I’m supposed to be sleeping. So I can be fully rested tomorrow for the only job interview I have been able to secure since quarantine started. But instead I am awake and restless. Concocting a mental to-do list that keeps growing even as my focus can’t be settled for one moment. I tried to work on two projects I’d forgotten for a while, tried to type pages in the journals I’ve been avoiding for two weeks, whose entries are fresh snow from this December but whose marks are hard to decipher. But I couldn’t stick with either task for long.
I can blame the caffeine earlier for all this mania. Indeed, that is even too hard a drug for my tenuous brainmeat. I drank half of a large chai tea latte- the sweet taste I’d not gotten since February- and my thoughts shot out faster than a meteor. Which is a cliche but also inaccurate. Meteors move a lot slower than you think but also faster. Both of these things are true. It’s hard to explain unless you’ve seen one. I saw a few that one night in the desert. Laying on the picnic table with my casita coven, creating inside jokes and cackling into the luminous sky above us. Everything seemed possible then. What feels possible now?
What seems possible now is barely a crumb of the open vast sky I gazed upon with wonder 5 years ago. Expanding our view of what is possible and what alreasdy exists is beautiful but it is also painful. Once expanded the mind cannot go back to its former dimensions. Once I knew there was joy, a life beyond the squalor I was born into, that there were people who loved you in a way that felt real, I could not go back for scraps.
But that is only half truth. Still I find myself going back to scraps. Surrounded by love I still go looking for those who don’t or can never love me in those deep ways. My mind always chasing the familiar. I have been lucky to be loved by so many and yet. And yet I squander it every time because I’m too focused on the people I am only background noise to.
Dee told me, drunk at Hobart 2019, that I had to stop acting like I wasn’t awesome. And it hurt their heart - I was great. We were sitting at a table with 12 women writers, getting drunk and laughing loud like children- so loud that a woman from a neighboring table asked us to be quiet but I so drunk I didn’t understand her request. Back at the farm we were staying at, Dee and I sat on concrete steps in the quiet, squeezed hip to hip next to each other. When I looked up into that sky then, everything felt possible there too.
Dee and I have known each other since we were 12. Sure we lost touch in our high school years while we struggled to be people, silently or not so silently self destructing in our own respective ways. But they are someone that can speak to so many iterations of who I have been. Not many know me in a tangible way though they might believe they do. Dee was there through pieces of my life I can scarcely remember now. They are here now supportive as I piece the different versions I have been into a quilt I can fully inhabit. We met in the school library in 6th grade. Or we met because of Heather and her orbit, how she pulled us all together before departing from AMY 5 never to be heard of again. Both of these things are true.
But anyway back to the scraps. Many of the people I am most grateful for these days are people I first relegated to acquaintances or plain low level friends. [ there are many friendship levels and mine tend to be very intense in the best ways once I can get to the place where I’ll allow it.] So uncomfortable with unconditional love that is freely given to me thus I have not “earned yet.” I am under the assumption most will grow tired of me once the shine wears off. I keep everyone at a distance and people fall in love with me pretty easily. Or rather they fall in love with the manic pixie dream girl parts of me that I will play while bored and once I am no longer bored, instead of just explaining this, for the most part I disappear.
People tell me I am good at things or I am good and my belief in them plummets. I lose trust in their judgement. I tell myself they don’t know me. They haven't seen the rank pit of me. And it’s true they haven’t; But that doesn’t mean I’m all garbage. Both of these things can be true.