Where I Reveal Myself To You In Terrible Ways

Most of these blog entries will be a record of self-loathing or depression.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

This Is A Test

I just looked up the undo button and supposedly there is a "redo" button. Time to investigate.

Sonovabitch. Turns out it was there all along, I just needed to hit another button. Don't I feel like an ass. All that emotion wasted, all that anger for nothing. And lost entries that could have been reclaimed. Fucking hell. Fu-cking hell.

Drinking

When I was on the plane home from VT, they served drinks. 

It was a short flight, so they don't serve food of any kind (and as airlines are all "no-frills" now, they don't even give out pretzels)(or maybe that's a peanut allergy thing) but they do come around and offer drinks.

I was thinking I should ask for water, but I didn't want to. I wanted to get Coke. I know Coke is bad for me, but like any drug, I expect it to be awesome every time I have a new one. 

So I was wondering if I could get the Coke as my free drink and buy a water. I wondered how much a water would cost, knowing I only had two dollars in my pocket. I thought maybe I should get the water and then pay for the Coke.

Thinking about paying for drinks made me think about alcohol, because they don't serve free alcohol but you can buy it. And I started to think about drinking.

I thought about ordering a drink of liquor, but how I don't like the taste of liquor, so maybe I'd get a rum and Coke. And I thought about how they make drinks so that you don't taste the alcohol, so I know I could probably find a drink that I was okay with drinking, and I could get drunk.

And I know I would get drunk. And I thought about smoking pot. I thought about these things and the escape they provide, the escape they would give me from my anxiety, from my constant worry about life and chewing on the insides of my mind. 

But I know it is a dark tunnel. I know I would just go down and down and down, like I did with the video clips last night, like I did with the video clips today, at work. No one was there to see me or to worry about and I just watched clip after clip and whiled away the afternoon, not doing anything productive. I know I would just tunnel away to try to find some space where I felt safe, but that safety would be false, would be based on outside chemicals and not my own natural systems.

I crave escape. I crave it all the time, and it is sad and pointless. I should be running toward life and not away, but I'm too afraid of my own self and making a fool of myself or getting hurt and humiliated that I can't reach out at all. It's stupid and pointless and now I'm just calling myself names so I'm going to stop.

Redeeming This Afternoon

Yesterday afternoon/evening was a jumble of fail and so I'm trying to make up for it a little bit today.

I left work at around 4 yesterday and got home probably at four-thirty or so. Or rather, I got off the bus then, one stop too late, so I decided to go to the store and buy some food. 

I went to 7-11 and ended up buying $32 worth of crap food, and paying too much for it in the bargain (I mean, c'mon: it's 7-11). 

I bought two pieces of pizza and since it was a bit old and stale, the lady gave me a third piece for free. So I came home and ate three pieces of 7-11 pizza while watching clips from the Jimmy Fallon show, wasting my life 3-5 minutes at a time. 

After I was done with the pizza, I opened a bag of chips (not that I was hungry, mind you - I don't even know if I had been hungry in the first place) and started eating those, still watching clips.

I did that all evening into night. The sun went down, my landlady never came home, and eventually I went up to bed. To do what, I didn't know; there wasn't much difference between being in the kitchen and being in my room except that there isn't any furniture in my room so I end up laying on the floor. (I looked at all kinds of chairs and mattress toppers Sunday night; I think I found what I want, only now I don't know if it's worth it to buy some kind of floor sleeper or if I should just put out and buy the box spring (from Craigslist, if I have to) so I can get on with my life in a realistic way. I also wonder if it would actually be worse somehow to sleep on some thin featherbed (or two) on the floor; whether it would be lumpy and bad for my bad the way clothes and my thin-ass pillows are.)

This is in contrast to my weekend, which was pretty great. I hung out with people, saw someone who gives me such affection I'm always weirded out, and got a couple of free meals thrown in. In fact, I ate pretty much free all weekend.

On Friday night I went out with the landlady and her family and the two other boarders in the house. I had thought it was going to be just me but then the Middle Eastern lady was there in the evening (I feel like she rarely is) and then just before we left the young guy turned up (he had been there, I just hadn't registered it). 

So the young guy drove the landlady's car and we went to the next town over, where her daughter lives, and met her, her husband and kids at the restaurant where we were eating. It was an Asian buffet-style place, pretty a strip mall and pretty big. Later in the evening, I mentioned that it looked like a place you could hold a wedding - or at least the reception. I'm no good at numbers, but I think you could have fit 100-150 people or more in there, no problem. We had twelve at our table, and there were tables on either end of ours and seven or more in the "row" we were in

I just hit Undo.
Accidentally of course.
It erased five paragraphs of material.
I will never understand the point of this button.
It ruins my life again and again.
What the fuck is its purpose?
Why do I have to live with this?
It makes me feel like my efforts are pointless.
And I was enjoying myself, writing about my weekend.
Now I'm just frustrated and pissed and want to punch somebody. Namely the fucking developer that put the undo button on the iPad and made it erase entire paragraphs in one swath without any way to get them back.
Fuck you, Apple. Fuck you again and again and again. I guess I should save more often, but in an application like this it doesnt make sense, as I'd have to go in and out again and again.
So I say again: Fuck you, Apple, and fuck your undo button.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Feeling Off

I had a good Friday night and good Saturday but don't feel like writing about them; I don't know why. I don't feel like doing much of anything at the moment, and I have cards I want to write and clothes in the washer and dryer. But I just want to lay down and take a nap. Bummer.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Waiting

We're supposed to go out to dinner. I thought it was going to be me and the Landlady's family; now I don't know. Now I wonder if it will end up being me, the landlady and the other tenant, the woman. She seems to be taking a shower now (I was told to be ready between 6 and 6:30), which seems to be cutting it close. But I don't know if she was told a time.

I thought about taking a shower when she brought it up, but I didn't. I just changed. I'm wondering now if I should brush my teeth (I probably should). The landlady came up a few minutes ago, wondering where the other woman was. I said she seemed to have just gotten in the shower, as it had just started running. I thought she had showered earlier.

Wait: now the shower is over and the floor above me (in the kitchen) is creaking - so the young guy is home; it was him in the shower. Now I don't know why the middle eastern woman isn't ready, or why she isn't answering her phone. 
I don't know what the fuck's going on.

But I guess I should let it go. I think I should go brush my teeth and then come back down and wait and be ready. Not much more that I can do.

Yesterday and Today

I guess things are taking on a routine here, as I didn't know what to call this entry and I realized there was nothing really interesting to say and I couldn't see any highlights in my life in the previous or next 48 hours - but there actually are some.

Yesterday I went to the city to do day labor. It was kind of a miserable day because I didn't have much to do but stand around and carry things or get things from the truck. I didn't feel very engaged, although I did have a good conversation or two with the guys.

Tonight I'm going out to dinner with the landlady and her family; that should be interesting. When she first told me about it, she made it sound as if she was going to have dinner here and it was going to be the housemates and her family. Now it sounds like it's going to be me going out to dinner with her family. I don't know how I should feel about this. Because I'm thinking about it here, it makes me a little nervous, but before that, I was just taking it in stride, going along with whatever she wants. I get to meet her daughter and her son-in-law and be around the two grand kids for more than ten minutes. I guess the other son who lives in the house will be there. I don't know what it will be like. I'll try to listen and see if there are places to speak.

Work today. Don't know quite what I will do. On Wednesday, the boss asked me to meet with him to talk about upcoming opportunities and I was realizing as I went through them that every one was wrong or too big or something. Makes me feel even more incompetent than I already do.
We'll see how it goes.

Maybe this weekend I'll go help Best Friend with her moving dregs; I went over Wednesday afternoon and stayed until almost ten; didn't get home until eleven. It was nice to spend time with her. 

I took a cab from the Metro; that was the second time this week (I did it Sunday night, too). There were no buses running and it was raining lightly, but I could have walked. I had my umbrella. I just didn't want to.

Like now, I don't want to go to work, so I'm delaying.

A friend's father died yesterday. My first response - her husband (who is also my friend) had texted me the news - was to make a joke about his phrasing. I haven't heard from him since. I hope he's not pissed at me. I'm going to send her a card today. I hope it'll get there by Monday.

Okay, I should go.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Idea for You

You know what's fun? I did this yesterday. Text lyrics of a song - or many songs - back and forth with a friend. Yesterday morning a line of a song popped into my head and I texted to a guy I know would know the song and he texted back another part and we did that for the rest of the day. It was a fun exercise and creates a shared warmth because you're both remembering and reminding each other of something you love. It seems to bring the other person closer, because you imagine them (or their mind) as each new text comes in.

Or maybe that's cold and distant, I don't know. I certainly liked it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Dinner with the Landlady

Not Landlady (who I've decided I'm going to refer to as the landlady, since she's the one who will take my money and manage my living here) bought me dinner tonight. 

It was just fast food, but still. 

When she got home, she hadn't gone to eat and she asked if I had eaten and then said "Where should we go?" and so we went. 

On the way there we stopped by the workplace of another tenant, the Middle Eastern woman (she's Egyptian, it turns out), to see if she wanted to come. She said she would in a few minutes, so we crossed the highway (in the middle) and went in. When she was ordering, she said "What you want?" (not American) and I said "I'll get mine," but after she ordered she turned and gestured to me, so I just ordered and didn't fight her about it. That's one of my roles: if you want to buy for someone, I'm willing to be taken care of. I'm okay with that.

The other tenant showed up about ten minutes later and we ate together and talked; it was nice. It's incredible how fast she has made me part of her inner circle (she asked me what I was doing Friday as she was planning to have a dinner with her family and the tenants all together) but I like it. Sometimes it makes me nervous - what is my role here? What is expected of me? - but most of the time I just listen and ask questions and that seems to be enough. Her own son doesn't really want to interact with her so I think I fill in a bit of that role. 

I have to call the woman who wrote me about tutoring; whatever I think it is, I've just got to respond and see where it leads. Who knows what riches could come of it? I could gain things I never expected. I'm not used to thinking this way, but lately things have been going nicely and so I feel I should trust to fate more and give myself to the wind more; talk to strangers more, risk myself more. Let it all hang out and trust it won't get cut off or stolen.

And now I'm going to write an email to an old friend of my father's.

Pants

My red pants, which I was very proud of myself for buying, get tighter and tighter. I'm definitely gaining weight.

The Weather Channel says it's 50-some degrees outside, but it's hard to imagine that inside. Ironically, my room was hot last night and then cold this morning - well, it wasn't hot last night, it was hot yesterday afternoon when I got home, and at that time the windows were closed and it was 74 or so outside. 

Best Friend sent me an article yesterday about how successful people manage their time; the first point on the list was that they track all of their time to see what they're doing with it. The article admits that may be depressing, but my problem is not necessarily that I don't have time but rather what to do with my time. When you don't feel effective in your own life, it's hard to get motivated to spend your time wisely. 

I do make plans, but then I ignore them for blankness, for videos that cheer me. (I was horrified recently when I caught myself thinking "These guys are like my friends!" and realized what that meant about how much I was relying on it.)

I thought about the article because it talked about how mornings are the best time, that we are most motivated in the morning. I know that I often want to spend more time writing here in the mornings and that, although I had topics to write about, just before bed I skipped out and looked up dirty pictures instead. I had written a bit before that, but it's not the same. I need to write more and write stuff that's more meaningful and interesting that my petty worries about my own life or death.

Possibly the highlight of last night was calling VT Friend's work phone and leaving him a song message based on a joke song we had made up while I was up there. Hopefully it'll give him a chuckle and he'll play it for his son (which is who it's really for). 

Okay, gotta go.

Monday, September 22, 2014

To "the other one"

You commented on my blog, so I went to day and read the three most recent entries. You don't date your entries! I have no idea where I am in time. I find myself feeling unnerved, being so imprecise.

I was thinking about this in relation to myself today: if you think you're not afraid to die, then how can you be afraid to live? Nothing can hurt you worse than death, so what could you ever fear? 

No, I know it doesn't work like that; worse than death is torment; no one knows what death is (and those that crave it imagine it is an ending, which would be a relief), whereas torment is ongoing, is pain again and again. I can understand that.

I don't know what you've found in the not real world of the Internet, but if you look, you will come across many people that have felt like you. I was worrying about kids that I know recently (most likely younger than you) who are going into middle school, because there was an entry on a website once about bullying and comment after comment talked about how middle school was really the crucible of their pain. All the people posting had come through the other side and had found meaningful lives in adulthood (or early adulthood), but they described those years as the worst of their lives.

I don't know why middle school is this way. In some ways it may because, as a society, we no longer hold rituals of adulthood to test people and so "nature finds a way," creating a gauntlet of psychological horror in the group, if not alone in the woods on some quest.

Here are some things I would say to you, the other one: Are there people in your school worse off than you? People you know are at the bottom of the social pyramid and subject to shunning every day? What would it take to reach out to one of those people? If death is your fate, what could it hurt?

Let's take it one step wider: have you ever come into contact with the societal outcasts; the poor, the dirty, the homeless? Could you engage with them, to see how they view the world, what they feel is torture? (Or why they persist - why they choose life when you, in their place, clearly wouldn't?)

Could you change your perspective? If you got on a bus one day by yourself and rode eight hours away and got off, where would you be? What would you do? Can you rely on yourself? Often it is realizing the power that we have on our own, independent of anyone, that is the greatest wellspring of strength.

Think of those days when you wake up feeling strong - who are you in those times? What is it about you that you like, that you feel you want to share with the world? Now: if you took yourself out of context - out of your school, your friends, your town, your influences - you would be free to be that person, with no consequence. How could you do that? Meet strangers and see how they react to you?

This morning I received an email with an offer to help a child with his homework. I instantly questioned it: why did this woman pick me? Did she pick me or was it some kind of mass email? What was it about me that spoke to the woman? In short: why would anyone want me?

But I reflected on a truth I never fail to find confusing: I meet people and they like me. I think of the friends I just visited, who would love me to move up near them. I think of my other friends, who value me so much, when I feel I have so little to give. What is it they see that I can't (or don't, or won't)? In moments of happiness, I say "Yes, I am someone who is loveable and fun;" and then I go in to work today and my boss expresses alarm at the idea of my moving away and I'm confused. I don't even feel like he's getting his money's worth out of me. The one good thing that I feel I've done at that job was to make another worker there feel like she mattered to the company and was important to the management. Making her feel less sad and/or anxious about herself was far beyond and paltry, half-assed work product I've put out. I don't think I do anything for them, except be constant and make pretty good jokes sometimes. But that's not an employee. That's a clown.

Anyway, I've gotten off the subject. Sorry, the other one; I tend to focus on myself too much.

I hope that something I've said here has helped you; I was intrigued by the stop sign idea and - if I can remember it next time I'm crashing - I'll have to try to use it. 

Be well, friend.
Michael

Recent Financial History

1. I spent $82 at the dry cleaners today. It hurts me just to say it. I needed that money. Should have saved my money last week.
2. Last week I got auto-charged for Amazon Prime, which is $99 a...month? Nah, that can't be right, can it? Well, in any case, I got charged for it because I had signed up for the free trial month when I ordered something for work. Now a month came around and I got docked. Oh, fuck; more money I needed and thought I had.
3. I called and figured out a couple of things today: A) that I can use a pay stub for my student loan paperwork, and B) that I can sign on the the old job's website and get my tax info (Thank God).
4. Based on what I made and how long I worked, I made under a thousand dollars a month (net). I'm lucky I had that second job (the day labor gig).

I still have to pay a credit card bill this month, and my storage unit charge is going to come through, too, so my bank account is taking a pounding. I'm hoping I'll have enough to pay rent at the end of the month. Which brings me to my other task, requesting money from my investment account. 

I don't want to call them because the first time I did I got this really brusque guy on the phone, and the overwhelming feeling I got from him was one of disgust - I have a small account and was calling to ask about basic functions; he sounded sickened by having to explain them to me. It made me never want to call again, for fear of having to talk to him again.

Of course, all of that is heavily layered with my own issues and God know what his day had been like up until that point, but still; if I had substantial money with them, I would take it all out and put it somewhere else based on that guy; based on that one transaction. It's hard to say if that would just be a confirmation of my weakness but do I really care? Fuck that guy. He's answering the phone; it's on him to be courteous and shit. If their company has enough money to just float away, fine; but if they want repeat customers or recommendations, I wouldn't recommend putting him back on the phone.

Still don't want to call them.

Skin Tag and the Red Dots

Sounds like a good name for a punk band, right? It's what's happening on my body.

This morning while undressing for the shower, I examined my back for any zits, and discovered what looks like a wart in the middle of my back. I reached around and prodded it and it didn't have the properties of a wart; it wasn't hard and dry; so I'm thinking that maybe instead it's a skin tag. If it is, though, it's awfully big.

I also noticed that on my left shoulder three new dots have appeared. I have other ones I've mentioned before, red dots that are like slight or flat moles; these are the same maroon color as those, but much smaller.

Which brings me to the main two red dots/moles on my stomach; I can't be sure if they've changed color or not. I think they were always a pretty deep red or maroon; what I'm not sure of now is whether they're trending in the brown direction.

All of this is bad news, of course; they warn you about your moles changing color or growing or getting ragged edges; I don't know about skin tags and new spots of red; I suppose I'll have to look that up; but in any case, it's worrisome.

This is one of those times that you wish you had a partner who saw you every day and could assess things with you and to whom your naked body was not off limits or crossing the line.

The weekend was excellent; I'm only sad I have to come back. Yesterday was a beautiful day there, and had I been able to stay, we could have sat in the river out back of his house; that's how warm it was. 

They actually asked for someone to volunteer to skip the flight in exchange for a $500 voucher, which would have meant I could stay an extra day and have my next trip up paid for; but I wasn't comfortable with that. I don't like changing my plans last minute, and especially when it involves work. They expected me back today; I wanted to be here today. 

They say it's supposed to be cold out this morning; the house is warm as usual, so I'm doubting it. I'm going to check the weather, maybe get a jacket, and leave. 
Ciao.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Some Physical Issues, and An Inspiration

Yesterday evening after dinner and as we were about to go out (my friend and I and his son went to a local shop to listen to some jazz), I realized I had a pain in my abdomen. It's on my left side, right at the tip of my ribs. I'm not sure if it's internal or external - by which I mean to say I don't know if I hit myself or if the cause is internal. 

If its internal, it feels kind of like gall stones. I hope that's not it, although I don't expect I'll be eating very fatty foods while I'm here (just had some spaghetti in what may have been a homemade sauce with a bit of a spicy kick). It would also make some sense as my last few meals have been pretty bad: I ate an entire pizza by myself on Tuesday night and ate half a pint of Phish Food ice cream, then Wednesday I got McDonalds and finished off the ice cream. Then yesterday morning I got fries and an egg, bacon and cheese sandwich at the airport. So I haven't been doing very well on the "intake" recently. 

The thing is, I don't think of that as being where my gall bladder is; I think of it as being in the middle or on my right side; when I think about where the pain was the time I had a serious attack and ended up in the hospital, the pain was just under my breast bone. 

So in my silly untrained mind I think of the liver, and try to think what could be setting my liver off. Of course, bile also comes from your liver, so it could be related, but I don't think so. And it could just be the stones and I've got my anatomy wrong. But that's what I was thinking. I'll have to look it up after this.
(Another explanation for the liver: it's working overtime to clean my blood of the infection in my tooth.)

The inspiration is about paper towels. My friend's paper towels have spice leaves printed on them, with their names. Now that seems perfectly fitting for my friend's wife (and him to, although he's a man and so probably wouldn't care about subtle issues like that in the abstract) and I wondered where she got them. I wondered: "Could I get paper towels like that near me?" It seems like the answer should obviously be yes, but I don't know what they are and what brand they are and all of that.

In any case, it led me to think about customization and print-on-demand (something that became this huge issue five-ten years ago*) and I thought: "Wouldn't it be cool if you could design and print your own paper towel patterns?" 

Well, I'm sure you could, but it would probably cost an arm and a leg and not be worth it. 
Okay, so how do we find a happy medium?
I've got it! What if the paper companies that produce the paper towels had a monthly contest where people could submit their ideas for designs and then a winner would be chosen and a batch of those paper towels would be printed and shipped nationwide? 

I think that would be a great way to engage the customers, since everyone - okay, lots of people - consider themselves artists and would love to be able to express themselves in this public, and yet anonymous, way. It could also bring out some timid artists who hadn't been confident enough to share their materials before.

In any case, it seems like a great melding of commercialism and public art to me. Maybe I'll write to someone about it. (But probably not.)

(*I'm still confused as to why this hasn't broken the Texas school board's monopoly on curriculum materials.)

North

I am in New England. People had work and school today, so after I relieved myself in the yard (someone was in the shower and I really had to go, and they live in the country, so it's not like anyone would see), I went back to bed and didn't get up until 10:40 or so. The dogs seemed excited, so we went outside and hung out for a bit (I was texting) and then I went for a walk in the woods with them, but the path I knew is gone, there having been a massive rain and moving of earth some years ago. 

I saw results of it on another property across the road from the house; there's a river that runs behind my friend's property and we crossed the road and walked through the field to get to it. There was a part of the bank that you could tell had sheared off and you could see where the dirt stopped and the clay began below the ground (which determined the path of the river, my friend pointed out). Also in the river was a rock the size of a Fiat that he said had fallen out of the bank. At first I had thought it was just your average boulder, about the size of jet ski or something, but then I walked closer to the river to marvel at how clear the water was and BAM! I saw the entirety of it. Massive.

I've been struggling a little bit today with "should"s - I should get up earlier, I should take a shower, I should go and be outside - all the "recommendations" and advice of the people in my head. Compassionate whispers say "You don't have to do anything; you're on vacation;" but since that's the kind of thing I often say to myself in order to not do anything in life, I don't trust it.

I went outside soon after I got up; I went for a walk in the woods with the dogs; I just took a shower so I'm ready to go anywhere should anyone show up; so I should be pretty well off. But I don't trust my own instincts and am wary of my own choices - if I watch TV, is that bad? Is I watch TV on my iPad, is that bad? If I read a book, is that okay? If I just sit and look at the sun and pet a dog, is that right? What should I eat, what should I drink, is anything I do right?

My friend and I had a conversation yesterday afternoon about our fathers, me saying how I felt there was a huge disconnect between me and my father but that it may have bee mostly my fault, an idea I got planted in my head early on; he was saying that he wonders if he remembers his childhood and his relationship with his father with any kind of objectivity, because what he remembers is the negative. I probably suffer from the same. 

I told him about my conversation with my father the weekend he died, how I said I felt like we were different types of people - but I didn't tell him the part about how I thought (then) that it would have been better had my friend been his son, and I had been my friend's father's son, since we seemed more alike and they seemed more alike. I think that made him cry. I doubt my memory of it, but I think that made him cry. (I'm not sure if I doubt my memory of it because I don't want it to be true or because I do want it to be true; do I not want to have hurt my father so deeply or do I want to know that I mattered to him so much even though I never felt it?) Thinking about it now, I hear a line from Christian plays (attributed to God): "Don't you know how much I love you?" If he did weep, maybe he wept for the fact that I went mis-informed for so long; that I never knew how much he cared and wanted to help me. I tear up as I write that; I want very much for it to be true.

But as I was telling my friend lye steady, my father was always reasonable and figuring out the realistic path, a result of his philosophical background. But I wanted to be unreasonable; I wanted to be weird; I wanted to be an artist; and as he was the arbiter of all things Right and True, I felt like that was not allowed and I was a misfit, not destined to thrive. 

I was never able to shake that off. I'm still not, or I would be a much different person, and live a much different life. But to start now: rather than feeling I would be one of those cool, older guys filled with passion, I feel like I would be the loser older guy, who's starting too late and trying to get in when everything has passed him by. Now that's the mindset that bedevils me. Always wrong. Always wrong.

Well! Wasn't that cheery?
I'm going to finish my breakfast/lunch and then figure out what I'm going to do next.