All I do lately is feel.

I get emotional at the weirdest things — like when a contestant won the bonus round on Wheel of Fortune. I totally cried.

Years of being so fully in control of my feelings are being undone.

It’s awesome.

Things that may be contributing:

— I’m meditating more these days. Not every day like I want to, but twice a week or so.
— I’m writing about things I never let myself process.
— I’m talking and opening up to more people. I’ve made a couple of really great friends lately.

Up. Up. Up. Also, away.

I was walking home from work today.

It was cold. I had on a jacket and, because I didn’t have a bag or purse with me, I was carrying a number of folders in one arm. (I need to get some reading for work done before I can start my next project.)

My head was down. I don’t know if it was because of the wind or the cold or for some other reason, but my eyes looked up only when I was crossing the street and trying to not die.

Two blocks north of where I work, I started to walk under this tree. It’s a tree I walk under pretty regularly without noticing it.

Today, as soon as I walked past, birds — a hundred of them, at least — flew off the tree and headed northeast of me. There was this wave of black wings that briefly filled the sky around me.

It was beautiful.

I watched the last couple of birds take off and then I turned the corner, heading into the alley that would lead to my apartment, wondering what I may have missed — not just today — when my eyes were focused on gravel or concrete.

Unnecessary worries

I feel great.

I expected this trip to stress me out. I imagined scenarios that would break me. I thought I’d be so uncomfortable.

But I’m happy. I feel surrounded by love.

I met up with two friends from high school, and I had an amazing time.

I feel rested. I’ve had great food. I’ve laughed so much with my brothers — even while getting my ass kicked in Monopoly.

I feel great.

More later.

In search of …

November has been a very trying month.

I feel so defeated.

I had gotten really good at not letting myself get this way, but this month has made me want to give up.

I’m lonely. I’m exhausted. I’m bored with a lot of things in my life. I’m making lots of stupid mistakes at work. I’m letting myself think and worry about things I can’t control.

I’m worn out.

So as I was driving through Oklahoma today, I started to cry. Hard.

I hadn’t been crying even a minute when Enough by Andrea Gibson came on the radio. (I had my phone hooked up to my car’s USB port.)

I forced myself to say all the words out loud, with Andrea.

“I know I will never be enlightened enough to decide how I want to die, so this morning I decided how I want to live, what I want to give, what kind of song I want to sing. Now I’m no longer looking at my life like it’s a cup, calling it half empty or half full when it’s always been enough.”

I’m stopped outside a rest area near Van Buren, Ark., now. I’m not crying but I could be.

I’m just trying to be positive and pull myself out of this place where I don’t belong.

(Sorry for any typos. I’m typing this on my phone.)

How I spent my Saturday night

At 8 p.m., I added three 43-minute TV shows to my Hulu queue. I watched one show and told myself the others would be a treat if I got an hour or two of cleaning done in the apartment.

It’s 3 a.m., and I am just now stopping.

For the past six hours, I have been cleaning and rearranging furniture and doing a half-assed decorating job.

I posted more photos on Flickr.

Lots will probably change, but this is as close to what I want that I’ve gotten. (Keep in mind that I don’t know what I want; I just move things around a lot until I know.)

If you look really closely at the orange tent thing, you can see one of my cats. Another cat is under the desk. The third was following me around wherever I was taking photos.

I leave for Mississippi in about 6 hours. I should sleep very soon.

Two secrets on stuck out to me this week: “Hijabs make me horny” and “Because I’m a lesbian I feel obligated to cut my hair short and wear men’s clothing… I’m actually really girly.”

Nerves and other barriers

My Little Sis is 9. She’s in the fourth grade.

Tonight, her class had a Thanksgiving concert. I attended. The fourth-graders sang five or six songs about Thanksgiving and turkeys. (The last song involved a reading of a turkey’s will. It was weird, but people laughed.)

My Little was in the first row. I think this was because she’s one of the shortest people in her class. Fourth-graders are a lot taller than I remember them being.

She was so very shy. Her hands were in front of her face for 60% of the performance. She kept trying to hide behind the boy to her right. It was adorable.

At the end of the show, I walked to the stage and waited for her to get down. I told her that she did great, and I handed her a teddy bear.

She only nodded. Not knowing what to do, I just said, “I’ll see you Saturday, OK?”

Another nod.

Then she turned around and started to walk away.

I stood there for a second and then I started to leave. I walked a few steps and then I stopped. I did that a few times. Then, I walked to my car — trying to figure out if I’d made a mistake by attending. (She had mentioned the concert last Saturday briefly when I asked her what was going on at school.)

I was really sad.

I got into my car and started to pull away when I saw her mom waving me down. She was holding the teddy bear. My Little was clinging to her leg.

“The first thing she said to me was, ‘Mom, how’d she know?'” her mom said to me.

Talking to my Little, I said, “You told me about it on Saturday, remember?”

Another nod.

Her mom smiled and laughed. So did I.

I was feeling much better now. We said goodbyes.

I guess she was just freaked to see me out of our usual context. Maybe she was still crazy nervous from the performance. Whatever it was, I’m really glad her mom flagged me down.

Back to lists

1. I went to the doctor yesterday. I’ve gained a few more pounds. Maybe it’s all the brownies, pizza, cheese, chips and salsa, lattes, Dr Pepper, etc. (God, that sounded excessive.) I hate when people say “I’m trying to be good” when offered a piece of something delicious. Just say you don’t want it or that you’re trying to maintain your weight or something. On a related note, I’ve been paying $16/month to the YMCA since May. I’ve gone twice.

2. Law and Order: Los Angeles sucks.

3. I’m giving blood tomorrow. I’m two months overdue on that.

4. My ex-wife was in town for a long weekend. She left Monday morning. It was a good visit, I think. We’re still trying to figure out what “being just friends” looks like for us. There were a few bumps, but I’m very glad (and very lucky) that she’s in my life.

5. I’m spending Thanksgiving week in Mississippi with my family. I’m leaving Wichita on Sunday. I’ve also made plans to see at least three high school friends. I’m worried b/c my goal lately is to Be My Whole Self The Whole Time, and I can’t do that with my high school friends.

6. I’m spending a lot of time staring at these barstools that I can’t afford.

7. I’ve been trying to come up with the right word for my general mood lately. Bored? Apathetic? Tired? All of the above and then some?

SOML: Befriending Charity

Note: I wrote this Friday afternoon. I read it Friday night at PJ.

It had been seven years since I’d seen her, seven years since I’d kissed her in our high school auditorium, after losing a bet — probably on purpose — in which my punishment would be kissing her.

I can now say it was win-win. But that took awhile.

Charity, that was her name — of course it was — was the best kisser I had ever had. Her lips, they were so soft, soft like mine, soft like “Oh my god, this is how all kisses should be.” We stood there, alone, next to an empty stage, kissing, and holding each other — not at arm’s length — in the back of the auditorium. We were skipping class, not the same one, but it felt like we were breaking more rules than that.

I don’t remember when the kissing stopped. I don’t remember walking back to class. I remember only the kiss — and how I acted after it.

I thought too much. I enjoyed too little. I fought what I was feeling and instead embraced shame, and fear. It wasn’t pretty and neither was I. I talked myself out of following up. I ignored the calls from Charity, and I let myself live a life that had suddenly become less true.

Just two years earlier, during an argument that began after my sister caught me reading her diary, I had angrily yelled, “I’d rather be a slut than a dyke.” Our relationship never fully healed. For the same reason, my relationship with Charity never progressed. I continued to avoid her calls and to avoid her in high school hallways until she graduated, a year before me, and she joined the Marines.

I continued to date boys and men, whose lips and whose kisses were always a little too rough. The statement I made to my sister would not be an empty threat.

I left Mississippi.

Charity and I didn’t speak or see each other after our auditorium kiss, but I thought about her All the time. During my infrequent trips home, I would picture running into her at Walmart. I didn’t know what I would say — maybe “thank you,” definitely “I’m sorry.”

Finally, after seven years, I looked her up on Facebook. It took me a week to be able to request Charity’s friendship. Though i was a very different woman now, I still didn’t think I deserved it.

She accepted, almost immediately, and she started to chat with me. In the first conversation we’d had since we’d held each other, I clumsily apologized and braced for her response.

“I understand,” Charity said. “I forgive you.” With no transition, she asked: “Do you still like women?”

I laughed. And I answered truthfully. With no shame, with no fear and definitely without regret: “Yes, Charity, yes I do.”

For the last SOML (Stories of My Life) entry, see