Next rests

Last year for the new year, I spent some time at a bed and breakfast outside Asheville, N.C. It was a little chilly. Many of the trees were bare. I barely left the b&b. It was perfect.

I had hoped to recreate that relaxation this year. I was approved for time off around Jan. 1 and was trying to figure out where I’d go. Then I got a new job, then that job required my working Jan. 1, and then plans shifted.

And so we’re here, a couple of weeks after.

I’m preparing for 10 straight days off.

Amtrak booked. Car rental booked. Cottage on Tybee Island booked, then room in Savannah booked. All the books about to be packed. List of things to do planned.

Possibility none of that will get done: high.

Fingers crossed for one thing in particular to happen, though.

First day notes

I fell asleep at 11:30 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. I went to work today.


My college roommate was in town for a little while and I got to spend some time with her. She’s one of those people I can go six months, a year, without talking to but then we immediately fall back into our comfortableness without any kind of awkward. It’s super. Turns out we were dealing with a lot of similar things last year and having her there to not just listen but to participate in an uncovering of what happened was really necessary for me. I love her so much.

I’m taking a week off in January. I think I want to go to Savannah, Georgia, finally.

An unraveling, an acceptance, a moving-on

I survived a whole new level of depression in 2013. Deeper. Darker. Overpowering more than any way I’ve ever been overpowered by my emotions and my experiences. I’ve never felt so weak, so without purpose, so unloved, so unappreciated, so overworked and unpretty.

I was too sad — that word is not strong enough — to live. I settled for reminding myself, every worthless day, that I had better things to look forward to than death.

And so it’s worked.

And here I am.

I survived.

And I’m admitting this. I haven’t been writing because I couldn’t give permanence to this. And giving permanence to it would have meant that I would have had to deal with it, when I wasn’t ready, when I felt that letting myself fall apart would set off a chain of unravelings. I was so goddamn responsible with everything and everyone but myself. I couldn’t break down because so much depended on me.

And yet. I shattered and I’m so much more whole for it now.

Survival looks damn good on me.

Onward. I will write more. Here, and not here. I will ask for help when I need it, which might be often. I might even say no to some responsibilities. Imagine me. Love forever.

What took place (and space) in my silence

There were those times I slept because being awake was too painful;
that time I questioned my sanity for living here, in this way;
that time I questioned my sanity, for all this;
days I didn’t leave the apartment;
weeks where I watched every episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and every episode of Angel;
moments I felt so empty and still I recognized god; —

oh god I was so alone
do i have friends
what is friendship
let’s hold hands
am i alone
oh god

I missed two therapy sessions. (I only ever scheduled two.) I forgot how to say things. I touched instead. And threw. And gazed the shit out of the sky. I went on a trip with a friend. We got massages and took a scenic byway. I made a lot of hummus. I got a promotion. I bought new glasses. I stood up for myself. I missed writing about my life. I tried to write about my life. I stared at blank screens and blank pages. I doodled instead. I listened to Nina and Michael and, also, Jennifer (Nettles) and Dierks Bentley. I don’t remember much sunshine. The summer did not exist. I thought about making art. I made no art. (Do teardrops count?) I’m not as sad as that sounds. But living is is is is is is is is is. It’s November, you know. A cold year. Have I been growing? Have I been? What is is is is? I am not drunk. Not even on life. Things are not as things are desired to be. Have I been? I have no hope. I should not feel god. I think about withces too much. I try to spot the demons in the subway car, on the sidewalk, in my head. I am not crazy. That time I realized I was keeping myself alive. I am not crazy. This is what is. This is all. This is all. This is all. This is all.

oh god we are all alone
oh bless my heart
i am so many people

And now

things have been ok and not ok

another one of my aunts died (making it three in six months). i got a bonus at work. i went on a date (we had dinner at a seafood place, went on a moonlight tour of a graveyard and played pool). i cried on a crowded subway. i saw fruitvale station (and cried in a crowded theater). i responded to text messages. i didn’t respond to other text messages. i’ll have two siblings visiting this weekend. i’m exercising. i’m gaining weight. i’ve cried a lot. i’ve sought an escape. i’ve talked myself out of a lot and will need to keep doing that. i’m not doing so hot right now. i just want to keep crying. i had a sore throat for more than a week. i took way too much medicine. i still don’t feel well. i bought alice walker’s new book of poetry. i read maybe four poems and then i started crying. i took some pictures. i spent the day with my sister. i volunteered. i’m just fucking sad right now. so i’m listening to a lot of poetry. that has saved my life before.

things are ok and not ok

and now i’m crying again.

Conversations with strangers

Scene: Rite-Aid
About 4:45 p.m.

I placed the following things on the counter: two bottles of my hair conditioner, a box of tampons, a box of pads, a tube of lipstick.

As the cashier stuffs the stuff into one bag and then puts that bag into another, I say: “Oh, you don’t need to double-bag it; I’m just walking around the corner.”

Him: “Oh, well, I was double-bagging so people wouldn’t see what’s inside.”

“I don’t at all care if anyone see what’s inside.”

“Usually women tell me to when they buy this stuff.”

“I have no problem with it.”

He removes extra bag. I leave.

(Regarding the lipstick: I’m trying to make this happen now. My roommate was with me and picked out this color.)

Scene: C train
About 1:45 p.m.

Woman sits next to me in one of those seats that holds only two people. We ride maybe four or five stops together.

Her: “You wouldn’t happen to have a room for rent, up to $2,000, would you?”

Sadly, I didn’t. But we talked about that and about Craigslist and other sites and commuting, and then she got off the train.