aspiciat

a girl in her city, watching the sunset

Archive for the category “The way I feel when I taste salt”

The Last Sunday Morning in L.A. (for now)

The week has turned the calendar corner. It’s three days until I’m Portland-bound. I’m sitting on my back porch steps with my 2nd coffee. At first it seemed so very quiet. No wind. Then: a horn sounded from a barge. A dog barked twice. There’s a few crickets yet trying to get some action. The wood fence creaks. Someone a few doors down needs to change the battery in the smoke detector. A garage door opens in the alley and subsequent gravel crunch, whomever it is, coming home late/early.

I’m restless. This is not unusual and it’s certainly reasonable, considering. I’m delivering furniture today and thinning the take-with-me stuff again; revising what’s really needed or wanted. Which treasures are most dear, which closest comforts irreplaceable. There’s probably not many.

When I came back to the city, I had the boots I wore. There was no plan to stay. I did it, though. It was all risk, no promise of investment returns. And I did ok.

You know what? I did way more than OK. And that’s not because I have so many boots now.

I made new friends. Friends I will know for the rest of my life.

And I discovered a friendship I happily, carefully, classify as “best.”

Thomas (the Goodman), you gave me a crash pad that January week in 2012 and it changed my life. But your enduring endearment is sustenance.

The quiet morning is noisy with traffic now, that oddly rhythmic ebb and flow punctuated by my sniffling, my shaky breath. I’m smiling though, encouraged. This move is guaranteed more than any other I’ve done. I am honored by my chief’s confidence in me, grateful for our mutual respect.

Leaving L.A. again is difficult almost solely because I have built such a solid association. I named myself for the ocean, for fuck’s sake.

If I claim possession of anything, anything at all, it is my self. And that is really the only take-with-me that matters.

Despite that manifesto, I’m still packing three pairs of boots.

 

Facebook status update 28 August 2016.

The Way We L.A., a poem I wrote a while ago

 

We know.

We know the jokes about traffic,
about celebrities,
about how we only eat kale and seeds,
           and that we’re all ditzes or (at the very least) all of us are uptalkers.

And
We know
nobody believes
Sunshine is really all that encouraging,
or that anybody could call 450 square feet home,
or having no yard (read: no yard work) could possibly satisfy.

But
We know
the hour                        at the end of January
when the air is suddenly noted by night-blooming jasmine.

And

We know
that crazycheap (somewhat dimly lit) sushi place in
Koreatown (on 7th) – where the proprietors speak no English
     you point at pictures to order
(it’s way better than Roku. And you don’t have to plan 2 weeks ahead to eat there.)

We are unconcerned with our tans.
We cut each other’s hair.
None of us gives a fuck what you think of our ink and metal
     (I didn’t get all these holes and scars for any body else, thanks.)

We listen to each other
We stay friends for decades
We shop second-hand
We are good neighbors
We play fair
We fuck well
We drink deep
We stay up too late
 We smile at each other.

    We totally walk in L.A.

Downtown
  amid the history lessons told by
t
he Anjac Fashion Buildings
      and old banks-become-lofts
we look up.

And we get it.

We go all the way back, we were here before the freeways.    
                   We are made from cement and seawater.
                                     We are formed of smog and glass

There’s sand in my shoes
   but when I turn them upside down,
it spills out as a castle.

2012

 

 

 

Get up and Fucking Fight.

One day in Autumn of 1995, I heard a song on the car radio.

I sat in the car my first ex-husband’s parents had given us (in his name) upon our wedding; in a parking lot at Orange Coast College, facing Fairview Rd., (I think); late afternoon, I was early for a class in Russian history, listening (as I do) to the classical station.

Back then, there was an afternoon feature by the drive-home host, a song with some intersection of classical and contemporary music.  I think it was on this tiny feature I heard Zap Mama the first time, and it might have been near or next to  the second broadcast of Garrison Keillor poetry moment.

The reason KUSC played the particular track (by a singer-songwriter called David Wilcox) was the plucked Bach Air (in G) at the end of the sung lyric.  

I wrote the last sentence wholly trusting everybody has heard of J.S. Bach.  If you haven’t heard of Bach, I’m very sorry.  (FYI: math isn’t really difficult.)

Anyway, this is the Wilcox lyric.  It is not extensive.
It is immense.

If I had a spell of magic
I would make this enchantment for you
A burgundy heart-shaped medallion
With a window that you could look through
So that when all the mirrors are angry
With your faults and all you must do
You could peek through that heart-shaped medallion
And see you from my point of view

I do not consistently see myself through anything like this burgundy heart-shaped medallion, though I suspect it’s more honest than all this noise in my grumpy, hungry, crowded head.  

Sometimes, when giving advice, I assure whomever’s at the other end: I am telling you this to tell myself.

In all the advice I offer (to myself), I come back to desire, I return to pleasure.  A thing I say to newly coupled up or cohab sorts:  “The most successfully married people I know fuck daily.”

Even this is advice to myself, though I’m devoutly single.

I think about these lines a lot:

 …when all the mirrors are angry
With your faults and all you must do

Me, in a mirror:

weird pouch belly/stretched out thighs/stupid boxy hands/all that is wrong in my forehead/embarrassing posture/ridiculously clenched jaw I never look like myself in photos. I’ve lost the thread of minimalism I don’t know what I want any more Do I care about anything, at all? I keep forgetting things in the budget why aren’t I working overtime right now I haven’t seen my uncle in two weeks I haven’t posted a month of letters.
Nothing is comfortable because     I deserve no comfort.

I’m caught in my curls.  Or must excuse their lack.
I beg pardon when people reject that my hair isn’t grey and I’m 40 years old.
I dither about what to wear to walk to the market.  “Will that skirt and this t-shirt with those boots adequately convey the truth of my being to complete strangers?!”

Fuck all of that.

One doesn’t look into mirrors to see other people.  Nobody else is telling me these things.
I didn’t plant my feet on the ocean floor to maintain pretense.
I didn’t stay alive to beg pardons.
I didn’t name myself to offer excuses.

Listen (she says to herself), here’s the reality:  your wingspan is the prime meridian.  It is not a fucking farce.  It has precisely nothing to do with anybody elseyour own sweetest hausfrau, your own most apt project manager, your own most generous sugardaddy, and, your own best girl.

Curls, bones, skin, blood, salt and all.  

Goddamnit, Sanger.  Get up and fucking fight.

Take me to bed and fuck me into that doubtless gaze.  Fuck me so good that I walk funny.  

(Here’s a link to the song if you want to listen (it’s not really a video)).

An Open Letter To Internet Radio Algorithms

Dear internet radio algorithms.

The way you do classical makes me want to puke into f-holes.
This is a phrase I started using in 3rd grade.  I was in 3rd grade 32 years ago.

As far back as I remember music, I remember classical music.  My parents weren’t terribly into classical. My mother loves Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, but she couldn’t tell you Spring from Autumn, though she’ll happily admit that she’s not really interested in knowing music.  

My grandparents, on the other hand, were well-versed in classical.  And jazz.  And some pop, though not very much.  A lot of Dixieland, Big Band, Swing.  And classical.  Once upon a time, my grandmother was a concert pianist and my grandfather had his own dance band.  He could play any wind instrument.

I fell in love with cello when I was in first grade.  At the beautifully weird elementary school my brother and I attended, that’s was the first year you could enroll in music.  But only for stringed instruments, winds had to wait until third grade.  (When he could, my brother opted for oboe.  What a weirdo.)

The ensemble introducing  stringed instruments declared cellists had an easier time learning if their left-hand pinky went past the top knuckle of the ring finger.  I didn’t care that my fingers weren’t ideal.  I would make it work.  I showed off my hands could stretch! I had done a year of piano lessons and could bridge an octave from thumb-to-pinky.  By the way, I didn’t like piano lessons.

Ultimately, it didn’t matter too much whether my hands were ideal or not; most 1st and 2nd graders at all interested in strings wanted a violin.  I got to learn cello!

So, my intellectual interaction with classical music began more than thirty years ago.  Long before I began studying cello (it got to be “studying” kind of serious, private lessons on weekends in Chicago, not just ensemble classes in the afternoons at school), I knew (at the very least) the melodies of the biggies like Pachelbel’s Canon in D, Bach’s 3rd Brandenburg, etc..

The first young persons’ orchestra with which I played had a rehearsal conductor that I precociously found lacking.  With every ounce of the earnest melodrama a 9-year-old might impart, I bemoaned  to my all-knowing grandfather, “he is like a bear! Both hands do the same thing! Every five measures, he’s another beat too slow.”  

My grandfather did not likely pat my head and ignore me.  It is very likely that he knew I wasn’t fucking around.  My grandfather, my kindred spirit, was my first conductor. I learned how to follow a baton from his own deft, long hands.

For my first (very big) performance, the program concluded with Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, conducted not by the no-rhythm bear who had rehearsed us, but by a fiery, brilliant woman.  She smiled, she fairly danced, she was perfectly fucking joyful.  I had my music memorized, so I didn’t — I couldn’t take my eyes off her, her face, her hands, her baton.  I trusted her immediately, fully.

I have no idea what her name was.  When the fireworks went at the end of the piece (timpani?  blanks shot into barrels?)  I wasn’t startled.  My cello and I were the same, together with the others to make an amazing sound, all part of this glorious moment.  There was nothing shocking at all about it.  

I’m long past playing cello now, though I’m pretty good at appreciation.  And, for an abjectly armchair, fully un-credentialed critic, I’m OK saying that I do or do not enjoy a performance.  

I took myself last year to a performance of the Emperor Concerto that I hated from the beginning (because of the conductor (not the pianist or orchestra, both of which I would have liked if they didn’t seem so much like they’d rather not be there, dragged about the piece)).  At lunch with colleagues the following Tuesday, I said (with no hope of anyone knowing what I meant), “It was fucking awful.  I wanted it to end so badly I clapped between movements.”  One of my colleagues coughed like he was choking on his noodle soup.  I almost yelped. “You understand?!” We saw each other, his metal-water-green-copper eyes met my own mismatched green/gold.  He nodded.

For the uninitiated in philharmonic etiquette: wait to applaud until the whole thing is done. This is signaled to the audience when the conductor lowers her or his arms all the way.

Take this comparison: there are many theatre companies that might perform Hamlet or Midsummer Night’s Dream.  One company does not produce the same show as another.  I don’t overmuch love the Emperor, but it was on a program with other pieces I VERY MUCH love, so I took it in, with the unstudied expectation it would be OK enough.  I didn’t stay for Pictures at an Exhibition (Mussorgsky), which is really one of my favorites ever.

I wrote most of all of that to say to anyone with any idea about algorithms: just because it’s classical music does not mean it is calming.  Bach is generally cheerful and mostly groovy, (I’ve got theories.  I won’t discuss here).   For reals, google. It appears as though you’re trying to sink the entire “lowercase c classical” genre simply because there’s no copyright by which you might get with profit. None of the classical mediation radio! is good for what it says it is.   It is Romance; the Baroque pieces are buoyant and there are too many terpsichorean glories, whether vast or tiny, to be considered “soothing.”  Personally, I don’t find nearly anything “soothing” written by Ravel, Mahler, or Faure.  They’re enervating, maybe rousing.  Usually I hate Debussy, because I longly and largely hate Debussy, so he’s no good for “meditation” or “soporific.”  All of the mentioned composers stir me out of easy or sleepy and fully negate the lullaby because I’d rather stay awake to listen.  What the hell sort of meditation do you expect is ensuing via Saint-Saens?   Can you stop it?! I want to listen and sleep at the same time.  Riots don’t only issue from the flights of Wagner or marches of Williams.  There’s a lot to hear in a lot of works.  

What passion cannot Music raise and quell?
 When Jubal[4] struck the corded shell,
His list’ning brethren stood around,
   And, wond’ring, on their faces fell
  To worship that celestial sound,
Less than a god they thought there could not dwell
Within the hollow of that shell
That spoke so sweetly and so well
What passion cannot Music raise and quell?

Linky!

Love,
Sanger

Meditation from a Whisky Bar.

I don’t always make plans.  Presently, my laundry is begging for attention.  It’s an hour from last call at the laundromat and I’m not bothering with it.  I have socks and drawers for tomorrow.  It’ll do.

I get paid to make plans, and by all accounts that matter (by which I mean those of my chief), I’m pretty good at it.  In the part of life for which I’m not for sale, (Real Life), I can be counted on to have coffee and cigarettes and enough gas in the tank and probably an avocado (or liverwurst) and wine; I’m naturally inclined to share.  (I’m a twin.)

Some time ago, I stopped fretting my meagre holdings as deficient or deficiency.  Admittedly, it can be a chore to choke out Guilt when I come home from work and do not continue to work.

In Real Life, I don’t plan so much.  I read.  I write.  I read more than I write.  Recently, I’ve been keeping my distance from writing fiction with something like dedicated precision. Some of this is to do with the unceasing demand of getting up and going to work rather than having endless hours to pace in my studio, go outside to smoke, drink coffee and construct.

An aside about the pacing of studio, making/drinking of coffee and smoking,  since some people do not do this:

I’m a thinky, feely, bright person and I’m not pin-point focused.  When I’m having a hard time stringing language into words, I do chores, give up to finger paints. I draw or sculpt to remove phlegm from my brain.  I’ve been known to cook some fucked up amazing brussel sprouts. I’ve made bacon-infused bourbon butter.

There’s always music going.

My own writing of late is journalism or memoir and I’ve been on a mile-wide streak observing, not always with rapt intention.  A few weeks ago, I got up on a stool at a whisky bar in DTLA to have a drink, killing time as I made my way to the Observatory for sunset.

“Makers, double. Neat.  Water back, please.  Can I buy you a shot?”

I had out no tiny notebook, no smartphone, no laptop.
Here’s what happened next:

“Hey, I’m Al.  Let me get your drinks, I want you to hear my story.  You’re a writer.”

I ordered bourbon in a whisky bar.  This doesn’t seem like it would indicate much past “I’m keen on bourbon.”  I listen to Al for a while.

The next five people who come know Al in some degree of Kevin Bacon, and all of them are cajoled to telling me a story and buying me a drink.  I’m on foot and Metro, so I’m mostly fine with this.

Except the part where everyone accepts I’m a writer and I haven’t.

Aye, aye

It’s the middle of the night, really. I meant to go to dinner 40 miles away, but then I got skittish because I discovered one of my headlamps is out and I know my registration is overdue, so I drank wine and read some of a beautiful history book. When that was done, I worked on a close reading of a novel (2nd time reading). Close reading takes a lot longer.

It’s the middle of the night because I’ve been working (as my Chief calls them) “half days! Six a.m. to six p.m.!” I want to argue that I’m not a sailor, I was never in the Navy. But I don’t argue, not about that. Production environment versus test bed credentials or change records, maybe. About anything with some logical or reasoned foundation — for those I might could propose a different POV. I do not dare dispute working the same hours he does; I do my damnedest to tote barges and lift bales, even if they’re all virtual. It’s glorious, it’s exhausting. But now I’m awake and it’s 5 hours before I’ll get up to swab the decks.

Insomnia has been a more prevalent theme than usual this summer. A summer gone by without once bathing in the Ocean. Giant waves, broken skin and bones, stinging rays, and more giant waves have kept me to the sand. I am not sure if I’ve gotten into saltwater since my birthday in April, and it feels like it’s been hot since May. I wonder: if I was so brave as that ocean, might I be sleeping soundly right now.

I slept next to an octopus recently, and so remarkably well that I endured her jibes in the morning – my snoozing so late and the talk in my sleep. “I hope it wasn’t incriminating!” (It was nonsense, it seems.) Perhaps my slumber was due to the comfort of that cephalopod. If only I could offer some tiny bit of comfort to her in return.

This morning I woke up startled at some ridiculous hour in my own soft bed, convinced of some interloping creature, but probably only my stirring wrinkled the sheet. I jolted awake, ready to fucking riot, at DEFCON 5.

I’m going to crawl into a salted & anointed bath, then crawl under a cover and try to rest, try to stay still (stillness is the very biggest demand I (or maybe anyone) makes of myself), consider beautiful things, beautiful people and all the awesome beautiful everything. Tomorrow is nearly here, but tomorrow it’s going to be ok to be great at what I do, to smile at people who think I cannot see them, to stand up tall even if I’m just here to swab the decks.

Monthly Recap Because Salami

For a long time, if there was anything in my fridge, it was salami and mustard.  It’s still mustard.  But I went a long while with no salami, except I didn’t plan that.

I didn’t plan much of this but I discovered recently that salami doesn’t suit me any more.  I just.  It isn’t tasty?  I don’t like how I feel after I eat it?

I’ve become a clean eater.  The most processed thing I consume is bacon.  (Which I do at some 2lbs/week.)  I eat fat and protein and green veg.  I have squash sometimes, but not that frequently.

I took a good amount of codeine the 10 days preceding & 20 days following the extraction of my wisdom teeth.  (Fully bony, btw.  FULLY.)  The last week I’ve been feisty.  Tonight I’m more calm, partially to do with chemical intervention (and temperanillo!) & a chillout with Tiomio.   I think the grindy/grouchy comes some with feeling enough more alert to know I’m not comfortable, but not wholly better.

The lower left side of my jaw isn’t right yet.  It still hurts, there’s still swelling and I’ve done another course of antibiotics that were rx’d at the ER.  (I drove to the ER (instead of home) in a slight panic because I hurt so badly I couldn’t see straight and was contemplating whether I could succumb to said panic.)  So, it’s not right, but it’s not as bad as it was.  My apartment is illogically warm when I’m here, and I cried this weekend because I pay to live here and for the love of fuck, I want to hang out, but omg it was 97f.

I’ve had a few ocean swims.  It’s glorious!  I called a hiatus until my constitution is entirely hale, though; it seemed that every time I went playing in La Pacifica, I wound up tired, happy, and a lot more sick.  But holy fux.  We’re together again, she and me.

Work is worky.  I think I’m doing well,  it could be the shimmer is enough worn off that I just do it and try not to reconcile it with real life.  When I was doing stats at the retail shop last year, I got sick a lot.  Staph & strep & diabetic events?  It wasn’t faked, but neither did I dig in and do what I could.  There was no willingness to suck it up.

I have my own car.   She’s a mini cooper.  I named her Ollie.  The interest rate is insane, but she gets nearly 35mi/gal.  She needs some attention and I hope she’ll hold on for the next month or so.  I want to sort out my rent & pay back the uncle & the G and the Muchgrrly.

I meant to talk about eating but I went all tangent-style on this.

I’ve been writing long hand.  But not really fiction, and not really essays.  I have ideas and snippets of good things to say.  I have flights of sheer bliss.   I have a dear friend who hopes to do a gallery showing (when I’m famous) of my oddly organized to-do lists.

I don’t notice the date in terms of how long I’ve been back in Los Angeles so much these days.  “I’ve been here six months + twelve days!”  isn’t really my repertory redundancy.  I just live here.

So.  Clean eating.  I don’t realize that the fillers in the meds I have (mostly for pain) might be souring me.  I don’t pay enough mind to the hundreds of mgs of ibuprofen I toss back daily. (800 every 4hrs or so).  I can’t abide salami.  I think it’s the nitrates.  When I went to ER I had enough sense to temper my defense of knowing my body.  When the ER dr asked if I wanted vicodin, I said I’d rather T3s, but can we fix what’s fucked up?  I’m tired of codeine.  There’s two or three still left from that rx.  He shot me with novocaine or lidocaine or whatever and I made a face when he withdrew the sabre from my mouth.  He asked if I needed somewhere to spit.  I nodded and when he returned with a weird bowl, I expelled blood and sour and presumed this is how novocaine shots worked, since he said I didn’t seem infected.  I mentioned the taste.  Apparently one doesn’t usually have to expectorate following the administration of this nerve blocking agent.  So then I got more antibiotics.   And more codeine.  Which I needed for a while.

I had a sad Monday a week ago and realized that it was the beer I had overserved myself the previous evening.  Shaking that was difficult.

I’m churning.  I hope this settles some, it seems daily better since last Thursday or Friday.  But I feel fairly sure I’ll get there.  I just won’t be eating salami all the time.

I  AM NOT REALLY TYLER DURDEN

I AM NOT REALLY TYLER DURDEN

Of things I do not expect.

In my place, I know what and where everything is.  I’m closer to minimalist than anything else in these terms, though I don’t necessarily embrace austerity in this.   I have a pouch of things I might consider sacred.  I’ve reduced this from a rather over-taking-everything kind of altar to a satin bag that the moth gave me for travel.   It has feathers and train tickets and various memento that probably mean nothing or not much to anyone else.  There is a lovenote from Sweetbest to her younger daughter on a bit of paper from a takeout joint in Pismo Beach that was left in a book she gave me.  Things that may be cast offs but beautiful.  A shred of tissue paper that Manda used to wrap a present, on it are the words “She has the gift of sight.”   Atop this pouch sits a tiny figurine of the Venus of Willendorf.  (Also a gift from Manda.) She was a on a keychain fob, but I released her from that so she could rule over my shelf thing.  (Or just sit there being pretty and relicky and royal in her art history.)

I made friends with Randus last year around March.  He may have been my first independent/new L.A. friend.  We had a long talk one afternoon that buoyed me for days.  I wrote about it.  Since then our camaraderie has developed.  I am honored to be his friend, I appreciate him at every turn.   

I asked him to give me a lift to an interview I had on Tuesday to which the public transpo was nearly intractable.  He spent the night before on my couch, because mornings aren’t his thing and we had to hit the road by 8.45a, (which is practically lunchtime to me and in the realm of “RUFKM?” to him).   I was asleep when he arrived, but I knew he was coming so I left the door unlocked, pillow and  blanket on the couch, and a note that said have a beer if you want, man, they’re in the fridge.   I woke for a minute or two around 3a and he was here and I was glad he made it and I mumbled something silly and went back to bed.

We chattered on the hour long drive there and back.  He reminds me that learning myself is not a one-shot thing.  He reminds me that keeping a good outlook is an undertaking in mindfulness, and mindfulness touches my whole life.  The easy way he and I get along reminds me that there are always wishes to manifest and while setbacks may come, they also ebb.   I appreciate his honesty with me, I appreciate his strength.   I am grateful for his company, I am touched he shares things with me.   

So I was eating an apple a moment ago, and I wandered over toward the shelves of the things I keep.  Housed here are nearly all of my possessions.  I think I was on my way outside but something caught my eye and then got my full attention because I did not know what it was.  I was alarmed.

A tiny piece of paper, 2×3 inches and it’s not blank, but I can’t see very well, and I know it’s not mine, and I didn’t put it there and I’m suddenly concerned and curious.  I took up this foreign, interloping scrap.

I made no sense;  comprehension escaped me.  I stood holding my apple, regarding.  Suddenly, I acquired focus.  With alacrity, the whole thing sharpened and I saw it all.  My breath caught.  I turned the leaf and the meaning of it occurred to me in that blink and I instinctively sunk to my knees.  The overwhelm took away my balance.  I couldn’t stand.

From Randus

From Randus

This was me.  These words is how he sees me.   I’m still teary and stunned.  I think of all the ways people in my life reach me, how I am so lucky and profoundly thankful for everybody.  I haven’t considered with any weight that I might be touching others.  That need for recognition/approval isn’t on my mind.  It doesn’t motivate me, you know?  I don’t feel like I have to say to anyone: “and you think I’m lovely, too, right?!”   I used to exist entirely in abject desperation that I was of any small import to anyone at all, “please someone, someone tell me I’m cute/sexy/funny/smart/anything.  Please someone say you see me.”   

But somewhere in the last year it went away.  If I feel now like I am not seen, I go out and meet people, or visit Sheddy’s and say hi to the kids there, or descend upon Tiomio.   I take it upon myself to do something about feeling invisible. The “pleasepleasetellmeIamsomeone” thing faded.  I giggle over beers or coffee with whomever and stumble home, and I don’t think as I walk, “I wonder if they’re saying nice things about me now.”  I got over it.  Sure, everyone likes attention, and sure, I like that the people I meet seem to think I’m cool enough to chatter with for a while.  And I don’t think I give off an aura of IDGAF, because I like pretty much everybody with whom I spend time.  Because I don’t care to surround myself with anything otherwise.  I enjoy you.

It just might be the case that everybody I like feels mutually.  And that isn’t so bad at all.

2013-01-30_18-06-29_632
Thank you, Randy.
Thank you, Everybody.

Yours,
h

In which the city of L.A. and most everyone in my life for the last 11 months becomes the “thee” in Sonnet 29

In my old life, I meditated extensively upon joy.  I had long since lost any grasp that I had any right to it. (I have written this somewhere, I don’t rightly recall if I posted it here, and I’m not diligent enough presently to search.)  This meditation was an exercise in self-loathing contortion to convince myself that joy was not in my constitution.  Bodily and spiritually, I was not made for that.  This may have been conditioned by criticism lobbed in my direction: “Just be better, why can’t you just be better?”  There was no act nor any rites I could perform to become better, or do better; that was nonsense and useless.

I daydreamed about living by myself, or would fondly remember my apartment from before:  the awful pink carpet, the  cork on the walls, the noise on the street at night.  Other things that aren’t romantic but were still driftwood to which I clung.  I didn’t think of it as wish-making.  It might have been something akin to regret, but regret meant I made a bad decision, regret means I didn’t do my life how I wanted, and other things that can sound like the whole thing was my fault.  It’s something in the middle, where I feel I might at least claim: “this isn’t at all what I thought it was going to be.”

There are apologists for C/NC, the same as anything controversial.   There are people I used to know who would gladly tell me there is no way I can construe my relationship as detrimental by design because at some point I consented to being in it. I should take responsibility for perceiving everything wrong. I should not at all feel badly done by because by consenting, I gave up that right.  In any other case this is called victim-blaming and is considered very poor form.  But these are people for whom C/NC is not a daily struggle to stay alive.

And that sounds like one  motherfucker of a dramabomb.

I’m not hyping this.  I usually wanted to die and when beset with serious panic or oppressive anxiety, that want-to-die turned into full-blown “how can I kill myself best”.

I tried prayers to who knows what and chants and aromatherapy and yoga and working a lot and not working at all and psychiatry and art and counseling and tarot and spell casting and slam poetry and sluttery.  I tried growing my hair long and using henna and wearing skirts and dresses and having long fingernails.  I tried homemaking and writing journals and gardening.  Some fellows in C/NC dynamics told me I should devote myself to acts of submission.  People suggested I address the person to whom I was married when I prayed.  To be more beautiful (yep), to speak softly, to take up a brand of femininity.  Don’t think about/for myself, but then totally and vehemently disavow that I was a doormat.  “Suck it up, buttercup” was a favorite meme.  I whispered this over and over to myself; I stopped using first person possessives.  I had long discussions with other C/NC types about joy in suffering, that through prolonged agony I would be transformed and made into the very reflection of the person to whom I was married, my will aligned with his, and thereby attain some measure of  satisfaction (if he allowed me this).   People whispered to me that I was just so mind-fucked and how I ought to take pride in this.

Nothing soothed at length.  Nothing fully stopped my heart churning and my stomach aching.     There were moments of relief.  These never involved the person to whom I was married or his girlfriend, who had teamed up (ganged up?).   Shortly after we all got together as a polyfamily, his girlfriend revealed she was not really poly and not at all bisexual,  and made it plain that she rather I was not part of the tiny society she had made up with the person to whom I was married.  (This once included her threatening my life.  When I said how uneasy this made me, the person to whom I was married told me to shut the fuck up about that and get over it; that I should assign my concern to her well-being, because people with homicidal tendencies more often commit suicide.  I wish I was kidding.  I totally wish to all the best most beautiful sunsets that I made this up.)

I am nearing 11 months in L.A..  Ten in this apartment.  My shoebox utopia, where I write on the walls in chalk, and put up postcards and love notes with thumbtacks.  Where I burn incense and keep the place clean, and throw shit away that I don’t need, or opt not to buy shit in the first place.  Where my recycling to trash ratio is probably 7:1 and I have switched to cloth instead of toilet paper.  (I still keep TP for visitors.)  Where, un-criticized, I move towards zero-waste and embrace minimalism.  Where I eat in such a way that my body says thank you, and it never involves lying to myself about how american cheese is actually good nutrition, or that if I ate 2 lbs of mashed potatoes daily I would stop being depressed.  I never have to fake a migraine at the ER to get someone else recreational drugs.  Fuck, I never have to fake anything.

The last eleven months have not been all rainbows and puppies and silver-lined ease.  There has been despair and fuck-it-all, undeniably.

However, I don’t want to recite a litany of complaints to do with the last eleven months of my life.  Here’s why: when I consider the way things are, the way things have worked out, the people I know and the support I’ve been given from all over the world — I have nothing about which I might reasonably complain.

I do not daily want to die.  I do not spin for hours conceiving of how to commit suicide.

I no longer think of joy as someone else’s lot.  Joy is all wrapped around me, she becomes my aura.

Here’s a sonnet:

When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf Heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featur’d like him, like him with friends possess’d,
Desiring this man’s art, and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least:
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee,–and then my state
(Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
For thy sweet love remember’d such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings’.

Sonnet 29
William Shakespeare.

Picture Postcards from the last six weeks or so: L A, I love you.

Eastside sunset from Gold Line 6-11-12 :  I spend a lot of time on the eastside.  this is from the Gold Line between Chinatown and Union Sta sometime nearing sunset, which is gorgeous everywhere.  I don’t always get the pic I think I’m going to when I’m snapping from the train, but I really like this one.

Chinatown sta as seen from Gold Line 6-11-12 : Chinatown is a glorious nook.  There’s a whimsy and an bit of the ethereal that I completely ken when I’m walking there.  I don’t know where I come down on how the station was designed, which has a pretend quality to it, but at the same time, it’s a bit of an homage and not the real mccoy.

Train and Crossing 7-12-12 -near Del Mar Sta : I used to only shoot inanimates and still life in an effort not to compete with someone in my life who averred she wanted to take pix of people (though she did so both infrequently and ineptly).   But from my focus on not-people subjects, I developed a love for the mechanical.

From the bottom of Wilshire-Vermont Metro sta staircase (the ones from platform) :

I walk these stairs most weeknights.  I skipped the the day I wore the wrong shoes, though.  This is Wilshire/Vermont Sta, from the lower platform to the upper.

The following pic (the formatting is fucked up) is from the top-down of the upper platform-to street staircase.  I do that one to0

 

From top of 2nd staircase (to street) Wilshire/Vermont Metro sta

Bits of paper everywhere 7-21-12  :

So the other day

I see all these bits of paper.  And I don’t understand them, and I start writing a novel in my head about love letters and hope.

What they said – I guess littering is advertising now?

Turns out it’s trash-as-advert.  I picked up the scraps I could and put them in the recycling

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Bourne movie billboard except not. 7-19-12 — has been since replaced : I love street art in L A.  This was subsequently removed.

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Levitated Mass opening 6-24-12 “When do you see the underneath of a sculpture?” : FFHS and I made it to the unveiling of the Levitated Mass at LACMA.  It was lovely.  I visit a lot.

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Guy drawing in pen-and-ink in the starbucks where i burn time saturday morning before errands 6-17-12 :  tried to be surreptitious about this one, so there’s a bunch of my laptop in it, but this fella was there at least three hours drawing.  I appreciated his t-shirt, too

Berlin Wall on Wilshire – 40 ft of wall — largest outside of Deutschland : Did you know?  We have more length of Berlin Wall than anywhere except Germany?  And it’s on Wilshire Blvd?

“Hipster or Idiot?” I asked Ipso. She said, “Both.” It was 87f outside. 28 bus 7-7-12 : Caption mostly says it all.  But really?  Beany and hoodie?  I laugh at you.

Barefooted and buying whiskey at corner store 7-9-12

LA isn’t always what you think from TV.  Some places are very homeish and we go there without things like pretense.  She was doing her laundry across the street and everyone in the store knew her name.  She knew theirs too, but not mine.  : )  She does now.

Boys on the 217 bus 6-18

Not sure if that guy knew I was snapping, but this was really cheerful.

Girls holding hands, Union Sta 6-19-12: It’s hard to get people pix during rush hour, but I loved this.

Fairfax Ave with no traffic 6-16-12 (It was 7am)

Fairfax so rarely has no traffic.  When I’m waiting on this corner for a bus, it’s usually 5-8 mins from when I can see it a block away til it reaches the stop.  That kind of traffic.

Prius Taxi 7-22-12 (Fairfax at San Vicente)
Sheddy’s 6-20 – used as promo:

It was with great honour that I discovered Sheddy used this pic to promo Canada Day (Night).

Sheddy’s let me have a tab, and it’s the kind of place where I can walk in and people say heya, h, how the fuck’s it goin’? and i’m getting to believe they actually care.

Once a pile of blankets. 7-14-12 I got a bed. And I made it! :  I got a place to sleep that isn’t a pile of blankets and my mornings are all the more difficult to greet, because i mostly usually sleep at night.  It’s really nice to have a bed.
G being silly for the Bailey-Cat’s benefit 7-24-12 : This is my friend/neighbour G and he’s dancing at his Bailey Cat.  She’s that smudge in the bottom right corner of the doorway.  And she’s going to go run under his bed right now.

Tiomio (L) and G (R) making dinner 7-24-12

Tiomio and G, grilling.  These fellas are really something amazing.  And I’m so grateful to them both.

me in a dress on a bus with a grin 6-27-12

I’m grinning here.  I’m also wearing a dress that’s a size (M).  How long since I did that?  10 years?

Me at Starbucks at Night 7-27-12

This is a different view of my starbucks.  At night.  Friday.

I got new kicks 7-22-12 They’re really red.
Sunset Santa Monica – from Mariasol’s on the pier 7-15-12 — with G

Of course I saw the sunset this month!

roses peek 7-21-12:  Sweetbest gave me this pot of mini roses.  They wax and wane with no rhythm at all.  But they’re on the wax side starting 7-21

roses bloom 7-27-12

Bloom, 6 days later.

This came across my path on the anniversary of my late Grandmoth’s birthday. 6-25-12 : Lest I ever forget.  My grandmother’s birthdayversary brought me this.  It’s just never ending how true.  I love it and will repeat it, I’m sure.

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