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Look at me perform my sorrow! It weighs more
than a dead rabbit. You should know. You built the scale. Or I did
& give you all the credit. Take it. Relate to it. I don’t know what my text messages mean
anymore, it’s more about the gesture of texting. Of making meaning. Of sitting at the bar & bitching about the bar. Or recounting how much more interesting I was
when I made terrible sexual decisions. But I left him in the bathroom. But I admitted that things are well, that I want this & I mean it.
But I don’t know what that means when everything feels meaningless, or is meaningless & I am endowing the everything with meaning
which seems like a plastic gesture. I walked past a homeless man who stank of his own urine & really wanted to piss myself
so I could be in a Chelsey Minnis poem.
I wanted to eat bacon.
I wanted to tell the teenager that it’s cool to have “no shame” until you get hungry, or until you realize the very limited scope of your “no shame.”
My shame is the weight of a dead rabbit & I measured the pinata myself.
Anything you do to make money in some way makes you a whore. I will whore out my language skills. It won’t be a conversation, it won’t be art. It won’t be health insurance, or money. I won’t be doing I what I love
but I wasn’t anyway.
& maybe it will add up to “love,” or its byproducts. Unfunking brunches. A yard from which I can watch the stars & feel good about feeling this small. Tomatoes. Offspring. A living room about which I can brag.
A wedding & I will tell no one–
We construct all meaning. Neat. What happens when we agree or don’t or need to agree
& there are no answers. I will shun the vast possibilities & spin the positive
storyline. I didn’t forget to turn on my headlights. It’s a job. A new skill. I can wear my green pants there. Eat lunch. Have two days off with P. We will still move in together, I don’t need to trap him in it–
but I ought to trap myself. Look at me perform my sorrow / I swear I don’t want to–
The problem is that I don’t want a job. I’m not qualified for anything that excites me.
I want to sit around & talk to people about what they make & why they make it– about what is personal to them– the stories they tell about themselves.
I can spend hours on Facebook fascinated by the profiles of strangers.
I don’t know if there’s a job like that.
Everything seems so soulless. Writing text for marketing. I can pretend it falls in line with my postmodern views on language,
but I’m always looking for permission to turn away from that truth. I feel that truth in my abysmal gut but it’s like I want words to signify / have meaning–
“trust roots, allow the days to shrink–“
“we must bless without wanting to manipulate”
In grad school when we put poems in our bodies we were memorizing the way the meaning made us feel, not examining it for its inevitable failure, for the sure sign of its artifice–
Inside & outside, always. My tarot reading said “find balance or there will be heartbreak.”
Maybe it is all about what stories we believe, what we are able to remember & forget & navigate–
1st difficult moment with P, true difficulty & it haunts me like a mantra–
He says “February? We’ll be looking for a house by then–“
But one moment of “no future” & I believe I am utterly leaveable. The riff sticks. Leaveable, unhireable–
Why are these typos much easier for me to believe than the story of finally working for what I want?
Maybe I do want a job, but I don’t know what I want yet.
Or farming for 3 hours a day would be perfect. &/or breastfeeding & some grantwriting & cooking vegetables. Picking grapes from the backyard. Engaging with art in a real way. Reading poems again. Watching films. Thinking about why we make things, why often I don’t–
So cynical about this world & its currency. So what if I contribute to my debt by going on an adventure with P to West Texas
so we can tell stories about it
build a memory
learn more about each other.
I almost passed out for the first time today at Morning Owl while weeding. My vision went polka dot & black.
The way I’ve been feeling lately is like that in its newness. I’ve never felt this way before. I don’t know if I like it. It’s not a redemption narrative.
I’ve almost quit my job each day I’ve gone in this week. I know I should have other work lined up first, but I can’t stand to be there, & that’s complicated.
I’m practicing at being more direct. I’m practicing lovingkindness meditation. I’m making protein smoothies. I still feel frustrated & small & disrespected. Like a punished child but I didn’t do anything “wrong.”
& I should trust that P had a bad night & with that came darkness & doubt & that’s not personal. As far as I know we’re still heading in the same direction, bunny hutch & all–
should should should / I didn’t even make room for doubt, as it permeates every other corner of my self that would rather pull your pig weed than believe that marketing is important but I need health insurance & I want babies & fuck, it’s no worse than waiting tables
These days are so uncomfortable that I long for their shrinking. I’m trudging through, doing better than I was. I still hate how fat I look in photographs. I still can’t get quite centered at work. I love P with a ferocity that scares me, makes me wonder on what terms that desire is constructed–
but maybe I want it to have meaning, mysterious meaning. Easy meaning. I want it to be a poem in my body. I want to be fated towards something, or doomed–
doom bigger than the cage of word / of meaning / of my own making–
Hay insists that in order to practice, we must “disattach” from our personal experience. She insists that this dance doesn’t belong on the street, or there would be madness. Bindler rebuts that maybe the streets could use a little more madness. I see Hay’s point: to use the practice to work through grief or personal drama is to be seduced by your personal drama. And to bring the practice outside the walls of the time and space set aside for it is to invite the madness into your personal life.
I am seduced by the idea that anniversaries live in my musculature & that yoga today
helped me work through the severing I endured last year, the breakup that thankfully changed
everything. I was writing this in my head as J deepened my “happy baby” pose. I was generating/reflecting on how far I’ve come, as I’ve done intermittent dedication lately–
I’ve been meaning to write an entry about feeling like an adult. This wasn’t meant to be that entry.
So many things have happened since I last unleashed into this trashcan for my feelings.
In the abstract, I’ve learned to set boundaries. I said no to my best friend. I asked the scariest question at the job interview I wanted wanted wanted & I did my best given I could not sleep the night before.
For the most part, I’ve stopped procrastinating, though I suppose this is procrastination– I have a final report to write, but this entry felt unavoidable–
I may strive to be an administrator, to teach artists structure, but even with this ritalin/meditation focus the artist emerges, demands her attention–
“to use the practice to work through grief or personal drama is to be seduced by your personal drama.”
Guilty as charged. I used to want to reconcile my dedication to a postmodern perspective on language, my almost unavoidable urge to use my writing practice to “work through grief,” & my Buddhist-identified desire to get beyond my story, to make room to look at my emptiness, to look at how I am the stories I tell about myself & the stories others tell about me.
The adult story came & went as applying for full-time jobs & setting boundaries & only spending the money in my bank account, no credit cards.
But then, the story goes, my bosses decided they wanted someone else to manage the restaurant because I wasn’t there/ wasn’t eager / was looking for other work. Ding to the ego.
But then, I did not get an interview for a position for which I was initially told I was a top applicant. My story turned.
I cried in bed & said many awful things about myself. I chose to focus the narrative towards 27, credit card debt, spent inheritance, no health insurance, no job prospects & you don’t even write though in the same week I cooked beans for the first time in months & went & purchased a gym membership.
& this is the anniversary of a similar story confronting me, over & over, for months. Having to look at what I built– & the sand I built it upon– crumble. & I decimated it until there was nothing left, searching for myself in arms & booze but still meditating with this idea that it would be a thought that would get me beyond my “story.”
It’s not like that. It’s more like a grand fucking “so what,” & it doesn’t stick, or else “chaos,” as this essay suggests. It is a practice to reveal construction. & if construction on the macro level, why not set boundaries? Why not see losing my managership as a blessing?
Maybe I’m not bad, maybe I’m not good, I’m only destined as far as I can navigate the structures that define my access to resources, & even only that matters as far as I fall into a shame spiral, ding to the ego, it’s not real nor is anything–
So I’m glad that my horoscope for the week warns me to “be a bigger, bolder version” of myself. To be confident. To pick that story out of the chaos of details.
& I’m glad that it is no longer difficult to state my anger anymore, to claim it as a valid feeling that I trust– I’m not worried that it’s me–(a new level of trusting myself?)
& to move, to move on, I know I can finally get rid of the books that are heavy shadows of the musician I’m not anymore, all the papers I won’t use because I likely won’t be a teacher or use the warranty on the food processor I’ve owned for eight years. The file that has all the death certificates. In most moments I can finally be a new person, accepting, larger, deliberate, all the adjectives I want to adopt as my own–
I’m excited to throw it all away. To figure out if chaos can be introduced in/through the body of language, that closed system–
The essay I refer to in this entry, of course, is not about a poetic practice but about dance. I found it on the man I’ve known forever’s Facebook wall & it is written by a woman I talked to for hours at a New Years’ party once. I drank a purse-sized whiskey on the A from Bushwick all the way to Washington Heights, so the details of the conversation elude me. I do remember sharing common theoretical & personal artistic interests. I remember wishing I lived closer. I’m glad her essay has haunted me for the last 24 hours / helped me put some elements of my regenerating “practice” into perspective–
because if these conversations are happening in Boise, I am no longer included, or only in the space in which P & I are talking, which is the most invigorating space of my life. But to be larger than that, to let that be a new rock (tired metaphor, I know), how can I carve the space for that in Boise? Where the art isn’t laced with fatality or urgency but instead this dogooderism that merely reaffirms a tired conversation about what it means to be good/bad/conservative/liberal/a landscape/ a lifeline–
If I ask how I can best participate in breaking it down, am I merely reaffirming it? What do I get out of not affirming it? What structures & resources would aid my survival then? My thriving?
What do I have to say about it?
I feel overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude right now & if I don’t express it I think I’ll burst but Facebook didn’t seem like the right platform (too much of a performance, not that this isn’t?)–
I have a fridge full of fresh produce that a woman I love dearly grows largely on her own terms. I miss farming, being close to the land, that kind of intelligence.
I get to wake up next to a man that I love more than I knew I could & I don’t doubt it– last night I felt the terror of knowing that he loves me perhaps unconditionally, that he’s not in a constant state of evaluating whether I am “right”– he is as curious about me as I am about him. I am excited to see my friends back east because they are some of the only other people that I know accept me in that way. & my mom. & M. I don’t think I treated myself that way until I got to therapy in October. I know now that I needed to love myself in that way before I could construct a life with someone
Even if “love” is a construct, like most constructs it can be very helpful–
Tuesday, P will have been sober for a year & I’ve never been as proud of anyone, ever. My eyes well up with tears just thinking about it. I’m simultaneously touched & embarrassed by my physical reaction.
It’s the last day of camp today, which is bittersweet. I finally feel like a competent, confident teacher, like I enjoy teaching. Maybe P’s mom is right, I should look into getting a teaching credential, but that is just one idea of many.
These mornings have been rare lately, as I’ve been bogged down navigating how to set some sort of foundation for my life that includes access to medical care & intellectually fulfilling work. But right now I do feel like anything is possible, that I can make room for all the things I value in my life. It doesn’t matter that I’ve gained twenty pounds, or that I can’t seem to quit meat or coffee. I love this mess, & I’m excited for the not-knowing–
D & I used to plan to move to Eugene.
Like most of our plans, I mean this loosely– we used to dream, or I used to dream. We (I) based this dream off of hearing it would be the kind of place we would fit in–
& now I have evidence. P & I walked down the train tracks there on Sunday before the wedding we drove to Oregon to attend. We drank coffee & ate donuts & talked about how we felt about this city vs. Portland vs. Boise–
We talked for hours this weekend, stuck in a car together. I have never enjoyed a road trip as much–
Somewhere around Hood River, past lovers came up. Perhaps what we’ve learned, but more that both of us would have married past loves & that at the time, we would have meant it. Of course we’re glad it didn’t turn out that way, but in this narrative, walking across Eugene with P felt like a potent symbol–
I don’t think I’d want to live in Eugene anymore. I think I live in a state of action, where I conceive of myself so differently than I did last year–
I’m not sure if my current-self is right, but that matter less. This past-self that I miss was idealistic, & political, & believed that certain things were right & could execute this righteousness even if it were merely a smokescreen over still wanting to feel secure, & loved, worth commitment–
Will my life still be shaped by my past ideals, even if I give them up?
“I feel like I didn’t know my father”
is what I say about my dad more often than not these days.
This begs the question “what does it mean to know someone.”
&/or so often knowledge is a kind of stupidity, an assumption, taxidermy, a deadening. I can’t know you, only how I experience you & what you tell me of how you experience yourself. Or really, just how I interpret what you tell me. What judgments I make about it. How I feel.
Of course I’ve written about this before, of course.
Ritalin makes me weepy, or quicker to react to my emotions.
I cried at work last night, & almost again this morning while reading father’s day posts on Facebook. So many fathers have Facebook. Tagged pictures & digital monuments to action. I appreciate the sincerity of these displays, especially on holidays that have been appropriated by capitalism. Intellectually I understand that the family can be an oppressive force, & these illustrations of fatherliness reinforce a narrative that eliminates the complexity & violence that are often elements of having or being a father.
I don’t have actions besides the settling of ashes somewhere in Pennsylvania. But I have pictures, too.
I’ve already written a book about the other stuff.
On the way to Whole Foods this morning P reminded me that he isn’t ready to be a father & of course he isn’t & I can’t even own a phone without cracking it but this didn’t prevent me from having a mixed reaction–
The urge to reproduce is overwhelming & inconvenient. I know I’m not ready, but I want to lay the groundwork. I know when I say “maybe you’ll show our spawn where the rail spur was” I am remembering my father. I am fantasizing about something certain, fantasizing that a plan will bring knowledge.
It is problematic, but it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t do it– what’s the alternative? I always thought “create something better” but now I’m snagged on the fact that the form of our relationships communicate meaning. They effect how people know us, & how people– loved ones, strangers– can’t know us. & this not knowing is full of radical potential, & silence, & problems.
I had lunch with D last week, & he couldn’t remember if it’s called transference or countertransference when we work out our issues with our parents in our first relationship. I know he & I did this. I am less optimistic than he is, I suppose- I don’t think this issue is limited to our first major romantic relationship. I don’t know if I think it’s an issue, though. I like the new age idea that relationships are containers for growth. & what are we growing out of besides our previous container, our oppressive & nurturing families?
When I miss a father, it is often D’s.
This, I suspect, is because I don’t know P’s parents as well yet. So far, they’ve exhibited kindness & generosity that I could only hope my father would have extended to us if he were alive. They’ve offered us a place to live with discounted rent so we can “start out right” & “save” & “make a plan” for the imaginary & uncertain future.
None of my plans have ever worked out. I want them to this time, even if there’s no natural light & it’s in a strange neighborhood.
Planning for the future always seems so glamorous & cozy until I get the opportunity to actually do it. I know the blow will be greater if I call what we’re doing “goals” & not “dreams” or “silly things middle class white people do that I want to call something more subversive.”
I haven’t said yes to the rent deal yet. I want to plan to buy a house with P. I want to stop cracking phone screens. I want a job with benefits. P is like my father in his practical nature, his sense of humor, his desire for privacy, how he interacts with the dogs. I want to make it work & do better than our parents. We won’t– it will just be different, likely– but if I make this plan, if it’s mutual, it’s something different than I’ve done before. Maybe I’m a different person. Maybe I’ve learned something. Maybe I’ve forgotten the promise of being radical–
see above for my skepticism regarding knowledge–
This Friday it will be six years since my father died. Legend has it that next year, cell for cell, I will be a different Megan. I wonder what parts are intact, what hasn’t changed since he was alive? I can’t know. I can’t even know if he’d recognize me. I can only know him from knowing the locations of substations or from accumulated slides, train magazines, check carbon copies. Meticulous disorganized records.
“A container for growth.” I don’t think about my father as much as I used to. It’s even become difficult to care what he would think about my participation in the world. I think he taught me to be a skeptic. I know I can’t guarantee that anything will occur as I plan it, but this is not a reason to not plan. I know I can’t know my entire inheritance. I can’t know my dad entirely. I can’t know P, or even myself according to him, or you, hypothetical reader. I don’t know when I’ll be ready to reproduce or how typical that will look. I’m ready to accept it as it comes.
I’m ready to accept that sometimes I can’t control what I can control. & even if everything is going to make me cry about my father today, I’m exited.