Monthly Archives: September 2011

and even in this generation, livin through computers, only love love love can reboot us

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sometimes i really, really, really wish that i had put some thought into how hard it would be to lose both my home & my partner at the same time. in the month-and-a-half between breaking up & moving out, i never once considered staying. i knew i had to leave. but now that i am where i am, on the other side of the river, in a weird apartment with no bathtub and no backyard, in a cheap apartment that’s flaking and bubbling and cracking, in a neighborhood i have no connection to, i realize what a grave mistake i have made. and there’s no undoing it. there is absolutely no going back.

today i am bleeding and i want to take a bath. i want to soak my body in my clawfoot bathtub with sunshine streaming through the window. i want to feel that comfort. i want to sit in the garden again.

mostly, i just want to go home. and there is absolutely nothing i can do to get back there.

of course, i remember when i was there, i laid in the bath and cried until i hyperventilated. it wasn’t comforting. my ex-lover’s sweet kisses felt laced with poison. the house felt like a trap, like a repository of things that no longer exist. i felt like being there was killing me. i felt like living there was driving me completely insane.

i wanted a new start. i wanted a shorter commute. i wanted to be on the side of the river where all my friends are moving. i wanted to be away from my old neighborhood, away from my ex and his new lover and the chance that i’d see them on the street. i wanted to be away from my favorite gay bar, because drinking gets me into trouble.

and now i have all that. and i have no idea if i made the right decision, but i have the sneaking suspicion that i didn’t.

the coper in my brain reminds me that this is the pathway to somewhere better. that i never would have left pittsburgh from my old house. i know that my legs are getting stronger every day as i struggle up the giant hill that cuts me off from everywhere i need to be. i know i’ve lived in places far worse.

i know that i am in my saturn return right now, and one of its aspects is: it is very hard to find comfort. so many of your old comforts are taken from you. the point is to make you strong. the point is to make you brave. but, oh, i would like just a little bit of comfort please. i’d like a good hug or a good laugh or even just to sleep through the entire night, please, please, please.

a few statements.

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i have decided to pretend that the tree growing outside of my kitchen window is the same tree as in “a tree grows in brooklyn”. lo and behold, it actually is! ailanthus, the tree of heaven. this makes me feel mildly better.

last night liz and i watched “brave little toaster to the rescue”, which i described as “cute things porn” because the plot was clearly terrible but we kept watching because those spunky, personified items are just so. damn. cute. we got excited when we realized that the toaster (aka the main character!) has no discernible gender and laughed hysterically at the most amazing song-and-dance number about the internet, circa 1993 (or the “information superhighway”, as they called it!).

i was recently blocked from reading my own blog on a monitored computer. the reasons given were “adult themes” and “alcohol.” ha!

i also recently read a review of my zine (on the quimby’s web site) that described it as, “all the livid living of being rowdy alive, sobriety sentiments, embracing the good badness and confounding the bad badness.”

we don’t have any real work to do at work so we are scanning for another welfare office that’s fallen behind. it’s heartbreaking. just the little things. a guy writing a list of his health problems under two headings: “can live with it” and “big problem”. under “big problem”: “tuomour  on neck, getting a lot bigger…”

today i learned that i can cry while working and have it not really affect my productivity that much. i wonder if this is a good thing or a bad thing.

today i am wearing three clashing shades of pink to work. i will never be a real grown-up, and what’s more, i don’t care!

i am trying, so hard, to hold on.

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last night i had a moment. dancing hysterically with steph & danny at lez liquor hour of all freakin’ places. drunk and silly and it felt like a junior high dance in the best way. it’s been so long since i have danced in public. steph said, “we can dance any way we want, because we don’t know anyone here and we don’t care what they think!” and in pittsburgh, it’s rare to be somewhere and not know anyone. but she was right! so i danced, & i thought, why do i always have the best times during the worst times? not that i was gonna question it or try to make it go away. i was just wondering.

later, we were at the bar, going to town on a vegetable-and-cheese platter that someone had left behind. at one point, i put a piece of broccoli in my mouth, and i was transported back to this place: winter 2004. sitting in a cold punk house (that has now been divided into yuppie apartments) with sharon & axi, on a torn-up couch. the only lights are christmas lights wrapped around the TV, which we don’t really use. i am secretly overly happy about this, that we are those kinds of people who use the TV as a shelf. anyway, we all had a really great conversation that lasted for hours. the only line i can remember is the one that i wrote down: “if i have to be a raver, i TOTALLY want a broccoli floret as my pacifier!” i forget who said it, me or axi.

so here i am, 2011, the stem in my mouth, the leafy part out, remembering that moment, that long-ago moment with two wonderful ladies who i never see anymore. looking at my reflection in my mirror across the bar, my eyes so huge without glasses. smushing my face up, trying to pretend that i’m a cheeky 90’s raver sucking on my pacifier just to be weird or whatever.  i thought i want a picture of this, and then caldwell came barrelling in the door with their camera slung around their neck like always. so they took a picture of me and all i could think was, oh, 2011. oh, how did i ever wind up here?

what i had to do.

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at a sleepless, sad 2 a.m. this week i was re-reading an issue of make/shift magazine, which is seriously my new favorite thing. it’s like a 70’s feminist journal for the 10’s. raw, real, intense, diverse and hella queer. i read a sentence that struck me so much that i read it at least ten times before i could continue. it’s written by a person named goldie dartmouth, and it went: “she left me for someone else and it  felt like i’d been split wide open. i was like a punctured water main; i cried constantly. i couldn’t deal with the love no longer being there. when you’re a survivor, with mental health problems and an abusive family of origin, these things hurt in a particular way. the pain of having trusted and felt safe, and then having that extinguished, reverberates deep inside. with her, i felt i could finally relax for the first time in my life.  i felt safe enough to be a child–playful, vulnerable, and precious. my dream had been to stay that way.” and i thought, oh, that’s it. that’s why.

my recent breakup/move has put me in a very, very bad place mentally. the worst place i’ve been in a decade. maybe the worst place ever. in the thick of it, last tuesday, i watched the sun rise joylessly and i thought, over and over again, i’m not going to make it out. i’m not going to get through this. and throughout everything, everything, i have always had the unshakeable belief that, no matter what, i’d be able to get through it. and the loss of this hope was so terrifying. i didn’t know what to do. it looked like things were headed for the bad, the really bad, the irredeemably and irreversibly bad…

but then i had a miracle. literally, and don’t roll your fucking eyes at me. i did a chakra meditation from the amazing book urban tantra and i don’t want to talk too much about it here, but i will tell you that i felt an energy go through me so intense that my eyelids were literally vibrating against my eyeballs. i felt something bad leaving me. when i glanced at the clock, an hour had gone by, but it felt like only a few minutes. and when i got up, i was myself again. still sad & heartbroken but not this half-dead ghost. i do believe, truly, that i experienced a miracle, and that it saved my life.

last week, i searched for a picture of myself taken almost exactly ten years ago. halloween 2001, 19 years old & drunk & pissing on a car. on my face is an expression of pure glee. this was taken during one of the worst years. my first year as a teenage throwaway, marked by poverty & hunger & the genuine belief that i was a terrible person. the genuine belief that nothing was gonna get better, that i would always be this poor & drunk & crazy. but still, still, i had this capacity for joy. i wanted to find that picture to remind myself. that all is not lost. that there is still some hope.

on friday i finally found it. the expression on my face is a little more drunk/insane that i had remembered, but i still like it. i was going to hang it on my refrigerator, but then i came across my baggie of magnetic poetry and decided to hold it up with words. the first word i pulled from the bag was “survive”, and it felt so powerful in my hand. i sat there & held it for so long, then i stuck it to the left of my head. i started putting other words on the refrigerator, occasionally pulling aside one that struck me and adding it to the picture. and i harvested words, for an hour it seemed, until i had this, this message from the universe, this message from my older self to my younger one:

i’ve got visions of hope, the sky, and dry land.

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last week got a little better after i wrote that dramatic post. etta gave me a tarot card reading. the first card, which is the card that illuminates what’s going on with the whole situation, was the tower card. it made etta yell, “holy shit!” the literal meaning of that card is “expulsion from paradise.” and that’s how it feels, i guess.

i don’t know. i’ve been writing this entry in my head all week and now that i’m at the library, in front of a computer, it’s not really coming. i guess all you need to know is that i had a lot of really beautiful intense goodbyes this week. i am at my new place and it’s hard and sad but also good. so much light & so much space. slanty floors and dust that makes me choke, wobbly toilet and no bathtub. it’s the little things that hurt. the knowledge that i can’t go home again.

i found my journal from 1998 while unpacking and was struck by the compulsion to re-read it. that was the summer i cheated on my first girlfriend with an intense older woman, dumped my girlfriend to be with this other person, and then was promptly dumped by the older woman–who was a compulsively-lying alcoholic–for being “too fucked up” and having “too many problems.” it’s funny, the things i wrote to myself then, how they could apply so much to this vastly different situation thirteen years later. my jumbly handwriting, reminding myself that i am strong. wondering why i always want a partner so badly when they never make me happy. i wonder when i am going to learn–and what, exactly, i need to learn anyway.

my move, itself, was intense. lots of hard work, lots of love. at one point there was a cuddle puddle on my bed. i was in the middle, with 2 of my best friends on one side and my expartner on the other. i jokingly said, “it’s like i’m transitioning from cuddling with r. to cuddling with my friends, and you’re all cuddling with me at once so i don’t get too scared!” and everyone laughed, but there was a sadness afterwards.

i lost my voice during the move. the last 2 days with him. squeaking, growling, it hurt to talk but i kept doing it anyway because there was so much i needed to say. i realized that the last time i lost my voice was also in the throes of an intense breakup. and yesterday, 2 separate people i talked to mentioned that they’d known people who lost their voice in a breakup, or in a period of stress & extreme sadness. sounds symbolic.

that first night in my apartment, people trickled off one by one, until it was just me and amanda. late at night, my voice barely a whisper at that point. we had a moment of quiet, and i said, “i guess this is my life now.” amanda turned to me, grinning all big and wild, and said, “welcome!”

the world is my oyster, the road is my home

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i haven’t been updating because i have nothing to say worth sharing. i’m in a bad place, emotionally. i’ve been there for almost 2 weeks, but it feels like forever. i haven’t felt this bad in years and years. crying until i choke. i can’t eat. i see palindromes everywhere and i think they’re sending me a message and that message is: you’re fucked, you’re fucked, you’re fucked.

sometimes little things get through. one of my best friends wrote this amazing blog post that she said was inspired by me. and it was so good, so strong and so beautiful. another friend, who i am not super close with, heard that i was doing badly, and passed along a message for me: “tell ocean i know she’ll pull through.” he’s not the kind of person who shares empty comfort, so i knew it meant something real.

i’m leaving the house that used to be my home. 3.5 days. i never thought i’d be counting down like this. i never thought i’d want to leave so badly. i am putting a lot of faith that going to my new house and leaving behind this bad situation will be my saving grace. if that doesn’t help, well…i don’t know. this home has meant so much to me, has been so good, a real safe space like i have never had before. and it changed my life. for real. the boy i’m leaving behind there changed my life a whole lot too, even though everything is poisoned now.

it’s so stupid, when you’re with someone and things are going well, how much you take them for granted. how you think they’ll always be around, even when you’ve had people die and had people disappear before and you know that life is changeable. you think you can be crappy and they’ll forgive you. you think that you can sit on the couch and spend mediocre time. you can wait to go to paris, you can wait to meet their best friend. you have time. newsflash to everyone: YOU ACTUALLY DON’T HAVE TIME. DO IT, DO IT NOW.