Log in

31 October 2015 @ 02:58 pm
Most of this journal is friends-only. If you'd like to be added, just comment here. At that point, I figure we have a contract for you not to be too offended at anything I say on really good or bad days, and for us to keep each other's confidences.

I like books, comics, sugar, coffee, LGBT people (I am one), Jesus, and rock music (no, not radio-rock. The other kind). I'll probably also like you. I have issues, and when I'm not getting exuberant over how good parts of my life are, I'm quite expressive over how agonizing the other bits are.

I tend a peace-lily and a very large puppy, and despite having worked quite happily in print journalism, have a stylistic preference for the Oxford comma.
13 December 2013 @ 12:13 am
My best male friend broke off our friendship today. Well, his with me and with my girlfriend, who’s also a friend of his. She’s known him longer, I’ve known her longer than that, he’s been lonely for a very long time and can’t handle being around us. Either of us. Both.

It blows. So I came over to comfort her, and then I ended up being the one who got sent to the shower to wash my hair so she could style it for me before I left to get up Way Too Fucking Early (tm) for work tomorrow.

So I’m thinking about how fucking lucky we both are, to have each other on a terrible horrible no good very bad day. And how much it sucks that he doesn’t have someone, because on some of my worst days, he took care of me when I was sick, or scared, or depressed and anxious as hell. And I would go take care of him, you know, if this was someone else his heart was broken over. The last girl that broke up with him, I took him out to our favorite French pastry place and told him she was not a prize and he was better off.

Last week he took me to see Frozen and gave me his reading on the queer subtext in it and said he thought the movie would make me happy and the story about accepting yourself in your difference would make me more comfortable with myself.

I have his Christmas present sitting on my letter tray and our concert tickets for his birthday next summer in my inbox.

I wouldn’t trade my girlfriend. I’ve loved her for more of my life than not, if you count straight forward from me meeting her when I was in 6th grade and being the primary reason I realized I was queer.

And I imagine this hurts her more than me, because they IM’d each other for hours, every day, for years.

And I don’t understand how you can make that call, to just cut two people you care about out of your life, but I imagine it happens when seeing people, or even seeing their names and faces on social media, becomes like being cut open every single day.

Everything in my fucking being says this is not what you do, this is not how you treat people you love just because they couldn’t love you back the way you wanted, you don’t just excise them like you’re Jefferson with the Bible.

This is all we have, these scraps of skin we’re wearing, and each other, and “I tore these out of your symbol and they turned into paper” and how can you leave me, how can you just quit, and let the history of us, every other day or so for two years, flutter to the fucking ground? You are my photographer and you are my biggest and most eloquent cheerleader and you are my great golden bear and you are probably not going to read this and how could you leave us? How could you leave me?

How the fuck could you leave me?
--Unemployed and imbalanced.
To be honest.
But knowing I have support when I need it the most, when in the past I've been close to people more likely to use the "kick when down" method . . .that helps.

For friends who come over to help me grocery shop because leaving my house to go out in public is frightening, I also give thanks.

And for my smelly and enthusiastic puppy.

*Yes, I'm riffing heavily off the Book of Common Prayer. Someone has to.
Current Music: The National, Trouble Will Find Me
01 November 2013 @ 03:40 pm
I'm in the middle of something so new and emotionally complicated for me that I've been dealing with it through private video blogs. I keep them on a device, not online, and I'm saving them in case the people they involve would like to see (some of) them someday. --As well as for general archival purposes. I find myself too stressed to just type, sometimes.

Most of the posts turn into prayers in some parts, because I'm talking out loud to a screen, and sooner or later it feels like when I used to pray more often (which I guess I'm doing again, in a weird way?). There's just so much of my voice, sooner or later it feels like there's a middle layer in the air, this place to ask for help, speak out my concerns like I'm being listened to, and then somehow I find things I believe to be true about God and love in the forefront of my mind, informing my take on events as I blog about them. It's a wonderful and unexpected process.

My religion has become very simple. God is love. God is a sentient, involved creator and relational being. Jesus Christ was God on earth, and His sacrifice was the only way to finish the story of an unflinching, eternal, un-self-seeking, reconciling and forgiving love. I no longer believe in substitutionary atonement (Jesus died so God wouldn't have to punish us). I just believe if you really love the world, you show up and hang out for a bit and do some really kind, amazing things, and you go hungry sometimes and you walk into scary things and you deal with loneliness (loneliness by choice is still lonely) so people who know your story will believe you were willing to suffer with them in these small, personal, and terrible experiences. And then you let two rival people groups both have a hand in your death, your really painful death, and you don't run, because if this is what the world is, this desire to hate and kill and selfishly protect everything it believes it can grab onto and keep, you're going to hang up there and forgive them as your lungs fill with water and your body bleeds and you have nothing, anymore, you're going to breathe out real love as long as you can. --So that maybe, then, the story your body just told will help the world want healing, help people groups and individuals see a better way to live and die through this sometimes awful, sometimes boring, sometimes glorious period of years we've been given.

If that's it, religion is simple. Believe you're loved; be kind to others; be brave; be generous; be forgiving. I'm wondering if that's why Jesus told a story about thanking people for all these things they did for him and them saying, "when did we ever do something nice for you," in essence, and him responding, "oh, whenever you did these kind things, it was like you were doing them for me. As if you had done them to me."

If religion is that simple, I think Christians need to stop talking about hell and start talking about inclusion. Or just go out and live the best we can, and not worry so much. I know so many people who do the loving things I believe God would do for me -- and they don't have a religion. Just bravery. Kindness. Generosity. Forgiveness. I think I believe, as The National mournfully sings in "Heavenfaced," "We'll all arrive in heaven alive." (But I don't mourn.)

Or as Gerard Manley Hopkins would have it, in "As Kingfishers Catch Fire":

"I say móre: the just man justices;
Keeps grace: thát keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God's eye what in God's eye he is —
Chríst — for Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men's faces."
Current Music: The National, "Green Gloves"
19 October 2013 @ 01:53 am
*"bottle" is the way I misheard "bible" for a long time in "16 Days." Don't blame me, Ryan Adams was involved.

I could sleep, but where would that leave LJ?

Let's see . . .my deviant sexuality and tendency to overshare reached a point where my mother has now not spoken to me in seven days. I don't know how to articulate how strange this is. It seems like a stress-reducer, because I'm not hearing about her horrible days and how my aunt is still dead and getting deader (birthday anniversary in November, to be followed fairly closely by first deathday anniversary in December.) I make a point of not looking up that second date. It was bad enough while it happened, but my Southern Gothic family, living in the shitty mid-century mansion of misery that they do, have only drink and depression and pain and murder mysteries and constant mourning and fear. --Oh, and lunches out. There's nothing I really want to hear about, and not hearing about it makes it easier for the co-dependent part of me not to try to fix something. But I wonder how well I'm really taking the communication cutoff.

Today started with breakfast from Atomic Coffee, a cayenne-laced mocha in an actual mug and real egg, real cheddar, and thick bacon served between inverted halves of a glazed donut, courtesy of one of my closest friends who I did a really fun semi-nude photoshoot with earlier this week (my idea).

After that, I went antiquing, and found a great pair of green Wedgwood lamps with Battenburg lace-decorated shades. Only $800 . . .but the rooms full of costume jewelry, art glass, furniture that wouldn't fit in my house, along with the oldies-so-old-they're-actually-good Pandora station, made browsing really aesthetically satisfying. I slow-shimmied my way between the crowded aisles of glorious old things and felt more at home than I do driving through town. That was the last real good I was able to experience today without chemical assistance.

I got diagnosed with PTSD (repeatedly) last winter. I got laid off at the end of September. The unexpected life change and the lack of insurance has made things hard. My depression and panic have reached levels where I can't expect any given day to allow me to function, except during the brief windows when the medications I'm taking function at their peak. Being depressed is not my full-on norm, and is mobility-and-thought limiting, but the absolute panic of being trapped in this body, the feeling of each bone being wrong but not removable, is godawful. Some hours I can barely stand to move, the sensation is so bad. Especially in my hands, which are my primary way of relating to the world. Not like I could speak right now, not really. Typing's bad, though. Really hard.

I need help, but have no idea where to go for it or how it's to be financed.

The girl I'm dating dropped by today, when I wasn't shivering mad, and I made her tea and listened to her explain the different paths she'll have to choose between at the end of her doctoral program -- more teaching, or more research oriented. She talked pros and cons and I asked her where her passions were, and we talked life philosophies, and I talked about what I do and don't like about the idea of going back for an MFA (which I contacted an old professor about today -- she repeatedly writes to me to tell me I shouldn't let my poetry drop, and I'd take her less seriously if she didn't rack up awards and fellowships and have many of the same driving goals for poetry that I do).

This girl -- I have no idea if I can love her. I wait until it's time to kiss her goodbye, and kiss her, and she feels good in my arms -- but I love other people more deeply and warmly and insanely, and all I can do with this is give it decent time and see if I'm capable of more than the depression is letting me give right now. Maybe, for her, I can't. Or maybe it's a glacial thing and I will, eventually. I'm kind of locked up right now, Tingirl badly in need of an oilcan.

It's so hard to (literally) move. From my couch. Into the laundry room to fetch the dry clothes that have been there most of the week. To change the sheets. To go to bed and leave it again. To make dates to see people, take my dog to obedience class, just take care of her. Dress myself. Calm down enough to bathe.

I never knew I could get this bad, and I don't know how to tell anyone, besides articulating it here. Why I don't have a job yet, how hard it is to use a keyboard, enter sane, true, desperate information in neat rows and write cover letters. I'm managing figure modeling for a small group of reliable artists every few weeks, but that's pocket change. I feel like I don't deserve anything and I have no claim to any accomplishment, relationship, worth. I'm still writing. And I'm still attractive. And I can still bullshit my way through a conversation on the phone if I answer it at all.

Today's second round of Klonopin has kicked in enough that I can make it to bed, I think. Then power through the morning so my Great Pyr, who's currently sleeping on my knee, can get proper training and I can be better trained in how to raise her. I should leave the house every time I have a decent reason.

I should believe I'm one of those people who isn't going to break and disappear. Jesus. I just want so badly to feel stable.
Current Location: Some suburb of hell.
Current Mood: stressedstressed
Current Music: Whiskeytown & The National
12 October 2013 @ 01:59 pm
I find myself drawn to pray in the strangest circumstances. Or better to say, I find myself connecting to God in odd ways, ways I wonder if other people do.

I was explaining how I like to go to rock concerts alone to find alone time with the Divine to my last girlfriend, and she thought it was delightful.

I may not have mentioned how much I find God in Final Fantasy games. Today, I wake up struggling with guilt and worry I've had since yesterday, and I go to FFXIII to shake it for a bit.

Vanille (my current Xbox avatar and my favorite character in the game) is trying to act cheerful while carrying a massive, and growing, burden of guilt. She knows she has to address it soon, but not yet . . .so she tries to keep a brave face on and take in the sights of a theme park city and a light-show festival.

I'm watching her, identifying, and suddenly I find I have space and peace enough to reach out and tell God, "I feel like I've messed things up, done them wrong, and I don't know how to fix them."

And prayer's a weird thing to describe, for people who don't pray. All I can explain is that sometimes on the heels of my own words (usually silent) I feel there's a response. An image flashes in my mind's eye, or I have the impression of words spoken back to me. In this case, the impression I get is, "that's a good start."

Just the confession and the sense of being heard brings more peace, enough to ask for help, enough to say, "I'm screwed up, I've hurt people, and I want to change."

And that's a start. It's enough to let my ribcage expand more easily and go back to the game, knowing the world at large remains and I've asked for help to be better at navigating it, at restraining myself so I don't cause more harm, even though change seems hard.

I was addicted to a lot of things, once, and then again, when I relapsed six years later. And both times, asking the invisible for help gave me the belief that I could change, and I did, and I got better. If this all sounds very AA, I never went to AA. These are just my experiences. Alone in a room or alone in a crowd, sharing my delights or fears or regrets or hopes, and feeling heard.

If my religion's an illusion, I find it a damn persistent and useful one.

Even if no one's gotten around to building the First Church of Final Fantasy yet.
Current Mood: relievedrelieved
"God's eye looks in
like a ghost you don't believe in"
Wye Oak,"Dog's Eyes"

"In my mind
in a future five years from now
I'm 120 lbs
and I never get hungover"
Amanda Palmer, "In My Mind"

I had an epiphany tonight. For a large portion of my life, I wanted to find someone to fascinate me. Someone to share their music and taste and creativity and glory with me, let me in, because my own life wasn't worth letting someone into, or no one would want it.

So tonight, I was hungover, putting on songs for my friend to listen to and then making him listen to the poetry and biography snippets of poets I think are important and that he'd like. And I realized I'm the person I'd thought for so long I needed in a mate. I've got a shit-ton of things worth sharing and enlarging other people's lives with. And other people have things to share with me -- but I'm not this vessel waiting to be filled with someone else's tastes and passions -- I never have been. Sometime in the last year and a half I've come to value myself enough to know that my voice is worth hearing.

Maybe because I'd been trying to carve out a place for my own writing voice in our local newspaper. Maybe because I'd started going "fuck it" and posting my poetry to my anonymous Tumblr because then I can have it read (and get people's responses) regardless of whether I can find a gatekeeper to publish it, regardless of whether or not it deserves publishing. Maybe because I have friends who have repeatedly made me part of their life and expressed their value for mine, and being loved changes you.
(I'd guess a little from column A, a little from column B, and a lot from column C.)

Tonight, I was hungover and not feeling guilty, because I knew it was coming and because I didn't do anything I regretted (which is also a change for me). I'd spent the previous evening drinking with the same friend I was reading poetry at/to. We were drinking because our Sunday had been shitty, and then the first half of Monday, too. Because we'd been fighting in this horrible kind of way that mostly involved him being awful at someone else because it was easier than expressing anger at me and I'd been trying to smooth things over when I was really fucking angry and refusing to be clear about why and we both hadn't had time to sit down and properly talk it out. So we talked it out, not to agree on an end goal, but to agree on peace, and clarify things, and then we drank to a better evening, and a better tomorrow.

And part of what caused the fight meant I didn't get to church on Sunday. So before the fighting commenced, but after sleeping in a bit, I was already feeling guilty about missing out on this commitment to church I thought I'd made, and then realized I shouldn't feel guilty because I was going for me, anyway, and God knows where I am all the time and doesn't need me in a special building saying special words. I then actually, briefly, started having a shiny day, because the night before had been beautiful (before hurt feelings happened). And when the day went to shit, I went back into religious mode, and wondered if my part in it was because I hadn't followed The Rules (I definitely hadn't, even though they weren't precisely written down -- but according to my mom and lots of easily shocked people, I hadn't, and according to traditional readings of certain religious texts, I hadn't, either).

I'm not very good at rule following, but I'm discovering I'm actually pretty good at being human, which, as it turns out, means owning the reality that you'll fuck up. Taking chances on love. Asking for help when you need it. Ignoring advice because your gut tells you it's bad, or because you need to climb that tall dangerous-looking tree for yourself, thank you very much, because otherwise you'll never get the view. Saying no to things you'd previously said yes to. Apologizing for causing harm. Believing you have a voice worth hearing. Losing your religion so you can find out who God really is, and feel safe enough to find yourself out...even though that process may mean fucking up.

Because you're human.

And at its messy best, that can be a very good thing.

Current Mood: contentcontent
13 January 2013 @ 12:18 am
I feel like Wye Oak's "Civilian" has my number.

"I am nothing without pretend
I know my faults
Can't live with them
I am nothing without a man
I know my thoughts
But I can't hide them"

So, these things:
My ridiculously life-filled, terminally ill youngest aunt finally died before Christmas and I've been spending a lot of time wrapped in a fuzzy grey depression blanket. I had to dial up my anxiety meds with my doctor and I feel like they're making me numb but I can't not take them, and that numbness could be the depression.

walrusboy has reminded me not to evaluate myself based on low feelings, as they cloud one's ability to be self-appreciative. He is a very good, and insightful, friend.

It's been a year and five days since Greg and I broke up. I've changed, and a lot of it for the good, and I've dated other people since, but I don't feel young-hearted any more, and I don't feel trusting.

I'm trying to date again, just casually go out and meet people, but it completely weirds me out. I feel like I'm performing a script, watching myself through plate glass. There is something happening to me from not being in a deep relationship, not being affectionate with and investing in someone and feeling seen and admired. It's harder to love anyone. It's harder to see the beauty in the world, except in passing. I'm afraid if I look too long at anything I'll hurt.

I am writing, and getting better, both in print journalism and in my songwriting and fiction. My imagery and turns of phrase are brighter, and I'm getting better with rhythms. I am taking voice lessons and learning to sing two of my favorite Over the Rhine songs as a way of learning about my voice, expanding my range, and developing technique. Sometimes when I sing, I feel the notes with my whole body.

I should be asked to interview for an open reporting position at my paper soon. My last two restaurant reviews, which I pitched and wrote, have both been inside cover centerpieces . . .and that whole sentence makes me feel so fucking adult. I pitched a story. My editors liked it. I was published in a paper that circulates to tens of thousands of people and they probably read it.
I've almost always seen myself as a failure, from elementary school on, but this is not failing. I'm doing something right. I have a vocation. It's amazing.

Depression and anxiety and loneliness and experience are eating my faith, though. Looking at the nasty, teeming underbelly of religion in America helps me see when and how doctrine or practice is wrong or hurtful . . .and leaves me bewildered as to who God is or how He is to be related to. I give to missionaries every month that help improve the lives of off-the-path third world villages, and I recycle, and vote, and try to really see people and not just judge them (I fail at this a lot) and give serious thought to policy and constitutional interpretation and vote and petition-sign accordingly. Because I believe it is right to be engaged.  But I feel like I don't make a difference in the world. Feel plotless.

And yet over and around me I still sense the beating of enormous, sheltering wings. I am living day to day and sometimes hour to hour but surrounded by mystery and I don't get it.

--I don't get why I'm loved.
Current Mood: blahblah
Current Music: Wye Oak
23 November 2012 @ 11:21 pm
What I've been up to:

Making plans to adopt a young rescue dog named Lola, landlord-approval depending.

Going home last weekend to visit and kiss my friend T., who made my profile picture (that's me, reading a werewolf book, at a party, because I couldn't hack the party -- and he was photographing the party, because he couldn't hack it either). I subsequently found out he has a girlfriend he never mentioned, but I had to kiss him anyway, because I'm goal-oriented like that. It was a pretty innocent kiss. And now I feel better.

Losing my favorite inherited necklace while extraordinarily drunk. Followed by lamenting said drunk. Followed by extreme food poisoning.

Working the holiday, with not one, but two, pies, delivered by my dear friend Andrew (who gave me an Xbox membership so I could stream Dr. Who and eat pie) and my co-worker Amanda, who also brought me a groaning platter of her family's Thanksgiving dinner. And I was kept company by a card signed by still more exceptional friends.

Fearing the future of print journalism, lamenting the shortfalls of our personal paper, and cursing at the screen.

Generating story ideas like a pinwheel in front of a rather forceful fan.

Waking up early twitching from anxiety.

Seeing family. Some glory to that, and some severe frustration. No huge surprise there.

Scheduling voice lessons.

Dealing with the usual theological problems. My usual theological problems, anyway.

Deciding I need to marry a good Christian girl (tattoos optional but not discouraged), who is, ideally, a circus performer or something, or marry Dr. Who. --See? I'm flexible.
Current Mood: chipperchipper
11 November 2012 @ 07:24 pm
Winter comes stamped with (yes, predictable as it is) his blue blue eyes, the tenor of his voice, the shape and temperature and rhythms of our home, the way fall looked there, the way each holiday fell with us together.

I don't think I'll really be able to be in a new relationship until this year runs its course, this stupid cycle that leads up to everything over and then I'll have lived through it. I feel weird and pitiful for not being over it, for underneath everything else remembering all the firsts of last year and how I thought they were the beginning of a lifetime of memories.

It doesn't matter if he deserved it. I loved Greg so much.

I've become proficient at talking flippantly about almost everything, but there's still this massive, if receding, confusion. It feels hollow, like an echo -- not internal and red-black like the end of a war.

I can bullshit better now. I finally got on a good combination of meds that keeps my anxiety and insomnia tamped down more often than not. I do something I'm proud of. I've grown and branched in my worldview. I'm pretty motherfucking self-reliant. I think he'd like me better if he met me now. But I wouldn't have any more of my heart to give, and this far along into The Adventure, I don't think I would've signed on.

It's strange not to love someone specific and to wonder if you still can and to remember what you had, cracks and all, and wonder where you find things like that again. The pattern's been discontinued, the label folded, the shop's closed.

They won't be issuing a re-print. You have to find the next thing.
Current Mood: melancholymelancholy
Current Music: Violent Femmes, "Gone Daddy Gone"