Friday, September 30, 2016
Later, he brings me tea. He has boiled water on the stove and brewed the mixture that I make for myself any morning that the pot is already clean and I do not need to wash it by hand: half dandelion root, half twig tea. He wants me to know that he cares.
Here is what I think but will not say: I do not--cannot--drink twig tea at night. It contains caffeine, and if I drink it now I will not sleep. I am so sensitive.
After he showers he wants me to tell him that everything is okay. He needs to know where we stand.
The mug of tea sits on the bedside table beside me, growing cold.
I don't think there's anything I could say that would make you understand.
Thursday, September 29, 2016
Everything was going so well, and then it wasn't.
We put on our coats and drove to dinner. We ordered iced tea instead of liquor and made nice conversation. The manager took a liking to us and we got two burgers for the price of one.
Afterward we returned to the apartment and I watered the mums on the front steps. Then, as often happens, I felt something.
As usual, this is where the trouble began.
I wanted him to understand but he did not.
I thought, please stop telling me how to feel. And then, please stop yelling. And then, can't you see that I am hurting and I need you to understand? I am scared. I need you to be tender toward me.
He is not a mind reader.
I, apparently, have a tendency to lash out when I'm upset.
I was not trying to lash out. I was just upset.
There is a difference but I cannot make you see it.
At first I think, use your words, June.
But he is not interested in my words. He pounds the bed and demands I pay attention. I have hurt him and this will not stand. If he tells me I shouldn't worry, then why haven't I stopped worrying. To continue feeling when he has told me not to is an affront to his own comfort. I need to feel better because he has feelings that need tending. I have hurt him.
I put my hand over my eyes because I am trying to get away from this place where I am not understood and he doesn't want to.
Of course, this makes him madder. He is talking at my body, and I can hear him, but I am only two centimeters tall and I am quietly sneaking away through the contours of my mind. If I tread softly enough, and with my hand over my eyes, he won't even notice that I'm gone. Or he will--and he does--and this makes him angry. I slip out of my shoes and hold them by the laces with my fingers and I continue tip-toeing. He knows that I am gone but he does not know where. He does not know how small I am, how I am able to slip soft-footed through the contours of my brain, losing myself in a maze that he cannot see and he cannot follow. I know exactly where I am going. This path is well traveled, but I leave no marks behind. No telltale birdseed or beating hearts. I will come back, later, and I will say that everything is fine.
Sunday, September 25, 2016
Still. I am dancing on the rug in my parents' living room. I am remembering telling that joke and then tapping the marimba lumina while the crowd looked on and beside me he laughed and laughed. I am recalling haggling over donuts, talking to an introvert, padding through camp in my bare feet, peeing in the shower for the first time in my life, losing my claim to the longest road, hauling armloads of camp gear from the dusty lots to our tents on the hill, standing in the grass with the wind whipping around my thighs. I am remembering how powerful I am.
When I decided I was going to feel it all, I meant it.
I want to beg and plead but I will not.
My name is June I'm so sorry. My name is June I wanted to wait. I haven't told anyone but I've been in a very bad way.
I make lists:
When the song I liked even less than the other songs came on I stepped into the grass and looked up at the stars.
Friday, September 16, 2016
That scratch-off was a dud. I can't fucking believe it.
I am eating gluten-free crackers on the couch.
On my lap, Wilson is sleeping.
Do you like literature do you like words do you?
In his sweater and with his hair flopping across his eyes like that I was reminded of my dad.
We are trying to make it exactly like from the menu. I am in withdrawal. I read from the online description, trailing him in the grocery store. Coconut milk, broccoli, bamboo shoots, red bell pepper, carrots, onion, basil leaves, cauliflower.
When we get home, we realize we've forgotten the bamboo shoots.
I am hoping it will taste good anyway.
I am reading a story about a woman whose partner drowned while rescuing their three-year-old son from the ocean. When I say "reading," I mean the word loosely. I keep reading only the first few pages, up until the point when her child starts to slip under, knowing what's coming, and so sucking back, turning my eyes from the page, putting the book down and telling myself I'll come back to it--and when I do, I retreat again, like a wave apprehensively lapping at the edge of the shore.
I am really excited to look at the ocean with you.
We are listening to Stephen Malkmus. He puts the food on to cook. I steal a sip of his vodka and coke. It smells really, really good in here.
Wednesday, September 7, 2016
I cannot stay off my bike. Already today I have gone for an hour-long walk and done an hour of vinyasa. Still I take to the paths at sunset. A few miles down the rural road I remember that biker who was chased by mountain lions not three weeks back. Nothing to do but keep pedaling home. On my way I pass two mule deer grazing in a horse pasture, one of them with the largest set of antlers I've ever seen.
Dear kestrel I am sorry that our worlds converged at the exact moment you were seizing a grasshopper in your talons for a late-night snack. My tire nearly collided with your small, brown body and in navigating out of a collision you sadly dropped your catch. I was so happy to see you but so sorry to have prolonged your hunt.
The grasshoppers are shedding their casings, or mating with caterpillars, or straddling slugs. Whatever the change, they look different as I approach them on the roadside; they are not so quick to hop away.
That man is poison I see him and I know it.
That cat couldn't decide what it wanted. It cried and cried for attention, then swung its neck away as I reached out to say hello.
I can relate.
We sure do have a lot of memories together. All those places we've lived and the fights we've had. All that choosing to keep going.
I haven't seen my friends in so long.
In the land of organicville they make ketchup from agave. In the land of agave the bouncers make sexist comments while I stand beside them, waiting for them to stamp my hand.
I like my cheap wine with seltzer and frozen blueberries, please. I sure could use a back rub.
If what you see is beautiful then I too will try to see beautiful. Anything you can imagine I can imagine brighter.
I didn't even realize how tightly I'd clutched my hand to my chest. I am working hard to relax my fingers. Please know how hard I am working.
I am a brave person. I am proud of myself for being brave.
*from "We Are Called to Rise" by Laura McBride
Tuesday, September 6, 2016
I wrote a joke I could tell it to you.
I woke up angry should I tell you why.
Do you even remember any more do you.
Secretly I have worried since before I made it that I was making a mistake. Now that I've made it I continue to worry. I wanted to wait, I promise. I have no excuses. It's just that I forgot that my life was my own for so long.
Now that I am remembering magic is afoot.
In yoga class last week I decided on a whim to try chaturanga without any modifications, even though I'd never been able to hold the pose in all my years of doing yoga. Would you believe it but I moved easily into the pose. My muscles held. Hell, they were barely taxed. And here I'd been doing the pose with my knees down for years. Who knows how long I've failed to use strength that I didn't know I had.
Since discovering my ability to do chaturanga I've been doing it every day. Not only that, but I can nearly do an arm balance with one leg propped up on my tricep and the other stretched out behind me. My teacher said that I already can do the pose; all that's left is for me to trust my strength and lean in.
On one more yoga related note, I noticed that my balance is much better when I'm standing elevated on a four-by-six block and have no choice but to fall down or stand firm in tree pose. This somewhat discredits my theory that I don't perform well under pressure.
Since I arrived back at the apartment this afternoon Wilson has velcroed himself to my side. When I left for my bike ride he tried to follow me out the door and when I returned an hour later he was sitting there waiting right where I'd left him. He twined around me while I stretched on the floor and then sat immediately outside the shower while I rinsed off. Now he is curled up against my thigh where I sit on the loveseat writing. Whenever I get up to move into the bedroom--no matter how late it is or how deeply he is sleeping--Wilson will get up and follow me onto the bed.
I seem to be in the habit of allowing into my life people who are unable or unwilling to be there with me when I ache. I have used this to confirm my own dark suspicions: that no one could possibly love me the whole way down. Or, at least, no one but myself and maybe Wilson and other non-human animals of all stripes. Perhaps, though, it's just one hell of a defense mechanism.
Additionally, I have a tendency not to tell anyone when, or how much, I am aching.
You said you wanted me to explode up out of the water, like a synchronized dancer propelled from beneath. I started in with some flutter kicks; I turned my face toward the sky and I stretched my arms upward and then you ducked under the water, grabbed onto my ankles, and pulled. When you resurfaced to see me blubbering, you couldn't deduce any explanation for why I appeared to be drowning--except, perhaps, that I simply wasn't as strong of a swimmer as I'd thought.
It's not great but it's a start.
There is a story behind this scar do you want me to tell it.
I made a mistake what can we do about it.
Do you even remember any more, do you.
The first time I told it, I cracked myself up so hard that I cried.
Afterward, a heron flew overhead.
He couldn't remember my name so he called me beautiful. I was standing tall in a windy field with my dress whipping around my thighs and my hair streaked across my face and I thought yes, he's right. Then I reiterated my name.
Another time I was walking in a different dress and holding my sun hat onto my head with one hand--such a windy weekend! I was walking alone, thinking to myself, unconcerned with the human chaos and the blustering wind unfolding around me. In that moment I made eye contact with a stranger, and we smiled at each other--those big, beautiful, open smiles that are as rare as they are wonderful--and may I never forget it: wind, walking, being exactly within myself, and then glancing up into the smiling eyes of someone I do not and will never know but whom, for that one preserved moment, I knew to be the most beautiful person in the entire world.
For three nights this weekend I camped in a field with thousands of people and shared porta potties, water spigots, and music with the lot of them. What I learned, though, was not about them but about myself.
I should go ahead and feel it all.
I will not break.
This valley is filled with the happiest dogs I've ever seen. Even the cats call to me from their driveways as I roll past and, if I pause and place my feet on the roadway, they eagerly trot out to rub their cheeks across my calves.
That black cow with its wide, Olympic-ringed nose.
This town has more biking and walking and running paths than anywhere I've ever been, and I'm grateful for it, I really am, I hope every town in the country follows in their footsteps. The trouble is that the paths are designed for mountain bikes, which (it is hardly an exaggeration to say) are the predominant form of transportation around here. Thus, thanks to mountain bikes' large and shock-absorbent tires, it is not a cause for concern for most bikers that there are myriad cracks in the pathways averaging one to two inches in width and approximately as many inches in depth. This wouldn't be troublesome in its own right, but the issue arises because I myself ride a road bike. I have learned quickly that those thin, spindly tires are not meant to roll over cracks approximating one to two inches wide and as many inches deep. It is hell on a woman's clitoris.
In contemplating the discomfort awaiting me every time I cycle these paths, I have noticed that most of the cracks, though they span the width of the entire pathway, are narrower and shallower in some sections than others. So I have taken to challenging myself. Whenever I reach the top of a hill, I peddle fast and furious until I'm bombing down the other side. Once I've picked up speed, the game is to see if I can respond quickly enough to visual cues to accurately line up the bike with the cracks of least resistance. I have become much more skilled at this challenge as I've developed an awareness for just how sensitive road bikes can be. On flat stretches I peddle hard to build up momentum, then shift my focus to squeezing first one side of my abs and then the other. With practice I am learning that I do my most effective steering when I unclench my hands from the handlebars and guide my progress from my core instead.