Saturday, April 23, 2011

a list within a list

First, I really need to remember that when I'm absolutely flipping out for some reason the thing that tends to calm me down more than anything else is making a playlist personifying either how I'm feeling or how I want to be feeling right there in the moment.  Maybe its the methodical action of scrolling through artists or the unexplainable power of music.  Make a cup of tea, make a playlist, keep breathing.  Ok, we're hanging in there.

Second, I really miss Matt.  Seriously, where has he been?

Third, I really like making lists.  Previously, I was writing two in my journal, one about reasons why I probably believe in God, the other about the least convincing arguments for God that happen in my life.  There's something soothing about the structure and clarity of lists.  Probably why I'm using one right now.

Fourth, I really need to be productive.  There are eleven homework type things in my planner and I've only crossed one of them out.  Um, oh hey eighteen credits.

Fifth, I really like cats.  Sometimes I forget how much I like them until I'm around one (or around another cat person who gets really excited about his or her cats and shows me pictures of said cats when we stay up too late talking).  I find myself surrounded by cat-haters/dog-lovers too often in my life, so here I come in defense of cats.  They really are awesome.
  1. Cats are cuddly.  They are soft and furry and they smell good (well, they smell like cats, which I think is great).  One of my aunt's cats was brushing up against my legs all throughout dinner tonight.  He just wanted to say, "Hi!  I'm here! In case you wanted to give me something to eat, I would probably not say no!"  Cats are also pretty great at being both hand-warmers or pillows, depending on your need.
  2. Cats care about your health.  I can't tell you the number of times Chip has come up and sat on the book I was trying to read, or jumped up on the desk downstairs and sat directly in front of the computer screen.  In these instances, he is clearly telling me, "You've been focusing for too long and you're over-working your mind.  You need to take a break.  Perhaps this break includes petting me."  I would probably be suffering from eye-strain-induced-blindness right now if not for my cat.
  3. Cats are funny.  My mom plays this game when Chip is walking past; she'll move her foot just slightly to see if she can scare him.  Nine times out of ten, he'll ignore her because he has his ninja-foot-sensing-senses tuned to high.  But that tenth time, he'll hop about a foot in the air.  This is generally amusing to us.  Other times, he sprints around the house, attacking the carpet for no apparent reason.  He obviously knows that we need something to laugh at, and therefore takes it upon himself to be as entertaining as possible.
  4. Cats are protective.  I am certain beyond a doubt that, were my life ever threatened by a bird, a fat squirrel, a small child, or a friendly neighborhood cat, Chip would defend me to the death.  We've yet to test whether or not this bravado stands up without a sheet of glass separating him from his adversary, but I have full confidence in him.
  5. Cats are basically small, furry people who have tails and just happen to walk on four legs.  Cats have moods: one second they want to be petted, the next second they don't want anything to do with you.  I appreciate this about cats because I am like this.  You should be thankful that I don't have claws.  Cats are super independent.  Going on vacation for a week?  No worries, just leave out some food. No need for expensive kennels or paying people to come and house-sit.  Your cat has got it under control.  Basically, I like cats because cats are a lot like me.
  6. Cats are psychic.  Chip always starts sleeping on my bed a few days before I come home for a weekend or a break.  He knows.  My nana today said that it's probably because my parents say my name more in those days and he hears and understands.  Um, no.  He's a cat: the only words he understands are treat and I'm going to go change my sheets.  He's psychic.  Show me a dog who can predict the future.
Sixth, I really feel a lot better right now.  Had a moment of forgetting how to laugh at myself, but it's back.  Music, tea, lists, cats, trying to make you laugh - good for my soul.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Holy Week

I have so much I want to write about this week and this quarter and my life and the nonsense that is going on inside my head all the time, but I don't have words.  I'm sitting on the floor of my bedroom, in front of these mirrors I've been staring in since I was eight.  Rocking out to the National, I'm surrounded by books and manuscripts and notes and planners and prayer beads and cat hair.

I am in so far over my head this quarter.  Drowning has never been quite so delightful.
Because this is what I meant when I was talking to the you who lives in my head on the way up the hill, when I was speaking aloud and the girl walking behind me probably now thinks that a basket case lives in her building...

Monday, April 18, 2011

Dear Library People,


If you've not noticed, it's currently a beautiful day outside. There's this place called Martin Square just outside the front doors of this building, filled with sunshine and benches. It's a great place for a conversation. Might I suggest relocating?

It's not as though I don't love eavesdropping. Believe me, I do. But you're invading my silence. Just because you're whispering does not mean that you're not disturbing everyone on the third floor.

Seriously, this is the library. Shhh.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

dreams and dreaming

I have this dream that one day (maybe tomorrow or perhaps the day after), while walking to work, I will pass by those mailstop boxes and they will be bursting.  Every last one, full to its fullest with envelopes.  Not bills, not painfully dissapointing flyers from the career center, but letters.  Letters filled with stories, filled with memories, filled with feeling.  Letters written so quickly that you can barely read the handwriting, letters written so long they took extra postage.  Letters to you.

Two of the mailing workers will just be standing there, surrounded by more crates overflowing with letters, shrugging their shoulders; the mailboxes don't have the capacity to hold this much love.

Because, for some reason, all at once, everyone wanted to write a letter.  They wrote one to their best friend.  They wrote one to their nephew.  They wrote one to someone who might not know who they are but deserves a letter all the same.  Everyone tugged open that dusty stationary drawer and felt the muscles in their wrist cramp with writing, writing, writing.

And you'll walk up, clamber up on the stepstool, turn your dial counter clockwise-clockwise-counter clockwise, and pull out a fistful of love.  A physical manifestation of how valued you are by those people who care for you.  Ink bled onto paper to tell you why you mean something in this world.

Then the heavy blue door of the postage box snaps closed, and I snap back to living.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

an underground moment

This is a moment to spite the world just because you can.  This is a moment where relationships are fractured by shame, by our ultimate need to be strong, be independent, to prove that we have everything together.  Isn't this my life?  Isn't this the past ten days of saying screw the world just to see that I can, to prove that I mustn't always be a rule follower.  To hide; to run away and hide; to purposefully distance oneself from all others; to be an ugly person for the sake of feeling the dirt coating your skin; to feel pain to feel pleasure.

I know that the underground man is pushed to an extreme, but, really, who hasn't had their moments?  I'm living one right now.  To say that we have lived demands shame, selfishness, self-abuse, destroyed relationships, fractured dreams.  Without those, what do you know?

Perhaps the underground people are the hipsters, are this, our generation.  Or maybe we're just posers: pretending to live in this way while willfully soaking up the unending privileges we think we deserve.  Sitting in our coffins with our noses in the clouds.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

these are the good nights

These are the nights when the warmth lingers after the street lights are on, the sun-soaked pavement beneath soles says, "Yes, spring is here."  These are the nights when the city is awake with lights, when sitting on a wall and talking about family is perfection (and not the kind that destroys).  These are the nights when old age is sneaking up behind you, but with enough turns of the head you'll keep it at bay with your awareness.  These are the nights to remember, the good ones as well as the bad.

Friday, April 8, 2011

this isn't from today

and I'm in a much more stable place right now than I was when I wrote this.  And I honestly don't know how much of it is still true.  But it was true for me, every last word.  And there is significance in that.  And maybe I'm just trying to reach out, or trying to procrastinate, or probably a lot of both.  And I know that this is not a real way of reaching out.  And I'm sorry that I tend to get a bit foul-mouthed when I'm upset, but psychological-break-down-anna doesn't have a very extensive vocabulary.  Not that psychologically-stable-anna is that articulate to begin with.  Enough delay.

This is me at my most raw, talking to the person who knows me the deepest.  This is me trying to be honest.
Mattie, lately I go to church for the socializing aspect. I love singing. I love listening to Richard’s sermons and nodding along and taking my little notes. But I don’t have faith. I have right answers and a whole truck load of cynicism. I don’t pray and I don’t want to. I don’t read my Bible and I don’t want to. I don’t think about living in a way that is centered around God and whatever it is God might want for my life. I’m just living – just trying to get by. I’m trying to treat people right by my own moral code, the way I would want to be treated.

And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this.

Other than the fact that I won’t own up to anyone. Everyone thinks I’ve got my shit together. Man, I’m a good Christian. Fuck right answers.

How am I supposed to tell people that I don’t really believe in just about anything. I believe in people and in love and in stories and goodness and honesty and breathing. But those things don’t need God. I’m trying to figure out how to live in a way that’s not hurting others and that keeps me sane. I don’t know what it means that I just want to be by myself. Maybe I’ll change the world through these words. But I don’t really care. I’m just trying to make it through this life and, honestly, right now I can’t see the point of there being something bigger.

I don’t want to lie to the people I love. And I don’t want to stop going to church. But how do I come clean? Who do I tell and what do I say?

I believe in you more than I believe in my God. And, sweetheart, you’re me. So everything’s a little fucked up now, isn’t it?

Also, I fell in love with the perfect man. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you about it before. He’s the only person I ever talk to God about. Because when I am ecstatic and walking up the hill, and just say, “God, you did an exceptionally good job with that one,” and then I tell him why. I don’t know what any of this says about me. I don’t know what I’m learning about myself.

I don’t know what I’m supposed to change. I don’t want to go back. I think maybe that’s my huge issue. I know where I’ve been in my life and I’ve been growing and learning so much. And my faith was so much stronger and so much more important to me in high school and freshman year. So, I think it looks like, were I to get all fired up about God again, I would only be going backwards instead of progressing. And that’s scary because it looks like stagnation instead of progress. Not that I’m super excited about progress, but I don’t want to stunt myself or be an idiot about things.

Can’t I still believe the things I believe without Christianity really being a part of that?

I think I’m having this crisis of faith a little too late. I feel like most of my friends have already been over this.

Maybe I’m slowly turning into you.

I just can’t handle people or noise and please please get away can’t you see you’re breaking me because I have to keep everything inside because I know that if I got upset and cried you would come and try to comfort me and I can’t don’t touch me please leave me alone and if I got upset and yelled then you would be hurt and cry or yell back and then I would feel guilty forever, which isn’t fair because I shouldn’t have to feel guilty for feeling things because I’m trying to have emotions, I’m just trying to be a normal person and keep breathing which is so hard sometimes why can’t we just live in our own big plastic bubbles so we can see each other and roll around and bump into each other but we’d be cushioned so we couldn’t hurt each other and if we needed to talk we could write post-its and stick them to the sides of the bubbles so we could read each others’ speech and I just need you at an arm’s length because I don’t know who I am and I am a fucking mess but I can never let you see that so please go to bed or go to class and shut the door and let me try and fix this I know I have a problem with control I FUCKING KNOW WHO I AM YOU THINK I DON’T KNOW MY FLAWS stop trying to psycho-analyze me because you don’t have anything figured out any more than I do.

Sweet pea, know that I’m not yelling at you. I love you. The day may come (it probably will) when the person I’m screaming at inside my head or with overly-loud typing is you, but today is not that day. But I need you to know that I appreciate your listening more than you can ever know. And I’m sorry I’ve had to write this out instead of just talking about it in person, but you know how I am. This way I was less distracted, forced to organize my thoughts, and I’ll have something to look back on so I can see how far I’ve come. Because everything is always better in the morning. And when it’s not, take a breath, crawl out of bed and live your life because this day is the only day you have right now and you might as well fucking do something with it.

Thank you for always letting me be the weak one. I really need that because no one else lets me. Thank you for having the most up-close and personal view of my flaws and faults and awfulness in the world and still loving me to death. Thank you for letting me be me, and I mean the actual me, not the person I pretend to be around every single person in my life, because it’s refreshing to not have to pretend, to know that I can be flawed and broken and awful and scream at you and you won’t ever abandon me and will always love me.

When did you become God to me?

I just tried to think of someone who I wanted to share this with ---

Awesome. Great. You heard that, right? I’ve managed to fuck up my roommate, probably the person who I care about most in the world.

Somebody please tell me that we’re all fakers, because if we’re not…

I can’t fix this. I can’t fix any of this. Fuck you, God; fuck you for not allowing me to just be. Couldn’t I have had a day, or an hour, more than five fucking minutes of trying to sit with this before you were all, “See? You’re a fuck up. You can’t do anything without me; everything fucking crumbles in your life. You ruin everything good. This is how you know you need me. This is how you know I’m real.” Fuck you.

How many times are you allowed to say “Fuck you” to God before he strikes you with a personalized lightning bolt? This is only partially rhetorical.

I understand Charlie’s reaching out to a stranger. I want to send this to a stranger, someone who I know is a good person but who doesn’t know me, just so someone knows. Because I’m trying to reach out, that’s why I was originally typing up these words but I cannot think of one person who I can send this to. And what does that say about my oh so highly-prized relationships that I pride myself on? That they mean absolutely nothing because I cannot be completely honest and vulnerable and fucked up little me with any of them.

I need someone to know me, someone who doesn’t live inside my head. I just need someone to know me, all of me, and still love me.


on my love language:
But there’s so much significance in touch.  In leaning against one another while you’re sitting on a couch together, in walking arm in arm down the sidewalk, in nudging your shoulder with my nose, in twirl hugs.