I can’t think of any way out of this feeling of being flooded from head to toe with acid than to try and write through it. But this is when I write the worst. When I’m trying to expel something toxic from my body. I’m not sure what this particular toxin is though. Last Saturday I got an email from one of my favorite writers telling me he’s going to publish a small thing I wrote. Since last Saturday, I’ve gotten similar emails from the New York Times and my first peer reviewed academic journal. I’ve been in a state of panic that I am inclined to call misery, except A reminds me to be more careful with my words. Somehow success feels the exact same in my body as devastation. It’s a loss of control. Apparently sometimes you can lose control when things are good just like you can lose control when things are bad.
Last Friday I stood alone in a room on a platform surrounded by water, mirrors, darkness, and small points of light for 45 seconds in a museum filled with people who likely give little to no fuck about art. I knew I should just feel this fake infinity and not take photos but I am compulsively incapable of preventing myself from photographing everything. I don’t even like this photo. Or this one.
When things get this way, all my strongest emotional memories suddenly float to the surface of my consciousness and are available at a moment’s notice. A song, a phrase, a time of day, a mood of light instantly triggers one of these memories and I am at once nostalgic and saddened. I burst into tears at the drop of a hat. It’s like I am turned inside out and everything is salt. Everything.
When I was 18, I spent many afternoons in silence in front of Cy Twombly’s “The Four Seasons” because it was a way to externalize the feelings that couldn’t fit inside me. Everything I couldn’t contain became the boats and leaves and whirling winds on Twombly’s canvases and I felt, for those hours, relief.
I’m not complaining. I have a hard time sounding like I’m not complaining anytime I talk about how I’m feeling. It is frustrating. For someone who constantly teaches about the importance of using the right words, of respecting language, I often fail in any endeavor to communicate myself to others. I talk in dramatic, sentimental circles that don’t even feel honest most of the time.
I’m listening to this Rocky Votolato album and I am remembering how it is the only thing I listened to last winter, which feels like yesterday, and how I drove around my hometown in the snow scared of feeling anything that might hurt me, feeling like a goddamn teenager.
Is it because the people I want to talk to are dead? I mean literally dead. Is it because the older I get, the more pronounced the feeling of time passing becomes? It’s hard to have the right words when you’re intending to speak them to people who aren’t here anymore. Maybe if I had the audience I wanted, I’d be able to speak right.
I had a bunch of blood taken out the other day. Being older means needing tests all the time. Or maybe that’s just me. My blood is going to a party. I am not invited. It’s nice. It’s a relief to see my blood outside of myself. It helps me to feel less serious.
I just wanna wake up in the morning in a quiet town and walk through dawn with a person who will be with me in the quiet that is our life.
A friend asked me the other day why it is we live in this ridiculous city that the rest of the country hates when in our hearts we live in the cold, in the mountains from which we came. Why did we–cars packed with bikes, dogs, clothes, and photos–head any farther west, to the sea?
A friend asked me the other day if it’s better to marry someone who loves you more than you love them or if it’s better to love someone explosive who will probably leave you.
I said I think we live here because it feels enchanting because of its cultural symbolism and because it’s perpetually summer and because there’s so much energy and opportunity and because we know it’s not forever so we can romanticize it a bit.
I said that I hope to god there’s more than just these two kinds of loves.
Once a friend texted me in the middle of the night and said, “I worry about you. I know you are stronger than anyone supposes but also more porous.” She said, “It worries me sometimes only because the world is too much and you could drown.” All I could promise is that I’m gonna build a boat every goddamn day, if that’s what it takes.
Soon I won’t be in this funk. Soon I will learn how to accept that sometimes everything is good and that maybe there isn’t another shoe maybe there never were shoes maybe there’s no giant up there withholding devastating information and crushing footsteps. Soon I’ll stop behaving like an angsty teenager who can’t get outside herself enough to see the whole picture. Maybe someday I’ll learn to stop being so disappointed that I live in a world that is no where near as kind and gentle as it should be and that is instead filled with powerful people making critically unsound arguments about things that affect everyone that is not them, that make those of us who try and voice from or for the margins fear for our physical, financial, and emotional safety.
I hiked to the Griffith Observatory for the blood moon the other night. Not a real hike. An urban hike through Los Feliz. Almost 4 miles there and another 4 back. I went because who else lives hiking distance to an observatory where someone will play Beethoven on a hill overlooking the city while the earth blocks the sun and burns moon dust red? It smelled like a hundred peoples’ picnic food. It did not smell cyclical, epic, or profound. But it was.
as fickle as these streets are/they might not even wait around till then