Friday, December 23, 2005

A Watched Pot Never Boils

I woke up in an abysmal mood, wallowing in doubt and self pity, hungover from salt (never liquor, but alfredo sauce sure could be the death of me) and afraid to open my eyes. Somewhere when fall turned to winter I lost my grip on things, on determination, the summer's serenity (maybe you noticed, maybe I didn't make it evident). I hate being in my twenties, long for anything but this irresolute decade, this aimlessness, this hopeless confusion, daily giving up old dreams, nightly picking up vague new ones framed by apprehension and regret. I'm beginning to think I absolutely can't write fiction (admittedly, I haven't given it much of a try, but when I do it feels all wrong), and that all I'm good for is the relatively amusing detailing of my numbered days in this freezing outpost that feels like a dead end, albeit a pleasant enough dead end. But I had bigger plans than this and I find every day that I lose a bit more of the ambition and energy to pursue them. I dread this weekend, finding I'm flattened by grief I thought I cleverly evaded, so accepting, so optimistic, so well-adjusted. I'm drowning in frustration. I hate Christmas shopping, hate feeling obligated, trying to compare the value and usefulness of everything anyone gives me with what I dredged up for them, lacking last year's inspiration. Last year it was enjoyable and my thoughtful gifting was (as far as I know, and I have reason to believe) successful and appreciated. This year the thought of receiving things I'm sure I don't deserve dismays me. Christmas lights are blinding, carols are jarring, liquor is inviting, food tastes abnormal. My eyes are quick to tear and I feel weighted, bound, heavy. (My besieged Christmas Angel is doing her damnedest to save my Scrooged soul. She has far better weapons than Marley's translucent chains or the Ghost of Christmas Future's foreboding vignette: she has the Internet.)

I'm afraid I'm morphing again; it happens every time I'm unsatisfied with my life (or when a trying phase is finished, or when I find someone cut out of my life like an amputation, self-inflicted or unpredicted). A few small changes at first, then big ones, things I don't plan but discover one morning. A haircut, a tattoo, a month-long mood swing, stepping on the scale to find a few additional killing, hated pounds or looking in the mirror and finding whole curved dimensions peeled away so quickly that I look sick and bruised and angled. Discontent is the name of this game, The Twenties, a directionless existence (intermittently so enjoyable that I am brought to tears, but ultimately despairing), without a glowing horizon- that consolation of Christian faith- or the all-absorbing profundity of my own children and a home. I am too proud to worship a numbing elixir like Dad's faithful gin, too deliberate to spontaneously succeed, too attached and cowardly to make a clean break and find some far-flung place to start over in. I once felt that I was meant for something momentous; don't we all, at some stage, in some protected vault in our self-deceiving human brain?

I survived the worst to find a bright time, a short-lived respite of peace and possibility. Now what? The only option left to me is to do what I have always done: wait to stumble into greatness the way all good things have come to me (and they have, this is certain). I think I'm too lazy to really earn fulfillment, too steeped in the enjoyment of everyday life to sacrifice the time to create it. Someone recently accused me (concerned, encouraging) of having become complacent. God help me, I may have. One chance: I've recognized it.

I've wasted the day, pawned the morning reading a book containing a series of unfortunate people connected to a cursed button-box. (There was a brief mention of Grandma's friend Frankie Yankovic and I bawled into a quilted pillow, ended in admiring the pieced symmetry of the sham.) I'm going to receive heaps of unwarranted sympathy and solace tonight from someone who doesn't know how to be unkind to me. I don't always feel what I've been compelled to write today; I'm a genuinely happy person 99% of the time. But I have my moments, and this has been one hell of a year. I'm tired and worn. Maybe I'm expecting too much of myself, maybe I'm trying too hard. Maybe a reeking pouch of ground henna isn't going to change my life, but it's going to change my hair color for a month and a half. Maybe I'll wake up tomorrow ready for the festivities at the luxe rural home of my brother-in-law's sister, who dropped me on my head (onto a plush lawn) from her back when I was four. My knee-high striped sock came off somehow, and it was all I cared about. I remember wailing, "my sock, my sock!" and gripping handfuls of the fragrant, pliable Kemmerer grass while Morgan tried to console me. I suppose I was fine when the sock was restored. If only life were that simple now.


Blogger JOB said...

Merry Christmas A. I do not know if I will have time to tell you over the next few days. So I wanted to tell you right this minute.


December 23, 2005 at 11:39 PM  
Blogger A said...

Thank you, same to you! I went looking for your phone number the other day to give you a holiday call and got distracted, which is what happens whenever I try to call Tonetta and Kym and Hope and everybody else, so don't feel bad. (For Heaven's sake, don't post your # here, email it again.) What gives? Your web portal isn't pulling up and the comments didn't work last time I tried to leave one. If I didn't know better I'd say you were trying to hide. Hope the new old job is going great. Happy holidays!

December 24, 2005 at 12:20 AM  
Blogger Loweded Wookie said...

I read this post and I read with interest the part you said about not being able to write fiction. I came to only one conclusion. Don't write fiction. The words of this post are filled with passion and desperation that far outweigh the mere stupidity of made up worlds, events, and characters. Your words are poetic and while I read the pain there is a distinct pleasure in knowing that you generally feel pretty happy.

Desperation is fleeting but makes us better people at the other end which therefore means that desperation, in a sadistic way, is a good thing that should be nourished in our eventual metamorphosis into the people we shall become - albeit it may only be for a brief period in time before we change again.

By continously changing little things, throwing away big things, or even completely starting all over again we become people that we eventually can come to live with even if we aren't completely satisfied.

Speaking from experience over the last year I too have come to hate the person I was and massively huge things that caused 2005 to be a complete bog hole of a year for me have made me realise in hind sight that they were needed to make me a better person in a way that my complacent life beforehand didn't have a snowball's show in hell of achieving.

Never plan anything and just let life come to you. The way I see life is like looking for the light switch in a dark room. You know where it is but if you look directly at it you can never see it. Look just to the left or right of it and it reveals itself to you. Don't stare at life, let it reveal itself to you and you will find that even on the crappiest of days you can find a small amount of joy in the realisation that life is turning you into a better person.

Now that my words of wisdom from a raving lunatic are over I hope you are beginning to feel better (not from my words but in general) and that you find the time to go outside and make snow angels. And if you do can you make some for me because it doesn't snow where I come from.

Peace and I must say that in the short time I have read your blog after I tripped over it and broke my nose if you are the person that comes across in your blogs then man is 2006 going to reveal someone amazing to us all.

January 3, 2006 at 1:59 AM  
Blogger A said...

Thank you, Wookie.

January 4, 2006 at 9:30 PM  

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