these days. september. goodbye. october. hello! the highs of 99 and the hits of 106 and the joy of 69. this song does things to my brain, like these days. a flip. a year ago. now. grad school? what. Alaska? what. I supposedly land on ice on January 7, 2014 at 4:30 p.m.. danger, danger, danger. nothing is confirmed. medical clearance not yet obtained. program directors have yet to offer a firm yes, yes, yes, all is well, all is waiting, all is settled. haven’t completed my 40 hour satellite TA orientation because why give 40 hours to something not yet a definite totally sure thing? I don’t know if I’ll have a room to call my own, a place defined as home. I won’t believe it until I’m there, until I see the sun set before three in the afternoon, until I’m in a classroom, me the teacher, me the student, me there then now. I won’t believe it until my skin is peeling flaking reddening from the cold.
so for now I work the office job. corporate, hush hush. heels and skirts in a shiny office tower. I’m a master of cover letters. I’m a master of writing about something I know nothing about.
so for now I’m an occasional server for a catering company. rocking the art of being invisible except for when one is thirsty or hungry or wanting something anything anybody. I’m learning the art of not flinching when a bony lady pats her hips and glances at my definitely not so bony ass and my definitely not so bony waist. I’m learning the art of not flinching when said bony lady sneers at the crab lettuce cups on my tray and says she’s on diet, so no, no, no thanks. there’s an art of not drinking the abandoned never touched glass of wine of beer of martini of whatever. there’s also an art to swallowing champagne without it being considered drinking on the job. there’s totally an art to taking selfies with your boss and four other servers in the catering truck cab after a six hour gig in khakis on a triple digit day.
so for now I’m an occasional writing consultant, tutoring a Hayden. the boy is not named Hayden. a Hayden is a phrase that will mean nothing to anyone but me and maybe, like, six other people. the boy is not a boy but a MAN of my own age, but hey, boyboyboy. these are the words I use. is it even tutoring? I’m helping this Hayden with his college application essays. boosting the self esteem. shattering writer’s block. I love this. this job. this job gives me a high that has me speeding from his home grinning like a fool. always hyper-hyper after tutoring/counseling/discussing. I miss CC’s writing center. so for now on occasion I feel like I’m doing something that fills me and fills another, and this will satisfy me until I’m there, north in Alaska, until I’m (supposedly) teaching composition and in another writing center, a new writing center, new to me.
that’s my new There.
and, not for now, because this is an always–an anywhere and everywhere and always–I’m revising and I’m trying to remember I’m REVISING and NOT rewriting and that is the happiest part of my life, the revising, or one of the happiest, even if I feel like I’m not doing enough of it. but, you know (you totally don’t know), it feels so raw and absurd and fast. this revision, what I’m trying to accomplish with this support I never anticipated and that I feel so undeserving of, but maybe that’s just my head playing games. point is, what I’m trying to say, what I’m getting at, is that’s all I have to say on the subject: I’m revising my mess of a 78,000-word manuscript and IT’S GOING GRAND, OKAY?
tired beyond tired these days. I cry a lot because I’m so tired and I’m so bloody tired of being tired, so bloody frustrated that this happened. my still being here. my body burning out. accidentally falling asleep midday with my laptop on my face. I never knew how to nap before and I guess the secret to napping is to not try. so I’m tired tired tired, but then midnight HITS and my heart paces as fast as this beat. vinayasa flow or whatever. probably doesn’t help that I’m snapchatting/texting like a fool like a swoony child like teenage me in the evening, taking myself out of the right now, clawing at January ideals. probably doesn’t help that I’ve burned through my adrenals and my neurotransmitters are shot. my doctor believes I have and have had Lyme disease. that probably doesn’t help either. I like to think my stretching helps. deep breath. I’m back in a ballet class but instead of starting at 2:45 pm, we reach for the barre at 8 and ballet makes me crazy hyper happy sad feeling good, so it’s another thing that doesn’t help the sleeping thing but I totally adore it so continue to go.
except for tonight. tonight I skipped ballet because I was too tired and too dizzy and it’s probably not brilliant to spin when you’re already experiencing virtgo, no?
deferring is weird. what is this. living at home. I have a degree. I don’t have a diploma. should be somewhere, there, but I am here. no. shut up. that’s bullshit. what I’m saying–it’s fucking bullshit. I’m where I should be. I’m resting. I’m seeing specialists and doctors and having blood sucked from my arm on a weekly basis. I’m making this body a priority, trying to heal, trying to solve mysteries. all the while working these jobs because I spent all of my savings on an idiotic last minute (but not last minute trip at all) to the place I’ll be moving to in three (!) months.
Ecid is quite possibly the only musician I’ve posted on this blog. him and maybe Kristoff Krane and Eyedea & Abilities and maybe Saturday Morning Soundtrack, which is kind of funny, because it’s not like I only listen to their genre, don’t even listen to them much at all anymore, but what is it, why is it I only link to them? I don’t know. the pace of the music makes me type faster than my usual fast-fast typing, blogblogblog, I can only write blogs to their music, and their music compels me to post it with my words or put words down while playing the track on loop, until my head aches.
right now, right here on my bedroom floor, I miss Humboldt County in a way that hurts my throat. that semester in the trees. what was I? sad, manic, inspired, rutted, speeding up the 101 too fast so fast what are you doing where are you going, driving two hours east just to be closer to Colorado for a minute before turning around, dropping Astronomy and writing my first analytical essay at nineteen, getting lost in the Redwood Forest and wondering if this is it, is this the end, wait wait wait wait. all before CC. before any of what I am now. I blogged daily then. it was necessary. so necessary. I felt much safer, hidden. now here I am and here you are, whoever you are, and it’s like HEY where’s the filter HEY fuck the filter HEY I should probably find a filter or go stretch and chill out. that blurry photo above reminds me of then, Spring 2011, Arcata, the head spin. that blurry photo was captured in a lonely hotel room in Anchorage in August when it was starting to hit that fuck no could I defer to Fall, fuck no could I wait that long, fuck yes January, I can heal by then, I can, I can, I can. so I took a photo as evidence of the Right Then Right Now. because I was in a city alone and missing Fairbanks and that wasn’t supposed to happen.
two years ago in Colorado, I went and saw Ecid play in this tiny little brick-walled bar. I drove from the Springs to Denver alone and I drank too much red wine, so I had to hang out at the bar for an hour or so after the show before I could drive home. I sat on the back patio with him and Mercies May and Chris Caesar of Literati and it was hazy and I was so sleepy but I remember thinking that years from then I would wish I’d paid better attention to the memory. Chris Caesar and I messaged on Facebook regularly for a month after. I don’t think that fact has any relevance.
sometimes my heart booms in my chest so fast and so rough I need to scream I need to run I need to tackle someone with a hug with a something with a I don’t know. I miss Colorado Spring too. More than Humboldt County. even more, even still, I miss Fairbanks. Alaska! is that possible? I miss my two days and I miss what I’m missing, what could be now but what isn’t now, all the while understanding I’m not meant to be there right now, but meant to be there after right now, right here. I’m nostalgic for January, for what will be, what hasn’t happened yet, that maybe won’t happen, and that’s okay, but it exists in this form, in my mind. so it’s there. it’s real, in a way that I can’t articulate.
I need to stop typing because I need to stop listening to this song because I’m already sick of it and because I need to calm down because I need to try to maybe sleep.
I started writing a list, a list of what happens to your (my) life when you (I) defer graduate school, but it felt revealing and childish and saturated with complaints of fatigue. So I deleted the list. Now here I am. I wrote “blog” on my to do list today and, my gosh, I’m going to cross “blog” off the list.
I have a thing for lists.
Would it be incredibly annoying if I said I miss Alaska?
(I do, I do, I do.)
My dog is tracking a mouse. Meaning, a mouse is in my room. Right now. My dog sits. She licks her paws. She stops. She looks up. She circles the room. She sniffs under the bed. She pushes at the closet door. She lies back down. Freezes. Jumps up. This is my brain. Up, down, up, down down down, up, down. This isn’t supposed to be deep. I’m genuinely concerned about this mouse that is most likely a rat. My dog goes under the knife next week. I live on the second floor. Why is the mouse here?
My dog has hobbled around all summer and apparently this is because of a bad-bad knee and arthritis and muscle atrophy and torn ligaments and, if we don’t fix it, her other knee is basically guaranteed to blow. There are worse things to spend money on.
Considering I’m returning from a week-long/unannounced/unofficial blog hiatus, I guess it’s best to ease in gently. Talk about my dog instead of me. The last ten days have felt like, well, not ten days. But long. Long long long, yet not. There’s so much good and there’s so much I don’t know. I’m scared January will come too quickly and I’m scared it won’t come at all. I returned to my summer office job this week. A job I stopped going to early last month because I was so tired and I was so sick, which is why I deferred graduate school. But now I need money to make up for what I spent during in Alaska last week so I can still move to Alaska in January It’s weird to be back in a place I thought would be so temporary. It’s weird to still be here when I thought it’d be so temporary.
I was in Los Angeles with my mom on Wednesday for a book launch of an author who critiqued my first chapter at a writing conference in 2008. In her critique, she complained about how it was unrealistic that my abused sixteen-year-old protagonist didn’t like sex, which in retrospect wasn’t the healthiest feedback to hear at bruised and healing seventeen. This is irrelevant. On Wednesday, Los Angeles was hot and brown and exhausting. It was beautiful too. I can bitch and moan about the drought and the smog all I want, but I’ll always find the mountains and foothills of this region intoxicating. Still. I don’t know. I used to feel buffeted in cities. These days, too much time out of the house, too much time in a bustle, and I want to hide in a warm bus beneath my sweatshirt. Sleep and wait to wake up in a different, quieter place.
Some facts. My car hit 666,666 last Saturday. I’m snapchatting more than I should and abusing Tinder for entertainment. I’m still cavity free, even after 23 years of excessive chocolate consumption. For a few days I forgot how to spell cavity. It’s definitely not cavitie. In addition to drafting emails for the finance world, I’m now also a server for the rich and famous and newly married (yay catering!). Tonight my should-be Alaska cohort went to the pub on campus to celebrate the first week of teaching. I know this because of Facebook. Thanks, Facebook. I’m not jealous. Nope. This is my first autumn in Orange County since 2011. I sleep with my dog at my legs and a teddy bear in my arms because I feel quiet and weird, and keep waking at four to this dull pulse in my head. It’s confusing to feel so physically collapsed when my head is this absurdly happy and excited about so many things, because really there are so so so many things.
Like like like! Another Big Revision is happening, because something really, really quite wonderful went down and the amazing Rachel Lynn Solomon chose me as her alternate in Pitch Wars. I’m not going to even attempt to describe Pitch Wars, but it’s something good and exciting and an opportunity I didn’t at all anticipate receiving.
I’ll probably shut down this blog about a dozen more times between now and the end of the year. Blink and count to ten. I promise I’ll eventually show up again.
I’m in Alaska, but I didn’t move to Alaska.
The decision was made over a week ago. An exact week before my contracted move in date. Not so much a decision, but a realization: I can’t move to Alaska, not now.
I kind of hinted at the issues in my earlier post, when I wrote that oh so awesome tangent about how in one day I’d decided I wasn’t moving to Alaska only to conclude I was moving to Alaska because fuck hesitations and fuck sane choices and blah blah blah and cheers to another maybe move! I wrote that and proceeded to feel sick about the decision, flip flopped and flopped and flipped, drove my family crazy, didn’t sleep, etc etc etc.
For the sake of simplicity:
I didn’t move to Alaska because my health isn’t what it should be. I didn’t move because the risk of my not making it through the semester was too high. I didn’t move because it wouldn’t have been fair to my professors or students or colleagues or the program as a whole. I didn’t move because every time I told myself I was going to go—that I WOULD move no matter what—I hurt, hurt so much. I don’t want to move and start grad school now, because I’m don’t feel like me and I know I need to pause and take care of myself before this next big thing.
Also! I must break my the habit of rhyming.
So I said goodbye to the idea of Alaska. Sent the email and called it The End, because I thought that by saying no to now, I was saying no to forever. But then my program emailed back and asked if I wanted start this January or next year instead and I said yes.
And that was that.
BUT, for some IDIOTIC reason, I still boarded my plane to Fairbanks, because no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t accept the fact that I wasn’t going to be in Alaska THIS WEEK after all of those months of imagining myself in Alaska THIS WEEK and I needed to come here. I simply needed to be here. Well, there, Fairbanks.
Because though I’m still in Alaska, I’m now on a train, not in Fairbanks, already eight hours out from Fairbanks. Exhausted and aching and confused and idiotically missing the place I should be claiming as home but I won’t be for at least four months, maybe twelve, and I’m overwhelmed by the land and the green and that lake I idiotically assumed was unnamed and the people who were everything good and offered some of the most greatest hugs and even the mosquitoes that managed to bite through four layers of clothing.
So now I’m on this train, rolling south to Anchorage where I’ll be until Tuesday morning. And Tuesday morning I fly back to California, because I didn’t move to Alaska. I couldn’t move to Alaska, not now, now last Wednesday. In California I’ll try to make myself better, healthy, and I’ll see my doctors and I’ll hopefully take advantage of the unexpected time and writewritewrite (or revise my past rewrite) and be present and trust this feeling that I did the right thing. Deferred. Deferring.
I think the hardest part was letting go of my ego. The Big Fucking Deal of Moving to ALASKA. That was weird. That was hard. To accept that the scarier thing wasn’t relocating to somewhere so severe, but staying still. Since I turned sixteen, moving, going, leaving has been the answer. Right now, the answer is going back to bed.
So for at least a few months, I’m going to try to stay still. Because staying still is horrifying and because I think this fear is a pretty good indication that staying still is especially necessary at this time.
In Fairbanks, I was happy and I was tired and I promised I’d try not to die so I’m going to try not to die before I attempt my journey back. And that should be easy, as I like to think I’ll journey back sooner than soon, however you want to define soon.
So I didn’t move to Alaska. Not yet. But I’m here, Alaska-here, for a minute, so at least there’s that.
Hi. I’m now 23. And I wrote 3000 words yesterday and I’ve added 20,000 words to my rewrite, which is way too many words–words that are going to require cutting–but I’m happy, I’m happy, I’m happy.
But it’s weird because I’m 23.
23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23. 23…!!!???!!!
Yesterday I decided I would not move to Alaska.
Today (tonight) I decided I will (probably) move to Alaska.
Can I be human for a minute?
This summer hasn’t been easy. Panic attacks at a severity I’ve never experienced. Writing at a snail’s pace. Sadness. A stupid, overwhelming sadness. The what the fuck am I doing where am I going how am I going to pay for bed sheets and oatmeal and why am I going and why am I not writing and I don’t even like close reading so who the hell am I going deal. More than anything: I am sick. Sick. Sick. Sick. Pretending not to be sick. Denial. I won’t go into details, it’s nothing crazy or life threatening, but something that makes me weak every day, gives me the spins, makes me nervous about students and colleagues relying on me.
If you’d told me a year ago, I would move to Alaska, I’d be shocked and confused and very happy. And I think Past Me would tell Current Me to buck the fuck up and get on the plane.
But does past me know the whole story?
Two weeks from tonight, I’m maybe in Alaska. I may (definitely) need some wine.