Friday, June 29, 2012

don't let it get you down

today.  today, i fully intended to get things done.

and i was doing things.

but then, i fell in a hole.  i fell in a hole of neil young music.  it started with someone posting a thirty minute concert video on facebook.

after listening to the whole thing, twice, i descended into a a two hour long voyage into neil young's song catalog.  and after that...i went and bought some beer.  because no more work was even going to be attempted.

then i called an old friend.  years ago, a decade or more, on those rare days when nether of us were working a double shift at the restaurant...we would sit on the porch and drink all day.  and listen to neil young.

and so i called him, because he's the person i think of when i hear neil young.  always.  i think of us drinking cheap beer and talking about philosophy (he loved hegel) and smoking cigarettes and playing cards.  and fighting.

i liked him a lot.  we were such good friends.  then i found out that he liked me and i balked.  while i was thinking about things, he met someone.  then i realized i liked him.  and then he met someone else.  and then i really liked him, but also someone else too.  and so it went.

long story short, it never really happened with us.  we had some fights.  we didn't speak for long periods of time.

then, we eventually became friends again.  i still care so much about him.  the idea of 'us' is not ever possible, but he is one of my favorite people.

and so there i was calling him.  asking him did he remember all those times.  and he did.  and did he also remember when he said that every girl he knew was associated in his mind with a particular neil young song and that mine was 'like a hurricane' but i wanted to be 'cowgirl in the sand'....he said he didn't remember.  he was more than likely drunk, but he laughed that my song was 'like a hurricane' and said that sounded right, but that i could be the cowgirl if i wanted.

but i know he was right the first time.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

the hands of the elephant man

my body is freaking out.

this year i have been plagued by allergies.  it started with hayfeverish symptoms.  watery eyes.  compulsive sneezing.  a general feeling of ill health and misery.

now i am breaking into hives.  the first one i got i thought was a spider bite.  my foot swelled up.  now, i think that it might be mosquitoes.  my hands have swelled.  anywhere i get bitten, it swells.  like really painful swelling.  it hurts my joints.

it's so bad that my mother, the least indulgent of my hypochondriac tendencies of anyone, insisted that i go to the doctor.  which i did.  but the doctor seemed really dismissive, as if i was just there because if a bug bite.

i tried to explain that the real reason i was there was not because of the immediate reaction, but because the reaction was so severe and that in some cases it can keep getting worse and eventually lead to anaphylaxis.  i recognize that this is rare, but it is a possibility.  she basically treated me like i was a hysteric.  

it mostly just scared me.  and made me feel really, really alone.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

artistic differences

i've been thinking about art lately.  years and years ago, when i was living in london, i used to go to galleries all the time.  the big galleries like the tate and the national gallery and also the smaller galleries.  i went to any gallery that was displaying work that i thought would be interesting.  i've always known a lot of artists.  when i was in memphis, i hung out a lot with the art grad students.  i didn't like all of them, as artists are notoriously narcissistic and hanging out with them was sometimes overwhelming because everyone was trying to be the center of attention all the time.  but i loved going to their shows.


what i love about art is transcendence.  when you look at true art, you can truly transcend the artificial boundaries between self and aesthetic.  pure aesthetic.  


stendhal syndrome.


stendhal, who traveled to florence and became overtaken with emotion when confronted with the intense reality of caravaggio.


i felt these feelings a very long time before i knew it was an actual thing.  it's pure unadulterated emotion.  i spend most of my life trying NOT to feel things, but with art it is the one thing that i allow myself to be overwhelmed by the experience of perception.


i  remember the first time i felt that way.  i was in st bride's fleet st.  there was something about the way the ceiling reminded me of a sky with all of this glowing light and the flickering of the multitude of candles that were burning for journalists in places like bosnia and lebanon and the carved wood and the geometry of the room.  it was the most sublime feeling.  it was like everything perfect all at one time.  everything fit together.  everything made everything else better.


i felt it the first time i saw a van gogh in person.  i had always been lukewarm towards van gogh prior to this.  i mean, his prints are everywhere.  but when you are staring right at the starry night and you can see the thick layers of paint that look like they were textured with fingers, not brushes, and you can actually feel the movement of the subject.  i couldn't look away.  after seeing them, i refuse to own any van gogh  print.  ever.


i felt it the first time i looked through larry clark's 'teenage lust.'  even though the images leave you completely sickened, in many cases.


i went to a kandinsky retrospective that changed my life.  it literally changed me.  before that i had been incredibly dismissive about abstract art.  but seeing those paintings.  painting after perfect painting.  the lines and the shapes and the colors and the balance.  i felt feverish.  i didn't look at things the same way after that.


i remember the last time i felt it in a gallery.  i was at a student show in memphis.  there was this installation piece in a room.  all of these symmetrical, hanging crystal beads.  there's no description i could give that would even begin to explain.  you had to feel it.  i didn't expect to like it.  i walked by the room several times, unimpressed with the sparkling.  then i got bored waiting for my artist date who was talking to some people about this photograph that everyone was intrigued by that was really just a bad knock-off of larry clark's 'i am one of god's mistakes'.  when is stepped into the middle of the room i caught my breath.  it was the most amazing feeling.  i felt light.


this is what art should be.  this is what i'm looking for.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

love is a many splendored thing

while i was waiting for a take-out order tonight i was sitting next to this really young couple. they were maybe twenty and i could tell by their conversation that they were on a first date.  they were telling each other all about their families and their childhoods.  and the girl had a really annoying laugh.


i was drinking a beer and being dismissive of their awkward, but sickeningly genuine, getting-to-know-you conversation.

and i realized that it wasn't the annoying laugh or their stupid conversation that annoyed me.  it was that i was, in many ways, quite envious of their hopefulness.  i resented the fact that they were having this experience that i haven't had in very long time.

if i learned anything over the past three years, it's that there's no sure thing.  love is all about probability estimation.  but the bad experiences have left me in a very dismal place from which to estimate the likelihood that things will work out in any capacity.  instead of assuming someone is telling the truth, i assume that they are lying.  i require constant reassurance. but i can't ask for that, because it's unreasonable.  and so i just keep it to myself, even though it means that i experience a lot of anxiety. and hiding that is hard, so i just withdraw.  

so i don't usually go out with people who ask me.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

curious things

the more you go without sleeping and eating, the more you just don't need it.  over the past week and a half i haven't had time for either.  and now i can't do either.

i can't sleep.  no matter if i have a few cocktails.  i can't sleep past 4am.  i also can't sleep continuously through a night.  i wake up filled entirely with disquietude.

i want to eat.  but i can't even think of anything that would make me happy to eat.  and even when i do eat, i don't really enjoy it.  and that simply isn't like me.

this year has really fucking killed me.  i can't really feel anything except longing, at this point.  and not a hopeful sort of longing.  not yearning.  it's more of a hole in my soul (if you accept the idea of souls).  and i can't fill it.  i imagine that it stems from a lack of satisfaction with work.  from how disappointed i feel with myself in relation to work right now.  i haven't been working to my potential.  and that makes me feel bad.  and then i really can't work to my potential because i'm depressed.  and so it goes.  on and on until the end of things.

what makes it worse, is that i've been offered a tremendous opportunity and i need to make the most of it.  and this depends on me coming up with something brilliant.  like right fucking now.  which pretty much makes that impossible.  i hate disappointing people.  i feel like i am apologizing all the time.

i'm just so fucking tired.  and yet i can't sleep.

the worst thing about this hole is that i can't just let it stay empty.  i start filling it with all kinds of things.  i am trying to fill it with work, but the thing is that i start trying to fill it with validation.  and in the absence of healthy validation i am tempted to venture into unhealthy, more superficial forms.  and then, i'm that drunk girl at the bar slurringly imploring the drunk business man with male pattern baldness and a cheap suit to just tell her she's pretty.  metaphorically speaking.

in an effort to avoid going all neely o'hara (if you don't get this reference you are devoid of cultural knowledge), i am trying to throw myself into my work.

but it's more than that.  i...miss someone.  this is not something i am normally used to feeling.  i mean, i miss people all the time.  but mostly these people are either dead or representative of another time in my life. a time that seems happier in retrospect than it actually was.  nostalgia.  that's usually what missing someone means to me.

but this person i missed before they even left.  before they left we were talking about what we would we would do when they get back.  and that is really important to me, because making plans is important.

but missing someone also leaves me unsettled.  because of the part of me that thinks they are actually gone forever and are never coming back.  and that intersects with the need for validation in a really unattractive way and i start thinking about how i miss them, but they probably don't miss me at all and this is reinforced by the fact that they haven't told me that they miss me (which i'm sure that they don't even know that i would like to hear).

i know how irrational this all is.  and i also know that it isn't about them.  it is about me and my trust issues and my feelings that i am never good enough for anyone and that all i bring into other people's lives is unhappiness and stress and chaos.  and how i would like more than anything to make someone's life better and happier, the way that they make my life better.  i have a lot of love still in my heart, despite everything that has happened over the past three years.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

if i listened long enough to you

i woke up at 5:36 am and couldn't go back to sleep, which some bullshit considering that for the past week the ONLY thing i wanted was sleep.

the last time i ate an entire meal was tuesday.  but then i threw up all night, so it doesn't count.  since tuesday, i've had three dumplings, half a sandwich, some random appetizer from the thai restaurant near my house (where i really only went as an excuse to leave my apartment), five cigarettes, an insane amount of coffee, and like five hours of sleep.  

i've been working everyday until 1-2am and then waking up at 4am and working some more.  

i feel totally disconnected.  the paper i have been working on for three months is a fucking disaster.  it hurt my heart to turn it in.  thinking about it fills me with sadness. and the regret that i could see how good it could have been except that i didn't have the wherewithal to will it into being.  

this year has taken it out of me.  it's taken everything out of me.  actually, the past three years have just  bankrupted me emotionally.  i know that sometimes you have to give it all away to get it all back, but it's a very painful process all the same.

i've seen people do things that i could never imagine them doing in a million years.  things that caused so much damage to my psyche that i'm not sure that it can be repaired no matter what i do.

i'm terrified of other people.  better to have loved and lost?  fuck that noise.  i can't trust.  it was always hard for me.  but now it's almost impossible.

a huge issue for me is consistency.  i have to know that people are there even when they aren't.  any deviation from established patterns of behavior fills me with absolute panic.  if someone doesn't text me or call me back i start to worry that they're just gone forever.  that they've completely defected on me. that i did something wrong and that their way of reacting to that is to just never speak to me again because i'm just not even worth the effort.

i know that this sounds so super crazy. i've been trying really hard to not project this onto other people.  like the person i've been hanging out with a lot lately.  they don't always answer me and then they have some reason why they didn't after the fact.  and i always say that they aren't obligated to answer me and that it doesn't matter and that it's totally fine.  but i don't really feel that on the inside.  and i want to tell them that it freaks me out because it makes me feel like i don't even mean enough to them to answer me.  and  that it scares me because i feel like they're just gone and that maybe we weren't friends at all.  maybe we never were.

i want to explain that it isn't about them. that it's about the boyfriend that i had when i was seventeen who would say he coming to pick me up and never show.  and i would sit and wait and wait.  and about how he would disappear for days, sometimes weeks, on what i suspect were drug binges.  

it's about this guy i dated in college who took me on the first actual date i had ever been on who kissed me and said he would call me in the morning and then he never did because he started dating someone else.  a footnote to that story is we briefly reconnected and it ended the same way. then, some years later he emailed me to apologize and to tell me how much he really loved me.  i told him to go fuck himself. 

it's about the guy i dated after that who went away on a business trip.  we had been friends for over three years. he said he would bring me a present, but he never called again.  i found out (through friends) that he had gotten back together with his ex-girlfriend.

it's about my ex-boyfriend who believed that my trust issues were straining our relationship.  so i made the willful decision to trust him.  a few weeks later he called me and said that our whole relationship was a lie.  that he never loved me at all and that he could no longer date me.  yes.  he said those exact words.  it was actually because he met someone else, but was too much of a coward to actually tell me that.

and it's about the other.  one of the only people that knew about all of those things that had scarred me and were a barrier to trust.  the other who told me how i deserved better than that and how i could trust him.  and i did.  i trusted him implicitly.  and we all know how that ended.

and then there's the person that doesn't deserve any of these feelings.  sometimes i want to just tell them all of these things.  sometimes i want to tell them that that i actually need them in my life.  that their presence makes a huge difference to me.  and that, yes, i fucking hate it when they don't answer texts or phone calls.  i don't care if they don't want to hang out, i just don't like not being answered.

but i know that it isn't about them and the last thing i want is to seem needy.   because it really isn't about that.  it's about my totally broken heart that they had nothing to do with. and i want them to talk to me and want to hang out with me because they want to, not because they feel obligated to do so.

and, i also don't say anything because it has been my experience that once people know who you really are, they will take you for everything you've got.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

a very bad night and not so good morning

there are two things standing in the way of my being done with this wretched year.  i know that i have to finish them like right now.  i know that i could have finished them earlier.  i know that i am trapped in a hell of my own making.

but i also feel like i have nothing left.  after five years of applying a tremendous amount of pressure on myself, i've lost my ability to feel.  i just want to sleep.

i threw up all night.  not because i am sick, but because of my anxiety over this work.  as a result, i totally get the appeal of bulimia.  i feel shitty, but my stomach looks AMAZING.  seriously.  understand that i am in no way advocating this lifestyle and could never do it all the time, but i see the appeal.

it is during times like these that i am the most lonely.  i wish that i could go home and there would be someone there to tell me that everything is going to be fine.  that i am strong enough to do this and that even if i fail, they will still love me most of all.  actually they don't even need to tell me anything.  i just want someone to put their arms around me and hug me. but that person doesn't exist.  i go home to a house that is empty and completely devoid of life, save myself and my succulents that i am raising like surrogate children.

i really need a hug.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

gambling for resurrection

there's an idea in international relations that, under certain circumstances, leaders are willing to incur the costs of war in a last ditch effort to save themselves.  if you apply this metaphorically, you can understand why i started therapy in the first place.

i've talked about the other a lot.  i've tried to put them behind me.  i tell myself that they are no longer relevant. that they are a non-motherfucking-factor in my life.  as an individual, they are.  but the psychic damage is still very much there.  i realized this as i sat hemorrhaging emotions all over someone the other night.  someone who didn't deserve it.  in a way, they had to absorb the break-up conversation that the other was too selfish to have with me.  and they did it.  as i sat there crying on their couch, they tried to comfort me.  it was a lost cause, but they tried.

back to therapy...one of the things that scared me, maybe permanently, was the constant criticism.  the way the other would always tell  me how fucked up i was.  how i needed help.  how there was this or that thing wrong with me.  i found a therapist because i thought if i did that they would stay with me.  that we could work it out.  i know this is stupid, but it's what i thought.

but, of course, this wasn't enough.  in fact, they were even critical of my therapist choice.  i see a freudian/lacanian and this person was hopelessly wed to the dsm-iv.  they never understood anything that wasn't clear cut.  they don't have the sensitivity or capacity to understand continental philosophy.

this is neither here nor there.  it isn't about being right.  it's about finding what works for you.  this person was so myopic in so many ways.  and it was always "the person that loves you will tell you the truth no matter what."

no.  the person that love you won't defect on you when you need them most.  they won't stop speaking to you when it's painful to them.  and then pretend it's in YOUR interest that they did this and not because they are an incredibly selfish, fucked up person themselves.

and then there was the person that didn't deserve it.  the thing is, they thought i was crying because of them.  and it was really because of all of these things that had already happened.


 
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