Thursday, September 29

The Quiet American

I read something a friend of mine recently wrote about voids. About the way sometimes life can seem like an endless struggle to fill them, to find distractions that tie you up enough that you don't find yourself staring into those dark spaces for too long.

Of course eventually you will look in, eventually you can't resist. You stop your world and open the window. You pull back the shades and see how it reflects back at you. You pour over the words you said and the look in her eyes. The colors paint the wall so thick that they bleed -- rolling down in lines you can trace with your fingertips, walking back the days of your darkness, seeing the eclipses you've caused.

It's no secret that I've always been one to over-analyze. To think through and freeze in time. It's also no big surprise when I find myself caught between the winds, unable to escape the very things that I wish to avoid the most.

At the same time, I think there is a value in the mirror. I think sometimes you have to read the paintings on the wall to see where you've been. In a lot of ways, that's what this place is for. I write here in reflection. Examining the footsteps and looking for clues as I try to discover the secrets that I haven't yet revealed to myself.
"They say you come to Vietnam and understand a lot in a few minutes. The rest has got to be lived. They say whatever it was you were looking for, you will find here. They say there is a ghost in every house, and if you can make peace with him, he will stay quiet."
-Graham Greene
But that doesn't mean that I'm not living my life. That I'm not stepping forward and finding new light in each day. If the movie teaches you anything it's that sooner or later, one has to take sides. You can't just sit idly by and stay Michael Caine; but there are definite consequences that come if you try and become Brendan Frasier overnight.
You can't just ask for love and expect to get it.
Nor can you lie to love and ever hope to keep it.
Maybe that's why so much of what I'm dealing with right now comes back to trying to find some sort of balance between the changes that I'm making and coming to terms with the mistakes that I've made.
Because I'm still making changes.
...and I'm still making mistakes.
[Listening to: Prince, "17 Days"]

Tuesday, September 27


Look in the mirror and check for the signs. The letters are all there, but they read the wrong way. Spring forward. Fall back. Turn the clock over and leave it out in the sun. Do anything you want -- When you wake up 33 past, there's no denying the hour. No escaping the day. One's always too early, the other two late. It is what it is, and there's nothing you can do about it.

But in a way, that's really the problem. Because it's not all bad. It's not all tragedy or clouds. If that were the case, things might actually make sense. If that were the way, your path would always be clear.
..But it's not.
Instead, you find places to smile. Shelters from the rain. You'll always carry the venom, but you won't always have to use it.
Stranger in a strange land --
but it's a dry heat, you know?
Much as it twists the knife, there are things about this that you need. Things you have to go through. Things you don't want to turn your back on. The lady or the tiger. The lady and the tramp. The tiger with the cage door open.

Over and over the weekend into the week, good intentions turned to ash. Words meant from the heart sinking like a pit in the throat, a welling in the eyes, and that sense that unless you get a hold of yourself right here and now, you may never be able to stop shaking.

Read it forwards, read it back. The meaning's the same no matter which way you go. Madam I'm Adam is never odd or even. Mr. Owl ate my metal worm will always be true. No matter how much you wish they would stop - you'll always know when Marge lets Norah see Sharon's telegram.

That's why I can't go back. That's why I can't just trust the thought. No matter how much I might want to, no matter how bright the path might appear, everyone knows the truth:
Swap God for a janitor,
   rot in a jar of dog paws.
[Listening to: Dishwalla, "Winter Sun"]

Friday, September 23

Farewell Angelina

I think I'm done with the Lucy.
I don't know - the last three or four times I've seen him, it's just felt like there isn't that much to say. The blame for this probably lies somewhere on both sides of the couch, but more and more I come out of our meetings feeling like I really didn't get much out of them. I keep going in with specific questions and concerns, but because of his own travel schedule and me being busy with school it's gotten to the point where I only see him once a month, so when he asks me "how have things been going?" there are usually so many things to catch him up on that there's rarely any time left for anything else.

I remember how nervous I was when I started, how caught off guard I was by a lot of the things he said to me, and the way a lot of the things I said to him got put back to me in a way that made me realize that I was looking at a lot of things in my life in a completely backwards manner.

I remember her saying she didn't
like how therapy had changed me.

But then again, that was when I was seeing him every 10 days or so. Thats when there were two Lucy's, two patients, two answers for every question. That's back when I was doing what I thought was best to try and keep things together, and I felt like every step taken forward was helping us to get there.
Sometimes it feels like such a long time ago..
When things did eventually fall apart, it was good to have the support there. Good to have someone to talk to. But as time moved on and the stages progressed, it began to feel like sitting in his office with him there were just big spots of prolonged silence. He'd helped me to realize a way at looking at my circumstances, but for whatever reason the two of us couldn't seem to get past that to any great degree.

I don't know -- maybe that's why I'm still struggling with this decision. I mean, it's not like I'm fixed or anything. I still screw things up all the time. I still overfocus on things that don't always matter, I still tend to go into situations with preconceived expectations, and I still idealize people and events from my past to the point where my own personal mythology tends to get in the way of my moving ahead with my present and future goals. I'm still selfish. I'm still jealous. I'm still alone.

At the same time, I'm more aware of my own issues, and I feel like I've become more empowered when it comes to expressing my needs. But as much as I know he has helped me with some of that, I find myself thinking that a lot of that progress was made on my own, whether it come from moving out and trying to make it by myaself, or working to restart my life over piece by piece even if leaving wasn't exactly what I wanted to do.

And maybe that sounds selfish, I don't know -- but (especially lately) the ratio of me screwing shit up versus me getting things right seems a lot more like I'm behind the wheel than following anyone else's grand design. So maybe in the end I'm starting to feel like it's just not worth all the money I'm paying to come out of a therapy session with so much uncertainty as to what benefits (if any) are coming from it anymore.

I don't know. I still don't want to believe that sometimes two people can just run out of road together. I still want to believe that there's something I could go back and do differently to try to get things going more forward instead of reaching some sort of point and then just kinda ...stalling. But maybe that's how people are sometimes. Maybe you can travel only so far together when you're not on the same page (no matter how badly you wish you could find a way for that to happen).
I'm done with the Lucy.
[Listening to: Peter Gabriel, "Digging in the Dirt"]

Tuesday, September 20

Jake Ryan

When they give you a classroom to teach in, one of the first things they tell you is to pick a spot where you can hang some personal stuff up. The thinking is that after a while if you're a teacher kids tend to dehumanize you. That is, they sorta forget that you're an actual person beyond your ability to assign them homework and grade their performance in class, and that can lead to problems getting them inspired to do work that challenges their minds.

I don't know if I've ever had any problems when it comes to giving the appearance of being "real" person for my students (if anything, I probably run the risk of being a little too real at times), but I'm all for taking some space out of your little cubicle and making it your own. To that end, I have an area behind my desk where I hang up photos of my friends and family, drawings and cards that my students give me, or just anything else that I find interesting. And above that bulletin board I've got two movie posters (one for The Lost Boys, and the other for Heavy Metal) that I stuck up on the wall, partially because I didn't have a good place to hang them at home, but also because I think they say a little something about me and my personality, which goes back to that little tip they gave us in teacher training.

The only problem is that you can't really make a connection about somebody if you don't know what they're talking about, and both of these movies are waaaay before most of these kids time -- which basically means that in their minds they might as well not exist at all. This has led to a lot of questions like "Why is that lady riding a bird?" and of course my personal favorite:
Mr. Luft -- is that you in that Lost Boys picture?
Is that what you looked like when you still had hair?
Even stranger than that though are the reactions I get from all the other teachers who see the posters. A lot of the teachers here are close to my age - so not only have they heard of the films, but some of them actually hold a special place in their heart. One even went so far as to come into my classroom one morning and hand me cassette tape copies of not only the soundtrack for The Lost Boys, but one for the movie Labryinth as well.

And while the words sounded infinitley different coming from an adult math teacher's mouth, it was hard not to flash back to a much younger day in my life when there was an actual heavy-duty meaning that came along with a girl handing you a cassette tape with David Bowie and a bunch of muppets on the cover while saying,
"This is like my favorite tape, but
you could borrow it ..if you wanted."
[Listening to: Echo and the Bunnymen, "People are Strange"]

Monday, September 19

Full On Kevin's Mom

Mon corps sait toujours quand ce n'est pas vous...
The other night while I was sleeping, my cat found a loose piece of string lying around and tried to eat it. Somehow part of it got looped tight around her chin to the point that she couldn't get it loose, keeping the portion that she was trying to swallow dangling partially inside her throat.

One minute I was sleeping peacefully and the next it sounded like a barroom brawl had broken out as she stumbled around the room clawing at her own chin trying to dislodge the thing that was choking her. Clawing so hard that it broke the skin, bled on to her own paws, into her coat, and everywhere inbetween. Wet footprints on the white paper beside my computer's printer. Little red dots dripped onto the keyboard, strewn across the plastic windowed envelope for the light bill, and onto the sheets of my bed.

Once I figured out what was going on I tried to get a hold of her -- but by that point in the struggle she had reached a panic, and moved away in fear every time I advanced. It was dark and she had knocked all sorts of things off the shelves and desk, creating chaos in the room. Still trying desperately to claw the string from her chin, she darted under the far corner of the bed, just out of the reach of my fingertips...

I could see her there; thrashing around, clawing at her own jaw, unable to make the noise to cry out because of the thread blocking her air.

Now fully steeped in the urgency of it all I yanked the bedframe to the side, scaring the cat even more but at least giving me a clear chance at her. I picked her up, feeling the sting of swinging claws as they dug into the skin on my hands and wrists every second I fished at the loop around her jaw, trying to break it free or at the very least pull it away. The blood making my fingertips slip, adding to the strain of holding her still.

How I finally got it loose I don't even really know. But for what seemed an eternity I sat there with her huddled against my chest, trembling as she attempted to process all that had just taken place. Trembling like the hands of my child during the winds of his first winter. Shaking like the breath of the woman who used to love me after another intense dream had crossed the line from subconscious suggestion to the kind of terror that makes a person scream into the darkness and not know where they are.
I held on tight.
Refused to let go.
I dressed the wounds and stayed with her until dawn. Watched her close for a day or so afterward. Double checked the floors and emptied all the trashcans. It's what you do. Reflex made instinct. Equal and opposite reaction. Everything in it's right place.

It's entirely possible that I'll never really know what she truly thinks of me. As we lay there side by side, washing rivers across our own stones, sharing the space we had together (even if we can only truly appreciate it sometime later when we were alone). But after all we'd been through - separately and together,
Just having her there,
Just having you close
..was enough.
[Listening to: Rein Sanction, "I Took A Walk"]

Friday, September 16


"Born Salesmen" annoy me.

I'm in a place where I'm having to deal with a lot of them while I try and clear myself of the current financial mess I'm stuck in the middle of, but how many times can you hear "I don't normally offer this sort of deal, but for some reason I really want to help you out" without just banging the phone against the desk?

In other news, staying home from work means I can crank up my music as loud as I want, but just for the record it's harder than it looks to start a mosh pit with a cat who wants to take a nap.
Aja don't surf.
[Listening to: Hed PE, "Represent"]

Wednesday, September 14

Everyone Says Hi

Disconnect. Misconnect. Wishconnect. Westconett. Signal transmitted, message received (reaction making impact invisibly). Nothing connects close enough to feel, everything's a shadow of an overemphasized past. Shape the future, save the world. Wonder twin powers activate to form stream of consciousness obscenities. The world's your oyster soup kitchen floor wax museum. Listen to the Talking Heads Stop Making Sense.

Toss. Turn. Stretch.
Where's that noise coming from?
..What time is it!?
You wake up on the couch. After all, it's your couch. You can sleep there anytime you want. Just curl up and let the sand cover your eyes. Every time you wake up on the couch is just another time you went from watching TV to some mulicolored dream of your own making without noticing the transition. Every morning you wake up on the couch is another day you don't wake up in your bed. Every night you don't sleep in your bed is another day you won't wake up to find no one there.

That's what you tell yourself.
Then you get in the car.
Then you drive to work.
Everyone says Hi.
[Listening to: David Bowie, "Life on Mars?"]

Tuesday, September 13

Circe Indiviosa

When was the last time? How long has it been? Can you even remember? Do you think about it all the time? Does everything seem to remind you of it in one way or another? Is it making you crazy inside?

You're inspired by it every day. You find a voice there and start to develop it. You learn to love what you're doing, learn to crave the way other people feel and react when they share in it. You can't possibly imagine why anyone wouldn't want to feel that way every second of every single day...

And then it's gone.

When was the last time? How long has it been? Do you think about it all the time? Does everything seem to remind you of it in one way or another?
..Is it making you crazy inside?
[Listening to: Vulpine, "Downer"]

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