I still drink too much coffee and eat too much dessert. I still spend a lot of time wondering if I am good enough to write a second book/chatarunga with my knees up/put gas in my car. Self-doubt abounds and I’m usually chalk full of caffeine and semi-sweet chocolate and sometimes nicotine. These are the vestiges of old me that have stayed intact. But the biggest way that I am different is that wine is no longer my best friend, arch nemesis, fairy god mother, etc. Also I take Prozac (yay big pharma) which is not a magic pill, but does help keep my anxiety in check. The combination of ditching booze and starting an anti-depressant in the latter half of 2017 has made my life about a hundred times more manageable. My body is a place I am learning to live in and since I can’t easily trade shells, this is a good thing indeed. I still love doing yoga. I still run a couple miles on occasion and never more than three. I still write every day, both in my journal and on my computer, either fiction or poetry or nonsensical madness that I look at fondly. I still fool myself into thinking I can do things like a Whole 30, as if yogurt and oatmeal aren’t the best things south of Mars, only to disappoint myself immensely. I still haven’t started a meditation practice. I still haven’t finished the book I started reading two weeks ago. I still love my mother a whole lot and think the Christmas gift I gave her was pretty dope (a handmade journal with 52 prompts for her to complete each week this year). I still get stomach aches and weird acne even though I’m 24-almost-25. I still wake up early and feel a thrill in my body when I read particular lines of poetry. I still love dogs more than humans and could up my social media game and generally be a better driver, but this year I didn’t make thirteen New Year’s Resolutions. In 2018 I have an intention and that is staying power: to be present, to be here, in this body, in this mind, in this life. Which is vague, I know. And they say your goals should be specific and measurable (or whatever SMART stands for), but this year I’m taking a gentler approach, which is also pretty new me.
Because I feel cold and closed off and walled in. Do you ever get like that? I build a fort inside myself and don’t come out until someone makes banana bread. No one’s making banana bread. It’s November, a notoriously lonely month for me and my razor*. So dark! So bare! I want to make a fire and watch it burn while drinking a glass of wine, then six more. Instead I am in the library wrestling with book #2. I know that there is a story there, but I’m stuck. Stuck like gum in hair. And then the doubt starts to creep in: You can’t write another book, you silly quack! You only had one book in you and now that that’s done you may as well find a nice bridge to cozy up under because you’re done. D-O-N-E done like the turkey will be next week (poor Turkeys. Don’t you love birds and want to become a vegan with me?) So I start feeling sorry for myself and everything else on the goddamn planet including the leaves because they’ve fallen from such great heights and now they’re down here with the rest of us getting stepped on. Poor leaves. You know what I need? A Poopsicle. That’s what you have for dessert after you have a Feelings Salad for lunch. Probably I will also need to eat a real lunch and then I will return to book 2 and all of this will pass by the end of the afternoon. Nothing gold can stay and neither can anything rusty. How nice is that? Life is a carousel of plastic ponies – up and down, up and down. Sometimes I get a little nauseous, but it’s not half bad in my corner of the fair.
*Get it? No shave November? How bad is a joke if I have to explain it?
On Twitter this morning I discovered #MeToo and at first I was all, I shouldn’t contribute. I’ve “only” been: verbally assaulted while eating a sausage on the street, pressured into sex by people I was in relationships with, cat called times a million, texted inappropriately in high school by a married man hitting on pictures of me and my friends on Facebook…and then I was like, oh duh. That’s the fucking point. These are not tiny, insignificant, isolated incidents. This is sexual assault and it’s happening all the time.
One of the more uncomfortable incidents I already tweeted about, but it involved a man I frequently saw while out to breakfast with my parents. I started calling him Creepy Paul because even at nine years old I could tell he gave me too much unwanted attention, then one day he kissed me on the cheek when I was going to the bathroom. It made me feel disgusting and ashamed. I don’t remember if I told my parents or if I gave them an excuse for not wanting to go back to one of our favorite breakfast spots, but I’ve been avoiding that diner for years. I don’t know for certain, but I probably wasn’t the only little girl Creepy Paul assaulted– how frightening and angering and fucked up and disgusting of him.
Besides sharing this information, I don’t really know what to “do” about this and I’m frustrated that I don’t have a solution. I do know that it’s been helpful to hear about other women’s encounters with sexual harassment, particularly on blogs I love, like this one.
And so we keep going.