Sunday, December 7, 2014

other people's words

one boy grew up different from the rest
without the insides of his chest
he didn't know how
he was blessed

asaf avidan

Thursday, December 4, 2014

O, cat.

I've been thinking a lot lately about people and animals that are now dead. Not in a depressing way, but in a pleasant way. I must have been about eleven when I wrote my first message to Taco. I was sure that if I wrote in big. bright enough letters, she'd be able to not only see the words on the page, but make meaning out of them, too. And be able to pick up the marker and respond. Hi, Taco, I wrote. How are you? Are you okay? Do you like me? I love you.

I was pretty sure she wouldn't respond if I sat there watching and waiting, so I left the marker, uncapped of course, and the piece of paper sitting right in front of her on the windowsill. When I glanced back on my way out, she was staring intently at the marker, figuring out with all her might, I assumed, how to respond to such an intriguing inquiry into her life. The moment she'd been waiting for. I was a little nervous about what she'd say, but I really wanted to know if she, my beloved fat cat, actually liked me. While I wandered around outside, I imagined all the things she was writing, tediously, marker clamped between teeth, on the paper.
I like you, I guess. Whatever. Just don't pull my tail anymore. I hate that.

I used to get Taco to come out from under the bed so I could play or cuddle with her by pulling her out by the tail. By the time I was eleven, I had stopped doing that and I still feel bad about it. The little stupid things that somehow end up bothering you for the rest of your life. It's weird to think that I once did something cruel to an animal that I loved, or any animal. But I probably did something worse somewhere back in the early days. It just doesn't stick out in my memory.

I gave Taco nearly an hour. I wanted to make sure she had plenty of time to respond fully, but I also wanted to hold on to the little bit of magic I felt when I pictured her reading my message, thinking about it, and writing a response. Somewhere in the maturing part of my mind, in the part that was becoming more aware of reality and less attuned to magic, I knew that cats can't read. And they can't write. I didn't want to have to accept that.

When I returned, I immediately saw that the paper was exactly where I had left it on the windowsill, but Taco was nowhere to be seen. My heart sank a little. BUT! I realized, heart perking back up, the marker had also disappeared. I ran to the paper to see what she had written. Maybe it was bad news that she didn't want to have to watch me react to. I stared at the paper for a while, accepting things I didn't want to accept. Under the bed nearby, Taco snoozed off the activity of batting the marker across the room instead of answering my sincere questions. Maybe she dreamt of freedom. Maybe she dreamt of her kitten days. Maybe she dreamt of nothing at all.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Why work so hard. Why clean so much. I don't have an answer, other than I can't help it. It's in my genes or something. And sometimes it's easier to do the work in front of you than to come up with something of your own to do. That's when I think I encounter my weaknesses the most, and I easily tire of thinking about my weaknesses. It seems, though, that maybe my eyes and my ears and my brain and my life are all dying just a tiny bit faster than the rest of me. But at least I'll get the work done.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

words i keep thinking about.

a gift
a rift

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Being my own therapist.

About a week ago, I was talking to a near stranger at a Halloween party. I remember feeling slightly trapped and claustrophobic, standing between him and a wall and another stranger's awkwardly close backside. But the conversation was okay. He kept on talking and I threw in little bits and pieces and questions to keep him going, and felt a little surprised here and there by how much we had in common. But I also really wanted the whole thing to end so I could go be alone. Just when I thought I'd have to make an excuse to leave, just when I'd heard enough about his life events and hobbies and accomplishments and really wanted to go, he said:

But none of that really matters, does it? What matters is the people in your life. And what they bring to your life. That's what matters. The people and the joy they bring to your life.

Then he smiled and winked at me and wandered off towards the snack table. Shortly thereafter, I left, just like I wanted. But I've been thinking about what he said ever since. And thinking particularly about my instinctive, gut reaction to what he said. Outwardly, I smiled and nodded and sort of said uh huh, true that brother. But inwardly, without hesitation, I snorted and rolled my eyes and thought yeah right, all they do is bring pain to life. Pain. I clearly remember thinking that word in association with people. Pain.   

What has been so vastly different in our two lives, or in our two makeups, that would give us such opposing views of what people do to us? I'm sure he's been at least a little hurt at some point by someone, but here he is, all recuperated and getting joy from people. Joy. That gut reaction I had disturbs me now, as well as some of my posts on here from the past couple of years. I always talk on here about how I never change no matter what I do or where I go, but that's not true. It didn't happen over night, but I have changed. In a way that I don't like. I see people differently than I used to and it's starting to get in the way of functioning socially. And of being happy.

The thing is, slowly, over time, I've come to automatically assume that everyone I know outside of my family will hurt me somehow. At some point, they will hurt my feelings and will fuel my fear of people and my association of pain with people. I wait for it. I wait for them to hurt me, and then feel justified in my beliefs and feel wounded and sad, but then try to go about life as normal. Letting the wounds build up and fester and taint what used to be a reasonably positive outlook on the world. If you're waiting for everyone around you to hurt you, you're looking for reasons to feel wounded. And if you're looking for reasons to feel wounded, you will find them. Easily. You'll find them in everything and in every person - in people hanging out without you, in people making incomprehensible inside jokes around you, in people doing what they want and being themselves regardless of your ideas and feelings, in people posting silly quips about each other on social media.

Reasons to feel hurt are EVERYWHERE, if that's what you're looking for. Everything can be misconstrued as an insult. If that's what you're waiting for. And now, finally, thanks to a stranger at a Halloween party unintentionally poking the root of my unhappiness firmly in the ribs, I realize that's what I've subconsciously been looking for in people. A good deal of this so-called pain I associate with people is pain that I have created from their words and actions. There are, no doubt, countless ways to interpret how other people go about their lives and interact with me and others, and I have recently grown accustomed to interpretations that result in pain.

This isn't all by pure chance, though. It isn't all me just being crazy about pain. I have, legitimately, been hurt in the not too distant past. Hurt more than I've ever been hurt before or since. People are capable of cruelty, both physical and mental cruelty. We all know that just by watching the news. But everyday people you meet on the street really can, and sometimes want to, hurt you. Toy with you and your delicate little emotions and sensitive little mind. And make you change how you see the world and the people in it. Nearly three years later and the person and the emotions attached to him no longer hold any weight, but the change they initiated. The change that has slowly, gradually, bit by bit corroded the joy and potential I once saw in people, the change that has carried on and continued into today.

Well, no. Into yesterday. I'm going to do my best to start changing again. So that in some future post on here, I will be able to talk truthfully about the joy in my life. And how a good deal of it comes from people.        

Monday, November 3, 2014

Removal of the Self

You're only worth
looking at if you're smiling
listening to if you're interesting
inviting if you're funny
sitting next to if you're charming
joking with if you're playing along
loving if you're lovable
being around if you're happy

So if you're not these things, go. Be alone. Let the others revel in their antics. Don't poison their good-natured fun. Leave them with their clever jokes unspoiled, let their laughter fill the room unhindered. Don't take away an ounce of their joy for the sake of your confusion and gloom. You, in this state, are not worth the hassle. So, go and be alone. The others don't want to worry. The others don't want to slow down. Go. Be alone.  

Saturday, October 25, 2014

God! Fend for yourself once in a while, why dontcha? Everyone else is doin' it.