January 31, 2010

Hand in unloveable hand

My friend put this song in my head. On one hand I'm grateful, because it's relief from Lady Gaga, but it's not exactly light and lovely, either. A great break-up song.

No Children

I hope that our few remaining friends
Give up on trying to save us
I hope we come up with a fail-safe plot
to piss of the dumb few that forgave us
I hope the fences we mended
Fall down beneath their own weight
And I hope we hang on past the last exit
I hope it's already too late
and I hope the junkyard a few blocks from here
Someday burns down
And I hope the rising black smoke carries me far away
and I never come back to this town again
in my life
I hope I lie
and tell everyone you were a good wife
and I hope you die
I hope we both die
I hope I cut myself shaving tommorow
I hope it bleeds all day long
Our friends say it's darkest befor the sun rises
We're pretty sure they're all wrong
I hope it stays dark forever
I hope the worst isn't over
I hope you blink before I do
and I hope I never get sober
and I hope when you think of me years down the line
you can't find one good thing to say
and I hope that if I found the strength to walk out
You'd stay the hell out of my way
I am drowning
there is no sign of land
your are coming down with me
Hand in unloveable hand
and I hope you die
I hope we both die

I have felt all these things. John Darnielle expressed them for me.

January 30, 2010

Someone like you

After a conversation with a friend recently, I was inspired to seek something out that had never really occurred to me before.

People like me.

I found a "Bipolar Disorder Meetup Group" here in San Francisco. They emphasized they're not a support group, just a social group. I joined. I'm going to a function on Thursday. I have no idea if it will be good or not. It seemed worth a try.


While wandering around on the internet on friends of friends' pages, I found this bit, titled "low" about a break-up:

...well, it's stupid isn't it? why should i care about her birthday, that i can't wish her a happy one, that the cards would be returned or ripped to shreds, the flowers stomped to bits or brought back to my doorstep if she knew where it was? the following day, what would've been our anniversary, hurt more when I met a couple that'd picked the same wedding date that we had. i tried to listen along happily as they described plans for their burlesque extravaganza nuptials but all i felt was the constant sensation of a thick-soled boot in my ribs. my best attempts at nesting did nothing to soothe, nor did alone time. i will ride this out as i do, and will likely eventually lose this feeling in the busy-ness of my day-to-day until it sneaks up and temporarily crushes me again, whenever that next time may be.

It brought the pangs of recognition.


Can't read my
Can't read my
No, he can't read my poker face...

Stop judging me. It's stuck in my head.

January 28, 2010

Confidential message to T.K. #2

We missed you at lunch. Stop staying behind. That is all!

January 25, 2010

Metaphor in dreams

I was on a plane when--somehow--the other passengers found out there was a terrorist on board, although no one was positive exactly who it was. The furious, terrified whispering among the passengers started. Unbeknownst to me, I was carrying a number of secrets vital to national security, and the flight crew had been instructed to save me before the terrorist took the plane down.

A kind flight attendant came and got me from where I sat huddled in a ball in fear, and said I would be getting off the plane in a moment and she needed to get me ready. "What do you mean I'm getting off the plane?" I asked in alarm. She smiled reassuringly and handed me a parachute. "But I've never done this before!" I cried.

"Don't worry. You'll figure it out," she said gently. "Just let yourself free-fall for awhile and--when it feels right--pull on the cord."

She stood me in front of the cabin door. I was mute with terror, and I was sure I'd never have the nerve to actually jump. Suddenly I didn't have a choice. The cabin door opened and I was sucked out: falling, falling.

I was startled that it was night--I had expected daylight. I looked down and saw my pale bare feet illuminated by the moon as they plunged into blackness below. I had always assumed that when one was in a free-fall, your thoughts were a blur. I was wrong, though. There was plenty of time to think. It occurred to me that I had never asked whether we were over water or land, and what part of the world we had been flying over. How high had we been when I went out the door? How would I survive when I couldn't even fathom what I would encounter when I reached the bottom? What were these secrets that I supposedly already knew, and to whom was I supposed to tell them? Would anyone even believe me if I tried? I felt strangely calm, and vaguely wondered how fast I was falling.

I reached up and felt for the cord. How would I know when it felt right to pull? Would it be a gradually dawning awareness or a sudden realization? I found the end of the cord flying somewhere up around my ear. My fingers tensed around it, ready to pull.

January 23, 2010

This week...

...I liked this PostSecret best:

Three three

I'm a little late with this post. I think it is a good thing.

So I just turned 33 yesterday, and usually I am feeling quite nostalgic and write a rather reflective blog post. You can read those from years past by searching the tag "feliz cumpleanos a tu" if you're looking for some type of self-flagellation aside from reading this blog, in general. And who am I kidding anyway: almost ALL of my blogs are nostalgic and reflective. This year felt different. (Although it started off as par for the course.)

To begin with, I dreamed** about C. Now I should say that anytime I go on a date--irrespective of how good, bad, dull, or uneventful it is--my dreams take me to him. This one was particularly affecting.

**Brief dream aside: I came home to an apartment that was somewhere in the middle. It was a combination of all the apartments I've ever had in Richmond and San Francisco. He was waiting at the door for me with quiet brown eyes. I felt a rush of relief and said, "I knew you'd come." I unlocked the door and let us inside, and we sat down and looked at each other. The years apart left us unsure of how to interact, of how familiar it was acceptable to be. I started by asking him questions. "What have been your favorite movies that came out in the last three years?" We described our favorites to each other and I saw his favorites through his eyes and he saw mine through my eyes. I didn't want to know who he'd been with, who he'd loved or cried over; I was just so happy he was there. I hugged him and he said, "This feels so natural."

I woke grateful to have dreamed of him, and happy that I had taken the day off and allowed myself to sleep in. I decided to buy myself a birthday present.

I got a pedicure. I also decided at the last minute to get my eyebrows waxed. As I lay down on the table, my Vietnamese waxer lady said, "Why you neva wax mustache?"

I got some kind of crazy fancy new phone that I can use as a camera and video camera, and can use to access the internet as well as other regular phone things. (Look out Twitter and Facebook! Now I can write status updates and tweets all the time.)

I had Vietnamese spring rolls.

I had a brief nap, and I lay thinking about birthdays past**.

**Brief birthdays past aside: I remember on my 3rd birthday, my mom and I lived in our apartment on Broadway--the one with the cockroaches. My two major impressions of that birthday are, 1) I got roller skates that clamped on over my shoes, and 2) my grandpa and uncle taught me how to rub a balloon against my hair and make it stick to the wall. (My hair thus ended the night in particularly rare form.) I remembered my 13th birthday when I cried because I felt like I was leaving my childhood behind. (Yes, melodramatic and emotional from the start--that is yours truly.) I remembered my 23rd birthday in 2000 when I talked to my father for the last time for the following three years.

When I woke, the mail had come. Danita, C's mom, had sent me a beautiful card, and my old friend from Shepherd, Sally, had sent me a package that she put an awful lot of thought and effort into. I held them both and sat a cried with the emotion of being thought of and remembered by these two wonderful women.

I went out to The Orbit Room and to Pauline's pizza with four dear friends and had a lovely time. As one should on her birthday, I completely overindulged and ended up ill and in bed, being sung to over the phone by Miss Mary Smucker.

I felt loved.

January 21, 2010

Oh, and...

I registered for my first race in years. I'm running in the See Jane Run 5K in Alameda in June. That gives me PLENTY of time. So much time, in fact, that I'd like to not just work up to running the distance, but also to run betters splits than what I ran in my 8K.

I'm incredibly excited.

Trouble? No trouble.

Tonight I went on the 2nd worst date I've ever had. It was horrible. I burst into tears immediately afterward, and silently yelled at myself for engaging in this foolishness the night before my birthday. Sobbing on the phone to Miss Mary Smucker helped a great deal.

Thank you, Mary Lou.

January 19, 2010

Post number #125 today

I thought of Chris when I read that the yearly mystery visitor to Edgar Allen Poe's grave didn't show up this year. He first told me about it when I was staying in Baltimore with him. Back when we were broke. And happy.

"...he had to time his need to reach out to humanity so that it might fall on a Tuesday*..."

Ruben--a beloved work friend--and I just had the most adventurous trip to the bank ever.

To begin with, we managed to pick the peak of the thunderstorm and wind during which to go. His giant golf-size umbrella immediately turned itself inside out. We, of course, found this hysterically funny. After waiting in line at the bank, I was helped by an extremely chatty teller. As he processed my transactions we talked about thunderstorms (love!) and earthquakes (hate!). I told him I was going to think of him the next time we had an earthquake, and he suggested we go out for a drink sometime. Next, Ruben and I went to his bank while his umbrella continued to blow itself inside out and we continued to laugh. On the way back a reporter for the Los Altos Town Crier asked if he could take our picture of us with our umbrellas for a story on storm preparedness.

It's nice to have a little excitement in the middle of the work day.

*Title quote from Dostoevsky's Notes From Underground

On rainbows

I have mentioned working with Engage As You Age before, and I am pleased to report that I am enjoying it very much. I have been placed with a spunky woman in her 70s confined to a motorized chair, D.

I find her incredibly inspiring.

One of my main tasks in working with D. is to help her learn to use her laptop computer. We work on email, and I teach her about things like Twitter, YouTube, Songza, Pandora, Mapquest, Wikipedia, Internet Movie Database (IMDB), Facebook, etc. When I arrive she always has a stack of articles clipped out of newspapers on things in which she's interested, and we set to work tracking them down.

As I've gotten to know D. better, we spend a greater and greater proportion of our time talking in addition to our computer use. She only offers little bits here and there about her life (and definitely doesn't want to talk about her injury), but really wants to hear anything I have to say about friends, work, travel, running, etc. We have a surprising amount in common. I love talking to her; she has a very sharp memory and a frequently sarcastic sense of humor.

What amazes me about D. the most is her outlook on life. She is in an assisted living facility in her motorized chair. She spends most of her time alone and has two windows through which to view the rest of the world--the house next to her facility. But she never shows me that she feels sorry for herself. She gathers things that she likes around her--scented oils, stuffed animals, flowers, small bird figurines, pretty calendars, pictures, quotes--and makes her home.

Yesterday, D. asked me to do her a favor and stop and purchase two single-use, disposable cameras for her. I was happy to do so, and when I brought them along with me she was absolutely thrilled. She interrupted our happy greeting to say, "Do you see any rainbows outside?" I peered out each one of her windows at the sky. It was raining lightly, and the sun was barely peeking through the clouds.

"Not yet," I told her, "but maybe if the sun comes out more we will."

We went back to talking about her cameras, and she asked me to get the pictures from two other cameras developed that she'd already used. I agreed, and said, "D., what do you take pictures of?"

"Rainbows," she said simply. "It was God's way of telling Noah that the rain was over, and his way of promising not to flood the land like that again. Seeing a rainbow is a sign we're doing something right."


I get so angry at the reporters when I'm watching the news coverage from Haiti. I'm sure fecking Brian Williams and Ann Curry have plenty to eat and drink as they observe the Haitians and the horrible conditions in which they're living. I'm sure the folks in the helicopters flying over head do as well. And now a cruise ship? What?

Go on ahead, honey.

It's death in our love that has brought us here
It's a birth that has changed our lives
It's a place that I hope we'll be leaving soon
And I fear for the year in his eyes

And it goes around in circles
One night is lovely, the next is brutal
And you and me are in way over our heads with this one
It's hard to admit it
But you hold me and I can't feel you
We hurt but we smile
I promise I'll make it back when the summer has warmed me awhile

January 16, 2010

Conversation #842

Her: I'm scared to get off the phone because it means tomorrow is coming.

Him: I want to stay on the phone because at least I know you're thinking about me. I'm sorry. That was childish.

Her: Wait--what did you say? Thinking about you?

Him: No. That was the first childish thing I've said to you and I'm not proud of it.

Her: Well, at least let me hear it so I can participate, too.

Him: [sighs] I said I want to stay on the phone because at least I know you're thinking about me.

Her: But you don't know that.

Him: That's true.

January 13, 2010


And old, old conversation:

Him: I'm not in love.

Her: Um. I never thought you were. And neither am I.

Him: Yeah, but I never will be.

Where you'll find me now

Your teeth believe that teeth are for tearing
Tear into me, the scent of you sweating smells good to me
As long as we keep in our clothes
And out in the dark the world is still rolling
Kids in their cars, cigarette smoking
And all that they are just reeks with the sweetest belief

But I let you down
Swollen and small is where you'll find me now
With that silver stripping off
From my tongue you're tearing out
And you'll never hear me talk

January 11, 2010

A thousand rainy days

Do I have to tell the story
Of a thousand rainy days since we first met?
It's a big enough umbrella
But it's always me that ends up getting wet...

January 2, 2010

Año Nuevo

I wanted to post a New Year blog.

I wanted to curse 2009 and welcome 2010. I wanted to reflect on New Year's resolutions and my history with and without them. I wanted to say that I couldn't believe it's now been a decade since Chris and I sat on my couch in my first apartment in Richmond, VA, wondering if all hell would break loose when Y2K arrived.

Tonight I was at Safeway when Rod Stewart's "Ooh La La" came on. At first I was pleased and hummed along as I picked out my yogurt for the week. By the time I got to the frozen foods aisle, I heard:

I wish that I knew what I know now
when I was younger.
I wish that I knew what I know now
when I was stronger.

I started to cry. "Fuck," I thought. "Way to start out 2010: sobbing to Rod Stewart in front of the frozen pizza."

It's just that I really want this year to be different, and no words I can say or write can sufficiently convey just how urgently I want that. Every year I approach the new year with renewed hope about what my life might be, what I might accomplish. I suppose most people do.

This New Year's Eve I stared at the blue moon and thought about my best year so far: 2004. I finished grad school and my entire family came to be with me. My grandpa and grandmother were still here. I started training for a marathon and was in the best shape of my life. I felt like I was going places.

It's just that I've lost so much time. I have now lost years to depression, and I'll never get them back. I have always had a tendency toward nostalgia and melancholy, and my focus on absence--on the people I have loved best and most who are no longer with me for whatever reason--overtakes me for long periods of time.

They're never coming back.

I am turning 33 in a couple of weeks.

I am going to run. I am going to run my fucking ass off.