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Yesterday was a confusing and less productive day than I had hoped it would be. I made a list of things I wanted to accomplish, ignoring the suggestion from my book that says to limit action items to three or four. I got the time for therapy wrong so I arrived an hour early. After leaving my therapist sent me a text asking if I could reschedule for later in the day. I waited around for her to get back to me and decided she had forgotten about me after several hours passed without hearing from her. I bought the girls and myself vertical clothes storage for the closet, had them bring their clothes in my room and started going through it. We found that they both need shorts, my youngest could use a couple of shirts, and they both need some basic bras and underwear. We get a lot of hand me downs from my sister which is great, but a neon pink Hello Kitty bra only goes with so many tops. I didn't plan the shopping trip out very well so it didn't go as smoothly as it could have. I bought two pairs of shorts for myself and decided that I have got to start losing weight and getting back into shape. Being fat has become a part of my life, I've become resigned to the fact that I get breathless going up stairs and never really feel comfortable in any of the clothes I own.

Today I am filled with self doubt and loathing. I feel stuck in an endless cycle of bad habits and ineffective counter measures. There's a part of me that knows that I am making strides and doing some things that I have to, but right now it doesn't feel like any of that matters even if it really does. I feel as if I shouldn't have gone out shopping last night even though I didn't own any summer clothes before last night. I'm telling myself that I could have gone to the thrift store first instead of hitting the outlet mall. I'm regretting the tops I bought for the girls and thinking that we could have found a better deal elsewhere or gotten by without them. But then another part of me says that most of the time we get clothes from my sister for free, my in-laws bought my daughter her Alaska shirt and I bought the cute little tee that the girls were fighting over at Goodwill for three dollars. I would like to be able to do something and not second guess myself so often. Either go to the mall and be fine with the money spent, or plan an alternative outing and be fine with that. Part of the problem is I was tired, hungry, and stressed when I was shopping. I've had the girls by myself since last Friday evening except for the few hours when he took them on Sunday and I need a break from them and for myself. 

While I was at the bank asking about how our accounts would be affected by the divorce the teller told me that she was sorry for the circumstances. I really like going to my bank since the people there are almost always so nice to me. We chatted for a minute or two, she knows the girls so she asked about them and then she did something very unexpected. She asked if she could give me a hug. I had arrived at the bank during a very busy time so her taking a minute to give me a big hug was really touching. She told me that her parents had gotten divorced and it was both an awful and good thing. She told me to let them know if there was anything I needed, gave me her card, and I know it wasn't to try and sell me on any new financial products. My therapist thinks I should talk to an attorney. My sister who works for the county says that I can, but it probably won't be a wise move because then the attorney gets more of the money than the girls and I do. I'm entitled to half of his business and I know I won't get it and a lot of other things. Years ago I was sent to a law firm who needed some computer help. That was my job at the time and I felt very unqualified there. Money really can't make up for the pain and suffering regardless of what legal experts say or do. I would get more money, but he would come back with an attorney of his own.

I'm just really frustrated that I let things go on like this for as long as I did. There were things that I could have been doing that I didn't and things that I didn't need to do that I invested in when that wasn't the smartest decision either. I'm apprehensive about next week. Since he went public with his girlfriend he's not spent much time with the girls. The other night he could have come over, but he said it was late. That wouldn't have been an issue in the past. My therapist said that the girls could share a therapist and I could talk to her about booking back to back appointments where they would each get half an hour of time. This will save me some money and extend our therapy dollars, my therapist has been just wonderful. I can't thank God enough for putting her into my life. I know she's trying to get me to really feel the emotions I'm repressing. I have to write him another letter, that's another thing I'm dreading, but I know I will feel better when it's finished. The girls are sitting on the couch reading. They were up until almost eleven last night and that was frustrating as well. I gave away a lot of the power I had because I didn't understand how it worked. I let him undermine me and my role as a mother and that wasn't good either.

Fortunately there are silver linings to this cloud. Things are really running much more smoothly at home even though it still feels very chaotic and unstable. Once we get this clothes situation squared away we can give away or donate the clothes that the girls no longer fit into or want. They have a couple cute outfits that they chose for summer and it was fun to go shopping with them and have that time to see them viewing what they chose critically in the mirror. I can't remember ever getting as much clothes as the girls did last night at one time when I was a kid regardless of how I had grown so it makes me feel good to be able to do that kind of thing for them. In retrospect I wish we would have eaten first, or at the very least packed a snack, but we didn't so I can remember that for next time. Having the vertical storage in the closet frees up room in their dresser. I'm hoping that this system actually works and I'll be frustrated if it doesn't, however I have to try things to see how they're going to work in real life and I'm glad that I spent the time and money I did to do this for them. My youngest daughter's glasses broke last night. She asked her sister to take them off of her face when she was in the bath and the arm broke off so that was another disappointment and will mean a trip in to the eye doctor later on today.

I'm really looking forward to a week off next week even if I have to spend it at the condo. The flooring is going in which means we are one step closer to painting over there and I know that will make a tremendous difference. The drywall and tile guy is coming over the second week of June and my sister and mom have told me that they will help me paint in the kitchen. My friend at the bank told me that her sister and her sister-in-law went through the dental assisting program that I'm thinking about enrolling in, my therapist thinks I should take some time off before I start the job hunt and I agree that I need to get in to the doctor and a psychiatrist to see if I have some sort of issue there, but I could start taking the classes and I think just having a place to go every Saturday and learning something new will help. I'm a little worried that I'll get into it, go through the classes and end up with a job I don't really like, however I could get any job and end up not liking it. I crave stimulation as most jobs bore me after a while. I'm smart and I figure things out quickly so maybe I get a job and some hobbies that occupy more of the rest of my time. I still love to write although I've taken a break from fiction and I can really tell by how restless I am. Right now the floors need sweeping and the counters need clearing, but it's not as bad as it's been in the past. A couple hours of work and I can take the rest of the day off. At least I have kids who are independent and understand that sometimes mom just needs a nap. 

A few years ago, I dated someone who was also a writer, a very good one. The writer had been a grad student - I think excellent composition and knowledge of nuances is probably important for that.

I’ve been writing since I was a very small girl. I’ve always written as a form of self-entertainment and self care. Writing some things, including most of NOCing on Heaven’s Door, began as an exercise in coping.

This doesn’t lend itself towards analyzing the text and picking word for their incisive value. I tend towards expression over exacting clarity. My fantasy is somewhere I’ve taken the language and thrown it at the canvas of fairytale and myth, swirled themes in. It’s impressionistic. When I write, when I sit down and write 1000-5000 words in a night (it’s worth noting, this is ALWAYS after 10pm at the earliest), I’m not /thinking/ about the words. Or choosing the words.

I’m thinking about the story. What’s happening. Who’s wandering around in the fairytale, and what they’re doing, and how to change my visual thinking into hard 1s and 0s.

It builds slowly, like accretion of sedimentary rock. It does not burst into flame, it does not fall from the sky. I’ll stare at a ridge line in Virginia, wander through several fantasy novels, across a movie, through a spare book of poetry, then meet an exhausted fragment of imagination. This is how I write.

The writer I dated measured, analyzed, repeated. Each word was chosen for the perfect inflection. Every shade of meaning must be appropriate. There would be no broad strokes. Everything was simple workmanship. The words had a spare elegance to them and a careful, didactic use of metaphor.

I actually am talking about two former partners here. My apologies. I am, as I said, somewhat impressionistic.

Here are the lessons I learned from each of these partners.

One of them became an mentor before he ever became a partner. I studied the house style we were both using, and applied it to generate halting attempts at harnessing my own writing. I still use this spare style - generally when it comes to attempts to rein in my adjective use and paragraph construction. His style provides a guide to composition. It has also become my own style, salted with a slightly higher incidence of thesaurus abuse. When we became partners, we wrote no love letters. I continued to write and present the results to him: he continued to edit, much in the same vein he always had. There was no personal judgement in it, simply a sharpening of the existing work.

In our interactions, there was a spare, almost austere romance. He didn’t speak terribly often of how he felt, but when he did, it bore some weight.

The second was a linguist. We never wrote together, prior to or during our relationship. Our projects were strictly separate. They were quite different, these projects: I role-played a Crowleyian figure on a text-based game while they were engaged in philosophical questions and engineering documents. We met in the middle to exchange multi-page love emails that at first were wonderful gifts. Later, as our relationship went sour, our ability to talk to each other through writing slid increasingly out of interface.

As I felt increasingly anxious and unsure of my place in the partnership, what was now word choice critiques, to my eyes, became unnecessary and somewhat cruel. I perceived the emails as becoming more analytical - the sweet words mingled with the feedback became, to me, a distraction from what was actually being said. And what was being said seemed, more often than not, to be at terms exasperated and maddeningly self-centered.

When my partner began to criticize and over-analyze my word choice, I began to tune them out. I stopped writing entirely. I talked to my mentor here and there, and tried to write fiction, but the well was dead.

Writing is my chief survival skill. I cope with my stress by writing. Poetry, descriptive bits, journaling, and fiction especially. I live a busy, overly complicated life that sometimes reads like a novel. My luck is balanced on having faith in a consistent narrative and my own ability to stand up, keep moving, and integrate my experiences as I work towards being a strong, happy, healthy adult. There’s been a lot of shit that has accompanied the luck.

Today, I’ve begun to write again, starting by pulling out my older work and reading it. I’m looking increasingly at the period preceding my block: the first two years I lived on the West Coast, after the tide of the NOC receded and left me in Oakland.

I’m writing myself back together, word by word, sedimentary layer by sedimentary layer, and I have everything to gain.

Listen, and they will tell you. Listen, and you will hear the thoughts between the words, if you want to.

I have, lately, found myself slipping into music and getting just a little lost. (In a good way, in a good way..) Loving the rain again, as well, as though it is hydrating my soul, somehow, peculiar as that might sound. Even things we do not see inside ourselves dry up, now and then, lose the life they seeped into our days. They are not lost, though, just a little wasted - a little worn. I feel like the kind of soul drenching memories that get locked inside of music are perfect to bring them out again, to make you feel just a little more alive than you maybe deserve to.

There are some memories still so vivid that it seems like I will never lose them. I like this. I like the permanence it suggests my brain is capable of. You learn to appreciate this on a deeper level when new things don't register as they used to. When there are words that hang in your head, just out of reach, taunting you a little bit. It is hard to admit how much I have changed, hard to accept that there is this new version of myself.

I am seeing a therapist, I suppose just out of desire to learn how to live for myself again. Years tangled up in this sort of situation and anyone can forget themselves, I imagine. A part of me hates therapy, hates the straight out of a psych textbook lines that they feed you sometimes.

I don't know why, but perhaps because - what if? What if some day it all is lost and this is the only way I will have to know that this ever occurred? Here, then, read these, listen if you can, if you want to:

Cape Cod, many years ago. After months in the concrete and suffocating humidity of a Boston summer. Standing on the shore, watching the waves rolling and crashing in. I'd never really felt so close to the ocean before, not like that. I'll never forget the sound, the peace that settled over me. The sort of wind that only exists in these kinds of places. I loved it, and him. Some part of me will always be on that beach and I love this, I love my brain for it.

And then these rainy mornings, lately, these cool humid start of the day showers. I am always tripping on the road, half way to the bus in my very early school days. My little stockings wet, knees a little bruised. Feeling terribly embarrassed, and small, and sad. And I remember, despite the years, when he got off the bus and picked me up. Carried me on. He didn't get to live his full life, I know, he died some time between then and now, many years ago, really. I found out in the newspaper, an obituary. I'll never forget him. To me he will always be the boy who carried my sad little self onto the school bus that rainy morning.

I suppose that I am only rambling for myself and I am sorry for that. I haven't felt like writing in so long and now here I am, leaving it all here on this website that has meant so much to me for so long and I just can't, don't want to let it go.

You ought to listen to Gregory Alan Isakov, if you'd like to hear something sort of beautiful.


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