I’m having a conscious overload today.
I’ve tried to convey my feelings aloud about it, but the feeling was not always mutual. You can see that you’ve lost your listener’s attention in two glazed donut holes for eyes.
I think in stories. Sometimes this bogs down or blurs human interaction for me. So when I talk about things, experiences, and especially people, I want the moment to be felt, the people to be heard and understood.
But somewhere along the line a listener gets lost in her own spider web of connections, her own learning. And this is completely valid. Every person has his own history, his own backlog of fatty life details to bring to a story or scenario that someone else creates. This is why no two stories are completely the same or entirely original – that kind of frustrating paradox.
Paradoxes are frustrating because there’s no real way around them. Should there be? I’m asking, and not rhetorically.
I can’t fight the New Year mentality no matter how hard I try. I realize my body is following through on resolutions I did not openly make. I refused a cigarette today. I didn’t even want to smell it. I left the room. I didn’t know where that came from.
This damn unconscious pull of the culturized new year never truly leaves you. It’s just as fake, but-too-late it’s-internalized as that clock that’s always ticking on some wall behind your head.
You say things like
“Meet me at 3:00 sharp,”
“In bed by 8,” and
“Shh, there’s someone coming. 12:00. No don’t look just yet.”
You use time to indicate direction.
Denying myself resolutions has left me in a smorgasbord of perceptions. They are covered in mud. The tracks are on my carpet.
So I’m calling my conscious overload a series of mini epiphanies. “Mini” because how pertinent can several realizations at once each be on their own?
I barrel through realizations like a bear swatting a fish.
Vow of silence
I don’t think I can ever take a vow of silence. My best friend says I would die after 6 hours. She asked, “what would you do with yourself, if you had to just stand at the cash register and nod politely at the cashier?”
It’s true. She knows me. I don’t mix well with silence.
But sometimes I wish I said more on paper than I do in person.
Dig a hole. Bury the old versus young mentality.
Speaking of cashiers, there was this woman the other day who was pressing herself against a counter. Not the cashier; it was a customer who was cutting her sharp hip into the half wall behind the register, the part where customers shouldn’t go.
She was a customer ignoring the unwritten rules of grocery store lines. We know these people. They’re everywhere. Sometimes we’re these customers.
She had already paid and left but turned around once she realized something was wrong. She pivoted and cut off the cashier in mid-sentence who was asking me if Old-Fashioned Donut was a good flavor of coffee. I never got to tell her that, yes, it’s scrumptious, and it can compete with actual, live donuts.
The customer insisted her transaction was flawed. The grave(yard) error was on the store’s end. Their fault. Always. Right. Of course.
It’s the customer who asks me my age as the cashier scans my ID for the wine on the belt in front of me. The cashier is an Indian woman with a delicate name that I feel like an ignorant asshole for not remembering. The customer waves her receipt in front of the cashier’s face impatiently, so the cashier stops the belt.
“How old are you?” The customer asks me, her eyes narrowing. She has a pale, sunken in face.
I can’t remember what she was wearing, but I’m picturing her in a bathrobe. I remember she looked tired like we all do, but her bags dug deeper.
I tell her I’m 24 because I already forget I turned 25 two days ago.
“Are you sure you’re 24? You look 20 to me.”
And I want to ask who the fuck cares. But I tell her uhh thank you instead.
“You look young. You’re good.”
And I want to tell her that I’ve been smoking cigarettes since I was in the womb. I want to tell her I love and am afraid of grown men who encourage me. I want to tell her I need other people to hear my stories because they’re about me. I need to fill their ears and eyes with me. And then maybe they’ll break me off a little piece of them.
I get so close to core of people. Sometimes I get too close and wear my body down. I catch colds. I sneeze my brains out.
But I have a feeling this woman means well. If not for me, for herself. Some older people think that all young people are okay. They need them to be okay. They need to believe that there was once a time when they themselves were okay. This is the mutiny of some parenthood. But the folk don’t realize that it robs young people of real doubts, fears, and insecurities that they need to admit are there before transitioning effectively into various stages of adulthood.
I’m writing. Who’s listening?
What if I just write for me? Is the answer that I could be lost on deaf ears?
What the hell is an audience? Some people say it’s one ideal person, and I guess I can see what they mean because I have one. A real one. She exists.
But then there’s the other question: do people even read?
I once had a manager who told me to write everything in 50 words or less. I panicked. I gave him more than he ever asked for. He looked bored when I handed him my articles and popped in a wad of gum, chewing anxiously.
Everything I write is like a long sigh or a game of poorly played ping-pong where the players have to keep fetching the ball that flies over the table.
Home is where the heart of the mess is.
I had a friend help me clean my kitchen about a month ago. God bless her soul. She insisted when she saw the mold on my sink. She crawled on top of the counters and helped me rearrange the content clawing its way out of my cabinets. She told me where everything was now and encouraged me to keep it that way. We lamented the inconvenient way my cramped kitchen was built. Some drawers don’t open. Some give the illusion that they’re bigger and more functional than they actually are.
Everything in my apartment belongs to a designated pile. It’s all there in a pile somewhere near you.
My co-worker made me feel a little better when he quoted Erma Bombeck. I’m claiming the quote like peed-on territory. “House work when done right will kill you.”
I like kids, but not because I want my own.
I like kids for the same reason everyone likes kids. Kids make us feel like kids. It’s just that simple. And I’m fascinated by childhood. Even the beautiful-but-broken-in-two-places ones.
I started tutoring in the city. Once a week I help one kid muddle through Hop on Pop. Every week he reads faster. I can tell his teacher is taking her time on him. It makes me appreciate elementary school teachers more than I ever have before. His first language is Spanish. He tells me that Spanish makes him feel stupid, and he’s been trying to forget it.
He also tells me he wishes he was rich so he can buy all the legos in the world. And also all the food in the world.
I can’t tell if I like to watch him read more or play with legos more. It’s a tough call.
He’s the kind of kid who is big for his age. He has a haircut like Sonic the Hedgehog. It just grows that way. His ferrety friend Frankie put it best, “You look like one of those big, dumb bullies that are in movies. But you’re actually not a bully or dumb, you’re really nice, and you’re my friend.”
Kids are masters of disjointed compliments.
Despite my best intentions, I like kids for more selfish reasons than unselfish reasons right now. I’m looking for holes, which makes me feel less genuine and a little fucked up.
My childhood is a hot topic right now. It burns when I touch it. I find my mother on beaches. I find my father in storage lockers. I listen to the words in my brother’s scream. I find a way back to the bunk bed I slept on with my sister underneath me for years. I remember I was afraid the top bunk would crush her, but I never offered to switch beds. I worry that 25 is too old to be coming to grips with my past. But I have a feeling reconciliation is the only way to go.
On losing my mind
I’m learning that the older I get the more I see the distinction between feeling crazy and being crazy. But then the harder I think about the concept, the more the two blur into one. I have a fear that I will be crazy.
We all are crazy to some degree and especially at certain points of our lives, but most people isolate themselves in their own crazy, enhancing it. Sometimes I sit at my desk at work and feel like I’m going to collapse, like I’m going to forget my name.
I do understand distinguishing the madness and hypocrisy of the day-to-day versus deeply rooted insanity that we drag with us from our past versus clinical disorders.
I worry about transitioning, crossing over and getting stuck in the most convoluted version of myself.
Will I float away?
I’m realizing I don’t have answers for most things. I feel as wayward as a kite in the sky, but when I look closer, it turns out I never made it off the ground.
“Even the experts don’t have all the answers,” assures my best friend.
I wish she was in my pocket most days, except for the days I have no pockets. And I wonder if I should try putting things in my bra. At one point, when my boobs were larger I lost quarters down my shirts and found engravings of past presidents on my nipples. Maybe I should stop talking about the prospect of shoving my best friend into my bra and potentially be stamped against my nipple.
Psh, a vow of silence. Me? Not I? What about all-about-myself-and-how-much-of-the-world-I-need-to-fill-up-with-me?
More unintended New Year pursuits…
The rest of these are screws and buttons I found on the ground and shoved into my purse for safe keeping. I want to come back to them. I just don’t know what they’re for, or what they fit into just yet.
I want to treat myself better, believe that I’m a good person who makes human mistakes. It sounds so simple like blowing out the candles on a cake after it’s just been iced and lit on fire.
But deep down I know I try. I know my attachments to other people, my ability to trust people after being given so many reasons not to, may just as well be my saving grace in the end.
I can’t help but love people. They give me so much reason to live. Their stories dull the tediousness of it all.
Somewhere inside me there’s a drain that has teeth to destroy everything that gets dropped down the sink. Even money. Even though money, the idea of it really, is hard to destroy. How can you not think about it? Now I’m really asking.
If you have the answer to anything please provide me with one. It doesn’t have to be a perfect answer, but one that takes into account a few shades of gray. Hell, I’ll accept shades of orange.
I’m realizing that I’m going to have to go ovaries deep into my writing if I want to become the woman I want to become.
You see, this is a bowl of soup filled to the brim with frothy questions. I’m getting sweaty. At what point do I stop? At what point do I start making solid judgment calls?