Thursday, September 27, 2012

Surely this is making me late.

To sit here and blog because we have to leave for the airport in what sounds like a lot of time, but is actually only a little when you consider it's me having to do the preparing of myself for it. Meaning I'm bad on traveling days. I orbit around, quasi-useless, getting little bits of tasks done and going on to other little bits but not finishing anything.

We are going to Georgia for the memorial service this morning. My dad is not coming. He wanted to but is not. I am reading a statement. Then part of a poem. Not one I wrote. The poems I write are too dark to be read at funerals.

Ruskin scared me this morning by making some sort of weird cat-noise that I've never heard before. Like an exhaled hiss through the nose? With his mouth shut? Not a cough? He only did it a few times but.... I know last night we put more flea topical stuff on them and he wasn't pleased. I think he scratched his head and then licked his paw or something. From having Mike as my decoder-of-all-things-technical-whether-I-wanted-to-know-it-or-not, I learned that apparently Advantage is a nicotine-derived pesticide that is lethal to insects but not harmful to mammals. Or that's what I can remember. He (Rus) also puked in Mike's slippers during the night. Mike says I think he's mad at us. It's true, by 14 years of experience, Rus recognizes the suitcase and is Not Pleased.

I am in the Process of Conserving Everyone. It's like invisible rosary beads where I worryworryworry about them so they will be safe, even though I know that worry doesn't do crap. You can never prepare for what will actually happen or who it will happen to. I can't lose any more cats. I can't lose any more people. No we haven't found Ravi. If we found Ravi it would be a big blog post entitled WE FOUND RAVI.

Yesterday I mouthed off to a few neighborhood drunkards (that sounds like I know them personally but there are so many that they are anonymous to me and it's actually two neighborhoods) who were attempting to micromanage my street crossing and bus disembarkation, and would not take no for answer. I think they might have perceived me as Uppity (Hi Kathi if you are reading this).

I'm doing okay on countering my newfound agoraphobia but not great. I am fallible failing fallen falling. My psyche is slowly falling through space, trying to relocate its tether. If you see my body, that's what's going on inside of it.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Sigh. #$#$%%^&&*^!!!

I cut my left pinky finger this morning making another scarf and it wouldn't stop bleeding. I have this big dumb bandage on it that makes it hard to type a, left shift, q, w, z. I keep hitting caps lock. Once I hit a mysterious key combination that almost deleted a draft email.

I sent out a submission this morning despite the typing. It's for an anthology whose cause is very important to me. I meant to get it out sooner but with all the stuff going on... I didn't. Now I feel like I have almost zero chance of acceptance b/c of 9/30 deadline coming so close.

There are so many a's.

I want to slap Ruskin. He is being such a loudmouthed bully about food this morning. I curtailed it (the slap) at the last minute and shoved his face, gently, away.

I'm so tired. I have more to say but my hand hurts & I'm impatient with the slow muddled typing when usually I'm so fast.

There are so many emotions.

Friday, September 21, 2012


... my mom passed away a little after 5pm today.

It's what she wanted.

But it sucks. It's not what I wanted. I guess that's kind of obvious.

That is all.

How am I doing

So in the middle of all this mom stuff, friends are asking me how are you doing? And I don't really have a good answer for them. I'm working my recovery program. I am alive. I made a tshirt scarf and some cute jewelry this morning to take my mind off stuff. But then this afternoon I wanted to go to Writer's Cafe and I was getting ready and smacked my head on something (aGAIN) and realized that there was no way I could go out today and blend in like a normal person.

Mom was responsive last night though she couldn't talk. Today she is unresponsive and has a fever. They don't have her intubated. I assuming that she couldn't talk because... well... yeah. Okay so they're gonna move her to the hospice care floor soon. I know she didn't want to be in this situation, to go in a hospital. But I think at a point, I guess you just lose control of what happens to you.

K asked me to post pix of the scarf when I was done. So here they are. It's super comfy for the transitional weather we've been having. Lovely and cool but then verging on warm in the afternoon.

Mom update

So my mother is still with us, AFAIK. My Aunt S (mom's sister) flew in last night. I hope she was able to get a snippet of lucid mom. If I were them (Aunt D and Uncle J) I would ask my Aunt S to take care of my grandmother, who at 93 has dementia, and just recently (even thought hey were living in the same house) learned of the seriousness of mom's condition.

Although I bet they left out the part where she's refusing treatment. I guess I might leave out that part too, at this point.

Aunt S and Gran are closer than Aunt S and mom. And I bet Uncle J needs a rest or, conversely, to go to work.

Mom is refusing all treatment, except for pain meds and benzos (which I don't know if she knows she's getting)... which calm her down and suppress the gag reflex. Like I mentioned before it took them two days to convince her to even go to the hospital even when she was throwing up blood.

She even refused the endoscope. I thought maybe she would at least let them do that procedure, because it can't be comfortable having a bleed in your stomach. And I'm guessing (I do so much guessing, with this situation) that the docs can't tell if she's still bleeding internally because she refuses the damn endoscope.

I told Mike Aunt D said mom said she doesn't want tubes anywhere.

[[I'm guessing, again, that IVs don't count. Which is more guessing, which I'm frustrated by because if I were there I would know names, dosages, methods of delivery, how often... knowing facts is one way I cope.]]

Mike said ... but sometimes tubes bring good things.

True that. I don't think mom wants any good things though, besides being comfortable.

Aunt D mentioned that mom was no longer taking any fluids except sips of water, very occasionally. But again, I don't know if they are hydrating her via IV or not. I would hope so. I really think the dehydration route to death is inhumane... though it's done commonly.

I asked Aunt D if I should go down there. I wanted guidance, any viewpoint. I have really no experience with this and it's such a weird and complicated situation. I feel like Aunt D is holding together all these people who wouldn't normally hold themselves together.

Aunt D said that she did not know if I would make it in time, and that it was okay for me to keep the really good memory of seeing my mom when I did, of saying goodbye when I did.

I was so grateful for that. Just... for someone to tell me what to do, for someone to tell me it was okay to preserve the memory that I have of her.

Once, a few years ago, when there was something else up with my mom --which is the only reason my Aunt S and I talk --I told my Aunt S. This family, like rats from a sinking ship. She didn't deny it, but I think she was a little shocked that I said it.

N expressed some raised eyebrows that my Aunt S. hadn't called me --throughout this entire process --to see how I was doing. I said that I was really okay with that, that I didn't want to talk to her, that we don't normally talk, that talking to her would be overwhelming, and that I'd see her at the service.

Aunt S is a devout Catholic. I wonder if mom told her the part where she's refusing treatment.

N seemed... not surprised exactly at my response because she knows this family, how they are. How we are. I fully implicate myself in our disconnection.

I asked Aunt D to call me when mom had a lucid moment so I could talk to her for just thirty seconds, which she did. As soon as I feel it's reasonable, time-wise, I'm going to text again and ask her the same thing for today if possible.

Yesterday when I talked to mom for a moment, she was sort of in-and-out. She tried to say I love you, over and over again, but it wasn't quite coming. Like she was in a fitful sleep and sleeptalking.

Aunt D got on the phone and said, I want you to know she's trying to say I love you. I'd figured it out. Or else, it didn't matter. If we're beyond language, that's okay. Hearing her voice in any capacity... I just needed to. I hope I can hear it again before she goes.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Throwing myself back into work

So even while everything is sort of crumbling around me, I find it consoling to work on work. Anyone who admonishes me, oh go ahead, take another pill that'll solve everything has no idea how grateful I am that pills make it possible for me, right now, to not be losing my composure completely as various actions play themselves out in GA. I'm all for "better living through chemistry" as they say. It made my 17-year-old self able to leave the house twenty years ago, and today chemistry is helping me be out of bed, thinking and working, without my emotional core breached and spilling all over the house.

On the DS-HUM listserv, Kevin Gotkin (at UP) shared a film that he produced. To get the most out of this blog entry, you should really go watch it before reading on. It's about half an hour long though, so I understand if you can't go see the whole thing. But at some point in your copious free time, you should.

This film, as I understood it on 0.75 cups of coffee, is about disabilities making possible genuinely and innovative views on, and thus methods for conceiving of, artistic production. Toward the end, this film Rupture, Sometimes focused on a woman, Jessica Feldman, who spoke of her experience with seizures and then being on medicine to ameliorate the seizures so she could function and produce in our larger normalizing society, which she recognizes as "linear." Her own experience before that, because of the disorientation of periodic seizures, had her perceive time as "ruptured." And she says that while she is glad to be productive, she misses the opportunities that "the rupture" offered her in terms of knowing the world differently.

This kind of ties into an idea I formed when writing up a sort of personal artistic statement for Prosody a few weeks back. I never got to include this idea in the show, but I'm coming to realize the benefit, the artistic fruitfulness of what I'm calling creative navigation. For a long time I saw only the obstacles of having a disability (or several). I was disheartened about how there will pretty much always be obstacles. We're not going to transition into this universally accessible society in my lifetime. But now I'm beginning to see that the process of working around / among these obstacles can be incredibly fruitful. It's causing a shift in my own poetics that I can't quite articulate yet because it's still happening. 

If you have a disability, you get thrown into the vicissitudes of your own idiosyncratic body, or brain, like, a hundred times a day. 

For me, it's like all of a sudden I'm thrust from a situation which is normal for me and my own idiosyncratic body / brain, and then something new comes along to add to my experience. 

I am legally blind, have fibromyalgia, OCD, and PTSD. Going out into the world is really challenging. Like, psychologically taxing. Even when the event I'm going to is something that's supposed to ease the burden, like yoga or massage therapy. Simply getting there and back can be so stressful that it almost-but-not-quite cancels out the good that happened at the session. 

Just when I think I have my shit together, so to speak... just when I can say, all right, I've reconciled with these certain obstacles, there are new ones. And all I saw, before I paused to reflect on it, was the stress. 

In the moment, it feels like someone picks me up, turns me on my head, holds me by the feet, shakes me around until I flop like a ragdoll. Then this "force" plops me back down at, for example, the bus shelter and says, okay kid, back to your regularly scheduled program.

But maaaybe it's worth considering the alternate vantage points that this very wobbly, ungraceful, and out-of-sync journey opens up for me. I don't know the answers yet for myself, on how this POV-shift (from stress to access --and the thing I'm accessing is a different part of my artistic brain) will redefine me and my art. But a shift is coming. Really, it's already happening.

FAVORITE MOMENTS of the film: 
Georgina Kleege about "dismantling simple binaries"
Kleege again: "all of the messiness of lived experience is ... wiped out of the philosophical discussions of blindness"
"gradations, shades, and registers"
Kathe Kudlick about "alternative soundtracks"
Amanda Cachia "generative aspects of disability"
Jessica Feldman "time doesn't actually function the way linear history describes it"
[and I appreciate all the music credits as they happen-- new stuff to d/l from itunes]

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

In the middle of something

My uncle emailed Mike to let him know that my mom has been throwing up small amounts of blood for the last two days and they finally convinced her to go to an ER to get it looked at. They think she now has a bleeding ulcer. N says I'm barred from looking up anything on the internet dealing with fleas or my mom's condition, so I had Mike look it up and he said they can cauterize the bleeding with an endoscope, which they can do with twilight anesthesia. If that doesn't work, it's surgery, which she will most likely refuse.

I just keep thinking.....

.... but I'm not going to share what I'm thinking because I'm afraid of being judged. I'm judging myself already. I can't even believe this whole situation, Still. Apparently she's been "the same" since I left until now.

I said I wasn't going back there.

They've now informed my grandmother of how serious my mom's condition is.

Apparently that didn't go over so well.

As you might think it wouldn't.

I don't even know if any of them want to see me, including my mother. I think she has mixed feelings. I think the goodbye we had was a good one and I want to keep it that way.

Then the cat got a hairball and I flipped out. Internally. Everything is internal right now. I can't seem to ... I don't know. Finish this blog post, among other things.

I would ask you to pray, if you are the praying type, but I don't know what to pray for anyway. I guess I would say, for a peaceful transition for my mom. And some grace for the rest of us to get through this.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Where my poems at.

A few people have requested me to be more forthcoming about where my poems are currently published, providing links and such. Yeah, I can be a bit lackadaisical about that, so here's a blog post just with links to my stuff. Thanks, readers, for giving me the nudge.

My most recent pub, and one of my favorite ones this year, at Escape into Life. Rather than starting at my feature, you should really take some time, begin at the main page. The site is more than it seems on the surface. It has an amazing origin story and it's like a hybrid-art wonderland. Don't forget to check out the complete feature of Viktoria Sorochinski, the woman who took the photos my poems were paired with.

What I like about all of these journals is that they each are so different. I'm honored to be among such great company!

Menacing Hedge

Rufous City Review

The Shwibly
Thirteen Myna Birds (my work is no longer up and she doesn't do archives, but you should check out the journal anyway)

More coming in autumn and winter from Blood Lotus, Prick of the Spindle, right hand pointing, and RHINO.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

What I did and didn't do on my summer vacation

Although I was completely bummed about dad changing shore plans last minute so Mike and I couldn't go, I do want to say that I got to do some pretty cool things this week instead of being at the ocean. I actually skipped two readings because I was rather fatigued. Which means I could have done cool things four out of five nights of the week. Actually, there were two on Friday night, but I was dead-exhausted and opted for neither.

What I did do: I went to the Beauty Is A Verb reading on Thursday. I'd been anticipating this reading since last April, when the date had to be moved because of the f*ing bomb threats at Pitt. Usually I find academic venues a bit dry and difficult, lacking in ambiance. This was still the case at the O'Hara Student Center, but the readings were fantastic. And and AND I got to meet three people who I'd been wanting to meet for quite awhile: the smart and sassy Jennifer Bartlett (she's really funny too, and kind) the fierce and feisty Kathi Wolfe (I think I have a crush on one of her new personae, and she said she likes my work and I should email her) and ... Mike Northen, who was rather laid back and professorial and I felt a little awkward because I'm shy and I wonder if he is too. I had that magnets-repelling feeling that I get when two shy people, myself being one of them, try to have a conversation. Nonetheless, he recognized my name from having a poem in Wordgathering this month, and he told me to keep sending... which is really a moment of validation I needed and I sooooo appreciated it.

ASIDE: I had this convo with Mike (husband Mike not editor Mike) about my ridiculous neuroticisms whenever I have poems accepted. For example: an editor quickly accepts four out of five or six poems I sent. My response, although I'm very happy about it, is also tinged with OMG, that editor wasn't very discriminating. They're probably just desperate. They need to fill in some space. It couldn't possibly be because they liked my work that much. If an editor accepts one out of five or six poems that I send, especially if it's an online venue, my reaction, although I'm quite pleased, is tempered with really, only one poem? Wow, I just barely got in. The editor must just barely like me. Why did they choose this poem at all? What about the others? Were they bad? REALLY bad? It was probably a pity-acceptance.  I mean, what is wrong with my self-esteem that I can't win either way? But really. Acceptances are winning. Period-end-of-discussion. Even rejections are winning, because it means I actually sent stuff out instead of procrastinating on it. Now if only someone would pick up the manuscript...

Anyway, then on Friday Pitt had a roundtable discussion about dis-studies in the humanities. I guess right now their dis-studies program sort of follows the medical model (grumble, cure, etc.). But they want to parlez. So good on them. I hope this panel got the ball rolling as far as a possible program at Pitt. But it'll be years, I bet. It was a good, stimulating discussion though. I felt like my brain had been to a mini-conference. This is a good feeling. I haven't gotten to go to conferences in quite some time, due to health stuff and work stuff. But... Multiple Perspectives in April and AWP in February. I think I have the months right. Anyone wanna split a room for AWP?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

True things and nonsense.

A thought that I think my mom thinks, even though I have empirical evidence that suggests otherwise: because she doesn't want to live with any further disabilities, it somehow negates my life. Like she thinks a life with a disability isn't worth living.

Last year or maybe it was two years ago (they blend together) when the docs had to amputate part of her foot, she told me that if she had any further infection in her foot, infection which would impel them to take off the whole foot, that she didn't want to live without a foot. That she would rather be let go septic and die. Fast forward to this situation, and replace foot with (possibly temporary) feeding tube.

Putting aside the irrational thought for the moment, her statements also remind me of an opinion I encountered when I was trying to lead my students in a rhetorical analysis of one argument among the many opinions in the ethics of what people call "the right to die."

ASIDE: Again, please, I don't want to debate ethics on the blog. This is me, emotionally processing. I put it into the world instead of keeping it private in case even one other person that reads this may be helped by it. Also to give my friends insight into what is happening with me right now, since I pretty much am not talking about it in their company.

Anyway, the article was called "Rising to the Occasion of Our Death." Here's the paragraph I'm interested in right now:

[at this moment both Luna and Ruskin have come in whining. One is acting like a kitten on speed and one is acting like a grumpy old man. And now small children are babbling outside my window. I can feel my early morning, tenuous concentration start to erode a little.]

Advocates of active euthanasia appeal to the principle of patient autonomy-- as the use of the phrase "voluntary euthanasia" indicates. But emphasis on the patient's right to determine his or her destiny often harbors an extremely naive view of the uncoerced nature of the decision. Patients who plead to be put to death hardly make unforced decisions if the terms and conditions under which they receive care already nudge them in the direction of the exit. If the elderly have stumbled around in their apartments, alone and frightened for years, or if they have spent years warehoused in geriatrics barracks, then the decision to be killed for mercy hardly reflects an uncoereced decision. The alternative may be so wretched as to push patients toward this escape. It is a huge irony and, in some cases, hypocrisy to talk suddenly about a compassionate killing when the aging and dying may have been starved for compassion for many years. To put to bluntly, a country has not earned the moral right to kill for mercy unless it has already sustained and supported life mercifully. Otherwise we kill for compassion only to reduce the demands on our compassion. This statement does not charge a given doctor or family member with impure motives. I am concerned here not with the individual case but with the cumulative impact of a social policy.

My mom has stumbled around in her life alone and frightened for years. She has stubbornly refused to be pulled from her own morass. Many have tried. She has, over half my life, whittled away her choices until she got to where she's at now.

However, I still can't help but think, for example, that she would not really believe she'd lose her independence, say, with an amputated foot, if she knew she could afford a vehicle with the appropriate modifications to still let her drive. Or if she could move to a city and a climate that would allow her the ability to get around easily using a wheelchair.

But part of me knows this is crap. She equates having to use a wheelchair, even, with like... the worst thing that could happen ever. I really do think she would rather die than use one. I don't know if this is attitudinal, or if she is making this assumption based on some broken cost-benefit analysis. Is the analysis still considered broken if she's poor and living in rural GA?

She refuses counseling.
She refuses counseling.
She refuses counseling.

She would rather die than use a wheelchair.

She mainstreamed me. She told me that I could be like anyone else. She fostered an independence in me that she didn't have by making me do things that I was terrified of doing and sort of like... somehow implied that I had no choice.

I never felt like it was okay to refuse. To say X is too much. I rode horses, did dressage and stadium jumping. She didn't get why I didn't want to compete but eventually let me have that. A lot of time in the arena alone, hating myself. But being thrilled I made it through another lesson. My body was all muscle, so small atop the horses who got bigger and bigger each year. Until I was riding a 16-hand gelding and felt like an ant on the roof of a Porsche just as it enters a tunnel.

I got C's in math because I was bad at math, not that I couldn't make my eyes go back and forth between board and notebook and board to copy the long algebraic proofs and still concentrate on the logic behind them as it was being explained to the class.

She yelled. She screamed. She called me horrible names. One of which was lazy. She asked me how I would ever get into MIT with those grades. I ended up not applying. Not that I'm saying I was a thwarted computer scientist. It's not where my heart truly lay. But.

But it was still a gift.

I realized I could fight through things though they terrified me and that's how I lived my life for a long time. Gritting my teeth against the edge of terror. Probably when I started working with A was when I began to loosen my grip a little.

If this entry doesn't make sense, it's because nothing, nothing made sense or does.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Another clarification

Ah yes, ladies and gentlemen, you've been waiting for it. At last... drunk blogging. Those of you who know me well may wonder how it was I come to have never drunkenly blogged before. Ahem. Anyway here's how it happened: 1) I got some good poetry related news 2) I'm a total lightweight. 3) No, no one has accepted the MS yet; it wasn't that. 4) But I will share it tomorrow.

I just wanted to clarify something from my previous post this morning. I've been feeling badly all day about the implications of this statement. Earlier today I wrote:

I could never do this for someone. Starve them. Even if they begged. Not starving. Not withholding life / water / food. It's too cruel. I couldn't do what my aunt is doing right now. But the situation is different, maybe. To not-starve my mother would take colossal positive action, defiance of her immense gravity, her intense sadness that no one acknowledges but surrounds her like an aura. 

I just want to clarify. What my aunt is doing is not the same thing that the woman in I Helped My Mom Starve is doing. Those of you who haven't been following closely along might have missed the fact that starving is what can basically happen when one refuses treatment for severe gastroparesis. This was my mom's choice, and AFAIK, she made that all by herself; there was nothing anyone could do or say about it.

The aunt and uncle who take care of my mother and my grandmother (who is in her nineties) are WONDERFUL people, who are doing an insanely tough job because right now they don't have much of a choice. They are doing, out of familial kindness, a thing I could not do. I could not care for my mom in this situation. Could not. Because of what it would do to me psychologically. My aunt is there for my mom; my uncle too.

Just wanted to underline that point.

Monday Morning Update

I haven't blogged in awhile and I suppose I should, just to keep up the habit. I don't want to fall out of it. For me right now, any positive action, an action that defies gravity, is also pushing against this great sadness. How long does she have left? Did I tell you? I searched the internet for data on how long it takes a person to starve to death. The answer, it seemed, is around 60 days if you have adequate hydration. 

I also found a blip about a book --not quite a review -- called How I Helped My Mother Starve to Death by a woman who in fact, did what she said. I guess she had promised her mother she would do this for her, and then did. It took two weeks. 

I could never do this for someone. Starve them. Even if they begged. Not starving. Not withholding life / water / food. It's too cruel. I couldn't do what my aunt is doing right now. But the situation is different, maybe. To not-starve my mother would take colossal positive action, defiance of her immense gravity, her intense sadness that no one acknowledges but surrounds her like an aura. 

[[[Because this blog is open to the internet, I must now restate: 


For years now, her voice has sounded like she is about to cry, or has just finished crying.

I don't know how the docs decided they should approve hospice for her. 

I swore, and I must continue to swear to myself, that my job is not to fix her anymore. To finally let her have her way. I must continue to swear this to myself until she finally passes. N told me two years ago that I need to let go of her or "it would destroy me." N is not a very directive person usually, so I tried to listen. Still, the instinct is strong to not let go.

I wonder how far into the 60 days we are. How far were we when I visited her? 

I want to call her, but don't want to call her. I don't want to know how bad it is right now, or how good. I have a therp session with N at one-ish this afternoon, so I'm calling this morning. 

[UPDATE: My strategy to call her before my therapy appt has been foiled. I called and she was still in bed -- this is a change in routine from when I was visiting her. At that point she was getting up around 8:30-9am. I asked if I should call her later... hoping she'd say 11 or so... and she suggested this afternoon. Frak. But her voice sounded.... like it always does. Still.]

I'm trying to concentrate on my own positive action in my own life. A new acquaintance has solicited some poems from me for an amazing site of hybrid art and writing. What a boon. It raises me up, helps me feel connected.

* * * 

Last Thursday was the first MW workshop of the semester. I had to leave briefly to cry. One of my meds makes me foggy, so that when I try to, for example, carry on a scholarly conversation, and I'm pressed to clarify my ideas, I just get verbally derailed. Like the thought I was *just having* evaporates, dissolves back into my brain. 

N has since changed the med. We know though, that this replacement med, can make me hypomanic. Which is not the same as full-blown mania and in fact, can be really really enjoyable. But either I'm not there yet or it's not enjoyable this time. I'm a bit less foggy but I still have these moments of .... haze. This med is supposed to be "short term." How long is that? Until my mom passes, plus __ days to mourn her? N is a good therapist. If I wanted off the med, I could come off. For now it's helping tamp down the extra OCD that has come out under stress. It's helping, but I don't have complete coverage. 

Mike says:

You need to be okay with not being 100% right now.

Most people if they were dealing with what you're dealing with would be in bed crying.

This situation is just fucked up and there's not really anything you can do about it [with the implication that what I can do about it is take care of myself].

* * *

I don't cry a lot. I'm not in bed more than usual. The idea of talking to people about anything is just extremely taxing though. Even the smallest small talk. And when I'm out, I feel that paranoid feeling like everyone's looking at me and judging. I mean, I feel it more than usual. I feel it to the extent where I recognize it's irrational. It's like a panic attack in slow motion. And when I'm outside, it takes so long to get home. Being at bus stops is excruciating for this feeling of being probed by eyes. Of "I don't have my face on right please stop noticing it."

If you're reading this, I don't need inspirational comments about how no one is truly normal, I can choose to sink or swim etc. This is me venting feelings. I just need you to listen.

Of course I choose fight. I finally realized I'm not like my mom in this way. Sometimes my fight looks to others like flight. It is called my own self-preservation. 

Maybe that's ungracious to say about my mom. She is the most stubborn person I know. She has always, if not fought, which to me implies pro-activeness, then hung on, which still has tenacity to it. 

* * *

I'm maybe starting an intensive group therapy thinger for people with OCD in a few weeks. This is somewhat exciting to me because in my whole life I've known maybe three people who have actual OCD (not like, when I don't line up the silverware on the place settings exactly, I get a bit antsy). I'm trying to think if that's more or fewer than blind people I know. Calculating... I think it's the same. Three blind people. Three people with OCD. 

It is my form of positive action. Well, one of them. The second thing is to continue with poems, poetry, dis-studies.... and I gotta go now b/c the door is knocking.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

No good words

Sometimes a stack of disappointments just makes me fall in on myself in concentric circles of sad, like a rock tossed and then falling to the bottom of a lake.

I just don't know what else to say.

I can't take one more disappointment right now.

I was working so hard to collect myself to get to the shore, to make sure I was stable and could have a conversation with someone without crying or having a panic attack. To make sure I wasn't going to get claustrophobic while riding the bus. Yesterday I had lunch with Barb who is so great. And we went back to look at her sweet little apartment. It was the first time in days that I hadn't felt the sadness just constantly eating at me. I could just ignore it for a time. And so, after navigating the obstacles of my emotional crap and Mike's work crap, we finally made the decision that we could pry ourselves away and go to the shore....

....and now it looks like my "transportation opportunity" has fallen through. Last week it was teetering on the edge and I had some hope that we could work it out, but I found out this morning that even with Mike & my efforts to meet halfway, the answer is no. We made the decision 12 hours too late.

Right now, at this moment, I am incredibly bitter that I can't drive. I'm very bitter at my family who didn't even double check with me before they changed the plan.

I just can't even.... I want to go back to bed forever.  I have to see A at 11:45, but I don't want to go outside because I can't take another thing going wrong right now.

Fuck this. Fuck everything.

Saturday, September 1, 2012


So I just took my first oatmeal bath in an attempt to soothe my spots. The spots creep ever-upward. They have now gained the territory of the torso, reaching the stomach, breast, upper back. It's like a gradient. They are most prevalent at the ankles and calves and then thin out-and-up.


First of all, consider the name: colloidal oatmeal. I thought: spheroid, toroid, ... it's shaped like a colon? I knew that wasn't right but the word colloidal was intriguing. Googling the etymology gives you

1847, from Fr. colloide (1845), from Gk. kolla "glue" + -oeides "form"

It's a type of suspended solution.

Secondly, the packet. Made by Aveeno Active Naturals. It looked like the type of oatmeal packet where you'd microwave it for breakfast. Which led to my third fleeting thought can I eat this? No. For external use only. In bold type. Directions: Turn warm water faucet on to full force. Slowly sprinkle packet of colloidal oatmeal directly under the faucet into the tub or container. Stir any colloidal oatmeal settled on the bottom. The writers of the package copy liked the word colloidal too.

I turned on the faucet, sprinkled slowly at first and then got impatient and sort of dumped it in. It smelled like (surprise!) oatmeal. The clumps --of course there were clumps b/c I was impatient --looked like cat vomit. I tried not to think about that as I reached down and unclumped them with my fingers. They felt like warm velvety goop and dissolved as soon as I touched them.

As I slid into the tub I wondered about my new ink and soaking it. For two weeks, no sun, no soaking, no pools. Soaking opens the pores and compromises the ink or something. Then I remembered that I marked 8/31 in my planner as TATTOO HEALED TODAY.

August 31 was also my mother's birthday.

Oh dear God I just said was. Fuckshitfuck. Not was was. Just was, as in, it happened yesterday. Not that it never will happen again. Not what I meant. She's 66 now.

I did not call her.

At the time of our recent goodbye I told her I'll call you in a few days. If you're up for talking we'll talk. She smiled and said okay sweetie. There were tears in her voice but her voice is one that sounds like there's always tears in it.

I did not want to call her until after the Prosody taping was over. Now it's over. I should probably call her tonight.

I told my brain not to think about that.

So into the tub. I stretch into a forward-fold and scrutinize my legs. Today a new friend made a reference to something that happened in 2002 but you were probably still in your crib. I replied fake-indignantly, pshosh! I'll have you know they send babies to grad school now. I started grad school in '02. She : are you thirty-five? Me :  thirty-seven. She : you look twenty ____. Some number I didn't hear. Well, from the hips up I might look twenty-mumbles, but from the hips down I look my age and more. Mottled pink-gray-pink. Lots of varicosities and knots, bruises, blue stripes and swaths. And of course, the recently arrived constellations of spots. The mess on the back of my left ankle that I've named Clusterfuck. The one in the bend of my left knee that I named Sammy.

Then: damn, this tub is shallow. Hotel tub. Who knew it was more shallow than the one at my house? I pretzeled my legs underneath me and submerged my head to the point where the water was over my ears. My thighs, knees, and the top surface of my torso still stuck out. Chicken, get in the pot. I couldn't get myself into the pot.

I looked up. Towel rack. White towels. The deliciously scratchy kind. My hair floated around me. I thought what if the spots come up on my scalp. I briefly fantasized about shaving my head. I remember what that felt like. The divine feeling of quarter-inch-long head stubble. I thought about my natural hair color, which is sort of an ashy brown. Which made me think about how my mom, for the first time since I've known her, has her natural hair, with no processing of any kind. It's actually really beautiful. She had it straightened when I was there, or perhaps merely straight. Cut into a tidy little bob. The color a deep nut-brown with streaks of gray in her long bangs and at her temples. Little threads at her part. I think it was the most beautiful I've ever seen her hair.

I wondered if it would fall out, now that she's starving.

I told my brain not to think about that.

I looked up at the towel rack again. I wished I was at home with music in my tub where the water will cover more of me. I absently sloshed water over my exposed torso. With my ears underwater I could hear a deep hhrrrummm hhhrrruuumm. This room abuts a service elevator. Distant noise of people talking, moving crap around. I begin to sing very softly I hear the roar of a big machine / hot metal and methedrine / I hear your dive bombers / empire down. Well, at least all those words are in the song anyway. More of me sloshing. I wonder if the guys talking can hear me sloshing like I can hear them talking. I wonder if they wonder if I wonder if the-----

The water got cool too fast. I sat up, drained the tub. Some colloidal cat vomit had streaked and plocked onto the bottom of the tub. I was like eeeewwww and wiped that up. I didn't want the housekeeper coming tomorrow and thinking sheesh what drunks or something. Only later did I realize there would be one if not two showers taken by the time the tub was cleaned.

[I think too much about what other people think about me.]

I compromised a white towel with some red hair dye. Oops.

I leave stains everywhere I go I told my brain not to think that.

Bathing is relaxing.
Sloshing is relaxing.
My lower back and hip muscles feel better.
My skin feels extra soft.
But also prickly and itchy.
Deeper tub next time.