip comics, I am fascinated by political cartoons, and often I think the most fact based information coming from the media comes from comedians. I love comedy, I love joking around, I love making people laugh, and I love making fun of myself. I use humor often to draw problems away from my self or to make what’s going on with me seem less serious. I use humor to extinguish flames of concern and avoid certain confrontations. This is not that great, I suppose, but it’s hard to get it out of me. Now, I have basically established places where I can seriously look at my problems. At the same time, if my therapist were to see me in a classroom, she would probably be shocked by my behavior or outbursts, or by the way I interact with people and make them feel comfortable. But what can I do to rechannel my comedy? I think often about doodle like cartoons, similar to Ireland’s that uses many lines and sketches, and uses text to draw attention to certain aspects or set the scene. I thought before that those things would make me a lousy cartoonist, but now I see how truly effective and funny those cartoons can be. In summary, I see this Billy Ireland guy as a sort of role model I can emulate with my own comics before I discover my own styles. I don’t even really know how to draw caricatures or any of those things. I can draw, but am in no way hugely talented or realistic with my drawings. I guess this is one more way I feel attracted to strip comics.

While in the library, I also got to look at the campaign and propaganda posters of WWI–I’ve always loved these. The artists who design these were ingenious. Paul Stahr is one of my particular favorites of these illustrators of the time. I looked him up and found out he created things for pulp magazines, something pretty obvious by the beautiful looking woman below.

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When I saw it in real life, the paper definitely did seem like pulp. It was a large poster–there is no green circle on the left, that’s just the copyright, but this particular image seems to have gotten the colors right.

This image was estimated to have been published around 1918, a year after the US had entered The Great War. A huge theme was saving wheat for the soldiers. Propaganda posters advertised a grule that people should eat instead. The US Food Administration tried to make it sound appetizing and asked that everyone finished their food. None could be spared to be thrown out. Who didn’t want to be patriotic at this point? Japan had pearl harbored us and pushed people in favor of entering the war. Actually, maybe not everyone was in favor, but the people who weren’t were deemed shitty and unpatriotic. Maybe a demonstration of patriotism would the USDA’s pledge.

Here’s the shit I wrote for class about it: Specifically placed text at the bottom in a bright red says “Be Patriotic!” and underneath in blue is the phrase “sign your country’s pledge to save the food.” The US Food Administration is written underneath in smaller letters. Above this caption is an illustration of a woman dressed in a dress that seems to be made from the American flag. She has a matching hat. We only see her top half–above the waste and a bit of her dress. Her eyes are blue, her lips are large and red, her hair has curls, and her skin is pale besides rosy pink cheeks. She looks desperate, and questioning. Her exposed arms reach out to the viewer but not alarmingly. Her gesture is more delicate, beckoning the view forward. Her large eyes stare at the viewer, like a woman calling a man into the bedroom. The illustration seems to have been printed on pulp and is a drawing that was colored in with paints. Personally, I felt compelled to the picture at first because the woman was reaching out to me and staring closely. The red, white, and blue color scheme is something every American is drawn to, and this woman is obviously beautiful. I see this picture as a symbol of persuasion and of the propaganda of the time. This woman needs the viewer, probably a man, to sign the pledge to save food and help the soldiers overseas who are battling–to not do so would be unpatriotic. It reminds me of the desperation of the government during WWI to save wheat and raise money, and the desperation of the people as well to be viewed as supportive to the war effort. I can never imagine what it would be like to live through a war, but this poster at least leads  me into the thoughts of those that did.

I’m not done talking about cartoons, though. Ever heard of Puck–what fools thy mortals be! TBC.

 

 

 

 

 

Some thoughts on the Cold

The typing is warming up my fingers. Okay, it hasn’t done that yet, but I know that it will. I am frustrated by how slow I am typing, actually, but my fingers are still thawing from the cold and I am using a keyboard in the library. I left my Macbook’s charger at home. Very smart.

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With El Nino enveloping this year, we’ve been lucky with the nice days outside, but at the same time anxious. When will we lose this sunshine we know we don’t deserve? Some days it rains, other days it’s cold, but we wait anxiously for when it’s all really over and we stop expecting sunny days. It has snowed now and it seems like the winter has finally begun. Although the Midwest is upset with the weather in a way we’ve all kind of exhaled too. Finally, it has really gotten cold and snowed, and now the anxiety of waiting for when it will come has ended.

When I was backpacking in Wyoming, I was very cold. For two days straight during the monthlong trip, we had to pause hiking and hunker inside our tents instead. I remember the guilt I felt at not being able to get out of my sleeping bag, and what a bad team member I was being (even though I probably wasn’t–we were all desperate to live like cocoons inside those sleeping bags). I remember looking at my hands and feeling my bones and joints shiver in my fingers, and thinking “I will never be warm again.” The cold is terrifying.

Later on we had to continue hiking or end up losing too many days, and we hiked as a team through the saddle of one snowy mountain. The sun and the snow and the wind were all coming at us. But I was sweating then. I knew I wouldn’t die–that was not an option. I guess I could have just sat down and given up, but I had a team I didn’t want to hold back. I never really thought then about whether or not I’d ever be warm again, because there was nothing to think about but moving forward. Here in the regular world, when I walk outside and the cold bites my face, I can’t ever really forget that it’s biting my face in the way I was able to do so back then. Despite having a much more solid destination in mind when I’m walking outside now (going to class), I just can’t seem to forget how damn cold I am. These things make me want to challenge myself and walk outside in the freezing cold for no real reason. It’s a silly thing to think and I am much weaker than I ever was then, so it’s not a good idea. I think the reason behind feeling this way is that I feel frustrated that once I was able to do something so incredible, and I never retained all the strength I gained from that trip. At least it seems that way.

The snow makes me know I should stay inside but I don’t want to either. It’s boring and depressing in my apartment and I can’t really watch TV since I don’t want to waste the battery on my computer, which, as mentioned earlier, I do not have the charger for.
I’m going to try and write more during this semester. Maybe it will be my new endurance trip. 

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Picture from Flickr’s Creative Commons