Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Confession

Sometimes I say "migraine" when I really mean "depression."

People are sympathetic and forgiving when the former derails your day, but awkward and a bit impatient with the latter.

I do really have migraines some days, which confuses matters further.

But today was a depression day. I lay in bed and stared at the ceiling a lot, then went in a social media spiral, and ate some hummus and beef jerky and the other half of the pan of brownies I made myself last night when I realized Bloody Mary had come to call (if you know what I mean). But mostly I just wished I could fall asleep again.

I have so many things I should be doing.

"Tomorrow," Depression says. "Always tomorrow."

So "migraine" it is.

Friday, February 2, 2018

A Song

If you're ever looking for a really good place to cry where no one will disturb you, stand in the middle of a graveyard on a hill overlooking the city of St. John's on a windy February night. And by middle I do mean middle - smack dab, as my Southern upbringing would have me say - on that point in the path where the top of the hill (where you're headed) and the bottom of the hill (where you've come from) are equidistant, and the graves roll back into the dark on either side, still and gleaming.

It's really just the act of stopping. You've been holding it all in, forcing yourself through the day, trying not to understand why this weight has settled in the middle of your chest and why you're holding your breath in a choke at the back of your throat. You stop for a minute as you walk up the hill and turn to look at the city, and it's just that act of pausing, of breaking stride - you breathe in the wind and the night and the lights of the town all around you, and the graves are wet, cold stone and the snow has melted into long white stripes on either side of the path, and you feel it let go and fall away and you

sob.



The lights look so pretty through the glimmer of your tears that you take your phone out and snap pictures, but of course your phone's cheap and the camera is lame and you just end up with something that looks like a smattering of yellow, orange, and white dots on a black rectangle. You could show it to someone, but they wouldn't be able to feel the wind tangling its ragged fingers through your hair. They wouldn't know what it's like to keep staring up and down the path, checking that no one else is coming, and the feeling of being hidden and yet so utterly, blessedly exposed.

You don't look pretty when you cry. Like in the movies, where the person (usually a woman) is blotting at her face with a tissue, laughingly lamenting, "I'm a mess," and all the while looking tragic and beautiful and like someone should sculpt a statue of her face including that one perfect tear rolling down her cheek. You do not cry like that. Your lips get puffy and your skin gets blotchy like you've broken out into a rash. And the wind keeps grabbing your hair and flinging it in front of your eyes, then away again.

I'm a mess, you think, and you really are.


It's okay, though. It's okay. It's good to be sad. It's a fine and wonderful thing to peel away all those layers, to be a raw nerve open to the endless dark. Because the thing about crying in the middle of a graveyard on a windy February night in Newfoundland is that it makes you feel things, and you haven't felt things for a really, really long time.

Blame the computer and the phone - all these screens you shove into your face every day. Blame the stress of the routine you've chosen for yourself. Blame genetics, and the melancholy temperament your father gave you along with his nose and jawline. Blame your own damn foolish self for all the mistakes you've made.

Blame away, but remember somewhere in the middle of all the rage and the regret to forgive. Forgive this broken world, and forgive the stranger yelling at you through the computer screen, and forgive your family. Forgive all the people who have the effrontery to care about you even though you keep holding them at arm's length. Forgive the darkness, and the rain that's begun lightly falling, and your bag that rests heavy on your back.

Forgive yourself.

You don't deserve it, but claim the grace of this moment. An unearned gift that makes you feel almost whole again.

Keep crying as you climb the hill, but now the tears are quiet. Your breathing is calming. Your footsteps are steady. Before you know it, you've reached the top.

Feel, feel. Look at those lights. What a glorious thing it is to be cracked open.

There's no music, but this feeling is a song.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Uggghhhhh

I hate Folklore.

There, I said it.

Not entirely true though. I like the folk and I like their lore, I just hate the academic discipline.

I just need to survive this class.

Stupid Flat Earthers. (No, stupid me for picking that as a subject.)

Going back to failing - er, writing - now. See you on the other side.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Worn Down

I got it into my head
the other day
that there was a time
I could look
at a window
and see clearly through
to the other side

Funny how your mind
spells such fictions
Blatant contradictions
When everybody knows
That a window
Is a dead end
Is a lie.

This is how they say it is
And this is how it always must be
Children born every day
Into a world where it is so
Never knowing what it once could have been
Never seeing sights we old-timers have seen
Reality is redefined by a wearing-down over time.

It got it into my head
the other day
That politeness was
an actual answer.
Not a bending of will
not a falling in line
not just swallowing the pill
and pretending it's fine

Funny how
normal's what
you're used to
Makes you wonder
where the line
is ultimately drawn
(and by whom).

I can't stand on a beach
Being pummeled by the waves
Bits of shell and rock worn down to dust
I can't look upon the gorges
Without seeing a defeat
Let them press you long enough
and pieces of you fade away
Look, I don't have any answers
I've got fears and regrets
I'm caught up in the current
But I'm not ground down yet
So while I've still got a pulse
And I've still got spine
Let me stand up for you
Let me take back what's mine

I got it into my head
the other day
that there might be a time
I could look
at a window
and see clearly through
the grime

Funny how your mind
can tend to find
a way even when the path is closed
For everybody knows
a closed window
means an open
door

~*~

[Hint: O.W.W., it's a code.]

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

I Knew Who I Was This Morning...

"I knew who I was this morning, 
but I've changed a few times since then."
~from Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

So, it worked.

I wrote that last blog post as a sort of magic spell, like a charm meant to counteract a stronger enchantment. I was feeling this giddy rush of unreasonable emotion - and I am a sane person, I realize all that was ridiculous - but I couldn't get it to stop. So I wrote about it, and suddenly the Instagram Infatuation was over. I mean, I still like the guy's photographs (he's a talented photographer), but I don't feel a flutter any time he likes one of my posts now. Writing about it helped me find the way out of it. I'm like Sleeping Beauty if she pinched herself to wakefulness without waiting for true love's kiss. I broke my own damn enchantment, thank you very much.

And the moment it was over I looked back on it and felt silly. It was like observing the actions of a stranger. I had been that person not two days ago, but I wasn't that person any longer. The I'm-infatuated-with-an-internet-stranger person felt as far removed from me as the little girl who first heard the story of Sleeping Beauty over two decades ago.

A couple years ago my coworkers threw me a birthday party and made it Alice In Wonderland themed. This worked on many levels - I was a children's librarian, I love fantasy books and tea parties and insane whimsy - but my friend Sue told me that wasn't the reason they'd decided to play Mad Hatter and March Hare. "Gracie," she said. (She's one of the few people on this planet who are allowed to call me Gracie.) "I read that quote - I knew who I was this morning - and it was just you."

And I knew what she meant. When you're a hundred different people in a given day, it's hard to keep track of why you said that foolish thing yesterday, or why you yearned so exuberantly after a figment two weeks ago. Part of it is being a writer. (On a given day I may be on a different continent, in a different time period, or navigating the inner workings of another world. I may be a man twice my age or an animal or a robot or a little girl who's never left her home in Alabama. Which is hard, since I've never been to Alabama. But on the page I can go anywhere and be anyone, and sometimes I'm lots of people all at once.) But part of it is also just my personality. I skip and hop and jump around to all different points of the emotional spectrum. I'm not schizophrenic or bipolar. When I talk about this I'm using metaphorical language. But still, when Sue said that to me, I thought, "You're right. You're so right."

I like being a thing that's constantly changing. It's hard to pin me down because of it. I'm like a slippery fish; I'll wriggle out of your grasp if you don't come prepared for a fight.

But the thing about changing is that you get to grow, to stretch, to become, to recoup, to change direction, to start over, to revisit, to try, to fail, to fall down, to get up, to be all the things. Or as many of them as you can.

Adults have this worrying way of trying to thrust adulthood upon young children. We imagine futures for them when who they are as a person is not even fully formed in the present. "What do you want to be when you grow up?" we ask them, and usually receive a bunch of cute, naive replies.

When people asked me this I never knew what to tell them.

I wanted to be a detective.
I wanted to be a pop star.
I wanted to be an explorer.
I wanted to be an archaeologist.
I wanted to be the person who discovered that dragons were actually real.
I wanted to be a fashion designer.
I wanted to be an actress.
I wanted to be a veterinarian who works exclusively with tigers.
I wanted to be a film set designer.
I wanted to be the person who edits together movie trailers.
I wanted to be a film director. (There was definitely a film phase in there.)
I wanted to be a gymnast.
I wanted to be a professional soccer player.
I wanted to be the proud owner of a literary-themed bed and breakfast where each room was based on a different book.
I wanted to own a book store.
I wanted to be a librarian.
I wanted to be a playwright (and wrote a few terrible musicals).
I wanted to be a photographer.
I wanted to be a board game designer.
I wanted to be a food critic.
I wanted to be a travel writer.
I wanted to be the person who invents cool new kinds of fireworks.
I wanted to be the person who gets to name all the lipstick and nail polish colors at a cosmetics company.

It changed so much over the years. I wanted to be everything. I wanted to do everything. But through it all one thing was the same: I wanted to tell stories. I wanted to write, because writing was the only way I'd ever get to do and be all the things I wanted. Writing was the only way I'd ever get to truly be me - all 100 billion of us crammed into this one person.

So it's not surprising to me that writing also is the thing that frees me. That knocks some sense back into me. That pulls me out of whatever silly obsession might rule my head for a while.

If I'm all these different people - well, some of them are foolish. I'll admit to that.

But I'm trying and changing and hoping to become so much more.

Friday, July 14, 2017

M

To the boy who keeps liking my Instagram posts. I hope you never read this. That would be embarrassing.

It's a dangerous thing, typing this, sending it out to the internet at large. I feel safe here on this blog, like it's a sort of secluded, out-of-the-way spot where few people ever venture (and if they do, it's most likely because they're lost on the way someplace else). But the fact remains that the internet is technically "out there," and if it's not set to private or password-protected, anyone might find this if they choose.

(Including you.)

It's an interesting thing, opening an app on your phone (an app that only a year ago you were convinced was an utter waste of time), seeing that someone has "liked" your post, and lighting up like a Christmas tree.

I glow.

Is that cheesy? Yeah, it totally is. But it's also the most accurate word. It's a warm-fuzzy-happy-bright smile-for-no-reason feeling. Except there is a reason, and it's going on and seeing your profile photo pop up on my feed.

I don't know you. I saw you at an event we both attended. I admired the way you seemed to be everywhere, and always with that camera to your eye. I wanted to see what you were seeing. So when I found the link to your profile by chance, mentioned in a repost of one of your photos by the event coordinators, I thought, "Aha! A chance to glimpse some of the moments he captured." So I followed you, and for some reason you followed me back, and the rest is history.

I did the internet stalker thing. Sorry. I looked at the website listed in your bio, read some of the posts and watched a couple videos. All I know is your first name, and that you like video games. Well, that, and the images you capture of the world.

There's a girl that shows up consistently in your photographs, so I'm pretty sure you have a girlfriend. And her smile is so kind and her eyes so alive - she seems so genuinely wonderful - that I can't even be mad at the universe for allowing me to find you and form this unreasonable yet unstoppable crush on you only to discover it could never be.

There are lots of reasons it's not to be.

We've never met.
You might not like me.
I might not like you.
We might have nothing to talk about.
You might find this blog post somehow and be super weirded out and think, "What kind of odd person obsesses like that over a stranger? Get a life!"
I'm pretty sure there's a literal ocean between us.
And lots of other things that basically add up to the fact that all of this is just a daydream in my head.

(Snap out of it!)

(But I don't want to.)

So you post pictures, and I click the little heart. Then I post pictures and you click it back. It's gotten so that I go on every day now, where before it might be once a week.

I'm so stupid, but I don't care.

I put a quarter in a fortune-telling machine at The House on the Rock five years ago and it gave me a card. All the things on that card have come true, save one: "You will find one who loves you. That love will be returned by you. The first name of the person begins with the letter M and you will be introduced at a place of amusement."

I am not joking. I carry the card around in my wallet, along with several other small, portable souvenirs from past adventures. I don't believe in that kind of thing normally, but it's been fun to watch as one by one the things it says - even oddly specific statements - have come to pass.

When I saw your name, I thought: M. M? M!
And I first saw you there at the convention, "a place of amusement."
But we were never introduced, and this isn't love.

We just click heart after heart after heart on Instagram.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Fangirl!

So it's been a while. There are (no exaggeration) at least two dozen other blog posts I should have written over the course of the last eight months. Instead you get this one.

Star Wars Celebration is this weekend. I didn't go, of course, but I did watch the panel on The Last Jedi and geek out over the teaser trailer and have an obsessive chat conversation with a friend about said trailer and the teaser poster and Rey and Luke and Snoke and what does it all mean.

You know, fun times.

I wanted to get a desktop widget to count down to the film, along with some other fun upcoming dates for trips and things (more on that in a bit). But alas, with the advancing technology I can't seem to find what I wanted like back in the good old days. If it's not designed for a phone it doesn't matter, apparently. And all the cool kids these days with their Snapchat and their Instagram Stories like everything to be temporary and fleeting. I don't know what philosophical statement that's making about our world's youth but that's not what I came here to talk about, so - back on topic:

TA-DA!



Isn't it lovely? As I write this it's a mere 243 days and 15 hours until I'll be seeing The Last Jedi in theatres (assuming the current U.S. dictator doesn't kill us all before then). But as with past countdown clocks I've posted here, eventually those numbers will all read zero.

There's a lot that will happen between now and then, but for now it's fun to look forward with anticipation.

More here soon, I promise, but for now...

May the Force be with you!