More lessons from Monkey and some dredged up thoughts

I read this by Felicia and thoughts came spilling out. Thoughts that I had not really registered as True and Valid and Worth Noting until the avalanche came crashing down years later.

It seems to be an ongoing refrain, a song I wish I could stop singing, the earworm that I want to excise and decapitate so it will never trouble me again. The issue of living insufficiently within myself. The question of how a person who thinks and rethinks and stares in blind fascination at her navel can be so oblivious. The mystery of feeling things and thinking about them, but never arriving at the logical conclusion.

If I could draw, I’d sketch a picture of a woman, curled in on herself, head bent, neck exposed, unwitting of the sharp blade coming at her from behind, of the spear poised in front of her, because she is too rapt in herself.

People want to read about your dark times only in the past tense, only when you’ve made it out to the other side and you are gleaming and dressing your wounds. There is so much talk, so much desire for that which is real and authentic, yet we see time and time again how people are rewarded for their artful representation of a coveted life. People want their darkness in manageable doses (that one book everyone reads/movie everyone sees) because possibly they have so much (or little) going on in their lives that they don’t want the burden of someone else’s grief. Rather, they reach out to light so religiously they don’t realize when they’ve been burned and blinded by it. – Felicia Sullivan


It’s hard, really fucking hard, to see the constant stream of posts that speak to how everyone’s life is so! fucking! awesome! when my life is anything but, but their life isn’t my life and there’s no joy in comparing myself to others and what they chose to edit and project out into the world, so all I can do is keep attempting, keep doing, keep working, and keep being my most honest self–even if it’s not as attractive as the world would want it to be. – Felicia Sullivan

It’s actually why I went from being a devout follower of food blogs and loving cooking to …the person who fiercely resents being asked to cook and who hasn’t really read a food blog in years.

I used to be all about the food blogs – I loved everything about it, how food molds us and how we in turn manipulate food and memories in an unending cycle, how it was a window into someone else’s life, how inspiring and warm and cozy and lovely it was. It was inspirational. This, too, you can do at home. This, too, you can do to create a home. This, too, can be bliss that you can own and savor.

And then one day I quit the whole thing cold-turkey because all of the silken cheer was suffocating. I didn’t have a wonderful husband or a precious baby and my dreams scattered in tatters around my broken feet. Of course I didn’t realize it then. Hence the questioning bewilderment by now-me to then-me: “how did you not know? how does one not know that the shape of your life isn’t how you envisioned it to be?”

Because, of course, the triggering was when almost all of my favorite food bloggers weren’t just happily married, but when they were reveling in the joy of anticipating motherhood. Yes, also, I’m apparently really slow sometimes, but mostly I thought it was because they were moving onto a phase of life that wasn’t accessible to me and so I drifted away, thinking that I would return later.

Later never came.

Now I realize that it was because I simply couldn’t do it, couldn’t pretend not be both completely disbelievingly envious and ashamed that just as I couldn’t do puff pastry from scratch, nor could I shape my life into something as adorable and photogenic as those macaron-lives they turned out by the dozen. Even their trials seemed like distant fairytale obstacles, just a plot device certain to be overcome by the deserving, even though I’m sure they didn’t seem that way for them.

I wasn’t doing something that I wanted to be doing. I was living a life that resembled what I wanted on the outside but turned out to be stuffed straw on the inside. I was drowning under the weight of fear and inertia and never twigged to it.

I don’t think I can do it still. I haven’t gone back to a place where I can truly enjoy cooking, grocery shopping, or the minutiae of feeding myself.

Cooking still reminds me of unrewarded and unappreciated emotional labor and broken hearts. All the loved ones I fed, hoping to nurture, hoping to be fed in return, begging in my silent passive aggressive way to be loved. All the time and energy and resources sank into something so terribly ephemeral as a meal, as the hope of love, as a wish for home.

I never used to understand how people could miss a meal, how they could knowingly skip eating, but now I find myself resenting the effort required to eat well. I find myself begrudging of that very basic of needs.

It’s unhealthy and I know it and I suppose now the only thing to do is to work past it.

That said, I think I will have cake for dinner. Cake that someone else baked and that I paid for.

Because another lesson of living within myself is realizing when I’ve hit a wall and I’m standing with my nose to the brick right now.

It seems a bit ridiculous, and that’s a thought I need to dig out of my brain, that it’s ridiculous that I feel exhausted even though I barely have to worry about adulting enough to carry myself through life, which might be another facet of guilt I should excise. I haven’t done my steps. I haven’t written. I am stressed over the interview next Thursday. I am apparently not going to cook or clean my room or anything vaguely responsible.

And I’m not going to.

I found myself on the verge of tears on Friday because I couldn’t do the trilled R or the French R and I had barely written and I’d barely done my steps and I had been cranky all day without knowing why and I just wanted one thing to go my way. One thing. And no. I still couldn’t do my Rs and I resented all the meal times that my parents wanted me to be present for, both cooking and cleaning up after and and and and and…

Yeah no.

Cake for dinner. I will walk around the living room and read if I feel like it. I might go to bed early despite having spent most of today asleep. I will cosset and cherish the fuck out of myself and never  try not to wonder if that’s all there is. Because it is all there is at the end of the day.

You arrive in this world with no one. You leave this world with no one.

Why is it so impossible to accept what should be gratingly self-evident?

I have myself. I have cake. I have a quiet night in because my parents are leaving for a class at 4pm.

It will be more than enough.

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