My crises are always internal. I doubt most who see me would notice the turmoil in my own head. I look like I’m just there, but I am an illusion. My own illusion. We are all our own illusions. Some of us are maintaining our crises internally, while others’ are out like sheets on a line flapping in the wind.
I am a flawed human being. Perhaps any efforts to mold myself to the contrary are pointless; it isn’t possible to exist without flaw. The question is how much effort I should continue to expend or if I should just accept this level of flaw and leave it at that. Sometimes I feel worn out with the effort and not much in the way of reward.
I don’t know.
I have heard the expression If wishes were horses. I don’t know where I heard this. I am resisting googling this before I write so my writing is not colored by whatever I find on the internets. I keep thinking that if wishes were horses, there would not be enough room on the planet to sustain all of them. And also that wishing and wishing and wishing does not make something true. Desire, desire, desire leads to wishing, wishing, wishing. If every wish were a horse this would be a very strange planet. And what about the horses themselves? Perhaps they are wishing too. What then?
For me, if wishes were horses, there would be a herd indeed.
I did do an internets search and found out that it comes from an old proverb. Horses can be interchanged with birds and fishes. This proverb is recorded in English from quite an early date. A version of the expression appeared in the published works of William Camden in the 17th century. The first known citation of the proverb in the form we now know it is in James Carmichaell’s Collection of Proverbs in Scots:
If wishes were horses, beggers wald ryde.
The date of Carmichaell’s work is unclear, but it does appear to have been published in his lifetime and he died in 1628. Whether it was Carmichaell or Camden who first recorded the proverb is currently not known.
I wonder if this means that beggars didn’t get to ride horses in those days. This should not surprise me. Owning a horse is an expensive proposition. Capitalism would have ensured that those at the bottom of the food chain did not own a horse, which requires food and shoeing and a place to live. No, beggars would not have ridden.
Okay, stream of consciousness, too early because I can’t sleep post is over. Suffice to say, for me, if wishes were horses, I wald haft love.
I have my little dreams. They follow me into the morning, drift along with me during the day. By night they will leave me and I’ll be alone again, waiting for another little dream to come. Sometimes I wish I could follow the dreams instead.
Is it possible that if I did not have sunny hair that others could suppose that the sun is not usually here to warm the inside of me? If my hair were the color of coal or bark would it be easier to perceive the isolation always hovering like an alligator hiding beneath a stream waiting to drag me under?
I used to write all of my thoughts down. I don’t write all of my thoughts anymore.
Tonight I crossed a street, and then crossed a parking lot. Two men were walking up the sidewalk when I entered the parking lot. Halfway across one of the men shouted at me, “You have a nice ass!” I said low and to myself, “No I don’t.” Then I got to thinking about the concept of a nice ass and observed that having a nice or not nice ass is a weird construct, but I also thought that the man who said that probably didn’t think it was a weird construct. He probably just had some idea of the way asses look and determined that some ways are nice. I suppose this is the way most people who think about asses being nice or not thinks about them. But I find it odd that we determine that certain shapes of body parts are nice or not. I know there is some biological basis to finding certain features attractive, that it seeks out opposite and healthy genes, and youthful characteristics that are likely to increase the success of child bearing. However, I’m not sure I see where asses fit into that and I wonder how it is that our society has developed into one where we make judgments about body parts. Actually, I don’t really wonder about it. I can ascertain how we got to this place. I just wish we hadn’t, that’s all. Not because I’m offended when someone yells about my butt, but because we are where we are now and that we are headed where we are and it’s not pretty.
I spend much too much time alone. And it’s probably a good thing I don’t write my thoughts down anymore.
This essay was published on Huffington Post, and can be seen here.
When I was a child, we played outside, rode bikes without helmets, we rode in cars without booster seats, and our parents didn’t organize and supervise play dates.
This is a popular meme making the rounds on social media. It’s usually accompanied by a photo of some kid jumping something enormous on a Big Wheel with no helmet, hair flying maniacally, face full of joy. The implication of course is that today’s children are too coddled. The Atlantic just did a big article on this subject (See here). The article was good. It focused on helicopter parents and people who won’t let their children do anything with risk.
But I think it’s a mistake to revere the way things used to be. When I was a child…keep reading by clicking here.
This is what modern life is: All relationships are via some electronic device, or they do not exist at all. Meeting face to face is a rare occurrence except in the workplace, and if you work alone, woe be to you. If you want to find out what is happening in a friend’s life, you have to use some version of social media to discover it, because it will not be found out through real conversation. Even the phone has gone by the wayside and telephone conversations are rare. Everyone is too busy to connect with real humans that have any meaning to them unless those humans happen to live in the same house, and even then, it won’t be the sort of connection time and reflection bring, but the rushed and desperate connection of going to and fro. If there is a misunderstanding via electronic device which lacks the nuance of face to face connection, it is quite possible the relationship will end, regardless of how long you have known one another because with electronic misunderstandings comes the possibility of projection of whatever the person who misunderstands chooses to perceive, whether or not there is any basis in reality. Even when you do meet your friends in person, this is no guarantee you will actually connect with them. The devices are there too, intercepting. Faces don’t turn toward one another, but toward little screens, lighting the visage with cold, blue light.
These are the lives we have created for ourselves. In exchange for products that can do everything for us and do do everything for us, we have given up human connection, human passion. Maybe it isn’t such a travesty that we seem on the trajectory to self-destruction.
Lapsed. I’m lapsing. I’ve lapsed. From nearly everything.
Lapsed seamstress. Lapsed writer. Lapsed knitter. Lapsed runner. Lapsed cello practicer. Lapsed student. Lapsed lover. Lapsed homemaker. Lapsed housecleaner (Actually, this one gets many lapses in one: Lapsed duster, lapsed bathroom scrubber, lapsed dishwasher, lapsed vacuumer, lapsed mopper, lapsed ironer). Lapsed makeup wearer. Lapsed friend caller. Lapsed snappy dresser. Lapsed reader. Lapsed photographer. Lapsed French and Spanish student. Lapsed cook. Lapsed popcorn-maker. Lapsed wit (I’d like to think I’m a lapsed half-wit because that would imply I was getting smarter). Lapsed activist. Lapsed memory. Lapsed. Simply lapsed.
I can’t really call myself a lapsed sleeper because I’ve been insomniac for two decades now, so it’s a permanent condition. I could only say I’m a lapsed insomniac if I were to start sleeping regularly. I also can’t call myself a lapsed laundry folder because I’ve always been abysmal at that too.
Thankfully, I have not lapsed in tooth care, keeping my body clean, or playing with my children or dog, although sometimes I wish I could lapse on these things too. I skipped a shower yesterday, and could barely contain my desire to jump in the shower this morning. An itchy scalp makes me bananas. I hope I’m never a prisoner of war or part of some other catastrophe that keeps me from being able to wash.
Maybe it’s my hair that has me so stuck, so unalive, so lapsed. I heard someone say in a movie that you should not keep the same hairstyle for decades, but I have not followed this rule. I’ve made forays into other hair places, but I always veer back because the texture of my hair is so inflexible when it comes to hairstyle variety, at least if I want to look moderately presentable, that I end up drifting back into blow-dried straight, shoulder-length hair. It doesn’t do well with layers, mainly because it’s really actually curly and layers turn me into a square head, which is so unattractive. Bangs. Those stick out straight in front and I look like I’m giving trailer girls circa 1985 a run for their hairstyle money. Again, it’s because I’m mostly curly. That’s the other thing. I’ve tried Gresham…er…curly, but I think because I blowdry straight every other day, some of the strands have become straight, so I end up with some parts curly, some parts bent funny, and the rest frizzy. Ugly. Ugh. Hence, no hair style change. Most days, it’s in a ponytail. I look the same all the time and this is boring. Just like me.
Tag: Motivation, lack thereof. There isn’t one of those, but perhaps there ought to be.
I have been trying to buy a house. I did all the things I was supposed to do, provided all the paperwork, yada yada. I had no reason to expect anything to go wrong. Making the offer, getting accepted, getting the inspection, all that, took hardly any effort at all and was complete in under a week. Then the process was passed on to the mortgage company. After waiting and waiting and waiting, life suddenly turned to shit. It began with the incessant requests for documents, even those previously requested and provided. It concluded with multiple requirements to spend insane amounts of money, and still no closing date. Today, we still have no closing date.
Along the way, I asked the mortgage broker, what is the worst case scenario? A week, or more? I have to give notice at my rental. If I give notice for the first, will this pose a problem (closing was originally scheduled for the 23rd of July)? No, I don’t think so, he told me (Liar. Unwilling bearer of potential bad news.). A week out should be fine. So I gave my notice. Big mistake number one. No, actually that was big mistake number two. Big mistake number one was choosing the mortgage company that I did. I had been pre-approved by another company, but I chose this one on the recommendation of my realtor. She’s wonderful. She had all the best intentions, but certain aspects were out of her control, like a useless underwriter who considered other files more of an emergency than mine, even three days after the original closing. My realtor has been as upset by the turn of events as I have, but she could not fix it. She could not make the mortgage company act any more quickly, or go back and change the date I had to move out of my house, the date the landlord wasn’t willing to extend because new renters wanted to move in, the consequence being that although there was no closing date, I had to leave July 31. And here we are, living in a hotel until tomorrow and then on to couch surf friends for who knows how long after paying $600 for a rental truck that was going to cost 40. I’m ready to give up.
We drove over to the old neighborhood tonight, Isabel and I. Driving past the Whole Foods, I felt like an intruder, like I didn’t belong or deserve to be there. Rootless. Alone. Right now, I feel so alone, like even being around people I am still isolated. Is this how it is for real homeless people all the time? That in not having a place to call their own, they don’t belong anywhere? Would it be any easier or less lonely if I had a partner in life? Would it be better if Milla were home, more grown up and able to understand than Isabel? I don’t know the answers to those questions because they aren’t my life right now. What I do know is what is. If I’m supposed to be getting something from this, I haven’t figured out what it is. I don’t like not having a place that is my own, somewhere to be comfortable and settled as I go out in the world to do my job or live my life or just be. Maybe the point is to learn to just be without a base, but I don’t know why that would be a useful lesson. I think it’s natural for most creatures above a certain brain size to crave a secure place for themselves. Even my kitty, staying in a large kennel at a friend’s, longs for her home and family, eating nearly nothing and worrying at what has become of her life. My dog seems happy, visiting a friend with two other dogs as if at a makeshift doggy camp. Oh, and Milla, visiting her dad and playing the video games I don’t allow. And actually Isabel too, is content as long as I am nearby. Perhaps it is just the cat and I who cannot deal with this, both of us because we don’t know what will be next, as if anyone ever does, but we are used to life’s moderate predictability. I don’t know. I do know I’m not comforted. I think of all I have to do and I’m tired. I don’t believe I’m learning anything I needed to. Maybe there isn’t a lesson. Maybe sometimes life just sucks and you have to get through until it doesn’t anymore, and that’s just all there is.
I have made a pact with myself to write at least one page per day on my book. It seems daunting when I’m not doing it, but when I sit down and start, I usually end up writing more. I guess that is the point of forcing oneself to write regularly, especially in spite of jobs and children. It is satisfying and somewhat overwhelming at the same time. I know what I’m going to say, but when I think of all of it, it makes me feel like a mountain climber at the base of Everest. Good luck with that.
I wish I had a trusted adviser, someone to whom I could turn when things go funny or when I have serious questions about how to live my life. I don’t, really. Have an adviser, I mean. Today there was more added to the conundrum at work. I ended up feeling worse, rather than, if not better, at least the same. This was not satisfying. I don’t want to dwell on it, but there is no one to talk to about it, and I think talking would help take it out of my head somewhat. Maybe that’s the real reason we all pair up, so there is someone at home we can talk to about what is going on in our lives. Too often I have conversations I can’t have with anybody.
My baby has a cold and as a consequence, when she fell asleep this afternoon at 5, she just stayed asleep. She is still sleeping. I tried to wake her up, but she wasn’t interested. She drank more milky and went back to sleep. Three times. Her little nose is stuffed up, poor dear.
Big child is washing the dishes. She is plugged into my ipod and listening to the soundtrack of O Brother Where Art Thou. She is singing songs from it. I suppose that, while I’m dismayed she is plugged in and not having a conversation with a live human (namely, me), she is still listening to something I simply cannot object to. Even more entertaining is the fact that periodically, she calls out a line in a song and gives a little shake to her butt. Down to the river to pray! Butt shake. Oh sinners, let’s go down! Butt shake. Good Lord, show me the way! Butt shake. Priceless.
Alone. Alone. I spent most of Christmas alone. Milla went to her dad’s and Isabel went with her dad and I didn’t have either of them for about 5 hours. Last week when I was stressed I looked forward to the break, but I’ve had some time to relax a little and I was bored without them. I went to a movie and went for a walk with the dog. What was different in my aloneness this time is that I wasn’t achingly lonely, desperate for my life to be different. This is a huge shift from a few years ago, before my last relationship, when I would stand in my shower with my head on the tiles of the wall and sob.
As I walked along I thought about the fact that I’m spending no time at all with my parents, not even trying to maintain the charade we’ve kept up for the last 2 decades, and I was glad of it. It was so much simpler not pretending that I gave a shit. I was glad to be free of the resentment that every year my little family is given short shrift. A couple of years ago my mom stopped even pretending to try and see us on Christmas. My sister has been so relentless about everything being on her terms, even to the point that for years she would find out when I wanted my mom to visit me and then make sure that this was the time she asked my mom to visit her. I started keeping it a secret just so she wouldn’t know, but then that left my mom wondering and unable to schedule, and of course anytime I would allude to what I thought was going on, the denials would take over. So many years of me and my girls being the bottom of the priority list. If anything good has come of this backing out of any semblance of a relationship, it is the end of losing the argument over who gets my mother. My sister won. And it isn’t even me being sour grapes about it; I honestly don’t care. I have nothing in common with my mother, nothing to talk about of any substance, so there isn’t anything to miss or be sour grapes about. Our conversations are empty. There are long silences. I can’t talk about my life because she just doesn’t get it. My mom won’t talk about politics, or world events, or constitutional issues, or the kinds of movies I see, or the kinds of books I read, or any of it. And honestly, I don’t really like the kinds of movies she sees or the books or magazines she reads either. It isn’t all one way. I am just as disinterested in her interests as she is in mine. My mother is desperate to pretend the world is a perfect place. She sees movies that are so sappy and cloying, they make me want to vomit. She reads the Bible and books about how to be a good Christian, and I’m an atheist. I like The New Yorker. She likes Guideposts. She wishes I wouldn’t discuss the problems our world is facing or rail against greedy bankers, even if she agrees with the sentiment, and that everyone would just get along.
Me too, Mom, me too, but life is not a Rockwell painting. If she knew me at all she would know how deeply I lament the complexity of the mess this world is in. If she knew me at all she would know so much more about me than she does. I suppose it is probably a good thing, but she doesn’t even know I write this blog, and I’ve done so for years. I believe she doesn’t want to know me. She has avoided who she thinks I am for years, and the only reason I can come up with is that I scare the shit out of her, and that’s too bad. She doesn’t even know the simple things. Grey has been one of my favorite colors to wear for several years now. Last year she was going to give me some gift of an item of clothing, but said she did not because it was grey, and “Lara doesn’t wear grey.” Um, yeah, I do, I told her, marveling at how little she knows even the simple things.
With every failed relationship except the last one, she blamed me for the breakup, even when she had no idea what happened. She thought I should have been less independent and more devoted to the man, and that if I had taken better care of all of them, they wouldn’t have left, as if it was always so simple, always my fault alone, and always that they left. She doesn’t consider leaving a miserable relationship, so she can’t conceive that I would do just that. Funny how you can love someone and not really like them that much.
You know, the thing I’ve noticed about spending so much time alone, never having any conversations of depth with anyone, is that I find when I am with people, I have very little to say. It’s as if in failing to find relationships of the depth I crave, I’ve lost the capacity to have them. I don’t think that’s true, but it sure seems that way sometimes.
I am too much alone. I can be surrounded by people in my job or through the computer, but I am still alone. Blah blah blah all day at work, but nothing is really a meaningful conversation, the kind that nourishes my soul. I speak with people, but our words have no depth, and I am still alone. Of late, I can’t find anyone with whom to have these kinds of conversations. I think though, that this situation has more to do with not knowing how to meet people who have these sorts of conversations.
I saw an amazing movie called The Artist. It was a silent film about a silent film actor and what becomes of him when talkies take over. It was utterly brilliant. I could have discussed that film with someone for hours, but there is no one to talk to. I saw another great movie called Hugo with Milla. The two of us had a lot to say, and I loved discussing it with her, but I could have had even deeper conversations about that film as well, but there is no one to talk to.
I read The New Yorker. I devour The New Yorker. It is filled with amazing articles, but I have no one to discuss them with. I have one friend who reads The New Yorker, but he’s married with a small child and he doesn’t have time to discuss things like that with me. None of my other friends have those kinds of conversations, even if they do read the same things I do or see the same kinds of movies. If they do have those kinds of conversations, they certainly aren’t having them with me.
I read a eulogy by Ian McKellan about Christopher Hitchens. It described their last days together, how they dissected films and books, and I felt my insides move with desire for those kinds of conversations, friendships with that kind of depth. But I have no clue how to get them. None. I have thought and thought about it, but I don’t know how. I don’t do the right job. I don’t move in the right circles. I don’t have friends who have those kinds of conversations. I’m starving.
This was supposed to be a writing about being glad I’m not pretending Christmas needs to be with my parents, but it’s gone to a darker place. I feel too sloth-like, too fat, too alone. The intellectual part of my head says This too will pass, but another part, a darker part, thinks This is how it is for you. No one except Milla and Isabel would even notice if you were gone.
Reading back through this, it drifted inperceptibly into self-pity, as if I’m really desperately lonely, but it’s not true. On some level I think I was supposed to feel lonely because it was Christmas, but actually, except for our rushed festivities with one another in the morning, it was just like any other day (we had to rush because Milla had to be at the airport by 11). The only real difference between this day and others was that Milla left and that always causes some melancholy to float through me. Those days always end slightly empty, whether they are Christmas or not. In any case, I’m fine. No self-pity here. I’m going to snuggle my baby and get some rest and tomorrow will be another day.
Would I feel any differently this morning if it were sunny and nice instead of rainy and crappy? Oregon was rainy and shitty the entire time we were there until the last day. It had been sunny until the day before we arrived. Now it is sunny again since we have left. It was pouring in NY the day we left and the days up until we left. It is pouring now. Am I going to get any summer anywhere?
It is difficult for me to discern whether the weather has an impact on my mood when the weather rarely changes from shit. We have had a handful of sunny days since January, and I remember feeling optimistic on those days. Hawaii was a boring place to live, but it was so sunny and nice most of the time. I rarely felt down like I do here most of the time. But of course, hormones could be playing a part as well, and the constant wondering what each day will bring in my relationship. I used to bounce back pretty easily after an argument with the boyfriend, but not really anymore. Now I just wonder when the next one will come. I can just hear all the preachers out there who will comment and tell me just to leave him, but I would like to ask them how they would like to be single and pregnant in a city with no friends. It is so easy to armchair quarterback, especially someone else’s relationship. And then of course there is this weather, this abominable, interminable, shitty-ass weather. I wish to fuck it would get sunny already.
I gave a hungry man an apple yesterday and I keep thinking about it. I don’t want to trivialize it, but I wanted to write about him. I keep seeing him at the other end of the subway car gnawing the apple as if his life depended on it. And maybe it did. I thought of him this morning in my insomniac hours. I thought about the homeless families I read about in the New York Times and I wanted to write and comment about what homelessness is, but that seems so boring and unlikely to change anything. People read me, but no one is going to read what I have to say about homelessness and change anything. I don’t know what would remove the image of that man from my brain. I don’t know that I should remove that image. I just keep thinking about it. So many times I have sat on the subway car and a person comes on and says, Excuse me, Ladies and Gentlemen, apologizes, and then proceeds with their spiel. So many times I have been slightly annoyed by the interruption, yet felt guilty at the same time. I simultaneously realize how close to precarious is my own financial situation, yet I acknowledge that we are nowhere near completely homeless and there are people in our lives who would ensure true homelessness is a most unlikely possibility. I know also how pitiful and useless would be the change in my pocket. And honestly, I am slightly resentful at being asked even though it isn’t fair to feel this way. So I do nothing. But there have been times when I have had food, times before moving to New York, when I would give food to people asking for it. This time I had an apple, he asked for food, why not? He told his sad story and I handed him my apple, then thought nothing more of it until I looked up minutes later to see him devouring that apple like he hadn’t eaten in days. It was ginormous and red and beautifully ripe, a sort of dream apple. It makes me weep to think of his hunger, swallowing the pieces so quickly he could not have had time to enjoy much of its fragrant sweetness. It makes me wonder what would happen if I ever gave into the urge I have had in the past to ask the person to sit down and talk to me. Sometimes I am afraid because the person seems to be mentally ill. I don’t want to be screamed at. Other times I just don’t do it. I’ve never done it. But the urge has been there over and over. I have wanted to stop my car (back when I had and drove a car) and ask the person holding the sign What happened? How did you get here? But I haven’t done it. I wonder if I ever will.
I have a dream sometimes where I gently poke a hole in my arm and watch the blood slowly leak onto the grass.