It’s hard to think about without wincing but sometimes my mind wanders and I think of the stupid things I’ve done to get men to love me.
How I’ve shushed that voice inside me that protested. How I’ve talked my way around it. How I knew going in that it was a bad idea but how I convinced myself that no matter what at least I’d get a good story out of it. It’s always worth the story, right? Yeah, sure, may be. But you don’t just carry the story with you and break it out at parties and then put it back in its case and back on a shelf until the next time you need it. You carry the shame too, and that shame will creep up on you and buckle your knees in the shower or in long walks across parking lots when your mind wanders. Is it still worth the story then? Yeah, sure. May be.
There was this one man who came after me like a bull running toward a billowing red flag. That’s how it felt to me. It was exhilarating. He must have smelled the sadness on me, a bloodhound hunting the lovesick. He made me his mark and he must have known I’d think it felt so nice to be marked that I would go along with what was a very bad and very hurtful plan for everyone involved. He must have known. He must have laughed to himself at how easy it was. Maybe he did.
There was this one man who spent many of his waking hours and of some his sleeping hours radiating a disdain for me that was palpable. You could walk into a room and feel it. I could walk into a room and feel it. He told me when I confessed my unhappiness that we had made our bed and even though we weren’t happy, we needed to lie in it. Forever. Because that was the right thing to do. I imagined myself dying a withered and dried-up husk of a person. Sometimes I think about what life would be like had I stayed and lived out my life pushing that boulder up the hill. The thought errors out every time. It cuts to a “footage not found” screen. Maybe that man would have grown to love and respect me with time.
I’m thinking about these things a lot lately because of how so many of my past relationships contrast so sharply with the relationship I have with the man I am going to marry. All that time I spent positioning myself so that I could lap up crumbs of an aloof man’s affection; what was I thinking? Who was I? Why was I so sure that I had to settle for whatever I could get at that moment because it was pretty unlikely that I’d ever find more? Why did I need to self-loathing to play out externally as a relationship with another person? What did I actually learn from any of that, other than don’t do that again, dummy?
I’m under no illusions that marriage will be easy. But to be stepping into it with someone who has never once made me question my self-worth feels like a revelation, a sunrise, a new notebook, a popped cork. There is magic and comfort there, with room to grow and without fear.
It’s exactly what I have been pining for my whole life.
The CT scan showed that I’ve got chronic sinusitis plus a nasal septal spur on my right side, and that thing is keeping stuff trapped in my head that just keeps festering and perpetuating the gross cycle of crud in my skull. So I’ve got an appointment with an ENT to talk about my options. I’ve been doing nasal irrigation daily for a week or so and it seems to be working. In fact, I skipped it last night and woke up with a sore throat. INTRIGUE!
It snowed Saturday morning and stayed on the ground for a few hours. Long enough for us to terrorize the neighborhood with a multi-street snowball fight (involving only ourselves). I was the conscientious objector/documenter, of course. Here’s a slideshow of the carnage.
I’ve been sick for nine weeks. Upper respiratory infection-type stuff that runs its course and before leaving my body, regenerates like it’s stuck in a loop.
Sore throat, sinus congestion, stuff issuing from my skull that runs the colors of the rainbow, crusty eyes (at one point double pink eye), a dry cough, then a wet cough, junk dripping down my throat from my skull, popping ears (at one point an ear infection), then a cough that keeps me up all night, then a sore throat and is begins again. It’s run three complete cycles since Dec. 29 including after a round of antibiotics and I feel like I am going to lose my mind if I don’t get totally over it soon. I’m hacking up a lung everywhere I go, I’m hoarse and tired all the time, there are gross tissues falling out of all my pockets and my purse, and I smell like cough drops because I CONSTANTLY have a cough drop in my mouth. I sleep with a cough drop in my mouth or else I don’t sleep at all so my teeth are probably going to rot out. (And I’ve had two nights where I woke myself up coughing around 1 a.m. and could not go back to sleep.)
I thought maybe something in the new house had me on an allergic trip so I went for allergy testing today. After 45 minutes of being poked and injected with pins and needles dosed with pure allergens, I learned that I am only allergic to dust mites, mold and horses. Yes, horses. Because why not?
So it’s not the dogs or the down comforter or even the trees, which have opened up unseasonably early thanks to the warm winter. No pollen allergies. Ain’t that some shit?
The allergist referred me across the street to the radiology clinic so they could do a CT scan of my skull and see what’s going on in there. I learned that a CT scan is a relatively pleasant experience, compared to an MRI. So that’s nice.
At this point if there was a small pony living inside my skull, it would be a relief because at least I’d know what was fucking me up.
“What do you want for Christmas?” he said. “Jewelrymaking stuff,” I replied. I panicked. I was casting a wide net.
I have always been afraid to even go down this path, as it requires a lot of stuff and a lot of patience for dealing with small pieces.
So far I am sticking to fairly simple stuff and trying to learn the best way to even go about designing a piece, and what all the little do-dads are called. It’s way more complicated than I ever thought but then again I don’t think I ever thought that much about it.
Much respect to people who make this look easy.
My mother never seemed to appreciate some of my early attempts at artistic expression, like running free in a crowded parking lot, putting my face too close to things that were either on fire or boiling, licking all the candy at the freestanding candy kiosk at the mall, or shoving my hands directly into whatever food was placed in the middle of the dinner table even if I had no intention of actually eating it.
There wasn’t a question that my mom couldn’t answer with a pensive, “That’s a tough one.”
“Mom, what does ‘what’ mean?”
“Mom, can I have a pretzel?”
“Mom, who would win in a fight — this pachycephalosaurus or this dragon?”
… “That’s a tough one.”
One of my favorite games to play with my mom was the one where I would act like a seizing banshee while she would try to buckle me into my carseat. You should have seen the expression on her face, her hair hanging in stress-sweat-soaked strands, as I laughed manically. I’d win every time!
I learned early that anything could be a drum, if you hit it hard enough with drum sticks.