Monday, September 01, 2008

if I gave you my number would it still be the same

Remember last Sunday? I do, but only generally. Like; I'm aware it was a day. I'm aware it was different than today. A whole week ago! I believe, in the bestest brightest way possible, that Part Two of the Sunday Top Ten: "Back in the 90s" will be coming later this week. Clarissa will explain it all, it'll smell like teen spirit, and all ye younguns will sport your hot outfits in a photographic retrospective envying the Amy Grant soundtracked Graduation Video that played at my middle school graduation.

Do people still give slide shows? Is there any chance ... like ... any chance at all ... of going back? To slideshows, black and white teevee, the milkman, 'zines, etc?

Wait. NEVER MIND ... I couldn't ever go back to 1995 for real because ... if it was 1991/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9 ... there'd be no Uh Huh Her. Who would be Tinkerbell's new number one band? Would you still believe in something?

I don't have a brand new inventive post in me right now so I'm gonna ramble instead. Honestly, it's so fucking weird to think about how from now on I'll never be posting from that little cave I lived in until yesterday! The cave where I lost my mind and lost ahold of like -- ME! I mean ... wtf? That space ... that room ... that emo-cave ... has been so central to a certain phase of evolution and similarly to a certain phase of solitary self-destruction.

You get into a routine. You're up up up up up up up and more up up up up up up and then down. There's the computer, radiating possibility of connection without having to face anything, really, face to face, and what if I don't like your face? and if you dare to go outside I was proven right right away -- yes, you're right, people are annoying, and they talk too loud, and want all the wrong things.

Speaking of the nineties ...

So I felt anchored in that emo cave like I've never felt anchored before. As in; not at the port. But drowning. Anchored by the weight of books, hundreds of books and the shelves that held them. By running to the hospital with photocopies while my limbs wondered if I'd ever eat or feel again. Anchored by an empty bank account, that silly meaningless determined vessel.

Anchored by the weight of moving in at a low point and never really recovering and this week has been a blur of wishing just once I could move without mourning and then remembering how often I used to. How many times I moved not only without mourning but WITH determination.

How I used to move with pride, violently alone.

When in doubt: go. Did you hurt me? Time to go. A fight? Let's fight for the door except that wait just kidding, I'm already there, and that do you hear that sound that it is the sound of it shutting.

I knew, after all, the danger of depending.

Because, speaking of the nineties, one day I dared to write in my diary that my Dad was the only good thing in my life and the next day I woke up and went to school at Pioneer and then during 9th hour because I didn't have a 9th hour I went to McDonald's with my theater friends and I ate two cheeseburgers and french fries and a Coke. We came back to school and there were messages for me.

I read the messages & waited outside alone for the woman who'd left the messages to come pick me up. She drove me away from school 'cause what had just happened while I'd been eating cheeseburgers is that my Dad died. I'd told my diary he was the only good thing in my life and so then he died.

So. At 14 I became fierce, cold, and mean. Violent without touching. Violent 'cause when I said "fuck off" I meant it and I stayed that way for years and years.

This thing where I depend? That thing? That's new to me. I mean, I'm so new at it. There's not many things I'm new at anymore but I'm new at: being broke, not going to a physical workplace every day and also I'm new at depending.

Because back then? You'd never catch me caring. Like in public. Alone: alone I could do anything! I could cry, cut, starve, fuck, try try try to feel something -- ANYTHING -- anything else.

And this brings us to the part where I'm trying to roll up my own carpet to leave the dorms that semester and I have to ask an RA to help me 'cause I realize suddenly it's a physically impossible task and per ush I'm the last one in the dormitory, determined to do it alone, because that's what I DO, that's what I DO! I do it alone. I don't want help. Help is for people who can't hack it on their own, help is for losers and I, I, I iiiiiiii am a winner. mememememe.

I had my own money from my Dad and on top of that I always worked as often as I could so I had more than enough so I can pay for you and you and you and then ultimately memememe. And the RA says "Sure," surprised of course that that girl (the only first year student to actually request a single, the girl who didn't wanna meet new people and at 19 had already lived away from home for four years, like in a CITY ) (that girl who liked to dissappear on walks to places the other kids didn't know about and for a few weeks had to disappear to her home and stay with her Mom even though she hadn't done that in years. That girl who'd locked everything in SO TIGHT that it made her too sick to move) was talking to him at all, let alone asking for something.

"Why are you doing this alone?" he asks, squinting his eyes like I'm crazy.

I say, "My Mom's at work," even though she's not. My Mom asked if I wanted help and i said No, No, No, NO! I will do this alone.

I'll be Little Orphan Annie despite the facts. I'll beat you to the door, I'm telling you, don't fucking test me, when I run out it'll be like a slammed the door in your face but FYI my face is so over your face it needs a whole new word for Over, and Face.

Those who've gotten away from me:
read this, and call.
Those whom I've hurt:
I wanted everything, or not enough.
It was all my fault.
-Stephen Dunn, "Loves"

And I kept doing that. Packing up car after car alone. Doing everything for all the wrong/right reasons. But all around me I saw people depend and I though that was maybe a good back-up plan if this plan ever failed.

So this lead me, ultimately, to 2004, moving out here (alone) and busting a tire at 3 A.M. in New Jersey. My whole life was in my car and I was fucking determined to make it out alive and alone. I was saved, ultimately, by a good samaritan in a serial killer van. But before he came I don't know if I was ready to disappar or determined to keep going.

Natalie says; "You know, you always do things I'd never do 'cause I'd be too afraid it'd kill me and maybe that's just 'cause you're not like --" and then [the pause].

Chelsea says; "Marie, aren't you? Afraid?" when the topic of death comes up one afternoon in the dorms (the one I couldn't move the carpet out of). No, of course not, I say, paying only half attention. How silly. Here, is here, and here is okay. And there is with my Dad, and so that's okay too, and so what's the big deal? Death is not THIS but that doesn't mean it's not okay.

When did this change? When did I change? When did I start caring so hard that I had to stop caring even harder?

And where's the middle ground, between me and not me, between anchors and flying, between leaving and refusing to leave? The line between love and hate isn't all that thin, but the line between love and love? It's a gulf. It's a terrifying gulf and as you try to leap across it, hate will grab you by the horns and it will hurt and if you make it to the other side ... that's love. And now you've earned it after all.

I don't know. I don't know the answers to these questions. Right now, thanks to Team Crisis (A;ex, Stef, and -- for the very very heavy stuff -- A;ex's friend Eric, with his man-muscles), all my shit is now in a storage unit. Or in the trash or at the salvation army or sold or donated.

With me: I've got a suitcase and my heart and a desire to move into a middle ground where I can be on a Team without needing a Team Crisis.

Right now I'm in A;ex's basement in Long Island. I have abso-fucking-lutely no idea where I'm gonna live or really what I'm gonna do, like with my life, and that fucking pisses me off, and will probs gaurantee at least ten more panic attacks this week, but my Mom always told me that thing about lemons and lemonade. Like how you should make lemonades out of lemons if that's what you get. And another thing my Mom taught me is that people can fuck you up but people can change. People will change, no matter what the stakes. People CAN change.

And who doesn't like lemonade? Assholes, that's who. People who can't spare a nickel. Look. If I can spare a nickel, you can spare a nickel.

I hope I win the calendar contest, I'd love to know what day it is, how time passes, you know. how we go on.

So anyway here I am in the middle of wherevs in the basement 'cause there's no wireless upstairs and a;ex made me dinner. We sat outside on the back porch and I thought oh my god it is so quiet. And I thought, if I'm gonna do this, I mean really do this, I mean get back to the mememememe I was before I somehow lost it ....

I don't know if you've ever had this experience, but sometimes when I trust someone else with gravity it's like my heart looks at me and is like, "really?" and then before I can answer it goes, it flutters away like the happiest bird of all time. It goes before I answer, like it has wings I'd never noticed before, I'd just thought "what nice shoulder blades you have."

I mean that first my heart drops to my gut, and then directly to the sky. And then it disappears. And I watch it go and I nod because I'm okay with that.

And I guess what I'm saying is; everyone I love, I need you now.

I need you because I don't. I need you because I want you, because I want to choose who I want close to me. Because ... actually, ultimately ... like you've shown me a million trillion times ... I can't really count on anyone but me.

And so I know that. And so after that, I mean after learning that again ... I've chosen to count on you. And you, and you, and you. I want to love you all and I can't let anyone else tell me what to do or who to love if I'm going to just be true to myself. And so I've chosen to count on you and you and you and you and you and you and you and you and you and you and trust me, you know, I've got my back, and I'm sorry, for what I said, but I've got it, I've got my own back, here's the trust fall, and here's my trust, and let me, because, it was my turn to decide and all I know is that I should.

"Listen, my truest love.
I've tried to clear a late century place for us
in among the shards.
Lie down, tell me what you need.
Here is where loneliness can live with failure,
and nothing's complete.
I love how we go on."
-Stephen Dunn, "Loves"


Stephanie said...

Hey, middle ground,
A place between up and down
She could be safe and sound,
oh to know middle ground.

Hey, you can have my apartment? The ceiling leaks on convenient holiday weekends and my ex lives upstairs and it will most likely collapse at ANY SECOND, but it's a steal! Please steal it. Srsly. Please. It's also in Virginia but I hear the commute is not so bad? Cool. Take care.

Anonymous said...

strangely enough i'm in a basement on long island, and even tho' we have wireless, my parents always somehow manage to break it while i'm away. so for now, this is the only place to get on the interwebs.

it's scary to have to depend on others because it means you have to give up control. but it's the letting go part that saves you from drowning.

i need no one and everyone all at once.

.elida. said...

so, i just moved in w/my dad. bad breakup with the ex. i both love and hate the situation. i hate that everything's so messy, but i love that he's taken me in.

I am also completely unsure of where to go to next. so i totally relate.

also, please tell me you were quoting Missy Higgins... I all sorts of love her.

stef said...

i think you're going to like my take on your moving experience. i'm working on it now. it's taking longer than i thought cos of photoshop...

i don't mind being on team crisis but i'd rather be on a team that doesn't hurt my flimsy muscles so much. i'd like to be on team congratulations or something fun like that... can we make that happen?

Meelee said...

I'm displaying the nonsercure items again.

You've made me feel quite strong for my day ahead at work, which is odd for me in the mornings.

You're a gem, Bernard. Keep on truckin'.

autumn m said...

i would totally be on team crisis, i can carry heavy stuff. i have this saying that i live by, always expect the worst from people, so when it happens you arent suprised. i to hate being dependent of others, it makes me feel weak and useless. and i dont like being that way, i rather be the person that people depend on. it makes me feel like i have a purpose.

Anonymous said...

More than words can say I need you now? I've gotta find a way I need you now?

At least you can work Strong Island into more conversations.

"Yeah, we scissored in a basement on Strong Island."

Anonymous said...

i read a lot of stephen dunn this week. maybe all of his work. i found a quote from him that i really like:

"Although I know it's unfair I reveal myself one mask at a time."

kind of appropriate a little? i love when you write like this, reminds me of what made me keep reading all those months ago.

in unrelated news, the font on this page is all wonky, did you do that, or is it blogger?

Anonymous said...

Riese, I don't know you, but I adore you. Write a novel. Your thoughts and stories deserve a much broader audience.

asher said...

But I promise this,
I won't go my whole life telling you I don't need.

Anonymous said...

I wish you didn't have to hurt like this. No one should, you know?

But, on that note, something is going to come from this. It has to.

Anonymous said...

i just want to echo "thehermit"'s post. i love to read your writing. you just get "it." that ephemeral "it," that eludes all explanation, but you somehow make it clear. you are fascinating, you have incredible friends who clearly love you, and i know that this limbo that you're in isn't permanent--as frustrating as it may be. just know you have a lot of people who care about you who don't even know you in the common sense of the word, and i say that in the non-creepiest way possible, but it's true--because you tell the truth, you speak in a way that is so deafeningly gorgeous that it hurts, and i along with many other are always here to listen.

always wishing you the best...

Teenage Mixed Tapes said...

So. Perfect.

Anonymous said...

You know how you read post secret and you think about all the people you know who could have posted the secrets you are reading.... I know my ex will read this and feel like you have written a page from her life.

On the flipside there is a point where love/trust/depending feels less like falling off a cliff and more like cliff diving into a clear blue ocean, you just have to change your body position!

I won't be far from where you are if ever you should call
You meant more to me than anyone I ever loved at all


riese said...

stephanie: Oh, commutes do not scare me as I've got nowhere to commute to. I can handle exes, as long as they are friendly exes, like exes and ohs, the hit teevee show. I want to live alone on middle ground. Ideally near the train.

NEP: There's no wireless here but there's one of those old fashioned cords that you've gotta hook up to the right side to make it work. I'm hoping it's not entirely non-sensical to learn to swim when you start to drown. I'm banking on it. When I was 18 I learned to swim for real, which could be a good place to start.

.elida: Over the past 16 months I've wanted nothing more than to have a parent in the tri-state area. My ex moved in with her parents after a bad break up and was still there when we got together and when her brain popped and snapped and broke down I was jealous that she had that space to do it in. In my next life, I'm never leaving Michigan, not ever. I am all sorts of also unsure, and quoting Missy Higgins.

stef: Your muscles just called and said that they are not flimsy. They are strong and durable and good friends. It is one of my number one feelings, wishes and desires that we will have a team congratulations, team here's to us, sometime soon ...

meelee: team strong mornings, works better than drugs every time, or i hope so.

autumn m: i used to always say; "I'm a realist, not a pessimist," and expected the worst and was surprised if better things happened at some point i stopped and started expecting better, and then better but my ass. i like being depended on too, i think, maybe too much.

milf island: Alex said; "who's milf island? what a funny name," and I was like, Alex, c'mon, that's obviously Lozo.

anonymous: I have so many that sit in my head all the time and guide me every minute of every day, like "When you get together / you must feel everyone has brought / his fierce privacy with him /
and is ready to share it./ Prepare yourself though to keep something back;/ there's a center in you / you are simply a comedian without."

thehermit: I don't know you either, but your name rhymes with kermit. one of these days ,i have a few novels in me, and ones I've not yet to burn.

asher: and i'm not proud that nothing will seem easy about me.

burningsteady: I'm beginning to learn that even if something better doesn't come from hurting, the only true thing is that something does come. something, anything at all.

kath: I get it, I think, the non-creepiest way possible. I mean, I feel this comfort from the interwebs in ways that I can't describe but I think it feels good, like, comforting, and I hope it's just as non creepy for you as it is for me.

lesbianist: so. thank you.

anonymous 500: I think I thought so too, or I thought that way, that depending felt less like falling off a cliff and more like cliff diving, but then I realized if I had to think enough about it to realize I was on a cliff at all, there might be something more going on. I'm not sure. Sometimes I get too lost in a metaphor to see the street. Or I have to be ready to float or swim if I even make it that far, maybe.

AV Flox said...

I'm in California and I don't have a basement, but I have a spare bedroom and you can stay as long as you like if you're ever in need of a Team Crisis out west.

I have Atherton on the phone now and we both wanted to congratulate you on getting in the calendar. We're sandwiching a girl named Amy, which is only all right because of that stellar student/teacher imagery you provided in the comments.

I went to Catholic school, is it obvious?

Bourbon said...

This is so above rambling.

Life is a trial everyday, the transitional points even more so. In retrospect though, it's always the transitions we remember the most vividly. That's got to mean something.

autumn m said...

i find that i have an unhealthy obsesstion with this blog. i dont know why. but i um yeah. i was going to say something deep and meaningful, but it might have sounded creepy. but basically you rock

Coffee Stained said...

Thanks for that. Of course I would suggest Canada to you--I live in Edmonton. It gets really cold here, we have the Canadian equivalent to red necks--but you know, it's Canada so we're polite, live in igloos, and have funny names for winter hats--touques. Forget swimming--you could learn to play hockey.

I liked this because I get it--probably like everyone else. I keep calling my "i have no idea what I'm doing" time (ie: now), my "transitional period". It's been going on for a year and a half. But I guess everyone has to be somewhere, so by whatever chance/fate/luck/choice, here I am. I guess that's something. Even if I have been known to yell "I hate love" at social gatherings in this particular place.

Thanks for sharing that with the interuniverse.

Mercury said...

I absolutely loved the part about your heart looking at you and saying "really?" and flying away and I think it's so true and so beautiful and I know what you mean and you think,

and I'm here for you, you know, where "here" is "really far away" but it's still for you, for youyouyouyouyou. and also for me and other people but still for you.

Good luck. <3 me

riese said...

av flox: . I went to gifted kids school for dorks, is that obvious? Team Crisis, Team Crisis everywhere but not a drop to drink in NYC itself. Though my life is here, the spare rooms are few and far between ... !

razia: I think it means that's when we learned the most. I wish i had less transitions to remember, and more long blank planes of nothingness. Perhaps this is too much to ask.

autumn m: I also have an unhealthy obsession with this blog. i dont know why. i wish i could say something deep and meaningful. no one is creepy. i know from creepy.

coffee stained: I like the cold better than the heat I guess, so that's a bonus. I like igloos. I think I'll move to a farmhouse in Montreal and learn to speak french and then get a little hat with muffins on it. There's a great lorrie moore paragraph about the transitional period, in a story called agnes of iowa .. i'd quote it, but all my books are in storage!!

"i hate love!" = brill.

mercury: whenever i write comments to you about location, space or distance, that "anchored down in anchorage" song starts playing in my head. it's such a sweeeet song.

The Brooklyn Boy said...

:) You're a champ, you. Ever wanna crash in Brooklyn for a few days just to be in a full room, my parents have hella space and are used to hosting my peoples. Got two full ones if you wanna bring a teammate, ha. I missed you/your blog while I was on vacay. Be easy.

Anonymous said...

I loved this, not only because it was beautiful and raw and painfully honest, but because I completely identify with the space you are in right now, as I am kind of in the same space. (I love being homeless for two days of a holiday weekend, don't you?) Anyway, once I make it back to New York at the end of September, you are more than welcome to crash on my couch, er, floor, if you ever need to. We can eat junk food and play dress-up with Tinkerbell and listen to bad early '90s one-hit-wonders, and laugh.

Lady Thoughts said...

This is my favorite post of yours Ive ever read. I read your blog and you dont reveal often. This was so raw and real and honest and vulnerable.

Thats all. No advice. No "I relate".

Just brill.

Anonymous said...

You didn't feel comfortable in your neighborhood (because of the morons) and you didn't feel comfortable in your home (because of roommate issues). Plus one of your emotional anchors (Hav) is away. Jeez, no wonder you've been feeling alienated. Even living on a couch, things are bound to get better than they have been.

Take it from a champion DIYer, your friends want you to ask for help. They're hurt when you don't ask. And you're lucky to have, I think, some good friends. Use them. Let them use you.