Day Whatever (It’s All Good)

Today was a nice day. Simple as that. Very little Sun but warm nonetheless. I did most of my writing on the deck, overlooking the river. The unseasonable weather brought a chipmunk from its winter hiding place, finches whippoorwilling, birdsongs rang out from invisible fowl through this bowl of land we call the OAC.

I overate (but it was worth it); tended to my full stomach with ginger and lemon tea. I made ramen–not the cheap kind; I’m experimenting with my own broths. It’s become quite a small joy.

I finished Tom Robbins’ eighth and final novel, Villa Incognito–which I’ll honestly say was among his very best. And, spurred on by the good read and the spiritous day, I wrote some lovely and lively passages in my novel. I believe I’m now on the verge of a breakthrough–hoping the river flows smoothly from here.

The research is going well too. I’m learning a lot about Hawaii–even though the more I learn, the more I yearn to go there. It’s been percolating in my mind for years now. I’m learning a lot, too, about the advent of the Atlantic Slave Trade; how whole communities were decimated by colonial powers and African intervention. I’m learning about rebellions. About music. About the Earth.

The ideas are coming together now; congealing into something altogether mystical. Finally I feel, after ten months of hard work, the Cosmic Quartet is crystallizing. Oh! And I also met with Jessie, the other girl on residency here. She writes magical realism–very well, I might add. I met with her to discuss co-hosting a women writer’s retreat at the OAC, a conference with the main goal of examining intersectionality as it relates to the progression of literature in America. We plan to accept writers of every medium–poets, fabulists, ethnographers, sociologists, playwrights. The hope is that we can attract lecturers for each day of the retreat. I want to build here. And we have the resources and the support to do so.

I’m starting to dream bigger. I’m starting to envision a larger life, more deeply connected to my greater communities, using my resources, power, and privilege to create real and lasting change. That’s what I want for this life of mine–to uplift the arts, to empower the marginalized and raise their voices, to build communities whose values and legacies will last far into the future.

I can feel my life changing out here. Whatever lies on the horizon, I welcome it with open arms and wide eyes. I’m excited for what’s to come.

Tomorrow I’m going with Mark, the Exec Director, to his weekly Intender’s Circle–a group of people who get together in a collective setting to put energy toward manifesting their dreams, both practical and long term. It will be good since Jessie and Alyce the Ceramicist and I began an Intender’s Circle of our own last Wednesday (we kicked it off with a three-person dance party at the Arts Center in town). There was wine and cheese and Alyce made potatoes. And we discussed our visions over held hands and sporadic giggles. To finish, we intoned harmoniously with each other. Brought some real juju into the space; some real magic. The air was alight with a supernal tingle.

Everything here is, really. I’m going to spend the spring here, I think. Allow myself to finish the Quartet. It deserves my full attention. After all, this is my passion, my purpose, my vision, and my mission we’re talking about. This is serious. A laughing matter.

It deserves belly laughs, intense focus, pushing the envelope out where it belongs. And in the process I intend to transform my life to more closely resemble my dreams. They are not far off; they are right here, in the palm of my hand. The only question is, what does it look like?

Advertisements

Compression

Today I feel an anxious compression pushing against me; filling my gut with some unnamed pressure. I woke up angry.

And anger really means sadness.

So what is the sadness?

I feel this strange opposition, hidden just beyond view. Something’s pushing its way out of me.

Last night I was sitting at the island in the kitchen, while a pipe of cannabis sat half-smoked on the counter. Mark sat opposite me. We were talking about love. was talking about love. And I started to cry. Right as I began to cry, Fleetwood Mac’s Landslide came on Pandora.

I’ve been afraid of changing. Cause I’ve built my life around you. 

Sometimes I hate synchronicity.

I never thought I’d see the day; the Universe is telling me to let go.

Mirror in the sky… What is love? Can the child in my heart rise above?

She’s here too–the child. She doesn’t want to let go. She doesn’t want to rise above. It worries me.

I can feel myself resisting things right now. 2017 was supposed to begin with this sense of newness–a novelty–a fresh start.

But you know how it started? With the old cycle. And I let it happen. I let it back in. I chose to start this year from a place of clinging.

So now I’m paying the price. And it’s creeping up, creeping in. Pushing against me. Making me anxious. Finicky. Distracted. Needy. All these old habits that tire me so. And yet I cling to them. The energy persists. The cycle of running and chasing goes on just the same. And through it all…

Can I sail through the changing ocean tide? Can I handle the seasons of my life.

She just won’t let go. And neither will I.

But it’s time. And this anxious compression… it’s telling me just the same.

The Modern Problem of Differentiation

Listen:

I like my solitude. Loneliness is an illusion. I spend whole days alone and I’m perfectly happy with it. In fact, it’s the most peaceful thing in the world. The problem is other people. (Is it? Is it really?)

Jean Paul Sartre had it right. (Did he?) Hell is other people. Well… not everyone, just some. Those people that need other people. Those people that get their knickers in a wad when you set a boundary for yourself. But as I’ve written this piece, I think maybe I’m not seeing the whole picture. I think there is more to this than I’m aware of.

One of my best friends disappeared for three years without telling a soul. I think about that. I wonder how his family felt. I wonder how he felt, down in his core. I wonder what it means to be a human being… a social creature… with social ties and obligations. It’s just so much easier to push away from the world. To be alone. But that hurts too. Because I’m not free of empathy. I know when I’ve hurt someone else. And the last thing I want to do is hurt others. But how much say do I really have with that? Will people go on hurting regardless of my actions or inactions?

Am I capable of being a part of a community? Or do my wounds keep me from really integrating? Do they hold me back? Do they cause me to resent the people I love?

Listen:

Self care comes first. That’s not selfish. (Then again there is a difference between self care and selfishness. A fine line). Is self-care about prioritizing myself over other people? Yes, but one must do so in a way that toes the line, a way that gives space to meaning and feedback and two-way communication. I am allowed to spend time on self-care; to live in solitude. Especially! Especially when I spent my entire life denying myself in order to survive, keeping my boundaries down for the sake of others.

Sure I’m in pain, but it’s fine. No. No. It’s fine. I’m not crying. I’m not hurting inside. Let me just continue minimizing my needs for you and everyone else. (So much pain in these words. So much anger.)

The world doesn’t see me (So much fear). I knew someone once who saw me. Who loved me completely (So much nostalgia. So much pain). I miss that feeling… getting to be myself completely with another person… getting to let down my most sacred wall… getting to be vulnerable with someone I loved.

How do I pull my walls down? How do I tear them down completely and splay myself out for the world?

Listen: I don’t want anyone in my life who isn’t going to be honest and open with me. Anyone who runs off without a word; who holds my actions against me without offering any amount of vulnerability. I don’t want that in my life anymore. Because somehow in the midst of everything I started to change. I started to revert. To deny myself again. Even the person I loved most… the person that once accepted me fully… had taken to rejection like flies on a honeysuckle.

I abandon myself for this world and it only creates pain for me. Maybe once it helped me survive; helped me get by; avoid violence from my peers, from my family. But now it just holds me back.

Now I am so afraid of being myself for this world; when that’s what the world needs most from me… to stand in my power, to exude it, to live my bliss and my mission. There is no doubt about what it is.

I am here to write, to encourage others to create. I am here to build things that will last long after I’m gone; ideas, organizations. The whole kit and kaboodle.

BUT FIRST. I’ve got to find me. I’ve got to do things for me. Cause I’ve never done that before. I’ve never put my happiness before yours. So I’ve got these archetypes in me. The ‘Me’ and the ‘You.’ Always battling. Any time I do for myself, I fear that I’ll let others down. They call me selfish. They tell me I don’t care about them, or their wants and needs. But that isn’t so. I’ve just never learned the balance.

The modern problem of differentiation still baffles me, still haunts me, keeps me from finding the in between, the happy space, the perfect mixture of solitude and togetherness.

So here I am in this place. With an opportunity for real enduring solitude. And I’ve got to make a choice. Do I wait? Do I leave the mountain for the market? Or do I stay here? At this summit, cultivating my peace and my quiet? Dreaming and intending. Building for the future. I’m learning out here. I’m learning what holds me back. What propels me forward.

While the world outside weeps. And struggles. When it seems no one has considered the possibility that I have intentionally created this situation for myself. While you buy into the bullshit, the idea of a 9 to 5, a life that burdens you and burns you out. That’s not my path. That’s not what I want. Money is a fabrication and I am still stuck believing it’s an object; it’s a wall; a barrier to my true dreams. But it’s not. The barrier is thinking there’s not enough money.

When the reality is, it’s out there. The world is filled with resources. And people waiting to help you fly.

So I’m here cultivating my peace; my aloneness. And it’s brilliant. I want to share it with people really. I want people to know there are other ways to live. Beautiful ways. Peaceful ways.

I’m working on setting boundaries in a way that achieves balance and understanding with the people i care about. I’m not perfect and I’m still figuring it out. My greatest fear is that, in choosing solitude I am hurting the ones I care about. Am I? Am I hurting you?

Here’s the thing:

My solitude has never been more important to me. It’s a sweet little silk cocoon that I have weaved with the help of people who believe in me. And it sure is a blessing to have this place as a home base. The pillar around which my river flows. But I’ve yet to understand how to navigate the two poles of my life: Me and You.

I’m still learning how to love myself and what that means. Mark said he doesn’t do things because he loves himself. He just loves himself and lives his life from there. That’s it. There’s no secret for him.

But I’m not there yet. I don’t love my body. I don’t love how the world sees me (or rather how they don’t see me). And I wonder if that’s my fault–that people don’t see me because I don’t show my true self… because I’m afraid for whatever reason. So I go on hurting. I go on finding that the only time I feel safe is when I’m alone.

I learned a long time ago that I needed to deny my needs for others; to hide them from my family and society. Couldn’t be a girl when that’s all I wanted. Couldn’t be a writer when that’s all I wanted. And the pain of that still haunts me. The abandonment still eats at me.

And the answer to the modern problem of differentiation remains a big fucking mystery. The only mystery worth solving.

Except maybe it’s not so much a mystery as an obvious truth: that I’ve got to be myself. That I’ve got to solve this mess inside myself. Write. Cry. Heal. Take walks. Cook. Laugh. Be honest and open. Do my hair up nice once in a while. Show myself to the world. Put myself fully and completely into everything I do. In every moment.

Unapologetic. Liberated. Me.

And in the process maybe I’ll learn the difference between being/finding myself and being selfish. Because there is a difference. And in figuring it out, perhaps I’ll learn important things about boundaries… about my boundaries… and your boundaries. In the process, maybe I’ll learn how to navigate these strange waters. And if I’m open enough, maybe I’ll learn a thing or two from other people.

Sure, Sartre. Maybe Hell is other people. But maybe Heaven is too. Maybe it’s just a matter of perspective. And if I can’t solve the modern problem of differentiation, how can I ever hope to find the truth?

 

 

 

Day 9

Day 9.

Right.

No novel. But something’s cooking. In the mean time I’m racing to finish Zadie Smith’s White Teeth. It’s teaching me a lot about writing. She’s very down to earth in her prose. Vernacular, but poetic. And she deals in the realm of human beings; real, live human beings. Or at least that’s what her characters become: real. 

She has situated herself at important intersections with this work: race, class, religion, immigration, technology, sexuality, growing up, getting old. She has packed it all into this book. And honestly, it amazes me. She has a way with words, you know? A way to bring it all to life. And then there are these moments where she comes out and says something brilliant, or downright hilarious; where she takes a whole page to talk about what it means to be involved with people. I find her challenging me in ways I didn’t imagine when I began reading.

I shall have it done tonight. Other than that, there is nothing new to report.

I have spent another day completely alone inside my studio. The room is made of hardwood. Near the middle, there is a thick line of white paint running end to end. On the side nearest the kitchen, there is a couch–which I’m lying on now. There are two desks. One a dark walnut color. The other… well whatever wood is light–like you might see at IKEA. They face opposite directions. I mostly spend my time at the walnut desk, facing the river and the tree line. Although for the past three days it has been the couch. There’s a broken chair in the corner facing the wall. Large bay windows stretching all around the studio. Two plants that add something to the space. I’m not sure what. I’m not sure if I really like them at all. They seem lifeless. Stupid adornments. At the foot of the couch there is a rug with the sorts of designs you might see at a rug store in New Mexico; sort of desert-looking, tribal in a sense. Behind me is a lamp. It’s the only light I use in here.

Not much to talk about, folks. Depression. Bouts of crying that usually last ten seconds with multiple-hour intervals in between. Silence, pretty much the whole day were it not for the tap tap of my fingers on keys. And the huffing of air vents. I went outside for all of forty five seconds today. This place is really feeding my more reclusive tendencies, and I’m not mad about it.

There was a lot of mooing from distant cows today. I suspect they’re across the river; that or the Bessies up the hill are learning to let their calls resonate and reverberate, bounce off and through the endless trees.

I find myself in limbo. A liminal space. In between places to live, in between on my novel, in between with the one I love, in between on finding out about grad school. It’s a lot of uncertainty.

Not to mention I’m out of weed so my dreams are getting more vivid, more intense. Last night I dreamt that I was kidnapped. The night before I was at some sort of assembly, and among those waiting in line to enter were my friends from high school, towering over me because they had all strapped bean cans to the bottoms of their shoes. And the night before that, I dreamt I was given two eggs that hatched into kittens and a baby boy who I apparently sired; he was half black and I named him Prince. There is a lucidity to these dreams–and yet an equal sense of confusion. They are just so real. Last night I woke up mid-dream some time around 4am, sweating, my heart racing, my body filled with a strange distant fear.

The images in my mind are indistinct, blurry.

I only know it’s Thursday because my computer says so. Otherwise I have lost my sense of time.

Sometimes you set out to accomplish something and you have to take some detours to get it done. You have to accept that things can’t be forced. It’s like creative constipation. But it’ll come out. I know it will.

For now, this is it. Nothing else to report.

Day 9. Peace. Calm. Quiet. Gentle dejection. Wishing things were different. Grateful for how they are. Missing the old. Craving the new. Sitting here. Not so much waiting as living.

Limbo.

But hey, at least I’m on my own, right? Least I’m following my star. That’s got to count for something.